Anamnesis 49: April 2023

Anamnesis: The IWS Community Newsletter


From the Editor:
As For Me

By Kent Walters, D.W.S., Director of Alumni Activities

Kent Walters

The importance of self assessment, and the power of personal choice and resolve was brought home to me as I noticed the repeated appearance of the phrase “As for me” in my psalm reading recently. Look what the psalmists wrote:

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more (Ps 71:14).
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped . . . . till I entered the sanctuary of God (Ps 73:2, 17).
But as for me, it is good to be near God (Ps 73:28).
As for me, I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob (Ps 75:9).

The psalmists’ lives–their personal stories–were being shaped and defined by a larger, supreme story. How we need the redeeming influence of God’s story in our lives every day. I encourage you to read the Psalms I quoted above and discover the context in which these “As for me” statements of honesty and resolve were written. In so doing, may God grant you wisdom and courage for the living of these days.

Now, before you read on to discover WHAT’S NEW, here are a few recent links to resources that you may find of interest:

President’s Column:
Why Should You Study Worship?

By James R. Hart, D.W.S.

Dr. James Hart

What is the essence of Christian worship and why does it matter? I would like to start with two questions. 1. Are you a chicken, or are you a pig? 2. What does that question have to do with the study of worship? I’ll come back to those questions.

We should learn to think “Christianly” . . . about the worship of God for the life of the world. But we should do it as a saint in training, one who is willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of God and his Kingdom.

The famous first line of the Westminster Shorter Catechism rightly exclaims, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”[1] Glorifying God is not a passive posture, but an active one in which we ascribe appropriate glory (ultimate truth, goodness, and beauty) to God. St. Irenaeus stated that “The glory of God is a human fully alive.” Note the active sense of being alive in God. When we are fully alive with the truth, goodness, and beauty of God, God is glorified. Then, perhaps counterintuitively, enjoying God is also not a passive posture, like watching a football game or a movie on TV. Rather, truly enjoying something or someone (in this case, God himself) is actually an active posture in which we ascribe joy (blessing, beatitude) to the object of our joy. And God is the One most deserving of such ascription. Ascribing glory and joy to God is the essence of Christian worship, and the renewal of Christian worship is something to which all of humanity is summoned. And that, dear friends, is why IWS exists: to study worship that catalyzes our union with God and his mission. [Continue reading . . . ]

View the Presidential Address:

[1] Accessed on January 1, 2023 at at

Chaplain’s Column:
Be a Prophetic Voice

By Nancy Nethercott, D.W.S.

This edition of the newsletter features the first of a new column by our Chaplain. Nancy writes: “What an honor to get to speak into your lives once again through this column! I plan to invite Dean of the Chapel Emeritus, Darrell Harris to participate as well, since, for many of you, he was your Chaplain.

Nancy Nethercott Teaching

In preparing for a ministry trip to Nagaland, India, I’ve been sitting with God’s Word in Jeremiah on the topic given to me for the Logos Bible College’s graduation address: “Be A Prophetic Voice!” What exactly is a prophetic voice? And is this still a “thing” now?

A prophetic voice centers around God’s divine revelation to humanity which becomes expressed through people who take up the message of God’s truth and speak truth into their contextsSo, I believe this message is for each of YOU IWS alumni who have been called by God in a unique way for a specific purpose to proclaim the message of God in your context. YOU are a Prophetic Voice!

“Take up the message of God’s truth and speak truth into your context.”

Scripture is clear that God speaks through His people, and the reality is that we are all called to be a prophetic voice—to speak the Gospel message into our contexts. Listen to that definition of Prophetic Voice again: to take up the message of God’s truth and speak truth into your context

In Jeremiah 1:4~8, Jeremiah was called by God to be a Prophetic Voice. Immediately, Jeremiah had excuses as to why he couldn’t say “yes” to God’s call. Have you ever made excuses as to why you couldn’t say “yes” to what God was asking you to do or say? 

