Rev. Dr. Carol Bechtel
The Rev. Dr. Carol Bechtel has served as professor of Old Testament at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, since 1994. She is a graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, and she received her Ph.D. in Old Testament from Yale University. Bechtel preaches and teaches widely and is the author of several books, including Esther: A Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Interpretation, WJK, 2002). She is a General Synod Professor of Theology in the Reformed Church in America and has served as president of the RCA’s General Synod (1998/1999) and as moderator of its General Synod Council (1999/2000). She lives in Holland, Michigan, with her husband, Tom Mullens, where they enjoy a growing group of children and grandchildren. Her interests include singing, cooking, gardening, and the Celtic harp.
Joyce Borger is the music and worship editor at Faith Alive Christian Resources, the editor of the quarterly journal Reformed Worship and editor of the forthcoming hymnal Lift Up Your Hearts: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. She earned a bachelor degree in religious education from Kuyper College, a bachelor's of education degree in music from Calvin College, and a master of divinity degree from Calvin Theological Seminary. She is a Canadian living in the United States who has served various churches, both RCA and CRC, in the U.S. and Canada as a youth director as well as in worship leadership. As an ordained pastor and mother, she is pleased with the pastoral foundation on which this hymnal has been built, where the question of the heart songs of the church and the pastoral needs of the current and future generations have been of primary concern.
Claudia Godoy-Cortés was born into a Christian family and has been involved in worship music from the early stages in her life. She currently serves as worship team co-leader and deacon at Bridgeway Community Church (CRC) in Haledon, New Jersey. She is a product designer from Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile, with a vast experience in interior design for residential and commercial projects. She graduated from the Hispanic Leadership Program at Princeton Theological Seminary. She also teaches Spanish language and Latin American culture in a missionary context at Eastern Christian High School for the last seven years. Her husband, Felipe Cortés, and their two children, Nicolás (12) and Matías (9), are her earthly source of love and support. The song she wants included in the hymnal is "Great Is Your Faithfulness," not only because of its beautiful words but also because it became real to her family through their life experience of moving to the United States.
Christopher J. Kingdom-Grier
Christopher J. ("CJ") Kingdom-Grier, a native of Idlewild, Michigan, has provided music ministry for five diverse denominations for over 30 years. After attending Calvin College and being a student conductor of the Campus Choir, CJ obtained a bachelor's degree in visual and performing arts with a concentration in music from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He went on to Ohio University, where he received a master of educational leadership degree with a concentration in higher education administration. CJ is currently the pastor of worship arts at Maple Avenue Ministries in Holland, Michigan. His professional accolades include being the first African American Commissioner on the RCA Commission on Christian Worship. CJ partners in ministry with his wife, Rev. Denise Kingdom-Grier, the senior pastor of Maple Avenue Ministries. They have two biological children and 11 other children whom they have enfolded into their family over their 12 years of marriage.
Brenda Kuyper is Canadian, but she’s no stranger to the United States. Growing up singing and playing piano in her childhood church in the Niagara area of Ontario, she went on to study music and theology at Dordt College in Iowa and continued studying theology, receiving a master of theological studies degree from Calvin Theological Seminary. She now lives in southern Alberta, where her husband serves as pastor and where she is a stay-at-home mom to two young daughters. She volunteers for her church, leading worship vocally and instrumentally, assisting with children's music, and directing the choir. She thoroughly enjoyed working with Faith Alive's songbook Singing the New Testament (2008) before her work with Lift Up Your Hearts, and is glad to report that her favorite song, "Oh, to See the Dawn/The Power of the Cross," made it into both songbooks!
Joel Navarro is an associate professor of music at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he teaches conducting and directs campus choirs. As the recipient of numerous awards in performance and education in his native Philippines, he is widely known as a conductor, educator, clinician, lecturer, writer, singer, recording artist, composer, arranger, stage actor, record producer, and music consultant. An active performer of music from different eras and ethnic traditions, he takes an ardent interest in post modern music and the music traditions and liturgies of the world.
Navarro earned a master of music degree in choral conducting from the University of the Philippines and a doctor of musical arts degree in conducting at Michigan State University. He is known internationally as the former music director and conductor of the Ateneo de Manila University Glee Club, which has amassed a string of top prizes during the past 20 years in choral competitions worldwide.
