February 8, 2013 – CMU’s 2013 three-day, biennial music and worship conference, Worship + Imagination (W+I), opened on February 7 with CMU welcoming, among its special guests, Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery, Dean of Duke Chapel and Associate Professor of the Practice of Homiletics at Duke Divinity School, and Graham Maule, liturgist, artist from the Iona Community, and trainer in lay leadership with Wild Goose Resource Group.
An influential church leader and keynote speaker, Powery led the plenary session, “More than a Song: Worship, Justice, and Suffering,” helping to set the tone for the conference. He also led the W+I clinic, Preaching in the Valley of Dry, exploring African American spirituals as resources for contemporary preaching.In 2008, the African American Pulpit named Powery to its “20 to watch” list, an honour given to outstanding black ministers under age 40 who are helping to shape future direction of the church.
Maule, who studied Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art, focuses in the areas of participative biblical exploration of worship, creative reflection, and lay adult training with the Wild Goose Resource Group (WGRG). Maule has published a wide range of books and recordings of liturgy and song with his colleague, John L. Bell, and, along with another colleague, Jo Love, he also co-ordinates “Holy City,” the WGRG’s monthly workshop and liturgy event in Glasgow. Maule, joined by others, lead the daily worship services, “Fencing God’s People In.”
The CMU Worship + Imagination conference, previously known as “Refreshing Winds,” brings people together to share music and participate in clinics and workshops that open the imagination to wonder and praise. “What began as a church music seminar decades ago has become a symposium that equips, inspires, and encourages persons involved in worship planning, worship leading, pastoring, preaching, music leading, and other church leading roles,” says conference co-organizer Abram Bergen, Church Relations Director at CMU.
Serving on the 2013 W+I organizing committee with Bergen were CMU faculty members Irma Fast Dueck, Dan Epp-Tiessen, Tim Rogalsky, and Rudy Schellenberg.
“The 2013 conference theme, “Worship & Witness,” invites us to consider how worship bears witness to the imagination of God in the world and shapes us for witness,” says Bergen. “Our times of worship, plenary addresses, workshops, clinics, field trips, and visual arts challenge us to greater faithfulness. We also explore how worship and the arts resist injustice and oppression and enable God’s peace and reconciliation in the world.”
“We were pleased to feature a commissioned work for Worship + Imagination, Psalm 46, by Tim Corlis, CMU music faculty member,” says Bergen. The CMU Singers and Conductor Rudy Schellenberg presented the choral work during the opening service.
“We extend our thanks to the many gifted leaders and engaged participants who are involved in the Conference, to our staff and volunteers working behind the scenes, and to exhibitors present at this year’s conference. Our prayer,” says Bergen, “is that during these days together, our imaginations will be sparked and our witness strengthened through worship, presentations conversations, and interactions.”
For detailed conference information, visit the CMU Worship + Imagination Conference website: