The IWS On-Campus Experience

In one-week intensives that occur in January and June, we eat together, study together, worship together, and experience community based on honest and open relationships.

In these and other ways, the IWS creates an atmosphere of learning in community. It is an exciting venture in high-powered but non-competitive intelligent and experiential learning.

On-Campus Intensive Sessions

About the On-Campus Intensive Sessions

The On-Campus Intensive is at the heart of every IWS course, so much so that each semester is named after its intensive (also referred to as the “session”). Students, faculty, and staff gather from around the globe for eight days, twice a year (an Extended Track is also available), at our Jacksonville, FL, campus.

The on-campus experience is semi-monastic, designed to create a strong sense of community among the students, faculty, and staff of the Institute. We do this by keeping a rhythmic daily schedule and focusing on corporate times of worshiping, studying, eating, fellowshipping, and ministering together to develop our communal ethos.

Intensive sessions are held each January and June, from Wednesday one week through Wednesday the next. January’s on-campus session almost always begins on the first Wednesday of the year; the summer session usually begins the next-to-last Wednesday in June and runs through the following Wednesday. New Student Orientation begins the morning of the first Wednesday of the on-campus session.

There is no dress code for the on-campus weeks. Florida is hot and humid in June and usually cool or even cold in January, although it can be warm then as well. Students should dress accordingly and be prepared for occasional inclement weather as travel between separate buildings on the campus will be required.

New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation is on campus on New Student Orientation is on campus on Wednesday, June 19th, 2024 from 9 AM to 12:30 PM.

Lunch will be provided.

All new students enrolling in the certificate, masters, and doctoral programs (including students moving from the MWS program into the DWS program) are expected to complete the New Student Orientation, which is designed to facilitate community-building, train students in research techniques, and equip them to use the technological tools required for IWS.

Convocational Services

Convocational ceremonies at The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies have the primary purpose of beginning the intensive sessions in January and June. IWS founder, Bob Webber, wanted IWS gatherings to be set in the context of worship, specifically centered around the proclamation of the Word and the celebration of the historic Euchastirict liturgy. In the context of an academic convocation, this is a formal ceremony that involves academic rituals and regalia. 

The convocational ceremonies at IWS embody a blend of historical and biblically rooted liturgical structure and multiple musical/artistic styles of worship expression and conforms to the four-fold order of worship:

  1. God gathers us for reconciliation, transformation, and sustenance;
  2. God speaks to us through the Scriptures proclaimed and professed;
  3. God invites us to participate in the heavenly banquet of thanksgiving;
  4. God sends us on mission to love the world an declare its true eternal story.

The convocational service is not meant to model an exact style of worship for IWS students to emulate within their own congregations and contexts, but rather enhance the overall academic and worship understanding that students experience during the intensive week on campus.

Morning Worship at IWS

Morning worship at IWS is based on the three-fold monastic model of praises/word/prayers in which we seek to embody the following worship values:

  • Christocentric
  • Trinitarian
  • Scriptural
  • Evangelical
  • Ecumenical
  • Communal
  • Simple, user-friendly liturgical forms
  • Welcoming
  • Congenial
  • Dependable (few, if any, surprises)
  • Pastoral
  • Vibrant

IWS Chapel Services Format

Call to Worship

One: Open our lips, oh Lord.
All: And our mouths shall proclaim your praise.

One: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
All: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.

Gospel Affirmation

The leader reads or says a Christocentric verse of scripture (e.g., John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Colossians 1:19-20)

Invitation to Worship

One: Let us draw near with confidence and worship him.

Praises (standing)

Memorial Acclamation (sung)

All: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Sung Praise

Well-known hymn or well-known contemporary worship song

Psalm

Chant setting of Psalm(s) from the Daily Office ending with sung Gloria in Excelsis

Word (sitting)

Scripture Reading

Response
One: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

Pastoral Application of Scripture

Prayers (standing)

Preparation for Prayer

One: Let us prepare our hearts for a season of silence before the Lord.
All: Be Still (or another appropriate short song that speaks of peace or silence)

Silent Prayer

This may alternatively occur at the beginning of the order, following Scripture reading, or following the meditation.

