WRSH 490 syllabus

WRSH 490 (3 s.h.) – May 2017
Special Topics: Worship + the City
(part of the London+Paris Travel Study)

Prerequisite:                        6 s.h. Music, upper level standing, or instructor’s permission
Instructor/Contact:    Dr. David Squires (604-308-7273)  david.squires@twu.ca

Course website:                 https://davidsquiresmusic.com/london-paris-travel-study-2017/

Course Description

An experiential course examining the worship arts of several key churches in London, UK, and Paris, France. Students will focus particularly on music, architecture, and visual arts, responding to the central question: how do these churches—most of which are both tourist destinations and places of worship—respond to and reflect contemporary urban culture through the arts which are part of their gathered worship experiences?

Student Learning Outcomes

References in italics and parentheses refer to TWU’s Student Learning Outcomes, which can be found at http://twu.ca/academics/student-learning-outcomes.html

Students will be encouraged to:

  • Discover and examine themes, periods and styles of sacred art, architecture, and music from firsthand observation of specific churches and their worship services in London and Paris. (Aesthetic Expression and Interpretation)

  • Explore how social/economic, political, religious and cultural conditions influence worship by asking questions about specific iconic churches which function both as tourist destinations and places of worship. (Social Responsibility and Global Engagement, Cognitive Complexity, and Aesthetic Expression and Interpretation)

  • Enrich their appreciation of the relationship between the arts and spiritual expression and experience. (Aesthetic Expression and Interpretation and Spiritual Formation)

Course Context + Format

This course is part of the May 2017 SAMC Travel Study to London and Paris. As such the bulk of the student learning experience is on location in those two cities. Students will have opportunity to visit and engage with a variety of churches including:

  • (in London) Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Hillsong; Holy Trinity Brompton and Westminster Cathedral are optional

  • (in Oxford) Christ Church Cathedral

  • (in Paris) Notre Dame, Ste-Chapelle, and Basilica Sacre Coeur

The course will involve small group discussions and assigned readings both prior to and during the 3 weeks overseas; onsite/field experiences as primary learning opportunities during the time overseas; and written responses following the return home.

Readings + Resources

The following is a non-exhaustive list of readings to be placed on the course website, for download or online reading as assigned at the discretion of the instructor.

Cherry, Constance M. The Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services. Grand Rapids: Baker (2010): 221-242, 243-257 [ch.13: Principles of Worship Style: Expressing Your Corporate Identity; and ch.14: A More Excellent Way: Exploring Convergence]   [ click here for ch 13 pdf ]  [ click here for ch 14 pdf ]

Dawn, Marva. A Royal “Waste” of Time: The Splendour of Worshiping God and Being Church for the World. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans (1999): 58-69 [ch. 5: Worship for Postmodern Times[ click here for pdf ]

Dyrness, William. “Transformation and the Visual Arts: A (Protestant) Methodological Inquiry Into Imagery and Worship.” In Worship That Changes Lives, edited by Alexis D. Abernathy, 101-114. Grand Rapids: Baker (2008)  [ click here for pdf ]

Kieckhefer, Richard. Theology in Stone. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2004): 3-61 [Introduction and ch. 1: The First Factor: Spatial Dynamics]   [ click here for intro ]    [ click here for ch.1 ]

Kilde, Jeanne Halgren. Sacred Power, Sacred Space. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2008): 3-12 [ch. 1: A Method for Thinking About Power Dynamics in Christian Space]   [ click here for pdf ]

Smith, James K. A. Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation. Grand Rapids: Baker (2009):     17-28 [introduction: Beyond “Perspectives”: Faith and Learning Take Practice]
63-73 [From Worldviews to Social Imaginaries]
80-88 [Thick and Thin Practices: Ritual Forces of Cultural Formation][click here for pdf]

Sweet, Leonard. “A New Reformation: Re-Creating Worship for a Postmodern World.” In Experience God in Worship, edited by Michael D. Warden, 171-191. Loveland: Group (2000)  [ click here for pdf ]

Webber, Robert E. Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality Through the Christian Year. Grand Rapids: Baker (2004): 19-34 [ch.1: Ordering Your Spiritual Life]   [ click here for pdf ]

Webber, Robert E. Ancient-Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative. Grand Rapids: Baker (2008): 67-86 [ch.4: How the Fullness of God’s Story Became Lost[ click here for pdf ]

Webber, Robert E. “Eucharist Spirituality.” In Authentic Worship, edited by Herbert W. Bateman IV, 247-268. Grand Rapids: Kregel (2002)  [ click here for pdf ]

White, Susan J. The Spirit of Worship: The Liturgical Tradition. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books (1999): 76-99 [ch.4: Locating Ourselves in Time and Space]  [ click here for pdf ]

Witvliet, John D. Worship Seeking Understanding: Windows Into Christian Practice. Grand Rapids: Baker (2003): 91-123 [ch.4: Theological Models for the Relationship Between Liturgy and Culture]   [ click here for pdf ]

Witvliet, John. “Beyond Style.” In The Conviction of Things Not Seen, edited by Todd Johnson, 67-81. Grand Rapids: Brazos (2002)  [ click here for pdf ]

Course Learning Opportunities + Requirements

The course will involve small group discussions and assigned readings both prior to and during the three weeks overseas; onsite/field experiences as primary learning opportunities during the time overseas; and written responses following the return home. Students are expected to take advantage of every opportunity for learning through all of these situations, demonstrating initiative and a spirit of inquiry. Evaluation of learning will be based on the following requirements:

Participation (30%)

  1. Required readings chosen at the instructor’s discretion from the text and readings posted on the course website. Informed, critical participation in class discussions is expected.

  2. The onsite/field work of this course involves visiting various churches and worship services in London, Oxford, and Paris. Punctuality is expected. Lateness for an event or activity will result in a deduction of 1 mark, and 2 marks for failure to attend.


Journal (40%)

  1. Keeping a journal throughout the travel study. The journal should include at least 4 substantial entries (minimum 500 words each, dated), in which the student engages, processes and reflects critically on (a) readings and discussions, and (b) experiences and impressions from the various churches visited. Some entries may be in response to specific focus questions—TBA. The journal may be submitted in electronic form – (.pdf, Word .doc or .docx; not in an email body) – and is due Monday June 12, 2017. It can be submitted at any time before that date.

Written Report (40%)

  1. Submit a comparative analysis paper (c.6-8 pages, typed, double-spaced) on two churches visited during the trip: Hillsong plus one other. In other words, churches whose traditions, environments, and services reflect differing styles and liturgies. [This is in addition to, and different from, the journal reflections above.] The report is to examine each of the church worship service experiences from the perspective of the course’s central question: how do these churches—which are both tourist destinations and places of worship—respond to and reflect contemporary urban culture through the arts which are part of their gathered worship experiences?

The paper is due Friday June 30 as an email attachment.

Grading System Specific to This Course

The following grading scale differs from the university standard grading system, and will be used for this course:
A+    97-100        B+    83-87        C+    69-73        D+    56-59
A    92-96        B    78-82        C    64-68        D    53-55
A-    88-91        B-    74-77        C-    60-63        D-    50-52

(F:  up to 49)

The following grade definitions are applicable in this course:
A-/A/A+    outstanding, excellent work
B-/B/B+        good, competent work
C-/C/C+    adequate, reasonably satisfactory work
D-/D/D+    minimally acceptable work
F        inadequate, not up to required standard



Late Policy

Work submitted late will receive a penalty of 10% per day to a maximum 40% off. No material will be accepted after June 30, 2017.

Writing quality

It is expected that your level of writing will be up to university standards. Assignments with significant grammatical problems will be referred to the Writing Centre for rewriting before the assignment will be marked. The Writing Centre is an excellent resource for students at all levels to improve writing skills. See: http://twu.ca/divisions/writing/

Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism at TWU

One of the core values of Trinity Western University is the integration of academic excellence with high standards of personal, moral, and spiritual integrity. The University considers it a serious offence when an individual attempts to gain unearned academic credit. It is the student’s responsibility to be informed about what constitutes academic dishonesty. For details on this, and on identifying and avoiding plagiarism, see http://www.twu.ca/student-handbook/university-policies/academic-dishonesty-and-plagiarism


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