interior top image

“Voices United” Podcast Season 4 Now Available

Produced and Hosted by Whitworth University church music professor Dr. Ben Brody, this podcast is supported by The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada and Whitworth University. As the podcast host, Ben’s task is to have as many conversations as he can with as many different congregational song enthusiasts as he can find. These meaningful conversations will seek to explore why people are passionate about congregational song, what works for their congregations, and stories of success and failures that we can be inspired by or learn from.


Season 4


Episode 1 – Susan Briehl

Susan Briehl is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and her hymns appear in the Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal and other collections. This interview with Susan was conducted in Spokane Washington, in April, 2022.


Episode 2 – Martin Leckebusch

Martin Leckebusch is an English hymn writer who has several published collections of hymns and psalm paraphrases. His work can be found in many recent hymnals. This interview with Martin took place in Canterbury, England, in July, 2019.


Episode 3 – Janet Wootton

Janet Wootton is an English hymnwriter, scholar, and theologian. Janet is the author of “This Is Our Song: Women’s Hymn Writing.” This interview with Janet was recorded in July, 2019 in Dallas Texas.


Episode 4 – Rosa Cándida Ramírez

Rosa Cándida Ramírez is pastor at La Fuenta Ministries, an intercultural and intergenerational bilingual ministry in Pasadena, California. This interview with Rosa took place in Dallas, Texas, in July 2019.





Singing Welcome II: Hymns and Songs of Hospitality to Refugees and Immigrants

In May, 2017, The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada released Singing Welcome: Hymns and Songs of Hospitality to Refugees and Immigrants, a free, downloadable compilation of over 40 congregational songs for worship.  The collection has been downloaded more than one thousand times and has found usage in a wide variety of churches.

In the 18 months since its release, hospitality towards refugees and immigrants has continued to be a significant concern in our society and throughout the world.  To support congregations in their ongoing ministries related to these concerns, we seek to create an addendum to the original Singing Welcome collection, which will include 10-15 new hymns and songs written in the past two years.  We invite both published and unpublished submissions in a variety of formats, including (1) texts only, (2) texts with tunes, and (3) lead sheets.  Songs submitted in the original search will not be considered.  These should be sent in pdf or Word format to not later than December 15, 2018.   Permissions to include previously published works in this collection will be obtained through arrangements made between HSUSC and publishers.


Singing Welcome II Working Group

David Bjorlin

Hilary Donaldson

Delores Dufner

Paul Richardson

Benjamin Brody, convener



This episode is with pastor and producer out of Richmond, Virginia, David Bailey. Rev. David M. Bailey believes that the Church should and can lead by example in diversity and reconciliation. He’s the founder of Arrabon; a ministry that equips churches and nonprofits with the tools and resources to shepherd their community from aspirational values regarding diversity along racial, ethnic, and class divisions towards an embodied practice. He is the author of Arrabon: Learning Reconciliation through Community and Worship Music, and the producer of the Urban Doxology project. David and his wife Joy live in Richmond, VA.


Season 1 – Episode 5

An interview with pastor and producer David Bailey focusing on the church’s song, race conciliation, and his own personal faith journey through music.



Listening time: 40 minutes


RSS Feed:



I started tinkering around the piano at age 8, and really started playing at age 11.


I think songs matter, but I think songs matter [more] in context.


Michael Jackson was great…he was a genius! But the most number of albums he sold was with Quincy Jones.


All theology is a story of cultural influence.


When you’re a music producer, you’re pretty much a cultural anthropologist…what makes someone dance in a club is one thing, what makes someone dance in a country club is one thing, and what makes Presbyterians sway is another thing.



This episode is with hymn text writer Sister Delores Dufner. Sister Delores is a member of St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota, a Benedictine women’s community of about 200 members. She holds Master’s Degrees in Liturgical Music and Liturgical Studies. She is currently a member of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, the National Pastoral Musicians (NPM), the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), and the Monastic Worship Forum.

Sister Delores was a school music teacher, private piano and organ instructor, and parish organist/choir director for twelve years. She served as liturgy coordinator for her religious community for six years, Director of the St. Cloud Diocesan Office of Worship for fifteen years, and a liturgical music consultant in the Diocese of Ballarat, Australia, for fifteen months. Since then, she has been writing liturgical, scripture-based hymn and song texts which are found in many Christian hymnals.  Her hymns have been published in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and China.

Sister Delores has received sixty-one commissions to write hymn texts for special occasions or needs, and her lyrics are the basis of over eighty choral octavos. She has four published hymn collections:

  • Sing a New Church (Oregon Catholic Press, 1994)
  • The Glimmer of Glory in Song (GIA Publications, 2004)
  • And Every Breath, a Song (GIA Publications, 2011)
  • Criers of Splendor (GIA Publications, 2016)

Sister Delores was named a Fellow of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada in 2013. In 2014 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from NPM, the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. In 2017 she received the Christus Rex award from Valparaiso University’s Institute of Liturgical Studies for her lifelong commitment to liturgical renewal.


