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2019-2020 Poppen-Young Lecture in Reformed Worship

November 12 @ 2:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Liturgy & Justice: the 2019-2020 Alvin J. Poppen & John R. Young Lecture in Reformed Worship

John Bell Is Coming to the Reformed Church Center!

The Reformed Church Center at New Brunswick Theological Seminary is thrilled to be able to announce that John L. Bell, internationally renowned author, teacher, worship leader, and congregational song enlivener from the Iona Community in Scotland, will be giving the 2019-2020 Poppen-Young Lecture in Reformed Worship on Thursday, November 12.

John Bell is a Resource Worker with The Iona Community, who lectures, preaches and conducts seminars across the denominations.  He is a hymn writer, author and occasional broadcaster, but retains a primary passion for congregational song.  John is based in Glasgow and works with his colleagues in the areas of music, worship and spirituality.

He will be leading two programs during his visit on the 12th:

  •  a lecture/conversation on “Liturgy and Justice: Allies or Enemies” from 2:00-4:30 pm, and
  • a Hymn Festival entitled, “Jesus, Justice, Joy” from 6:00-7:30 pm.

There will be a simple dinner at 5:00 pm.

John writes is about his plans for the afternoon and evening:

My initial thoughts regarding the afternoon session are:

1) A Biblical background to Justice being at the heart of God’s purposes, noting the gradually evolving realisation that justice was not just the prerogative of the chosen race but for all.

2) An exploration of how, within the developing world (particularly nations like El Salvador and South Africa) the call for justice has been incorporated into their worship life, and the relevance of texts such as the psalms of lament has become very real.

3) A reflection on how justice ultimately is a threat to those who misuse power, in the church as much as anywhere else.

4) A questioning of why some western Christians balk at the mention of justice and see it as synonymous with left-wing politics.

5) The implications of all this for life and liturgy.

I would envisage interactive participation, group conversations and a break mid-way.

At the hymn sing I’ll use songs from all over the globe and will tell some of the stories behind them. This session will NOT be just for those who read music.

Because of the widespread interest in this speaker and the limited space available in Mast Chapel, where the program will be held, advance registration will be required, and will be limited to 150 for each event. Tickets for either the lecture or the hymn festival will be $20.00 each, plus $10.00 for dinner. Those who wish to attend both events may do so for $35.00, including the cost of dinner. Groups of eight to ten from the same church may attend dinner and the hymn festival for $200.00 or the entire event for $300.00. The event is free for seminarians (and other students by special permission of the director of the Reformed Church Center—contact him at, faculty and staff of NBTS, and anyone who is a “Friend of the Reformed Church Center” at the $25/year level or higher. Register below no later than November 2, 2020.

Note that for a single person or group under 10 coming to the whole event, the $35.00 registration is the best value.


November 12
2:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


James Hart Brumm, Director, The Reformed Church Center


NJ Campus
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ 08901 United States
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