National Conference for Sacred Music

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The Fellowship is pleased to once again be a sponsor for the upcoming National Conference for Sacred Music (NCSM), which will be held January 3-5, 2018, at First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.

We are also excited to have two of our leaders participating in the event through leading worship and presenting seminars.

Bone DavidDavid Bone, Executive Director of The Fellowship




Thompson JackieJacqueline Thompson, Fellowship member and elder in the Iowa Annual Conference




Featured clinicians include former Music & Worship Arts Week clinicians Heather Potter, Andre Thomas, and Ed Tompkins, as well as Isabelle Demers, and Zebulon Highben.

NCSM, which is presented by Augsburg Fortress, MorningStar Music, and Hinshaw Music, is a unique event designed to engage church musicians with fresh new ideas and a variety of approaches to further your work in creating a vital, growing music ministry.

Workshops and classes will be on topics including strategic planning, educating the congregation on worship, hymnody, choral techniques, organ, composition, handbells, and working with children.

Visit the event website for additional information and plan on starting 2018 with us in Charlotte!

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August 2017 Member of the Month: R. DeAndre Johnson

R. DeAndre Johnson serves at Christ Church Sugar Land (United Methodist) in Sugar Land, TX. In The Fellowship he has experienced the tremendous blessing of connecting and collaborating with colleagues in their quest to be more faithful to God’s call to make disciples for the transformation of the world. The Fellowship has offered him both practical ideas for ministry and reflections on the praxis of ministry, and has helped widen his field of focus, given energy, sparked creativity, and reminded him that he is not alone in the successes and failures of ministry.

Favorite worship resources include Sing of the World Made New: Hymns of Justice, Peace and Christian Responsibility (Hope Publishing); Prayers for a Privileged People by Walter Bruggemann (Abingdon); Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship (Faith Alive); Africana Worship Book: Year A, B, C (Discipleship Resources); and Africana Hymnal: Black Sacred Music (Abingdon).

This story illuminates DeAndre’s ministry:

A young mother in our congregation shared how God had transformed her and her family through worship. They had been wrestling with a call to adopt children from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, they became overwhelmed by many barriers and obstacles. Soon after they had mostly decided to give up on their call, they were praying together at the altar rail after receiving communion when the congregation began to sing: “For everyone born, a place at the table ... a shelter, a space, a safe place for growing.... and God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace...” In that moment, everything they had been praying for seemed to coalesce into a singular answer: “Yes!” They responded to the invitation to provide “a shelter, a space, a safe place for growing...” for others, especially orphans in the DRC. Today, after a two-year struggle, their family of five is complete with 2 precious siblings from the DRC.

The ministries of Fellowship members overflow with powerful witnesses to the Spirit at work through worship arts.

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July 2017 Member of the Month: Andrew Davis

Because Fellowship members Jim and Jean Strathdee made it possible for their intern and pastor to attend the 2011 convocation in Colorado Springs, the intern experienced The Fellowship on the “you had to be there” level, and The United Methodist Church gained one who answered the call to ministry at that event. While “on the mountain,” Andrew Davis first experienced the relationships that many cite as one of The Fellowship’s greatest blessings and in 2012 he enrolled at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. For him the greatest benefits of membership include those relationships and the added bonus of networking and idea sharing. 

Andrew currently serves as pastor of Community United Methodist Church in Quincy, CA, where his duties include preaching, pastoral care, shepherding the church’s lay leadership, worship planning in collaboration with the music directors, participating in the church’s singing and ringing choirs and serving as co-convener of the California/Nevada Chapter of The Fellowship. 

His favorite worship resources include those available through Discipleship Ministries (umcdiscipleship.org/worship), WorkingPreacher, Textweek, The United Methodist Music & Worship Planner, and The Fellowship’s WorshipArts magazine. He also finds time for theater, gardening, hiking, fishing and travel.

When asked to name a successful area of his ministry, Andrew shared the joy of journeying with others who become passionate about worship and spiritual growth as they are transformed by their relationship with Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior. In retrospect, Andrew’s motivation for joining The Fellowship in 2003 came at the suggestion of a choir director who became a mentor and knew Andrew wanted to develop skills as a musician. He wishes other leaders were aware of the many resources available through The Fellowship that include opportunities for training. As Andrew pays forward the opportunities offered to him by other Fellowship members, may every member do likewise. 

