NEW YORK - The centrality of song to Christian life and mission is the subject of a collection of essays just published by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.

Music & Mission: Toward a Theology and Practice of Global Song was edited by the Rev. Dr. ST Kimbrough, Jr., who recently retired as the executive in charge of the Global Praise program of the mission agency.

The 14 essays put special emphasis on the strong role of music found in the Methodist heritage, but they also explores song in Scripture and in the broad Christian experience. The easy-to-read resource is designed in part to help congregations take advantage of the wealth of song available in a global church.

"Music comes from the innermost soul of a people," Kimbrough writes in an introductory essay. The diversity of people within the church, he continues, makes an awareness of "global song" essential today; music from around the world "provides the means, the substance, by which Christians of diverse cultural expressions may relate to one another."

The book is divided into three parts. The first deals with global song in a global church, the second with global song and the Wesleyan (Methodist) tradition, and the third with global song and the congregation.

Music and Mission sells for $14.95 and can be ordered through regular United Methodist distribution channels. Place mail orders with Cokesbury, P.O. Box 801, Nashville, TN 27202-0801; telephone, 800-672-1798, FAX, 800-445-8189. The Web site of Global Praise is

PDF version of the Table of Contents and first chapter of the book, Music and Mission is available online: (94.2 KB)