Annual Conference – Sectionals by Schedule


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Below are the breakout sessions, which we call “sectionals,” for our 2022 Annual Conference. These sessions are offered by a variety of presenters on a variety of topics.

Jump to a session:

Session I (Monday 1:00 pm)

Session II (Monday 2:30 pm)

Session III (Tuesday 1:00 pm)

Session IV (Wednesday 10:30 am)

Session V (Thursday 1:00 pm)

Digital Sectionals


Session I (Monday 1:00 pm)

New Arrangements of Spirituals and Gospel Songs by Valeria Foster
Valeria Foster

Valeria Foster’s arrangements of music from Black singing traditions have appeared in many collections, beginning with the African American Heritage Hymnal. They are brought together for the first time in this new collection, acknowledging her work as one of the foremost interpreters of these bodies of music.


OCP celebrates 100 years of music for the faithful
Scot Crandal & Sarah Hart

Join talented composers Scot Crandal and Sarah Hart as we join in song honoring the centennial celebration of both the Hymn Society and OCP in providing music for the faithful for over a hundred years. This reading session will feature new hymns, songs, and choral music for various seasons and uses that have appeared recently in OCP’s Choral Review Service, including many from the standout choral packet #100.


Imagining Japanese Hymns in a World God Imagines
Hikari Miyazaki, Makihiko Arase, & Ryuichi Mizuno
This sectional will be recorded for Digital Conference participants.

Japanese Christians have, historically, sung songs originating in Western Europe and North America. At various times, consciousness of a need for a non-Western hymnody has risen and fallen. Yet, despite efforts to create more indigenous Japanese hymns, current hymnals continue to comprise mostly Western-style hymns.

Inevitably, and critically, the problem that arises when attempting a consciously more indigenously “Japanese” (and less “Western”) hymnody is the question of just what makes a hymn “more Japanese.” What makes a Japanese hymn “Japanese”? The themes chosen? The melody? Meter? Diction? Key? Scale?

Through an analysis of recent Japanese hymns selected to share at this conference, we can explore these issues of identity, of how Japanese Christians are confronting the question of a more “Japanese” hymnody, and, finally, how this exploration can help bring into focus similar issues of identity not only in Japan but wherever critical questions of identity are raised.


“Into My Life Your Power Breaks Through: A Retrospective on the work of The 20th Century Church Light Music Group
John Ambrose, FHS
This sectional will be recorded for Digital Conference participants.

The sectional will be a retrospective on the lively hymns of the 20th Century Church Light Music Group. The sectional title is from a hymn by British musician, Patrick Appleford. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, a small group of church musicians and pastors launched a movement in Britain to update the the music of British churches. Feeling that churches were increasingly detached from modern society, the group focused on the revitalization of old texts with new folk style tunes, and the creation of new texts for worship. This was the movement that spurred the early efforts of churches in North America to venture into the creation of new texts and tunes for worship. This will be a relaxed and fun retrospective of one period of church music.


Faithful Echoes: The Hymns of Basil Moreau
Jonathan Hehn, Kevin Grove, & Andrew Donaldson, FHS

Fr. Basil Moreau (founder of the Holy Cross religious order, which established the University of Notre Dame) was concerned with the songs he heard school children in 19th-century France singing on their way to school and on their way back home. He set out to provide them with more suitable songs that were also catechetical in nature. The Faithful Echoes collection of Fr. Moreau’s hymns is selected from the numerous hymns he wrote to give a representative sampling of his work for our times. Translated by Andrew Donaldson, FHS, and Kevin Grove, CSC, the texts are presented in both French and English. Some are set to the tunes likely known by Fr. Moreau, others set to well-known melodies of today, with others having new tunes composed for this collection. Project director Jonathan Hehn and WLP/GIA hymnary editor Tom Strickland have brought together this collection of hymns that not only illustrates an earlier time in catechetical music, but also provides a new body of hymnody that can still be sung across generations.


