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Writing the Church’s Song 2023

November 8, 2023 2209 E Grace Street
Richmond, VA 23223 United States



For those who work for the church week in and week out, time away to rest, reflect, and re-inspire is important. Writing the Church’s Song is a three-day writing retreat for beginner and intermediate hymn writers. Two exceptional clinicians will challenge, inspire, and guide you as a hymn writer. These mentors will provide sessions on how to start writing hymns and how to hone your skills throughout the three days. Group sessions to build writing/composing skills will be offered, as well as one-on-one time with the mentors to discuss your works in detail and receive personal feedback.

Rest, Reflect, and Re-Inspire

Date & Location

November 8-11, 2023

Richmond, VA

Our hosts will be Richmond Hill, an ecumenical Christian fellowship and residential community who serve as stewards of an urban retreat center within the setting of a historic monastery.

Lodging & Food: Richmond Hill is a residential facility with simple but comfortable rooms available. The full registration ($450) includes a room within the Richmond Hill facilities, all your meals while on campus, and times of prayer with the community. For more information about what it’s like to attend a retreat at Richmond Hill, you can click here.




$450 Full Registration Fee (includes 3 nights lodging & all meals)

$325 No-Lodging Registration Fee (includes lunch & dinner for each day)

*two needs-based scholarships available that reduce cost 50%. Contact ccs@thehymnsociety.org to inquire.



Text Writing – Jacque Jones, FHS

Jacque B. Jones has been writing in various forms all her life and she took up the challenge of writing hymn texts in 2003. As a writer, she considers herself a storyteller, and many of her texts reflect that. Jacque has been an active member of The Hymn Society in the US and Canada since 2003, having served as its president from 2014 to 2016.  She is a member of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, NY, and is actively involved in worship leadership. A native of Texas, Jacque attended Baylor University and The University of Texas at Austin, where she received a BFA in theatre. She and her husband live in Brooklyn Heights and they have 3 adult children.

Jacque’s hymn text collection Songs Unchanged Yet Ever Changing was published in 2015 by GIA.  Hymn texts are included in the collections Assembled for SongAssembled for Song 2Come, O Holy House, and Worship, and in the hymnals Glory to GodCommunity of Christ SingsWorship 4, Hymns for a Pilgrim People, and most recently on GIA’s new series “Unbound“. She also has two anthems published: Newborn Child Now Sleeping (with Mark Stockert) and All Will be Well (with Richard Clemmitt).


Tune Writing – Mark Miller

Mark Miller believes that everyone is a Child of God and that music is instrumental in healing the world.  He adheres to Cornel West’s belief that “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Mark sees an inextricable interplay between music, social justice, and the joyful beloved community and spends his life composing, teaching and playing to reveal that connection.

Mark is Professor of Church Music, Director of Chapel, and Composer In Residence at Drew University in Madison NJ. He is also a Lecturer in Sacred Music at Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music and Divinity School where he both co-teaches an organ course and directs the Gospel Choir. Mark is also Minister of Music at Christ Church in Summit, a UCC and American Baptist congregation. Miller spends a portion of the year traveling the country, often with his band S2C (Subject to Change), leading worship and workshops, preaching and presenting concerts focused on creating community and advocating for social justice.

A prolific composer, his congregational hymns and choral anthems are sung by communities of faith throughout the world and are widely published.  His newest collection of 31 songs, “Revolution of the Heart” was published in June 2022 by GIA. His songbook “Roll Down Justice! Sacred Songs & Social Justice”, was published in 2014 by Choristers. Mark’s popular compositions for pipe organ are published by GIA and Morningstar. His album, “Imagine the People of God”, is available on itunes.

Mark is a graduate of Julliard (M.Mus. in Organ Performance) and Yale University (B.A. Music) and was Assistant Organist and Music Associate at The Riverside Church from 1999-2001 and Director of Contemporary Worship at Marble Collegiate Church from 2002-2007, both in the city of New York.


Hospitality & Logistics – Brian Hehn

Brian is an inspiring song-leader equally comfortable leading an acapella singing of “It Is Well” as he is drumming and dancing to “Sizohamba Naye.” Experienced using a variety of genres and instrumentations, he has lead worship for Baptists, Roman Catholics, United Methodists, Presbyterians, and many more across the U.S. and Canada. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Wingate University, his Master of Sacred Music from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and is certified in children’s church music (K-12) by Choristers Guild. He has articles published on sacred music and congregational song in multiple journals and co-authored the book All Hands In: Drumming the Biblical Narrative, published by Choristers Guild. While working for The Hymn Society as the Director of The Center for Congregational Song, he is also Director of Music at Light Street Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland, and adjunct professor of church music at Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina. Brian lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife, Eve, and children Jakob and Clara.




4:00PM – Arrival & Room Check-In

6:00PM – Evening Prayer (with the Richmond Hill Community)

6:30PM – Dinner

8:00PM – Opening Gathering

Thursday & Friday

7:00AM – Morning Prayer (with the Richmond Hill Community)

7:30AM – Breakfast

9:00AM – Plenary Session 1

10:00AM – One-On-One Sessions & Small-Group Workshops

12:00PM – Noon Prayer (with the Richmond Hill Community)

12:30PM – Lunch

1:30PM – Plenary Session 2

2:30PM – One-On-One Sessions & Small-Group Workshops

4:00PM – Free Time

5:00PM – Participant Sharing & Feedback Session

6:00PM – Evening Prayer (with the Richmond Hill Community)

6:30PM – Dinner


7:00AM – Morning Prayer (with the Richmond Hill Community)

7:30AM – Breakfast

9:00AM – Final Gathering & Anointing Service (Our group only)

11:00AM – Check-Out & Departure


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