Green light for new hymnal project

The United Methodist Church is on track to get its first new hymnal since 1989, and this one will be Internet-cloud based and print-on-demand — the first high-tech hymnal for a mainline denomination.

General Conference 2016 approved on a consent calendar Tuesday, May 17, a petition authorizing the creation of a 15-member Hymnal Revision Committee.

That was the big green light needed for the United Methodist Publishing House and Discipleship Ministries to move forward with the new collection. The two agencies share responsibility for the hymnal.

“The time has come for us to continue the shaping of the church’s song in order that it might speak of God’s love and our faith in the years to come,” said the Rev. Jackson Henry, a Tennessee Conference delegate, staff member at Discipleship Ministries and longtime church music minister.

“We pray that the contents of the hymnal will give voice to a new generation of United Methodists as we grow in our discipleship and live as bearers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Brian Milford, current book editor and chief content officer and designated president/CEO of the Publishing House, said the agencies are ready to move forward.

“UMPH and Discipleship Ministries will collaborate in developing a detailed work plan and schedule,” he said. “A priority will be constituting the committee and arranging for its work.”

Because it will be cloud-based, the agencies expect the new hymnal will be expandable and will allow United Methodist churches to have available many more contemporary worship songs that have been vetted as consistent with Wesleyan theology.

The 2020 General Conference will need to approve the Hymnal Advisory Committee’s recommendations, with release of the new hymnal coming as early as 2021.

Some 6 million copies of the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal have been distributed, and it still sells some 25,000 copies a year.

General Conference 2008, meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, also approved creation of a Hymnal Revision Committee, but the economic recession caused the agencies to decide not to go forward.

Hodges, a United Methodist News Service writer, lives in Dallas. Contact him at (615) 742-5470 or [email protected]


Like what you're reading?  United Methodist Communications is celebrating 80 years of ministry! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community.  Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
Evangelism
The Rev. Tom Berlin (left) presents a copy of his book, “Courage,” to Massachusetts National Guard Chaplain Chad McCabe in the chapel at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington. McCabe, whose unit was assigned to help provide security at the U.S. Capitol after the January riot, contacted Wesley Seminary asking for Bibles, novels and board games for troops stationed there. Photo by Lisa Helfert for Wesley Theological Seminary. Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Church responds to chaplain's call to help soldiers

A National Guard chaplain got Bibles, games and 150 copies of a new book about courage when he turned to Wesley Theological Seminary for help keeping soldiers occupied in Washington in the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection.
General Church
Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky presides as delegates hone their electronic voting skills during a practice election at the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Ore. In response to the Commission on the General Conference’s decision to further postpone the 2020 General Conference until 2022, the Council of Bishops has called a special session of the General Conference to be convened online on May 8, 2021. File photo by Paul Jeffrey, UM News.

General Conference postponed until 2022

Organizers have postponed the full General Conference, including proposals for a church split, until 2022 when delegates can meet in person. A special one-day, virtual General Conference is planned for May 8.
General Church
An international group of General Conference delegates invited fellow United Methodists to envision a better way to be the church. Based in part on that feedback, the group is unveiling a new vision map offering ways to make room for all at God’s table. Graphic courtesy of Out of Chaos, Creation.

Delegates map out vision for church future

An international group of General Conference delegates asked United Methodists around the globe to help imagine a better way to be the church.