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We are Susan Heafield (“Hayfield”) and Brian (as in the bird) Wren.

 

Susan –

 

I was born and grew up near Glendive, in the “big sky” rolling open prairie of eastern Montana. From an early age I loved music, and at age 7 began piano lessons.

Following High School I graduated with a B.A. in Music Education from Rocky Mountain College, Billings, Montana. I taught music in public schools and in my own studio (voice, piano and guitar); directed music and contemporary worship planning at the United Methodist Church in Bozeman, MT; and was Organist and Choir Director at Clark's Green United Methodist Church, Pennsylvania.

     In 1987 I graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Drew University School of Theology, New Jersey. In 2006 I gained a Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia. I am an Elder (ordained minister) in the United Methodist Church, and a clergy member of its New England Conference. I have served churches in New York, Pennsylvania, Maine, Georgia and Massachusetts, and am currently Pastor of Sidney United Methodist Church in upstate New York. My son Nathan lives in Bartonsville, Pennsylvania, and I have the joy of being Grandma to his two children.

 

Brian -

At age fourteen, wanting to find life’s meaning, I went to what I thought was the local Methodist Church and ended up by mistake at the Congregational. I grew into that church and tradition, and was baptized on confession of faith at age 19. I studied at Oxford University, where I took B.A. degrees in Modern Languages and Theology and later completed my doctorate. In 1965 I was ordained in what is now the United Reformed Church (UK).

 

In the late 1960s I began writing hymns for the congregation I was serving, because old words sometimes fell short of new experience.  I have written hymns ever since, encouraged by the fact that many have been widely published.

 

After a decade or more in adult education and campaigns about global poverty and inequality, I followed a freelance ministry until 2000, when I was called to be the first Professor of Worship at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, a seminary of the Presbyterian Church (USA). It was a joy to teach with gifted colleagues, preparing people for church leadership and ordained ministry. Since retiring in 2007, I lecture, write and lead workshops as time and energy permit, and support Susan in her ministry.

 

I have two adult children from my first marriage, Hilary (with spouse Joe) and Nicholas (with spouse Tomomi), who live and work respectively in London (England) and Tokyo (Japan). I am delighted to be Granddad to Hilary and Joe’s daughter and son.

 

 

Together

 

From our understanding of marriage as equal partnership, we keep our given names and like to be known as “Susan Heafield and Brian Wren, partners in marriage and ministry.” We co-lead workshops and worship, and write songs together. Many songs come out a particular need or occasion – an add-a-verse-a-week song for Advent, a new song for an ecumenical Thanksgiving service, helping children and adults sing about joy following sadness in Holy Week, or a four-year-old boy telling Susan to sing about “fixing, mending, and repairing.” See our song collections – We Can Be Messengers and Tell the Good News! Though our methods vary, Brian typically writes 90% of the words and Susan composes 90% of the music.  We aim for words and music worth repeating, yet easy to understand and enjoy.