Academic journal article The Hymn

From the Executive Director

Academic journal article The Hymn

From the Executive Director

Article excerpt

You have read by now in The Hymn, The Stanza, and The Verse about conversations taking place in various parts of North America to share ideas about congregational song: the current state, emerging trends, and our hopes and dreams. One of the things we really want to know is how The Hymn Society can be the organization that best fosters and promotes vital congregational song. What might we do in the twenty-first century to achieve the hopes and dreams for congregational song that we value so highly? Some of you have sent notes and emails individually to express your views. I'm grateful for that! We need every voice in this conversation. Though the ideas are still coming in and my distillation is far from finished, several ideas are emerging with some consistency so I'd like to share them with you. Not all the ideas being shared are brand new; we've talked about and implemented some of these before. They're good reminders, however, of important aspects of our work - with perhaps a new twist involved. Maybe my reflections will spur some of your own thoughts - let me hear from you.

The diversity of our song is a topic that is frequently underscored. How can we foster better appreciation and mutual respect for the spectrum of styles of song that our congregations are singing? What if the writers and composers of this broad spectrum of song were to come together in a symposium/retreat/workshop to discuss the craft and sing together? What might emerge from this cross-pollination of ideas and styles? What energy for new collaborations might be created?

Another frequently expressed idea concerns the critical importance of pastoral and musical leadership in congregations that enjoy vital congregational singing. The commitment to the people's song must be espoused by both clergy and musicians. How can The Hymn Society create a place for pastors and musicians to mutually encourage and support each other in promoting the people's song? Can we be a bridge for the gap that sometimes exists between clergy and musicians? What if a part of one (or more!) of our conferences focused on clergy and musicians working together to examine the importance of song in our worship expression and to find ways to jointly enliven congregational singing? What if one or more articles in The Hymn dealt with this topic? …

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