February 2009                                                         Winter/Spring Edition                                               Issue #18

In This Issue

Click to go to the article.

·   From the editor

·   Ancient-Future Worship

·   Faculty column

·   Alumni Event 09

·   Classroom mentors

·   IWS on YouTube

·   Why do they come?

·   Last call: Holy Land

·   You must go!

·   Alumni news















Our Sympathy to Jeff Barker

The IWS community offers our prayers and sympathy to Jeff Barker in the homegoing of his father, Art, on February 4. Jeff has co-taught DWS 702 with Connie Cherry the last two sessions.

Jeff Barker-click to enlarge


























Ancient-Future Worship Chapel Series

Hear Darrell Harris' talks on the 5 dyads from the June 2008 chapel series.  Click here to view the download links.


























10th Anniversary Events

Click on the thumbnail below for an overview of the events planned during our 10th anniversary year of celebration10th Anniversary Flier-click to enlarge




























On the Great Emergence

"The only way to understand what is currently happening to us as twenty-first-century Christians in North America is first to understand that about every five hundred years the Church feels compelled to hold a giant rummage sale. . . We are now living in and through one of those five-hundred-year sales."

(Phyllis Tickle, The Great Emergence, 16).























IWS: "A highlight of my year"

What a joy it is to teach eager students able to take new insights and apply them immediately, usually in their own ministries but sometimes as professors in other schools. To step into an IWS class, see students ready to learn, and know that the liturgical history I share will rock their worship worlds is a highlight of my year.

(Lester Ruth, professor for DWS 701)

Lester Ruth-click to enlarge



























Book for the June Session

Jim Hart has selected The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why, by Phyllis Tickle (Baker Books, 2008) as the discussion book for the coming June Session.

The Great Emergence




























January Session Resources

Pictures from the recent January Session have been posted online. Audio files are being edited and will be posted in the coming weeks.



















IWS on the road

Initial plans are being made for the first IWS regional seminar--a one-day event of worship, teaching and fellowship featuring an IWS faculty member. Watch for more details soon to be announced.

Additional locations are being targeted where alumni may be available to help with logistics. Interested in having an IWS seminar near you? Contact Kent Walters.















Annual Report

Read the IWS Annual Report 2008.














The Gospel According to House

Have you visited Reggie Kidd's blog lately? He recently posted Part 3 of his musings inspired, in part, by TV doctor, Gregory House, whom Reggie describes as "an über-competent, but über-über-narcissistic surgeon."

Dr. House


















IWS at Calvin Worship Symposium

We were visible at one of the most resourceful and well-attended worship conferences in in U.S. this past January. People from over 40 countries attended. Check out their site.

IWS Display-click to enlarge



From the Editor: Comments at the Table

In January, I manned an IWS display table at the Calvin Worship Symposium at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. What fun to meet and talk with people about worship, Bob Webber, and IWS!  It was great to connect with several alumni who were there, some of whom came from other countries for the event (Teresa Ho, Hong Kong; Kara Mandryk, Canada; Nancy Nethercott, Japan).

Here are a few of the interesting comments I received or overheard:

"Ah, this is the school that does the ancient-future stuff!" 

"I have never heard of a school that teaches only worship.  That is incredible!" 

IWS Display-click to enlarge"My life has been changed through reading Bob Webber's books." 

"I want to go to this school so badly. Hopefully, it will be possible for me to do that soon." 

"I'm so happy to meet you. I've been praying about applying to IWS." 

"I miss Bob Webber."

Those who knew about the school spoke well of us. Those who knew Bob Webber or were acquainted with his writings spoke well of him. I was reminded of Proverbs 22:1--"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold" (NIV).

As students, alumni, faculty, and staff, we extend the vision of IWS and perpetuate the heritage of our founder in churches, colleges, and seminaries across the country and around the world. Each time we pour our lives into others to the end that they may be transformed in the presence of Jesus, the legacy is renewed and disseminated.

10th Anniversary Events

Why not make this the year for your return visit home to IWS? You've been thinking about it; now it's time to reconnect. Read about the June 2009 events below, and make your plans now. Also, a trip to the Holy Land is a once-in-a-lifetime dream for many. Can you join the IWS tour scheduled for early 2010 with tour expert Jerry Borchert? I need to hear from you right away. Read more below.

