We are proud that our Annual Conference always features a broad array of leaders that cover many denominations, fields of study, and lived experiences. Here you can learn more about the people who will lead us this year.
Margaret Aymer joined the Austin Seminary faculty in 2015. She teaches core courses on the Introduction to the New Testament, Exegesis, and Greek and elective courses in numerous disciplines including African Americans and the Bible, and feminist and womanist biblical interpretation. Active in the Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion, she has spoken as a guest lecturer at numerous academic and church conferences across the United States, including the 2013 MidWinter Lectures at Austin Seminary. There she was the Robert Jones Lecturer, offering a discourse on the “New Testament as Migrant Writings.” Aymer wrote Confessing the Beatitudes, the 2011 Horizons Bible Study (the annual Bible study resource for Presbyterian women), for which she won the Award of Excellence by the Associated Church Press.
Aymer has published four books: James: Diaspora Rhetorics of a Friend of God (Sheffield Publishing, 2014), Fortress Commentary on the Bible (with Gale A. Yee, Fortress Press, 2014); First Pure, then Peaceable: Frederick Douglass Reads James (T&T Clark, 2008), and Islanders, Islands and the Bible: Ruminations (Semeia Studies, 2015; with Jione Havea).
Prior to coming to Austin Seminary, Dr. Aymer taught at Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia, since 2004. Aymer has served the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) broadly. She has served on the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations since 2010, moderating the six persons who write the Bible Exegesis Ordination Examination for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She was a member of the Committee on Preparation of Ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from 2010-2011, training sessions (governing bodies) of local congregations on the ordination process and their responsibilities therein. Aymer was also a member of the General Assembly Task Force on Civil Unions and Marriage (2009-2010), and she served as a steering committee member for the Committee on Theological Education Consultation on Racism from 2004-2008.
Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Conde Frazier is a practical theologian. She is an ordained pastor of the American Baptist Churches with over ten years of pastoral experience. She was founder of the Orlando E. Costas Hispanic and Latin American Ministries Program at Andover Newton Theological School, served as a tenured professor of religious education at the Claremont School of Theology and as academic dean and vice president of education at Esperanza College of Eastern University. Currently she is the Coordinator of Relations for Theological Entities at the Association of Hispanic Theological Education.
She has authored chapters, articles and books on topics of practical theology, intercultural relations, Latina Evangelica theology and participatory action research among other topics.
Dr. Conde-Frazier holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, an M.Div. from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a B.A. From Brooklyn College, City University of New York.
Martin Tel is the C. F. Seabrook Director of Music at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. At the seminary Martin conducts the seminary choirs, teaches courses in church music, and administers the music for the daily seminary worship services. He served as senior editor of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship (Faith Alive, 2012). He also served on the editorial committees which produced a new hymnal for the Christian Reformed Church and Reformed Church in America denominations, Lift Up Your Hearts (Faith Alive, 2013) and the Spanish-English bilingual hymnal, Santo, Santo, Santo / Holy, Holy, Holy (GIA, 2019).
Evening Event Leaders
Tony Alonso is a Latin Grammy-nominated composer of sacred music and a theologian whose work responds to the diverse needs of the contemporary church. In 2015, his compositional work was recognized with an invitation to compose the responsorial psalm for the first Mass Pope Francis celebrated in the United States. In 2020, he was nominated for a Latin Grammy for his groundbreaking album Caminemos con Jesús. Tony’s scholarly work lies at the intersection of theology and culture, with a particular focus on worship and ritual practices. His first book, Commodified Communion: Eucharist, Consumer Culture, and the Practice of Everyday Life (forthcoming, Fordham
Bob Batastini, FHS
At the age of 13, Robert J. Batastini became the organist of his Roman Catholic parish, and three years later the choir director. At the age of 19, he formed and taught a concert band in the parish grade school. Always fascinated by all things musical, throughout high school and college (though a church music/organ major), he played French horn in the school bands, trumpet in the marching bands, and tenor saxophone in a wedding band! Simultaneously, and to this day, he has maintained an unbroken history of 67 years as a pastoral musician.
From 1967 until 2007 he simultaneously held the position of Vice President and Senior Editor of GIA Publications, Inc. In that capacity, he served as project director and editor for 22 GIA hymnals—Catholic and Protestant, and served on the core committee of three others. He also instituted GIA’s now well-known commitment to publishing the work of modern hymn writers. Presently, as Senior Editor Emeritus, Bob maintains a limited role at GIA marking 54 years with the company.
