On March 19–21, Candler hosted its spring conference, “The Singing Church: Current Practices and Emerging Trends in Congregational Song.” The conference featured an ecumenical group of musicians and scholars exploring the issue of music in worship, and the days were filled with workshops, worship services, and plenary sessions. More than 100 participants heard and sang many different types of songs—the conference was designed to break down preconceived notions of what church music can be. When conference attendees weren’t singing, they were engaged in conversations about how to create a church music program that satisfies and challenges a diverse congregation.
“The question is not about what a church likes or doesn’t like, but what they need,” said conference presenter Delores Dufner, a Benedictine nun and hymn writer. “When selecting songs for worship, ask not ‘Do you like it?’ but ‘What do we need to sing to be the church God calls us to be?’”
The conference also featured a presentation by John Bell of the Iona Community. The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and Candler’s endowment for the Avary Program in Church Leadership provided funding support.