The new name is not, however, simply a clever play on words. It indicates the group’s commitment to producing something more than just a printed “hymnal,” and to include more than “hymns” in the final product. Just as medieval painters saw in the peacock’s plumage a blending of all the colors of the rainbow, so the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song aims to incorporate a full spectrum of worship styles and genres into the resources it provides for the church.
To that end, the committee heard a report from Deborah Bruce of GAC Research Services on a survey in which 800 churches from a cross-section of the denomination were asked to rate every hymn in the 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal in terms of frequency of use and desirability of inclusion in the next publication. An additional research project invited 777 additional congregations to maintain a record of everything sung by the congregation for one year. This second survey will conclude in the fall of 2010. Members of the committee will therefore have a view from the denomination at large in making decisions about which materials to carry forward. The committee is also exploring the possibility of retrieving some beloved hymns of the faith that were not included in the 1990 volume.
Finally, the committee developed a plan to invite submission of materials old and new—hymns, psalms, spiritual songs, praise choruses, texts, and tunes—for consideration. Authors and composers will be encouraged to submit their original works, and others who simply have a strong desire to see a particular song in the new collection are also invited to make their wishes known. Guidelines and other procedures for submitting material for review can be found by clicking the link at the right.
The Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song will hold its next meeting in June 2009.
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