James Abbington

Associate Professor of Church Music and Worship
James Abbington
Phone: 404.712.4602
    • DMA, The University of Michigan, 1999
    • MMus, The University of Michigan, 1995
    • BA, Morehouse College, 1983

    Dr. W. James Abbington’s research interests include music and worship in the Christian church, African American sacred folk music, organ, choral music, and ethnomusicology. Along with his roles at Candler, where he has taught since 2005, Abbington is executive editor of the African American Church Music Series by GIA Publications (Chicago). In addition to writing and editing, he has produced numerous recordings under GIA.

    One of the nation’s most respected choir directors, musicians and authors, Abbington is a popular speaker, performer and conductor at universities, conferences, symposiums and churches around the world. From 2000 to 2010, Abbington served as co-director of music for the Hampton University Ministers' and Musicians' Conference, and as the national director of music for both the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the NAACP. In 2010, Hampton's Choir Directors and Organists Guild honored Abbington by naming their Church Music Academy after him, and in 2015, he became the second African American to be named a Fellow of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.

    Abbington is a member of Friendship Baptist Church, where he frequently directs the choir.

    Selected publications

    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication

    Books

    "Introduction." One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism: An African American Ecumenical Hymnal. GIA Publications, 2017

    Editor,King of Kings: Organ Music of Black Composers, Past and Present: Volume 3. GIA Publications, 2017

    Associate Editor,Total Praise: Song and Other Worship Resources for Every Generation. GIA Publications, 2011

    Let the Church Sing On! Reflections on Black Sacred Music. GIA Publications, 2009

    Editor,King of Kings: Organ Music of Black Composers, Past and Present: Volume 2. GIA Publications, 2009

    Editor,King of Kings: Organ Music of Black Composers, Past and Present: Volume 1. GIA Publications, 2008

    Editor,New Wine in Old Wineskins: A Contemporary Congregational Song Supplement - Volume 1. GIA Publications, 2007

    Editor,Spirits That Dwell in Deep Woods: The Prayer and Praise Hymns of the Black Religious Experience. GIA Publications, 2003

    Co-author,Going to Wait! African American Church Worship Resources Between Pentecost and Advent. GIA Publications, 2003

    Co-author,Waiting to Go! African American Church Worship Resources Between Advent and Pentecost. GIA Publications, 2002

    Let Mt. Zion Rejoice! Music in the African American Church. Judson Press, 2001

    Selected awards

    "Beautiful Are the Feet" Awardee, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, 2019

    Fellow, The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada

    Hampton's Choir Directors and Organists Guild named its Church Music Academy in his honor

    Artist and Researcher-in-Residence, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College.

    "James Abbington on Planning Henry 'Hank' Aaron's Funeral Music," Calvin Institute of Christian Music, May 11, 2021

    Worship Organist - Prophetic Voices Centennial Academic Conference, Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, March 20, 2015

    "What is Gospel Music For?" - An Interview with Karen Saupe, Calvin College, January, 2012

    "Lift Every Voice and Sing!" - Biola University Chapel, February 17, 2010

     "The Negro Spiritual In Worship and Concert Performance" - Baylor Center for Christian Music Studies August 2017 

     "100 Years of Song": James Abbington, FHS

    Selected courses

    Global Perspectives in Christian Worship

    Introduction to Church Music

    Introduction to Public Worship 

    Music and Worship in the Black Church

    Planning Christian Worship