In the planning stages: one-day regional seminars around the country.  We are targeting the West Coast as the first location. I'll keep you posted as plans develop.

What about you?

Please send me news about your life and work. Keeping in touch is what members in community do. Thanks.

Kent Walters, D.W.S. (Alpha, 2002)

Ancient-Future Worship:
Always Both-and, Never Either-or

by Darrell A. Harris

“What has been before will be again,” my paternal grandmother said. She Darrell Harrisoften saw the events of the past not only recurring in the present, but giving shape to the future as well. While the term “ancient-future” appears at first glance to be a construct comprised of mutually exclusive ideas, my grandmother’s wisdom may offer some insight.

After nearly twenty years of friendship with Bob Webber and then having read his Ancient-Future Worship, I am overwhelmed at the scope, the sweep and the comprehensive richness of his concept. As contemporary worshippers hunger for the authenticity of the worship of ancient Israel and the early church, we may be catching glimpses of the eternal future of worship.

It occurs to me that there are five paradoxical dyads always in play in ancient-future worship. Ancient-future worship is always

·         both Trinitarian and Christocentric

·         both word and symbol

·         both declarative and dialogical

·         both communal and missional

·         both remembering and anticipating

Ancient-future worship is always both Trinitarian and Christocentric. Consider these examples of Trinitarian emphasis: the mingling of both singular and plural in the phrases “Let us make” and “in our image,” Abraham’s three visitors addressed as the singular Lord, the wording of the shema (saying that Elohim, a name that suggests plurality, is one), the Father’s vocal blessing and the appearance of the Spirit like a dove at Christ’s baptism, and the triune benediction of 2 Corinthians 13:13.

We can also observe a nascent Christo-centricity in the Hebrew Scriptures. Remember God’s Genesis prophecy that the woman’s seed would crush the serpent’s head, the prophetic Christ-prefiguring appearance of Melchizedek, and the mystery of the fourth person in the fiery furnace. Plus the New Testament references to the Lord Jesus having the preeminence in all things are in abundance.

Ancient-future worship always engages both word and symbol. Most evangelicals don’t need to be convinced of the priority of word. After all, we claim to be people of the book. But we can easily forget the centrality of the word’s counterpart, symbol.

When God promised never to destroy the world by water again, he gave a symbol of his promise, the rainbow. Ancient Israel engaged symbols for all their feasts and observances (blood on doorposts, ritual Passover meal of lamb, building shelters or booths for the Feast of Tabernacles campout, bread, wine, sacrificial offerings, etc.). Jesus constantly engaged symbol for teaching purposes (mustard seed, coin, etc.). And he gave us only one way to remember his death until his return—the sharing of the bread and cup.

Our emphasis on word is well placed. It is by the word that all creation was spoken into existence. We are washed with the water of the word. The word will never pass away. But it is symbol that helps us envision, enact and enflesh the word. It is the bread and cup that are a koinonia (or participation) in the very event and the very one being remembered.
[Read more . . .]

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Faculty Column: Worship in the NT

by Jerry Borchert

The following excerpts are from the Introduction to Jerry Borchert's latest book,  Worship in the New Testament: Divine Mystery and Human Response (St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2008).  The dedication reads: "In gratitude to the Triune God for my colleague and friend the late Robert E. Webber and his dynamic dreams of "Ancient Future Worship" and the Institute for Worship Studies.

Responding to Mystery

The purpose of this book is to detail the New Testament's response to mystery in the coming of Jesus by reflecting on the lessons in the Gospels, the worship and life of the early church, and the expectations that have enlivened worship down through the ages from our inspired tests. . . .

Worship in the NTI am not simply writing a theology of worship based on New Testament texts. . . . Instead, I turn in the direction of writing a different kind of introduction: an interpretation of each book of the New Testament with a distinct focus on the contribution that each makes to our understanding of worship. . . .

The service of God involves one's entire life of responding to God and divine mystery. When I read Bob Webber's book on Worship is a Verb, and when I reached his final chapter, "Worship as a Way of Life," my mind responded with an excited "Amen!" For me, Bob's concluding thoughts summarized what "responding to mystery" involves--it is the way one lives the whole of one's life. True worship can never be pigeonholed as a segment of life. It is not merely liturgical activity in a building. Of course, our liturgies and congregational actions can reflect authentic worship, but worship demands one's life involvement. Otherwise, such actions  are simply elements of busyness. . . . Our work and service for God is absolutely essential, but it must represent a genuine spirit of self-giving for God and not for our own advancement or benefit. The point is that is must be a response to God! . . .

With this understanding in mind, I have linked worship and life constantly together in this study of responding to God. . . . Unity of a person's words and actions is essential in the true worship of God.

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Alumni Event 2009--June 13-16

Ten years ago this June, twenty students made their way to the facilities of Grace Episcopal Church in Orange Park to study worship.  IWS, Bob Webber's vision, was born.  Now, a decade later, some 200 graduates are working to bring worship renewal in churches and institutions across the world.

With profound thanks to God, we will commemorate our founding in the Opening Convocation on Wednesday, June 10, and in the Commencement Service on Sunday, June 14.  Then, our sixth annual Alumni Seminar on Monday and Tuesday, June 15-16 will feature our special guest, Phyllis Tickle.  Her seminar is titled:

21st Century Christianity:
What It Is, How It Got Here, and Where It Is Going

Phyllis TickleThe seminar, based on Phyllis' latest book, The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why, will occur on Monday and Tuesday, June 15-16. Follow the link below to see the schedule and an overview of the seminar sessions.

Alumni Event 2009 link:

SCHEDULE and Seminar Description

Phyllis is founding editor of the religion department at Publishers Weekly and one of the most highly respected authorities and popular speakers on religion in America today. Learn more about her here.  For an overview of her books, click here.

The seminar registration fee is $100.00, excluding meals and lodging. Online registration begins March 1.  Go to the Seminar page on the Web site to register.

And get this!! NEW this year: you may bring your pastor or worship pastor/director for half the registration price! This is not a ploy to boost attendance. Rather, we want your pastor to be able to experience worship at IWS, catch a deeper vision for worship renewal, and meaningfully dialogue about worship and related issues with you and others in vocational church ministry. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to introduce your co-laborer to the uniqueness of the IWS community.

As a brief introduction to the seminar, check out this short video (2:26) (different from the video in the last edition of Anamnesis) in which Phyllis describes emerging Christianity as a "gathering center." To view more short videos on The Great Emergence, click here.



Alternate YouTube Web link

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First Classroom Mentor: Dr. Larry Ellis

Larry Ellis, M.W.S. (Beth 2005), D.W.S. (Nu 2008) served as our first classroom mentor during the January 2009 session, sitting in on MWS 501, “The Biblical Foundations of Worship,” taught by Eric Bolger. (Click on the picture below to enlarge. Larry is seated second from the left). The following is Larry's reflection on the experience.

My plan was to get to know the students and offer them any help they desired. I participated in the introduction process in Moodle during the month of December and enjoyed reading and responding to many of the pre-session postings, and I will continue to interact through the post-session posts.

Once on campus, I made a point of finding and introducing myself to the new students before orientation. During the class discussions, I restrained my enthusiasm for the content in order to leave room for the students’ fullMWS Class-click to enlarge engagement. Sitting with the students during meals and the traditional Sunday evening dinner at Clark’s Fish Camp afforded relaxed times to discuss the topics they wished to pursue. And there were many, ranging from personal to ministry and theological in nature. I was readily accepted as a friend whose opinion they seemed to respect and with whom they could bounce ideas off.

I observed again the common thread among students at IWS—the desire to better understand and lead our churches in the worship of God. It seems the members of this class came with the same hope and expectations that I had upon beginning the MWS program a few years ago.  I suspect that they, too, had their world turned upside down about what worship is to be. With Eric’s guidance we drilled down into the Scriptures to see what God reveals about worship, taking our understanding to a new level.  One student uncontrollably spilled out: “I have been a Christian for over 20 years and have never heard teaching like this from the Scriptures. You have really jacked up my world!”  The class also enjoyed the teaching of Jerry Borchert for a couple days during the session.

Being a mentor is a blessing that has given me the opportunity to stay at the heart of IWS, meet new friends, and pass along the enthusiasm I have for learning about the true meaning of Christian worship. I would encourage all our graduates to consider coming back and being a part of a class in this way. You will be inspired and enriched as you were when you attended your first class. I certainly plan to be a mentor again!

