June 2009                                                       Tenth Anniversary Edition                                               Issue #19

In This Issue

Click to go to the article.

·   From the editor

·   President's column

·   A decade of memories

·   Alumni Event '09

·   WaterManuscripts

·   Remembering Bob

·   Worship renewal

·   Wilde in Africa

·   Joannah Glaesser

·   Alumni news

·   What IWS means to me
































Prayer and Praise Wall

Our latest tool for engaging in community is the Prayer and Praise Wall published in our virtual classroom, Moodle. You are encouraged to share with and support one another in petition and thankfulness to God. Soon all our alumni will have access to Moodle which will host an Alumni Page. (Pre-Moodle alums are wondering, "What in the world is Moodle?!").











































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









































On receptivity

"The receptive human heart, having been quickened by the Holy Spirit, becomes fertile soil, gifted with the new capacity to receive and carry living seed that is intended, over the course of a lifetime, to bear the fruit of Jesus' life planted in us. . . . The beauty of our humanity is most fully revealed when we are most deeply receptive. We are earth implanted with life at the sound of another's words."

(Carla Waterman, Songs of Assent, 57-58, 60).























IWS & Gordon-Conwell form library consortium

IWS and the Jacksonville campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary have formed the first theological library cooperative agreement in northeast Florida-- the Jacksonville Theological Library Consortium. [Read more...]











































You have new email powered by Google

New Gmail accounts have been created for all students, alumni, faculty and staff. You now have over 7 gigs of email storage, accessibility from anywhere in the world via the Internet, online calendars, safe document storage, and many other powerful options. To access your email account visit http://mail.iwsfla.org and log in using your IWS username and password. To see additional features of your account, click here.


























IWS virtual bookstore

Required texts for IWS courses are now easily available through MBS Direct. Check it out here.



























10th Anniversary Events

Click on the thumbnail below for an overview of the events planned during our 10th anniversary year of celebration.























The Holy Spirit in worship

Reggie Kidd wrote the lead article for the May edition of Worship Leader. Check out an overview on Reggie's blog.








From the Editor: Happy 10th, IWS!

On Sunday evening, June 9, 1999, Bob Webber's vision was born.

Joining the assembled worshipers in the sanctuary of Grace Episcopal Church in Orange Park, twenty studentsthe Alpha Classbegan their post-graduate worship study as they gathered for the first Opening Convocation of IWS.  Now, a decade later, over 200 graduates are working to bring worship renewal in churches and institutions around the world.

In this 10th Anniversary Edition, we remember and celebrate a decade of work through which God has changed lives and impacted ministries beyond what we will ever know. There are four 10th Anniversary segments in this edition, written by you: A Decade of Memories, Faculty and Staff Remember Bob, Worship Renewal, and What IWS Means to Me. Due to space, I'm not able to include all your submissions here, so this series will extend into the next edition, and maybe the one after that. Please continue to send me your memories, examples of worship renewal in your place of work, and your reflections on what IWS means to you.

10th Anniversary Seminars

We have a good registration for the June Alumni Seminar with Phyllis Tickle, but there is always room and it's not too late to register. Page down for details. Many of you have requested a January seminar. Our 10th Anniversary celebration includes our first January Alumni Event. We're delighted to have John Witvliet as our guest, January 6-8, 2010. More info here.

Again, please help us all re-member—anamnesisthis 10th anniversary year. Send me your reflections. Thanks.

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

President's Column
by Dr. Jim Hart

Our gracious Lord continues to bless the mission of IWS through changed lives, transformed ministries, enlivened worship and continued growth.  Great strides have been made so far this year in library expansion, community outreach and support, accreditation, and leadership development.  June’s commencement will see thirty-five new IWS graduates joining the alumni association.  Enrollment of new students for June will be the highest summer enrollment in recent years.

With only one month left in this fiscal year, please give generously to the annual and scholarship funds of IWS.  In light of the ABHE accreditation evaluation team visit this June, your participation in the annual fund is absolutely vital!  Our goal for the annual fund is $80,000, and thanks to your faithfulness we currently have received over $57,000, with another $12,000 pledged in matching funds.  Because of these generous matching gifts, any donation you are able to give at this time will be essentially doubled, resulting in a 100% increase of benefit to IWS!  Your support is essential as IWS presses forward to carry on its mission of forming servant leaders in worship renewal.   

