Ponder Anew

Conversations in 21st Century Church Music

Edited by Jessica Nelson, Foreword by William Bradley Roberts

Jul/2022, 208 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9781640654440



A definitive look at how church music is changing in the 21st century.

There is no lack of resources for the church musician focusing on particular skills or repertoire. But this is the first collection of essays created specifically for musicians working in parish ministry that imagines how those vocations will change along with the evolving church.

Ponder Anew chronicles the rapid changes in the church music landscape in the last 20 years including the role of technology, education, relationships with clergy and choristers, and cultural presumptions. Contributors are parish musicians, professors, clergy, and bishops.

Read an excerpt.

Jessica Nelson holds degrees in music and liturgy from Millsaps College and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. She has served churches of various denominations in Mississippi and Alabama and currently serves St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson, MS as organist and choirmaster. She directs the Mississippi Conference on Church Music and Liturgy and has served two terms on the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music of The Episcopal Church. She lives in Jackson, MS.

William Bradley Roberts is an ordained minister and professor emeritus of church music at Virginia Theological Seminary. He is in demand as a composer, speaker, and workshop leader. He has served in parishes in Washington, DC, Arizona, and California. He was a founding member of the Leadership Program for Musicians and a curriculum writer for this multi-denominational organization. He lives in Richmond, VA.

"...the collection offers a welcome invitation, as we engage with a 'new normal,' to 'ponder anew,' to take fresh stock of our aims and assumptions, and to approach this new phase of our professional life from a place of openness, still anchored in what has always been our rock: '…what the Almighty can do.'"
The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians

“Jessica Nelson masterfully achieves that for which she is uniquely gifted: hosting an honest and faithful conversation about music-making in the Church today so that, together, we might Ponder Anew the musical vocation. Pull up a chair and join her.”
—Thomas Alexander, member of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music

“Through diverse and relatable voices, Jessica Nelson’s conversations depict the lineage of church music as a dynamic thread founded upon experience and relationships. This collection is an essential resource for those at any stage of their vocational life.”
—Patrick Fennig, Executive Director, Association of Anglican Musicians

“Ponder Anew is an incredibly extensive contemplation of the old as well as the new, by way of multifaceted realms of stories, interviews, and sermons, reaching back to Sarum principles and moving forward through liturgical interpretation differences.”
—Thomas Pavlechko, composer, Director of Music at Christ the King Catholic Church in Dallas, Texas

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  • music
  • church
  • musicians
  • future of church

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