Academic journal article The Hymn

The Song of Faith Unsilenced-Hymns, Songs, and Carols

Academic journal article The Hymn

The Song of Faith Unsilenced-Hymns, Songs, and Carols

Article excerpt

The Song of Faith Unsilenced-Hymns, Songs, and Carols by Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2013. ISBN: 978-1-62277-000-7. $21.95

This fifth hymn-text collection from the late Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr., FHS, represents seventy-five songs, hymns, and carols that are now added to his 300 texts already published. In a 2004 interview the author, a seminary president, preacher, and scholar, said that hymn writing is a "natural extension of the preaching task" and part of his "fundamental vocation to communicate the Gospel" (John R. Spangler, "Gettysburg's Great American Hymnwriter" in Seminary Views 41:1 [Winter/Spring], available online at http://www.musicgettysburg.org/ latest-news/gettysburgs-great-american-hymnwriter/). The Song of Faith Unsilenced is testimony to Stuempfle's passion for expressing the essence of a biblical story in a few well-chosen poetic phrases that also eloquently address the present-day life of worshipping communities.

The volume is attractively offered in a spiral binding, with the texts presented in alphabetical order by title. Each poem, with meter indicated, is shown on the left-hand page (larger type would be helpful here); the melody only and text are interlined on the facing page. The suggested tunes provide an excellent selection of the classic and familiar Euro-American genre; there are just three contemporary composers represented: David Hurd, Marty Haugen, and John Bell.

The indexing is thorough and a delight for worship planning, something we have come to expect from GIA's efforts to make such volumes useful to preachers and musicians. Particularly helpful are Scripture Passages Related to Hymns, Hymns for the Christian Year (attesting to how a majority of Stuempfle's texts relate directly to the lectionary readings), and a Liturgical and Topical index encompassing sixty-five topics.

As a pastor-musician and professor I've had the opportunity to road test several of these texts with both my congregation and my seminary class on congregational music. Stuempfle's text for the Transfiguration of Our Lord, "Climb with Christ the mystic mountain" (to picardy) brings a wondrous vision of Christ's life journey, from the high point of communing with Moses and Elijah, to his ministry in the valley, and his death on a hillside. My students marveled at how these five stanzas capture both the mystery and the reality of Christ's life and mission, and how the hymn would serve as a vivid teaching tool to accompany the proclaimed word. …

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