Dr. Richard Voelz awarded grant to strengthen preaching preparation

RICHMOND, VA (December 2, 2019) — Union Presbyterian Seminary Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship Richard  W. Voelz will use a new grant to develop a workbook that will facilitate conversations and a preparation process for pastors, mentors, and adolescent youth who preach in worship.

The workbook will follow up on Voelz’s 2016 book “Youthful Preaching.” The $18,000 grant will cover consultations with a curriculum specialist, travel/expenses for site visits for the sermons, honoraria for the participants, recording technology, and assistance from a student.

It’s of one 15 teacher-scholar grants the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) will fund for 2020-2021 as part of its Vital Worship Grants Program.

The program recognizes that disciplines have a unique role to play in strengthening and nurturing the life of Christian teacher-scholars in many worshipping communities.

These projects have a variety of emphases — youth preaching, worship across the spectrum of ability and disability, music and human flourishing, communication systems used in preaching, baptismal practices impacted by toxic water, and more — but have as a common purpose a desire to both deepen people’s understanding of worship and strengthen practices of public worship and faith formation.

This year’s recipients include scholars at five research universities, seven seminaries, and two regional Christian colleges, representing 10 states.

“Teacher-scholars from a wide variety of disciplines have so much to contribute to congregations and parishes — helping us all see things we otherwise might miss, offering access to essential wisdom for ministry,” said CICW director John Witvliet. “We are grateful for each of these teacher-scholars and the promise of their work for strengthening congregational life.”

Since it began in the year 2000, the Vital Worship Grants Program has awarded 892 grants to churches, schools and organizations across North America for projects that generate thoughtfulness and energy for public worship and faith formation at the local, grass-roots level.

An advisory board of pastors and teachers from a variety of backgrounds assists in the grant selections, and the program is generously supported by Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. Founded in 1937, the endowment’s major areas of programming are religion, education, and community development.

For more information on the grants program, including a complete list of this year’s grants recipients, please see https://worship.calvin.edu/grants/.



Richard Voelz photo


Mike Frontiero
Director of Communications
Union Presbyterian Seminary