International worship night celebrates many forms of worship

Photo+courtesy+calvin.edu

Photo courtesy calvin.edu

On Friday, November 7 at 7:00 p.m., Calvin will hold an international worship night to celebrate the different ways in which Calvin students from all over the world worship. Thirteen percent of Calvin students are international and multicultural, representing more than 50 countries.

Senior student Grace Kim coordinated the worship night.

“Based on my experience here at Calvin, I realized that there are so many good events for international students,” Kim said. “But there aren’t many events where international students and American students can come together.”

“Ever since my freshman year,” she continued. “I’ve always thought that it would be so great for us to bring our cultures and put that all together [in worship.]”

Kim hopes that the worship night can serve this purpose.

“One thing that is really amazing is that we all worship the same God,” said Kim, “but we worship that same God in different languages and different cultures.”

The worship night, which is titled “Made One in Christ,” will celebrate these languages and cultures coming together. The service will be led by the International Student Association Committee (ISAC), ReigKnight, Verve, Voice of Missions and many other multicultural student organizations.

Students from more than 20 countries will be taking part in the service in ways such as reading scripture in their own languages. Music will play a major role in the event, which will feature traditional Indonesian dance, Ghanaian worship performed by Africapella, and choirs of Korean and Latin American students.  Additionally, a prayer time will feature more than twelve students praying for their home countries.

Kim describes the event as being like Rangeela, but for worship. She says that the “climax” of the event will be when students will all sing the same song, but in their own languages.

Kim hopes that the event will become a tradition at Calvin.

“Even though I am helping them plan it, we would like for this to be continued every year,” she said.

Kim is coordinating the international worship night with help from Campus Ministries and ISAC. She is planning the event as part of her participation in Calvin’s Jubilee Fellows program, which places students at churches around North America to intern during the summer. Students then follow up on those experiences with a service project in the Calvin community.

Until she interned with a church through Calvin’s Jubilee Fellows program, Kim wasn’t sure how to carry out her hopes for planning a multicultural event at Calvin. But her summer internship changed that. Kim was placed at Rosewood CRC in Bellflower, California, which is said to be one of the most diverse zip codes in the nation. Working closely with the pastor at Rosewood, Kim helped coordinate events for the church, including a multicultural worship night.

“That’s where I actually got this idea from,” she said. She talked to the pastors at her church to find out how she could bring a service like that to Calvin.

Because of her background, Kim understands personally the vast differences between cultures and their styles of worship. She was born in Korea, but grew up in the Dominican Republic, where her parents were missionaries.

“By experiencing both of the cultures I realized how different they are in worshiping the same God,” Kim said. “Experiencing different cultures actually gives us a bigger and better picture of God whom we serve.”