Gordon Pols was born in the Netherlands and grew up in Canada after age 9. He is married to Ann, and they are the parents of two children and grandparents to two. After graduation from Calvin Theological Seminary, Gordon served four congregations in Canada: Surrey (now Fleetwood) CRC, BC; West End CRC, Edmonton, AB; Clarkson (now Clearview) CRC, ON; Ancaster, ON. He retired in 2007 and is presently working part time at West End. His interest in music has been primarily as the pastor involved in song selection for congregational singing in Sunday services.
Martin Tel is the C. F. Seabrook Director of Music at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. He conducts the seminary choirs, teaches courses in church music, and administers the music for the daily seminary worship services. He served as senior editor of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship (2012). His love for music began in a dairy barn in rural Washington State, where he heard his father belt out psalms and hymns while milking the cows. Martin earned degrees in church music and theology from Dordt College, the University of Notre Dame, Calvin Theological Seminary, and the University of Kansas. He has served as minister of music in Christian Reformed, Reformed Church in America, and Presbyterian congregations. With his wife, Sharilyn, he is raising three children in Princeton.
Tim TenClay is the minister of Pultneyville Reformed Church (RCA) near Rochester, New York. He completed a bachelor of arts degree in religion and music at Central College (Pella, IA), amaster of divinity degree at Western Theological Seminary (Holland, MI), and a doctor of ministry degree in worship and spirituality at Northern Seminary (Lombard, IL). He is the minister of Pultneyville Reformed Church (RCA) near Rochester, NY, and is married to JJ. Together, they have two daughters: Sophia and Petra. Tim was involved in the publication of Singing the New Testament (2008), Sing with Me (2006), and Worship the Lord (2005) and has a deep concern for the welfare and development of the church’s next generation of leaders. In his free time, Tim loves to bake bread, knit, ride his bicycle, and much more. He is eager to try new things and loves to learn. One of the songs in Lift Up Your Hearts that he eagerly looks forward to the church falling in love with is E. Fred Morris's “Benediction”—"a rare piece with a perfect balance of biblical simplicity and depth, complemented by just enough dissonance to make the resolving harmonies practically velveteen."
Paul Thé serves at The Bridge (RCA) in Chino, California. Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, Paul grew up singing in church and leading worship. He has served as a music pastor, celebration arts director, church planter, and currently as lead pastor of The Bridge. Paul is a sought-after teacher and worship leader, has recorded several worship albums, and has taught at Azusa Pacific University as adjunct professor. Paul has a master of arts degree in composition and completed seminary studies at Western and Gordon-Conwell. For recreation Paul enjoys playing volleyball, golfing, and going on bike rides with his family. Paul lives in Chino Hills with his wife, Cheri, and their three children.
Annetta Vander Lugt
Annetta Vander Lugt began playing organ in church when she was 14 years old. The organ has been her lifelong journey--in Iowa, Utah, New Jersey, and Michigan. Hymns and psalms are her passion. She never begins a day without singing at least one. She also teaches piano and hopes to instill in her students a passion for music, hymnody, and the psalms.
Leonard Vander Zee
Leonard Vander Zee is the theological editor at Faith Alive Christian Resources. Before coming to Faith Alive in 2006, he was a CRC pastor for 35 years, serving most recently in South Bend, Indiana for 17 years. Though he claims no particular musical expertise, he has always worked closely with music in worship planning, and he loves to sing hymns. He has published numerous articles on various aspects of worship, as well as two books: Christ, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper (Intervarsity, 2005), and In Life and In Death (Faith Alive, 1990). He is married to Jeanne Logan, a fiber artist. He has four grown children and, as of last count, eleven grandchildren. Since he has a passion for the doctrine of the Trinity, his favorite hymn in Lift Up Your Hearts is "Come Join the Dance of Trinity."
John D. Witvliet
John D. Witvliet serves as director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and professor of congregational and ministry studies, music, and worship at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, respectively. His areas of interest include the history of Christian worship, worship practices in various denominations, biblical and systematic theology of worship, the role of music and the arts in worship, and consulting with churches on worship renewal. He recently served as co-editor of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship (2012) with Joyce Borger and Martin Tel.