The Hymn Society2024 Annual Conference

Without Limits: Singing the Congregation’s Song

Atlanta, Georgia
Emory University

July 14-17, 2024

Register Now!

During the pandemic, many of us have had to alter our worship practices to fit the new reality that was in front of us. We could no longer sing freely without fear. Changes were made to our services to keep the congregation safe. Some of our congregations will never return to what we previously had before, for better or worse. While it was challenging, it forced us to think outside of the box, outside of our own habits, to keep the church alive through such a challenging time.

While ruminating over this, I wondered how we could expand our language for singing in a new way as we live into this new reality. Our exposure to certain types of music often informs our choices as it relates to congregational song, but it can also limit our vision to new ways of singing. How can we overcome our own limitations when choosing music for worship? How do we come out of our season of survival with a fresh new song and new spirit for expanding congregational song?

– Felicia Patton, Program Committee Chair

Conference Leaders

2:00 pm Registration Opens
4:00 pm Organ Recital Sponsored!
5:30 pm Dinner
7:30 pm Hymn Festival: “Singing in the Spirit: Congregational Singing in the African American Tradition” – Raymond Wise & HBCU Choir Sponsored by Andreas & Tracy Teich
After Festival Activity: First Timer’s Reception Sponsor this Event

Organ Institute Program

5:30 pm: Dinner – Designated table for Organ Institute participants with Nathaniel Gumbs

8:00 am Breakfast
8:45 am Morning Prayer – Stephanie Budwey Sponsored by Milner Seifert
9:30 am Plenary Address: “'We Don’t Need No Music': Pulse, Embodiment, and Shared Perceptual Experience in African American Worship" – Alisha Lola Jones Sponsored by Junius B. Dotson Institute for Music and Worship in the Black Church & Beyond and J. Michael McMahon
10:30 am Break Sponsored by Marty Haugen
11:00 am Sectionals I Sponsor a Sectional
12:30 pm Lunch
Lovelace Luncheon Sponsored by Beth and John Thornburg, FHS; Emily Brink, FHS; and GIA Publications
2:00 pm Connection Zones
3:00 pm Break Sponsor this Event
3:30 pm Sectionals II Sponsor a Sectional
5:30 pm Dinner
7:30 pm Hymn Festival: “The Seasonality of Black Sacred Music Education” – Alisha Lola Jones Sponsor this Event

Organ Institute Program

All sessions will take place at Glenn Memorial Church

11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Session I

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Session II

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Session III

8:00 am Breakfast
8:45 am Morning Prayer – Kai Ton Chau Sponsored by Bill and Jenny Pate
9:30 am Plenary Address: "Resonant Voices, Shared Breath: Cultivating Spiritual Community through Song" – Khalia J. Williams Sponsor this Event
10:30 am Break Sponsor this Event
11:15 am Featured Session I: Emerging Scholars Forum Sponsored by David English
Featured Session II: Hymnal Showcase: “Flor y Canto Cuarta Edición: A new hymnal" - Scot Crandal & Andrea Ramos Sponsor this Event
Featured Session III: “Working the Circle: Reimagining the Ring-Shout to Empower Song in Oral Transmission Communities” - Dollie Howell Pankey Sponsor this Event
12:30 pm Lunch
2:00 pm Sectionals III Sponsor a Sectional
3:30 pm Sectionals IV Sponsor a Sectional
5:30 pm Dinner
7:30 pm Hymn Festival: "Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Songs: Music from the Black Holiness and Holiness-Pentecostal Traditions" – Donté Ford Sponsored by C. Michael Hawn, FHS

Organ Institute Program

All sessions will take place at Glenn Memorial Church

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Session IV

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Session V

8:00 am Breakfast
8:45 am Morning Prayer – Charlie Frost Sponsored by Glen and Judy Brown Richardson
9:30 am Emily Swan Perkins Plenary Address: “The Adopted, Adapted, and Assimilated Hymnody of Isaac Watts in the Black Church” – James Abbington, FHS Sponsored by Deborah Carlton Loftis, FHS
10:30 am Break Sponsor this Event
11:00 am Sectionals V Sponsor a Sectional
12:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Special Event: Hymn Books and Psalters in the Collections of Pitts Theology Library - Brandon Wason
3:00 pm Organ Institute Hymn Sing
5:30 pm Dinner at Friendship Baptist Church Sponsor this Event
7:30 pm Hymn Festival: “Come, We that Love the Lord…Join in a Song with Sweet Accord: Isaac Watts and the Black Church” – James Abbington, FHS Sponsored by the George M Hartung Memorial Fund

Organ Institute Program

All sessions will take place at Glenn Memorial Church

11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Session VI (Hymn Sing prep)

3:00 pm: Organ Scholars Hymn Sing

Those who sign up for the Digital Option will be able to tune-in daily and watch Morning Prayers, Plenary Addresses, and Hymn Festivals in real time.

One Featured Session and one Sectional in each time slot will also be streamed and recorded. They are:

  • Featured Session: Emerging Scholars Forum
  • Sectional I: “Empowering Songwriters, Musicians, and More with My.Hymnary’s Music Publishing Platform” – Will Groenendyk
  • Sectional II: “Contemporary Hymns from South Korea” – Chan Gyu Jang
  • Sectional III: “Children & Hymnody: Awaken & Engage” – Karol Kimmell
  • Sectional IV: “What Limits Do We Place on Global Song?” – Katie Graber, Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Maria Monteiro & Lim Swee Hong, FHS
  • Sectional V: “Songs that Fit: Crafting Congregational Songs for Specific Needs” – Jorge Lockward and Amanda Powell

At the end of the conference, all recorded events will remain available to view online for an extended period.

