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Vol. LXV, No. 28
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
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Summer Programs at the Theological Seminary Welcome Clergy, Laity to “Participatory Environment”

Ellen Gilbert

Two programs, including a new collaboration with Westminster Choir College, highlight the summer calendar at Princeton Theological Seminary’s School of Christian Vocation and Mission.

The Institute of Theology runs from Monday, July 18 through Friday, July 22; The Institute of Worship and Kemp Church Music Symposium will begin on Sunday, July 24 and run through Thursday, July 28.

School of Christian Vocation and Mission Program Director, the Rev. Raymond Bonwell, recently spoke with enthusiasm about the two programs. “Absolutely both of them are suitable for area residents and other laity,” he said, and registrants may sign on for all or only part of each program. Summer programs at the school typically draw between 50 and 100 registrants from the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain, he reported.

Institute of Theology leaders include Stephen Payne, creator of A New Equilibrium, (“an organization dedicated to helping leaders draw on their spiritual gifts to excel in the workplace”), who will speak about “Building Monday’s Vocation Upon Sunday’s Foundation.” Other speakers will explore the theme of vocation and its bearing on contemporary life, globalization, theological education, and the Reformed tradition.

The speakers, who come from a variety of backgrounds, were chosen as a result of the research-driven, assessment based philosophy adopted during the school’s “rebranding,” two-and-half years ago. Once topics are in place, Mr. Bronwell said, “we look for one or a combination of speakers who are going to represent better front line practices, in addition to recent theory.”

A policy of not identifying which programs are intended for clergy and those that the laity would enjoy has proved to be a great success, said Mr. Bronwell. By allowing individuals to “self-select,” a good number — about 30 percent — have cross-selected, he said.

The Institute for Worship and Kemp Church Music Symposium provides another learning opportunity for clergy as well as “the faithful in the pews who have always wondered what goes on behind the scenes,” said Mr. Bronwell. “The instructors represent the best of both worlds, seeking the intersection of music and worship.” The 2011 symposium featured Kemp Lecturer, Paul Westermeyer from Luther Seminary, will present daily morning plenaries on the topic of incorporating a more integrative approach to planning worship together; specific workshops will follow.

Mr. Bronwell described the collaboration with Westminster as “the first in recent institutional memory,” and explained that its inclusive title is “a mouthful because it honors Jack and Helen Kemp,” key supporters of the sacred music program at Westminister.

In addition to formal speeches and workshops, both programs allow time (e.g., long lunch hours) for learning to continue outside of the classroom. “We’re striving to create a participatory learning environment,” said Mr. Bronwell. On-campus lodging options include student dormitories and the Erdman Center, based on availability.

A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for The Institute for Worship.

For more information call the Seminary at (609) 497-7990, e-mail visit or Westminster Choir College’s Office of Continuing Education may be reached at (609) 924-7416 or

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