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Hurlburt Hall (Room 136), McMaster Divinity College,
1280 Main St W
Hamilton , Ontario
Wed, September 21, 2022
Start: 01:00 PM
End: 02:00 PM

At this week’s Theological Research Seminar, Jesse Hill will be presenting Gathered Worship and the Immanent Frame: Misinterpreting and Reinterpreting God’s Presence in WorshipRead the abstract and bio below.

All are welcome to attend in Hurlburt Hall at McMaster Divinity College at 1:00pm or via livestream at the link below:

Join the Livestream
Password: z00m (Note that the password has zeros rather than “o”)


Christian theology (whether biblical or liturgical) generally affirms that God is somehow present in the setting of gathered worship. However, it is often the case that many worshippers themselves (and even ministers) might not perceive that God is present to the church in any discernible way, leading to worship practices that may functionally ignore God’s presence, or that may attempt to conjure up some feeling that something transcendent is happening in worship. This thesis attempts to use Charles Taylor’s concept of “the immanent frame” to explain why believers and unbelievers alike might misinterpret worship. In doing so, this thesis applies Taylor’s phenomenological methodology to several casual, popular-level accounts relating to perceptions of God’s presence or absence in worship, revealing that the immanent frame does indeed come to bear on the ways in which people understand and experience worship, and suggesting that practitioners must learn to reinterpret worship.


Jesse Hill (MEd, MTS) is a PhD student at MDC; he also serves as the Associate Pastor at Philpott Church. His area of research is in the field of liturgical theology and focuses on ways that the presence of God is experienced and conveyed in the context of the worship service. Outside of ministry and research, Jesse enjoys hiking and biking around Hamilton with his wife and three children.

About TRS

The MDC Theological Research Seminar (TRS) is a bimonthly gathering for all MDC students and faculty. TRS meets over the lunch hour on Wednesdays, and includes about thirty minutes for the paper presentation and twenty minutes for discussion.

All advanced degree students are invited to present a paper and share your research with your colleagues. TRS is an excellent opportunity to “test drive” a paper you will be presenting at an upcoming conference and receive helpful feedback on your current research projects. Thinking about submitting an article to a journal and want some interaction first? TRS will provide it. Just published an article or an essay and want to share it us? TRS is an excellent opportunity to broadcast it.

This year the organizing committee consists of Dr. Francis PangDr. Wendy Porter, and Dr. Steve Studebaker. To submit a paper, contact a member of the organizing committee.