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I rejoiced to see letters responding to “Bible Belting” (9/30). I’d like to add my own voice to those of the National Cathedral Choir men and Rachel Barham of All Souls.

In the course of 21 years of ordained ministry, I have known and worked with many church musicians, instrumentalists, and vocalists, both compensated and uncompensated. Virtually all of them have participated enthusiastically and thoughtfully in the church’s liturgy and conducted themselves as leaders of the people in worship. St. Paul wrote, in the first letter to the Corinthians, that those who proclaim the gospel enjoy an undeniable right to make their living through the gospel. Surely this applies to the highly trained and professional vocalists, as well as instrumentalists, who sing God’s praises in our churches and other places of worship. Monetary compensation does not diminish in the least the authenticity of these musicians’ vocation. It reflects the dignity and value of their calling.

Other clergy undoubtedly share my convictions in this regard. I hope the unfortunate tone of Huan Hsu’s article, and its selection of quotes that can be taken as impugning the integrity of paid vocalists, will move us all to speak up for the musicians who enrich our worship and deepen our appreciation of their contributions.


Grace Church, Georgetown