At each of the 6 national publication celebrations for Glory to God, members of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song (PCOCS) reflected on their service with the hymnal project. They shared highlights, challenges, and things they learned. Their words offered a glimpse into the intimacy and hard work of building a denominational resource. The following reflection is one in a series posted here.
Stephen Fey was a PCOCS member from Holston Presbytery (northeast TN). A graduate of Washington University (St. Louis, MO) and the University of North Texas (Denton, TX), he is one of the staff musicians at First Presbyterian Church (Bristol, TN) and an adjunct faculty member at King University. Steve wrote the following about life as a PCOCS member:
God’s presence moves through the process of creating a hymnal in rich and amazing ways. Not just the committee charged with the task, but the myriad bodies and organizations, and even truly in the denomination itself have been moved to undertake this task. From the work of the General Assembly, to the various denominational bodies to the individuals undertaking mundane secretarial and mechanical responsibilities, the guidance of God’s presence can be seen in the work. The dedication of those tracking copyright issues, proofing music engraving, designing websites, planning gatherings and meetings including such details as meals and lodging, duplicating submitted songs and hymns – these are just of few of the ways one can see the presence of God in the work.
Now the work which God has done through these folks begins its outward journey. As the songs are sung, as the liturgies are rehearsed, as the church rejoices and reflects and laments, the presence of God can be seen and felt and heard. Through the retelling of salvation history, this collection reminds us of God’s presence with the people of Israel and God’s people today. This great work of God calls on the church to worship through gathering and confession and hearing and responding to the Word through sacraments and service. This collection charges us to praise God, to join with God in the work in this world, and to look to a new day and new time when the promises of God will be fulfilled. We rejoice that this new book will challenge, encourage, and comfort as it offers a response to God’s great gifts to us.