For the first time in history, the Presbyterian Hymnal will soon be available electronically. Musicians, pastors and other worship planners will be able to search extensive indexes, download files, copy and paste into bulletins, save notes, project in worship, and read as an eBook, among other things. (Visit this previous blog post for more information.) Some are worried that the electronic editions will negatively impact congregational song. Others are excited about the new opportunities this will bring. Here are some ways the projected and eBook editions could enhance your worship:
- Projected music frees worshipper's hands to clap, play an instrument (guitar, tambourine, etc.), or hold small children.
- Projected music encourages worshippers to move their bodies. People are more likely to dance, move away from their pews, and engage both the space and one another. This would be particularly helpful for times like an extended greeting, the bringing of offerings, or while walking forward to Communion.
- Projected music allows easier integration of visual and performance art. Worship leaders can incorporate images from the lyrics into slide backgrounds, or between stanzas. It engages both younger children and people who process information in ways other than reading.
- Projected music may help some learn to read music. When printed in single stanzas, it may be easier for people to connect notes to words than when the fourth stanza is distanced from the melody as in a traditional harmonic chorale.
- eBooks travel easily. People can take the hymnal wherever they go -- airports, parks, presbytery meetings. In addition to reading Scripture and preaching from eReaders, pastors will be able to sing and lead devotionals from the hymnal. Congregants may also be more inclined to use a hymnal at home in an eBook format. The printed daily prayer services could become a congregational discipline.
- eBooks are lightweight and easy to hold. People with particular weight needs may be most comfortable with something thinner than a traditional book.
- eBooks are easier to read for people with certain vision problems. The font size and shade may be adjusted to an individual's need.
Stay tuned next week... Reasons why your congregation might consider using both hardback and electronic hymnals...