The IWS Family Newsletter

February 2007                                                  Winter Edition                                      Volume 4, Number 1

In This Issue

Click to go to the article.

·   In this issue

·   Letter from Bob

·   Jim Hart promoted

·    Name change

·   Meet Jimmy Abbington

·   Eric Bolger: new dean

·    McLaren seminar

·   IWS family updates

·   Choral Resources

·   Alumni Fund update

















































Prayer and Praise

Debbie Pedde,

wife of Dave (Beth, MWS 2006), had surgery in December for a malignant brain tumor.  She is currently undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments.  As you pray, keep updated on the Message Board; and visit Debbie's caringbridge Web site.


David Humphrey (Delta) returned to campus in January following a remarkable recovery from liver failure and a liver transplant.  Hear his testimony, recorded in January at IWS, by clicking here (12:32).  You may also read a more detailed testimony on his Web site.































The Divine Embrace

If you haven't heard the panel discussion on Bob's book that took place during the January Session click here.  And, if for some strange and incomprehensible reason, you haven't picked up a copy of the book click here.















































D.W.S. thesis abstracts

About half of the alumni have submitted their thesis abstract to be included in our thesis lists on the Web site.  Check out the thesis lists and see if your abstract is there.  IF NOT, simply copy and paste it into and email to me today.











































Alumni News

What's happening in your life and ministry these days?  Let me know how the Lord is using, challenging, or blessing you and I'll post the info in a future edition. Attach an updated picture to your email if you can!

It's fair to "tell" about one another too. 


























January Session Pictures

Click here to view pictures from the recent January Session.


In This Issue . . .

This edition is packed! 

There is a lot of "people news" to report: a stirring letter from Bob Webber, a promotion for Jim Hart, a new Academic Dean, a new faculty member, and updates from faculty and alumni.

And we have a new name!

AND, what many of you have been waiting for, details regarding the 2007 Alumni Seminar with Brian McLaren.  Yes, you now can register!  Details below.

And MORE.  Read on.

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Letter from Bob Webber, Feb. 12, 2007

As I am preparing to publish this edition of the newsletter to the Web site I just received this update from Bob through Jim Hart.  God has wonderfully answered the countless prayers on Bob's behalf, giving him daily strength and health beyond the doctor's prognosis.  Bob's testimony throughout this battle has had a significant impact on those who have witnessed his relationship with the Lord expressed in unflinching trust, confident hope, and enduring faith.  Let's keep praying with Bob for daily healing: strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Here is Bob's most recent letter to the IWS community, dated February 12:

Dear Friends,

Just a few weeks ago I wrote about "living in two realities."  Many of you responded that you would pray for us one day at a time, thanking God for a good day and petitioning Him for a healed day on the morrow.

Joanne and I have prayed this way daily--and God has been good to us, one day at a time.  However, things have become a bit unpredictable recently and I have some "not so good days" in terms of increased pain and feeling tired.  Plus, my body seems to move like a tired, old, rusty gate.  I am scheduled for a test, MRI, this Friday to see where things are at, nine weeks after leaving the hospital.

Please continue to pray for Divine intervention and complete healing in spite of these recent changes.  God has greatly helped Joanne's stomach, etc., so your prayers have already helped.  I also doubt I'd still be around were it not for all those prayers as there were many moments when Joanne didn't think I'd make it and I was too sick to even realize it.

I'm acutely aware each day that, "For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain."  Thank all of you, once again, for the outpouring of your many prayers on our behalf.  Words are inadequate and cannot express the meaning your prayers, cards and emails hold for us.  I wish I could answer each one individually but thanks for not putting that burden on me. Thanks again for respecting our privacy, especially in the coming weeks, by not calling or stopping by. 

We set aside February as the month to just be together, spend some quality time that we'd expected to have together during my sabbatical and to celebrate Valentine's Day, maybe for the last time.  [Of course, I'll honestly admit I've also done some writing too!]

We love the cards and emails if you want to communicate with us and please continue to pray.


Bob and Joanne

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Jim Hart Named Provost and President-Elect

During the recent January Session Jim Hart was officially named Provost and President-Elect by request of Bob Webber, the unanimous support of the faculty, and the official sanction of the Board of Trustees.  Letters from Bob Webber and John Lindsell, Chairman of the Board, making this announcement were read to the IWS community gathered in Orange Park in January. 