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June 2017 Member of the Month: Nancy Webb

Her experience of growing up immersed in the exceptional music ministry of First UMC, Anderson, IN, influenced Nancy Webb’s call to ministry and prompted her to join The Fellowship years ago. Now retired, Nancy first served as a Consecrated Lay Worker (Director of Christian Education) for four years, followed by 35 years as an appointed United Methodist pastor in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference. Nancy continues to serve as a member of the steering committee for BWARM (Baltimore-Washington Area Reconciling Methodists).  Last July she completed her term as chair of the Baltimore-Washington Conference Commission on Disability Concerns. She also participates in a retired clergy study group that reads and discusses books addressing current social issues from a theological and biblical point of view. 

As she reflects on her ministry, Nancy is thankful for her ability to identify and empower the gifts of laity. Since macular degeneration has compromised her vision since childhood (all of her lessons were read aloud from the 7th grade through college and two seminary degrees), each of her rural and urban congregations provided readers and drivers. Nancy and her congregations bear witness that many gifts and one Spirit do become the Body of Christ. Two favorite worship resources are The United Methodist Worship and Music Planner and The Common English Women’s Bible (2016).   

She wishes both clergy and laity understood that The Fellowship benefits not only church musicians, dancers, and artists, but also pastors. Nancy envisions church staffs that know the richness of working collegially and where all are enriched through mutual respect and collaboration. In addition, Nancy treasures both immediate and long-term benefits of Fellowship convocations where all join in song and story.

Nancy Webb personifies how one with limited sight provides powerful vision and leadership to a church whose mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

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From the President: 'Not Again?'

Sigh. It’s time for yet another president’s column. You’re thinking, “Is she really going to say anything noteworthy this time?” I’m thinking, “Didn’t I just write one of these? What can I possibly think of to fill the space? I guess I’d better just churn out something and get this checked off my to-do list.”

Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration (at least, on my part!). But don’t we all experience that feeling of “not again?” when faced with a routine task – no matter how important that task may be? Take worship planning and preparation, for example. Sunday just keeps coming! Every. Single. Week. We just went through this last week; how can we come up with words and music and movements and rituals and images that are new and fresh once again? The temptation to just dial it in gets pretty strong at times.

And yet, I can think of at least a couple of reasons that we worship artists can still muster up excitement week in and week out. As Easter People, we are entrusted with the most amazing, un-boring, complacency-fighting narrative in all the universe! There is absolutely nothing status quo about the story of God’s incarnational love living here in our midst even today. The Gospel alone is motivation enough to bust out of our ho-hum task-oriented liturgical ruts and bring our best creative energy to the awesome privilege of designing and leading worship.

But I also understand that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and under-resourced in this calling. And that’s where The Fellowship can help in battling the monotony of the mundane. Our new website (but same address: UMFellowship.org) has a terrific collection of resources that will be growing significantly over the next months. Our annual Music & Worship Arts Week is just around the corner; if you don’t feel fired up after a week at Lake Junaluska with a few hundred creative worship fans then you must have been asleep in your room the whole time! Awaken 2017 is July 24-27 in Little Rock; it will absolutely wake you up to new ways to plan worship and new ways to fight complacency.

But our members themselves are the very best tool for breaking out of whatever rut may have you trapped. If you’re part of a chapter, call your leaders for ideas about connecting with others in your chapter for support. Regardless of where you are, take the initiative to invite a colleague out to share a beverage and “talk shop” together (see how you can make this effort part of our 60+ONE project). Call the national office to ask about getting more involved in The Fellowship. Or email me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for ideas about connecting with the wonderfully creative worship artists who make up The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts. When we pool our creativity and liturgical gifts, it’s the best antidote imaginable for complacency!

-- BeTheFellowship, Laura Jaquith Bartlett

(NOTE: This article first appeared in the May-June 2017 issue of WorshipArts.)

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May 2017 Member of the Month: Trenton Teegarden

May Fellowship Member of the Month Trenton Teegarden serves as Minister of Contemporary Music and Worship Arts at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church in Little Rock, AR, where he plans and leads two modern-style services on Sunday mornings followed by Sunday evening youth worship.

He joined The Fellowship because he wanted to collaborate with other people who share his call and cites relationships facilitating shared joys and challenges of worship arts ministry as the greatest benefit of membership. Trenton credits the collegiality and encouragement of The Fellowship's diverse and creative membership for inspiring his growth as a worship leader. As an emerging worship professional, he values mentorship opportunities with "more seasoned" members.

A man of diverse interests, Trenton's hobbies include golf, European football (soccer), and cooking.

Since his arrival at Pulaski Heights UMC in January 2016, Trenton has introduced the congregation to sung communion responses, a new monthly practice for them.

Trenton's favorite worship resources include:

We celebrate Trenton as a Member of the Month who embodies the essence of the Fellowship spirit: diversity, creativity, relationship, mutual support, and collaboration.

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From the President: What's Happening in The Fellowship?

