“The Faith We Sing: Singing and Shaping Belief in the 21st Century Church”
with C. Michael Hawn
Sundays, August 5 – September 2, 2018
9:45 a.m., Fellowship Hall

The Holland Lectures, previously known as The Catacombs Lectures, is an annual series at the end of the summer sponsored by the Shepherd-Holland Bible Study class. The lectures take place during the Sunday School hour, but you do not have to be in a Sunday School class to attend the series. On January 15, 2017, the class voted unanimously to rename the class the Shepard-Holland Bible Study Class, and the Catacombs Lectures, the Holland Lectures, in memory of Dr. Henry Holland.

We hope to record all the lectures, posting them on our website.


C. Michael Hawn is one of our nation’s leading experts in hymnology and world music. Now a Richmonder, he recently retired after 25 years from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, as University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Church Music and director of the Sacred Music Program. Previously he taught at two Baptist seminaries for a total of 15 years. He leads festivals and publishes extensively in the area of hymnology, is the USA Editor for the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology, and writes a weekly hymn studies column entitled History of Hymns. A student of global Christian music, Hawn has conducted research and taught in over 40 countries. In addition, he has sung extensively as a countertenor and is a recovering accordion player.

Singing is in the DNA of most Christian traditions. While not unique to Christian communities, congregational singing is certainly part of the identity of Christian worship. Not all of the other great religious traditions integrate the people’s song into their communal gatherings. One might even go as far as to say that participation in congregational singing is one measure of the health and vitality of a church. This is not about musical proficiency or that better congregations sing more in tune; it is in terms of the range of congregational song that connects a local congregation with its heritage, its community, Christians ecumenically, and the needs of the world. You’re invited to join Hawn for four Sunday sessions in August and explore what it means to shape our belief through song.

  • August 5: All Things Bright and Beautiful: Singing a Theology of Creation for the 21st  Century
  • August 12: Joy to the World: Singing a Theology of the Incarnation for the 21st Century
  • August 19: Christ, the Lord, Is Risen Today: Singing a Theology of the Resurrection for the 21st Century
  • August 26: Singing with the Faithful of Every Time and Place: Songs from the Global Church
  • September 2: Hymns That People Love to Hate