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Current Visiting Scholars

Each year the Calvin community is enriched by the presence of several visiting scholars. This year we are pleased to welcome:

Kai Ton Chau

Kai Ton Chau has pursued worship and music ministry as a lifelong vocation. He began as a church choir member in his pre-teen years, and most recently he served as a member of the teaching faculty in music and worship at Kuyper College, Grand Rapids, MI. He has a Doctorate of Worship Studies from The Robert E. Webber Institute of Worship Studies; an MBA from Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON; and a Master’s of Music in conducting from the Conservatory of Music, University of Missouri, Kansas City. His calling and vocation revolves around serving, learning, and teaching.

Dr. Chau is ethnic Chinese and desires to serve the Chinese Christian churches in North America and beyond by building a better understanding of Christian worship and helping congregations to become worshipful communities. While a visiting scholar at Calvin, Dr. Chau will develop networks among ethnic Chinese churches in North America; convene conversations regarding the needs and opportunities in worship ministry; and develop resources for worship and church music ministry.

Hosted by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, November 2014 to September 2016

Crow, GarrettGarrett Crow

Dr. Crow recently retired after teaching taxonomy for 33 years at the University of New Hampshire and serving as Director of the UNH Herbarium and chair of the Department of Plant Biology. He has served on the faculty at Au Sable Institute as well as helping in the Calvin College Herbarium. Additionally he is continuing botanical research at the Michigan State University Herbarium-recently having completed the taxonomic treatment of Utricularia (bladderworts) and Pinguicula (butterworts) for Flora of North America North of Mexico. While having a broad interest in floristics (including botanical expeditions to Tierra del Fuego, Siberia, Crimea and Caucasus, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Amazonia, and Mexico), much of his research has focused on aquatic plants of temperate and Neotropics regions. He is co-author of Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America, 2 volumes (G.E. Crow and C. B. Hellquist, Univ. Wisconsin Press). In 1999-2000 he spent a year-long sabbatical in Costa Rica under a Fulbright Fellowship where he wrote a bilingual field guide, Plantas acuáticus de Parque Nacional Palo Verde, Costa Rica (Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, Costa Rica), which is widely used by students studying at the Organization for Tropical Studies field station at Palo Verde.

Hosted by the Biology Department, September 2013 to June 2018, Crow CV |

RienstraRon Rienstra

Ron Rienstra is the Assistant Professor of Preaching & Worship Arts at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. Since his ordination in the RCA in 1993, Ron Rienstra has lived and ministered at educational institutions in Iowa (Central College), Michigan (Calvin College), and California (Fuller Seminary), pursuing his primary interest: helping preachers, congregations, worship teams, and individuals learn to deepen and enliven their gatherings with God. All the while he remained active in local church life as an interim pastor, preacher, worship leader and consultant. Ron has published numerous articles in Reformed Worship and other publications. He is the author, along with his wife, of Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry (Baker, 2009). While a visiting scholar at Calvin during his sabbatical semester, he will be editing an annotated collection of essays by Jean-Jacques von Allmen on the nature and mission of the Church as expressed in its worshipping life.

Hosted by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, May 2015 to January 2016
Rienstra CV |

NovakRev. Joseph Novak

Joseph (Joey) Novak is a fourth-year doctoral candidate (Ph.D.) at Fuller Theological Seminary in the area of Christian Liturgy and Homiletics where he is in the early stages of a dissertation project under the direction of Drs. Todd E. Johnson (Fuller) and John D. Witvliet (Calvin). While at Calvin, he anticipates completing a significant amount of research and writing toward the dissertation, a project which seeks to analyze the prayer for illumination in the history of Reformed liturgies through gathering and categorizing the extant transcripts of the prayer for illumination in the various strands of the Reformed tradition.

Given Calvin's prominence as a research institution for Reformed Christianity, he looks forward to utilizing its expansive resources, including the H. Henry Meeter Center and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.

He is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and serves as full-time pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ithaca, Michigan. Some of his hobbies and interests include: graphic design, cycling, and indie-folk music. He and his wife have two young boys and reside in Ithaca.

Hosted by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, January 2013 to June 2016
Novak CV |

Rev. Lisa Weaver

Rev. Lisa M. Weaver is completing her dissertation at The Catholic University of America, Washington DC, in the areas of liturgical studies and sacramental theology. She plans to pursue several goals while a visiting scholar at Calvin:

  • to continue research on Christian initiation rites, baptism, and pneumatology in an environment where the fruit of her dissertation findings can find contemporary relevance and application,
  • to engage an interdisciplinary group of scholars as both resources and conversation partners in the many aspects of and considerations in liturgy and liturgical planning, and
  • to more deeply engage the people and resources of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship in order to learn from and serve the broadest possible ecumenical audience.

As one who finds the fullest articulation of my vocation in the convergence of faith, research, and praxis and as one who fully believes in the transformative nature of liturgy, Calvin College and the Worship Institute together provide a robust environment where my vocation and my beliefs can find both deeper anchoring and greater expression.

Hosted by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, June 2015 to June 2017
Weaver CV |

About the Visiting Scholars Program at Calvin ==>