International Conference of Hymn Societies, Cambridge 2015 "Hymns in Liturgy and Life/Kirchenlieder in Liturgie Und Leben"

The Hymn, Fall 2015 | Go to article overview

International Conference of Hymn Societies, Cambridge 2015 "Hymns in Liturgy and Life/Kirchenlieder in Liturgie Und Leben"


Thirty-seven persons from The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada (HSUSC) attended the International Conference of Hymn Societies which met in Cambridge, England, from the 26th of July through the 1st of August. Long-time members may recall when The Hymn Society in the U.S. and Canada hosted the international conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 2003. In-between was a conference in Poland in 2009 which ten of our members attended.

This meeting was hosted by The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland (HSGBI), ably led by their president Ian Sharp, treasurer Michael Garland, secretary Robert Canham and Robert's wife Jenny. Robert and Jenny in particular made the conference run smoothly through their careful attention to details. In addition to our society and The International Fellowship for Research in Hymnology (Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Hymnologie, known as IAH), we were joined this year by the Cymdeithas Emynau (The Welsh Hymn Society). The IAH is led by their president Jorgen Kjaergaard of Denmark, vice president David Scott Hamnes of Norway, and secretary Barbara Lange of Germany. The Welsh society is led by Rhidian Griffiths. Our president Jacque Jones spoke along with the other three presidents to welcome us all to the opening banquet which featured John Rutter of Cambridge as speaker.

This year's theme of "Hymns in Liturgy and Life/Kirchenlieder in Liturgie und Leben" wove together worship services, the various speakers, and the hymn festivals. Each day began with an option for liturgical movement, followed by morning worship led on subsequent days by Geoffrey Moore, Elsabé Kloppers of the IAH, Anthony Ruff OSB (a Roman Catholic Mass), E. Wyn James of the Welsh Society, and Janet Wootton of the HSGBI. Communion was also celebrated by Ester Handschin of IAH in the Methodist/Reformed tradition and by Clive Young of the Anglican tradition and HSGBI with Claire Wilson preaching. We felt the presence of HSUSC members who were not with us through singing their hymns during daily worship-Ruth Duck, FHS; Adam M. L. Tice; and Shirley Erena Murray, FHS. It was particularly lovely to sit behind Timothy Dudley-Smith as we sung two of his hymns in the Anglican communion afternoon service. Morning worship and the communion services were held in the Robinson College Chapel on the campus where we stayed with its distinctive stained glass window.

Each of the larger societies was represented by three plenary speakers, with the Welsh Society also providing one. The papers will be published in the Proceedings of the IAH. Speakers and their titles were:

Rowan Williams (HSGBI)-Hymns, Songs, Poems: Is There a Difference?

[Editor's Note: Already published in The Bulletin of The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland (Fall 2015).]

Britta Martini (IAH)-Hymns in Liturgy and Life: Tasks, Opportunities and Prospects

Kenneth Hull (HSUSC)-Do We Become What We Sing? Congregational Song and Spiritual Formation

June Boyce-Tillman (HSGBI)-Hidden Wisdom: Hymns in Women's Liturgies and Lives

Rosalind Brown (HSGBI)-Singing Theology: The Contribution of Hymns in the Liturgy

Tapani Innanen (IAH)-The Finnish "Most Beautiful Christmas Songs" Sing-along Events: "In the Minor Tune Land of Melancholy

Robin Knowles Wallace (HSUSC)-Congregational Singing and Everyday Life: Results of a Survey

Stephan A. Reinke ( IAH)-Hymns as Companions: Empirical Insights and Practical Reflections

E. Wyn James (Welsh)-The Longing and the Legacy: Liturgy and Life in the Hymns of William Williams of Patycelyn

Geoffrey C. Moore, OSL (HSUSC)-Hymning the Kingdom: Originating-Resonating-Consummating

The hymn festivals took place in various churches within twelve-to-thirty-minutes' walks from Robinson College. Monday night's festival was planned by David Scott Hamnes with songs from Norway and Australia; Réka Miklós conducted and John Barnard accompanied, at St Mark's (Church of England), Newnham. …

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