New Hymnals Coming to FPC

Sing to God a New Song
The Purple Presbyterian Hymnal is Coming to Our Pews

In February, First Presbyterian Church pew hymnals will be purple, and you will want to judge this book by more than its new cover. Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal is a new book of hymns, psalms and spiritual songs for the Presbyterian Church. “I was pleasantly surprised by the new Presbyterian hymnal when it was introduced at a General Assembly training event in 2012, and knew then that it would enrich our worship life. It contains a good representation of the great hymns of the Church as well as a fine selection of the Psalms, which Presbyterians have always sung. In addition, it offers a wider selection of the best of newer music, including music from the global church and more contemporary praise songs. The fact that it contains over eight hundred hymns and songs means that it can cover a wider selection of music.

In studying the impact of the last hymnal upon our congregation, I was surprised to find that we regularly sing about thirty hymns from it that were not in the older Presbyterian Hymnbook. ‘Here I Am Lord’ and ‘Lift High the Cross,’ as well as ‘How Great Thou Art’ and ‘To God be the Glory’ are a small sample of new songs that have enhanced our worship and become favorites of First Presbyterian Church, none of which were in the prior hymnal. It left me wondering what hymns from this new book will become beloved additions to our worship life in the coming years,” said Todd Jones.

FPC’s Worship Committee chose the new hymnal for its many benefits, including:
  • 853 musical selections and worship materials, far more than offered in the 1990 hymnal,
  • hymns such as “Standing on the Promises,” “Rock of Ages,” “It Is Well With My Soul,” and “In Remembrance of Me,” beloved Gospel hymns absent from the 1990 book,
  • the inclusion of previously omitted hymn verses. Many traditional hymns had some verses eliminated, even in cases where the original verses were necessary to embody the flow of thought the original hymnwriters had intended. They’re back!
  • brief program notes sharing something about every hymn or song’s history, authorship, music or theology,
  • more recent praise tunes from the blossoming of contemporary Christian music in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries,
  • hymns and songs from other countries, presented in English and in their native languages, all with native rhythm and accompaniment,
  • and not to be overlooked, the inclusion of Todd Jones’ favorite hymn, “Will You Follow Me?” which had been omitted in the previous hymnal.

The ordering of hymns in Glory to God follows the outline of salvation history, beginning with the triune God who has been for all eternity; moving through God’s creation of the world and care for its inhabitants in calling and covenant; continuing into anticipations of a coming messiah and the climactic events of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus; picking up again with the descent of the Spirit and formation of the church; and culminating in the looked-for return of Christ and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth.

People accustomed to the liturgical-year structure of the 1990 Presbyterian hymnal will find this structure in Glory to God as well, but within the broader framework of God’s gracious acts: Advent coincides with anticipations of the Messiah; Christmas, with Jesus’ birth; and so on. “I am very pleased with this new hymnal and eager to share it’s varied musical styles with our congregation. The oldest hymn in Glory to God dates from the 3rd century A.D. and the most contemporary hymn in this collection dates from very late in the 20th century.

This hymnal a wonderful resource and I encourage everyone to become familiar with its contents — find your favorite old hymns and explore the new ones. By the way, the oldest hymn in Glory to God is #672 ‘O Gladsome Light.’” said Raphael Bundage, Director of Music. Robed in purple, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal is a treasure of biblical study, church history, poetry, music and theology, offering up riches to shape the faith and life of God’s people for generations to come.

hymnal b&w open

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