Bob joined the Hymn Society in 1977, spent eight years on the executive committee, is a past president, and in 2006 was named a Fellow.
Presently (in retirement), he is the associate choir director at Saint Francis De Sales Parish, Holland, Michigan, and also directs the Holland Ecumenical Choir consisting of singers from 20 area churches. For fun, he performs somewhat regularly on the Mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ housed in the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
Emily R. Brink, FHS
Emily Brink is a senior research fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.
Josh Davis loves people and loves to make safe space for complexity. A third-culture person himself, Josh served as a missionary to the Dominican Republic before founding Proskuneo Ministries (www.proskuneo.org), a ministry that exists to bring nations together in worship on earth as it is in heaven. Josh is a creative pastor and the co-author (with Nikki Lerner) of the book Worship Together [in your church as in heaven]. He also helps people engage with themselves, others, and God at www.patreon.com/justjoshdavis. In his spare time, he loves to jog, learn languages, and drink coffee. Josh lives with his wife and four children in Clarkston, GA where over 60 languages are spoken within a 1.5 mile radius.
Nikki Lerner is a culture coach, speaker, artist, and author helping individuals and organizations move from monocultural to multicultural. With over 20 years as a practitioner and leader in the area of multicultural work and life, her passion is to equip others with the inspiration and information needed to move one step closer to healthy diversity.
Nikki is the host of the Culture Coach Podcast, has authored a new book entitled Life Whispers, and is also the co-author of the book Worship Together: In Your Church As In Heaven. As an artist, her musical works include four solo music projects and Nikki also co-leads the Multicultural Worship Leaders Network which equips leaders in faith communities with tools for multicultural work & life.
Jorge Lockward served for many years as Director of the Global Praise Program of the General Board of Global Ministries where he edited several resources on global music and worship. As part of that work he developed innovative ways to plan and engage worship that responds to the opportunities and challenges of today’s world while engaging the depth of Christian tradition in its multiple global manifestations. Jorge has coordinated the worship life of many national and international gatherings, including the 21st World Methodist Conference (2016) and the 2018 World Mission Conference in Arusha, Tanzania. A respected teacher and workshop leader, Jorge has lectured at many Theological Schools and worship conferences. He currently lives in New York City where he serves as Minister of Worship Arts at The Church of the Village.
Larry Visser is Minister of Music and Organist at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a position he has held since 1999. In this role, he oversees the administration of the church’s extensive music ministry and plays the organ for weekly worship services. He has recorded two solo organ discs on the church’s 5-manual, 108-rank Austin-Allen organ. He holds degrees from Calvin University and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance. His choral and organ music is published by The Leupold Foundation, MorningStar Music Publishers, and GIA Publications. He was a finalist at the 1994 Grand Prix de Chartres International Organ Competition, and most recently, was the winner of two hymn composition competitions, the Utech Hymn Tune Composition sponsored by the Eastman School of Music and A Hymn for Mercy sponsored by St. Joseph’s Mercy Secondary School in Navan, Ireland. He is a member of the American Guild of Organists and the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.
Featured Session Leaders
Jennifer Baker-Trinity, a deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, serves as Program Director for Resource Development, a shared position between the ELCA (Office of the Presiding Bishop) and Augsburg Fortress, a division of 1517 Media. In this position she attends to developing and teaching about resources that support the church’s worship. Jennifer completed her studies at Valparaiso University (B.M. Church Music) and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (MAR, STM). Jennifer also currently serves as Co-Director of the Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University, is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and serves on the Advisory Council for Lutheran Summer Music. She has served as a church musician in congregations in Illinois, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania and has been a writer for a number of devotional and worship resources. She lives in Shoreview, Minnesota with her spouse and three children.
Mary Louise Bringle, FHS
Mary Louise (Mel) Bringle is Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies and coordinator of the Integrated Studies major at Brevard College in Brevard, NC. Her original hymn texts and translations are included in hymnals and supplements of numerous denominations in North America and Scotland. She has served as President of The Hymn Society and chair of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, responsible for creating the 2013 PCUSA hymnal Glory to God. In the summer of 2020, she was named a Fellow of the Hymn Society.
