Going Against the ‘Worship Wars’ by Singing Together

The Center for Congregational Song is countering the ‘worship wars’ that argue about which type of song should have precedence in the church setting by calling for people to start singing together. The director of the center, Brian Hehn, says that we need to stop emphasizing solo performances:

There’s just a resurgence in acknowledging how important it is that we sing together and it’s coming to a head because I think we have reached a point in our surrounding culture where it is now officially countercultural.

You can find the full article and learn more about the center here.


  1. I’m very excited to be attending this event. I expect to be inspired and challenged by a very diverse group of presenters, including John Bell, Adam Tice, and Gloria Gaither (!), among others.

  2. Would be interesting to have them include another genre of congregational singing like, say, Agnus Dei IX (Cum Jubilo). Something I have heard congregations sing well, btw, once they become very familiar with it. (Pop culture tangent: it’s what Sister Agnes is singing from the convent’s belfry at the close of the film version of “Agnes of God.”)

  3. Singing “together” also means avoiding stylistically-defined liturgies. Or, as one parish council member cheerfully put it, market segmentation.

    1. I suppose the instrumental accompaniment is what tends to puts limits on the “style” of music at a particular liturgy, e.g. there are some practical limits to what an organ or a guitar can do, at least in the hands of an average player.

      Congregations, in my experience, don’t care as much about style, and tend to adhere to Duke Ellington’s principle, “If it sounds good, it is good.”

      1. If there is instrumental accompaniment at all. I’ve long tended to start with a presumption (rebuttable, not conclusive) to prefer repertoire that can sound good (with sufficient familiarization) without accompaniment – things that singers (choral or congregational) can “own” without dependency on an instrumentalist being present.

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