Congregational Music Conference

Tuesday 1st August - Friday 4th August 2023

Congregational music-making has long been a vital and vibrant practice within Christian communities worldwide. Even though congregational music flows along global networks, it reflects, informs, and articulates convictions and concerns that are irreducibly local. Congregational song can unify communities of faith across geographical and cultural boundaries; however, it can also be used to mark divisions between Christians of different denominations, cultural backgrounds, and social classes. We cannot truly understand the meanings, uses, and influences of congregational music within Christianity without exploring both its local contexts and its global circulation.


We offer a variety of different attendance options to this conference to suit all budgets and interests, more details of these can be found through the links below:

Full Residential Place SOLD OUT
Non-Residential Place £260
Single-Day Passes £90
Online Passes


Delegates who have been awarded a bursary place should contact the hospitality team via email to arrange their registration.


John Bell

Church of Scotland/Iona Community

John Bell is an ordained Presbyterian minister (Church of Scotland), lives in Glasgow and is a resource worker for the Iona Community. He has been actively engaged in church music for over forty years as an animateur, composer and author. With his colleagues he has published numerous volumes of congregational songs, many of which have been translated into languages as diverse as Frisian and Japanese. He lectures and conducts seminars throughout the world on issues relating to music, liturgy and spirituality. He has been honoured by church and academic agencies on both sides of the Atlantic.

Ester Widiasih

Jakarta Theological Seminary

Ester Pudjo Widiasih, Ph.D. is currently serving as assistant professor of Liturgical Studies at Sekolah Tinggi Filsafat Theologi Jakarta (Jakarta Theological Seminary), where she did her undergraduate work in theology many years ago. Ester did a master of theology program in Worship Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary and a doctoral program in Liturgical Studies at Drew University. She received her church music training from the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music in the Philippines. Ester was involved in the global practices of Christian worship through her participation in preparing for and leading worships of various assemblies and meetings of ecumenical organizations, notably the World Council of Churches, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Christian Conference of Asia, and the Communion of Churches in Indonesia. From 2014-2018, Ester served the World Council of Churches as its Program Executive for Spiritual Life in Geneva, Switzerland. Ester is an ordained pastor of the Java Christian Churches in Indonesia.

Claudrena Harold

Edward Stettinius Professor of History, University of Virginia

Claudrena N. Harold is the Edward Stettinius Professor of History at the University of Virginia. She is the author of three books, The Rise and Fall of the Garvey Movement in the Urban South, 1918-1942New Negro Politics in the Jim Crow South, and When Sunday Comes: Gospel Music in the Soul and Hip-Hop Eras. She has coedited two volumes, The Punitive Turn: New Approaches to Race and Incarceration and Charlottesville 2017: The Legacy of Race and Inequity. As a part of her ongoing work on the history of African American life at UVA, she has written, produced, and co-directed with Kevin Everson ten short films. These films have screened at the London Film FEstival, National Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum, Berlin International Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Black Star Film Festival, New York Film Festival, TIFF Lightbox, and other venues across the world.

‘Femi Adedeji

Obafemi Awolowo University / Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary

‘Femi Adedeji teaches African music theory, analysis, composition, African musicology, voice, Church music, gospel music, Christian worship, and indigenous hymnology in the Department of Music of the Obafemi Awolowo University and Faculty of Church Music of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary. As a recording gospel artiste, two of his tracks on YouTube are ‘Transformation’ and ‘The Solution’. ‘Femi was the President of the Association of Nigerian Musicologists (2012-2017) and currently on the Board of Trustees of the Society of Music Educators in Nigeria and the Association of Nigerian Musicologists. He has served as Facilitator and Editor to notable music journals in Africa and currently the Editor-in-Chief for E-Journal of Music Research (EJOMUR) and two other new journals: Journal of Christian Musicology and the Journal of Church Music and Worship. He is the publisher of African Music Classics that promotes indigenous African art music compositions. His Inaugural Lecture held in 2018 was titled ‘A new Song in My Mouth: Transforming Our World through the Music of the Saints’. ‘Femi has published in Research Review, Journal of performing ArtsAfrican Musicology OnlineAsia Journal of Theology, etc. Some of his contributions include ‘What is Voice Studies’? In Voice Studies: Critical Approaches to Process, Performance and Experience. (Routledge); ‘Yoruba Popular Culture’ in Culture and Customs of the Yoruba, (Pan African University Press); ‘Classification of Nigerian Gospel Music Styles’ in AFRICA: Revista do Centro de Estudos Africanos;’Transformative Musicology: Recontextualizing Art Music Composition for Societal Transformation in Nigeria’ in Revista Electronica de Musicologia;  ‘Singing and Suffering in Africa: A Study of Selected Relevant Texts of Nigerian Gospel Music’ (Matatu); and entries in Encyclopaedia of the Yoruba. (Indiana University Press).