Organists participating in The Hymn Society’s Annual Conference may also take advantage of an intensive institute on leading congregational song and playing hymns. For a modest additional fee of $50, registrants will be able to enjoy the morning plenary events and evening festivals while devoting the rest of their time to instruction and master classes on playing and leading communal singing. The institute will be directed by Nathaniel Gumbs, Director of Chapel Music at Yale University. This program is made possible by generous financial support from the George Hartung Memorial Fund.

Member $500
(includes one-year membership)
Student $370
Single Day $200 each
Digital Option $350

Conference Meal Plan $230
Single Occupancy room with shared bath and AC – 4 nights $360
Double Occupancy room with shared bath and AC – 4 nights $300
Conference Bus to Off Campus Sites with dinner $  45
Friendship Baptist Dinner if not taking bus $  30

We will be staying in the Woodruff Residential Center and Clifton Tower. Most activities will take place at the Candler School of Theology, which is .7 miles away from the dorms (about a 15-minute walk). You can either walk or take one of multiple buses that stop near Woodruff Residential Center. All routes have blue signs at the pick-up location. For a campus map, please click here.

For up-to-date information about shuttles, (including which routes are in service during the summer), please use this link. The A route, M, Exec. Park, and the CCTMA all go past the Woodruff Residential Center.

For those with mobility issues, we will have a golf cart or van near Woodruff Transportation Circle Bus Stop to assist your travel to Candler and Cannon Chapel.

Several events will be taking place at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, which is located on the Emory campus near Candler. Information about the church and its location can be found here.

The conference dinner and concluding hymn festival will take place off-campus, at Friendship Baptist Church. Bus transportation to Friendship is available to registrants who paid for the bus and dinner package during the registration process. If you will be getting there on your own, you can find information about the church and its location here.


If you have mobility issues, please email Courtney Murtaugh at

There are plenty of options for travel to Atlanta and to the Emory University campus. The campus is located at 201 Dowman Dr, Atlanta, GA 30322. 

If you are driving, you can set your GPS for the address listed above. If traveling from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, plan on a 30-45 minute trip by car, depending on traffic. MARTA, Atlanta’s mass transit system, provides bus and train service to the area. You will need to take a ride service or MARTA bus from the train station to campus, as there are no MARTA stations right next to campus.

For more information on getting to the city and the university, click here.

Emily Swan Perkins Plenary: $2,500 Sponsored!

Plenary Address (2): $1,750

Hymn Festival (4): $1,500

Lovelace Scholars Luncheon (3): $1,250 Sponsored!

First Timers’ Reception (3): $1,000

Organ Recital (2): $750 Sponsored!

Featured Session (3): $750

Refreshment Break (4): $500

Friendship Baptist Dinner (10): $500

Morning Prayer (3): $150 Sponsored!


One: $275
Two: $500
Three: $750


Corporate Sponsorships

Bronze: $500

Silver: $1,000

Gold: $2,000

Platinum: $3,000+

For details regarding corporate sponsorships, click here.


Information and rates for placing an ad in our program book can be found here.

The Hymn Society affirms our collective responsibility to continue to care for the most vulnerable among us—the elderly, the immunocompromised, and families with small children—and recognizes that unchecked spread of respiratory viruses inhibits immunocompromised persons from participating in society. At all of our gatherings, the Gospel calls us to consider the well-being of those who are least able to protect or speak for themselves.


Both the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Centers for Disease Control in the United States encourage a multi-layer approach to reducing the spread of respiratory viruses. Certain activities, like travel and community singing, present a higher risk of spreading these viruses. Masks are known to reduce the risk of infection, especially if one has known exposure to a person with a respiratory virus.

Proof of vaccination status is not required for conference attendance, and masking is optional at conference activities. However, our gatherings are mask-friendly, and the Hymn Society Executive Committee encourages conference delegates to consider masking in group settings for the good of the ongoing health of the community.

The Hymn Society Executive Committee is engaged in an ongoing process of articulating and reviewing a process in the event of instances of sexual harassment within this community. We hope it will never be necessary, but we take seriously our responsibility to be prepared for any eventuality. Our goal is to take a trauma-informed approach to any reports.

We are committed to ensuring that all our activities uphold our stated mission: “We believe that the holy act of singing together shapes faith, heals brokenness, transforms lives, and renews peace.” As such, The Hymn Society aims to foster a safe environment for all people. We do not tolerate sexual harassment or abuse in any shape or form in the context of our gatherings. We also aim to provide a clear pathway for reporting traumas or unwanted incidents.

In the event of an incident or trauma, please reach out to any member of the Executive Committee (or ask someone you trust to make this disclosure on your behalf), who will inform the Executive Director, President Elect, or Past President, as appropriate. We will honour the sensitivity of all reports, and will protect the confidentiality of the complainant.

Emory University acknowledges the Muscogee (Creek) people who lived, worked, produced knowledge on, and nurtured the land where Emory’s Oxford and Atlanta campuses are now located. In 1821, fifteen years before Emory’s founding, the Muscogee were forced to relinquish this land. We recognize the sustained oppression, land dispossession, and involuntary removals of the Muscogee and Cherokee peoples from Georgia and the Southeast. Emory seeks to honor the Muscogee Nation and other Indigenous caretakers of this land by humbly seeking knowledge of their histories and committing to respectful stewardship of the land.