Our Speakers & Musicians
Author & Speaker
Known throughout the world as one of the founders of the "Emerging Church movement," Brian's numerous books have played a crucial role in helping countless Christians (especially those who were raised in conservative Protestant Evangelical traditions) to move through stages of spiritual growth and exploration as they evolve into a more progressive understanding of their faith. Brian is also a gifted songwriter and musician, and several of his songs are on the CMP website. Brian has been at the core of CMP since it began, and he will have much to offer at this event as we explore what the role of music is in the process of spiritual formation and social transformation.
Author & Speaker
Diana Butler Bass
A world renowned Christian educator, author, historian,, and speaker, few people have helped the progressive Christian movement finds its core identity and flow more effectively than Diana. She has written over a dozen books and published countless articles and been a prominent commentator on progressive Christian media. She will no doubt have much to say about the content of music in the context of worship, and the kind of music and worship needed most at this point in history.
Songwriters & Musicians
A worship band rapidly gaining national acclaim for their soulful music and profound lyrics. Their songs speak deeply of and to the longing for connection, grace, love, and justice that is at the heart of the Gospel. Their music is consistently among the "best sellers" on the CMP website, and their videos add power and interpretive impact. The members of The Many came together around their shared love of music and commitment to honest expressions of faith, peace-making, economic and racial justice and LGBTQ+ inclusion. Their music is written primarily by father and daughter Gary and Hannah Rand, and Hannah's unmistakable vocals are often prominent. Lenora Rand (spouse to Gary and mother to Hannah) is the primary lyricist, and her gift for beautiful theology, language, and human authenticity is an amazing blessing to the Church at this point in history. The rest of the band is made up of long time member Darren Calhoun and newer members Christa Sangster Monroe, Kristina Sinks, and Jonathan Ulanday.
Songwriter & Professor
Both a professor of Worship and Preaching at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO, AND one of the best selling artists on the CMP website, two of Christopher's songs--"I Will Sing of Your Love, Love, Love" and "Leaning In," are consistently among the best sellers on the site. Christopher (or Dr. Grundy as he's known at Eden) has an amazing gift for writing songs that are immediately accessible and singable while at the same time being layered with meaning and theological substance. He and his music will be featured prominently at the event. Christopher is a CMP Core Team Member.
Songwriter & Musician
Internationally renowned as a composer and recording artist, Ken has been a shining light in the progressive Christian world. He will be with us throughout the entire event to share his incredible ability to "play back" keynote addresses with spontaneous compositions. Ken and his road partner and manager Beverly Vander Molen are key leaders on the CMP core team and Ken will offer leadership in various capacities throughout the conference. Ken's songs have been sung throughout the world for decades, and he has been a relentless musical voice for justice and all of the themes that are at the heart of the Convergence Music Project.
Preacher & Teacher
One of the most powerful preachers and teachers in the progressive and "post evangelical" Church movement, Stan is the founding pastor of Gracepointe Church in Nashville, TN. Among other things, Stan is a passionate advocate for the LGBTQIA community, and a thought-leader in the evolution of Progressive Christian Theology. His ability to articulate and share his journey from an extremely conservative evangelical expression of the Christian faith into his more inclusive and expansive understanding of what it means to follow Jesus is both mesmerizing and inspiring.
Trinity UCC Music Director & Composer
Director of Worship Music and the Choir at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, IL, the largest UCC Church in the country, Bryan Johnson is a fantastic pianist and he will share music and reflections about "how they do it at Trinity." The music of this congregation has been a key aspect of this incredible church's growth and vitality for a long time. Bryan will also lead a workshop at the conference. Trinity is pastored by the amazing Rev. Otis Moss III, and we are hoping Rev. Moss will be able to join us for a keynote address at the conference as well. That has not been solidified yet, but we will keep you posted.
Songwriter & Worship Leader
Richard Bruxvoort Colligan
One of the most prolific liturgical composers in the Progressive Christian music world, Richard's songs almost always focus on themes found in the Psalms. In fact, Richard has composed a worship song based on almost every Psalm in the Bible. In addition to his itinerant work leading worship and retreats throughout the country Richard is also the musical leader for a contemporary worship service called The Olive Branch at an ELCA Lutheran church in Rochester, MN. Richard's music is also among the top sellers at the CMP site, and Richard is a CMP Core Team Member.
Songwriter & Musician
A well known Christian singer/songwriter, author, and worship leader, Andra is also the musical director of a contemporary worship service at Woodmont Christian Church's "Bridge Worship Service" in Nashville (host congregation of this event). Andra's music is consistently one of the best sellers on the CMP website. She is also co-author (along with Suzanne Castle), of Brim: Creative Overflow in Worship Design. Andra is also a CMP Core Team Member and one of the co-designers of the CMP Fall 2023 Conference.
Songwriter, Author, Pastor
Singer/songwriter, author, and full-time pastor of McFarland United Church of Christ in McFarland, WI, Bryan has been an itinerant musical minister, retreat leader, and keynote speaker at many regional and National UCC youth events and conferences for over 30 years. His book, The 6 Marks of Progressive Christian Worship Music gave shape to the vision that eventually became The Convergence Music Project, and Bryan is the Lead Designer and space holder for CMP. His music is also featured on the CMP site, and Bryan is the first line of tech support for the website and the primary contact person for this Fall Conference.
What are your questions? Struggles?
We want this gathering to be truly helpful for you. So that's why we hope you'll take a few moments and share some of the biggest struggles you have as a clergy person, a worship leader, a musician or artist. What questions do you have? What do you need more of? What would you hope to learn or discover at the conference?