For more information, or to apply to be a mentor, please contact Registrar Laura Ritter (registrar@iwsfla.org).  You should specify if you would like to request a particular class.  Applications must be renewed each semester. 

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Closing Chapel Video

The following clip features the artistry of Ron Richardson (D.W.S. candidate in the Tau class) as he completes his performance art during the closing minutes of chapel and the January 2009 session.  Brian McLaren's song of sending, With Kindness, is being sung. Ron is the Director of Worship and Music at First Presbyterian Church in Roseville, CA.

Christ has no body here but ours;

No hands, no feet here on earth, but ours.

Ours are the eyes through which he looks

on this world with kindness.

Ours are the hands through which he works;

Ours are the feet through which he moves.

Ours are the voices through which he speaks

to this world with kindness.

Through our smile, our touch, our listening ear,

embodied in us, Jesus is living here.

So let us go now filled with the Spirit

into this world with kindness.

© 2007 Brian McLaren



Alternate YouTube Web link

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What Attracts Students to IWS?

Lester Ruth (DWS 701 professor) queries the incoming DWS students each session to learn how they found out about IWS. Recommendations by our alumni is at the top of the list. Way to go, grads!

The data below represents the cumulative responses of the last five classes to begin doctoral studies at IWS, a total of 78 students (Pi, 16 students; Rho, 15 students; Sigma, 21 students; Tau, 11 students; Upsilon, 15 students). Here are the top six means of introduction to IWS that were given by the students:

Recommendation of alumni:                     33 (42%)

Familiarity with Bob’s writings:                 19 (24%)

Heard/met Bob (conference/seminar):       16 (21%)

IWS Web site:                                      14 (18%)

MWS grads continuing in DWS program:     12 (15%)

IWS advertisements/articles                      8 (10%)

The recommendation of faculty members was another important influence.

A couple of observations can be made from these numbers.  First, combining the second and third reasons, Bob Webber and his writings were the strongest influence on these incoming students (a total of 45% of the responses given). But, our alumni are exerting an almost equally strong influence (a total of 42% of the responses given). Additionally, the influence of alumni has been steadily increasing. Just two years ago, when the Pi class began their studies, the influence of alumni and Bob Webber were about the same. This is a significant piece of data. Before he died, Bob said that his legacy would be found in his writings and IWS. Bob has effectively passed the torch. Let us continue to do the same.

Thanks, Lester, for tracking this information.

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Last Call for the Holy Land in 2010

About half of the minimum number of travelers needed for our Holy Land tour have expressed interest at this point. But Jerry Borchert, our seasoned tour host and teacher, remains optimistic that it can still come together in the next couple months. 

City of JerusalemWe are looking at late February or early March 2010 for a 10-day IWS Holy Land Tour. (There is also the possibility of a 3-day extension to Greece for those interested). Click here to see the brochure of Jerry's recent and comparable trip.

Please email Kent Walters as soon as possible--NOW--if you are interested in being a part of this IWS trip.

As many of you know, Jerry Borchert has been leading tours and teaching on the biblical, historical and archeological significance of the ancient sites for many years. In fact, he came straight from Tel Aviv to Florida for the January Session last month. Alan Cooper, DWS candidate, was on this trip with Jerry. Read his testimony below. 

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If You Can Go, You Must!
by Alan Cooper, D.W.S. student (Nu)

Something compels those who have visited Israel to say, “If you can go, you must!”  What is so fascinating, so valuable, about seeing the Holy Land firsthand?

First, being there changes your understanding of the region. We often imagine the geography of our own home as we read Scripture. It’s amazing to experience the size of the area and realize Israel is almost the same size as New Jersey.  Second, it is life changing to visit the sites where the Bible stories took place. Imagine seeing the actual city gate that Abraham saw when he rescued Lot in Dan (Genesis 14:14), the stream where Gideon separated out the three hundred soldiers to fight Midian (Judges 7:1-6), the cave in En Gedi where David cut the corner from King Saul’s robe (1 Samuel 24:1-7). My heart was touched to visit the traditional sites of Jesus’ birth, ministry, crucifixion, tomb and resurrection. How remarkable to walk down the steps where Jesus walked as He was taken to the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest before His crucifixion.