A Festival of Hymns
Lloyd Larson

I will have a new publication in print by next summer titled A Festival of Hymns for choir, congregation, piano, and opt. orchestra. It is comprised of 10 well-known hymns that span history and denominational lines. It is intended to be a practical resource that can be used in local churches and/or communities bringing together local churches from multiple denominations. It includes optional narration which provides cohesion and context for each hymn included in the project. The breadth of hymns included cover the basic tenets of the Christian faith, including praise to the Trinity, the cross, heaven, and others. This sectional will be a “singing” event as we will walk through the work with books provided by the publisher, including the narration. I will provide background information on the project and include a brief Q & A. Sample hymns include: PRAISE TO THE LORD THE ALMIGHTY, GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS, WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL, AMAZING GRACE, among others.


Patrick Michaels’ Hymnary
Patrick Michaels & David Schaap

A unique collection of hymn tunes from Michaels, setting texts from most all of the well-known contemporary text writers. A wide variety of styles are used to effectively set the varied texts.


What Does the Lord Require?: Musicking and the Micah Model
Tommy Shapard

Inspired by Micah 6:6-8, this sectional explores the prophet’s question, “What does God require (in our music-making)?” How can our congregational song do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God as a way of shaping the world around us? In short, I share the ongoing story of reforming one congregation’s song using the Micah directives: prophetic musicking (do justice), pastoral musicking (love kindness), and sanctuary musicking (walk humbly with God). This paradigm is supported by inclusive practices of singing found in the field of community music and expands the possibilities of a congregation’s ability to musick with others through community partnerships, advocacy, and pastoral care contexts.

Stories with practical examples and songs will be shared as a way of encouraging critical discussion about the Micah Model and allow time for others to share similar experiences in their congregations/communities.


Singing For a New Jerusalem
Gillian Warson
This Sectional will be streamed live for Digital Conference participants.

As hymn singers we would like to believe that our hymns reflect a world that God imagines. This is, perhaps, the world at its best as God envisaged in the act of creation. Most people would agree that the modern world is not “the best of all possible worlds,” as Leibniz said. Nevertheless, hymns have the capacity to move towards a more nearly perfect world through language and imagery. With this in mind, we should ask ourselves whether our vintage hymns—much-loved as they are—are a help or a hindrance as we seek perfection. Is it not possible that if we continue to sing older texts in an unaltered form, there is a danger that they may perpetuate now unacceptable attitudes to race, gender, warfare and inequality? What, then, are we to do? It seems to me that there are at least two possible options. The first is to jettison our old hymns and write an entirely new canon. Alternatively, older texts can undergo careful and thoughtful revision so that they both preserve what is best but eliminate undesirable features. This paper, through the examination of vintage texts, will explore how this living tradition can be maintained whilst adjusting texts to suit our modern needs.


Session II (Monday 2:30 pm)

New Songs by Mark Miller
Mark Miller

Mark Miller’s tunes appear in many recent hymnals. The depth and breadth of his output continues to grow as he collaborates with text writers like Lindy Thompson, Chris Shelton, Jacque Jones, David Gambrell, Ruth Duck, and Adam Tice. Ranging from heart-breaking lament to exhilarating praise, Miller gives the church new ways to voice its deepest longings. Come sing some of Mark’s newest work, now available through GIA Publications.


“Our Common Home” – complementing “Sing the World God Imagines”
Scot Crandal & Sarah Hart

We, as human beings, have a common home here on this planet. As Christians, we are called to be responsible stewards of creation, united by a common concern for our planet and every living thing that dwells on it, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Join us as we sing through “Our Common Home” – a musical compilation that provides musicians, choirs, and ensembles with music based on the themes of ‘Laudato Si’, the powerful encyclical from Pope Francis concerning care for the earth. In turn, these songs will help assemblies to hear and respond to both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, reminding us all of the importance to care for the environment and one another each time we sing them.


Dangerous Imaginings: A Hymnic Heritage that Shaped the World
Janet Wootton
This sectional will be recorded for Digital Conference participants.

