A Turkish Musical Insider Case Study: Liturgy, Self-Identity and Spiritual Formation


Sue Whittaker

Publication Date



This dissertation examines a model of musico-liturgical worship and its dynamics of inculturation, exploring how seriously a pastor takes context, culture, and worship. This applied case study of the All Saints Moda church (ASM) in Istanbul, Turkey, focused on the impact Pastor Turgay Üçal’s worship songs had on the assembly, and it demonstrated a correlation between local music, self-identity, and spiritual formation.

The research frame was provided by the four-arena global church music matrix: (1) the context, (2) the music maker, (3) the church, and (4) the biblical text. The context arena encompassed an exploration of the study’s background through a literature review, participant observation, and interviews. The music-maker arena focused on the life, ministry, and worship songs of Üçal. Methods included more than thirty hours of interviews with Üçal, his family members, and Protestant church leaders as well as the transcription and analysis of eighty of his works. The latter process encompassed lyric content analysis, including metaphoric and thematic analysis. The church arena involved participant observation, event-centered analysis of the ASM liturgical worship practice, and mapping the field of ritual. Finally, through a two-tiered set of interviews with eighteen followers of Christ (approximately one-fifth of the church body), the biblical arena looked into the influence of Üçal’s hymnody on the lives of the ASM congregation. This study was carried out over the course of three years.

Results of the investigation revealed that when filled with biblical content and meaning, indigenous music and other locally shaped worship forms function as spiritual disciplines that foster the development of self-identity and spiritual formation from within an Islamic society such as urban Istanbul. This model demonstrates inculturation as an essential component of Christian education and communication. Through nurturing participants’ transformation into Christlike, spiritually mature believers as they exercise their gifts, the ASM worship practice achieves maximum benefits.

Degree Name

Doctor of Intercultural Studies (DIS)

First Advisor

King, Roberta R.

Document Type





All Saints Moda church (ASM) (Istanbul, Turkey), Public worship, Church music, Liturgies, Christianity and culture, Spiritual formation, Missions, Turkey


Christian Denominations and Sects | Christianity | Missions and World Christianity


Public Access: If you attend a college or university, you may be granted access for free through your school library subscription to ProQuest Theses & Dissertations. Copies may be available for purchase via ProQuest Dissertations Publishing https://dissexpress.proquest.com/search.html

Upload File


Embargo Period