Concordia St. Paul News

June 1, 2018

CSP’s Rhoda Schuler to Serve as Assistant Project Director for Vital Worship Grant Study

Professor Rhoda Schuler, ThD.

CSP Professor Rhoda Schuler will serve as the assistant project director for the Vital Worship Grant study

Concordia University, St. Paul professor of theology Dr. Rhoda Schuler will serve as assistant project director for a Vital Worship Grant awarded by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) in Grand Rapids, Mich. to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Dr. Schuler will work collaboratively with the Seminary’s Louis A. Fincke and Anna B. Shine professor of systematic theology and Dean of Chapel Dr. Kent Burreson, who is the project director of the grant.

CICW grants, ranging from $6,000 to $18,000, aim to deepen people’s understanding of worship and strengthen practices of public worship and faith formation.

The $18,000 grant will fund a year-long study of four congregations with successful catechumenate programs, which can be replicated and adapted for use in other congregations. The ultimate goal will be to strengthen the patterns for discipleship and participation in church life among Millennials and Generation Z. This program is made possible through a Vital Worship Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Michigan, with funds provided by Lilly Endowment Inc. 

“Dr. Schuler and I are very grateful to the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship for the opportunity to receive this grant enabling us to conduct this study into the formative value of catechumenal practices among Millennials and Generation Z,” said Burreson. “It is research that has the potential to strengthen patterns of discipleship in many congregations beyond the eight involved in this study.”

Schuler and Burreson said the results will be shared widely so congregations can adapt the successful practices for their use.

“As one who teaches undergraduates, I have seen first-hand the drift of younger generations away from active participation in the church,” Schuler explained. “It is an honor to be involved in research that could enhance the mission of the church and strengthen congregational life, and I’m grateful for the invitation from Dr. Burreson to be part of this grant proposal.”

Schuler and Burreson are currently in the process of inviting congregations to participate in the study and will attend the 2018 Vital Worship Grant Colloquium at Calvin College in June.

Concordia Seminary is one of 44 recipients and the only seminary chosen as part of the Vital Worship Grants Program from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship for 2018-2019.

This year’s grant recipients represent 27 congregations, one high school, six colleges and universities, one seminary, and nine other groups including two community organizations, three denominational organizations, a retreat center, and a retirement community. They also represent 17 Christian denominations, 25 states, and two Canadian provinces.

John Witvliet, director of the CICW, believes that the 2018 projects will help the Worship Institute in its goals to enhance the scholarly study of Christian worship and the renewal of worshiping communities across North America and beyond.

“We learn a tremendous amount from these programs,” he said in a release. “We look forward to sharing insights from these projects with a larger audience in our future programming over the next several years.”

For more information on the grants program, please visit worship.calvin.edu/grants.

About Concordia University, St. Paul

Concordia University, St. Paul is a comprehensive liberal arts university, one of ten affiliated with The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2018-2019, Concordia University has been preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives by providing an educational experience that is responsive, relevant, and real. For more information, please visit www.csp.edu.

About Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars, and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, please visit www.csl.edu.