Worship & Culture in Dialogue
About This Gathering
Welcome to this inter-generational gathering designed to engage, equip, and empower preachers, musicians, and visual artists by incorporating current events, the use of social media, and cultural values and traditions to create a hospitable atmosphere of worship for the 21st Century Church.
We will use the framework of the “Nairobi Statement” to explore the intersection of worship and culture. Because we are curating a space for deep and nuanced conversations, relationship-building, and interaction between leaders and attendees, this event won’t be the big worship event of the year with thousands of attendees. We’re more interested in conversations than presentations, in community building than individual edification, and in questions than answers.
We hope attendees and leaders alike will take what they have learned and experienced back to their local communities and apply it in new and meaningful ways.
Pricing & Registration
Earlybird Registration (through June 15) = $150 *now $50*
Groups of 5 or more are offered $10 off each registration. Contact Brittney Stephan for the discount code.
Mealplan (Friday lunch & dinner) = $25
*Registration is offered at the discounted rate of $50 because of the generous support of the Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church through whom this gathering is being planned and hosted.
Dates & Location
August 20-22, 2020
12:30 PM: Registration Opens
2:30 PM: Opening Worship
3:30 PM: Plenary (Contextual) — Cynthia Wilson
4:30 PM: Seminar 1
6:00 PM: Dinner — On Your Own
9:00 AM: Morning Prayer
9:30 AM: Plenary (Trans-Cultural) — Adam Perez
10:30 AM: Seminar 2
12:00 PM: Lunch — Catered On-Site
2:00 PM: Plenary (Counter-Cultural) — Dominique Robinson
3:00 PM: Seminar 3
6:00 PM: Dinner — Catered On-Site
7:30 PM: Evening Worship
9:00 AM: Morning Prayer
9:30 AM: Plenary (Cross-Cultural) — Mark Miller
11:00 AM: Closing Worship & Communion
12:30 PM: Blessing & Dismissal
Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson
Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson serves as Executive Director of Worship Resources at our United Methodist Discipleship Ministries agency supervising and guiding staff in the process of developing resources and training events with a primary focus on music, liturgy, and preaching. Dr. Wilson is an ordained deacon under extension ministry appointment in the Great Plains Annual Conference.
Prior to joining the staff of Discipleship Ministries, Dr. Wilson served as Assistant Vice-President of Student Life and Dean of Students at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. At Garrett-Evangelical, she launched the Center for Music and Worship in the Black Church Experience, a one-of-a-kind North American Institute that provides training in the sacred music of the Black Church and beyond for musicians and worship leaders.
A talented vocalist, Dr. Wilson is a Grammy nominee and was noted the “Best Female Vocalist” at the Gospel Choice Awards held in Atlanta, GA (1998). Her recording credits include New Songs of Zion, which was nominated for several awards; featured soloist on Spirituals: Songs from the American Experience from the “Global Praise Series”; Prayers from the House, Praise from the Heart; All That Is Within Me; A CHRIST-mas Experience; and Simply Cynthia, featuring the music from the 2000 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, where she served as the first female and first African American Director of Music.
Dr. Wilson was invited to join the National Task Force (1979) that produced the Songs of Zion, and Co-Chaired the task force that produced its sequel (2007), Zion Still Sings! For Every Generation with Dr. William B. McClain, Professor Emeritus of Wesley Theological Seminary. Both of these United Methodist Publishing House resources can be found in bookstores across the United States and abroad as they continue to enrich 21st century worship for all generations, cultures and denominations.