The Protestant Missionary Movement of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries took off on the romantic trail of ‘discovery’ and colonial expansion, with enormous enthusiasm. This was the age of intrepid explorers, undiscovered lands (which, of course, were perfectly familiar to generations of inhabitants), and encounters with people who were automatically designated barbarians, in need of civilization and, crucially, salvation. With complete disregard for the global wealth of musical traditions, the missionaries shoehorned English hymns into what were often culturally utterly inappropriate linguistic and musical forms. But they did so, convinced that they were singing the world that God imagined. The mission hymns of that era are bursting with compelling biblical images, from the distant islands, waiting for God’s teaching, to the Great Commission to preach the gospel to all nations; from the sweet moral blackmail of children’s hymns, to the final song of triumph o’er the whole wide (and eternally grateful) world. And it worked! In this session, I will explore the slow emergence and rapid spread of this great tide of hymnody. I will acknowledge its power; I would argue that we are still living in thrall to those seductive and powerful songs. I recognize the importance of a truly global cultural heritage and language which is equally rich, biblical and impactful. That work is being done brilliantly by many scholars, writers, musicians, congregations in our own time, by the grace of God. But for a moment, I will invite you to stand back, and ask: How did we get here? What did we imagine we were doing?


Introducing Sing A New Creation, the Anglican Church of Canada’s forthcoming hymn book supplement
Ken Hull & Becca Whitla
This sectional will be recorded for Digital Conference participants.

The presenters will discuss the aims of the collection and the nation-wide consultation process that informed its contents. We will sing together a cross-section of hymns, songs and service music from the collection, focusing on those items which are published here for the first time, are less likely to be known to Hymn Society members, or were contributed by Canadian poets and composers.


Old or New: Borderline Cases of Originality in Hymn Tunes
Joseph Herl

Recognizing a new hymn tune is easy, because it doesn’t sound like an older tune. That is true in most cases, but some new tunes do sound like older ones, more or less, because they are related to the older ones in some way. Some are direct descendants, others have a common ancestor, and some have superficial similarities but are historically unrelated. Knowing the exact relationship can be important in establishing a tune’s ownership. This sectional will consider how relationships among well-established tunes can inform our judgments concerning borderline cases in newer tunes from England, Scandinavia, Spain, the United States, the Caribbean, China, and Africa.


Hymnological zeitgeists: the accommodating hymn in Norway
David Scott Hamnes

In Norway, hymn writing and composition, as well as hymn book compilation, have traditionally been interwoven cultural phenomena which have (in the majority church context) reflected variously current theological thought, liturgical understandings, dogma, ethics and catechesis. Anthropological issues related to society, equality (including gender, race, economic and cultural equalities), management of the environment and other politicized influences have provided a plethora of newer themes in hymnody since the Second World War. This sectional explores the content of the Norwegian hymn book (2013) written since 2010 (ca. 150 hymns), as well as the recent supplementary digital material (2018-2022, 60 hymns). Questions such as “How is God addressed?”, “How does God respond?”, “Which issues are being raised and why?” and “How is cultural diversity and equality reflected in the new material?” are posed and answered based on empirical data gathered from the material. During an era of religious disenfranchisement and increasing institutional wariness, it is relevant and appropriate to evaluate the current hymn writing culture and content. It is also a valuable exercise to evaluate how the Church of Norway now expresses itself through hymnody.


Dream in the Daylight
Patrick Michaels

Dream in the Daylight features texts that are fresh and wide-ranging from many sources including texts of John Core, John Dalles, Gracia Grindal, Thomas Mousin, Fred Crider and George Herbert. Most are seasonal with Biblical themes, including carols for Easter and Christmas, blessing songs, and general praise texts.


Preparing the (American) (White) (Protestant) Church to “Sing the World God Imagines”
Charles Freeman

For many of us who revel in the new hymns and songs and ideas and understanding we gain from participating in events and groups like this meeting and society, the challenge is in how to put those ideas into practical application in a local church that may not have great musical resources, may not be terribly diverse, or might be uneasy about anything resembling change. This sectional offers one approach to challenging such a church to broaden and deepen its repertoire of congregational song.

This presentation suggests four categories of congregational song repertoire and offers reasons for a congregation to engage with all varieties of the church’s song across the full chronological, geographical, and emotional breadth and depth of the church’s life. At its best the church moves from an isolated, tradition-bound solitary outpost to a station on the way, knowing and embracing its place as a part of the full global church, the whole body of Christ. The church also learns to worship in joy and in sorrow, in triumph and in grief – something about which many congregations remain reluctant.

