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April 4, 2003

Ministry Resource Center

A new center at Calvin College will provide a raft of resources for people doing everything from planning a worship service to teaching Sunday school to leading a small-group Bible study.

The Ministry Resource Center (MRC) is billed as a collection of practical resources for all aspects of congregational ministry. It is a joint project of both Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, run by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and located on the fourth floor of Calvin's Hekman Library (as well as virtually on the internet). It is funded through Calvin's Lilly Vocation Project.

The Center informally opened in January 2003 and has been using the last few months as a bit of a "beta" test period. But Center manager Ed Seely (above) says the MRC is now fully operational.

Seely, an ordained pastor with 35 years experience church ministry (primarily church education), says the Center will benefit a variety of people: pastors, worship planners and leaders, church school teachers, youth ministers and more.

Seely will speak on Thursday, April 17 at 10 am in the Calvin Seminary Auditorium on "Defusing Fear of Innovations: Facilitating Change in the Church." Says Seely: "Worship wars, other congregational conflicts, and church splits typically result from a common phenomenon: the attempt of well-meaning but misguided church leaders to implement innovations that went badly, not only for the church but for their own ministry and for their family. Now insights from social science research, integrated with concepts from the Bible and Reformed theology that I've tested for decades in the local church, provide a model that will facilitate change while maintaining concord in the covenant community."

"The materials in the Center's collection are also useful for others such as those in prayer ministries, urban neighborhood ministry and volunteer services," he says. "The MRC is designed as well to help patrons realize how gifts in art, theater, music, dance, writing, languages, counseling, business, technology, accounting, or management can be used in ministry."

Seely says the center is designed to be a carefully monitored collection of biblically and theologically sound resources. The materials will be selected on the soundness of their teaching -- age appropriateness, reputation of the author, quality of writing -- with the emphasis on those materials designed for use in ministry settings. Resources will also reflect Calvin's standards for appropriate sensitivity to issues pertaining to gender, nationality and race. This last point is significant, says Seely, because the Center will not only serve a local audience, but also a worldwide constituency through the Internet.

The Center will concentrate on collecting resources often used by the leader and participants in the actual ministry setting, things such as adult education material, art and worship, children's ministry, liturgical dance, music and worship and youth ministry.

The new Ministry Resource Center is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to midnight, Fridays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. A two-person staff, Seely and coordinator Amanda Drost, is available to assist patrons during regular business hours, while others are available to assist after hours.

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-526-6475 (v)
616-526-7069 (f)