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Grants Fund 38 Worship Projects

April 17, 2024
Photo: CICW

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) has awarded yearlong grants to 38 recipients across the United States and Canada to stimulate thoughtful, creative work in strengthening Christian worship practices and preaching.

This round of Vital Worship, Vital Preaching grants includes 10 awards to teacher-scholars working in diverse academic disciplines and 28 awards to worshiping communities in a range of Christian denominations and traditions. Grants of up to $25,000 will fund projects beginning May 1, 2024.

These awards represent the second of three grant cycles with project work slated to begin in 2024. The next proposal due date is June 15, 2024.

Common threads among the projects include integrating the visual arts into public worship, developing bilingual or multicultural worship music, supporting immigrant and diaspora worshipers, and exploring the intersection of worship and mental health.

“We are grateful to support innovative projects that will enrich Christian worship in a wide variety of contexts,” said Kathy Smith, program manager for the grants program and CICW senior associate director.

Grants for 10 Teacher-Scholars

The grant program’s teacher-scholar stream recognizes the unique role that teacher-scholars in a wide range of disciplines can play in strengthening Christian worship. The 10 new recipients work in universities or seminaries and will conduct projects on a compelling range of topics such as the following:

  • reimagining the Way of the Cross with original works of art, poetry, and music
  • exploring trauma-informed worship practices to assist international graduate students and worshiping communities
  • broadening the Asian immigrant worship experience by creating music that integrates Korean folk music and Western hymns
  • exploring the role of digital technology in Christian public worship

Grants for 28 Worshiping Communities

The program’s worshiping communities stream awards grants to organizations such as churches, denominational ministries, seminaries, universities, camps, retreat centers, and other nonprofits. About half of the recipients in this grant round are local congregations seeking to make worship more meaningful or accessible for their members and their surrounding communities. Projects include the following:

  • developing resources that promote inclusion and belonging for Christians of varying abilities
  • encouraging a culture of God-centered storytelling in gathered worship
  • encouraging meditation and spiritual practices in worship and daily life
  • developing the next generation of musical leaders in the Spanish-speaking Catholic church
  • empowering and nourishing Black women to engage in worship that propels transformation
  • creating songs, liturgies, and visual artwork based on the Sermon on the Mount
  • providing hospitable spaces for multilingual songwriting among diverse groups

Through their varied approaches, the 38 projects all aim to deepen worshipers’ understanding of worship and strengthen practices of worship and faith formation.

“We’re grateful for the thoughtful proposals submitted by so many leaders in local congregations and by thoughtful teacher-scholars,” CICW director John Witvliet said. “We look forward to learning from and with these grantees as their work unfolds over the next year.”

About Vital Worship, Vital Preaching Grants

Since beginning in 2000, the Vital Worship, Vital Preaching Grants program has awarded more than 1,000 one-year grants to worshiping communities (churches, schools, and other organizations) and teacher-scholars in various disciplines across the United States and Canada. 

The grants fund thoughtful, creative projects that promote renewal in public worship and faith formation at the local grass-roots level. In 2023 the program launched an invitational Spanish-language grant program for Hispanic worshiping communities in the United States.

The Vital Worship, Vital Preaching Grants program is generously supported by the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. Founded in 1937, Lilly Endowment has three major areas of programming: religion, education and youth, and community development.

For more information about the Vital Worship, Vital Preaching Grants program, please see To see a list of current and past grant recipients, visit