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Free Workshops

Free Workshops

Deborah Carlton Loftis Ambassadors Program

We collaborate with university and college music departments to provide their students with workshops on church music. The Center for Congregational Song provides all of the programming, two clinicians, and all materials so that the workshops are free for the students and provided at no cost to the University/College. All students that attend receive a free 1-year membership to The Hymn Society and are provided with a packet of choral anthems that lend themselves to including the congregation’s voice.


Upcoming locations:


The Ambassadors Program is designed to achieve 2 primary goals:

  1. Provide non-church music students (Music Majors, Music Education Majors, and/or Seminarians) an opportunity to learn basic church music skills, inviting them to think more deeply about the importance of congregational song in the life of the church, and connecting them to church music organizations that can serve as a resource should they find themselves serving a church through music and/or worship.
  2. Provide young professionals within The Hymn Society an opportunity for leadership.

The Ambassadors Program provides:

  1. A free church music workshop (usually 3 hours) for students at Universities, Colleges, and/or Seminaries on behalf of The Center for Congregational Song. These workshops are free and open to the broader community, but the primary audience is students.
  2. Free 1-year memberships to The Hymn Society for all students who attend.
  3. [Optional Add-On] A hymn festival in a nearby local church.


Topics can be chosen from the following units:

  • Unit 1: Congregational Song and Forming Identity – How does singing together form us as a people?
  • Unit 2: Introduction to a Hymnal – This includes the how’s, what’s, and why’s of using a hymnal to plan worship
  • Unit 3: Breaking Through the “Traditional/Contemporary” Divide – A session that offers a new way forward rather than continuing to use the false dichotomy of traditional  and contemporary
  • Optional Add-On: Choral Reading Session – Choral music from our partner organization Choristers Guild focusing on congregational participation
  • Unit 4: Individual Ambassador Units – Each Ambassador has created their own unit that draws on their particular passions and skills. To see all our Ambassadors, go to our team page.
    • Slats Toole – “Sing Praise At Any Moment: Paperless Music 101”
    • Joslyn Henderson – “Black Hymnody Matters: The Music of Charles A. Tindley, C.P. Jones, and Margaret Pleasant-Douroux”
    • Megan Mash – “The Hymnal Anthem Book”
    • Cristen Mitchell – “Songs of the People: Lay leadership and Congregational Song”
    • Anneli Loepp Thiessen – “Anti-Racist Congregational Song” (co-taught)
    • Matthew Boutda – “Anti-Racist Congregational Song” (co-taught)



Past locations include:

  • Wingate University, Wingate, NC (Spring 2015)
  • Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL (Fall 2015)
  • Augustana College, Rock Island, IL (Spring 2016)
  • University of North Carolina Pembroke, Pembroke, NC (Fall 2016)
  • Boston University School of Theology, Boston, MA (Spring 2017)
  • Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville, TN (Fall 2017)
  • University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (Spring 2018)
  • Nebraska Wesleyan University (January 26, 2019)
  • Memorial University, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada (Fall 2019)
  • Atlanta School of Theology, Halifax, Nova Scotia (Spring 2020)


If you would like The Center for Congregational Song to come to your University or College, please contact us so we can begin the scheduling process. We currently have openings for the Spring 2023, Fall 2023, and Spring 2024 Semesters.