Dr. Wilson has toured Europe, participating as guest solo artist and clinician in festivals of music and recording concerts in South America, North and South Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, and over 45 states across the US. Dr. Wilson has been a guest soloist for the World Methodist Council at Brighton, England and Washington Cathedral. and she has shared the stage and recorded with noted music legends such as Richard Smallwood, Edwin Hawkins (“Oh Happy Day”), Ken Medema, Nancy Wilson, Patti LaBelle, Shirley Caesar, Cissy Houston, the late Lionel Hampton, and Rev. James Cleveland. One of the true highlights of her ministry included a benefit concert for Africa University at Carnegie Hall in New York City where the late Ossie Davis was host. This memorable event was sponsored by the New York Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from Dillard University, a Master of Sacred Music degree from Perkins School of Theology/ SMU, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Liturgical Studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Adam Perez is a half Cuban-, half Dutch-American doctoral student who studies music, culture, and contemporary praise and worship at Duke Divinity School. He holds a B.A. in music education from Trinity Christian College (outside of Chicago, Ill.) and an M.A. in religion and music at Yale Divinity School and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Most recently, Periz served as interim minister of music at All Saints’ United Methodist Church (NC) and is returning for the second year as worship director for the Summer Institute for Reconciliation. He is a regular contributor to the Center for Congregational Song blog (www.congregationalsong.org) and his writing has been published in Reformed Worship, The Hymn, Christian Scholar’s Review, and Perspectives (now Reformed Journal). Perez is a contributing author to Essays on the History of Contemporary Praise and Worship, edited by Duke Divinity School Professor Lester Ruth forthcoming from Wipf & Stock. He also serves as an Endorsed Worship Coach for the CRCNA.
Rev. Dr. Dominique Robinson
The Rev. Dr. Dominique A. Robinson serves as the newly appointed inaugural Dean of Chapel and Assistant Professor of Religion at Wiley College – “the home of the Great Debaters” – in Marshall, TX. Dr. Robinson earned a B.A. in Government and Psychology from Georgetown University; a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology, both from Candler School of Theology of Emory University; and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Gospel and Culture from
Columbia Theological Seminary. She is the founder of iHomiletic, a groundbreaking homiletic that employs social media linguistics and technology as a methodology to reconnect millennials to the Church. She is continuing her education, earning another doctorate at Christian Theological Seminary in the world’s first African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric PhD program.
Dr. Robinson has preached the Gospel across the United States and abroad in Guyana, South America, Barbados, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago. It is her life's goal to fuse her doctrine, discipline and testimony to be an effective advocate and ally for those who are marginalized. For her website and full bio, click here.
Mark Miller believes passionately that music can change the world. He also believes in Cornell West’s quote that ‘Justice is what love looks like in public.’ His dream is that the music he composes, performs, teaches and leads will inspire and empower people to create the beloved community.
Mark serves as Assistant Professor of Church Music at Drew Theological School and is a Lecturer in the Practice of Sacred Music at Yale University. He also is the Minister of Music of Christ Church in Summit, New Jersey.
Mark received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Yale University and his Master of Music in Organ Performance from Juilliard. Mark is a lifelong United Methodist. He is the grandson, son, brother, uncle, and cousin to United Methodist clergy. As a lay delegate to the 2000 and 2004 and 2012 General Conferences, Mark was a witness to Christ’s mission of breaking down the dividing walls of hostility and fear in the United Methodist Church.
Rev. Brittney Stephan is a United Methodist elder from the Indiana Conference and currently serves in extension ministry as the Associate Director for Multi-Cultural Vibrancy for the Michigan Conference. She has received a Bachelor of Arts in Religion, Organizational Communication, and Peace & Conflict Studies from Butler University and a Master of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary with a concentration in Liturgy & Music Across Cultures.
A third-generation Methodist, Brittney grew up on a dirt road outside of Huntington, IN. She has spent the last decade living in Indianapolis, Chicago, and currently Metro Detroit working in a variety of contexts for The United Methodist Church. Much of her role in the Michigan Conference consists of engaging individuals and teams alike to build our cultural proficiency in a way that moves us toward an anti-biased/anti-racist identity that seeks to diversify worship experiences and leadership as a collective whole.
Prior to her appointment in Michigan, Brittney served in a cross-cultural ministry setting at the only historic African-American United Methodist Church on Chicago’s North Shore. She has spent time in Zimbabwe at Africa University, initiated a campus ministry at Butler University, and served as a youth leader for a number of years. These experiences have provided her with a deep passion to equip, engage, and empower individuals and teams to foster equitable communities of learning.