The big news around FellowshipLand these days is … our new Bylaws were approved! What? That’s not the hottest topic in your life?! Okay, to be honest, it’s not really the most compelling conversation starter for your National Council members, either. But we are genuinely excited by the possibilities for new energy, new efficiency, and new leadership afforded by this new structure that our membership has just approved. So even though I’m sure you carefully read every word in the Bylaws and Standing Rules proposal when you voted, allow me to sketch out what I see as the highlights:

  • Monthly gatherings (via videoconference) of the “working groups.” We thought long and hard about what to title these three new entities in our organization. We finally landed on “working groups,” because that’s exactly what they’ll be doing—each of these small groups will be focused on designing and implementing the tasks that accomplish the to-do list of a national organization. These folks will oversee everything from crafting the operational budget to brainstorming possibilities for long-range financial planning to strategizing about our staffing needs (the Administration Working Group); from resourcing our chapters to running the 60+ONE initiative to dreaming up new ways for our members to connect (the Community Working Group); from producing outstanding events to ensuring that each issue of WorshipArts includes a wide variety of creative arts to vetting the resources available on our website (the Content Working Group). Each group will partner with a variety of committees and teams to help with the work, and they’ll also have the option of deploying new small groups or volunteers for short-term projects.

  • A new board (the Executive Board) that will also meet monthly via videoconference. Regular, two-way internal communication is a hallmark of our new structure. The Executive Board includes our new vice-presidents, who are the leaders of each of the working groups. This will make it easy for the small groups to know what each other is up to, in order to avoid duplication and the temptation to slip into silos. The Executive Board is also charged with making sure that all this good work and creative energy is actually helping us stay true to our mission and vision.

  • What’s next? At Awaken 2017, our national convocation in Little Rock this summer (you are registered for it, right?), our new national leaders will be installed. But meanwhile: we are in the midst of balloting for our four elected positions: President-Elect (Shawn Gingrich, the current president-elect, will assume the presidency in July at the end of Awaken 2017), Vice-President of Content, Vice-President of Community, and Vice-President of Administration. If you haven’t yet voted, please do so today! And there are still a few more days to complete the self-nomination form if you believe you have gifts to offer The Fellowship in one of the appointed positions: we are seeking to fill Coordinator positions for Events; Publications & Media; Membership; Chapters; Finance/Personnel; and Development; along with a Recording Secretary. Even if you are not interested in a position for the next two years, let us know about your long-range interest as we seek to develop leadership for the future.

This is YOUR Fellowship! And we are working hard to be an organization that celebrates its heritage but is looking forward with confidence and faith. If you have comments or questions about our new structure, please let me know: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

-- Laura Jaquith Bartlett, president

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From the President: Changes ...

Two days before Christmas, my spouse received the news that he has been selected to be the new executive director of camp & retreat ministry for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference — meaning that very soon we will be leaving the retreat center where we’ve lived and worked for the last eight years, we’ll somehow find, purchase, and move into a new home, Todd will start a new job, and I’ll be in need of a new appointment. Change: eek!!!!

Even when the changes are exciting and full of promise, it is difficult to leave behind the familiar, comfortable patterns. Change brings stress simply because it’s change. We worship artists are well aware of the challenge of change within a worship context. Whether it’s changing the color of the sanctuary carpet, starting a new worship service, switching to a different sound system, or simply introducing a new hymn, worship changes can easily backfire unless they are handled with sensitivity, education, and pastoral care. Because, you know, change…

The Fellowship is in the midst of a change. By the time you read this, you may have already completed your ballot, indicating whether you choose to support a new way of structuring the administrative and leadership elements of this organization. I hope you are choosing “yes”! This is a leap of faith. We do not know for sure whether this new system will serve us well. We may not be sure we’re ready to let go of the old familiar structure and terminology. But we do know that the church and the culture are both changing, and we need to adapt if The Fellowship is to remain healthy. So we’re preparing to change: to say goodbye to the old constitution that has been our governing document for many years, and to embrace a new set of bylaws with a new way of configuring our leadership.

For me, sharing stories is one of the ways I cope with the stress of change. Keeping memories alive reassures me that the past — relationships, experiences, learnings — travels with me into whatever new adventure awaits, because I have been shaped by what I’ve encountered along the way. I invite you to share your stories with me about memories of The Fellowship through the years. I also hope that you will be interested in sharing your gifts through the new opportunities for leadership that will come, if the membership approves this change. (Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

I remember moving to a new community when our first daughter was two. After all the boxes and furniture were in the truck, we went from room to room saying good-bye, sharing memories, and affirming that we would still be together in our new home. It was an important ritual for our toddler – and also for her parents! That’s what we do as worship artists each week. As our world changes around us, we create and lead rituals that allow the community to share stories and affirm that God’s love never changes.