Perhaps you would like to participate in our tenth year anniversary celebration by donating $10 (or $100 or $1000 or . . .).  Every gift is significant—no gift is too small. 

Checks should be made out to IWS, noted “Annual Fund” and/or “Scholarship Fund” and sent to IWS, 151 Kingsley Ave., Orange Park, FL 32073. Tax deductible donations may also be made online. Gifts may be designated in memory or honor of a loved one, and/or may be anonymous.

Please join the trustees, faculty and staff as we support the mission of IWS, completing this fiscal year on a continued strong note in spite of difficult economic times.  Thank you for your partnership and commitment to the Lord’s work in and through IWS. 

The Lord be with you,

James R. Hart, President

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A Decade of Memories: IWS is 10 Years Old!

Here are some memories that are indelibly etched in the hearts of alumni. More will be published in the next edition. Please send me yours.

One of my finest on-campus memories is the closing Eucharist at the first, June 1999 session.  Bob, the faculty and the Alpha class were lying prostrate in prayer around the altar at Grace Church as we were all overcome by the presence of the Lord.  We had a strong sense that something special and divinely ordained was beginning (Jim Hart, D.W.S., Alpha 2002).


Celebrating the Eucharist amid the widely diverse fellowship of IWS (Kendall Lord, D.W.S., Kappa 2008). 


My favorite memory is the many times that we, as a community of faith, sang “The Lord’s Prayer (contemporary).”  I can’t think of a more beautiful expression of our faith in Christ (Jarrod Brown, D.W.S., Mu 2008).


My first semester on campus was the fourth session of IWS.  Each class was given the assignment of leading evening worship (Practicum). One of the classes (I think Beta) presented a Taize service which included a veneration of the cross.  At one point in the service, the cross inadvertently fell down from its previously upright position. Bob went forward, knelt down and placed his forehead on the cross. My first impression of the service was one of 'freaking out'! I didn't understand what was going on and had certainly never seen anything like that before! After the service I asked some my classmates, "What was that?" This was just the beginning of being stretched and deepened in my understanding of worship. I realized I wasn't in Kansas anymore! (I was serving in Kansas when I began my studies). And that was a good thing (Robin Ziegenfuss, D.W.S., Delta 2004).


Early in my studies at IWS I was going through a painful and irreconcilable divorce. The emotional and financial toll was more than I could bear. I decided to drop out of my studies. The night before I was planning to call IWS to let them know of my decision, Bob called my cell phone. After expressing his sorrow and support, he told me his story of divorce early in his life and said he knew how financially difficult it was on a family. He then said, "Dyton, I want you to remain involved at IWS, even though it's tough on you right now. If you tell me you will continue, I'll take care of the registration fees." I couldn't believe what I had just heard! Somehow, Bob knew what was in my heart (a "God-thing" for sure!). Without hesitation, I said “Yes!”  Every time I saw Bob after that call, he would pull me aside, ask me how I was doing and give me a hug. There is no doubt in my mind that if Bob had not called I would not have finished my work at IWS, a school I love dearly. In addition, if it had not been for Darrell Harris, I know I would not have made it through the fire as well as I did. Darrell's friendship and follow-ups helped me keep perspective. Thank you, Darrell!

The second remembrance is of my fellow classmates, the Kappas.  Not long after my divorce began, I was facing a move to a new church. The IWS session fell during the same week as my first Sunday at the new appointment. I knew I would have to miss that session. A few days before I was to inform IWS, a classmate called to let me know that he somehow knew I would be in a bind. I didn't want to miss a session, but just couldn't afford to miss my first Sunday. He asked me how much I would need to fly home Saturday night in order to preach Sunday morning and then fly back to IWS Sunday afternoon for the rest of the session.  I reluctantly told him. The next thing I knew, he emailed and said the cost of the ticket had been taken care of by my classmates. I was floored! I am, and always will be, very grateful.

These two incidents remind me of the kind of school IWS is—an incredibly unique community.  Every time I preach or worship with a community, I remember IWS and thank God for its witness in my life (Dyton L. Owen, Kappa).

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A Joyful Ethos on Campus in June

A celebrative and reminiscent spirit will add to the typical warm ethos on campus this month. With profound thanks to God, we will commemorate our founding in the Opening Convocation on Wednesday, June 10, and also 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, speaking on "21st-Century Christianity: What it is, How it Got Here, and Where it is Going." It's not too late to share in one or more of these great events.

Alumni Event 2009 link

Here's another video (1:44) in which Phyllis describes emerging Christianity as "A Global Movement." To view more short videos on The Great Emergence, click here.



Alternate YouTube Web link

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Carla Waterman's book published

Dr. Waterman's Songs of Assent was recently published and is available on her website: WaterManuscripts.

Through five songs: simplicity, receptivity, wisdom, confidence, and buoyancy, we are invited to listen to Mary and learn to sing her spiritual melodies of “yes” in response to the Lord’s abundant grace.

In Songs of Assent, the whole church—men and women, person and congregation—is invited into a grace-filled response to God’s loving initiative through biblical themes that are as contemporary as they are ancient, as daily as they are timeless.

Carla also publishes a blog. Check it out here

Thank you, Carla, for communicating with transparency from the depth of your walk with Christ. Your "yeses" to the Lord encourage similar responsiveness in all who read the book.

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10th Ann.--Faculty & Staff Remember Bob

Bob and I met in an unusual, God-ordained way.  He called me one day in 1992 to ask me to write some articles for the Complete Library of Christian Worship, even though we had not met.  I had heard of him through advertisements for a project he initiated, "Worship 2000."  He found my name in a worship seminar syllabus on an outline I wrote.  However, I wasn't even at the seminar!  We finally met face to face in 1993, and our friendship developed from there (Jim Hart).


I have many fond memories of Bob—brief conversations, his great sense of humor, his ability to be both challenging and gracious at the same time.   One especially fond memory is his teaching in the very first DWS 701 class.  After having spent half a day helping us to memorize each others' names (all for the purpose of creating community), Bob traced the history of worship through twenty centuries.  His understanding of the material was masterful, and he communicated in an effective and engaging way.  I consider myself blessed to have been a part of this class and to sit under Bob's teaching (Eric Bolger).


My graduation day at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in June 1998 proved to be momentous in more ways than one. I was in the first class of graduates that received the Doctor of Ministry in Christian Worship degree. Because Dr. Webber, in concert with NBTS, designed and led the doctoral program, it was the program which most intensely set forth the systematic approach to Convergence worship available.  That's why I chose NBTS in the first place. I knew God wanted me to be shaped by this philosophy of worship. I am extremely grateful for the education I received given that my thinking about worship was transformed by Bob; he was both my professor and thesis supervisor. His intellectual and personal influence upon my life is incalculable. But I gained something more than a diploma that day; I gained an invitation to be on the faculty at the Institute for Worship Studies, a vision then only in the concept stages. The graduation recessional had concluded and I was finding my way out of the church. I vividly recall Bob searching me out to extend his congratulations and to ask me what was next! It was then he issued the invitation to join the faculty at his new school. The rest is history, as they say. I consider myself to be most blessed to be a part of the IWS community. My spiritual and intellectual growth is challenged by the students and the distinguished colleagues with whom I work, as together we attempt to carry on Bob’s legacy. Praise be to God (Constance Cherry).


I love the way Bob walked in faith and surrounded himself with talented, gifted people. He established a plan and enlisted good people to come along side, encouraging and inspiring all the while. It is hard to believe it has been 10 years. It seems like such a short time ago that we were preparing meals for the Alpha class. My personal best moment with Bob was when he gallantly defended me in a difficult situation. Having moved our food service to the Methodist church for one session, we discovered that the facility wasn’t adequate for our needs. Bob found me melting down in the kitchen. After a short conversation, we decided to move our operation back to Benedict Hall in mid-week. It was a long, hard week, but Bob's care and support made the load seem lighter. He always exuded love and peace. The realization of Bob’s vision for IWS is amazing. We are bound by the ties of friendship, and IWS is a part of us. My children grew up serving IWS friends and I will be forever grateful for this life changing opportunity. Thank you, Bob. And thanks be to God for this man! My life has been forever changed. I have found my purpose—not a job, it's an adventure! (Karen Lewis, Food Service Director).


I will never forget the day that Bob asked me to teach at IWS. It was the Spring of 1998, and I had just finished my D.Min. degree in worship at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. Following the oral defense of my thesis, Bob came up and shared with me his vision for IWS (which had not yet started in Orange Park). Bob asked me if I would consider joining him and others in advancing the vision and adventure of IWS. I asked Bob what he wanted me to teach. "I want you to teach the Church Year," said Bob. I laughed and said, "Bob, I don't know that much about the Church Year." "Oh, but you will by the time we start rolling with IWS. I want you to teach the students the underlying Biblical teachings related to the Christian feasts and festivals," said Bob. And that was that. No further questions. Bob had an uncanny knack for recognizing gifts and abilities in his students. And he was keen on unlocking these things by way of encouragement and pointing to opportunities. I will always be grateful for the opportunity Bob provided me (Jack Van Marion).

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10th Anniversary: Worship Renewal

I was so moved by the Renewal of Baptism service my class did with Reggie and Carla that I chose Renewal of Baptism as my topic for the class project in my church setting. The ongoing result has been threefold: 1) We are continuing to do a Renewal of Baptism ceremony the first Sunday of the year as a way to recommit our congregation to faithful discipleship in the New Year. 2) We are including the Renewal of Baptism in an Easter Vigil service on Holy Saturday. 3) We are now including both Baptism and the Renewal of Baptism in the Confirmation process for our 8th grade students. It has been very exciting to see how this has been implanted into the life of my church as a result of what I learned and experienced at IWS! (Heather Hood, D.W.S., Gamma 2003).


We are delving into the ancient Celtic worship that developed from the Eastern Church of the third century to form our new early service at Epiphany Episcopal Church in Danville, VA (Jarrod Brown, D.W.S., Mu 2008).


My involvement with IWS has actually contributed to a more faithful discipline of daily worship, prayer and scripture study than ever before in my life (Jim Hart, D.W.S., Alpha 2002).


At our recent seminary graduation, a number of students and faculty talked about worship. Phrases like "revelation and response" and "centrality of the Eucharist" were common and even normative. These terms or ideas wouldn't have been typical for my school only a few years ago. This reflects the impact of IWS on Briercrest Seminary. I look forward to continuing impact in my future ministry (Dale Dirksen, D.W.S., Gamma 2003).

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Wilde in Africa

Gregory Wilde, D.W.S. (Epsilon 2009) and instructor for the M.W.S. class, The History of Christian Worship, and his wife Jan, and their two children, Dan (22) and Elin (17) recently returned from a two week trip to Tanzania, East Africa. Here's Greg's report.

For me, the trip involved two preaching engagements (Christ Church Cathedral, Arusha and St. Paul’s Church, Olgilai, in the Diocese of Kilimanjaro), and two partial days of teaching the theology and practical principles of Christian worship at a multi-denominational pastors’ conference in Karatu.

The family was introduced to the AIDS education and evangelism ministry of Here’s Life Africa. This ministry currently shows the Jesus Film as a means of evangelizing illiterate Africans in hard-to-reach areas, subsequently plugging them into local churches for discipleship, or starting churches where needed. Most Christians in Tanzania are Anglican or Lutheran with a growing Pentecostal contingent in the area. Muslim movements in the country threaten to overwhelm Christian influence by offering free education, building impressive mosques next to small churches, and purchasing new vehicles for tribal leaders.

We had the opportunity to experience Tanzanian culture both in the major city of Arusha and in several small bush villages, with an unforgettable day in the Ngorongoro Crater observing all manner of African wildlife face-to-face on its own turf.

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Joannah Glaesser with the Lord

We remember and mourn the death of one of our alumni, Joannah Ruth Glaeser, D.W.S. (Kappa 2007) of Pasadena, California, who died on May 3 after a battle with cancer. Absent from the body . . .  present with the Lord.

Joannah was born in Southern California on February 11, 1945. Her career choice was to be an elementary school teacher. She was very active in the church pastored by her parents, Willard and Ione Glaeser, serving in Children's Ministries and increasingly helping in all areas of church administration and adult life. [more . . .]

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Alumni News

Edith Allen, D.W.S. (Epsilon, 2004)

This news is a bit dated, but we want to extend congratulations nonetheless to Edie, who was the recipient of the 2008 Coretta Scott King Music Award for her 39 years of service through music to the community of Kankakee, IL. Edie has served as adjunct music professor at Olivet Nazarene University and Executive Pastor of Worship Arts at Kankakee First Church of the Nazarene. Click here to read more.