María Eugenia Cornou is Associate Director and Program Manager for International and Intercultural Learning for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, María holds a PhD from the Free University of Amsterdam as well as degrees in public accounting and theology. She is the co-managing editor of the bilingual (English-Spanish) hymnal Santo, Santo, Santo / Holy, Holy, Holy (GIA Publications, 2019).
Andrew Donaldson is a lyricist/composer, conductor, and enlivener of congregational song. He was co-editor of The Book of Praise for the Presbyterian Church in Canada. He has worked as music director in several Toronto-area churches, and in Geneva as Worship Consultant to the World Council of Churches, for which he compiled and edited the songbook Hosanna! Ecumenical Songs for Justice and Peace, which contains many of his translations.
Sunghee Kim (D.M. from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music) is Assistant Professor of Organ and Church Music at Valparaiso University and currently serves as Director of Music at the Chapel of the Resurrection. She previously served in a faculty appointment at Pennsylvania State University at Abington and as Director of Music at Concordia Lutheran Church in Wilmington, Delaware, as well as Pleasant View Lutheran Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
An accomplished organist, Sunghee Kim is a former first prize winner in the Fort Wayne National Organ Competition and William C. Hall Competition in San Antonio. She has concertized in the United States, South Korea, and Europe. As a church music scholar, her research interests include liturgical organ playing and identity construction and professional development of Asian church musicians in North America.
Harry Plantinga is a professor of Computer Science at Calvin University. He founded and directs Hymnary.org and the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL.org). He also collaborates with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship on PreachingandWorship.org. He writes the “Classics to Life” blog at life.ccel.org.
A native of Indonesia, Dr. Kartika Putri is Worship and Music Minister at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Wausau, WI. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ and Bachelor of Arts degree in Church Music from Wartburg College, as well as Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees in Organ and Sacred Music from Indiana University. In 2009, she spent the summer in Heidelberg, Germany as a guest student at the Hochschule für Kirchenmusik Heidelberg, where she studied organ, improvisation, and choral conducting. Dr. Putri has performed and presented at chapter events and regional conventions for the American Guild of Organists and Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and has been featured as soloist in concert with the Wausau Symphony Orchestra. As a recitalist, Dr. Putri has performed in the United States, Germany, France, and Indonesia. Her passion for the role of music in bringing people together led her to write her doctoral dissertation in the form of a church music handbook: Come to Us, Creative Spirit: A Practical Guide for Congregational Education and Outreach through Music Ministry.
David Sims is the Music Development Manager at Augsburg Fortress, where he directs the development and production of choral, instrumental, and assembly song resources. Since 2014 he has served as Cantor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, and prior to that worked as an organ builder and church musician in Indiana. David grew up in the cornfields of central Illinois and holds degrees in Church Music and Organ Performance from St. Olaf College and Indiana University. His compositions are published by Augsburg Fortress and GIA, and you can usually find him on the search for a new hymn, recipe, or source of coffee.
Slats Toole is a musician, writer, educator, preacher, and theater director/sound designer based in Minneapolis, MN. They are an active member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and have had formative experience in Baptist (CBF and Alliance), United Methodist, Episcopal, and Reformed churches. They hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a Master of Divinity and Certificate in Theology, Women and Gender from Princeton Theological Seminary. They are a proud Deborah Carlton Loftis Ambassador for the Center for Congregational Song, and are the resident sound designer for the In[heir]itance Project. Slats’ Lenten poetry series has been compiled in the collection Queering Lent, and their work has also been published in History of Hymns, Call to Worship, Sacramental Life, and The Presbyterian Outlook. They have been a featured guest artist with A Sanctified Art, and serve on the “Friends of NEXT Church” team. Slats has led workshops on expansive language and queer theology (with a particular emphasis on gender identity) throughout the United States and Canada. Slats’ work centers around creating space in the church where all are welcomed, embraced, and loved.
John Weit, a deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is called as assistant to the presiding bishop and executive for worship of the ELCA. In this role, John oversees the work of the worship team within the Office of the Presiding Bishop and provides leadership on the bishop’s behalf in churchwide matters related to worship. This work includes developing and implementing strategies and resources that support worship in synods, congregations and other local worship assemblies across the ELCA as well as planning and worship leadership for churchwide events. Prior to his call to the churchwide organization, John served as musician for congregations in Pennsylvania and most recently as cantor to Trinity Lutheran Church in Worcester, Massachusetts. John earned a Master of Arts in religion with a concentration in liturgy and music from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. As part of his work with the ELCA, John works closely with the board of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.
