Guest Blog by Larry E. Schultz

Larry E. Schultz honored me by writing this guest blog. It has been my joy and privilege to collaborate with Larry for 22 years. Larry is a talented, widely published, award-winning composer of hymns, choral anthems, and instumental music. He is also an accomplished lyricist who has given me valuable suggestions for my lyrics. In this blog he tells of how we began online collaboration on 9/11/2001. We met in person at the 2002 Conference of The Hymn Society in Winston-Salem, NC. By 2004, our Choristers Guild musical, “Imagine God!” was published. Our productive work continues and is celebrated in his blog below.

photo by David Clanton

I am grateful for creative and collaborative work with Jann Aldredge-Clanton. Jann is a minister, author, English professor, lyricist, hymn poet, hospital chaplain and feminist theologian (quite qualified to write effective and prophetic words for the church!). In the spring of 2001, I heard Jann offer the Covenant Address for the Alliance of Baptists Convocation. She powerfully encouraged congregations to discover and reclaim images of the Divine Feminine – and to sing them in worship. She underscored the biblical foundations and the many reasons to sing of God as “She” and “Her” – not the least of which was to liberate all from oppressive patriarchy and to exclaim the truth that females are in the Divine Image.

Several months after hearing Jann’s address, I became Minister of Music for Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC. With her words still ringing in my ears and a congregation eager to sing of the Divine Feminine, I reached out to introduce myself to Jann. Revealing I was a composer, I asked if she had any texts I could set to music. On September 11, 2001 (a morning that was met with unspeakable tragedy), I discovered an email from Jann that included a hymn text for me to set. The text she sent, “Are You Good and Are You Strong? was a theodicy (questioning the presence of goodness in midst of evil). The words were unbelievably timely and cathartic for the particular day on which I received them.

A musical, curriculum, anthems, 5 song collections and 378 hymns later, Jann and I are still collaborating! Though I have provided new tunes and arrangements for many of Jann’s hymns, I have typeset all of them for our collections, and in doing so, have continued to be a student of her ministry.

Jann’s website includes most of our collaborative works and they can be found in downloadable form on mine: 

Feminist theology, like other specific theologies, intersects with many other areas of thought, study, concern and celebration. The works Jann and I have created together support these areas and engage justices of all kinds – from gender and racial to economic and ecological. With ever-evolving language, we seek to provide words and music for worship that uplift all persons of innumerable and wonderful descriptions.

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