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What Does Congregational Worship Sound Like Today?
Jimmy Buchanan, Shirley Glaude, Bryan Johnson, and Nathan Skinner
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
1-2:30 pm EDT


Today, Congregational churches across the United States offer worship services on Sunday mornings as they have done for centuries. The musical sounds you hear while sitting in the pews of those churches, however, might vary widely depending on the church’s community and the part of the country in which you find yourself.

Many factors go into creating a moving worship experience. Church music has long been influenced by a wide variety of styles: classical, traditional, gospel, folk, and even contemporary. In the eighteenth century, congregants grew heated over the introduction of instrumental music into worship. Today, a great diversity of instruments might be played, from organs and handbells, to drums and guitars. Similarly, congregational singing has been a hallmark of Christian worship, but congregants might sing beloved hymns which are centuries old, or new compositions.

Learn more about what Congregational worship sounds like from people who plan for it each week. In this virtual program, music ministry directors from Congregational churches in Chicago, Boston, Norfolk, and Greensboro will share what goes into creating moving worship experiences, part of the CLA’s spring series, “What Does Congregationalism Sound Like?”

The event is free to all, but registration is required via this link:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about the webinar.

For more information, please email


Jimmy Buchanan is Director of Music at the Congregational United Church of Christ Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. Jimmy joined CUCC in August 2008. He is a middle school choral director with Guilford County Schools and is a native of Morganton, NC and the mountains.  Jimmy graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Music Education in December of 2002 and in August 2004 he received his Masters of Choral Conducting degree, also from Appalachian State University. Jimmy directs the CUCC Chancel Choir and the Hand-Bell Choir.

Shirley Glaude is a retired Vocal Music Education Teacher and former Church Musician/Director from Union United Church of Christ, Norfolk, Virginia. At Union UCC, she directed the Mass Choir, Men’s Choir, and the Children’s Choir for 13 years. She taught for 36 years, 3 years in Virginia and 33 years in Newark Public Schools, Newark, New Jersey. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Vocal Music Education with a major in voice and a minor in piano on a four-year scholarship from Norfolk State University in 1968. She has done graduate studies at American University in Washington, DC, Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA, and Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ. 

Bryan Johnson serves as the Executive Director of Sacred Music at Trinity UCC in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Johnson researches, plans, consults, implements, and monitors the ministry of music for the church, supervises the performance of the music staff and contract musicians, and ensures the development of their musical skills and talents by providing coaching, training, and workshop opportunities. He directs the rehearsals and performance of all choirs, ensembles and praise teams, and supports the movement ministry partners.

Nathan Skinner is Director of Music at Park Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts.