Our era has witnessed an almost unprecedented burst of creativity in music and the arts for the Church.

The Center for Church Music is a place where you can tap into that great flow of energy (either on site or online) in order to:

  • get new ideas for music and other arts ministries in their various forms
  • gain a perspective on the music and art of the Church
  • take time for reflection
  • connect with the larger endeavor of Lutheran church music and the arts
  • be inspired by some remarkable leaders and thinkers in our midst
  • be energized for music and Gospel-based arts ministry
  • satisfy curiosity

From the Director

January 2023

The “Truth”

“O Morning Star, how fair and bright!
You shine with God’s own truth and light,
aglow with grace and mercy…”    [LSB 395]

Do you have a favorite season of the Church Year? One has to be Epiphany! The mystery of the Incarnation goes right to the heart of the vocation of the church musician.

“The Word became flesh…the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Now there’s a word for our time---“Truth” !

What the Wise Men sought is what all humanity eventually seeks---the central question of our existence---as even Pilate would eventually ask of Jesus, “What is truth?”

John proclaimed it (using the word 25 times in his Gospel account) and so did Jesus himself: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6)

What starts with the God the Father comes through his incarnate Son and is given to his Church.

“The Father will give you another Counselor to be with you forever---the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16]

And, as workers in that Church with a “high and holy calling”, it is our task to be custodians of that truth, to embody it in Word, image and music, to engage it with our congregation and the world.

Divine truth acknowledges the full depravity of all humankind and each of us personally. This sinful nature poisons our relationship with God and with each other; it affects families, congregations, society and all the broken world.

The Gospel truth shines the light of God’s unconditional love, mercy, and forgiveness. It brings reconciliation and healing and true joy.

This truth is unchanging; it is not subject to the whims of the age, nor to presumed, arrogant human wisdom; it does not evolve.

Church musicians need to take care that they are not distracted and absorbed by other, related issues.  It takes determination and trust in the Word to not let ourselves be pulled away from the main thing. We dare not back down in our worship, in our ministries, nor in the public square.

The hymn of Lutheran pastor Herman G. Stuempfle connects that eternal Truth with all other truth and still rings out clear and strong--

We praise you, God, for truth received from generations past;
for knowledge, gift beyond compare, the ages have amassed.
We offer thanks for patient toil of thinkers who assailed
the ignorance that darkens truth and keeps its presence veiled.

But you have formed the human mind to follow truth beyond
old boundaries and beckon us toward knowledge yet unfound.
Let neither fear nor weariness subvert the ardent quest
that sets our feet on paths untrod and robs our hearts of rest.

O Wisdom, source of human thought, in whom our questing ends;
O Truth, whose endless mystery all human truth transcends:
Teach us that, when we offer you the best our minds have wrought,
we bring but truth your mind has known, the wisdom you have taught.

O Christ, in whom the Truth took flesh and dwelt in time and space,
in whom God’s wisdom walked our ways and wore a human face:
The life you lived, the death you died teach knowledge far above
our own and call our hearts to see the crown of truth is Love.

(Copyright © 1991 the Hymn Society, admin. Hope Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Found in Wondrous Love Has Called Us! Hymns, Songs and Carols. Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr. GIA G-6619. 2006)

[Paul Weber’s strong setting of this text is found in his new hymnary--So Great a Cloud of Witnesses, #83. Augsburg Fortress (2022). ISBN: 978-1-5064-8007-7]


“Sing out! Ring out!
Jubilation! Exultation!
Tell the story!
Great is he, the King of Glory!”


Barry Bobb

Five Aspects of the Center for Church Music

Read about the five main aspects of the Center that shapes what we do and how we serve.

Resource Room

  • Books, magazines, recordings, the Schalk American Lutheran Hymnal Collection (541 volumes) and the ever-expanding archives of the original manuscripts of great American Lutheran composers & hymn writers.
  • Liturgical Choir Music Library

Digital Initiative

  • All of the volumes in the hymnal collection can be perused online at www.hymnary.org or from this website. See "Hymnal Collection Index."
  • Many of the original manuscripts are accessible online at the Center’s website (including Manz, Schalk, Hillert, Pelz, Thoms, Busarow, Bouman and others...) See "Composer Manuscript Indices".


  • Devotions, interviews, profiles, essays, forums, ideas, an arts registry

Print publications

  • Books and monographs in the Shaping American Lutheran Church Music series available through Amazon and Fortress Press

Encouragement of the next generation

  • Hillert Award in Student Composition---open to any undergrad or graduate student at a Lutheran university or seminary in the United States
  • Schalk Scholars
    • Creates awareness and access to current research in the areas of music and the arts
    • Provides stipends for research as well as publication and venues for presentations for these emerging scholars
    • Arts Registry
    • Contact information and samples from composers, visual artists, writers, designers, media artists.

Schalk Scholar Program

The Schalk Scholar program seeks to identify and support up and coming scholars in the area of church music. 

Learn More

Get Involved

Commit Yourself

Share your time, talents and gifts by becoming involved with the Center for Church Music. Contact the director, Barry Bobb to learn more about the different opportunities available. 

Visit the Center

Visit the Center for Church Music located in the Klinck Memorial Library on Concordia University Chicago's Campus. 

Contact Center Director Barry Bobb or call 314-258-2341 to make arrangements.