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Linda Allen influence hearts and minds through music

Having learned in the 1970s that she could influence the hearts and minds of people through singing and composing folk music, Linda Allen, chose that path.

Singer songwriter Linda Allen leads singing at the PNW-UCC Annual Meeting in First Congregational UCC in Bellingham.

Linda, who was the music leader for the PNC-UCC Annual Meeting at Bellingham First Congregational UCC, was in a military family and moved often until her faither retired in Olympia. After graduating from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in 1968, she taught for a year in Minnesota but decided that was not for her.

Three years in Berkeley, Calif., during the 1970s convinced her that her calling was to be a songwriter, musician and singer.

Her husband Scott, whom she married in 1989, has been a business partner and the technical support person for the many videos they have produced to accompany songs. 

Faith and the power of music to change people are central to her career as a musician, said Linda, who grew up Baptist, became Lutheran after PLU.

Linda moved to Bellingham in 1976, continuing her career with two daughters in tow. She met Scott in the 1990s while attending a Unitarian church there. Later they began attending the First Congregational UCC, and that has been their church home ever since.

“In the 1990s and since, I have sung in many churches and have concerts in many different venues,” she said. “My largest audience was for a national United Methodist Church conference."

Eventually, after Linda discovered Matthew Fox and Creation Spirituality, she went to graduate school and seminary at the University of Creation Spirituality in Oakland and studied under him.

After graduating as a doctor of ministry in 2006, Linda went on to be ordained as an interfaith ministry in the Creation Spirituality tradition. Her ordination for her ministry of music, teaching and preaching was blessed by a gathering of interfaith ministers in Bellingham.

From 2011 to 2014, she and her husband, Scott, were at Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center in the Cascades, where Scott was business manager, and she served as program director and postmistress.

For the PNC 2023 Annual Meeting she chose songs from her CD, “Lay It Down: Images of the Sacred,” one of 13 CDs she has produced with hundreds of original songs and a varied repertoire.

One project Linda developed was a musical called “Daughters of Lilith,” influenced by the Jewish midrash or story of Adam’s first wife, Lilith, who rebelled against her subservient role as Adam’s wife and chose to leave the Garden of Eden. Linda composed songs of other women of the Bible, like Mary, Mary Magdalene, the bent over woman, Eve and others, giving her interpretation of them with strong feminist imagery.

Linda’s current focus in ministry is as a certified clinical musician with Hospice of the Northwest.

This work led her to start two choirs, Bellingham’s Women with Wings and the Bellingham Threshold Singers. She has two songbooks with songs to “lift the heart and heal the spirit.” They are in two CDs “Carry Us through This Night” and “Into the Promise of Morning.”

Linda has facilitated retreats and training workshops on music in palliative care. In 2010, she was inducted into the Northwest Women’s Hall of Fame for her work with the choirs.

She has produced two CDs with songs of comfort, songs to sing one-to-one at the bedside of patients who are dying and needing comfort.

Her latest CD, as she turns 78, is “Emergence,” reflecting on aging, justice and more.

“I came to activism through music,” Linda said. “I have written many songs addressing many issues.”

“Emergence” focuses on songs ranging from homelessness, the impact of the pandemic, girls fighting discrimination in schools, hospice care to immigrants at the border.”

Linda’s latest project has been doing salons. They are gatherings in a home where she sings songs from her CD, “Emergence,” and has conversations about the issues presented, such as the war in Ukraine, separated families at the border, abortion rights, unhoused people in neighborhoods, aging, dying and more.

“At rallies on local political issues, there are often many speakers. I encourage planners to include music breaks, so it’s not one speaker after another, but they break up talks with music,” said Linda, who may read a headline and turn it into a song.

“There are so many issues to write about. Events come up and I write a song specifically for them,” she said.

For one church service, she was inspired to write a song expressing the lament of many women in churches, “God, I cannot call you Father.”

“Many women have been abused, badly treated and made invisible by men in their lives,” Linda explained.

“Many women resonate with the truth I express in songs,” Linda said, explaining that much in the Bible is about the overall truth or message, like in the Jewish tradition of midrash commentaries and stories.

“There is the Torah and then scholars and teachers write notes in the margins, expounding on what they read, explaining the biblical stories,” Linda said. “It’s a rich source of storytelling.

“It’s also fun to create pieces with humor and poignancy,” she added. “I enjoy bringing new perspectives to churches.”

Out of her passion for the history of women’s rights, Linda worked with the Washington Women’s History Project, the Washington Centennial Commission, the Washington Women’s History Consortium, the Inquiring Mind program of Humanities Washington, the Cultural Enrichment and Folklife Programs of the State Arts Commission and the Folklife in the Schools Program.

A CD, “Washington Notebook,” includes original songs for Washington’s centennial.

She collected and edited songs for two songbooks, “The Rainy Day Songbook” and “Washington Songs and Lore,” and then traveled to schools, museums and libraries to do workshops and concerts.

Linda also created a traveling one-hour presentation, “Here’s to the Women!” for the 100th anniversary of the state and national efforts to pass the 19th Amendment for the women’s right to vote.

Because she made it in the pandemic, she prepared a virtual presentation on Powerpoint with images, stories, poems and songs on women’s rights, the history of women’s roles, multicultural perspectives, the Equal Rights Amendment and ongoing discrepancy in wages for women. Her 53-minute video premiered in 2020 at the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Historical Park.

Linda has toured not only in the U.S., but also abroad, including in 2006 visiting Israel and Palestine and then recording children’s songs for the Peacebuilders program in Bethlehem.

In all her songs and presentations, she seeks to honor her forebears by “continuing their fight for justice.”

Her life’s work, she said, seeks to uncover injustice and create songs to help mend the injustices and help people move through their lives and struggles.

“I still respond when I’m invited,” she said.

While she has done much voluntarily out of her interest, her songs and concerts are her career and ways she continues to earn a living.

For information, call 360-920-7533, email or visit



Pacific NW United Church of Christ Conference News © October 2023


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