John Bell was born in, resides in, and belongs to Scotland. Largely through interest expressed by GIA, his work and availability has become a North American reality.He is a liturgical composer who writes co-operatively with colleagues in Glasgow; he has a deep interest in music from non-European cultures and a passion for song of the Assembly.Though his primary vocation is as a preacher and teacher, he spends over half his time working in the areas of music and liturgy, both at conferences and in small parishes, and his work takes him frequently into Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
With his colleagues, he has produced over 15 collections of songs and octavos, and a wide range of liturgical materials, particularly for use by lay people, and he oversaw the production of a substantial hymnal for the Church of Scotland which, in North America, goes by the title Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise. (Canterbury Press).He has also authored a number of collections of sermons and meditations, is an occasional broadcaster on radio and television, and manages to survive without the benefit of a wife, car, cell phone, camera, or ipod. .
2015 Breakout Sessions
Ancient Gifts for Modern Times
The Celtic tradition in Christian Spirituality originated in 5th century Ireland and flourished in the British Isles until the 9th century. In recent years the term 'celtic' has sometimes been used as an a euphemism for 'trendy.' Yet this ancient tradition preserves some theological and spiritual insights which can nourish those who have overdosed on the musings of more recent western divines.
The Emasculation of Jesus
and the defeminisation of the church
This rather bold title is concerned with how in the preaching and worship of the church, two temptations often befall leaders of worship. One is to reduce the immensity of the incarnate ministry of Christ in preference for doctrinal statements. Thus in the Apostles Creed, the life of Jesus is subsumed by a comma: 'born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate.' The other tendency is to represent the great and diverse regiment of Biblical women by a few meek helpmeets. Here we consider some antidotes.
Good Reasons for the Church's Song
Most churches sing. Many increasingly see music as primarily associated with the organ, praise band and choir. Occasionally preachers regard congregational songs as fill-ins between the most important aspects of worship, notably what they have to say. But communal singing is a biblical imperative; so here we explore good reasons for doing it well.
Managing Change in Worship
For even the most liberally minded people, the issue of change anywhere in the life of the church is regarded as anathema. The reasons are several and various, but how people are enabled to accept and even embrace a significant and essential change is less well rehearsed. Here we look at the anatomy of change and how it can be affected
Singing with the Global Church
Most Western denominations have some respnsibility for the evangelism of southern hemisphere nations. We have readily sent missionaries and our religious cultural creations – hymns, liturgies and artistic depictions, but have been a little more reticent to receive the gifts the Spirit has bestowed on others which might be to our benefit. In this seminar we share some accessible gifts from the global church.