Beyond the act of singing, the embrace of such an approach also encourages a discipline of listening. Making room to include the oldest and newest of the church’s song, from the full global reach of the church and from all the heights and depths of life, challenges the congregation to hear expressions of worship and of the faith different from their own and thereby to understand and embrace the working of the Spirit in all places and peoples.

The approach even includes a memory aid, one found in an old popular saying about what a bride needs to have for her wedding day.


The Nigerian Christian Songs Project: Building Bridges through Narrating a Hymn Heritage
Monique Ingalls, Ayobami Ayanyinka, Emmanuella Chesirri, & Matthew Amuro
This Sectional will be streamed live for Digital Conference participants.

This sectional describes the online collaborative project Nigerian Christian Songs: A Digital Interactive Songbook, whose creation is in part a critical intervention into the musical canon of “global song.” Many North American Christians sing this body of non-Western Christian hymns in an attempt to identify with other Christians across geographical distance and cultural difference. Marissa Moore (2018) and Lim Swee Hong (2019) note, however, that within the North American context, a small number of self-appointed global song curators and publishers exert a disproportionate influence in determining what is included in this repertoire. Global song often conforms to North American expectations of what the music of Christian “Others” from across the world should sound like, thus reinforcing old stereotypes and inhibiting true cross-cultural understanding.

North American Christian universities and educational organizations have often been complicit in perpetuating a musical canon of Christian “Otherness.” But how might we instead enable cross-cultural understandings of congregational musicking as complex and multi-faceted? How might we encourage greater local control of cultural representation of Christian music, engaging students, religious leaders, and churchgoers in knowledge creation? We address these questions by chronicling the creation of Nigerian Christian Songs, an interactive, multimedia website created from a collaboration between music doctoral students at Christian universities in Nigeria and the USA. During the 2020-21 academic year, Nigerian students employed ethnographic and online research methods to construct a new Christian song “canon” that showcases the diversity of songs and styles sung in their churches, learning tools to chronicle their own hymn and song heritage. The project highlights the transformative potential of collaborative research efforts to build bridges and document hymn traditions, while amplifying previously unheard voices within global congregational music-making.



Session III (Tuesday 1:00 pm)

Let Us All Rejoice
Sarah Hart & Scot Crandal

Friends and composers Steve Angrisano, Curtis Stephan and Grammy-nominated songwriter Sarah Hart gathered together to craft new musical settings of the Entrance and Communion Antiphons, which serve well as introits and communion meditations. The result is a compilation of beautiful new musical settings for the church. In this workshop, come hear these new settings, sing loudly, and learn more about why antiphons are so important for our churches to rediscover. A sample of the resource, “Let Us All Rejoice” will be shared with workshop participants.


Singing the Narrative Lectionary
Chris Shelton
This sectional will be recorded for Digital Conference participants.

The Narrative Lectionary invites worship leaders to guide their communities on a journey through Scripture from cover to cover. Such a journey (re)introduces worshippers to the thematic and theological threads that weave through the Bible. This workshop will explore the musical opportunities and challenges this journey presents. Worship planning resources, including hymn suggestions, will be shared.


Hymn-based Instrumental Resources from the WLP Division of GIA Publications
Tom Strickland & Alan Hommerding

A variety of hymn-based resources for organ, piano, and solo instruments from the WLP/GIA catalog. Music suitable for both worship and concert performance through the various seasons of the church year.


Hymns of Richard Dirksen
David Schaap

Richard Dirksen’s centenary of his birth happened in 2021, and Selah Publishing Co., Inc., has published a definitive collection of his hymn tunes, with historical background, in conjunction with Washington National Cathedral.


Amazing Grace: A Glimpse of Diversified Congregational Songs from Taiwan
Chi Yi Chen Wolbrink, Chin-Hsing Lee, & Eponine Wei-Nung Wang
This sectional will be recorded for Digital Conference participants.

A Survey of various congregational songs as experienced by congregations of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan, this session will examine the music-making practice of the indigenous populace, and showcase emerging trends as they relate to the life and spirituality of Taiwanese Christianity.


To sing the world God imagines in many languages
Esther Handschin
This Sectional will be streamed live for Digital Conference participants.

