International Women In Music Day: Reflecting the Values of Miriam 

As today is International Women in Music Day, I want to take this opportunity to celebrate the profound impact that women can have in creating powerful worship to praise the greatness of God, as well as crafting resonating music that can touch the souls of those who listen. To do so, it is only right to first talk about Miriam, the original female worship leader. 

Many consider Miriam as the big sister in the reeds who watched over her baby brother Moses, whom they’d placed in a basket on the Nile. But Miriam went on to do so much more than that. Along with Aaron and Moses, Miriam led the people of Israel out of slavery. 

Given the infrequency of women being named in the Old Testament, we know that her leadership role must have been significant. In Exodus 15:20, she is referred to as a “prophetess”, and in Micah 6:4, Miriam is listed beside Moses and Aaron as leaders of Israel.  

Once they had crossed the Red Sea, not only did Miriam worship God with timbrels and dancing, but all the women followed her in doing so. She shows us the qualities of a worship leader; the value of strength and selflessness, and the importance of all focus being directed at the Lord our God. 

We read that Miriam sang to the women, and encouraged them to “Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted” (Exodus 15:21). 

Isn’t it incredible that this is exactly what we are still striving to achieve now?! 

I am so honoured to take this opportunity to celebrate the inspirational women who lead powerful worship and transform people’s hearts with their music. It would be impossible for me to individually celebrate all of the incredible UK female worship leaders and gospel singers of this generation, but I will take this opportunity to highlight just a few. 

Karen Gibson MBE, crowned the ‘Godmother of UK Gospel’,  is the award-winning founder and choir conductor of The Kingdom Choir. Karen, and the choir she leads, embody hard work, discipline and hope. A hope that this world so desperately needs. 

Internationally renowned worship leader Lou Fellingham has been a strong presence in the Christian music industry for the last 28 years. Her prophetic word and indefatigable enthusiasm continue to see lives transformed through the Gospel truths told in her music. 

Lorraine Wright MBE, founder of the University Gospel Choir of the Year Awards, has inspired hundreds of university students to explore how they can worship the Lord through music in a close-knit community of singers and musicians. The annual competition, now in its 12th year, can be a truly life-changing experience for the students who participate. 

A personal inspiration of mine is Philippa Hanna, StepFWD Awards ‘Female Artist of the Year’ 2023. Her relatable and honest storytelling, combined with beautiful melodies, is able to transform the lives of those who hear. The truth she conveys in her music – about how God’s love helped her overcome struggles with anxiety and depression – has helped countless girls and young women deal with their own mental health struggles.

And, of course, there are so many exciting female contemporary Christian artists such as Becca Folkes, Lucy Grimble, Sarah Teibo, and Evangeline Anyaoha, who are creating incredible music and leading God-centred worship. 

Each of these women reflect the bravery, leadership and selflessness of Miriam: the prophetess who led the women in worship. 

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