Mississippi Conference On Church Music and Liturgy - History




A Short History

T he conference was started in 1975 by  Leslie N. Casaday, who served as Principal Parish Musician at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Begun as a weekend workshop for the St. Philip's Choir, the Mississippi Conference has, for more than thirty years, provided for the Church's musicians and clergy from all over the country a time away for spiritual renewal and professional development.  For one week every August they gather with a faculty made up on some of the finest theologians and musicians in the Episcopal Church to sing, to learn, to be challenged, and to be fed.  Most participants are not full-time musicians serving large congregations.  They serve smaller communities on a part-time basis, earning their livelihood in other ways. Many return year after year, paying their way out of their own pockets and using a precious week of vacation time, because they know that in the Mississippi Conference they will find what they need to enable them to better serve God in their parishes.

Leslie Casaday served as Conference Director from its inception until his death in 1995.  Ellen Johnston, Director of Music at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Tupelo, Mississippi, who had served as Assistant Director since 1986, assumed the directorship of the conference in 1995.

The Executive Committee consists of: The Rev. Tom Slawson, Rector, St. Philips Church, Jackson, MS, and Chair, Committee on Music and Liturgy for the Diocese of Mississippi;   Dr. Mark Butler, Registrar; David O’Steen, St. Philip’s Church, Jackson, MS; Dr. Jeff McLelland, Independent Presbyterian, Birmingham, AL; the Rev. David Christian, Associate, Chapel of the Cross, Madison, MS; the Very Rev. Joseph O. Robinson, Dean, St. Andrew's Cathedral, Jackson, MS; Ellen Johnston, Conference Director, Former Director of Music, All Saints' Episcopal Church, Tupelo, MS.

Those who have served on the faculty of the Mississippi Conference are among the very best in church music and liturgy in the Episcopal Church:  the Rev. Dr. William Seth Adams, the Rt. Rev. Neil Alexander, Frank Boles, Dr. Horace Boyer, Dr. Owen Burdick, the Rev. Geoffrey Butcher, Lionel Dakers, Dent Davidson, the Rev. Dr. Carl Daw, Judith Dodge, the Rev. Elizabeth Morris Downie, Mark Engelhardt, Dr. David Farr, Carol Foster, Tom Foster, the Rev. Ann Gillespie, Calvin Hampton, Marilyn Haskell, the Rev. Dr. John Hooker, Dr. David Hurd, Ben Hutto, the Rev. Bruce Jenneker, the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, Marilyn Keiser, Larry King, Michael Kleinschmidt, the Rt. Rev. Jeffery Lee, Dr. Alan MacMillan, Joel Martinson, Monte Mason, Michael McCabe, the Rev. Thomas McCart, the Rev. Bob McCloskey, the Rev. Michael Merriman, Michael Messina, Dr. Sue Mitchell-Wallace, the Rev. Dr. Clay Morris, Sam Batt Owens, Bruce Neswick, Thomas Pavlechko, Dr. John Paul, Robert Powell, Richard Proulx, Charlie Raines, John Repulski, Jeffrey Rickard, Marti Ridout, Dr. William Bradley Roberts, the Rev. Joseph O. Robinson, the Very Rev. Joy Rogers, the Rev. Everett Simson, K. Lee Scott, Dr. Jeffrey Smith, the Rev. Susan Anderson-Smith, the Rev. Dr. Minka Sprague, William Stokes, the Rev. Thomas Talley, the Rev. Carol Wade, Richard Webster, the Rev. Dr. Paul Westermeyer, Dr. David Ashley White, Mary K. Wilson, William Wunsch, Alec Wyton.


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