What are your excuses? Jeremiah had his. Jeremiah said to God, “Oh sorry, God. I don’t know how to speak, I’m only a child” (Jer 1:6). He was likely about 17~20 years old. At that time he would have been considered well into adulthood. Excuses. Abraham had his (“They might kill me!”). Moses had his (“I’m not a good speaker!” And then when God got angry with him he said, “PLEASE send someone else!!” And God got angrier and provided Aaron to help Moses). Jonah had his excuse (well, he just ran away from the Lord, or so he thought!). Amos had his (“I’m not a Prophet!”). Esther had hers (“I might be killed!”). Zechariah had his (“How can I be sure? I’m an old man!”). Even Mary had excuses (“I’m a virgin!”). We all have excuses. What are yours? Why do YOU think God can’t use you? Take a minute. Think about that. Close your eyes. Have you made excuses to God about why you can’t do what He has called you to do? 

God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jer 1:5). Jeremiah was just a young man, but God wanted him to know that his call went back even further than his youth. Jeremiah existed in the mind and plan of God before he ever existed in his mother’s womb. God told Jeremiah this so that he could walk in God’s pre-ordained plan by his own will.

God formed YOU in your mother’s womb, and He KNEW you even before He formed you! (Ps 139). He had a plan, a design, a path for you even before you were conceived! God desires that YOU with YOUR personality and gifting be a Prophetic Voice in a unique way. He doesn’t want to erase your personality or talents; He wants you to embrace them and use them to take up the message of God’s truth and speak truth into your context

Jeremiah had a unique Prophetic Voice as did each of the other prophets in the Bible. Actually, even those who weren’t known as Prophets had a unique voice. We ALL have a unique voice because we are created uniquely by God to fulfill a unique ministry and purpose. What makes YOU unique? What is YOUR unique voice, gift, ability, or calling? Think about that for a minute. What makes YOU different from anyone else you know? How might God desire to use your uniqueness to be a Prophetic Voice, to take up the message of God’s truth and speak truth into your context?

The call of Jeremiah was unique, but it is your call, too. God “formed you in the womb” and knows you. He dedicated you to do the work he calls you to do. Through prayer, an open heart, and listening ears, you can hear God tell you what work He has for you. You need not fear. God will be with you at every moment as you work, guiding, helping, and protecting you. God will give you the Prophetic Voice he has for you. Just as Amos, Isaiah, Esther, Jonah, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Mary, and so many others did, you, too, can say “yes” to God and answer His call in your life. The call is to be a unique Prophetic Voice in the way God has fashioned and gifted you, where he calls you, and when he opens the doors. Keep your eyes open to His leading. I’m praying for you!

Worship: Normal and Extraordinary

By Jonathan Powers, D.W.S. 2013

Jonathan is Associate Dean of the E. Stanley Jones School of Mission and Ministry, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky. I asked him to write a short perspective on the recent Revival at Asbury University. A longer, more complete article will appear on our IWS blog in the coming days.

My role as a professor of worship at Asbury Theological Seminary this semester has come with many unexpected turns, but it has been such a blessing. As many have probably read or heard by now, on February 8, a standard weekly chapel service that began at 10:00 AM on the campus of Asbury University, directly across the street from the seminary where I work, did not end for another fifteen days. It began with a handful of students staying after chapel to simply rest in the love of God and kept growing throughout the day as more and more students felt the need to return to Hughes Auditorium to dwell in the presence of God together. Over the next two weeks, God continued to move in mighty and powerful ways across both campuses as the Spirit led all who came to fix their eyes on Jesus and to receive the healing, restorative, comforting, and peaceful love of the Father. Confession was made, reconciliation occurred, and testimony was given to God’s healing power in lives and relationships.

“It was true worship—a real kairos moment of experiencing the Kingdom of God in a manifest way.”

The best description I can come up with for what occurred during those fifteen days is “worship.” It was true worship—a real kairos moment of experiencing the Kingdom of God in a manifest way. To be sure, there was nothing different about God’s presence in Hughes Auditorium at Asbury University. God didn’t do anything different than he normally does in worship. There was, however, a hunger for and expectation of God’s presence in those who came. It was as if God put Himself under a magnifying glass for a moment to remind us of who He always is and what He always does. The outpouring wasn’t meant to be the exception, but more of a wake up call for what our worship should always be—a meeting with God as He reveals Himself to us and we respond with delight in Him. 

