Musical Missionary to Lead Songs and Lecture at Westbury UMC

Date Posted: 9/19/2012

Westbury United Methodist Church will host a lecture and banquet on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 4 to 7 p.m.  for a time of singing, talking, eating and worship with Rev. John Thornburg, a global songleader.


He will share stories of his musical missionary work in the African nation of Cameroon and the development of the new, bilingual Cameroonian hymnal, Mille Voix Pour Chanter Tes Louanges /O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing. Rev. Thornburg will invite those in attendance into a new way of thinking about the music of the church, beyond camps of traditional versus contemporary music.


“This new way is not based on playing and singing the music I like,” says Rev. Thornburg. “Rather it’s based on the congregation’s shared identity. I will sing this song because it speaks of what God is calling us to do, and on solidarity. Although this song isn’t my favorite, I will sing it because it may save the life of the person sitting next to me.” The cost of the catered banquet is $7 per person. Please send your check and RSVP to the church office no later than Monday, Oct. 1. Childcare will be provided for infants and toddlers upon request.


Rev. Thornburg will also be Westbury UMC’s guest songleader and preacher in worship on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 10:45 a.m., for World Communion Sunday.


The weekend’s activities are funded by the Homer and Charlice Finck Music Lectureship, an endowment that was 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.


Westbury UMC is a church for all people with more than enough love to go around. Its multiracial, intergenerational congregation focuses on worship, discipleship and transformational missions. The church is located in southwest Houston just outside the 610 Loop on the corner of W. Bellfort and Willowbend. For more information, contact the church office at 713-723-0175 or visit


Guest Bio

Rev. John Thornburg is a pastor/poet/song enlivener who travels the country helping congregations find or re-discover their singing voices. He grew up in New York, got a B.A. in Greek Language and Literature from DePauw University and an M.Div. from Perkins School of Theology. He calls himself a ³professional encourager,² and believes in the power of singing to awaken people to new hope and purpose. He has traveled to Africa ten times, mainly to assist the United Methodist Mission in Cameroon to develop its first hymnal/worship book. He¹s a new grandpa and proud of it. Find out more about Rev. Thornburg¹s ministry at