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Music, Lectionary and the Christian Year

Music, Lectionary and the Christian Year

February 1 – May 8, 2017
Rev. Dr. Ron Anderson, Instructor
2 CEU’s $150.00

The purpose of this course is to explore the history and theology of the Christian year, with particular attention to its implications for the selection and practice of church music.


  1. To deepen knowledge of the shape and theology of the Christian year;
  2. To explore the role of Scripture in shaping the Christian year;
  3. To accurately interpret the feasts and seasons of the Christian year through congregational song, choral literature, and instrumental music; and
  4. To better understand the place of larger musical forms (such as services of lessons and carols, settings of the Passion of Christ) in their liturgical and seasonal context.

Space is limited for this course, so register early to guarantee your spot.

Questions? Contact Rev. Dr. Ron Anderson by email or at 847.866.3875.

This is a 13 week online course. While there are weekly deadlines, students are able participate on their own schedules within each week.

Each week of the course will usually require three things:

  • completing assigned readings (no more than 100 pp. week);
  • participation in an online discussion; and
  • weekly selection and presentation of a choral or instrumental work appropriate to the season/theme being discussed.

Required Books:

  • Brown, Raymond E. Christ in the Gospels of the Liturgical Year (expanded ed., Ronald D. Witherup, ed.). Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2008. 978-0-8146-1860-8. $29.95.
  • Gail Ramshaw, A Three-Year Banquet: The Lectionary for the Assembly (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005). ISBN 9-780806-651057. $9.99.
  • Stookey, Laurence Hull. Calendar: Christ’s Time for the Church (Nashville: Abingdon, 1996) 0-687-01136-1. $22

The prices listed above are the "list" price. Online retailers generally have them for a lower price, especially for used copies.

Rev. Dr. Ron Anderson, Ernest and Bernice Styberg Professor of Worship at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

  • BA, Carthage College
  • MDiv, Yale University Divinity School and Yale Institute of Sacred Music
  • PhD, Emory University

I do not separate my identity as an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church from my identity as a theological educator. I came to theological education shaped by and as an extension from ordained parish ministry. This starting point leads me to two claims:

1. Christian ministry requires the formation of minds as well as hearts: As was true of the early Methodist preachers, I am, as a theological educator, a teacher of the faith with others who are called to be teachers of the faith to the benefit of all called to be "church." More, as theologian Marjorie Suchocki has argued, we should not expect a "learned laity" when we do not have a "learned clergy." [Marjorie Suchocki, "A Learned Ministry?" Quarterly Review (Summer 1993) 11.]

2. Theological education is of and for the church. My vocation in theological education engages me, in various ways, directly and indirectly, in determining, interpreting and reinterpreting the church's normative beliefs and practices. I do not teach for my own benefit but for the good of the church. As Geoffrey Wainwright states, "the believer-theologian lives and works within the fellowship of the church, draws sustenance from the church, and seeks to serve the church-which is itself in the service of God, who is himself [sic] in the service of the world, seeking its redemption." [Geoffrey Wainwright, "Theology as Churchly Reflection" in The Vocation of the Theologian, Theodore W. Jennings, ed. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985) 19.]

I am a pastor, therefore a teacher of the faith. I am a teacher of the faith, therefore a teacher in and for the church. Whether I teach liturgy, or music, or spirituality, or any other related topic, I do so with the good of the church in view.