Season 1 – Episode 4

An interview with hymn writer Delores Dufner, OSB, focusing on the craft and art of writing hymn texts.



Listening time: 32 minutes


RSS Feed:



Vatican II really motivated me and gave me materials with which to work.  That return to the sources was essentially a turning point in my faith life, especially the emphasis on Jesus’ ministry and his life…Seeing and paying attention to what Jesus taught gave me a whole new insight into what I wanted to teach and live.


I need to create space in order to write… When I actually sit down to write, I lock my office door, put the phone on automatic, and isolate myself until I have a first draft.


Pope John the XXIII was a huge influence.  He gave a new idea of what the church could be and should be.  There was a real freedom in that and a vocational call.


It has to be good news – not just true, but it has to be good news and it has to sound good!


My big goal right now is to try to connect science and faith, because so many of the prayers of the liturgy come from an antiquated view of the universe…I want to do more with writing about the cosmos.



This episode is with composer, historian, and hymnologist Lim Swee Hong. Dr. Lim is the Deer Park Associate Professor of Sacred Music at Emmanuel College, and the Director of the Master of Sacred Music Program. Before joining Emmanuel on July 1, 2012, Swee Hong served as an Assistant Professor of Church Music at Baylor University, Texas.  Prior to his work at Baylor, he served as a Lecturer of Worship, Liturgy, and Music at Trinity Theological College in Singapore.

Swee Hong is widely utilized as a leader for global seminars and conferences dealing with worship and sacred music. Presently he is the Director of Research for the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. In 2013 he served as the Co-Moderator of the Worship Committee for the 10th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches for its meeting in Busan, South Korea and was a member of the Worship Planning Committee for the 2011 Ecumenical Peace Convocation sponsored by the World Council held in Jamaica. From 2006 – 2011, he chaired the Committee on Worship and Liturgy for the World Methodist Council, designed and supervised the worship services of the 20th World Methodist Conference in Durban, South Africa.

Swee Hong holds a PhD in Liturgical Studies from Drew University, where his dissertation won the Helen LePage and William Hale Chamberlain Prize for Outstanding Dissertation. He also holds a Master of Arts in Sacred Music from Perkins School of Theology. He completed his undergraduate work in Church Music at the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music in the Philippines. Swee Hong is well-published in global music, with his monograph, Giving Voice to Asian Christians, especially known among global musicians. He is also a prolific composer of hymnody.


Season 1 – Episode 3

An interview with hymn scholar Lim Swee Hong focusing on the history of praise and worship music.



Listening time: 27 minutes


Use RSS Feed:



Every age segment of the population has their own playlist.


Contemporary worship at its beginning were songs of the people.


There is now a recovery of tradition within contemporary music…That to me is exciting.


Charles Wesley’s ‘And Can it Be’ speaks to me about the grace and the power of God’s love.  Even I can be redeemed and that is amazing!



This episode is the first of two interviews with Bishop Timothy Dudley Smith. The second interview will be posted in season 2. Born 26 December 1926 in Manchester, England, he served as Archdeacon of Norwich from 1973-81 and Bishop of Thetford from 1981-91. As a hymn writer he has published almost 400 hymn texts, many of which appear in published hymnals throughout the English-speaking world and in translation. He is an honorary vice-president of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, a Fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, and a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music. In 2003 he was awarded an OBE ‘for services to hymnody’, and in 2009 an honorary Doctor of Divinity (DD) from the University of Durham.


Season 1 – Episode 2

An interview with hymn writer Timothy Dudley Smith.


Listening time: 33 minutes, 03 seconds


Use RSS Feed:



I remember when I was 9 or 10, I was attached to a hymn called ‘O Happy Band of Pilgrim,’….which is no longer one of my favorites, actually…


I sometimes think that God answered that prayer in an unexpected way…as God often does.


We are given strong warnings [in the bible] that if there are talents they are not to be buried in the ground.



Welcome to our new podcast! We’re excited to launch our first season, starting with our first 2 episodes. This episode is an overview by our host Ben Brody on what and who you can expect to hear in this season and seasons to come. As Ben says in this episode, “This podcast is for those who care deeply about the quality and content of congregational singing, and want to learn more from those who write, study, and lead the church’s song.”


Season 1 – Episode 1

Introduction to the scope, purpose, and season 1 guests for our podcast, “Voices United.”


Listening time: 13 minutes, 47 seconds


Use RSS Feed:



I am your host, Benjamin Brody, and I am pleased to welcome you to this inaugural episode of our podcast in which we will explore the depth and breadth of congregational singing and congregational song.


I believe that the most important musical activity that happens in church is congregational singing.


We believe that the holy act of singing together shapes faith, heals brokenness, transforms lives, and renews peace.


…a podcast that is 1) broadly and unapologetically ecumenical in scope, 2) focused specifically on congregational singing, and 3) bringing together voices who serve a variety of roles – theologians, pastors, musicians, as well as writers of music and words for singing in worship.