Welcome

When Dancing Turns to Mourning:

Worshiping God in the face of violence

An ecumenical conference for pastors, musicians, other parish leaders and interested laypeople

June 13 - 15, 2017

In the face of violence, how can the worship, music, and art of Christian congregations offer praise to God, and how can they bring courage to those who are anxious, help to those who are suffering, and long-term formation in ways of peace?Learn more about the 2017 conference.


The Congregations Project of the Institute of Sacred Music celebrates local communities of faith as settings in which music, worship, and the arts take on vibrant life, to the glory of God and for the sake of abundant life for all.

The annual conference of the Congregations Project encourages pastors, musicians, and other leaders to reflect on their own congregations’ challenges and strengths.  Congregations today face social, cultural, and theological challenges as they seek to embody faithful, creative ministry—and many congregations are responding to these challenges with remarkable skill and grace, addressing urgent needs both within and beyond the congregation in thoughtful, life-giving ways. Musical and artistic events, theological presentations, vibrant ecumenical worship, and shared conversation create a rich setting for the theological and practical exploration of a crucial theme in congregational ministry each year.

The Congregations Project is intentionally ecumenical and practice-oriented. It is particularly useful for parishes who send both pastor and musician. In contrast to numerous large, open conferences designed for either pastors or musicians, the Congregations Project offers a more intensive, integrated approach.  Past participants have come from small-town, suburban, inner-city, and downtown congregations, from campus ministries, and from many parts of the Christian tradition, Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox.

The Congregations Project is a program of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, an interdisciplinary graduate center that prepares students for careers in church music and pastoral ministry, as well as in other endeavors in music, worship, and the arts in Christian communities, diverse religious traditions, and public life.