This sectional will give an insight into the situation of congregational singing in the United Methodist Church in Germany as well as Middle & Southern Europe.


Praise, Lament, and Prayer: A Psalter for Singing, Vol. 2 & 3
Carl P. Daw, Jr., FHS

These two volumes complete Carl Daw’s of paraphrasing all the Psalms. The author will lead participants in the singing of representative selections. Complimentary copies of both volumes will be handed out to all in attendance.


Session IV (Wednesday 10:30 am)

Decolonizing Binary Language: Incorporating Intersex People in Congregational Song
Stephanie Budwey
This Sectional will be streamed live for Digital Conference participants.

Intersex people—those who are born with sex characteristics that do not fit what is ‘typically’ considered to be ‘female’ or ‘male’—are often erased and/or made to feel invisible in worship services that are steeped in sexual dimorphism, a paradigm that teaches that all humans are either ‘clearly female’ or ‘clearly male.’ Being born with intersex traits is as common as having red hair or green eyes, which means that there are intersex people in our congregations, and we need to pay attention to how we can make them feel welcome and included. Most congregational song, like most theologies, are based on a sexually dimorphic interpretation of Genesis 1:27 that excludes intersex people because they do not ‘fit’ into the sex/gender binary. They also often exclusively use binary language (feminine and masculine) to describe both God and humans. This sectional will highlight examples of congregational song that are doing the work of decolonizing binary language by providing texts where all intersex people can see themselves reflected—keeping in mind that some intersex people identify within the sex/gender binary and others do not—as they employ inclusive language for humans and expansive language for God, moving beyond binary language and toward a paradigm of sexual polymorphism that includes all human beings along the sex/gender continuum, including intersex people. Additionally, there will be a discussion of how congregational song based in a paradigm of sexual polymorphism can help create liturgies of livability where intersex people are made to feel included, as opposed to congregational song based in a paradigm of sexual dimorphism which leads to liturgical violence as intersex people are made to feel excluded.


Drawing Out the Drama of Hymnody
Paul Robinson

With a background in musical theater and a skill set that includes a variety of musical styles and quite a bit of improvisation, I tend to have a flair for the dramatic. So when my passions for drama and hymnody collide, you tend to see a whole different side of music in worship. In these times when many find traditional hymns boring to sing and hear, but more people than ever are going to Broadway shows, “why” – as the saying goes – “should the devil have all the good music?” Great organists understand drama in hymnody. They vary the accompaniment to express the texts, they add interludes to build intensity or transition to a new musical idea. But what are some other ways to bring out the drama of hymnody that might bring a whole different level of meaning to the worshipper or connect them to God in a whole new way? This sectional will explore accompaniments in a variety of styles (including Latin and other jazz styles), outside-the-box hymn introductions, thoughts on utilizing the gifts of actors and even dancers in your congregation, and unusual ways to incorporate technology in hymnody.


Watts Revisited
Roger Wesby

Watts Revisited brings fresh perspectives to the original manuscripts of the revered hymnist. Laurel Chamberland has created inspiring poetry and composed new tunes, while Roger Wesby has created imaginative accompaniments including chord symbols. The hymns hold to an essentially traditional character but are infused with a few modern touches and some colorful word painting. This introduces a new genre of hymn writing we refer to as “Modern Traditional.”


The Truth of Faith, The Beauty of Hymns
Alan Hommerding

The Doctrine Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops began their 2020 document Catholic Hymnody at the Service of the Church: An Aid for Evaluating Hymn Lyrics with the statement that in hymnody truth and beauty are inextricably bound together. This sectional will look at ways in which hymns combine truthful beauty and beautiful truth.
Based on a presentation given to the Liturgical Music Institute (Long Island, NY) in July of 2021.


Hymns by African American Holiness, Methodist, and Pentecostal Bishops
James Abbington, FHS
This sectional will be recorded for Digital Conference participants.

This session will explore and sing hymns written by 19th- and early 20th-century Black Holiness, Pentecostal and Methodist Bishops. They represent hymnody of the Church of Christ Holiness USA, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, and the Christian (formerly Colored) Methodist Episcopal Churches.


