Remembering Dr. Vernon Charter

The Institute for Worship Studies is sad to announce the death of IWS alumnus, Dr. Vernon Charter, DWS ’11 (Rho).

He was Professor Emeritus of Music and Worship at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada, where he had served for 27 years. Born in China to missionary parents he earned degrees in historical musicology and music history and literature from the University of Alberta, and his Doctor of Worship Studies from IWS.

Prairie College President Mark Maxwell commented that Dr. Charter was “a tremendous example to staff and faculty. With Vernon,” he said, “you knew the job would be done and done well.” Dr. Frank Fortunato, Co-Director of the IWS Global Renewal of Worship Center wrote this tribute: “Vernon Charter introduced me to IWS, which became a life-changing experience. . . . At Prairie College, Vernon introduced worship principles to students over many years, impacting countless worship students and musicians. His legacy will endure for years to come.”

Vernon is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, June. He was known by his friends and colleagues as always gracious, generous, kind, and caring, with a deep commitment to Christ. He was a committed alumnus of IWS and a lifelong friend to many in his cohort and those who worked with him in ethnodoxology. His love and kindness will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

Donations may be made in memory of Vernon to The Vernon John Charter Scholarship Fund at the Institute for Worship Studies. ( Select Scholarship Fund, and write in the comment box “Vernon Charter Fund.”) Checks may be made out to IWS and noted “Nernon Charter Scholarship Fund” and mailed to IWS, 4001 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32207.

We will miss Vernon deeply. Let us weep with those who weep, and let us join with Vernon’s family and friends in releasing and commending this man of God to the God of all peace and comfort:

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Vernon. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

About the author

Dr. James R. Hart served as President of the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies from 2007-2024. Dr. Hart was a member of the first IWS doctoral class, the Alpha class, and served as Dean of Students during his matriculation. After graduating from IWS, Dr. Webber appointed him as the Dean of Administration, and then Provost in 2006. In June of 2007, he was inaugurated as the second president of IWS. Dr. Hart holds a B.M. in Sacred Music from Oral Roberts University, an M.M. in Trumpet Performance from the University of Tulsa, and a D.W.S. from the Institute for Worship Studies. He was critical to the formation of IWS in Florida and has held administrative responsibilities since its inception in 1999. He is a professional trumpeter, choral director, and worship leader, and a published composer/arranger, songwriter, and author. He has been involved in worship leadership in various contexts around the globe for over 40 years and has taught in the areas of worship, theology, and music in various conferences, colleges, and seminaries. Dr. Hart and his wife, Carol, have three daughters and three grandchildren.