For the past 3 days I’ve been attending the Charles Wesley Society annual conference, held at the Global Board of Discipleship (United Methodist Church) here in Nashville. The event was hosted by Tom Albin, (Dean of Upper Room Ministries & Ecumenical Relations) and Dean McIntyre (Director of Music Resources). From noon Thursday through noon today, it was a chance to meet with both academics and church music practitioners and focus on the music of Charles Wesley.
I had the chance to meet face to face the president of the society, Dr. Lester Ruth. Lester is the Research Professor of Christian Worship at Duke Divinity School, as well as Adjunct Faculty at Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. I look forward to sitting under his teaching next year (History of Worship) as I begin in the doctoral program at IWS. I was introduced to Lester via email by a mutual friend Monique Ingalls (a former musician at St. Bartholomew’s, and currently the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Popular Music & Culture and Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College/Cambridge University).
The presentations I was able to attend, all of which were excellent, included:
• Patrick Eby – “Wesley’s Use of Biblical Narrative in Addressing the Battle Against Sin”
• ST Kimbrough, Jr. – “The Psalm Interpretation of Charles Wesley”
• Douglas Meeks – “Wesley’s Biblical Interpretation for the Work of Theology”
• Charles White – “The Robe of Jesus: Charles Wesley’s View of the Bible”
• Carlton Young – “The First Musical Settings of Charles Wesley’s Texts”
Musical aspects included a hymn sing Thursday evening led by Carlton Young, ST Kimbrough, Jr with The Very. Rev Timothy E. Kimbrough in the Upper Room Chapel, as well as music of Wesley at other times led by Rob Stilland Bo Helmich. We concluded at noon today with a Eucharist with all of the liturgy in poetic verse by Charles Wesley. Dr. Ruth selected my hymn “Come, Let Us Rise and Sing God’s Praises” (Tune: POST OAK) for use in the closing service. It is a new paraphrase of the original Wesley text “Come, Let Us With Our Lord Arise” that we’ve sung at St. Bartholomew’s since last fall.
It was a very informative and engaging conference – I look forward to deepening new friendships over the coming years as I become involved in the society.
[Here’s Rob Still’s post] about the conference as well.