Author Archives: baytonemus

Meet Isabella Vergun

Isabella_day2_6inMeet Isabella Vergun, our new Administrative Assistant. She is a recent graduate of St. Olaf College where she studied Religion and English with a Film Studies concentration. Isabella has lived in the Bay Area of California, Rhode Island, and is now happy to call Minneapolis home.

We are very excited to welcome this intelligent and talented young woman to our staff! You can reach Isabella at (612) 252-8614 or through this email form.

Amazing Weekend!

Mary_PoPWhat an incredible weekend of classes we had at The Center for Worship & Music Studies. Students came from Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Colorado. We even had a guest from Leipzig, Germany. Friday we gathered at Prince of Peace in Brooklyn Park, MN, with teachers, Mary Preus, Chad Winterfeldt, and myself (Jay Beech) for Leading Congregational Singing. Students included very experienced church musicians, so the conversations were really rich and interesting.

Saturday morTom_seated_PoPglobe_candlesning we were back at PoP for Contemplative Music for Worship with teacher, Tom Witt. We learned beautiful songs from Taizé, Holden Prayer Around the Cross, and several other sources. Tom led us through a couple of very meaningful services and shared ideas about how to effectively introduce congregations to these practices.

Agape_CDreleaseSaturday afternoon face-to-face students were joined by distance learners for The Best of Worship & Praise. Led by a good band, we sang through lots of new music from the Christian music industry that had been selected for theological content, sing-ability, and topical variety.

That evening I was able to attend Agape’s CD release party at the Capri Theater in north Minneapolis where he performed tunes from his new title, Enough. It was excellent! Great theology, music, and dancing.

Song Leading, Contemplative, and Worship & Praise Classes

Mary PreusChad WinterfeldtJay BeechThere is still time to register for this week’s classes at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Brooklyn Park, MN. Join us Friday from 9:00-4:00 for Leading Congregational Singing with Mary Preus, Chad Winterfeldt, and myself (Jay Beech).

witt2The next morning is Contemplative Music for Worship with Tom Witt. You’ll learn lots of music from Taizé, Holden Prayer Around the Cross, and other sources from 9:00-Noon.

Nate BergengrenSaturday afternoon is The Best of Worship & Praise led by myself and Nate Bergengren from Prince of Peace. We have selected music from current Christian contemporary sources that aligns well with Lutheran and other mainline worship practices. A great band will be on hand to lead and teach this material.

Register now before it’s too late!

Composing & Repertoire Classes Were Excellent!

Donna_Richard_SusanWhat an amazing privilege is was last Friday to teach Composing Music for the Congregation with Susan Palo Cherwien, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, and Donna Peña! We gathered at Lord of Life Lutheran in Maple Grove with students who were physically present and distance learners joining through live videoconference. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from these gifted composers and to sing and evaluate the original compositions submitted by students.

Donna_repRichard_BC_repThe next day we held our first Repertoire Studies classes. Richard and Donna each led a half-day session teaching their compositions. I came away incredibly blessed by the time spent learning new music for worship. The texts and the music were so rich and really brought the word of God and the experience of faith to life.

Our next two Repertoire Studies classes are Contemplative Music for Worship and The Best of Worship & Praise on October 24th in Brooklyn Park, MN. There is still time to sign up for those as well as Leading Congregational Singing the day before. Don’t miss these great opportunities!

Exploring Religious Questions at Gustavus

Jay_5x7_b&w150Next Monday evening , October 12th, Jay Beech, the Executive Director of The Center for Worship & Music Studies, will be part of an ongoing lecture series at Gustavus Adolphus College called, Exploring Religious Questions. Cantor of Christ Chapel at Gustavus, Dr. Chad Winterfeldt, and Jay will present on the topic, “The Power of Music in Christian Faith and Life: Biblical, Theological, and Contemporary Sources.”