Kola Owolabi is Professor of Organ at the University of Notre Dame, USA, where he teaches organ performance, hymn playing, and improvisation. He previously held faculty appointments at Syracuse University and University of Michigan. Dr. Owolabi has performed numerous concerts in the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria and France. Notable venues include St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York City and Yale University, USA; Klosterneuburg Abbey in Vienna and Église du Bouclier in Strasbourg. He has performed as organist and harpsichordist with the vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire and Firebird Chamber Orchestra in Miami, Florida. Dr. Owolabi is a published composer and has received commissions from the Royal Canadian College of Organists and the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto. He holds degrees in organ performance and choral conducting from McGill University, Montreal, Yale University and Eastman School of Music. His former teachers have included John Grew, Martin Jean, Thomas Murray, Hans Davidsson and William Porter.
Morning Prayers Leader
Jonathan Hehn, OSL, is a musician and liturgist currently serving the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. He is a brother in the Order of Saint Luke, a religious order committed to sacramental renewal and liturgical scholarship, and holds degrees in music from the Florida State University (B.M., D.M.), and theology from the University of Notre Dame (M.S.M., M.A.). A passionate practitioner, writer, and thinker, you can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @JonathanHehn.
James Abbington, FHS
James Abbington is Associate Professor of Church Music and Worship at Candler School of Theology at Emory University and Executive Editor of GIA Publications’ African American Church Music Series, Chicago, IL.
John Ambrose, FHS
John Ambrose is an ordained minister (retired) of the United Church of Canada, former church music director, hymnal editor (Voices United), song enabler, creator and leader of many hymn festivals, workshop presenter on new hymns/songs of the church, and advocate for community performing arts.
Rev. Joyce Borger is the editor of the quarterly journal Reformed Worship and director of Worship Ministries for the Christian Reformed Church of North America. She also served as editor of several hymnals and song collections including Lift Up Your Hearts: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs.
Barbara Bridge received her Bachelor of Music degree from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles in 1984. She served as cantor at the Papal Mass in Los Angeles in 1987 and several years at various events such as the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress and National Association of Pastoral Musicians Convention.
Since 1989, Barbara expanded her music ministry to include Taizé, providing music for Taizé prayer in churches and retreat centers of various denominations. As editor of the 135-song collection Hear the Prayers That Rise, her work brings people of various faith traditions together in contemplative prayer through song and silence. She has contributed her voice and several of her compositions to various prominent collections, including A Lenten Journey and One with the Risen Lord with Bob Hurd, as well as the most recent collection, Our Common Home, with songs inspired by Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’. Barbara retired from OCP in 2014 and lives in the Portland, Oregon, area. She continues to collaborate on liturgical music projects with OCP. Her full-length collection, Deep Peace, features fourteen pieces composed for SATB choir and assembly.
The Rev. James Hart Brumm directs the Reformed Church Center, the Theological Writing Center, and the Seminary Archives at New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS) in New Brunswick, NJ, where he also teaches RCA History and Worship. He is transition pastor of the Presbyterian Church in New Brunswick and General Editor of the Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America. A graduate of Westminster Choir College, NBTS, and Drew University Graduate School, he is the author of several articles and essays about hymns and hymnology, editor of five (and, he hopes, by the time of the conference, six) books, and author of various liturgical materials and about 370 hymns and worship songs, about 180 of which are included in four collections published by Wayne Leupold Editions. A father and grandfather, he lives in Highland Park, NJ, with his wife, the Rev. Kathleen Hart Brumm.
David Buley is an Associate Professor of Music Education in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. David has taught classroom music in Nova Scotia and New Jersey, and has led choirs in various situations, including church choirs, children’s choirs, university choirs, and vocal ensembles. Dr. Buley holds degrees in conducting, sacred music, philosophy, and liturgical studies from The University of King’s College, Westminster Choir College, and Drew University. A Co-Director of The Singing Network, David is currently involved as a member of the artistic team of Shallaway Youth Choirs, playing particularly with Lauda – an ensemble comprised of neuro-diverse children. He curates a weekly musical meditation series, Sundays @ Seven, at the Cathedral of St. John The Baptist in St. John’s, and, along with his partner, Jan Buley, he co-founded the Lullaby Project-NL – a music and art initiative that creates lullabies through social networking with various groups. David is a certified instructor and License candidate (DEIEB) in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, and loves to offer workshops in music education, vocal/choral music, and the worship arts. David is also owned by a vibrant border-collie, Nelllie, who doesn’t like chocolate as much as he does.
