AGO President Eileen Guenther Promoted to Professor at Wesley Theological Seminary

Promotion to Professor of Church Music Approved by Washington Seminary’s Board of Governors.

The American Guild of Organists (AGO) celebrates the promotion of Guild President EILEEN GUENTHER to Professor of Church Music at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., where she has been Associate Professor. Her promotion was approved by the seminary’s Board of Governors on Friday, May 17, in Washington. Wesley is a teaching seminary and a service-oriented community with a student body of approximately 1,000 members. Her responsibilities include directing Chapel Music and the Wesley Chapel Choir, chairing the Chapel Committee, and supervising worship planning teams and teaching courses in music and worship. The mission of Wesley Theological Seminary is to equip Christians for leadership in the church and the world, to advance theological scholarship, and to model a prophetic voice in the public square.

Also on May 17, Eileen Guenther was honored with the presentation of the 2013 Inspiration Ribbon from the Concert for Life Committee at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington. The occasion marked the 20th annual Concert for Life, which Dr. Guenther established to raise awareness and support for individuals living with HIV/AIDS in Washington and Africa. During her tenure at Foundry, the Concert for Life raised more than $600,000 for this cause; this year’s anniversary concert brought the cumulative total to over $1 million. Dr. Guenther was presented a plaque citing her for “blending the healing power of music with mission in a labor of love that saves lives” and given funds to take to South Africa to present to the beneficiary of her choice.

In February, Eileen Guenther was named Director of Music at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C.—an historic downtown church with commitments to racial justice, women’s issues, peace advocacy, sexual equality, and concern for the homeless. Dr. Guenther plays the organ, directs the choir, participates in worship planning and helps to shape a monthly First Thursdays Concert Series.

Eileen Guenther is presently serving her third term as president of the American Guild of Organists. During her tenure, she has overseen the development and implementation of a comprehensive membership survey, the preparation of a long-range plan, and the adoption of major changes to the organization’s bylaws and governance structure. She is the author of Rivals or a Team? Clergy-Musician Relationships in the Twenty-First Century (MorningStar, 2012) and is currently completing another book that is projected for publication in 2014. The Power of Spirituals: In their Own Words will trace the origin of the Spiritual and context in which it grew using text from the slaves themselves as contained in their writings and interviews.