In more and more congregations in UEM churches worldwide, the need for contemporary music is becoming clear. It is not only in Germany that Christians want professional guidance and accompaniment for good music in devotions and church services, which goes beyond classical church music to include elements of jazz, rock, pop and gospel.
Within the framework of the thematic UEM focus "Dance - Music - Arts", the need of UEM churches to optimize their training for music in the church is now being taken into account. Therefore UEM supports the Evangelische Pop-Akademie with personnel in order to strengthen international cooperation, among other things by establishing a network of training institutions for church music in Africa, Asia and Germany, which develop and implement programmes in the field of international church music. Since autumn 2016, the Evangelische Pop-Akademie in Witten has been offering the course of study Church Popular Music, which is unique in Europe.
Prof. Hartmut Naumann, Rector of the Evangelische Pop-Akademie, on the significance of the new course in Church Music Popular: "Music continues to speak where words cannot. Music touches and creates moments that on the one hand possess the greatest inwardness and on the other hand allow us to experience community. Viewed in this way, music is an indispensable part of proclamation for the Church. Nobody wants to belittle classical church music, but jazz, rock, pop and gospel should now be added on an equal footing and expand the variety of expression of church music."
In addition to the Bachelor's programme, the Evangelische Pop-Akademie also offers continuing education courses for full-time and honorary church musicians. The Pop Academy is intended to strengthen pop music offerings in church congregations. The programme, like the classical training, leads to employment as a church musician. The Academy is supported by the Westphalian Church, the Creative Church Foundation and the Protestant Church District of Hattingen-Witten.
Jörg Spitzer, programme officer, is responsible for international educational programmes in the field of church music as part of UEM's cooperation with the Evangelical Pop Academy.
"We are striving for close a cooperation and networking with church music training centres in Indonesia, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Hungary and Germany," Professor Hartmut Neumann told the press in Witten at the beginning of November. Naumann is Vice-Rector of the Evangelical Pop Academy of the University of Church Music (Witten) of the Evangelical Church of Westphalia. The Pop Academy is the first ecclesiastical pop academy in Europe. On this morning the thirteen church musicians had informed each other about the significance and effectiveness of church music in the different countries - through lectures and musical contributions. During the conference, they will work together to formulate concrete plans for possible future cooperation. "Future cooperation could, for example, consist of offering certified training in the field of church music across national borders," said Angelika Veddeler, Executive Secretary of the Germany department at UEM. The exchange of students and lecturers could also be initiated next year.
In his very personal greeting, Oberkirchenrat Dr. Ulrich Möller addressed the great importance of church music. The music speaks directly to the soul, said the Head of the Department for World Mission, Ecumenism and Church World Responsibility of the Westphalian Church. And that is the same in all cultures. He combined this with the desire to create a network by 2021, the 25th anniversary of the newly founded international United Evangelical Mission, that would produce something visible. For example internationally arranged services, compositions and advanced trainings.
The conference ended with a joint singing of international ecumenical songs under the motto "Singing in the Light of God" and a divine service in the Church of the Redeemer in Münster. The Kirchenkreis Münster had invited. Around 300 singers accepted the invitation to the Church of the Redeemer. The event goes back to an initiative of Jörg Spitzer from the "International Church Music" department of UEM.
Students of the Evangelische Pop-Akademie Witten and a band under the direction of the Münster pop cantor Hans Werner Scharnowski and the academy director Prof. Hartmut Naumann support the joint singing. And as 'Special Guest' the internationally known singer Judy Bailey enthused with her moving voice and inviting performance. Her repertoire ranged from classical German church songs like "Eine feste Burg" to international hits like "Shout to the Lord". Songs from Africa and Asia are also on the programme: for example the Indonesian church song "Dalam Yesus" and the Congolese "Na Nzela Na Lola". You can listen to an excerpt of the concert here.
The event ended with an international musical service with Father Martin Mustroph. The theologian Dr. Jean Gottfried Mutombo from the Office for Mission, Ecumenism and Church World Responsibility (Seagull) of the Evangelical Church of Westphalia, who comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, preached the sermon. The intercessions were held in the languages Lingala (Congo), Amharic (Ethiopia), Tagalog (Philippines), Indonesian, Swahili (East Africa) and German. The collection benefits music projects of UEM.
The event was prepared by pastor Martin Mustroph, pop cantor Hans Werner Scharnowski, Prof. Hartmut Naumann, pastor Dr. Gottfried Mutombo (MÖWe) and Jörg Spitzer (VEM). Logistics and catering were provided by the Regional Working Group Münster.
The four-day international conference was organized by the Evangelical Pop Academy of the University of Church Music, the Evangelical Church of Westphalia and the United Evangelical Mission.
You can download the results of the consultation here ( englisch ).
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