Plenary Follow-Up Conversations: Plenary Round Table Leaders

This is an opportunity to follow up and continue conversation with the international leaders who participated in the morning’s plenary.


Voices Together Goes To School
Bradley Kauffman

What happens when a new hymnal is adopted by a school during a pandemic? Voices Together general editor Bradley Kauffman returned to teaching following the publication of Voices Together. Now teaching in a Mennonite (3–12) school in Indiana, Bradley has had a front seat in facilitating the adoption of this collection by elementary, middle, and high school students. Bradley brings video conversations and musical snapshots from this community as they discover what is old and what is new; what is met with suspicion and what is quickly embraced.


Benjamin Franklin printing Prelude to the New World, Beissel’s hymnbook Vorspiel der Neuen Welt
Elisabeth Fillmann
This sectional will be recorded for Digital Conference participants.

Conrad Beissel (1691-1768) may be seen as a hymnwriter and musician who intended to sing the world God imagines. It is perplexing that some of the hymnbooks of the Palatinate radical pietist mystic and his Ephrata cloister community have been printed by the deist and active promotor of Enlightenment by civic participation, conduction of experimental science, and melioration of everyday life with practical technology Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), who sold Zinzendorf’s (1700-1760) Hirtenlieder as well. Observations on the printing and the books and their setting, connecting old and new world, will be discussed.


In-between Singing: Practical Theology meets Community Music
Debbie Lou Ludolph

The experience of singing together holds the potential to constrain or set free the imagination to shape “the world that God imagines.” Undergirded by Walter Brueggemann’s argument that a contest of narratives exists in twenty-first century North American church and society, in this sectional we will explore theologian Mary (Joy) Philip’s call for the church to be located in “in-between space” created by safe haven and adjacency and Lee Higgins’ “boundary-walking” to understand the place of difference in a theological orientation to congregational singing practice. Exploring the storied lives of sixteen singers in a faith-based singing community called Inshallah, we will consider how the experience of singing together shapes worldview. I will show how in these diverse lives storied songs become boundary-crossers, spirituality offers a horizon of wholeness, hospitality insists on welcoming difference, difference is embraced as necessary, and everyday life performs worldview. Based on this research, I will propose that when a congregational singing practice nurtures relational connectedness (to God, humanity and all of creation), engages difference as a resource to be embraced, and renews vision through embodied witness, the social imaginary grows with the possibility of awakened authenticity, deepened connectivity, and emboldened solidarity. I assert that singing storied songs together from a horizon of wholeness subversively enlivens the imagination by negotiating and performing identity, relationships, and vision. We will consider together how this proposal translates to singing the world God imagines in the local congregation.


Session V (Thursday 1:00 pm)

Caminemos con Jesús
Tony Alonso

This sectional explores bilingual/multicultural music-making through the prism of Tony Alonso’s project Caminemos con Jesús, a collection of liturgical songs that celebrates the beauty, passion, and vitality of Cuban music. Reflecting on the particularities of the musical, stylistic, formal, and textual commitments that shaped the project, it will invite a deeper discernment of the relationship between worship and culture in a range of pastoral contexts, with a particular focus on ministry in Latinx communities.


Sur-Sangam and Punjabi Zabur (Psalms 24:7–10): Messianic and Missiological Perspective in the Indian Subcontinent
Eric Sarwar
This Sectional will be streamed live for Digital Conference participants.

How does the local raga-based music setting of Psalm 24:7–10 become associated with Christian identity in an Islamic context? How does Psalm 24 strengthen the faith of the marginalized church and broaden messianic hope? In what ways does Psalm 24:7–10 equip local Christians for missional engagement? This sectional focuses on the convergence of the local raga-based musical concept of sur-Sangam and the revealed text of Punjabi Psalms/Zabur 24:7–10. It argues that while poetic translated text in Punjabi vernacular remains a vital component for theological pedagogy, local music expresses the emotional voice that (re)assures of the messianic hope and mandates missional engagement in Pakistan. Throughout the convergence, musical, messianic, and missional perspectives are transformed to a local phenomenon and its practice is perceived in a cross-cultural connection. Furthermore, examining the text and tune of Punjabi Zabur (Psalms) 24:7–10 in the Indo-Pak context may stretch the spectrum of religious repertoire in the contemporary intercultural world.


