Academic journal article The Hymn

Rivals or a Team? Clergy-Musician Relationships in the Twenty-First Century

Academic journal article The Hymn

Rivals or a Team? Clergy-Musician Relationships in the Twenty-First Century

Article excerpt

Rivals or a Team? Clergy-Musician Relationships in the Twenty-First Century by Eileen Guenther. St. Louis: MorningStar Music, 2012. ISBN 978-0944529546. 180 pages. $18.95. Kindle edition $14.95.

In Rivals or a Team? Clergy-Musician Relationships in the Twenty-first Century, Eileen Guenther addresses an often-discussed but rarely-studied subject affecting most congregations today. She takes a fresh and comprehensive look at the way clergypersons and church musicians work with each other, as well as musicians' relationships with others in the church, particularly lay leaders and those involved in the music ministry. In the introduction, she summarizes the primary reason for the book: "The point is not who is wrong or who is right. The point is-or should be- that we are all in this together, and it is in our best interest and the church's best interest for us to construct a framework upon which we can build a collegial relationship, a real team" (Kindle Location 162).

As an active church musician, a university and seminary professor of church music, and several-term president of the American Guild of Organists, Guenther has wide experience in working with clergy, church leadership, and congregations. Throughout the book, she uses her own career to demonstrate the effects of both positive and negative relationships on ministry in the church. She also draws from the experiences of her colleagues in music ministry, as well as a variety of pastors. A number of Hymn Society members are referenced, including Paul Westermeyer, Thomas Troeger, Adam Tice, John Thornburg, Charlotte Kroeker, and Victoria Sirota, among others. In addition to anecdotes and information from within the church, Guenther also presents valuable research from relationship and teamwork studies in other fields. The conclusions she draws and assessments she makes are clearly based on thorough research. …

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