Blogger Brian Hehn is the Director of The Center for Congregational Song.
One of the things I love about my job is that it is my responsibility to find new great resources, artists, and communities who are doing the work of creating, leading, and encouraging congregational song. Below are three new communities and a songwriter that I want to make sure you are aware of. Like many who write new songs, they are doing work with specific goals and communities in mind, responding to that group’s perceived needs and/or distinct calling. So, if you look at one of these and think “this isn’t for me,” that’s okay! You might know someone else for whom it might be perfect, so please share it with them.
Community of Peace
Inspired by the Taize community in France, this new (founded in 2021!) community in central Virginia will “offer a warm welcome to all, a beautiful sung prayer, a dialogue for peace and racial reconciliation, solidarity with and service to the most vulnerable in society.” Led by song leader Brother Stefan Andre Waligur, this community promises to be a shining light and a place where song flourishes.
The Meek Squad
Based out of Durham, North Carolina, this community is committed to living together as friends and worshiping together as siblings in Christ with differing abilities. They recently teamed up with a producer to record an album of the songs that were born out of their lives together. I’ll be interviewing this group soon to talk about their album and their worship community. Watch for more details soon!
Q Worship Collective
This group describes themselves as “a fierce collective of divergent artists who have experienced parallel spiritual journeys delving into the intersection of holy and queer creative expression.” For Christ followers, churches, and denominations who are LGBTQ+ affirming, there is certainly a need for more and curated resources that speak with an authentic voice. This group is taking it upon themselves to fill that need.
Beverly Song Burton
I got an email from Beverly Song Burton about the new hymn she had written and recorded. These types of emails are not uncommon in my inbox! This song caught my eye and struck me as something immediately useful to a wide variety of churches. While the song is produced firmly within the black gospel genre, because of its strophic and four-part harmony structure this hymn could also be utilized in congregations who sing a capella or with a simple organ accompaniment. With Christ the King Sunday coming up in the liturgical year, this song would be a perfect fit.
Are there other communities and artists we should know about? Leave a link in the comments!