Music prof to guest teach at Russian seminary

A Northwestern College music professor will spend a week in Russia teaching current and future pastors how to use music to benefit their congregations.

Dr. Heather Josselyn-Cranson, who is also Northwestern’s director of music ministries, will serve as a guest faculty member at the Russia United Methodist Theological Seminary in Moscow Jan. 14–19, where she will teach a class on hymnology.

“Most Russian churches don’t have organs because they’re coming from an Eastern Orthodox background in which songs are sung a cappella,” she says. “A lot of things we take for granted in America they don’t have. Organs are considered a concert, not worship, instrument, and a church may very well be in someone’s house or apartment.”

Josselyn-Cranson has a Doctor of Theology degree in liturgy and liturgical music from Boston University. She is also fluent in Russian, having spent two years in Russia teaching English as a member of the Peace Corps.

Josselyn-Cranson stayed at the seminary last summer while on an exploratory trip for a Northwestern summer study abroad trip she’ll be leading in 2007. When her hosts learned she taught church music at NWC, they told her they had been looking for a professor of hymnology and invited her to come back and teach their students.

“It really was a glimpse of the Spirit at work bringing people and places together,” she says. “It’s an amazing opportunity for two Christian institutions on other sides of the world to cooperate and work together toward the glory of God.”