Howard Vanderwell

About Me: 

I've been a CRC Pastor for forty years, serving congregations in Iowa, Illinois and Michigan.

I've always carried a passionate concern for the faith development of all ages in the congregation. Since 2002 I've been on the staff of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and also Adjunct Professor of Worship at Calvin Theological Seminary.

Currently I'm serving a five-year assignment on the Faith Formation Committee of the CRC. In our work we began with the initial concern over children at the Lord's Supper, and quickly found our work and concerns broadening into all areas of faith formation - from baptism, remembering our baptism, instruction, professions of faith, etc.

As the father of three sons and ten grandchildren, faith formation matters take on a deeply personal nature. I've been privileged to have a front row seat to observe it and participate in it, not only for my own family, but also for those in my congregations.

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Never-Ending Formation

What led us to buy into the myth that most formation happens early? Who sold us the story that formation isn’t life-long? And how would our ministries and our energies be redirected if we really adopted the life-long viewpoint?

Faith Nurture
  • Hi Al:  Thanks for this post and helping us to think about the order of worship. I demur a bit however at some of your thinking and I’m uncomfortable with your statement that “…what binds the...

  • A healthily challenging question, Nick! I'm glad to let it kick around in my brain for awhile and I hope that my other committee members will do the same.

    Personally, I'm not sure that "...

  • Thanks, David.  I like the "remembering that" terminology. And I'm also pretty comfortable with "Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows" from SNC 240, although that treats only the "vow" part of it as...

  • I think Neil makes a very significant point when he suggests that a pastor's personal contact with siblings or other children is key to making a baptism memorable. Let me expand on it....