Alisa Clapp-Itnyre, Ph.D., is the author of Angelic Airs, Subversive Songs: Music as Social Discourse in the Victorian Novel (Ohio UP, 2002) and Hymn Books for Children, 1800-1900: Re-Tuning the History of Childhood (Ashgate/Routledge, 2016). Her O, Come, All Ye Children: Christmas Carols in Victorian Children’s Hymnbooks was published in The Hymn (Winter 2017). She is Professor of English at Indiana University East, Richmond, Indiana where she teaches Children’s Literature, Young-Adult Literature, and Victorian Literature, etc. Alisa grew up in the United Methodist church, of which she is still a member, and has enjoyed conferences of both the Hymn Societies of the United States and Canada, and of Great Britain and Ireland.
James E. Clemens
James E. Clemens was born in Goshen, Indiana, into a family of Mennonites on both sides, that has contributed to a life full of singing. During his school years he studied piano, violin, and organ. Jim composes a wide variety of vocal and instrumental music influenced by old-time tunes, rhythms from West Africa, music of Native North Americans, and early American folk hymns. In addition to composing, Jim works as a freelance music engraver and an accompanist for ensembles and soloists. He is also a Life Member of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.
Scot Crandal is Director of Music at the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Baptist in Portland, Oregon—he has also worked at OCP for several years, both as a music editor and music development coordinator, in charge of submissions and arranging. He earned his music degree from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, and was a music teacher in public schools for several years. In addition to writing songs for the liturgy, Scot composes and performs jazz, classical and popular music. He plays guitar and piano, and has showcased his strong tenor voice in several Portland Opera productions.
Scot’s annual psalter, The Living Church Acclaims, offers contemporary responsorial psalms and Gospel acclamations for the entire 2019 liturgical year. His most recent collection, Down to the River to Pray, brings together eight liturgical songs and choral anthems that are wonderfully unique and equally well-written and arranged.
Scot lives in Oregon with his wife, Karen, and their two children.
Carl P. Daw, Jr., FHS
Carl P. Daw, Jr. served as the Executive Director of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada from 1996 to 2009, while this binational and ecumenical organization had its headquarters at Boston University School of Theology. He taught hymnology and other courses there during this time and continued to do so through 2019. Although he has retired from his duties as Lecturer in Hymnology, he has remained as Curator of Hymnological Collections in the School of Theology Library. He recently became a Lecturer in Sacred Music at Yale Divinity School/Institute of Sacred Music. His hymn writing began while he was a consultant member of the Text Committee for The Hymnal 1982, and his texts now appear in most English language hymnals and hymnal supplements in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, and have been translated into Spanish, German, Dutch, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. More than 70 anthem settings of his texts are currently in print. Hope Publishing Co. has previously published five hymn collections by him. He was made a Fellow of the Hymn Society in 2007 and a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music (U.K.) in 2011; he has received honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from Virginia Theological Seminary (2009) and the University of the South (2012).
Hillary Doerries is the Director of Music Ministries at Christ the King Lutheran Church in South Bend, Indiana. She believes that when people who live with mental health challenges are invited to share their stories within compassionate and supportive congregations, they are empowered to seek the kind of healing that only takes place in community with others. Therefore, in addition to music ministry, Ms. Doerries is active in Christ the King’s community mental health ministry, where in early 2020, she was instrumental in beginning a local chapter of Fresh Hope for Mental Health in her congregation and community. Fresh Hope is a faith-based, peer-led support group for people living with mental health challenges and their loved ones. She also sits on the Task Force to the Board of Directors of the United Church of Christ’s Mental Health Network. Ms. Doerries received her musical training at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, earning double Bachelor of Music degrees in Organ and Vocal Performance in 2007 and a Master of Music in Organ and Church Music in 2011. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Pastoral Music (DPM) degree at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, where her dissertation examines the intersections of community mental health ministry, church music, and liberation theology.
