Wondrous Love Has Called Us! Hymns, Songs, and Carols

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Wondrous Love Has Called Us! Hymns, Songs, and Carols Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2006. 172 pp. ISBN-10: 1-57999-612-4. U. S. $21.95.

The recent death of Herman Steumpfle is a loss not only to the church's hymnody but to the community of this society. The wisdom and skill consistently displayed in his texts were always accompanied with great kindness and gende humor in Herm's presence. We are fortunate that the legacy of this Fellow of the Hymn Society has been enlarged by the issuing of Wondrous Love Has Called Us! These 75 texts, added to three earlier books of the same size, bring the sum of his published hymns to 300.

This collection follows the format of the previous ones; texts are displayed both in poetic form and in a musical setting. Many settings are to well-known tunes, while others are collaborations with current composers. Among the latter are one by Roy Hopp, two by Sally Ann Morris, and five by Randall Sensmeier, who has edited each of Stuempfle's volumes. The newer tunes appear in full score, with the established ones having only a melody line.

We find what we have come to expect in Stuempfle's writing: biblical grounding, intellectual perspective, poetic craft, and pastoral concern. These are the product of the author's life as a preacher and teacher of preaching. His preface speaks of hymn writing "as an extension of the church's task of proclamation" (p. 4), and many of these texts are homiletical. Twenty-seven cite a scriptural basis. …