Westbury UMC to Host Weekend with John Bell of the Iona Community, Scotland

Date Posted: 7/7/2014

This fall, Westbury United Methodist Church will host John Bell, the well-known composer and song enlivener of the Iona Community in Scotland. Mr. Bell will facilitate several events during the weekend of Sept. 20 and 21, around the theme, The Divine Option for Diversity.

“We’re so pleased to have John Bell with us,” says Rev. DeAndre Johnson, pastor of music and worship at Westbury UMC. “It’s our hope that many church leaders will participate. We will be exploring how music in worship helps shape a congregation’s missional identity.”

On Saturday, Sept. 20, from 2 to 4:30 p.m., Mr. Bell will lead a seminar to trace how the psalms of the Old Testament provide a biblical springboard for diversity of text, sentiment and musical setting. The seminar is free of charge, although participants are encouraged to register online as space is limited.
Also on Saturday, from 7 to 9 p.m., there will be a banquet at which Mr. Bell will speak on the different ways music can be used in worship. The cost of the catered banquet is $10 per person. Participants can register online or send a check and RSVP to Westbury UMC’s office by Monday, Sept. 15. Childcare will be provided for infants and toddlers upon request.

On Sunday, Mr. Bell will be Westbury UMC’s guest songleader and preacher in worship at 10:45 a.m. Later that afternoon, from 4 to 6 p.m., he will lead a community-wide song festival called “Sing the World Upside Down,” featuring music from the global church. Sunday’s events are free and open to the public.
The weekend’s activities are made possible by the Homer and Charlice Finck Music Lectureship, an endowment established in 2005 by the children of Homer and Charlice in memory of their father. The purpose of the lectureship is to support music-related special events, including lectures, performances and commissions, at Westbury UMC.

Contact: Rev. DeAndre Johnson, (713) 723-0175 and deandre1@westburyumc.org for more information.

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Guest Bio
JOHN BELL is an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland and a member of the Iona Community. After a period in the Netherlands and two posts in church youth work, he became employed full time in the areas of music and worship with the Wild Goose Resource Group. He is a past convener of the Church of Scotland’s Panel on Worship and presently convenes the Committee revising the Church Hymnary. In 1999 he was honored by the Presbyterian Church of Canada and the Royal School of Church Music which bestowed a Fellowship on him, and in 2002 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Glasgow. John has produced (some in collaboration with Graham Maule), many collections of original hymns and songs and two collections of songs of the World Church. These are published by the Iona Community in Scotland and by G.I.A. Publications (Chicago) in N. America. He is an occasional broadcaster and holds lectures in theological colleges in Britain and the U. S., but is primarily concerned with the renewal of congregational worship at grass roots level.