If you did not already read these letters in the email that was sent to everyone in January, or if you wish to view them again you may access them by clicking on the following links:

Letter from Bob Webber

Letter from John Lindsell

To hear Darrell Harris reading these letters to the student body, click here:

Darrell Harris reads IWS letters

Congratulations, Jim! (Picture above taken in June 2005).

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Name Change Announced

The Board of Trustees made the following announcement in January:

The IWS Board of Trustees, upon unanimous recommendation of the IWS faculty, have unanimously approved the change of name of the "Institute for Worship Studies, Florida Campus" to the "Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies," effective immediately.  This honors the work of our founding president, Bob Webber, and his contribution to the renewal of worship practice and education.

Believing that IWS is God's school and not his, Bob has been resistant to this suggested change for some time, but agree to it last fall in the midst of his health struggles. 

Whereas the official name of the school has changed, we will maintain the use of the acronym "IWS".

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 Welcome Jimmy Abbington! New Faculty

Meet James (Jimmy) Abbington,  D.M.A., the newest appointment to the faculty.  He will teach Postmodern Worship in the master's program beginning in June 2007, at which time we will have a full compliment of the M.W.S. classes on campus together for the first time.

Jimmy is Associate Professor of Music and Worship at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.  His research interests include music and worship in the Christian church, African American sacred folk music, organ, choral music, and ethnomusicology. He serves as Executive Editor of the African American Church Music Series by GIA Publications (Chicago) and Co-director of Music for the annual Hampton University Ministers' Conference and Choir Directors' Organists' Guild Workshop.

We extend a warm welcome to Jimmy and look forward his joining the IWS family this June, and we anticipate celebrating his influence on us all!

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Eric Bolger Appointed Academic Dean

By Jim Hart

Eric Bolger (Alpha, D.W.S. 2002) has been appointed the new Academic Dean of IWS as of January 2007.  He is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, and Chairman of the Humanities Division at College of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri.  Eric also fulfills numerous pastoral responsibilities at Harvest Evangelical Free Church in Branson where he serves as Staff Elder.  Eric preached the sermon, "Our Hope," for Opening Convocation this past January.  Click here for the audio file.

When Bob became ill last fall, he decided to step down as the Academic Dean of IWS.  We discussed several faculty candidates, any of whom could step into the role and do a tremendous job.  Eric Bolger's name kept rising to the top of our list.  As a faculty member at College of the Ozarks, Eric works full-time in the academic world.  He holds a Ph.D. in theology with a concentration in Old Testament from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and is thoroughly familiar with the academic nature of IWS.  He went through the D.W.S. program at IWS in the Alpha class and was the first faculty member hired in the M.W.S. program.  He is also intimately knowledgeable about the accreditation process we are in.  He has served on our Strategic Planning Committee since its beginning and led his own college through their accreditation process.  Eric is a man of great academic prowess and strength of Christian character.  In January, his appointment received the unanimous affirmation of the faculty and Board of Trustees.  We are pleased to welcome Eric Bolger as our new Academic Dean!

Editor's note: I asked Eric to write a brief reflection on his new appointment. His response follows:

I am both honored and humbled to have been appointed as Academic Dean of IWS. I realize that in this role I will have the opportunity to serve both students and faculty members, an opportunity to which I am deeply committed. I'm also excited to help as IWS, an institution that God has already blessed so richly, continues and grows in fulfilling its mission.

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Alumni Event 2007: The Emerging Church

The fourth annual gathering of the IWS alumni in Orange Park is scheduled for June 16-19, 2007.  This promises to be a stimulating and memorable event that will feature a two-day seminar with Brian McLarenThe Church That Is Emerging: The Dance of Ministry on a Moving Floor.

Review the schedule and registration details below and then get your registration in soon as this is a very popular topic and guest. 

For most of you Brian McLaren needs little introduction.  You have likely read one or more of his books or heard him speak.  Needless to say, Brian is one of the foremost voices on the emerging church around the world.  For the sake of space I point you to the biography on his Web site to better acquaint you with our guest speaker.

This year's event has been shaped by feedback received from previous post-graduate gatherings (see, for example, the article on seminar feedback in July 2006 Anamnesis).  Here is an overview of the schedule:

Saturday, June 16

  • Alumni Lunch (including an update on the Institute)
  • Presidential Address (via video)
  • Visit a DWS or MWS class session
  • Evening class reunions and alumni gatherings at local restaurants

Sunday, June 17

  • Afternoon alumni meeting (sharing of vision, ideas and prayer)
  • Evening Commencement Service (alumni are invited to don their regalia and process with the faculty and staff)
  • Alumni Dinner Reception (at a local restaurant)

Monday, June 18

  • Chapel
  • Morning sessions: Spiritual Formation in the Emerging Church
  • Afternoon sessions: Public Worship as Spiritual Formation
  • Evening Practicum

Tuesday, June 19

  • Chapel
  • Morning sessions: Global Mission in the Postmodern World
  • Afternoon sessions: Evangelism in the Emerging Culture
  • Evening Service of Eucharist and Healing

Click here for a more detailed explanation of the seminar schedule and session descriptions.

The cost for registration is $100.00 before May 1 and $120.00 after May 1.  This fee does not include meals on campus nor those at local restaurants as listed above.   The cost for on-campus meals for the entire event is $81.00 (this includes lunch on Saturday and breakfast, lunch and dinner on both Monday and Tuesday).  Hotel information will be sent when your registration is received.

To register: Download a registration form (Web page format / MSWord format) and mail the information along with a check to the address indicated. 

As the event draws near the sharing of rental cars, hotel rooms, transportation to and from the airport, etc. can be coordinated on the Alumni Message Board.

See you in Orange Park in June!

Please direct any questions you have about this event to Kent Walters.

Brain McLaren's Web site.

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Faculty and Alumni Updates

Connie Cherry was a guest speaker this past September at Houghton College in New York.  She was the presenter at a worship conference that the college sponsored for area worship leaders.  She also spoke on worship in their chapel service. 

Connie is presently serving as a consultant for a group of churches who received one of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship worship renewal grants funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.  It is an ecumenical group doing worship renewal together in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Five Blacksburg churches gathered on the campus of Virginia Tech to meet with her for two days in November and will return in the spring for an additional time of consultation.  The churches are Episcopal, Lutheran (ELCA), Presbyterian (PCUSA), United Methodist, and Baptist. 

Reggie Kidd spoke at the January 2007 Worship Symposium at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He was a presenter in the one-day seminar Biblical Psalms in Christian Worship, and he presented two of his own sessions: Jesus in the Songs of Bach, Bubba, & the Blues Brothers, and The "Fifth Voice": A Semi-Sacramental Approach to Song in Worship.

During the Advent and Christmas seasons Reggie did a lot of reading from Athanasius, which inspired the article "Athanasius on the Incarnation: Why Hope and History DO Rhyme."  Click here to read the entire blog entry.  Visit Reggie's personal Web site.

Todd Farley is currently in a two-year appointment at Calvin College as Associate Professor in the Communication Arts & Sciences department.  He presented sessions at the Worship Symposium in January as well: The Embodied Preacher and Mime in the Church Today.

This summer (July 12-14) Todd will present a unique workshop at Calvin entitled: Embodying Ministry! Moving Sundays for Pastors, the Public, and Performers.  The workshop focuses on using the body as a means of communicating the Gospel through preaching and performance.  Click here for more details.

Kevin Johnson (Eta, D.W.S. 2005) serves as Associate Pastor for Music, Worship and College Ministries at First Baptist Church in Boone, NC.  He gives the following report on his ministry opportunities.

The Lord has blessed me with several publishing opportunities during the past few months.  I’m writing a series of articles on Family Worship and Practicing Faith in the Home for Abingdon/UM Publishing’s Children’s Teacher Magazine.  The articles will begin appearing in the Fall 2007 edition.  I’m also writing twelve Bible study commentaries for the Biblical Recorder that will run weekly for the first quarter of 2007.  In addition to these opportunities, I have been invited to be a contributing author to the Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization (Oxford: Blackwell Press,

2008).  I will write sixteen entries for the Encyclopedia on various subjects related to sacred music.  I’m so thrilled to have these opportunities to supplement my wonderful ministry here at FBC.

Stephen Phifer (Epsilon, D.W.S. 2004) recently had a book published by Trafford Publishing (July 2006).  Written before his studies at IWS, the title is Worship That Pleases God: the Passion and Reason of True Worship.  See details on the publisher's Web site

After learning about his book, I asked Steve about his other ministries.  Along with his responsibilities as Music Pastor at Word of Life Church (Assemblies of God) in Springfield, VA, Steve has numerous opportunities to speak on worship in other venues.  His recent engagements include speaking on worship at Zion Bible College in Providence, RI, Central Bible College in Springfield, MO, and the National Music and Worship Conference, Assemblies of God at Evangel University, Springfield, MO.  This May he will speak for a week at the Romanian Bible University in Bucharest, Romania and help them establish a worship studies program.

You'll observe on Steve's Web site that he writes prolifically and is committed to teaching on worship renewal wherever he goes.

What's happening in your life?  Let me know how the Lord is using you these days and I'll post the info in a future edition. Attach an updated picture to your email if you can!

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Choral Resources from Dan Sharp

Dan Sharp has just edited a choral repertoire list for Holy Week (mostly Maundy Thursday and Good Friday) and Eastertide.  It includes 12 titles for Holy Week, 11 titles for Palm/ Passion Sunday, and 33 titles for Eastertide.  Each entry includes voicing, instrumentation and publisher information as well as personal notes and recommended choir size.  Several of the entries have links to an image of the score on the publisher's Web site.  Click here to access this resource.

Dan anticipates completing an expanded list for the season of Lent as well as one for Advent and Christmas in the near future.    Dan's "Favorite Anthems" list is also posted on the Web site. 

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Update on the Annual Fund

By Jim Hart

Due to the generosity of our board, faculty, staff, alumni and students, in just over two months IWS has received $37,276 to date for the Annual Fund.  Thank you for your faithful and abundant support!  That figure represents 37% toward our 2006-07 budget year goal of $100,000.  However, we still have 63% to go to reach our goal for this year.  The Annual Fund is used to offset the operational expenses incurred to run IWS and to address our future needs and plans. 

In this past January Session we had the largest combined incoming enrollment in the history of IWS.  Additionally, we have over 30 applications in process for the June session.  As IWS has grown our related expenses have grown related primarily to our accreditation pursuit.  The Annual Fund helps us continue to respond to the Lord's leading in fulfillment of our mission of training servant leaders in worship renewal.  Our students will greatly benefit from the gifts received, and our leader, Bob, has been encouraged by your support.  These funds are channeled into stabilizing IWS’ future through recruitment, additional staffing needs, advertising, and development.  We are close to our expectation for this campaign of 100% participation from the board, faculty and staff of IWS, and we are anticipating a high percentage of participation from the students, alumni and friends.  No gift is too small.  Because of our emphasis on worship renewal in light of the Missio Dei (mission of God) we also request that IWS be considered in the mission budgets of your churches.  IWS needs the support of the entire team to reach our goals of stabilizing our financial future.

Please give prayerful consideration to the IWS Annual Fund.  We are depending on your gift.  Checks should be made out to IWS, noted “Annual Fund,” and sent to IWS, 151 Kingsley Ave., Orange Park, FL 32073 attn: Dana Brodsky.  All donations are tax deductible. 

A new endowment fund in the name of Robert E. Webber has been started as well.  An endowment must reach $120,000 to fund a chair on the faculty.  If you wish to endow a faculty chair in someone's name or contribute to the Webber chair, please contact Jim Hart, Bob Webber or John Lindsell.

Thank you for your consideration and support of the Lord’s work in and through IWS.

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© 2007 The Institute for Worship Studies

Contact Information

Robert E. Webber Institute for

Worship Studies
151 Kingsley Ave.
Orange Park, FL 32073

Ph: 904.264.2172
Fax: 904.278.2878

Director of Alumni Activities and Editor of Anamnesis
Kent Walters
7323 Westlane Ave.
Jenison, MI 49428
H: 616.457.5234

C: 616.304.9363
W: 616.538.9350 ex 15
Fax: 616.538.3564