Living Worship: A Multimedia Resource for Students and Leaders is an interactive, computer-based case study of the worship life of a real-life Christian congregation, a kind of interactive software "textbook" on Christian worship. In the program, users can access more than 20 hours of video of worship services (including three full services with user-switchable camera angles); interviews with parishoners, ministers, and parish staff; sociological data on the congregation; a complete history of the congregation; photographs and parish materials from throughout the congregation's history; interviews with leading experts in the field of liturgical theology; and a host of features designed to aid students in making connections in the material and build upon current knowledge.

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Living Worship allows classes to do “virtual participant observation,” viewing people at prayer, exploring the motivations, desires, and theologies that lay behind particular practices, and learning how to think critically about the dynamic and complex behavior that is Christian worship. This program will allow students and teachers to move beyond understanding worship as a historical artifact or an instantiation of theological principles to an understanding of it as a lived practice, grounded in real people and real lives, and growing in response to the call of God in a particular time and place.

When completed, this product will be a unique resource for research and teaching throughout a variety of fields within the disciplines of Theology (e.g., liturgical studies, sacramental theology, ecclesiology, homiletics, church leadership), and will have applications within other fields such as Sociology, Anthropology, and Ritual Studies.

This project is funded by a grant through the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and the Lilly Foundation.