by Michael Ford last modified 23 Sep, 2013 12:10 PM

...is very much alive. Latest info via the links below.

Singing hymns affirms our shared faith, connects us to our grandparents and parents and may remind us of our childhood. We have our favourites and we tend to stick to them, but new hymn texts and tunes are being written all the time.

There are ways of accessing material for inclusion in printed bulletins or service sheets. If you are looking for new material, a good start would be to use the RSCM’s Sunday by Sunday Worship Planner. The planner uses hymn selections from fourteen hymnals and suggests around thirty titles that are appropriate for use on that day and alongside the readings.

HymnQuest 2010 is a software package ‘developed by The Pratt Green Trust, a charity devoted to the advancement of hymnody and music in worship. It is the most comprehensive ever published in its field, containing over 36,400 first lines and choruses, the full text of 23,700 hymns and songs from some 410 hymn books and publications... It is even possible to search for tunes by playing the opening notes on a Virtual Keyboard.'

Sing! New Words for Worship was written by authors and musicians working in the Diocese of Salisbury. Canon Jeremy Davies, Rev Rosalind Brown and Prep. Ron Green with music by Richard Shephard, Ron Green, Barry Ferguson and Robert Fielding. Originally published by Sarum College Press and funded by an anonymous donation, the book is now available from Canterbury Press. Click here for the GoodBookStall review.

One of the most vibrant organisations in which to find new hymns is the United Reformed Church. Writers such as Fred Kaan, Brian Wren, Alan Gaunt, Marjorie Dobson, Timothy Dudley-Smith and many more are featured.

The substantial list of publications from  Wild Goose Publications (Iona Community), contain a wide collection of hymns and metrical songs that cover the whole of human experience. Hard hitting and socially aware texts are combined with a Celtic style of music that always compliments the words.

If you have not given The Jubilate Group website a visit, try it now. Based in Torquay, this group have been developing their resources since 1980 and have been guided by such writers as Michael Baughen Michael Saward and David Wilson. All three were, and remain, Church of England clergymen. There is an enormous amount of contemporary hymnody available and also the means to find lyrics, tunes and liturgical material.

Hymns Without Words is a useful website run by Richard Irwin, Director of Music at Holy Cross, Chiseldon and Lay Chair of the Marlborough Deanery. The website contains a huge number of hymn tunes and worship songs that have been recorded and prepared for use in worship. They are all free to download and also may be bought in CD format ready to play. You are able to index your choice by using the first line, tune, composer, lyricist or metre.

Looking through these websites will be both challenging and rewarding. There is no standing still with hymnody or we lose this commentary on our world as we struggle with it from day to day. Writers strive to express this in the light of the Gospel and it is good when we give their words a chance to speak to us in worship.

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