(RNS) Are ministers and musicians allies or rivals?

Eileen Guenther, the national president of the American Guild of Organists, reveals behind-the-scenes church struggles in her new book, “Rivals or a Team?: Clergy-Musician Relationships in the Twenty-First Century.”

Guenther, an associate professor of church music at Washington’s Wesley Theological Seminary and the former organist at Foundry United Methodist Church, talked with Religion News Service about her findings and advice. Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: You titled your book “Rivals or a Team?” From your research, which is a better description of most clergy-musician relationships?

Read it all.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

2 comments on “(RNS) Are ministers and musicians allies or rivals?

  1. FrJames says:

    This article seems very one sided. I don’t know about the book. However, there are many real life examples that many clergy could tell about musicians behaving badly as well.

  2. C. Wingate says:

    One comes across clerics who don’t understand what it takes to produce music (and therefore think that they can hand a song to the organist on Wednesday and expect it to be sung on Sunday), or who pick hymns on the basis of the text without knowing whether the music is any good, and so forth. A more subtle problem I’ve come across (although I’ve run into it more from laymen than clerics) is that there are a lot of people who are primarily word people, and who seem to feel threatened by the instant emotional access of music. So if they can’t get rid of it entirely, they push for musical styles which they think will blunt that power. A lot of the “all chant all the time” crowd seems to think this way.

    And let me tell you, it’s not usually the organist or the choir who is pushing for a guitar mass….