Hyun Kyong Hannah Chang

University of Sheffield

Hannah Hyun Kyong Chang is a Lecturer of Korean Studies at the University of Sheffield. She is a historian of Korean Christianity and U.S. missionaries in Korea, with a particular interest in sociocultural dimensions of singing in colonial and Cold-War Protestant networks. Currently as an AHRC Research, Engagement, and Development Fellow (2021-3), she is conducting a project titled “Pacific Voicings: Korean Hymns and Prayers in the Age of Empires, 1884-1915”.  She also writes more broadly on issues of music historiography and East Asia, and this partly inspires her work as a co-convenor of the Global Music History Study Group of the American Musicological Society (AMS). Her work has appeared in Twentieth-Century Music, Ethnomusicology Forum, and The Oxford Handbook of Voice Studies, among others. Prior to coming to the U.K., she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and a Visiting Assistant Professor at NYU’s Music Department.

Ricky Manalo

The Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle

Ricky Manalo, CSP, is a member of the Missionary Society of St. Paul (Paulist Fathers), a composer of liturgical music (Oregon Catholic Press), and a theologian. He lectures for the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministry at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California, His Ph.D. in liturgical studies is from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. His academic interests lie in the intersection of everyday worship practices, sociology of religion, culture, and ethnography. His books include: Chanting On Our Behalf: A Pastoral Methodology for Presidential Chanting and Musical Leadership (Pastoral Press, 2015); The Liturgy of Life: The Interrelationship of Sunday Eucharist and Everyday Worship Practices (Liturgical Press, 2014); Intercultural Marriage: A Pastoral Guide to the Sacrament, with Simon Kim (Paulist Press, 2022). In addition, he is a theological consultor for the Committee on Cultural Diversity for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He resides at St. Paul the Apostle Church, New York, NY. For more info: 

Alisa Clapp-Itnyre

Indiana University East

Alisa Clapp-Itnyre, Ph.D., is Professor of English at Indiana University East, Richmond, Indiana, where she teaches children’s literature and Victorian literature among others.  Specializing in music-literature studies, she is the author of Hymn Books for Children, 1800-1900: Re-Tuning the History of Childhood (Ashgate/Routledge, 2016), Angelic Airs, Subversive Songs: Music as Social Discourse in the Victorian Novel (Ohio UP, 2002), and is co-editor, with Julie Melnyk of “Perplext in Faith:” Essays on Victorian Beliefs and Doubts (Cambridge Scholars, 2015). Her particular research focuses on the culture of children of the nineteenth-century, by studying their hymns, songs, and diaries. But she also engages contemporary children with songs of the past by running biannual camps to teach them nineteenth-century hymns (2015), secular songs (2017), and  Bands of Mercy animal-welfare songs (2019).  Professional recordings from these camps can be found on her academic website

Mikie Roberts

World Council of Churches

Rev. Dr Mikie A. Roberts is an ordained minister of the Moravian Church. Since February 2019, he serves the World Council of Churches as programme executive for Spiritual Life and for Faith and Order.

Hailing from the island of Antigua, his most recent ministry assignment was on St Thomas (US Virgin Islands). Rev. Mikie has previously served the Moravian Eastern West Indies Province as provincial director of music. He holds degrees in theology and sacred music from the University of the West Indies, and the Westminster Choir College of Rider University, respectively, as well as a PhD in Liturgical Studies from the University of Birmingham, UK.

Delegates who have been awarded a bursary place should contact the hospitality team via email to arrange their registration.