Brian is an inspiring song-leader equally comfortable leading an a cappella singing of “It Is Well” as he is drumming and dancing to “Sizohamba Naye.” Experienced using a variety of genres and instrumentations, he has lead worship for Baptists, Roman Catholics, United Methodists, Presbyterians, and many more across the U.S. and Canada. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Wingate University, his Master of Sacred Music from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and is certified in children’s church music (K-12) by Choristers Guild. He has articles published on sacred music and congregational song in multiple journals and co-authored two books under the title “All Hands In” published by Choristers Guild. While working for The Hymn Society as the Director of The Center for Congregational Song, he also serves as adjunct professor of church music at Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina. Brian lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife, Eve, and son, Jakob.
Alan Hommerding, Liturgical Publications Editor at the WLP division of GIA Publications, has been an editor with World Library Publications (WLP) since 1991. He is the general editor of the WLP Organ Library series, in addition to editing various book projects for GIA. He holds graduate degrees in theology, liturgy, and music from St. Mary’s Seminary and University (Baltimore) and the University of Notre Dame.
His hymn text collections are Song of the Spirit (1997) and Breath of Christ (2019). Other books are the collections of prayers Blessed Are the Music-Makers and Proclaim the Gospel in Song. Additional books include Words That Work for Worship, Everyday Psalms: 150 Meditations for Learning and Living the Lord’s Song, Following Jesus Every Day: Gospel Meditations for Daily Living, and the book of poems St. Cecilia’s Orchestra (with illustrations by Br. Michael O’Neill McGrath), winner of a prestigious Moonbeam Children’s Book Award in 2010.
Scott M. Hyslop’s educational background includes the DMA in Organ/Church Music at The University of Michigan, a Master’s Degree in Church Music from Concordia University – River Forest, IL, and a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. He has also studied with Paul Manz through the Paul Manz Institute of Church Music in Chicago. As a composer, Hyslop studied with the noted American composer Alice Parker. His biography on Paul Manz The Journey Was Chosen: The Life and Work of Paul Manz was published in June of 2007 by MorningStar Music Publishers, and his book The Precious Gift: The Hymns, Carols and Translations of Henry L. Lettermann (2013) received the Award of Commendation from the Concordia Historical Institute in November of 2014. His first collection of hymn tunes, The New Song Never Ends, was published in 2017 by Selah Publications. Dr. Hyslop presently serves as the Director of Parish Music at St. Lorenz Lutheran Church in Frankenmuth, MI.
Paul Inwood is an internationally known liturgist, organist, author, clinician, and composer of the official Vatican Hymn for the Holy Year of Mercy (2015-2016). In 2009 he was honored as Pastoral Musician of the Year by the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, and is a member of the Collegeville Composers Group. His music is to be found in hymnals and worship aids across the English-speaking world.
Sarah Kathleen Johnson
Sarah Kathleen Johnson is the worship resources editor for Voices Together and editor of Voices Together: Worship Leader Edition. She is a doctoral candidate in Liturgical Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where her research at the intersection of liturgical studies and sociology of religion employs qualitative methods to study current issues in Christian worship, often in relation to ecumenism, ethics, and the changing religious landscape in Canada and the United States. A graduate of Yale Divinity School (MAR 2010) and Conrad Grebel University/University of Waterloo (MTS 2008, BA 2007), Sarah is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre. Sarah was a Hymn Society Austin C. Lovelace Scholar in 2008 and 2018 and the winner of the Emerging Scholars Forum in 2017.
Mark W. Lawson is the President of ECS Publishing Group, parent company for E.C. Schirmer, Galaxy Music Corporation and MorningStar Music Publishers. Mr. Lawson has been active in developing digital delivery methods and strategizing about the development of music websites, and has been involved in numerous recording projects. As a publisher, he enjoys working with both new and established composers. He is actively involved in the Music Publishers Association, and the Church Music Publishers Association.
Anneli Loepp Thiessen
Anneli Loepp Thiessen is a song leader, classical pianist, and scholar. She is co-director of the Anabaptist Worship Network and is passionate about empowering congregations to create vibrant worship. Anneli holds her Master of Music in Piano Performance and is a Ph.D. student at the University of Ottawa, where she studies women songwriters in the contemporary worship music movement. She is a graduate of Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg and holds her ARCT in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Anneli completed a graduate diploma in Arts Management from Queens University and is a Yamaha Fellow at the Eastman Leadership Academy. She is the director for Ontario Mennonite Music Camp and co-chair of the Popular Idioms Committee for Voices Together.
