By David Howell
Three center city Bethlehem churches have joined together to commission a new hymn. Moravian Seminary, Trinity Episcopal Church, Salem Lutheran Church, and Central Moravian Church have asked noted hymn writer Brian Wren to pen a new hymn to reflect the joy of their union. The new work will debut March 11 at Moravian’s College’s Foy Concert. Brian Wren will be in Bethlehem to present the Weber Memorial Lecture. (See below)
Bethlehem is the focus of an historic event as the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (the largest U.S. Lutheran church) and the Moravian Church in North America celebrate full communion agreements that allow the three bodies to share clergy and minister together in significant ways.
The Rev. Dr. Steve Simmons, director of Moravian’s Continuing Education program, writes, “A good new hymn may surprise and delight us with its theology, poetry and music. Sung often, it can lull us into inattention, or surprise us with sudden relevance. With this in mind, Brian Wren, one of the most significant and popular hymn writers of our time, will introduce some of his own recent work, as well as new hymns by Richard Leach and Shirley Murray, and invite us to converse about them and sing them. In the process, he will discuss the history, practice, and future of congregational singing in a time of rapidly changing styles of worship.”
Dr. Wren says, "Perhaps one or two will catch our imagination and become familiar enough to express our deepest needs and beliefs, yet still be able to surprise."
Dr. Brian Wren studied at Oxford, taking degrees in Modern Languages and Theology, including a D. Phil for work on the Hebrew prophets. After ordination, he pastored a Congregational church in Essex, served as consultant to the British Council of Churches, and worked in the student-based world poverty campaign, Third World First. Since 1983, Brian has followed a freelance ministry, helping worshippers, ministers, educators and musicians to improve skills, and deepen spirituality. Recently retired as John and Miriam Conant Professor of Worship at Columbia Theological Seminary, he currently lives in upstate New York with his wife Susan Heafield, a United Methodist pastor.
Weber Memorial Lectures in Pastoral Ministry
Surprise Us by the Words We Sing: New Hymns to Sing and Ponder
March 11, 2011 (9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.)
Foy Concert Hall, Payne Campus, Moravian College
Free, but registration is recommended.
Visit here for more information or to register: http://www.moravianseminary.edu/conted/Spring11/weber.html