Hymnology 2021

Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
edited March 1 in Ecclesiantics
What is your congregational or diocese policy on hymns? Do you stick with the ones in the CBP or your official denominational hymn book, or are you free to explore?

I am told there are over 6,000 hymns that are out there, yet the most any hymnal will likely have is 500, and there are 100s of new hymns added every year.

I bring this up because we ended up singing an old hymn today that I just hate: Just As I Am, Without One Plea. It was the old hymn Billy Graham used to use in his altar calls. To me, it does not even reflect Lutheran theology.

So my question to the community: are you free to explore more contemporary hymns?

And the follow-up. Of the hymns you do use, what would you wish could be dropped forever?
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Comments

  • Just reacting with wistfulness that somewhere in the world congregations are not only meeting, but singing hymns. Can't see that happening here in England any time soon thanks to Covid.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    What is your congregational or diocese policy on hymns? Do you stick with the ones in the CBP or your official denominational hymn book, or are you free to explore?
    What is the CBP?

  • Never heard of a diocese having a policy on hymnals. In my experience, a church will use the hymnal it happened to have purchased 20 years ago. Only if they get a bequest will they consider buying a new set of books. At that point it will probably result in fisticuffs between the minister and the organist/Director of Music as to which one to buy.

    Loads of church have their own song books. These are usually over 25 years old and over half of the songs in them are never sung any more. At least 25% of them should never have been sung in the first place.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Never heard of a diocese having a policy on hymnals. In my experience, a church will use the hymnal it happened to have purchased 20 years ago.
    Denominational hymnals are the norm, at least among the non-Catholic and non-Orthodox, in the US. I believe, but welcome correction if I’m wrong, that canon law in the Episcopal Church requires use of the hymnal(s) authorized by General Convention. Currently that’s The Hymnal 1982, plus some supplemental hymnals published since then. Not sure what the rule is among the United Methodists, but I’ve never been in a UMC church that didn’t use the current denominational hymnal.

    In my tribe—the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)—decisions about hymnals and hymns rest with the Session. The great majority of congregations use the denominational hymnal; the current such hymnal, Glory to God, was published in 2013. Some churches are still using the 1993 Presbyterian Hymnal. Both have a good mix of the old and the new, as well as hymns from around the world. It’s quite common when the time comes to get new hymnals for members of the congregation to donate the money for one or two (or more) in memory or honor of people. Bookplates in the front will note “Given by” and “In Memory/Honor of.”

    Speaking as one who has written a number of hymns—mainly for use in our congregation, but one has been published in hymnals, and others have spread to other congregations—I’m all for the new with the old.

  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    What is your congregational or diocese policy on hymns? Do you stick with the ones in the CBP or your official denominational hymn book, or are you free to explore?

    I am told there are over 6,000 hymns that are out there, yet the most any hymnal will likely have is 500, and there are 100s of new hymns added every year.

    I bring this up because we ended up singing an old hymn today that I just hate: Just As I Am, Without One Plea. It was the old hymn Billy Graham used to use in his altar calls. To me, it does not even reflect Lutheran theology.

    So my question to the community: are you free to explore more contemporary hymns?

    And the follow-up. Of the hymns you do use, what would you wish could be dropped forever?

    Fanny Crosby alone wrote about 8,000 hymns and songs. Amazing considering that she became blind when she was about 6 weeks old

    At my old church whoever was leading the service chose the hymns but anyone could start off a chorus
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    What is your congregational or diocese policy on hymns? Do you stick with the ones in the CBP or your official denominational hymn book, or are you free to explore?

    I am told there are over 6,000 hymns that are out there, yet the most any hymnal will likely have is 500, and there are 100s of new hymns added every year.

    I bring this up because we ended up singing an old hymn today that I just hate: Just As I Am, Without One Plea. It was the old hymn Billy Graham used to use in his altar calls. To me, it does not even reflect Lutheran theology.

    So my question to the community: are you free to explore more contemporary hymns?

    And the follow-up. Of the hymns you do use, what would you wish could be dropped forever?

    Fanny Crosby alone wrote about 8,000 hymns and songs. Amazing considering that she became blind when she was about 6 weeks old
    Indeed. And the epitaph on her gravestone says “She hath done what she could.”

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited March 1
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    What is your congregational or diocese policy on hymns? Do you stick with the ones in the CBP or your official denominational hymn book, or are you free to explore?
    What is the CBP?

