‘Just Worship’ conference to explore crossroads of theology, worship and justice

Three PC(USA) seminaries and national church offices sponsor event

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — An upcoming conference, Just Worshipat Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, September 13-15, 2018, will bring together pastors, musicians, activists and scholars to explore how God might be leading the church toward a more faithful and vibrant future through worship.

Sponsored by three Presbyterian seminaries — Columbia, Austin and Johnson C. Smith, and the Office of Theology and Worship and Presbyterian Association of Musicians (PAM) — Just Worship intentionally has a triple meaning.

First, it reflects a focus on the basics of liturgical theology and practice. Second, it evokes the prophetic concern for justice, righteousness and peace. Third, it is an imperative call to full and active participation in worship.

“The intersection of these themes brings together new dialogue partners — church, academy and community leaders,” says Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) worship associate David Gambrell. “I’m excited. We’ve never done anything quite like this before. I think God is shaking things up — making a way for new relationships and new possibilities.”

These three key questions will be explored at Just Worship, which will be held at Columbia’s Center for Lifelong Learning:

  • Where might God be leading us in the present and future of worship?
  • Now does worship shape us to act justly, resist evil and seek peace?
  • How does God call us through worship to be holy and whole?

“It’s great for Columbia to be at the center of this conversation in partnership with the other seminaries and denominations,” says former associate director of PMA’s Theology, Formation and Evangelism Charles Wiley, now the director of major gifts at Columbia.

“It seems like an appropriate time for such a conversation. The church needs to be taking risks and doing so with the full weight of its theological tradition and richness of the worship of God,” he said.

To learn more about workshops and plenary sessions for Just Worship: Toward a Faithful and Vibrant Future, and to review the conference schedule and register, click here.

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