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Encountering "holy" in the home and family is focus of conference

Jan 26, 2006
The Center for Congregations and Family Ministries at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has teamed up with Office of Theology and Worship of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to offer a one-day conference that will consider home and family life as critical contexts for worshipful lives. “Encountering the Holy at Home” will be held February 11, 2006, at Caldwell Chapel on the campus of the seminary. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

Dr. J. Bradley Wigger, director of the Center and Seminary professor of Christian education, was compelled to offer this event following the national success of the Center-sponsored “Emerging Worship” conference, held in 2003. “Holy at Home, however, will focus even more on the connection between corporate, Sunday worship and our everyday home and family lives,” he says.

With an eye toward both the history and the future of worship, conference participants will explore such issues as why family prayer and devotional lives matter; how congregational worship feeds home worship; sacramental living and moral formation; using the arts and imagination well; helping children learn care and gratitude; and cultivating faithful practices in a busy world.

“My conviction is that grace and holiness are already at work in our homes and family lives,” says Wigger, who is also author of Together We Pray: A Prayer Book for Families (2005). “By reflecting on our home life in light of our Sunday worship, we can begin to see the connection between the communion table and our dinner tables, baptism and bathing, confession and forgiveness in worship or with one another, the power of the Word and the power of our everyday words.”

Claudio Carvalhaes, one of three leaders for this event, recognizes the challenges in trying to make these connections. “Homes and families in their different shapes and expressions are places that offer joy, security, a sense of refuge and solace. However, they are also places of distress, sorrow, pain and displacement. At home we are both found and lost. Seeking after the holy at home, both responding and searching for it within the spaces we call home and family, might help us to create tentative structures of support that could provide frames of sustenance and nets of assistance in order to take life as it is.”

While there are different approaches to encountering the holy at home, Charles “Chip” Andrus, says that all three leaders agree on the basic understanding that “liturgy, ritual and practice are events that shape and form us as community and families…We find that God, through the Spirit of Christ, moves through ordinary things (water, words, wine, bread, people) to do extraordinary things. God is at work in every moment of our lives. As we begin to look more carefully at God's work in the world, we see this mystery at work around us and even through us.”

“Encountering the Holy at Home” will inspire church leaders of all kinds – pastors, educators, lay leaders, and parents who may be looking for some direction in practicing faith that is connected to home life. An affordable $30 conference fee covers the one-day event, lunch, and a copy of Wigger’s new book.


Charles (Chip) Andrus
is Associate for Worship in the Office of Theology and Worship at the Presbyterian Church (USA). His undergraduate degree is in music and he received an MDiv from Louisville Seminary. He is the coordinator of the Emerging Worship initiative and an adjunct professor of worship at the Seminary. Chip is also a singer and songwriter and continues to write and produce music for liturgy and life.

Claudio Carvalhaes, theologian and artist, was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, where he was ordained in the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPIB). He studied ecumenism in Switzerland and received his MA in theology and literature in São Paulo. In partnership with the Presbytery of Southern New England, he went to Fall River, Mass., to work with Portuguese speaking communities. After starting a church in that city, he moved to New York City where he began his doctoral studies at Union Theological Seminary in the area of theology, liturgy, and the arts.

Martha Moore-Keish earned the PhD in theology from Emory University, and worked for three years with the Office of Theology and Worship at the Presbyterian Church (USA). During 2003-04 she taught at Yale Divinity School before returning to Atlanta to take the position of Assistant Professor of Theology at Columbia Seminary.


The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. in Caldwell Chapel at Louisville Seminary and ends at 5 p.m.

The registration fee is $30 and includes lunch and a copy of Together We Pray: A Prayer Book for Families (Chalice Press, 2005), written by J. Bradley Wigger.

register online for this event, Online Information & Registration

Download full brochure: Brochure in PDF

Contact Laura March, 800.264.1839, ext. 382, email: lmarch@lpts.edu
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