The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship is inviting people to join a Fall 2020 book study group on one of three books in advance of the institute’s online 2021 Symposium on Worship.

Groups of 4-10 people have the chance to gather online to discuss one of three featured books. The authors are Vince Bantu, Justo González, and Lauren Winner. All book study participants will receive a free e-book of their selected text.

Participants will have a chance to submit a question to the author of their book before a Q&A webinar in late November.

“The hope and goal is that whoever signs up will gather a group and they will read the book together,” said Noel Snyder, a program manager at the institute. “We ask that they meet together online at least three times.”

Participants are asked, among other things, to discuss what are the implications for public worship addressed in their book.

“The subtheme of these books is the global identity of the church,” said Satrina Reid, a program manager at the institute. “These books can help the church in this age of disruption we’re living in.”

The books are A Multitude of All Peoples: Engaging Ancient Christianity’s Global Identity by Vince Bantu; The Mestizo Augustine: A Theologian Between Cultures by Justo González, and The Dangers of Christian Practice: On Wayward Gifts, Characteristic Damage, and Sin by Lauren Winner.

In his book, Bantu writes about Christianity having always been a global religion. The early Christian movement, he argues, “spread from Jerusalem in every direction, taking on local cultural expression all around the ancient world.”

“His book lets us know that Christianity was not just a Greco-Roman religion,” said Reid. “The church also spread through Asia and Africa. It gives us a broad view of the global church.”

Snyder added: “This book can help us think deeply and well and broaden our perspective in many ways.”

In the book by González, the focus is on Augustine of Hippo, the church father who was born in Africa but was also heavily influenced by Roman culture. “Augustine engaged in diversity. He was a Mestizo” — someone connected to and familiar with two cultures,” said Reid.

The book by Winner touches on Christian practices that have gone wrong. “It is about how Christian practices can be corrupted and how we can learn to be aware of this,” said Reid.

Because of cross-border shipping restrictions, at this point only two of the books — by Bantu and González — can be sent to book study groups in Canada.

 The deadline to sign up for the group is Friday, Oct. 2. Click here for more information.