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“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.





The third season of our podcast, Voices United: A Congregational Song Podcast, is now available. Hosted by Ben Brody, this season’s episodes come from interviews while at the Annual Conferences of both The Hymn Society in the US and Canada and The Hymn Society in Great Britain and Ireland.

Episode 1 – Dr. Mary Louise Bringle

Episode 2 – Rev. John Bell

Episode 3 – Ana Hernández

Episode 4 – Rev. Christopher Idle

Episode 5 – Dr. Maria Cornou & Becky Snippe

Episode 6 – Dr. Gillian Warson on the life & legacy of Fred Kaan


The podcast can be accessed on the following platforms:

Our Website




iHeart Radio

Podcast Season 3 Congregational Song Singing Podcast Sacred Music Church Music


This episode is with Taize Brother Jean Marie, who is one of the community’s lead musicians. The Taizé Community is an ecumenical Christian monastic fraternity in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France. It is composed of more than one hundred brothers, from Catholic and Protestant traditions, who originate from about thirty countries across the world. It was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger Schütz, a Reformed Protestant. The community has become one of the world’s most important sites of Christian pilgrimage, with a focus on youth. Over 100,000 young people from around the world make pilgrimages to Taizé each year for prayer, Bible study, sharing, and communal work. Through the community’s ecumenical outlook, they are encouraged to live in the spirit of kindness, simplicity and reconciliation.


Season 1 – Episode 6

In this interview with Brother Jean Marie of the Taize Community, host Ben Brody explores what it means to pray in song. Insights into how the Taize Community writer their own songs as well as choose the songs they sing in their services. What does it mean to pray? What does it mean to live in community? How does a song find its way into a community?



Listening time: 42 minutes


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I grew up with the idea that Christianity is relevant. It involves young people. It was vibrant.


There are always new discoveries.


Jacques Berthier was a very special person. He was a musician from head to toe. It was not easy to find a way to continue [Taize’s music] after his death.


It was a living tradition that was carried lightly.


People are trying to meet the challenges of today…of singing and enlivening congregational singing in contemporary communities.


Liturgy and prayer is something that comes from the hearts, the ground up…there’s something that has to strike a chord deeply in the people.



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


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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


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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


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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


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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.