Sally Ann Morris
Sally Ann Morris is a Life Member of The Hymn Society. She has three tune collections from GIA Publications: Giving Thanks in Song and Prayer (1998), …to sing the Artist’s praise… (2009), and Spread the Good News (2016). Her tunes appear in Glory to God, Voices Together, All Creation Sings, Community of Christ Sings, Gather Comprehensive II and III, Worship IV, the New Century Hymnal, The Hymnal 21 in Japan, Church Hymnary 4, and in other current and forthcoming denominational hymnals, collections, and supplements. Sally is Musician in Residence at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, NC, where she leads, enlivens, encourages, demonstrates and teaches the diverse wealth of congregational song for chapel services.
Louise Mundinger is an organist, conductor and composer living in the Boston area since 1980. She earned an undergraduate degree in Church Music from Valparaiso University and a Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory. She is currently the Director of Music at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston. She has served churches in Minnesota, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Badenweiler, Germany. She is the most recent past Dean of the Boston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. As a composer, she has been commissioned by the American Composers Forum, the AGO, and several AGO chapters. She studied organ in Germany with the support of the Frank Huntington Beebe Award. Louise Mundinger is interested in how church music is received by congregation members, and how they understand what they sing, when they sing.
Nathan Myrick is an ethnomusicologist and theological ethicist, and is Assistant Professor of Church Music at Mercer University. He came to Mercer from Baylor University, where he earned his PhD, and Fuller Seminary, where he earned his MAT. He is fascinated by the intersection of ethics, theology, and music, and studies musical activity and human flourishing in the context of Christian communities.
Matthew Phelps is the Minister of Music at West End United Methodist Church where he leads a comprehensive department including two adult choirs, four choirs for children and youth, and two handbell choirs. He is also the founder and Artistic Director of Vocal Arts Nashville, a professional chamber choir in middle Tennessee. Dr. Phelps has performed across the nation as a conductor, organist, and pianist. He has served churches in the metropolitan New York area and in his hometown of Cincinnati. He received his doctorate from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the winner of the 2015 American Prize in Choral Conducting.
Iteke Prins-Ingwersen was born in Holland, immigrated to Canada, and then relocated to the United States. After becoming a registered nurse, she began studying organ and in 1969 became the organist and music director of the Blooming Grove Reformed Church until 2005. In 1990, she began studying hymn-tune writing with Alfred V. Fedak, and subsequently has published three collections of new hymn-tune settings: Murmurings of the Soul (2008), Framing God’s Word (2011), and A Treasury of Faith: Lectionary Hymns, Old Testament, Series B (2014). She holds both an Associate and a Choir Master certification in the American Guild of Organists.
Paul Robinson is the Director of Music and Worship Arts at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music in New York City (vocal performance) and former director of music at First Presbyterian Church in Rapid City, South Dakota. There he directed the Chancel Choir and Praise Team and served as the organist for Sunday services. An avid composer, Robinson’s choral and instrumental pieces are regularly presented as a part worship. He has recently been engaged as a featured soloist or directed performances with the Dakota Choral Union, Black Hills Community Theater, Black Hills Playhouse and Black Hills Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Eric Sarwar, a Pakistani, holds a Ph.D. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, in the area of intercultural studies, researching the role of Zabur (Psalms) in Muslim-Christian relations. He is a research fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and a recipient of the Lovelace Scholarship (2014-2015) at the Annual Conference of The Hymn Society in the U.S. and Canada.
David Schaap (pronounced skaap [rhymes with top]) is president and founder of Selah Publishing Co. His undergraduate studies were at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a double major in music (composition and arranging) and art (sculpture). Schaap has led workshops, hymn festivals, and reading sessions for national meetings of The Hymn Society, the American Guild of Organists, the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, and National Association of Pastoral Musicians, as well as for many regional events. He is also currently organist/choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvnia, and was formerly Minister of Music at St. James Episcopal Church in Hyde Park, New York.
