Worship, Music, and Religious Identity: Dissemination of Research

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Mon, 09/01/1997
End Date: 
Mon, 04/30/2001

Linda Clark and associates directed the dissemination phase of an earlier study on “Worship, Music, and Religious Identity” in order to create resources for congregational leaders, national denominational staffs, and seminary educators. This phase was designed to introduce the denominational leaders to the idea of congregational culture and help them deal with conflicts that arise when cultures clash. The primary resources produced by the project were a videotape and an accompanying book, both published by the Alban Institute (2001), co-authored by Clark, Joanne Swenson and Mark Stamm, titled How We Seek God Together: Exploring Worship Style. The authors developed these materials to be used for a variety of purposes: to explain, in an aesthetic form, cultural differences, to teach the elements of style and how it manifests the religious lives of congregations, to help defuse and heal conflict, and to nurture a deeper understanding of the nature of worship and music. <p> In addition to producing these resources, the project supported three conferences to publicize and test its findings: (1) “The Worship Tradition of the AME Zion Church: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow,” hosted on November 14, 1998 by the Columbus Avenue African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Boston (one of the three churches studied under the earlier Worship, Music, and Religious Identity project), (2) a second conference for professors of music and worship at Boston University School of Theology from April 9-11, 1999, and (3) a third conference aimed at denominational executives and held at Boston University on November 16, 1999.