St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Music Ministry






In the last edition of Music Notes, I noted this edition would provide more details on an ongoing initiative to develop a new United Methodist Hymnal. Consistent with observations in the preface of the current hymnal, Rev. Junius B. Dotson, General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries, affirms that The United Methodist Church has been and is a singing church.

The first of many steps to help launch a new United Methodist hymnal was a member survey that is now closed. This initial survey will be followed by other general surveys about hymn and worship resource preferences and use and about worship styles and perspectives on congregational music. Pastors and music/worship leaders will be targeted in another survey, to get a more in-depth understanding of feelings about congregational music and worship, interviews and focus groups will be conducted, and reflections will be solicited from various interest and identity groups.

A 15-member Hymnal Revision Committee is being organized to prepare songs and ritual resources for the new hymnal, which will be primarily used in the United States. Committee members will come from diverse settings – churches and schools, clergy and lay – and will be representative of many cultural and age groups.

One new twist in this process is that new technologies will allow the proposed new hymnal to be more contextual in people’s ministry. Previous hymnal projects created resources that embraced the nature of the whole church. The new hymnal committees members have said “We are beginning to see that so many churches are different from one another, and the hymnal needs to be able to be contextual to places in ministry and worship in a way that unifies us, while still allowing churches to be who they are in their own contexts”.  They went on to say that “traditional songs and ritual resources of the Wesleyan tradition will be the unifying element that form the core of the printed hymnal. But with new on-demand printing methods, churches also will be able to choose additional hymns that are contextual to their ministry settings to include in their bound book. In addition to the printed edition, the official hymnal will include an online component that will contain both the hymnal’s core and supplemental resources. The digital version will allow churches to access an ever-growing collection of resources.

The General Conference has also directed that a standing Hymnal Advisory Committee be appointed to evaluate and recommend additional song and ritual resources for future inclusion in both the core and supplemental canons. Before any new materials are included in the official hymnal or worship resources of the church, they must be approved by the General Conference.

The leadership of this new hymnal development effort believe the new hymnal will lift up the worship life across the denomination by exposing congregations to a much wider range of music from different genres and language groups that are more representative of who the denomination has evolved into over the last 30 years.

[taken from Discipleship Ministries of the UMC]

Blessings, Shelley