Chad WinterfeldtThe event is the first in a four-part series. Cost to attend all four lectures is $35. It begins at 7:00 p.m. in room 103 of Olin Hall located in the center of the Gustavus campus in St. Peter, MN. If you have any questions, call the Office of Church Relations at Gustavus at (507) 933-7001 or email them at

Drawing for Free Class Registration

witt2Anyone who signs up for our email list this week will be entered in a drawing to receive a free registration in one of our four Repertoire Studies classes in October. (Those already on our list are not eligible. Sorry.) We will draw one name for every 25 new signups we receive before midnight on Friday (12:00 a.m. Saturday morning). Tell your friends!

mixerChurch Audio Basics class registration is closing soon. You have until 6:00 p.m. CDT to sign up for this day-long intensive course being held Saturday, October 3rd, from 9:00-4:00 at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove, MN. Come and learn how to improve the sound of your worship services!

Administrative Assistant Position Available

As of October 21st, 2015 this position has been filled.

The Center for Worship & Music Studies Board of Directors has authorized the creation of a half-time Administrative Assistant position. This individual will work in our office in Minneapolis and will be involved in all aspects of the organization. The position is available immediately.

If you or someone you know would be interesting in helping grow this exciting new ministry, follow one of these links to download the job description in PDF or DOC format.

Learn New Music in Our Repertoire Classes

Where do you find really good new music for your services? At The Center for Worship & Music Studies Repertoire Studies classes, that’s where! We are offering four half-day classes this fall in the Twin Cities, but all of them are also available through our distance learning option.

Richard Bruxvoort ColliganDonna Peña October 10th features two composers who will each teach a class introducing participants to their original music. Richard Bruxvoort Colligan will share his wonderful Psalm music in the morning. The afternoon class features Donna Peña with her rhythmic Latin-inspired bi-lingual songs. Both Richard and Donna are also teaching in our Composing Music for the Congregation class the previous day, October 9th.

witt2On October 24th we have two beautifully diverse repertoire classes. Tom Witt will teach Contemplative Music for Worship in the morning, highlighting the music of Taizé and Holden Prayer Around the Cross, which he co-wrote. Nate BergengrenIn the afternoon it’s The Best of Worship & Praise taught by myself and Nate Bergengren.
We will filter through tJay Beechhis widely used music and select some songs that you can feel really good about including in your services.

First Classes Almost Here!

wafer_child_croppedFall classes will be underway in less than two weeks, but it’s not late to register! Our exciting new core class, Worship 101, begins on September 28th, with the first of eight Monday evening classes. Five really interesting and dynamic instructors will teach this broad survey course. This class meets in Minneapolis, but offers a distance learning option.

mixer Our first technology training class, Church Audio Basics, will be Saturday, October 3rd in Maple Grove, MN. This introductory course will provide participants a better understanding of how sounds systems work, how to use them effectively in worship, and teach basic troubleshooting. Send us your Sunday morning audio engineers!

Continuing Education

We think it’s critically important for everyone in ministry to continue to learn and grow, expanding both their knowledge and skill sets. Taking advantage of new learning opportunities can also be very energizing, providing a benefit to the learner and to the communities they serve.

learnerMost ELCA congregations provide some continuing education funds for full-time staff and rostered leaders. Nine ELCA synods* have, in fact, qualified our class offerings for continuing ed credit hours for rostered leaders.

But what about all those gifted people who serve their congregations on an avocational basis, either part-time or as volunteers? Few congregations have money in their budgets to support learning and development for these folks.

Is your church willing to make a wonderful investment in the depth and quality its worship life? Encourage your worship planners and musicians to study with us and give them some financial support. Whether they take a single class or pursue our Certificate in Worship & Music Leadership, your congregation will realize a great benefit for a very modest investment.

*ELCA Synods that have pre-qualified our classes for continuing education credit hours are:

  • Greater Milwaukee
  • Minneapolis Area
  • Northeastern Minnesota
  • Northwest Synod of Wisconsin
  • Northwestern Minnesota
  • South Dakota
  • Southwestern Minnesota
  • Southeastern Minnesota
  • Western North Dakota