Phil Burkett, D.W.S. (Nu, 2009)

Phil, who graduates this June, has had his hymn text, "Come with Me and Praise God's Glory" published on the United Methodist Web site. Phil is the Worship Arts Pastor at College Park United Brethren Church in Huntington, IN. Click here to see the hymn.

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

"I have been working at Briercrest Seminary since I graduated from IWS. My teaching focuses on worship and church ministry. I also give leadership to the seminary chapel program. This summer I will return to church ministry, joining the staff of Forest Grove Community Church in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where I will serve in an executive role with emphasis on coaching and mentoring staff. I will still teach worship classes at the Seminary on an adjunct basis, and continue to moderate the Canadian Centre for Worship Studies website."

Dolores Dunnett, D.W.S. (Epsilon, 2005)

Dolores underwent major heart surgery on March 25 for the removal of a large blockage in the artery near the aortic valve. Following the 5-hour procedure she was hospitalized for 8 days at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, IL. She will undergo rehabilitation through mid July. Dolores writes, "I am up and about, and beginning to walk normally. We recently took in our first social event, attending the Class of 1949's sixtieth anniversary reunion at Wheaton College. The Lord has been good in seeing that I have had the best of care, especially from Walter, my dear husband of 65 years, who has been so kind and patient and attentive to all my needs. Our church friends have been very caring, and Communion has been brought to me on a weekly basis. Your prayers are an important part of my continuing recovery and I am grateful for them all."

Sue Talley, D.W.S. (Kappa, 2007)

Congratulations to Sue, who was granted full professorship this year at Nyack College in New York City where she is the Director of the Music Program and Head of the Department of Fine Arts. She is also cantor for the English Liturgy at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan. Sue writes, "I find the studies I took at IWS to be extremely helpful, especially in my sacred music classes. Even in Fine Arts we weave the Christian outlook into the program. So I have reason to be very grateful for the IWS studies. I am using Dr. Webber's books in my "Music and Worship" course with good results."

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10th Anniversary: What IWS Means to Me

Where do I begin? Affirmation of my calling as a Worship Pastor; personal spiritual enrichment beyond what I can describe; an oasis in what is sometimes the desert of ministry; wonderful ego-free fellowship; a rich and challenging learning environment (Kendall Lord, D.W.S., Kappa 2008).


In many ways IWS is my primary Christian community.  It has been my main source of fellowship, apostolic teaching, prayer and encouragement.  My understanding of worship has been radically altered, enriched and broadened (Jim Hart, D.W.S., Alpha 2002 ).


Teaching at IWS and meeting with students from all over the globe are highlights for me twice a year. I find the interaction among students enjoyable and the learning that takes place is always more than "one way." We are all learners; all IWS participants bring gifts to the table, some of which we can apply in our own ministry setting. Preaching and leading in public worship make up the core of my calling in the ordained ministry of the Christian Reformed Church. Teaching the Church Year together with Dan Sharp is a challenge and joy that I would not want to miss. IWS is part of my overall ministry, and I thank God for the vision granted to Bob Webber and communicated to so many others, including my colleagues (Jack Van Marion).


I have so appreciated the diversity of Christian traditions represented in the faculty and students.  The discussions among students during class, during the weeks on campus and online during the rest of the year have enlarged my understanding of worship and the church.  I am very blessed to know so many fine worshippers from so many places (George Searcy, M.W.S. student)


My training at IWS completely changed my concept of worship.  Previously, my concept of worship focused on various aspects and styles of music.  At IWS, I was awakened to the depth of the Early Church Fathers, the use of Scripture in worship, movement and the arts in worship, various special worship services and the church year. The difficult part was, and is, finding opportunities to educate my congregation on these aspects of worship and implementing new (old!) ways of worship with our current traditions. The second greatest challenge is continuing my own worship renewal (Robin Ziegenfuss, D.W.S., Delta 2004).


I used to kid with Bob Webber about whether he should pay me to come or whether I should pay him for the privilege of teaching at IWS.  With a twinkle in his eye, he would always say that he was willing to take my salary back. I used to joke with him because teaching at IWS has rarely felt like work. It usually feels much more like a reward, the grandest of teaching opportunities.

Over twenty-five years ago, I became interested in worship history to renew the worship of congregations. I first I thought this would mean applying what I saw in history to the churches I served. But in God’s providence, I have gained opportunities to teach students who can take their insights from worship history across the nation and the world. Of these opportunities, IWS is closest to my own sense of vocation. 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).

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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