Alumni Updates

Rebecca Abbott, D.W.S. 2010

From Rebecca: “I’ve produced my first solo album, As a Matter of Fancy, which contains original songs in English and German, and settings of lyrics by Isaac Watts, GK Chesterton, and Amy Carmichael. Live vocal performances of all selections are currently being booked with piano or pipe organ (as “the Singing Organist”!). The album should be available on Spotify from the end of March. Booking inquiries or hellos can be made through”

Valerie M. Grissom, D.W.S. 2018

Valerie, who is Vice Chair of InterGenerate, recently edited the book All Ages Becoming: Intergenerational Christian Practice and the Formation of God’s People (release June 2023). The book includes contributions from twelve scholars and academics on intergenerational preaching, worship, storytelling, discipleship, apprenticeship, and intergenerational Christian practice. Valerie will speak on “Intergenerational Participation in Worship” at InterGenerate’s 2023 conference in June.

Paul A. Hansen, A.G.C.W.S. 2005

Paul reports, “I have retired to Idaho where I preach occasionally and write daily. I have published one book with another currently at the publisher. It is based on work I did while at IWS on themes from scripture related to the Lord’s Supper intended to facilitate more frequent celebration of the Eucharist. A third book on forgiveness is forthcoming.”

AJ Hochhalter, M.W.S. 2022

AJ writes, “I recently began a recording project with the hope of contributing to worship renewal in my context and in the broader church. My goal is to release four EPs of 4-5 songs (covers of hymns and originals) throughout 2023. Each EP focuses on one of the movements in the four-fold pattern of worship. I’ve countless resources for liturgical churches that utilize more classical arranging and instrumentation but have had less success finding resources for a more modern context with contemporary arranging and instrumentation. Many artists are making contributions to fill this gap and I’m glad to join them with my little project. The first EP, Gathering, was released in February. I’m anticipating that the second, Word, will be ready for release in June. Table will be released in the fall, and I’m hoping Sending will be done before the new year. Gathering is a collection of hymns and songs that incorporate many of the biblical principles I learned in MWS 501. The songs are Trinitarian, and focus on God as Creator and Redeemer. I’m particularly excited to sing “Trinitarian Hymn” with my congregation. Each stanza of the hymn glorifies a different person of the Godhead with a familiar Trinitarian doxology in the chorus set to a new tune. If you would like to use any of these songs in your community, I’d be glad to share charts. The recording can be found here: Or you can search for “AJ Hochhalter” on any digital music provider.”

Wallace Horton, D.W.S. 2005

Wally is serving as Minister of Worship and Music at Living Savior Lutheran Church in Fairfax Station, VA.  Although officially retired from full-time ministry since 2015, he continues to serve in a part-time role at Living Savior, playing for two Sunday services, directing the Adult Choir, planning the worship services, and scheduling the Lay Readers and Acolytes/Crucifer. In his retirement, he has written two books, Windows on Worship, which is part of the Webber Institute Book series, and Window for the Journey: Prose, Prayers, and Poems for the Daily Walk, which was just released in January of this year. The Foreword is by Carla Waterman, a founding professor of IWS, with endorsements by Bob Myers (DWS 2007) and Linda Borecki (DWS 2005), a fellow Zeta and editor of In Tempo, a periodical of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.

Bill Kirkwood, D.W.S. 2018

Bill’s book, A Worship Primer for Pastors and Planners: What You Wish You Learned in School will be released this spring. The book is published by Webber Institute Books and is designed to help senior pastors and worship planners, many of whom have had little or no formal training in planning and leading worship. The book provides instruction on the biblical, historical, theological, and cultural foundations of Christian worship, followed by how these fundamentals offer guidance on the biblical structure, effective content, and culturally relevant style of a church’s worship. It also presents practical advice on selecting good songs and incorporating creative Scripture reading in corporate worship. IWS Chapel Dean Emeritus Darrell Harris says, “Bill has done what would have seemed near impossible to me; he has given us a clear, concise and cohesive précis of the [DWS] program’s content. It’s like it is boiled down into an elixir.” See Bill’s website here.