    My mistake, I don't know where I was going with that statement (what you get for half listening to a video on medical marijuana -- CBD). :embarressed:
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    By way of explanation: we are having parking lot services at this time. However, this afternoon we participated in a youtube worship on the ordination of one of our son's dear friends. Though it was Lutheran, the music was from GIA publications. We had an online copy of the lyrics and were encouraged to sing with the musicians. I think the bishop was saying it was the first in person service she has allowed in the last year. There were a limited number of people attending in person. Over 300 of us were online.
  • We have both the Church of Scotland Hymnary (4th Edition) and Mission Praise, both having around 800 hymns and songs, though with a fair amount of overlap. As far as I'm aware there are no restrictions on what we're allowed to use - one of the Kirk's principles, as I understand it, is that the minister has almost complete authority over the content of services.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    What is your congregational or diocese policy on hymns? Do you stick with the ones in the CBP or your official denominational hymn book, or are you free to explore?
    What is the CBP?

    My mistake, I don't know where I was going with that statement (what you get for half listening to a video on medical marijuana -- CBD). :embarressed:

    BCP then? Book of Common Prayer?
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Sorry @Gramps49 still none the wiser. What are CBD and GIA?

  • SpikeSpike Admin Emeritus
    Never heard of a diocese having a policy on hymnals.

    Although not an official diocesan policy, I know of a diocesan Bishop who has an unofficial list of hymns that he won’t allow at any services where he’s presiding. He always asks for a copy of the order of service in advance so that he can make sure there aren’t any “unsuitable” hymns.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited March 1
    Very few Baptist churches in the UK now use the "official" hymnbook, which is good although a bit outdated. The vast majority will either use something like Mission Praise or Songs of Fellowship - assuming they use a book at all, as projection onto screens seems to be the norm for many (just saying, as I am not wanting to start a debate on the merits/demerits of screens!)

    My experience - admittedly a few years ago - in the United Reformed Church was that most used "Rejoice and Sing", almost as a mark of denominational identity. However this was not universal and one or two congregations preferred the (newer) Church of Scotland Hymnary while one other known to me used an Australian (?Uniting Church) book.

    Apropos of what Spike wrote, my own church's organist had certain hymns (and tunes) he Would Not Play - if necessary he would let visiting preachers know and ask them to change their choices. This caused a Rumpus on more than one occasion.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Enoch wrote: »
    Sorry @Gramps49 still none the wiser. What are CBD and GIA?
    I think this is the CBD in the video Gramps49 was listening to which messed up his post. I still don’t know what the CBP was meant to be. I think this is the GIA he had in mind.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    No policy.
  • Fawkes CatFawkes Cat Shipmate
    Never heard of a diocese having a policy on hymnals. In my experience, a church will use the hymnal it happened to have purchased 20 years ago. Only if they get a bequest will they consider buying a new set of books. At that point it will probably result in fisticuffs between the minister and the organist/Director of Music as to which one to buy.

    Having moved away some years ago, I follow the church where I grew up on Facebook. Imagine my disappointment to find that this year they intend to replace their (rather tattered) hymnbooks with new copies of the same one.

    Remaining at a safe distance and watching The Row About Which Hymnbook To Have was always one of the great entertainments of that particular community.

  • Was there also the row about Do We Still Need Hymnbooks In This Day And Age?

    Or even ... Should We Get Rid Of The Organ?
  • Ha!

    We use The English Hymnal (the proper edition - let the Reader understand), but now mostly at smaller services, such as Matins, Evensong, Stations of the Cross, rather than at the main Parish Mass.

    For the latter, we use Mayhew's Complete Anglican Hymns Old And New - the hymns and songs are eclectic, and some of the newer ones have become classics. The slight (!) alterations made to the words of some don't bother me, personally, as they often make the meaning clearer. Occasionally, we might use a hymn or song that isn't in the book, and we have a collection of laminated cards with the words (plus, of course, a couple of copies of the music books required).

    We are mightily blessed in having an Organ (a Dutch electronic *huisorgel*, or home organ, which is puissant enough to be OK in a large church), a Grand Piano, and two talented musicians to play them, albeit not at the same time...

    There is AFAIK no such thing as a Diocesan policy on hymns, though I sympathise with the Bishops who have to put up with sing *Shine, Jesus, Shine* or *Be Still, For The Presence Of The Lord* at every service they lead... :grimace:

  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    I think this is the GIA he had in mind.
    Yes, GIA is one of the major Catholic music publishers in the US. They’re the American publisher/agent for Taizé, John Bell, Marty Haugen and many other contemporary hymn writers. They publish the hymnals used by many Catholic churches around here, and the newer hymnals of other mainline denominations here will typically have a fair number of “GIA hymns” in them.

