From the Executive Director

Article excerpt

As you will read in the conference report later in this issue, one of the unexpected actions of this year's Annual Meeting was that the Executive Committee announced a new Fellow of the Hymn Society: me!

Whenever suggestions along this line have been raised in previous Executive Committee meetings, I have always said that I thought it would be premature to award such an honor to me until I was no longer Executive Director. So I thought the matter was settled. I thought I had vetoed further consideration of such an action.

After last year's unanticipated barrage of "guerilla hymns" in Greencastle, I should have known to expect surprises from this Executive Committee. But this year they even brought my trusted Administrative Associate, Mark Meyer, in on their scheme. Can't trust anyone! (At least my dear wife, May, didn't know; so I can still trust her.) One of the reasons I suspected nothing was that the Executive Committee had voted to award a justly-deserved Fellowship to John Bell, as was announced at the plenary session the next day. So I thought that would be the only Fellowship this year.

Beyond the sheer surprise of this announcement, there is a very daunting sense of being thrust into a company where everyone seems considerably more deserving than oneself. The twenty-three living Fellows are a very impressive group, and the thirty-six deceased Fellows are even more intimidating. From this latter group I am especially aware of the late Francis Bland Tucker (1895-1984), another Episcopal priest and hymnwriter, who was active in the preparation of both The Hymnal 1940 and The Hymnal 1982. …