One: Always give us ears to hear you, Lord (or other words to conclude).

Bidding Prayer

One: Let us stand together. In peace, let us pray to the Lord.
All (prompted by biddings of One):

  • Thanksgivings
  • Prayers for the Church and the world
  • Prayers for ourselves and those closely related to us

The Lord’s Prayer

One: And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to pray:
All: Our Father (sung or spoken)

Concluding Rite (standing)

Memorial Acclamation

One: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.
All: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Passing of the Peace

One: The peace of the Lord Jesus be always with you.
All: And also with you.

Yearly Academic Calendar

January and June on-campus intensive sessions are held from one Wednesday until midday the following Wednesday. Students beginning their degree program should report to New Student Orientation by 9:00 AM on the opening Wednesday. Returning students should arrive prior to the mandatory Presidential Address on Wednesday afternoon.

Graduation is held in the afternoon of Sunday during each June on-campus intensive.

Important Dates

The semester for each on-campus intensive begins several weeks before the on-campus dates and lasts for a total of five months. For the sake of convenience, we refer to a “June semester” and a “January semester” even though the start and end dates of the actual semester do not necessarily come entirely in January and June.

Annual Calendar

Schedule of Online Classes

Upcoming Intensive Week: January 1 -8, 2024.

Online Class Dates for the January 2025 Intensive:

  • BIB501A November 17 – December 28, 2024
  • WR701 November 17 – December 28, 2024
  • BIB 501B January 5 – February 15, 2025
  • WR 501 February 23 – April 5, 2025

Transportation & Hotel Accommodations

Transportation

During the on-campus intensive sessions, transportation is solely the responsibility of the student. Students may drive their own cars, rent a car, or rideshare with other students. Other options include Lyft, Uber, and Taxi. Jacksonville has a limited public transportation system, therefore, we do not recommend relying on that as a mode of transportation for the week. The IWS staff cannot arrange for or provide transportation to and from campus each day.

If you are interested in ride-sharing or if you would like to offer ride-sharing for other students, please post requests in the IWS Facebook Group. This is a great way to share the cost of transportation. If you are requesting a ride from another student, it is expected that you would offer to assist with the cost of the car and/or gas.

International students seeking airport transportation may fill out this survey.

Hotel Accomodations

Hotel Accommodations

There are many reasonably priced hotel options available within comfortable driving distance of the IWS campus, many more than we can list here. To help reduce the accommodation costs for the week, you may want to consider sharing a hotel room with another IWS student. Many cohorts set up a Facebook group to coordinate travel plans and other outside-of-class topics. Post requests for roommates on the IWS Facebook Group. Also, cohorts set up a Facebook group to coordinate travel plans and other outside-of-class topics.

Local Hotel – Official IWS Group Rate:

Hilton Garden Inn
1201 Kings Avenue
Jacksonville, FL 32207

The official IWS hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn. The hotel is located in the San Marco neighborhood, 2.5 miles from campus. They are offering a standard King bed or 2 Queen bedroom for a preferred nightly rate of $139, which includes the daily parking rate of $17. To book, please use the IWS (hilton.com) link or call 1-866-486-4153 using code RWW.

Other Accommodation Options

Many students have utilized Airbnb or VRBO to find accommodations close to campus. This is a great option to do as an individual or with a group of other students.

There are many hotel options for you within comfortable driving distance of the IWS campus, many more than we can list here. Remember that sharing a room with a classmate is a great way to reduce your accommodation expenses.

