Singing the Faith

Article excerpt

Singing the Faith London: Hymns Ancient and Modern on behalf of the Trustees of the Methodist Church, 2011. ISBN 978-1-84825-067-3. 840 hymns. $45.00.

"A little body of experimental and practical divinity - a distinct and full account of Scriptural Christianity" is how Methodist founder John Wesley described the first major hymnal of the Methodist Church.

Since the publication of A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the People Called Methodists in 1780, the British Methodist Church has produced a fine array of hymn collections in keeping with Wesley's standards. Singing the Faith (STF) is the most recent addition to this heritage, succeeding the 1983 publication Hymns and Psalms (HScP). The book's editors proclaim in its preface "Our history and experience bear witness to the power of music in worship. It speaks to the heart, mind, soul and will, allowing us to respond to God's grace and the glory of God's creating and redeeming love in Jesus Christ. Singing hymns in worship assists us in meeting with the living God and helps us to grow in faith, discipleship and fellowship" (vii).

The book's 840 hymns, liturgical settings, canticles, and psalms are divided into three sections: God's Eternal Goodness, God's Redeeming Work - The Promised Christ, and God's Enduring Purposes - The Gift and Work of the Holy Spirit. Of the book's seven indexes, one of the most valuable and extensive is the forty-page Index of Biblical Texts, found in the music edition. (The other editions are Words Only, Large-Print Words Only, and Electronic Words.)

Singing the Faith includes 212 hymnwriters, translators, and sources not included in HScP. The writers and composers represent a myriad of styles and national origins, including Guatemala, Latvia, South Africa, Spain, and Swaziland. …