John Bell

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JOHN BELL was born in, resides in and belongs to Scotland. Largely through interest expressed by GIA, his work and availability has become a North American reality.

He is a liturgical composer who writes co-operatively with colleagues in Glasgow; he has a deep interest in music from non-European cultures and a passion for song of the Assembly

Though his primary vocation is as a preacher and teacher. He spends over half his time working in the areas of music and liturgy, both at conferences and in small parishes, and his work takes him frequently into Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

With his colleagues, he has produced over 15 collections of songs and octavos, and a wide range of liturgical materials, particularly for use by lay people.

He has also authored a number of collections of sermons and meditations, is an occasional broadcaster on radio and television, and manages to survive without the benefit of a wife, car, cell phone, camera or computer.


Songs from the Iona Community
A demonstration workshop of music produced by the Iona Community, which is regarded in Britain as one of the most innovative and authentic sources of new congregational music. There is no uniformity of style, but rather a selection of psalm settings (metrical, chant, and antiphonal), hymns and songs (set to traditional, folk, and recently composed tunes), and chants and choruses for use in developing imaginative liturgy.

The Celtic Connection
In recent years, there has been a growth of interest in Celtic spirituality. The Iona Community, which is based on the island where Columba landed in 563, is one of the inheritors of the Celtic tradition and is keen that its uniqueness and relevance to life today be distinguished from exotic fantasizing about a distant past.

Worship with the World Church
Twentieth-century Christians, if they are truly contemporary, should have within their worship some indication that they belong to an international community. If we only sing songs from our own land, we end up in danger of worshiping a national idol rather than the universal God. Through stories, prayers, and much three- and four-part singing, John Bell shows how the music of the world churches is accessible to congregations in the "developed" nations and can enrich their experience of worship.

The Voice of the People
One regrettable distinctiveness of North Atlantic churches is that in them congregations tend not to sing. The voice of the people has often given way or taken second place to the sound of the organ, the music group, the choir, or the praise band. Much of John Bell's work is in convincing people that they can sing, irrespective of their ability to read music, and in this experiential workshop he illustrates techniques and offers insights into how all of God's people can sing their Maker a new song.

Click here for GIA Presents workshop information.