Chris Shelton is the pastor of Broadway Presbyterian Church in New York City. Chris grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, and was greatly influenced by the vibrant musical tradition in his (Baptist) church and in the area’s public schools. When Chris stopped taking piano lessons in eighth grade in order to dive deep into his high school theatre and choir programs, his mother nudged him (constantly, but lovingly) to keep playing hymns at the piano. Chris carried those old Baptist hymns with him while studying Drama and Music at Texas Woman’s University. There, he was a scholarship choir member at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Denton, where the creative Spirit was particularly alive. Steadily, various threads of interest wove themselves together—-theology, the arts, justice, and imagination-—and an unexpected journey began. After college, Chris made the leap from Texas to New York City, earning his Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in 2003. Chris was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in 2004, and has served communities in New Jersey and New York. Chris’ hymns have been included in Voices Together and Call to Worship.
Michael Silhavy is senior project editor at GIA Publications and has worked in parish, school, university, cathedral and diocesan settings.
Marcell Silva Steuernagel
Marcell Silva Steuernagel, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of the Master of Sacred Music Program at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. Marcell writes at the intersection of church music, theology, musicology, and performance theory. He served as Minister of Worship, Arts and Communication at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Curitiba, Brazil, for more than a decade and is an internationally active composer and performer.
Hale Thompson has served as a Minister of Music for over 46 years. During this time he served Roman Catholic, United Church of Christ, United Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal congregations. His duties have included organist, pianist, choral director, and cantor/vocalist. This diverse history has provided a full spectrum of Christian life from the African American perspective that respects both the culture and the religious tradition.
Adam M. L. Tice is editor for congregational song at GIA Publications, and served as text editor for Voices Together, the new Mennonite hymnal.
See bio under Featured Session Leaders
Raymond Trapp is a native of Belize, Central America. Raymond serves as Director of Music/Organist at Vanderveer Park U.M.C in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY. Raymond’s love for the human voice and spirit has established him foremost as a Choral Conductor and Worship Leader. Raymond is a Colleague of the American Guild of Organists and was elected as the first African American Dean of the Brooklyn Chapter. Raymond acquired a bachelor’s degree in Music from Hunter College and a master’s degree in Sacred Music/Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ. Raymond served as Worship and Music Director for the U.M.C Special General Conference in 2019 and will serve in that role for U.M.C General Conference in 2021.
Amanda Udis-Kessler is an award-winning, multiply published hymnwriter and progressive sacred music composer located in Colorado Springs, CO, where she serves informally as composer-in-residence at Vista Grande Community Church UCC. Her music is in use across the US and in Canada, the UK, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Her website https://
Isaac Wardell studied Music and Biblical Studies at Covenant College and went on lead worship in several different churches before coming to Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2009. He also co-founded The Porter’s Gate Worship Project with his wife, Megan. When not at Trinity, Isaac and Megan love traveling with their four children.
Noel Werner is the Director of Music at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, NJ, and is currently the Dean of the Central New Jersey Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. A graduate of Westminster Choir College, Indiana University School of Music (Bloomington), and Christian Theological Seminary (Indianapolis), he is passionate about fostering good working relationships between pastors and musicians, and has been active in mentoring emerging leaders in church music. The choir members, student musicians, and colleagues at Nassau have taught him much about ministry, especially about the art of inclusion in every aspect of rehearsal, repertoire, and liturgy. His home includes his wife, Rev. Wendi, their two daughters, Sophie and Emily, and their dog, Lola.
Carlton R. Young, FHS
Carlton R. Young is a teacher, editor, composer, and conductor, and has had the unique distinction of serving as editor of two revisions of hymnals for Methodists: The Methodist Hymnal, 1966; and The United Methodist Hymnal, 1989.
Professor Young has served on the faculties and directed graduate studies in church music at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University; and Scarritt College; and is Emeritus Professor of Church Music, Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He was visiting professor of church music, Tainan Presbyterian College and Seminary, 1995-2004, and The Methodist School of Theology, Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia, 2004 and 2007.
Dr. Young’s published choral and organ works are in major music catalogues. ASCAP has recognized Dr. Young’s work as composer and editor with thirty-six awards presented by the Standard Awards Panel. He is editor (emeritus) with Hope Publishing Co., was curator of the Bridwell Library 2007 exhibit, Sacred Harmony: The Musical Wesley’s. He gave the 2007 Northcutt Lectures in Church Music at Baylor University.
Dr. Young is an ordained elder (retired) in the United Methodist Church, East Ohio Conference. He is married to the former Marjorie Lindner. They have four children: Robert, James, Carol, and Richard; and six grandchildren: Brook, Rebecca, Dyami, Kirby, Lena, and Raymond.