Congregational music-making has long been a vital and vibrant practice within Christian communities worldwide. Even though congregational music flows along global networks, it reflects, informs, and articulates convictions and concerns that are irreducibly local. Congregational song can unify communities of faith across geographical and cultural boundaries; however, it can also be used to mark divisions between Christians of different denominations, cultural backgrounds, and social classes. We cannot truly understand the meanings, uses, and influences of congregational music within Christianity without exploring both its local contexts and its global circulation.
To further the understanding and practice of congregational music-making, the Christian Congregational Music conference seeks to bring together world-class scholars and practitioners to explore together the varying cultural, social, and spiritual roles church music plays in the life of various Christian communities around the world. At our conferences we have welcomed scholars from more than 18 countries on all 6 continents. Through a series of invited talks, roundtable discussions, paper presentations, and documentary film showings, conference participants have examined the multifaceted interaction between local and global dimensions of Christian congregational music by drawing from perspectives across academic disciplines, including musicology and ethnomusicology, theology, anthropology, history, and education.
Here are some of the things participants wrote in the post-conference survey about their experience at our conference:
Great, challenging, and insightful conference.
Wonderful forum that enabled participants to cross disciplinary divides to expand the discussion about congregational music in fruitful ways. I feel honored to have been a part of it -thank you!
I had an opportunity to network with a wide variety of scholars and practitioners, and I hope those connections will continue for many years.
The tone of the conference was wonderfully broad and inclusive of a diverse range of faith expressions and styles, and of cross-disciplinary research that promotes increased understanding and appreciation of global congregational music.
[I felt] a deep gratefulness to be invited to present at the conference, and an excitement at the strong positive response to my paper by a broad spectrum of attendees. This is after at least twenty years in the US trying to draw attention to the same issues I saw emerging, but receiving no responses or even dialogue. Thank you!