Johnny Markin, M.W.S. 2015, D.W.S. 2020

Johnny writes, “One of the highlights of ongoing worship renewal in my world is the development of the “Prepare” Worship Theology Mini-Conferences in the Vancouver, Canada area through a partnership between and Cloverdale Baptist Church. In Fall 2022 we hosted our first conference with leaders from 13 churches. Our second conference is March 25, 2023, with contingents from another 4 churches. I have had the joy of teaching on the theology of biblical worship alongside guest speakers Brian Doerksen (Lament), Dr. Craig Broyles (The Psalms), Stacey Gleddiesmith (Romans 12), and Dr. Joan DeVries (Multi-Cultural Worship). In April 2023, I will minister at the Engage Conference for church planters in St. John’s, Newfoundland by leading worship sessions, demonstrating contemporary liturgical settings, and teaching workshops on the importance of worship. And, last year we became grandparents to 3 beautiful grandchildren! What a joy!”

Jennifer Nicholson, M.W.S. 2022

Jennifer is working toward worship renewal in her role as a staff singer at St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral, Tallahassee.  During her MWS internship, she paired classical music with Christian artwork to increase engagement and understanding of the story of God through musical performances and services. She continues to implement this through special bulletins at the Cathedral, such as featuring global Christian artwork during the Advent Lessons & Carols service in December 2022. She also partnered with current DWS student and artist Kurt Caddy to present the Gospel story in a timeless and relevant way during Lent 2023 by featuring Kurt’s contemporary Christian art alongside a performance of the Mozart Requiem. You may see the bulletin artwork under Jennifer’s “Featured” section in Linkedin:

Steve Phifer, D.W.S. 2004

Steve shares, “I have been busy since graduating from IWS primarily as a writer on devotional and worship renewal issues with 5 books in print (and more to come!)” Worship that Pleases God (Public Worship), Into the Secret Place (Private Worship),More than Music (Worship Team Training, Loose Him and Let Him Go (Worship Arts),and a Christmas novel, The Promise of the Star. I am presently at work on a series of congregational study books, The Truth for Our Times. My 2 websites are, where over 200 articles on worship renewal can be found, and where my TheJesusStory devotions are posted each day. I have also developed seminars on these pressing issues: 1) Enter In…A Biblical Vision for Worship, 2) In the Secret Place, Pray Like the Apostles, 3) The Power of the Dove, Living in the Gentle Power of the Holy Spirit, 4) Generation-2-Generation, Leading the Whole Family of God in Worship, 5) A City on a Hill, The Church in the Marketplaces of Culture, and 6)  A Heart of Praise, Music in the Power of the Spirit. I believe we are about to see a Renaissance of the worship arts, and I will soon have a seminar on this important topic. My mission is to bring scriptural light to today’s challenges.  I am so grateful to IWS for equipping me with the tools needed for this work!”

Jonathan Powers, D.W.S. 2013

Check out Jonathan’s recent interview on finding, introducing, and teaching hymns that will resonate with your worshiping community. Click this link to the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship resource, “Teaching Hymns Appropriate to Context.”

ANNOUNCING: Alumni Zoom Cohorts

We are very pleased to introduce a NEW initiative for IWS alumni–IWS Zoom Cohorts. Valerie Grissom (D.W.S. 2018), newly appointed Alumni Cohorts Coordinator, has envisioned and created a plan to organize cohorts of interested alumni from around the world who desire to connect on a monthly basis for mutual encouragement and resourcing. Sound interesting? Read on!

Fellow alumni, do you long to continue to participate in the IWS community but feel far away from others who share your heart and vision for worship renewal in the church? Perhaps you wish that you could share with other graduates about your current joys and challenges unique to your context. Do you wish you could gain insight from the community of fellow alums around the world?

Consider joining an IWS Alumni Zoom Cohort. Groups are now being formed for the coming year: July 2023 – July 2024 (a one-year commitment). Each cohort will include 6 to 8 people who will commit to meet via Zoom for one hour a month throughout the year to share, pray, and encourage one another in the mission and vision of worship renewal.

If you wish to be a part of one of these unique IWS cohorts, sign up by clicking this link: IWS Alumni Zoom Cohorts (July 2023-2024).

