From the Executive Director

By Loftis, Deborah Carlton | The Hymn, Winter 2013 | Go to article overview

From the Executive Director


Loftis, Deborah Carlton, The Hymn


A few weeks ago I opened an email that began, "Hi, my name is Alex and I have a ministry called High Street Hymns. I'm part of the re-tuned hymn movement." Alex went on to say he'd like to learn more about The Hymn Society and share with me about his ministry. We met for coffee and had an enthusiastic conversation about how we both loved hymns. Alex is passionate in his efforts to bring hymns back to congregations who have abandoned them. Alex generously gave me several of his CDs and then he asked, "What can I do for The Hymn Society?'' Wow. Not "will you advertise my music?" but a genuine offer to collaborate - to work together to encourage what we both love.

We decided that I would provide some materials for a Hymn Society table at his upcoming CD release concert. In particular, we wanted to let people know that this summer at our conference in Richmond there would be a festival of re-tuned hymns. This seemed to be an ideal introduction to The Hymn Society among the folks who enjoyed Alex's music. I went to the concert to represent the Society and to support Alex. I set up my table right next to the t-shirt sales ("I love hymns" - how cool is that?). That night, however, I experienced "worlds" converging in unexpected ways that were deeply moving!

David, a young African American minister whom Alex works with, introduced the concert by talking about the power of hymns to teach theology. He showed a slide of the forthcoming Glory to God Presbyterian hymnal to underscore the value of hymnals to help us understand who we are as Christians. Then he reminded us of John's vision in Revelation about all people - all races and nations - singing together around the throne of God. In contrast, he reminded us, we are far from that ideal. Singing, he stated, could help break down those barriers that keep us separated. …

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