Picture of Becca Whitla

Becca Whitla BFA, MMus, PhD Professor of Pastoral Studies

Becca Whitla has more than 20 years of experience animating liturgy and community singing in multiple contexts. In her teaching and scholarship she focuses on how congregational and community singing can embody a liberating praxis that nourishes and affirms fuller expressions of complex cultural identities in liturgy. She celebrates and fosters diverse multicultural, multilingual, and multiethnic communities. Part of her commitment is to equip churches and church leaders to model and shape diversity and inclusion in our present social climate.


  • BFA (Hons, Music and Humanities), York University (1991)
  • MMus (Sacred Music) Emmanuel College, University of Toronto (2013)
  • PhD (Pastoral Studies), St. Michael’s College, Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto (2019)

Research and Teaching Interests: Liturgy/Worship, Congregational and Community Singing, Liturgical and Liberationist Theologies, Postcolonial and Decolonial Theories, Choral Conducting

  • “Poison or Cure? Christianity/ies as Postcoloniality’s ‘Other.’” Interventions (2019).
  • With Néstor Medina, “(An)other Canada is Possible: Rethinking Canada’s Colonial Legacy.” Horizontes Decoloniales / Decolonial Horizons (2019).
  • “Singing as un Saber del Sur, or Another Way of Knowing.” Toronto Journal of Theology (2017).
  • “Revolution and the Reign of God: Cuban Hymnody Gives Voice to a Distinctly Liberative Theology.” The Hymn, (Winter and Spring, 2015).
  • “Hymnody in Missionary Lands: A Decolonial Critique.” In A Legacy of Hymnists, (Wipf and Stock, 2019).
  • “The Colonizing Power of Song.” In Decoloniality and Justice: Theological Perspectives (Saõ Leopoldo: Oikos, 2018)
  • Songs from the Heart: 46 Community Hymns, editor. Toronto: Holy Trinity Church, 2007.                                 
  • CD Recordings with: Echo Women’s Choir (2001, 2017), Toronto School of Theology Choir (2015), H.E.R.E.[Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees] Local 75 Choir (2004), Alan Gasser, tenor (1998).

Professional and Academic Background

  • Emmanuel College, University of Toronto: Director of Chapel, Director of Toronto School of Theology Choir, Research Fellow for Professor Lim Swee Hong (2012-2019).
  • Seminario Evangélico de Teología de Matanzas, Cuba, Adjunct Faculty (2016).
  • Echo Women’s Choir, Toronto, Co-Founder, Artistic Co-director (1991-2019).
  • Church of the Holy Trinity, Toronto, Music Director (1992-2012).
  • Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (H.E.R.E.) Local 75 Choir, Toronto, Founding Director (1999-2004).
  • Liturgical and Music Leadership in a wide variety of national and international community and church groups and organizations, including Sorrento Centre, Momentum (Anglican), KAIROS, PWRDF, Worldongs Vocal Camp; CAW/UNIFOR, CUPE Village Harmony.
  • Secretary, Hymn Society of the United States and Canada (2017-present).
  • Member of the Hymn Supplement Committee of the Anglican Church of Canada (2011-2019)
  • Memberships: International Academy of Practical Theology, Canadian Theological Society, American Academy of Religion, Society for Christian Scholarship in Music, Hymn Society of the United States and Canada.