As you are researching hotels, please make sure you map them in proximity to 4001 Hendricks Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32207, as Jacksonville is the largest city by area in the United States. A good resource for locating hotels by area of town is to use the Where to Stay tab on the Visit Jacksonville website. You can then select neighborhoods to view available hotels. The DOWNTOWN neighborhood tab showcases 2 hotels downtown and 4 that are on the Southbank side of the river, including the official hotel listed above (closer to campus). The SOUTHSIDE neighborhood tab showcases hotels within 5 miles of campus. Use the SHOW ON MAP feature and you will find many acceptable hotels in the Southpoint area at the intersection of SR-202/I-95. These hotels are convenient and reliable.

Please note that the closest hotels to campus in the Emerson Blvd/Phillips Hwy area are transient hotels and we DO NOT recommend you stay in those hotels (ex: Magnuson Inn, Scottish Inn, Emerson Inn).

It is also a good idea to read the current hotel reviews on a site such as Trip Advisor and not just rely on price. Do your research. If you have any questions about an airbnb/VRBO, hotel or area of town you are considering, please feel free to contact Maureen Roe by email or 800-282-2977 for assistance.

Host Home Program

About the Host Home Program

IWS offers a limited Host Home Program for those students who would not be able to attend IWS without housing assistance. Placement in a host home is not guaranteed. Members of local churches have offered to host students in their homes for no charge, providing a “home away from home” while you are here. Please note that the host home program is for the enrolled student only. We are unable to provide housing for spouses (unless also enrolled), children, or friends. Homestays are filled on a first come first served basis and fill up quickly. While the deadline to complete a host home request form is May 31, 2024, all available homes may already be filled by that date. If you want to try to secure a home, request early! Homes may be within walking distance of campus or a considerable distance (15+ miles) from campus. You are responsible for securing your own transportation between campus and your host home each day. If you are not bringing a car that means you must rent a car, make arrangements with classmates to ride share, or use Uber, Lyft, or a taxi. Public transportation (local bus) is not an efficient way to get around Jacksonville. There is no light rail service that serves campus. Host families do not provide transportation.

If you are a returning student who has previously stayed with a host family, please do not make your own arrangements with the family for future stays. Always complete the online housing request form to have the arrangements made through the IWS office. We have had instances where the host had the incorrect dates, realized this at the last minute and we had to find new homes for the students. If you had a conversation with a host who indicated they would love to have you back with them, please make a specific note of that in the comment section of the request form.

Note that we will try to accommodate special circumstances as we are able. However, please realize that if you have specific allergies or are not comfortable around pets, we may not be able to accommodate you with a host family; a hotel or Airbnb/VRBO may be a more suitable option for you.

Acceptance of Host Home Stay

You will receive a notification from the IWS office with the name, address, and contact information of the host family to which you have been placed. You should immediately accept or decline the home placement by replying to the IWS office email.

Introduction to Host Family

Once you have received the contact information for your host family from the IWS office, please promptly contact your host by email or phone with a brief introduction. This can include your name, where you’re from, your ministry context and other information you wish to share. As the session draws near, you will also want to contact them again to advise them of your specific arrival in Jacksonville and what time you anticipate arriving at their home.

Transportation

Please carefully read the Transportation information provided above. Transportation to and from campus is solely the responsibility of the student. Please do not ask your host to provide you with transportation to or from the airport, campus, or around town. If they offer you transportation you may accept the ride but please do not expect it. Rideshare requests and offers may be posted in the IWS Facebook Group. International students seeking airport transportation may fill out this survey.

Accommodations

Host families have graciously offered to provide you with a private room and a nearby bathroom for your stay. Remember always that you are guest in their home. Please keep your room neat and the bathroom clean. You may be sharing the bathroom with others so be conscious of your time and belongings in the common bathroom. At the end of the week, please make sure your room is at least as neat as when you arrived.

Duration of Stay

Host families have generously offered their homes for eight days. We feel tremendously blessed by their hospitality! We in turn want to be mindful of our host families and their life situations.

If your travel plans require you to arrive prior to the session dates or stay after the end of the session, please arrange to stay at a hotel near the airport and use the hotel shuttle service to the airport. So, for the January 2024 session, this means if you are arriving prior to January 2, 2024, or departing after January 10, 2024, please also secure hotel accommodations at the airport for the days outside that window.

Also, we understand that many flights require you to arrive very late at night or leave very early in the morning. Please be mindful that our airport shuttle volunteers, IWS Staff, and host families have work or other obligations that may make it less than ideal for you to arrive at a host’s home after 11 pm or be taken to the airport at 4 am.

Please consider these 2 scenarios: a 10:45 pm flight arrival (that is on-time) which means 20+ minutes to retrieve baggage and another 30+ minutes travel time to your host home. That would have you arrive no earlier than 11:30 p.m. with your volunteer or staff driver not getting home until after midnight. A 6 a.m. flight out requires a volunteer or staff member to wake up by 3:30 a.m. to pick you up by 4:30 to deliver you to the airport by 5 a.m. for your 6 a.m. flight. They then have a full workday ahead.

Therefore, for arriving flights, please make hotel arrangements close to the airport if you are arriving after 10 pm and plan to arrive at your host home the following day. For 7 am or earlier departing flights, please plan on transferring from your host home to an airport hotel the night before your flight and utilizing the hotel’s airport shuttle service.

Thank you for your understanding of these guidelines. We do not want to unduly burden our volunteers, staff, or host families.

Meals

Since most of your meals are provided on campus, hosts are not required to provide any meals for you. You may certainly accept an invitation for a meal if it is offered and you may ask them if you may bring in a few light snacks that you may need. Please do not help yourself to food in their home unless they specifically invite you to do so. For meals that are not provided on campus (Saturday night and all day Sunday), please make meal arrangements on your own or with classmates.

Guests

Please do not invite your classmates over to your host home. If your host tells you to feel free to have a few classmates over you may certainly do so. DO NOT expect your host family to provide food and drinks to you and your classmates while they are there. If there will be food involved during the visit, please ask your hosts if they mind if you bring in food for everyone. Please make sure you thoroughly clean up the area where your guests have been.

Future Home Stays

Always arrange for your homestay by completing the New Housing Request Form each session. Even if you have stayed with a family previously, please do not contact them directly requesting housing for an upcoming session. If your previous host invited you to return, complete the New Housing Request Form and leave a specific note in the comment section of the form.

NEVER contact your host family and ask if you can come for a vacation and bring your spouse or family! This would be considered inconsiderate and place the host family in an awkward position. Host homes are for two sessions each year only, based on need and availability.

Remember that you are a guest in someone’s home while you are here and they are providing a huge blessing by opening their home to you. When you leave, a thank you note would be an appropriate and adequate gesture of appreciation.

Host Home Request Form

The Host Home Request Form is now filled out through Populi. Click here to be taken to the form.

A Message from Rev. Dr. Nancy Nethercott, IWS Chaplain

Greetings from the Chaplain

Greetings, Institute for Worship Studies students! 

I am honored and blessed to serve as your Chaplain during your pilgrimage with the Institute for Worship Studies.

God has obviously led you to this place of learning where, in community (James 5:16; Hebrews 10:24-25), you can grow not only in knowledge but also be spiritually formed.  Like most leaders in ministry, you likely deal with challenges that weigh on you and potentially isolate you. IWS is a place where, instead of isolation, you can find peaceful solitude in the midst of a learning institution. With support from your cohort, faculty, and staff, IWS is also a space where healing and spiritual formation can occur through communion, prayer, and the Word. We are here for each other, for the sake of the world.

If I may serve you in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I commit to you the following:

  • Confidentiality: I will not discuss what you share with me with anyone else, without your authorization.
  • Prayer and networking: I will pray with and for you, and do everything I can to help you connect with the appropriate resources or resource persons to help equip you in your life and ministry.
  • Accountability: I will do all in my power to call you to account in your fidelity to Christ and your leadership in his Kingdom work.

— The Rev. Dr. Nancy Nethercott