This question recently came in to The Hymn Society staff. It’s a variation on a question we get asked a lot, so I thought it would be a great blog post to share more widely.
Dear sister in Christ,
First, I’d like to thank you for the work you and your congregation have done and continue to do concerning racial justice. The sins of white supremacy and Christian nationalism continue to take precious lives and the church must repent and run tirelessly towards God’s kingdom on earth. Please be encouraged that you are doing Godly work and that when you fail (and in doing this difficult work you will most certainly fail or take missteps), it is an opportunity to learn and keep moving! Below is a list of resources (most of which are congregational song focused since that is our area of ministry) that I hope you’ll find helpful.
- This blog from a few years ago answers a similar question. There are many resources, people, and organizations mentioned who are doing good work in this field: Worship & Anti-Racism: A Beginner’s Resource List
- This blog from scholar Anneli Loepp Thiessen on “When White Evangelicals Sing About Slavery” is a challenging but important read. “My Chains Are Gone”: When White Evangelicals Sing About Slavery
- We are currently running a pilot program for congregations interested in offering payment for singing songs from marganalized communities who have historically been kept out of the royalty and/or publishing systems. You can check out the “Reparations Royalty Pilot Program” here.
- Our Congregational Song Blog has highlighted some of the top scholars in the field of Black Church Music. These are great learning opportunities:
- Season 1, Episode 5 – Features David Bailey of Arrabon. Arrabon is a wonderful non-profit based out of Richmond Virginia who help shepherd congregations into being reconciling communities. https://arrabon.com/
- Season 2, Episode 1 – Features two professors in Altanta, Georgia, Dr. Lisa Weaver and Dr. Jimmie Abbington.
- Season 2, Episode 4 – Features Dr. Emmett Price who is Dean of Africana Studies at Berklee in Boston, MA.
- Here is a list of hymns and songs curated on “Race, Unity, and Peace” from The Hymn Society: Hymns on Race Unity and Peace – Curated List
- Here is an interview by Felicia Patton in Chicago, IL on “Crossing Cultures – Creating Unity”: Crossing Cultures – Creating Unity: An Interview
- This hymn festival is led by Dr. Kim Harris and contains a lot of wonderful information and beautiful music-making: An Evening with Kim Harris: “Song of Faith, Songs Of Freedom: African American Freedom Traditions”
- This free webinar by one of our Deborah Carlton Loftis Ambassadors, Joslyn Henderson, is another great opportunity to learn more about Black Church Music: Black Hymnody Matters: The Music of Charles A. Tindley, C.P. Jones, and Margaret Pleasant-Douroux