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Presbyterian Writers Guild offers panel on hymn-writing

August 15 event features David Gambrell, Mel Bringle and Chris Shelton

by Jerry Van Marter, Presbyterian Writers Guild | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Photo by Kati Hoehl via Unsplash

LOUISVILLE — As congregations — and congregational singing — return to in-person worship, the Presbyterian Writers Guild is sponsoring a one-hour panel presentation on hymn-writing featuring three renowned Presbyterian hymn composers.

The Zoom event — scheduled for Sunday, August 15 from 5-6 p.m. Eastern Time — is entitled “When in Our Music God Is Glorified: A Panel on Hymn-writing.”

“The gathering we have planned calls to mind a quote attributed to Augustine of Hippo, the great theologian of the early church, who purportedly said, ‘Those who sing pray twice,’” said the Rev. Emily Enders Odom, president of the Presbyterian Writers Guild.

The three Presbyterian hymn-writers who will be sharing their insights into composing hymns are:

the Rev. Dr. David Gambrell


the Rev. Dr. Mel Bringle




  • The Rev. Dr. Mary Louise (Mel) Bringle, chair of the Glory to God hymnal committee and the author of several hymns in the book.


the Rev. Chris Shelton





“We give thanks for the gifts of David, Mel, Chris and all of today’s hymn writers,” Odom said, “whose gifts offer us a fresh vocabulary with which to praise and honor God — perhaps even twofold — when we sing.”

Dr. Anita Coleman

The panel will be moderated by Dr. Anita Coleman, a writer and former professor currently serving as vice president of the Presbyterian Writers Guild.

The panelists will talk about their sources of inspiration, their favorite hymns, the changing contexts in church and society and how they affect hymn-writing, how increasing diversity is reflected in their hymn-writing, and the impact of “praise music” on hymn-writing. Each panelist will also share their favorite compositions.

The event will be live on Zoom. On Aug. 15, find the link here. For more information, visit the  Presbyterian Writers Guild website by going here. 

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