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East, West Coast musicians to direct 2008 General Conference

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Mark Miller

June 5, 2006

TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) -- Two prominent United Methodist musicians from California and New Jersey have been named co-music directors for the denomination’s 2008 General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

The denomination’s top legislative assembly top legislative assembly will meet April 23-May 2, 2008. The 1,000-member international body meets every four years to decide issues of church law and polity.

Marcia McFee of Truckee, Calif., and Mark Miller of Plainfield, N.J., were selected by the Commission on the General Conference, which met May 23-25 in Tampa.

“They have an exciting, creative, spirit-filled plan for worship and music at General Conference,” said Lane Cotton Winn of Atlanta, a commission member and vice chairwoman of the interview selection team.

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Marcia McFee

The Rev. Gail Murphy-Geiss, chairwoman of the commission, said there is precedent for naming co-directors. The 1996 General Conference in Denver had co-directors of music. Murphy-Geiss said McFee and Miller originally made separate applications for the position, but after conversations with each other, they submitted a plan for co-directors.

McFee is the principal of Peace by Peace Productions, where she serves as a consultant on worship, arts, and preaching. She has preached, taught and led worship at numerous United Methodist gatherings in the United States, Europe and Asia.

In addition to consulting on worship, music and dance, McFee has been a guest lecturer on worship at six United Methodist seminaries and is the author of The Worship Workshop: Creative Ways to Design Worship Together, a book for worship teams and published by Abingdon Press. She earned a doctorate degree in liturgical studies from the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California, Berkley; a master’s degree in theological studies from Saint Paul School of Theology, Kansas City, Mo.; and a bachelor’s degree in dance education from New York University. She is a recipient of the Hoyt Hickman Award for scholarship in the study of liturgy and effective worship leadership.

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A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose

Members of the Mass Choir sing a hymn during the opening worship of the United Methodist Church's 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh.

Miller is well known throughout the United Methodist connection as a worship leader, teacher and performer of sacred music. He is director of music and instructor of church music at the Drew Theological School, Madison, N.J. He also serves as the director of contemporary worship at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City and is a lecturer at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, New Haven, Conn. He has directed music for numerous United Methodist annual conferences and youth events. He has composed a number of hymns, including a collection, Amazing Abundance, Hymns for a Growing Church, published by Abingdon Press.

He received a master’s of music degree in organ performance from the Juilliard School in New York and a bachelor’s degree in music from Yale University.

The music directors will work with the Council of Bishops and staff from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship to plan worship services for the General Conference, lead hymn singing, coordinate additional music performances and venues, and audition and select vocal and instrumental musicians for the conference.

News media contact: Linda Green, UMNS, (615) 742-5470, or; or Stephen Drachler, Public Information, (615) 742-5411 or

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