The Dec. 3 edition of The Living Church is available online to registered subscribers.
In this edition’s lead news story, the Rev. Mark Michael reports on “The Once and Future Hymnal,” a symposium at Virginia Theological Seminary:
The event, sponsored by the seminary’s Center for Liturgy and Music on Oct. 23-24, gathered dozens of scholars, musicians, and clergy from around the country. Speakers sang the praises of the current hymnal and sounded a rather hesitant note about the prospects for a new one.
“As the Episcopal Church looks toward prayer book and hymnal revision — do we? or don’t we?” said Ellen Johnston, the center’s director and a member of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music. “I was especially taken with the presentations of the Rev. Martin Seltz of the [Evangelical Lutheran Church in America] and David Eicher of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Hearing about their processes of hymnal revision opened my eyes to the many facets of this work.”
Episcopal speakers at the symposium most often expressed concerns about the time costs and difficulty of finding consensus that would attend a comprehensive hymnal revision.
The discussion echoed the standing committee’s 2012 Hymnal Revision Feasibility Study, which discouraged proceeding with hymnal revision, especially amid strong opposition to revision among the laity and those younger than 29. In the symposium’s closing sessions, several speakers joked about a new hymnal being as yet “a glimmer in the eye” of the Episcopal Church.
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- The Mighty and the Almighty | Review by Stephen Platten
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- Sunday’s Readings