Gather into One: Praying and Singing Globally.

Hawn, C Michael. Gather into One: Praying and Singing Globally. Eerdmans, 2003.

C. Michael Hawn explores the global dimension of Christian music in churches around the world through in-depth exposition of the contributions made by six significant musicians from Argentina (Pablo Sosa), Taiwan (I-to Loh), South Africa (David Dargie), Zimbabwe (Patrick matsikenyiri), and Scotland (John Bell). The underlying premise of the text is that congregational singing provides a globally unifying dimension to the universal church. Hawn explains his thesis in Chapter 1, “Praying and Singing Globally”; while music remains rooted in a culture and derives its primary meaning from its context, congregational singing affords an opportunity to experience and explore the multicultural dimension of the Christian church through meaningful engagement with congregational music and songs from other cultural contexts. The wide array of congregational singing, “liturgical plurality” as Hawn calls it, is a way to experience the spiritual richness of the church through multicultural worship.
Hawn devotes a chapter each to describe the contributions made by each of the five musicians; there are extensive details in terms of historical and cultural backgrounds, and formative influences on their music and poetry: their music in turn, has had significant influence on others globally. The nature of musical structures and their contribution to the liturgical rituals, based on the analysis of the contributions by the previously named musicians, are explained in chapter 7. In chapter 8, Hawn focuses on the role played by a well-defined liturgical leadership in the congregation, calling it the office of the “enliver.” As an example, he singles out Mary Oyer, a Mennonite church musician who is offered as a model for this role. The final chapter, “Polyrhythmic Worship,” makes use of polyrhythmic drumming where drummers play in an ensemble, which Hawn says is common in many cultures around the world; worship ought to be a multicultural ensemble, Hawn concludes.