Last month CST hosted “Worship Conference 2018” with more than forty participants from all over the United States and Korea. The theme was “Worship: Life, Arts, and Stories,” with a focus on learning and experiencing what it really means to worship.
CST professor Dr. Namjoong Kim said, “Our hope for the Worship Conference was that through worship and higher education, participants would be encouraged to continue to heal, reconcile, and transform this world.”
The event was modeled after a worship and music conference developed by Rev. Dr. David Chai, founder of the Confluence Institute, and was organized by CST D.Min. student and alumna Grace Han, M.A. ’05, and alumni Rev. Dr. Seung-Nam Kim, M.A. ’90, D.Min. ’92 and Rev. Dr. Howard Kim, D.Min. ’17, along with faculty member Dr. Namjoong Kim and others.
Grace Han, Chair of the Planning Committee, said, “Rev. Dr. Seung-Nam Kim and I wanted to have a conference in the West for many years, and it was not possible until Dr. Namjoong Kim joined CST faculty. The Planning Team first met in January of 2018 and were thankful to get the full support of President Kuan for the conference. We planned a small conference of 20 attendees and 10 planning committee staff members. To our surprise, with participants, staff, and family members, there were over 40 gathered for the pre-conference worship titled ‘Early Christian Worship.’”
According to Dr. Kim, the high point of the conference was the closing worship service – designed and led by participants. At the beginning of the conference, participants were divided into three small groups: 1) Liturgy & Message, 2) Music & Other Arts, and 3) Liturgical Space; then each group designed a portion of the closing worship within the theme provided by the organizing team. The small group coordinator, Rev. Charles Ryu (St. Paul UMC, NY), helped the small groups to fine-tune their ideas to be more theologically-based for the worship.
Dr. Kim said, “Each small group was a little skeptical wondering if this process would be possible. However, at the end of the worship, everyone was overwhelmed, moved, inspired, and touched by the power of the Spirit and the work of communal, participatory, educational, multi-generational and -cultural worship.”
There were three lectures during the conference:
Education Centered Worship, offered by CST alumnus Dr. Joung Chul (JC) Lee, Ph.D. ’17
Communion and Worship, given by CST professor Dr. Namjoong Kim
Preaching Centered Worship, presented by Dr. Sunggu Yang of George Fox University
In addition to the lectures, the Conference also offered two workshops:
Singing the Psalms and Tones, by CST alumnus Rev. Dr. Seung-Nam Kim, D.Min. ’92
Liturgical Arts & Creating Sacred Spaces, by CST alumna Ms. Grace Han, M.A. ’05
Grace expressed, “Dr. Namjoong Kim was officially one of the committee members, but he was actually a conference director for the team. Without him, the conference would not have been possible, and CST was the perfect location for the Conference. We received wonderful feedback, and participants expressed deep gratitude to the school and to President Kuan for the support we received. We hope to make the Worship Conference an annual event.”
The Conference was funded in part by Rev. Dr. Chai. Previous conferences were held at the Stony Point Retreat Center in New York, the Columbia Theology Seminary in Georgia, and Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey.