Magazine article Anglican Journal

Queer Hymn Collection Offers 'Much-Needed' Resource for LGBTQ+ Anglicans and Allies: Committee Examined Nearly 200 Hymns on Topics Ranging from Inclusion to Teen Suicide

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Queer Hymn Collection Offers 'Much-Needed' Resource for LGBTQ+ Anglicans and Allies: Committee Examined Nearly 200 Hymns on Topics Ranging from Inclusion to Teen Suicide

Article excerpt

Music played a healing role for many Anglicans after an amendment to the marriage canon that would have recognized same-sex marriage failed to pass at General Synod 2019.

After the vote in Vancouver, queer youth delegates sang a round affirming the need to "love each other, love yourself and love your God" and were joined in song by many supporters. The next day, they sang the same round in protest outside Christ Church Cathedral, where the primatial election took place.

Now a new resource offers further potential for music as a source of affirmation and inclusion. On July 16, three days after the vote at General Synod, the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada released a new hymn collection, Songs for the Holy Other: Hymns Affirming the LGBTQIA2S+ Community.

Produced by a volunteer committee from the Hymn Society, an ecumenical non-profit association that seeks to promote congregational singing, Songs for the Holy Other includes almost 50 "queer hymns" by and for individuals who identify with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.

The collection is available for download at the Hymn Society website. Individuals and congregations can use the resource free for 60 days, after which they are asked to use One License or Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI), or to contact individual copyright holders.

Sydney Brouillard-Coyle, music director at St. Pauls Anglican Church in Essex, Ont., and a current music student who identifies as gender-non-conforming, queer and asexual, praised the release of Songs for the Holy Other.

"I definitely think it was verv much needed for them to release it so soon after General Synod," Brouillard-Coyle says. "Just looking through the music and the lyrics, it's an amazing resource for music directors and for priests who are looking for hymns that are affirming for the LGBT community.

"I've been going through our hymn book and trying to change some of the language [so] that it's more inclusive--so instead of 'We are all God's sons and daughters,' using language like 'We are all God's precious children,"' they add. "But to have that resource already done for us in some way and to provide new music for us to use is absolutely incredible."

The initiative for Songs for the Holy Other began in 2018 in St. Louis at the Hymn Society's annual conference. Cedar Klassen, a Hymn Society member who identifies as "mostly Mennonite" but often attends Anglican services--and who, like Brouillard-Coyle, uses they/them pronouns--was talking with other members at the conference who shared an interest in queer hymns, when the idea emerged of putting together a queer hymn collection.

The idea quickly gathered support during the five-day conference. The Hymn Society ultimately approved the formation of an eight-member volunteer committee, with Klassen elected as chair.

Over the course of the next year, the committee put out a call for submissions and reviewed submitted material, which included approximately 175 pieces of music. Members examined each piece, rated it and assembled the collection, officially launching it at the society's 2019 conference. …

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