    We use The English Hymnal (the proper edition - let the Reader understand), . . .
    Sorry, but non-CofE or non-English Readers may have a hard time understanding. This one doesn’t have a clue.

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »

    We use The English Hymnal (the proper edition - let the Reader understand), . . .
    Sorry, but non-CofE or non-English Readers may have a hard time understanding. This one doesn’t have a clue.

    Sorry - my bad.

    I meant the first edition of The English Hymnal, published in 1906, and often regarded as the finest-ever Anglican hymnbook:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_English_Hymnal

    I forgot that not all hymn-singing Shipmates would know of it!

    (BTW, please could some kind Host correct the typo in the thread title?)

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »

    We use The English Hymnal (the proper edition - let the Reader understand), . . .
    Sorry, but non-CofE or non-English Readers may have a hard time understanding. This one doesn’t have a clue.

    Sorry - my bad.

    I meant the first edition of The English Hymnal, published in 1906, and often regarded as the finest-ever Anglican hymnbook:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_English_Hymnal

    I forgot that not all hymn-singing Shipmates would know of it!

    (BTW, please could some kind Host correct the typo in the thread title?)

    It's probably also worth noting that it, like everything else in the CofE, has an association with a particular segment of the church, particularly the cult of St Percy Dearmer (who edited said green-clothed volume) and associated Anglo-Catholic tendencies. Those of a more broad church tradition adhered to the maroon covers of Hymns Ancient and Modern.
  • There is also a New English Hymnal abbreviated to NEH. Also green, just a later revision from 1986, still regarded as unnecessarily formal by those who prefer choruses.
  • There is also a New English Hymnal abbreviated to NEH. Also green, just a later revision from 1986, still regarded as unnecessarily formal by those who prefer choruses.

    And still regarded as dangerously modern by those who prefer the original.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »

    We use The English Hymnal (the proper edition - let the Reader understand), . . .
    Sorry, but non-CofE or non-English Readers may have a hard time understanding. This one doesn’t have a clue.

    Sorry - my bad.

    I meant the first edition of The English Hymnal, published in 1906, and often regarded as the finest-ever Anglican hymnbook:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_English_Hymnal

    I forgot that not all hymn-singing Shipmates would know of it!

    (BTW, please could some kind Host correct the typo in the thread title?)

    It's probably also worth noting that it, like everything else in the CofE, has an association with a particular segment of the church, particularly the cult of St Percy Dearmer (who edited said green-clothed volume) and associated Anglo-Catholic tendencies. Those of a more broad church tradition adhered to the maroon covers of Hymns Ancient and Modern.

    Yes, that's true. There now follows a pedant alert:

    Blue covers on A & M - maroon covers on A & M Revised (IIRC).

    BTW, The English Hymnal also owes a lot to Ralph Vaughan Williams, who wasn't AIUI particularly *Christian* in his spirituality.
    Telford wrote: »

    Fanny Crosby alone wrote about 8,000 hymns and songs. Amazing considering that she became blind when she was about 6 weeks old

    Indeed, but I can only think of three* that are still sung today, in the UK at least - there may be more still current in the US.

    (*Blessed Assurance, To God be the glory, and Praise Him, praise Him, Jesus our blessed Redeemer)

  • At school we were raised on "Songs of Praise" (blue covers, edited by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw). I think that was trying to make a musical point, rather than one about churchmanship.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »

    We use The English Hymnal (the proper edition - let the Reader understand), . . .
    Sorry, but non-CofE or non-English Readers may have a hard time understanding. This one doesn’t have a clue.

    Sorry - my bad.

    I meant the first edition of The English Hymnal, published in 1906, and often regarded as the finest-ever Anglican hymnbook:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_English_Hymnal

    I forgot that not all hymn-singing Shipmates would know of it!

    (BTW, please could some kind Host correct the typo in the thread title?)

    It's probably also worth noting that it, like everything else in the CofE, has an association with a particular segment of the church, particularly the cult of St Percy Dearmer (who edited said green-clothed volume) and associated Anglo-Catholic tendencies. Those of a more broad church tradition adhered to the maroon covers of Hymns Ancient and Modern.

    Yes, that's true. There now follows a pedant alert:

    Blue covers on A & M - maroon covers on A & M Revised (IIRC).


    Oh, very likely. A & M Revised was already considered Ancient and Boring before I was born.
  • At school we were raised on "Songs of Praise" (blue covers, edited by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw). I think that was trying to make a musical point, rather than one about churchmanship.

    Same here.
    Nick Tamen wrote: »

    We use The English Hymnal (the proper edition - let the Reader understand), . . .
    Sorry, but non-CofE or non-English Readers may have a hard time understanding. This one doesn’t have a clue.

    Sorry - my bad.

    I meant the first edition of The English Hymnal, published in 1906, and often regarded as the finest-ever Anglican hymnbook:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_English_Hymnal

    I forgot that not all hymn-singing Shipmates would know of it!

    (BTW, please could some kind Host correct the typo in the thread title?)

    It's probably also worth noting that it, like everything else in the CofE, has an association with a particular segment of the church, particularly the cult of St Percy Dearmer (who edited said green-clothed volume) and associated Anglo-Catholic tendencies. Those of a more broad church tradition adhered to the maroon covers of Hymns Ancient and Modern.

    Yes, that's true. There now follows a pedant alert:

    Blue covers on A & M - maroon covers on A & M Revised (IIRC).


    Oh, very likely. A & M Revised was already considered Ancient and Boring before I was born.

    Ancient & Mouldy, followed by Ancient & Mildly Rotting...
    :naughty:
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    The last hymn book that might have had any denominational authority behind it in the CofE could have been Tate and Bradys New Version of the Psalms of 1694. That claimed to be 'appointed to be used in churches', though there is quite a lot of doubt as to whether it ever actually was. Certainly the old version also carried on in simultaneous use for at least 100 years after that. Since then, as others have explained, particular books seem to be favoured by particular churchmanships.

    Dearmer was mixed up in Songs of Praise as well. He altered some of the words to bowdlerise doctrines he did not like. It was aimed at schools and I don't think churches used it very much. From recollection, though it's a long time since I've seen copy, it may have been a bit weak on seasonal material.

    Of classic style hymnbooks, there are also the Anglican Hymn Book, evangelical its English rather than US sense, and actually quite good and Hymns Ancient and Modern New Standard, worthy and a bit bland. Both have a bright red covers. For schools there used also to be one called the Public School Hymnbook (!), with a bias towards rousing unison tunes. For US shipmates, 'public school' doesn't mean what you would expect to mean. It means 'private and expensive school for the sons of the upper middle classes'.

    What the future is for hymnbooks must be an open question. The shift from melody to rhythm over the last 40 years means that a lot of the modern 'praise band' material really is not singable by a congregation.

  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    (BTW, please could some kind Host correct the typo in the thread title?)

    :blush:
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Hosting

    Holey Moley ... steady on with the acronymy things

    /Hosting
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Was there also the row about Do We Still Need Hymnbooks In This Day And Age?
    My tribe’s most recent hymnal is available in traditional book form, ebook form (which I have on my iPad and iPhone), CD version (so that individual hymns can be printed as needed) and projector version.

  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited March 1
    @Enoch - the Low Church Of My Yoof used the Anglican Hymn Book, and you're right - it was quite a good one. As you say, evangelical in tone, but suited to that sort of churchmanship. Used in conjunction with the little Series 3 Holy Communion booklets, it was reasonably up-to-date, adding simplification and lightness to the services.

    Alas, the PCC decided to replace it with Hymns for Today's Church (another blue-cover job), which tried to modernise everything by doing away with all such archaic and not-understanded-of-the-people words as *Thee, Thou, and Thy* etc. etc., even in traditional Christmas carols (at least IIRC).

    I don't think it really worked, but others in the congregation lurved it...

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Was there also the row about Do We Still Need Hymnbooks In This Day And Age?
    My tribe’s most recent hymnal is available in traditional book form, ebook form (which I have on my iPad and iPhone), CD version (so that individual hymns can be printed as needed) and projector version.
    Is that "Singing the Faith"?

  • Enoch wrote: »
    The shift from melody to rhythm over the last 40 years means that a lot of the modern 'praise band' material really is not singable by a congregation.
    Perhaps, perhaps not - context is everything. And I don't think that's a line to pursue on this thread as it inevitably will lead us to the Equine Cemetery.

    What possibly is more significant is that a lot of modern worship music is fairly ephemeral, and new stuff is coming out all the time. So a book would be out of date even before it gets to the pews.

  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Was there also the row about Do We Still Need Hymnbooks In This Day And Age?
    My tribe’s most recent hymnal is available in traditional book form, ebook form (which I have on my iPad and iPhone), CD version (so that individual hymns can be printed as needed) and projector version.
    Is that "Singing the Faith"?
    No, Glory to God (2013). Singing the Faith was a 2003 supplement to the 1993 Presbyterian Hymnal.

