Andrew Shenton’s presidential address was given at the annual business meeting of the Society during the conference at Scripps College on 10 February, 2017. Dr. Shenton greeted the members and guests and thanked a number of people for their contributions to the Society, including the ongoing diligent work of the Secretary and Treasurer (Tim Steele and Zig Reichenwald, respectively), Mark Peters (newsletter editor), and especially the outgoing members of the SCSM Executive Committee: Johann Buis, Tala Jarjour, and Bennett Zon.
Dr. Shenton warmly thanked Anne Harley, Local Arrangements Chair for the Scripps Conference, for her meticulous and extensive work on the event, and for all her many colleagues in California who helped her put on an enjoyable and successful conference. He also thanked the program committee: Effie Papanikolou (chair), Robert Sholl, and Deborah Justice; and the student prize committee: Robin Wallace (chair), Felicia Sandler and Cathy Ann Elias, for their contributions to the event; and finally, to those present for their contributions to the conference as presenters or chairs.
Dr. Shenton highlighted events from the past year, noting in particular the creation of new funds to support the student prize and travel fund; the development of the website and Facebook page; the successful SCSM reception at the AMS meeting in Vancouver; the continuing work of the Executive Committee on the rationalization of procedures; and the ongoing efforts to archive and document the work of the Society.
As announced last year, as part of the expansion of the work of the Society Prof. Bloxam and Dr. Shenton have co-editing a collection of essays entitled Exploring Christian Song. Lexington Books will be publishing the volume, which has been submitted and should be available late summer 2017. Prof. Bloxam handed round a mock-up of the cover and contents for people to view.
Dr. Shenton presented the current financial and membership details of the Society and questions were answered by the Treasurer. He invited the Secretary to report on the biennial election, in which Mark Peter was elected to a two-year term as Vice President followed by a two-year term as President, and Deborah Justice, Michael O’Connor, and Effie Papanikolaou were elected to the Executive Committee as Members-at-Large for four-year terms. Dr. Shenton announced the reappointment of Megan Francisco as graduate student representative, and Adam Perez as webmaster.
Dr. Shenton introduced Cathy Elias, who read the citation for the winner of the annual prize for the best student paper at the conference, awarded to Emilie Coakley (University of Pittsburgh) for her paper “Time for Prayer or Time for Work?: Nostalgia, Memory, and the Changing Reception of Church Bells in a City Soundscape.” Dr. Shenton then issued a call for volunteers interested in serving as the new Newsletter editor, and invited Bennett Zon to share with the membership his perspective on the desirability of internationalizing the society.
As his final duty, Dr. Shenton expressed what a pleasure and honor it had been to serve as President of the Society, and introduced the incoming President M. Jennifer Bloxam (Williams College) noting Prof. Bloxam’s extraordinary resume, and what a delight it had been working with her over the last two years.
Prof. Bloxam invited the membership to express their thanks to Dr. Shenton for his superb work on behalf of the society, highlighting the essay collection and his efforts to document and archive the business of the society as his most outstanding contributions. She encouraged everyone to join and participate in SCSM, and announced the creation of a working group to develop strategies for increasing membership and outreach. She invited Joshua Waggener, as the Local Arrangement Chair for the 2018 meeting, to announce the site of that event, which will take place next February at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. She thanked the continuing members of the Executive Committee unable to attend, John Paul Ito and Joanna Smolko, for their efforts on behalf of the SCSM. Finally, she thanked everyone for attending, and adjourned the Business Meeting.