Sing the World God Imagines: Performing Liberation in Congregational Singing
Becca Whitla & Marcell Silva Steuernagel

Marcell Silva Steuernagel and Becca Whitla share their perspectives on the rich possibilities of performing liberation in and through congregational singing. Both Becca and Marcell are practitioners, scholars, teachers, and activists that have been inspired by liberation perspectives from Brazil, USA, Canada, Cuba, and elsewhere. Drawing on their personal experiences and on disciplinary perspectives from theology, musicology, performance studies, post and decolonial theories, and other related fields, they explore liberation approaches to worship and congregational singing and share how liberating song can be a catalyst for transformative action in the church and in the world. Undergirding this conversation and presentation are shared commitments to cultural justice in worship and radical hospitality. With liberation theologians, Silva Steuernagel and Whitla believe that song enliveners and worship leaders need be engaged in a continual process of renewal and critical engagement to ensure that we are staying true to Jesus’ radical call to love God and neighbor at the heart of our faith. This sectional will include singing and potentially dancing!


“Trust the Work” – A New Collection of Paperless Songs from Hope Publishing
Paul Vasile

Paul Vasile presents a new collection of short songs and hymns in collaboration with Dan Damon and Donald Schell. It includes a significant amount of new material written by Music that Makes Community leaders and workshop participants over the past five years. 


Celebrando la fe desde América Latina / Celebrating Faith from Latin America
Gerardo Oberman, Horacio Vivares, & Laura D’Angiola
This sectional will be recorded for Digital Conference participants.

Un peregrinaje por las canciones que animan la fe del pueblo latinoamericano. Diversos ritmos que recorren la amplia y rica diversidad del continente.


Fresh Contemporary Hymns from the UK: Relevance and Substance
Noël Tredinnick & Roger Peach

In this seminar, Noël & Roger will accentuate the need for the hymns we choose and sing to be relevant to today’s society, with well-crafted content that is God-honoring and accessible. We will use examples from a new collection of contemporary hymns Until your earth is whole from British-based Jubilate Hymns to show how the specific language we use matters, and how the music can help to bring alive the hymntexts. We will highlight the importance of careful crafting and refining of lyrics, and suggest some key factors to consider for those involved in selecting music for corporate worship.

Participants in the workshop will have the opportunity to sing new hymns of lament and hope covering key current areas of concern, including mental health, truth, immigration, and the environment, with reference to another recent song collection Doxecology from Jubilate’s partner organization Resound Worship. These new hymns will provide us with the opportunity to reflect on our present joys and struggles through song, and in faith to proclaim our future hope for our world.


Time on My Hands and a Song in My Heart: Preparing to Sing What God Imagines
Marilyn Haskel
This sectional will be recorded for Digital Conference participants.

The sectional will include music created by the presenter for the itinerant congregation at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City as well as a new set of tunes for texts by the North Carolina Episcopal priest, Michael Hudson; Hymn Society member, Slats Toole; and David Adam, vicar of Lindisfarne. This inherently singable music and the engaging texts of contemporary writers are gems that seek new life in singing communities.


Sing with Understanding III: A New Pedagogy for the Hymn Society’s New Century
Beverly A. Howard, C. Michael Hawn, FHS, & Martin V. Clarke

This sectional provides an overview of the forthcoming Sing with Understanding: An Introduction to the Theology of Christian Congregational Song, 3rd edition (GIA). This new edition continues the purpose of the first two editions of Sing with Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Hymnology (1980, 1995), by Harry Eskew and Hugh McElrath, to provide a text in the field of hymnology that will engage not only the classroom, scholar, church music specialist, but also the clergy and those who participate in congregational singing each week.

The authors chose a unique approach in the overview by surveying primary landmark publications that shape the field, ranging from the Bible to CCLI’s Song Select. In addition to traditional sources, attention is given to primary publications that shape African American, Asian, and Spanish-language resources.