For more information, email Valerie Grissom, Alumni Cohorts Coordinator.

Library Update: Look What’s New!

By Jennifer Nicholson, Interim Librarian (M.W.S. 2022)

I am pleased to serve as your Interim Librarian, having assumed this role when Library Director Susan Massey retired in May 2022. I have held a variety of roles in libraries and churches. I’m currently completing a Master’s degree in Library Science at the University of South Florida, which allows me to learn the latest technologies and trends related to library science that I can apply in the IWS Library, much like IWS students having a worship context for their studies!

The mission of the IWS library is to provide information resources and services to meet the educational, theological, and spiritual needs of the IWS community. With that in mind, we have implemented several updates, services, and resources to better serve the IWS community, not the least of which is our new library location.

New Library Space

In January 2022, the IWS library moved into a newly renovated space next to the student lounge. The library now maintains a print circulating collection located in three adjacent rooms with shelved stacks and a study table in each room. Three permanent non-circulating print collections are housed in the separate Webber room: the Reference, Webber, and IWS Theses collections. The Webber Room features several comfortable chairs, a study desk, and the librarian’s desk. The rooms are connected by a common hallway. We also have a conference room, which is being used to store several special collections and to offer additional study and meeting space. Our new library has been described as a welcoming space! Clear here to take a virtual, self-guided tour of the new library.

Book Displays

During the January 2023 on-campus session, the library featured three book displays: chapel series focus on Amazing Grace, translated books on worship, and books by alum Dr. Larry D. Ellis (–2022). Larry Ellis, M.W.S. 2005, D.W.S. 2008 Several displays are planned for the June 2023 session including materials related to our chapel message for the week, faculty publications to complement the Faculty Worship Seminar, and Worship for Peoples of All Abilities.

Preserving IWS Heritage

The diplomas and awards of Robert E. Webber are now permanently displayed near the Webber Collection section, and book covers from several of Webber’s prominent works are also hanging in the library as decorative art, thanks to Library Assistant Carol Hayes and Mira Smetaniuk. We are exploring other avenues for preserving the heritage of our school and founder, Bob Webber.

Circulation Policies

With input from the IWS community and the Library Advisory Committee, we are changing our circulation policy. Previously, domestic students were required to mail print books back to the library before the start of the session. Now, all print books are due when students return for their next on-site session (with the exception of graduating students). We are in the process of updating the website and library handbook to reflect this change. We hope this change will be more convenient, save students money, and also encourage students to utilize print resources while on-campus.

Online Resources

The Library’s Additional Resources page has been updated with new free resources listed by topic, including denominational websites and resources, as well as information on open access resources. The goal is to help IWS students and alumni discover free supplemental resources online in the context of Christian worship research.

Future Directions
IWS Bibliography January 2023

Projects we have in the works include copyright resources for worship leaders as it relates to IWS chapels and practica, and updating the IWS library website for easier navigation and access. In addition, we will feature special book collections that have been donated to the library. The first display was in the conference room during the January 2023 session, which included works owned by the hymnologist Hugh McElrath. While these special collections are not available to check out, we are working toward providing more information about these resources for students to view while on campus. And, our fantastic Library Assistant Carol Hayes continues to add new eBooks, books, dissertations, and resources to our online IWS Library Catalog.

If you have any questions about the IWS Library, please email us at Happy Reading!

In Memoriam

Thomas Burns, D.W.S. 2003, Alpha (1950-2022)

The Rev’d Dr. Thomas (Tom) Burns died on October 31, 2022. He was a member of the Alpha Class, the first IWS cohort. His obituary gave a fitting tribute to this man of God whom so many of us loved and respected: “His passion in life was leading, guiding, and teaching others how to worship and praise Jesus Christ.” His life is the perfect example of a life well-lived for the Gospel. Tom served at Fairview Baptist Church in Greer, SC, for 28 years, retiring in 2017. He was a committed IWS alumnus and a lifelong friend to many in his cohort. His love and kindness will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Tom’s legacy lives on in his wife of over 52 years, Joyce, and in his two children Myra and Ryan, as well as his four beloved grandchildren, and numerous family members. By family request, donations may be made in memory of Tom to Foundation for the Future, Fairview Baptist Church, 1300 Locust Hill Road, Greer, SC 29651. Click here to see a 2005 photo of Tom with Bob Webber and fellow Alphas Steve Flint, Jim Hart and Norm Brunelle.

