C:\WW Manuscripts\Back Issues\12-3_Music\12-3_Yarrington.wpd

C:\WW Manuscripts\Back Issues\12-3_Music\12-3_Yarrington.wpd

5 Pages · 2002 · 94 KB · English

They even had fun breaking into unaccompanied song at the mere mention of an old favorite like “Come Additionally, a questionnaire went out to all United Methodist ministers, soliciting the ten 1John A. Lovelace, “Hymnal Revision Committee Okays 240 Probables in Early Decisions,” News Notes

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Word & World 12/3 (1992) Copyright © 1992 by Word & World, Luther Seminary, St Paul, MN All rights reserved page 256 What Gift Can We Bring: A Pastoral Musician Looks at the United Methodist Hymnal JOHN YARRINGTON Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, Little Rock, Arkansas What gift can we bring, what present, what token? What words can convey it, the joy of this day? When grateful we come, remembering, rejoicing, what song can we offer in honor and praise? Give thanks for the past, for those who had vision, who planted and watered so dreams could come true Give thanks for the now, for study, for worship, for mission that bids us turn prayer into deed Give thanks for tomorrow, full of surprises, for knowing whatever tomorrow may bring, the Word is our promise always, forever; we rest in God’s keeping and live in God’s love This gift we now bring, this present, this token, these words can convey it, the joy of this day! When grateful we come, remembering, rejoicing, this song we now offer in honor and praise! Jane Marshall, 1980 United Methodist Hymnal, No 87 ©1982 Hope Publishing Co My letter read, “Dear Mr Yarrington, at the May 1314 meeting of the Hymnal Revision Committee (HRC) you were named as a consultant to the Language SubCommittee I welcome you to this group” Thus began my odessey with the revision process of the new United Methodist Hymnal, a journey fascinating, exciting, humbling, frustrating, and rewarding I was a small cog (a cog with voice but no vote) in a very large proceeding page 257 The mandate of the HRC, which began its work in 1984, was to come up with a “model of a new Hymnal” Speaking of the first meeting of the committee, John Lovelace observed: One thing is for certain about the proposed new hymnal for the United Methodists—it will be small enough to fit into hymnal racks on the backs of church pews That’s about the only thing known about whatever the book may be called and what it may contain in what sequence But members of the HRC showed no panic May 1314 about what they admit is the impossible job of pleasing everyone with a book—or books—to replace the 1965 Book of Hymns They even had fun breaking into unaccompanied song at the mere mention of an old favorite like “Come Thou Fount” or rising immediately to sing with spirited piano accompaniment all four verses and improvised refrains for “All Glory, Laud and Honor” 1 The members of the HRC were balanced and representative of a wide variety of church membership Several held graduate degrees in music or professorships in homiletics and sacred music A number served in professional positions as local church ministers of music and were concerned and sensitive to what the church said it wanted in its hymnal In a meeting with the committee, Dr Lyle Schaller, church researcher and futurist from Indiana asserted: This is probably the most influential committee I have ever met with because it will have the most impact on the denomination The denomination needs three distinctive marks of identification: (1) a news magazine, which it does not have; (2) a dominant seminary rather than a group of seminaries; and (3) a hymnal A hymnal is important because it helps assimilate new persons into a denominational tribe, but only if they recognize something familiar, perhaps something they have learned in another denomination Denominational loyalty when it comes to buying things like a new hymnal, is not what it used to be 2 From the beginning, the HRC sought to find out what United Methodists wanted in their hymnal The committee expanded its ears and information by adding twentythree professional consultants, experts in every aspect of worship, hymnody, and liturgy to the process Additionally, a questionnaire went out to all United Methodist ministers, soliciting the ten most frequently sung hymns in their respective congregations A network

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