Fuller’s Global Christian Worship/Ethnomusicology emphasis brings together the scholarly study of various cultural musics and the arts in worship and witness for the glory of God and His Kingdom. Based on an intersection of intercultural studies, ethnomusicology, theology, and mission, it is both academic and applied to ministry and mission in a global world within our local contexts.
On the website you will see that this intersection informs the way we seek to contextualize worship for all peoples of the earth. But also, avenues to use music in ministry and mission within the community are ever increasing – some of our students and faculty are exercising the opportunity for cultural musics to contribute towards reconciliation and peacebuilding, inter-faith dialogue, healing and therapy, and in community development. And these are just some of the practical ways in which God is using music around the world.
Conversations on Theology and the Arts
Roberta R. King, PhD, came to Fuller Theological Seminary in 2000 where she is Associate Professor of Communication and Ethnomusicology in the School of Intercultural Studies. Based in Nairobi, Kenya for twenty-two years (1978-1999), Dr. King founded the department of Christian Music Communication at Daystar University with a major focus on incorporating African music into the life of the Christian church. Having taught extensively across Africa and more recently in Eastern Europe and Asia, Dr. King currently oversees and teaches in Fuller’s focus in Global Christian Worship where students grapple with issues in music, culture, and the church in cross-cultural worship and witness. Her publications include, “Toward a Discipline of Christian Ethnomusicology: A Missiological Paradigm” in Missiology, Vol. XXXII, No. 3, July, 2004, Pathways in Christian Music Communication: The Case of the Senufo of Côte d’Ivoire in the ASM Scholarly Monograph Series (Pickwick, 2009) and Music in the Life of the African Church, (Baylor University Press, 2008), written in collaboration with James Krabill, Jean Kidula, and Thomas Oduro. Dr. King is currently completing a 3-year research grant on “Songs of Peace and Reconciliation among Muslims and Christians” that brought together 14 scholars from the Middle East, Indonesia, and the USA.
Some of the courses that we have on offer at Fuller include:
- Communicating the Gospel Cross-Culturally (ME 506)
- Christian Communication through Music (ME 510)
- Perspectives in Global Christian Worship (ME 513)
- Storytelling and Song (ME 515)
- Exegeting a Musical Culture (ME 518)
- Ethnomusicology II: Theory and Analysis (ME 519)
- Theology in Song (ME 530)
- Gospel Music in a Global Worship (ME531)
Dr Roberta King was recently head researcher for the project [un]common sounds - exploring the contribution of music and the arts in fostering sustainable peacebuilding among Muslims and Christians. This project sought to answer the question:
“How is music and song used in our faiths and daily lives to foster peace and reconciliation?”
[un]Common Sounds is a three-year research project funded by the Henry Luce foundation that aims to identify the contribution of music and related arts in nurturing sustainable peace building among Muslims and Christians. In April 2008 and 2009, twenty-one Christian and Muslim scholar-musicians met for two consultations, one in Beirut, Lebanon and the other in Yogykarta, Indonesia, to discuss the multiple dynamics of peace building through music. Scholars and consultation participants also shared the stage for peace building by performing in four concerts. Research and music projects spanning the Middle East, North Africa and Indonesia are featured here. Our desire is to initiate conversations that contribute to learning to live together in neighborly ways through the vehicle of music and related arts.