Larry D. Ellis, M.W.S. 2005, Beth and D.W.S. 2008, Nu (1947-2022)

Larry died on November 22, 2022 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

Larry served as a bible teacher and Minister of Worship and Music in Baptist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal churches in Denver, Colorado, for many years. He founded, managed, and sold a number of businesses in his professional career. At IWS, his research focused on Christian spiritual formation in the ancient church. He composed more than ninety sacred musical works, and authored a number of books. Larry served IWS as a teacher’s assistant and a thesis supervisor. He was the founder of Adoration Publishing Company and was a member of the editorial board of Webber Institute Books. Larry was a tireless advocate for the mission of IWS. His legacy lives on in his wife Jill, and in their children Christine Kosoff (Brandan) and Jonathan Ellis, grandchildren Arianna, Pearl, and Lincoln, and numerous family members. In his death announcement on Caring Bridge, Christine wrote, “Larry was one of a kind and spread God’s love through loving others unconditionally. May we all honor his memory by doing the same.” By Larry’s request, donations may be made in his memory to the Larry D. Ellis Scholarship Fund at IWS ( (Please designate “Ellis Fund.”)

David B. Leestma, D.W.S. 2005, Zeta

David died on April 27, 2022, having served for many years as Director of Music and Executive Pastor in Evangelical Covenant and Presbyterian churches in California and Texas. He was also a published composer and arranger. At IWS, his research focused on worship environment, with a special focus on a refreshed redesign of the sanctuary at First Covenant Church in Oakland, California. In his autobiographical memorial written just prior to his death, Dave stated, “I am overwhelmed by the support, love and encouragement pouring in from every corner of my life. . . . As Pastor Nancy said to me, ‘You have the ticket to the greatest place we could ever hope for.’ Hope to see you sooner than later.” He was a committed alumnus to IWS and a lifelong friend to many in his cohort. His love and kindness will be deeply missed by all who knew him. David’s legacy lives on in his wife of over 48 years, Cathy, and in his two children, Andrea (Brian) and John (Katie), as well as his six beloved grandchildren, and numerous family members. See the beautiful and moving Celebration of Life and Ministry video here.

Jacqueline Marsh, A.G.C.W.S. 2003, Gamma (1929-2017)

We recently learned that Jacqueline, of Atlantic Beach, FL, died on March 28, 2017. Jacqui was a member of the third IWS class, the Gammas. No further details are available.

Symposium 2023 Memories

Pictures of IWS alumni, students and friends at the Calvin Worship Symposium 2023.

Worship Seminar: Faculty Perspectives on Worship Renewal

June 26-27, 2023–Finally, a live seminar back on campus!

We’re back!

After the long COVID-related hiatus, we’re hosting our first on-campus worship seminar since January 2020. And this seminar will be like being in the classroom again at IWS — or a great opportunity to see firsthand what everyone is talking about: the life-changing, ruinous experience called IWS!

Faculty Perspectives on Worship Renewal

The seminar features a NEW format, with 8 stimulating sessions over two days on topics of worship renewal taught by members of the IWS faculty, and will take place live and in person during our June 2023 on-campus intensive. The seminar event is open to the public but requires registration.

Seminar Speakers:
  • Dr. Amy Davis Abdallah, DWS 704 Professor
  • Dr. Constance Cherry, DWS 702 Professor
  • Dr. Dinelle Frankland, MWS 501 Professor, Academic Dean
  • Dr. James Hart, IWS President
  • Dr. Andrew Hill, DWS 701 Professor
  • Dr. Lou Kaloger, MWS 503 Professor
  • Dr. Reggie Kidd, DWS 704 Professor

Click here for more seminar details including session titles and the daily schedule. Or, click to go straight to the REGISTRATION PAGE.

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About the author

Alumni Director, Practicum Professor, and DWS graduate.