  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    edited March 1
    @Baptist Trainfan Songs of Praise was promoted as the hymn book for children and schools.

    My school used The English Hymnal and that would still be my hymn book of choice, with the caveat of using tunes from Ancient & Modern (revised) where they are better/more singable - for example, Wolvercote for "O Jesus, I have promised" in preference to Lowell Mason's horrible Missionary Hymn. (Even worse us the bizarre bodging of Corner's Nightingale's Song for "O Jesu, thou art standing".)
  • Our TEC shack uses the 1982 Hymnal as a base, with some use of either Lift Every Voice and Sing or Gather.

    I don't think there's a requirement in canon law to only use authorized hymnals - so far as I am aware, the only point of canon law that refers to music at all is the one that says that we should have music, that it should be good, and that the priest has the final say in deciding what music is used in worship, although they should take advice from those skilled in music.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Our TEC shack uses the 1982 Hymnal as a base, with some use of either Lift Every Voice and Sing or Gather.

    I don't think there's a requirement in canon law to only use authorized hymnals - so far as I am aware, the only point of canon law that refers to music at all is the one that says that we should have music, that it should be good, and that the priest has the final say in deciding what music is used in worship, although they should take advice from those skilled in music.
    Thanks. I went back and looked, and what I was thinking of is from the introductory rubrics of the 1979 BCP, p. 14—Concerning the Service of the Church: “Hymns referred to in the rubrics of this Book are to be understood as those authorized by this Church. The words of anthems are to be from Holy Scripture, or from this Book, or from texts congruent with them.”

    Is the Gather that your parish uses the one published by GIA?

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    Sorry @Gramps49 still none the wiser. What are CBD and GIA?

    You guys get online when I am asleep so I am sorry I cannot respond as quickly as I would like.

    CBD is Cannabidiol which is an extract of marijuana. The claim is it reduces pain and helps with glaucoma and seizures. I have tried it in the past for back pain. Did not work that well for me.

    Regard the Book of Common Prayer--I know that contains the rites of the Anglican Church. But as has been pointed out, there is also a Common Hymnal used in most Anglican communities.

    GIA has already been identified.

    There is also OCP Oregon Catholic Publishing which is quite popular in the Northwest States.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »

    Regard the Book of Common Prayer--I know that contains the rites of the Anglican Church. But as has been pointed out, there is also a Common Hymnal used in most Anglican communities.

    What is this Common Hymnal please? We've not seen one here, and can't remember one on our travels.

    Thanks for the explanation of the acronyms.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    There’s certainly no ‘approved’ hymnal in the Church of England.
  • A church of my acquaintance spent months debating whether to buy Mission Praise II - after all they hadn't sung everything in Mission Praise I yet.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    The USA Catholic bishops seem to want to take closer theological control over what is sung.
    https://praytellblog.com/index.php/2021/01/25/one-more-disaster-to-consider-how-many-deficient-catholic-hymns-are-in-your-hymnal/
    As may be expected the document has pleased some more than others.
    I grew up in the 1950 singing a hymn that compared Jesus to a Pelican, so I'm a bit nonplussed about this document's aversion to poetic language.
  • Alan29 wrote: »
    I grew up in the 1950 singing a hymn that compared Jesus to a Pelican.
    And the rest of us thought he was a squirrel! (Don't worry if you don't get the joke!)

  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Alan29 wrote: »
    I grew up in the 1950 singing a hymn that compared Jesus to a Pelican.
    And the rest of us thought he was a squirrel! (Don't worry if you don't get the joke!)

    Squirrel?
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Sunday school teacher or clergy person taking collective worship in school: Q ‘What has a long bushy tail, pointy ears, and likes to eat nuts?’

    Child: A ‘Well, I know the answer should be Jesus, but it sounds like a squirrel to me.’
  • Precisely!
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited March 2
    I will now proceed to lower the tone of this thread by quoting a Peom I know about a Pelican. It has, I fear, nothing to do with Jesus, so I'd be interested if @Alan29 would be so kind as to link to the one he knows.

    *Ahem* (stands up, hands behind back, to recite Peotry)

    A wonderous bird is the pelican!
    His bill can hold more than his belican.
    He can keep in that beak
    Enough food for a week,
    But I'm damned if I see how the helican...
  • Well, someone had to do it.
  • Happy to oblige...
    :innocent:
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