Songwrite 2021 Online Program – 5th and 6th November


Songwrite will be running online across five time zones, with plenary online sessions, optional online sessions and state-based meetup times (online or face to face). The Adelaide and Darwin events will have a face to face meeting. The VicTas, SA and QLD events will be all online.

We look forward to meeting up locally as well as around the country. Songwrite isn’t a big event. What makes it significant is the encouragement of learning and sharing in the creative process together.

We will be using Zoom and also a Zoom add-on conferencing tool called QiqoChat. Registered participants will receive login details prior to the events. PLEASE SEE EVENT DETAILS FOR EACH LOCATION FOR LOCAL GATHERING TIMES.

Friday 5 November

Times are Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDST) – VIC, TAS, NSW, ACT.
SA minus 0.5 hour, QLD minus 1 hour, NT minus 1.5 hours, WA minus 3 hours

6.30pm Pre-event meetup and chat
7.00pm Opening Welcome and Prayer
7.15pm Guest – Malcolm Gordon
8.00pm Program overview and introduction to online meeting space
8.30pm Optional meet up time
9.00pm Close

Saturday 6 November

9.45am Online welcome foyer open
10.15am Gathering worship
10.30am Guest – Malcolm Gordon
11.15am Break
11.130am Options – Q&A with Malcolm, time to write music, collaborate, feedback/mentoring etc.
12.30pm Lunch Break
1.30 Six Songwriters sharing their craft – choose three to hear
2.30pm Break
2.45pm Options – songwriting, scoring, feedback/mentoring, recording
3.45pm Break
4.00pm Plenary session with Malcolm, song sharing, closing worship
5.00pm Optional time for further collaboration, scoring, recording etc – or drinks and chat.
6.00pm Close

SONGWRITE 2021 BRISBANE now 100% online

For a range of reasons, the Brisbane/Qld edition of SONGWRITE 2021 will now be completely online via Zoom- 5.30 pm Friday 5 November to 4.30 pm Saturday 6 November. Those who have registered will automatically have their registration continued onto the new online SONGWRITE 2021, unless advised otherwise. A part-refund will also be provided.
Subsequent SONGWRITE options include:

  • a whole-day in-event in the new year e.g between February and April 2022
  • opportunities for Brisbane/SE Qld worship songwriters to jam together one weekend.
Photo by cottonbro on

The online event will provide:

  • opportunities to gather via Zoom with other Brisbane/Queensland folk
  • continued input and wisdom from NZ’s Rev Malcolm Gordon
  • optional “spaces” for song workshopping and collaboration
  • the seeds for a potential network of Queensland synod worship songwriters

Registrations are now down to $20, and can be made via this link:

Contact David MacGregor for more information,

registrations now open for SONGWRITE 2021 – BRISBANE!

REGISTRATIONS are now live and open for 30 hours+ of creative, Christian musical community with SONGWRITE 2021 at Living Faith Uniting Church, 330 Pine Mountain Rd, Carina Heights, Brisbane. QLD: 5 & 6 November 2021.

Take this link to register. Cost: $40.
Contact person: Rev David MacGregor

Songwrite: 5 – 7 November, 2021

Songwrite is an invitation to make space for

Songwrite is a Uniting Church gathering for crafting new songs for contemporary worship. It is open to aspiring songwriters, beginners, and those who have already been making music for worship. Whether you write words or music or both, Songwrite is a space for working on new songs. There’s no expectation. This weekend offers the gift of space and encouragement.

Songwrite started in 2013 as a national initiative of the Uniting Church, and has been held in Canberra, Adelaide and Brisbane. This event will be held in multiple locations, linked digitally for parts of the program.

The heart of Songwrite is a weekend community who listen to God’s creative Spirit, learn from one another, and support each other in writing new music. The weekend includes community worship and prayer, input from experienced songwriters, space to be creative – solo or with others, and mentors for feedback and guidance.

Continue reading

songwrite2018 – a great two days in creative community

songwrite2018 co-coordinator David Busch writes …

Worship is universal, but song-writing isn’t – each gathered community needs songs that derive from, and speak to, its context. And we need to learn to sing hope amid the hard stuff of life.

With those words, Dr Tanya Riches – composer, justice advocate, cross-cultural IMG_0124missiologist, researcher and Hillsong scholar – urged Uniting Church song-writers to give authentic voice to the laments and hopes of people and places across Australia.

The 25 composers from four States attending Songwrite 2018 heard Tanya’s challenge, and so unfolded another weekend of creativity, collaboration and encouragement – the third national Songwrite conference sponsored by the Assembly’s Working Group on Worship since 2013.

Indooroopilly UC, Brisbane, hosted the conference over the Australia Day long weekend. For half of the attendees, this was their first Songwrite conference, and several of those had never written a worship song.

ferg_39894478282_oBut by the Sunday morning, three songs composed over the weekend were ready to be shared in a special Songwrite service with the Indooroopilly Congregation, in addition to several others that Songwrite participants had written earlier.
A focus for musical inspiration was the theme for the 15th Assembly, meeting this July in president-elect-dr-deidre-palmer_39906151641_oMelbourne: Abundant Grace, Liberating Hope.

UCA President-elect, Dr Deidre Palmer, had outlined that theme in a letter to participants a few weeks prior to Songwrite, and she attended the conference to speak further about the theme and share the experience of music taking shape around that focus.

With her academic background and extensive experience in ethno-musicology, theological anthropology, disability studies, and intersections between Pentecostal Christianity and The Dreaming of Australia’s First Peoples, as well as her success as a composer, Dr Tanya Riches brought deep insight and broad horizons to her three keynote presentations, accompanied by her musician husband, Tim Sheerman

Tanya has come a long way since writing her first song, “Jesus, what a beautiful name” in 1995, as a 15-year-old facing a difficult home life. That song leapt to the top of Christian music charts across the world and helped to regalvanise Hillsong’s music ministry after the departure of Geoff Bullock.

“I didn’t create that song,” Tanya told Songwrite. “I was a steward of a song which just emerged from within me. I couldn’t really understand the full meaning of what I was writing.

“To say that I write the song is a betrayal of the work of God embedded in the act of creating – no song I’ve ever written is mine.

“The journey of the song-writer is to steward the songs within you and within others. To give voice to your pain and passion, to connect that with the pain and passion of others, and find a language and a music that creates a community of worship of God who breaks into our lives and our world.”

Tanya said the most pressing need for worship song-writers today was to find ways to express grief and lament as entry points into empathy and humility before God and each other – enabling people to sing their questions and acknowledge the pain we each carry in our lives as we sit in church each week.

“We go through the motions at church but we know that true community is better than this. People resonate with honesty. Our songs should make the pain normative, and bring us to a turning point with the psalmists who, in the midst of anguish and lament, can declare, ‘But God …’

“There is a beautiful energy in a community singing their stories.”

IMG_1554Other parts of the Songwrite 2018 program included six composers sharing their approach to song-writing – Dave Andrews, David MacGregor, Allan Hoare, Craig Mitchell, Alison Campbell Rate and Eric Woodrow; a very entertaining Saturday night cabaret ‘open mic’ for song-sharing; and a workshop, open to the wider church, by Rev Dr Amelia Koh-Butler on how to teach new worship songs to a Congregation.

Songwrite is held about every two years.

David Busch
joint coordinator, with David MacGregor

just about ready to go … songwrite2018

songwrite_words 2018 begins in less than 24 hours – at 2 pm at
IUC outsideIndooroopilly Uniting Church, Brisbane, Australia – drawing creative folk from four states of Australia.

Here’s what the program looks like:

2018 Program handout JPEG.jpg

We look forward to God’s creative hand among us, as songs are written, honed and shared together, including with the local Indooroopilly Uniting Church community this Songwriter composing a songSunday, 28 January.

songwrite2018 is a national UCA Assembly initiative through the Assembly Worship Working Group, building on previous national events in Canberra (2013) and Adelaide (2015)

David MacGregor
David Busch – coordinators


@ songwrite2018 – open session: teaching new worship songs

amelia KBAmelia Koh-Butler is one of our key support team members at songwrite2018. She is known nationally and beyond for her gifts in music, worship-leadership and crafting and working cross-culturally.

The Saturday 27 January 11.15 am – 12.45 pm session at songwrite2018 is open to the wider community at a small cost. If staying for lunch RSVP David MacGregor by 23 January.

Meanwhile registrations are still being received and will be accepted up to this Friday, 21 January 2018. Register here.   Information page.

Meanwhile, you have questions.  Contact me, David MacGregorTeaching new songs AKB