Jerry Borchert helped plant the Holy Land in our hearts on this life changing trip. His knowledge of the region, biblical insight, and unique wit were great assets on the tour. At each site he shared information that took us deeper than the well-trained tour guide on our bus was able to, revealing biblical connections and applying the Scriptures to our walk with Christ. Each evening we enjoyed an entertaining session in which Jerry, with a characteristic twinkle in his eye, shared additional insights from that day's journey.

This trip significantly impacted my life and ministry. It strengthened my faith as well as my understanding of the biblical story. On the second Sunday back from my trip, I was humbled when one of the ladies in the church where I serve said, “Please, don’t misunderstand this. You have always been a good preacher, but since your trip to the Holy Land your preaching is even better.”

Some question the safety of travelling in the Holy Land, but I felt completely safe during the entire trip. This is significant since our tour took place during the recent Israel-Gaza conflict. Tourism is Israel’s number one industry and they make safety a top priority. Along with that we were welcomed, pampered, and respected.

Are you able to go to Israel? Then go! You will treasure the experience.

Click on the thumbnail pictures below to see the full size version of these photos Alan took in Israel. Alan is in the first picture by the Jordan River.

Jordan River-click to enlargeSea of Galilee-click to enlargeDavid's Cave at En-Gedi-click to enlargeJerry Borchert in Israel-click to enlarge

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Alumni News

Jim Altizer, D.W.S. (Mu, 2008)

Jim & Mary Kay AltizerIvory and Brass is the name of the multifaceted ministry that Jim and his wife, Mary Kay, maintain, which includes concerts, worship seminars, pastors and couples conferences, worship leading and consulting. You'll be intrigued by the title of their latest CD, Anamnesis: Remember2Relive. The cover explains, "This offering is not so much about Ivory & Brass as it is about unflinching lyrics, evocative melodies, benchmark arrangements, and the synergy of gifted musicians." Check out their website. Jim also directs and teaches the Master of Arts in Worship Leadership degree at Azusa Pacific University near Los Angeles.

Dale Dirksen, D.W.S. (Gamma, 2003)

I had the privilege of teaching at the International College of Cultural Studies in Hyderabad, India in January 2009. I taught the course “Coaching and Mentoring Strategies” in the M.A. Leadership Degree Program. There were 15 students in my class--eight women and seven men--who came from several countries and four different continents. Teaching about mentoring requires that a person actually does mentoring. So, for two weeks, I tried to come alongside my students to help them on their paths, both academic and professional. It astounds me that it is possible to connect with people from so many cultures. What a privilege!

My wife, Rebecca, and I were able to see quite a bit of the area.  Most profound was visiting a school for Dalit children, the victims of centuries-long social oppression. It was truly amazing and life changing for us to witness the transformation taking place in their lives. I also had the privilege of speaking and singing in an indigenous Telugu church. I sang a setting of Jer. 29:11 that I had recorded a while back. Hope and promise are exciting messages in India. We were humbled by the gracious hospitality and eager faith of our brothers and sisters in India and from around the world.

Dale Dirksen-click to enlargeStudents in India-click to enlargeRebecca Dirksen-click to enlargeClassroom-click to enlarge

Dinelle Frankland, D.W.S. (Delta, 2004)

With 23 years experience teaching on the college level, Dinelle was asked Dinelle Franklandby College Press Publishing, one of the publishers for the independent Christian Churches, to write a book on worship for their "What the Bible Says About" series.  Dinelle credits the influence of Bob Webber and IWS even in the title: What the Bible Says about Worship: His Story, Our Response. Written for a college readership, Dinelle hopes the book is also useful for church groups and those who plan and lead worship.

Dinelle is currently on a short sabbatical from Lincoln Christian Seminary (Lincoln, IL) where she is Associate Dean of Student Formation and Professor of Worship.  Check out this audio link to hear Dinelle talk about Bob Webber, the Worship Studies Program at LCCS, and her new book.

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© 2009 The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies

Contact Information
Robert E. Webber
Institute for

Worship Studies
151 Kingsley Ave.
Orange Park, FL 32073
Ph: 904.262.2172
Fax: 904.278.2878


Director of Alumni Activities and Editor of Anamnesis
Kent Walters
7323 Westlane Ave.
Jenison, MI 49428
H: 616.457.5234
M: 616.304.9363