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January 5, 2023

Course Information

The Center for Congregational Song is sponsoring an eight-session online course in basic hymnology during January 2023. Sessions will be held each Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. ET beginning on January 5 and concluding on January 31.

This course is mainly intended for musicians, pastors, and others who do not hold church music degrees or who may have missed this area of study. Registration will be $150 for members, $200 for non-members, and $250 for a pastor-musician team serving the same congregation. All participants will be required to have a copy of New Songs of Celebration Render, by C. Michael Hawn (15% discount code for purchase will be available to all registrants). Click here for more information or to register now.


The primary instructor will be Eric Mathis, who currently serves as Pastor for Faith Formation, Worship & the Arts, and Young Adults at The First Baptist Church of Washington, D.C. Eric previously served as Associate Dean for the Division of Music, Associate Professor of Church Music and Worship Leadership, and founding Executive Director of the Center for Worship and the Arts at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

Course Dates

Thursday, January 5, 2023 – Congregational Song: A Musical, Theological, Liturgical, and Pastoral Calling

Tuesday, January 10, 2023 – The Role of Music in Worship & Stream 1: Roman Catholic Liturgical Renewal

Thursday, January 12, 2023 – The Value of Historical Contributions in Modern Contexts & Stream 2: Protestant Contemporary Classical Hymnody

Tuesday, January 17, 2023 – The Music of Oppression and Liberation & Stream 3: African American Spirituals and Gospel Hymnody

Thursday, January 19, 2023 – The Balance of Head, Heart, Hands, and Feet & Streams 4 & 5: Revival, Gospel, and Folk Hymnody

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 – The Participation of the Congregation & Stream 6: Charismatic and Pentecostal Hymnody

Thursday, January 26, 2023 – The Importance of Hospitality in Congregational Song & Stream 7: Global and Ecumenical Hymnody

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 – Course Wrap-up

Course Description

This course in basic hymnology will be a broad overview of congregational song in the church. Participants will imagine congregational singing to be a musical, theological, liturgical, and pastoral endeavor. The eight sessions will examine models of congregational song from a variety of Christian traditions and use them as case studies for discussing contemporary pastoral issues in singing the songs of the church.

The workload prior to each class session will be approximately 90 minutes. This will include reading from Michael Hawn’s book New Songs of Celebration Render, engaging a brief online lecture, and/or responding to a class discussion thread. Each student will be asked to complete a brief final reflection paper examining their faith community’s current congregational song practices and suggesting areas of growth in light of issues raised in course materials and class discussions

Class meetings will be interactive times to interact with the instructor, experts in the field, and one another. Our hope is that this January journey will provide participants with a helpful framework for the theory and practice of congregational song. More importantly, we hope this class will create a community and network of faithful pastoral musicians who might continue their relationship, support, and learning beyond the course in January.