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Hymnal Revision to Begin

The Episcopal Church will begin a process of revising the 1982 Hymnal. The House of Deputies made the revision plan official when it concurred Friday with the House of Bishops, which had voted earlier to initiate a plan for comprehensive revision.

The brief debate in the House of Deputies was spirited as deputies approached microphones to press their points. Deputy Brian Jones of Iowa said he supports a revision in part because he likes singing from a revised Lutheran hymnal. He noted that college students who visit his Waverly, Iowa, church are not always comfortable with the 1982 Hymnal.

“Not all of them understand the words in our music,” Jones said. “I’m hoping that the things that remain are my favorites.”

Others cautioned that it’s not the right time.

“We have undertaken several major revisions of our core theology in this General Convention,” said deputy Matthew Bradley of Kentucky. He noted that young adults often prefer traditional music such as the Lord Nelson Mass, and the church would be remiss to keep making changes.

Deputy Jamie McMahon warned that the 78th General Convention has already begun to plan a revision for the Book of Common Prayer and would be taking on too much if it adds hymnal revision to its agenda.

“I do not think it wise to embark on both at the same time,” McMahon said.


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