-- BeTheFellowship, Laura Jaquith Bartlett

(NOTE: This article first appeared in the March-April 2017 issue of WorshipArts.)

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From the President: What's Happening in The Fellowship?

Your National Council has been hard at work over the last few months, in spite of a dearth of reporting from your president. Not to worry, I won’t try to summarize everything. But here are some highlights (and if you want more details, or have any questions, contact the Fellowship office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

  • At a “routine” Council conference call in early December, we managed to surprise Executive Director David Bone with a party and special presentation honoring his 25 years of service at the helm of The Fellowship! Council members kicked off a new fund to endow the executive director position in honor of David. Fellowship members will have the opportunity to contribute to this fund soon.

  • David Bone spent several days in Phoenix, Arizona, recently with the worship staff of Discipleship Ministries. The Fellowship is collaborating with DM to offer a national worship event in the Western Jurisdiction. David also had the opportunity to meet with all the Directors of Connectional Ministries for each U.S. annual conference. This is a significant step in our work of increasing the visibility of The Fellowship within the annual conference structure. If you have a leadership role in your own annual conference, please contact David at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to talk about how you can be part of this connectional effort.

  • We’ve created a new membership category specifically to help multiple members of a church staff access the benefits of The Fellowship for just one monthly fee, which is a savings over the individual annual fee. Part of the motivation for this new plan is to encourage collegiality amongst worship leaders in the same congregation.

  • And once you become a member, you also become part of the amazing web of support and connections with worship artists across the country. Check out our new Member of the Month feature in WorshipArts and on the web, and feel free to let us know more about yourself if you’d like the opportunity to be highlighted as a Member of the Month sometime in the future.

  • Journey 2017 is the theme for Music and Worship Arts Week June 25-30 at Lake Junaluska. The design team is pulling together another amazing event with fabulous leadership!

  • Have you participated in a Fellowship webinar yet? Our Events Coordinator (Joan FitzGerald) has teamed up with other Fellowship leaders to create a variety of webinars to supplement our other resources. You can find them here on our new website!

  • Which brings me to….our new website!! Our Communications Director, Carla Swank Fox, has brought her expertise (and a LOT of hours of work!) to finally realize our long-held dream of a website that can be easily viewed on any device, and that has the power to store a variety of worship resources that can be accessed by our members as well as other interested users. This part of the website is still in its infancy, so if you have resources you’d like to see, or resources you’d like to contribute, let us know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • If you have not yet registered for the national convocation in Little Rock this summer, do it now! Not only will the event offer the usual fellowship, worship, and a plethora of training opportunities in a myriad of worship arts areas, but it will also be a time to wake up to the injustice and fear in our world, to be shaped as the community of Christ in worship, and then to explore together, “what’s next?” You won’t want to miss it!

As you can tell, there is a LOT happening in your Fellowship! And I’m always interested in what’s happening in your life as a worship artist, so please write to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let me know.

-- Laura Jaquith Bartlett, president

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April 2017 Member of the Month: Rebecca Boggan

Pastor of Discipleship and Hospitality at First United Methodist Church, Bentonville, AR, Rebecca credits The Fellowship with her spiritual and musical growth over the years. She cites conversations with other musicians and worship leaders as well as worship and classes at the biennial convocations as both the greatest benefits of membership and her most cherished Fellowship memories. 

Among her favorite worship resources are Abingdon’s worship annuals and planners, Ministry Matters (ministrymatters.com), the Wild Goose Resource Group, Choristers Guild, and Hope Publishing Company. Rebecca measures success through helping her choir members grow in faith as they create good music for Sunday worship. She wishes everyone knew that The Fellowship offers resources not only to musicians, but also to all who lead worship.

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March 2017 Member of the Month: Bryan Babcock

Ask Bryan Babcock, The Fellowship’s March Member of the Month, about the greatest benefit of membership, and his response focuses on “the community of those who desire to create worship that stimulates the heart, mind, soul and aesthetic spirit.”

Babcock Bryan300In his 36th year as Director of Music at Maynard Avenue UMC – a reconciling congregation near Ohio State University in Columbus, OH – Bryan not only leads the music each Sunday, but also designs worship several times a year.  A church member since 2000 and involved in its life on many levels,  he credits much of his success to supportive clergy who value music in worship and welcome eclectic styles drawn from many traditions including repertoire gleaned from his role as a musical director for local theatre productions.

Bryan describes The Fellowship as a catalytic resource and an agent for spurring creativity. Its commitment to providing excellent resources for worship leaders is matched by the affirmation provided to members.  

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