The Regional Synod of New York

The Reformed Church Center Looks at Worship and Preaching

In the 1950s and ‘60s, both the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and the Christian Reformed Church in North America undertook liturgical revisions that represented substantial shifts in how they lived out their liturgical and sacramental lives. While some of this was, no doubt, influenced by the work of Vatican II, nevertheless, two denominations that had historically leaned toward liturgical minimalism and Zwinglian memorialism in their sacramental understandings shifted towards much more Calvinian liturgies. They also engaged the growing ecumenical consensus on eucharistic celebrations and even suggested—at least in the RCA—that the Supper should be celebrated as often as the word is preached. What is even more remarkable is that both denominations found themselves with capable scholars to spark this revival when their life before then would not exactly have nurtured this sort of sensibility.

How did this come to pass? What are the continuing fruits of this liturgical revival, especially as both the CRC and the RCA become increasingly multicultural? These are questions which the Reformed Church Center hopes to explore in “Reformed Worship and the Liturgical Revival,” a program on Thursday, April 11, 10:00-2:30 at New Brunswick Theological Seminary.

Emily R. Brink, internationally-known liturgical and hymnological scholar and Senior Research Fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship in Grand Rapids, Michigan, will share findings from her work at the 2018-19 Alvin J. Poppen & John R. Young Fellow in Reformed Worship at NBTS as part of her keynote address. She’ll be looking, in particular, at CRC and RCA parallel influences in liturgical renewal in the 1960s.

Gregg A. Mast is president emeritus of NBTS, and in his forty-year ministry served as a congregational pastor in Johannesburg, South Africa, Irvington, New Jersey, and Albany, New York; as  Minister of Social Witness and the Director of Ministry Services in the RCA; and as President of the RCA General Synod. A well-known liturgical scholar, he will address the development of what became the 1968 Liturgy for the Lord’s Supper in the RCA and its surprising sources.

Three pastors will share stories of adapting the RCA liturgy in their own varied contexts.

Benjamín Alicea-Lugo is the Pastor of the St. Paul’s Evangelical Reformed Church in Perth Amboy, NJ, since 1986, and a Spanish teacher at Old Bridge High School since 2002. He and his wife, Irma, are Co-Editors of Praise y Adoración BilingualHymnal / Himnario bilingue.

Ursula Cargill, a minister and educational administrator, serves Agape House, a new RCA ministry in North Plainfield, NJ, as pastor, planter, and ministries leader.

Dan Joo is the lead pastor of Willow Grove, PA, Korean Reformed Church and current president of the Classis of Delaware-Raritan. His pastoral focus is on building a stronger community of disciples radically following Christ, bridging between the generations of Korean immigrants and raising the next generation leaders.

The suggested donation for the day, which includes lunch, is $10, but seminarians are welcome for free and everyone else is welcome regardless of the ability to pay. RSVP to by Monday, April 8.


The Second Event, “Preaching in a Period of Polarization”, was snowed out in February and returns to NBTS on April 25! This day-long workshop is open to everyone. The suggested donation for lunch will be $10.00; but everyone is welcome regardless of ability to pay. Lunch is free for all seminarians. NBTS is also able to offer .5 CEU to anyone who completes this program, at a cost of $25.00. Register via e-mail to by Monday, April 22nd. Please include your name, postal address, and telephone number; those applying for the .5 CEU must indicate the same in the e-mail.