Rather than recounting hymnology through a strict historical narrative, the authors have given a preference to the theological lens for most of this book. While each chapter presents a specific theological topic, the organization within the chapters is primarily historical, allowing the reader to gain a perspective on how congregational song on a given topic reflects changes in theology over time. This approach integrates classical Western hymnody with global/ethnic contributions and selections from the contemporary Christian repertoire.

Because teaching and research have changed significantly since 1995 due to the development of internet resources such as, Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology, and HathiTrust, each chapter has an accompanying Web Chapter with links directing the reader to historical facsimiles, articles, recordings, and videos. These links allow the reader to engage with the material. Also included are discussion questions prodding the reader to consider integration of poetic, historical, theological, and musical aspects of the congregational song experience.

Digital Sectionals

Gemeenschap van Christus Zingt: Casting God’s Vision to the Dutch-speaking World
Joey Willams & Sandee Garnet

You do not have to speak Dutch to enjoy this sectional. “Kom en zing” with Joey and Sandee, as they sing you through the various challenges and blessings of their 5 year process of translating and working with leaders from the Netherlands to provide a Dutch language version of Community of Christ Sings. You’ll explore texts and music from many current and former authors and composers of the Hymn Society. You’ll hear which contemporary texts describing God’s vision for creation resonated best with a Dutch audience, and experience the melodious ways that poets and translators wove contemporary texts, originally composed in English, into fresh and vibrant Dutch images of the way the world could be… if only we would dream, sing, and truly live our way into the world that God envisions for all of creation.


Reformation Hymns
Suna Smith

The purpose of this sectional is to uncover the theology of the Reformation, as expressed in its hymns, and plot its influence on the cultures into which it was adopted.

The Reformation was one of the great turning points in history, not only for the church but for society at large. Sociologists and historians have noted the Reformation’s influence on literacy levels and how it precipitated a shift in the role of family and community. Government and law-making was also impacted as it exhorted territorial princes to take on new duties to uphold its vision. The Reformation invigorated the medium of the printing press, fashioning a new frontier in this battle for hearts and minds. This unintended revolution toppled the mightiest institution of the day, and the redesign affected a seachange that ran through modern-day Germany, Scandinavia, England, and eventually North America. Its reverberations can be felt in the waters of society even today.

For Luther, the call to reform was one compelled by the Word and driven by conscience and heart. How better to express and deliver this message than through music? To voice a foundational tenet such as “Scripture alone, by grace alone, through faith alone” through song in such powerful settings like A Mighty Fortress lifted spirits and gripped minds. The victorious proclamation that “The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever” served generations as they appealed against foes spiritual or national. The tenets of Reformation theology are beautifully bound in its hymns. Its influence on the societies that they touched is lasting and is the inspiration for this investigation.


Shapers of The Hymnal 1982
Marty Wheeler Burnett

The Hymnal 1982 is a landmark publication that has shaped the Episcopal Church’s song, providing a wealth of musical and textual resources and influencing many denominational hymnals that followed. The clergy, musicians, liturgists, poets, and composers who created this hymnal have stories to tell and knowledge to share. They offer a unique perspective on the development of hymnody and the liturgical life of the Episcopal Church in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

As the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a pivot to hybrid and online instruction, Marty Wheeler Burnett pondered ways to use technology creatively, enabling approaches to teaching that were previously impossible. Inspired by the possibilities offered by Zoom, she embarked on a project to interview all living members of 1982 Episcopal hymnal committee, as well as several contributors to the hymnal. Through video interviews, as well as live video conferencing, students had the opportunity to meet the “shapers” of this influential hymnal. Presenters had the opportunity to share their insights about what has worked well, what they might have done differently, what they have learned, the changes they have seen in church music, and their hopes and dreams for the future.

This sectional will offer a multimedia overview of the research conducted for this project, including video excerpts from interviews with contributors to the hymnal, including the Rev. Geoffrey Butcher, the Rev. Carl P. Daw, Jr., the Rev. Elizabeth Morris Downie, Carol Foster, the Rev. JD Godwin, David Hurd, Marilyn Keiser, David Ashley White, and Rae E. Whitney. Reflections on the significance of The Hymnal 1982 will be offered by a several Episcopal clergy and musicians. A panel of young leaders in church music will reflect on their experiences with The Hymnal 1982 and their perceptions of where we go from here.

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