The General Convention in 2009 called for a feasibility study on hymnal revision. Resolution B004 charged "Church Publishing Incorporated, working with the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music [SCLM], to conduct a feasibility study on the need for revision of The Hymnal 1982 by speaking to congregations, dioceses and all seminaries of this Church, and to report its findings to the 77th General Convention."
In keeping with that resolution, SCLM has developed a survey, which they are asking all of us to answer and to share widely. It’s available here.
It’s a pretty long survey, with over 70 questions. You’ll need to set aside 20 to 30 minutes to do it thoughtfully.
I hope you’ll take the survey and share it with other friends.
You can take most of the survey off the cuff. But, having done it today, I realize it would be helpful to have a few resources at hand and to do a little thinking before taking the survey. Here are my suggestions:
- Have your favorite hymnal(s) at hand.
- Before you start the survey, think of what are your three favorite hymns.
- Consider this question: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what eight songs (religious or secular) would you want to have with you?
I’m reprinting below the press release from the Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs about this study.
By the way, I learned about this survey because I subscribe to the Bishops/Deputies listserv – a source of much timely information. I subscribed way back in 2003 as a “kibitzer.” Only Bishops and General Convention Deputies have posting privileges, but anyone can sign on as an “auditor.” This is a great source for information about our church, and I have long enjoyed listening in on the deliberations of those who serve at General Convention. If you’re interested, you can sign on here. Be aware this is a very active list; you’ll get very many e-mails every day if you subscribe.
The Episcopal Church
Office of Public Affairs
Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music seeks comments on possible hymnal revision
[December 15, 2010] The Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) is inviting input and comments about a possible revision of The Hymnal 1982.
Starting December 15, an online survey is available to engage the entire church in this discussion, noted the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, chair of the SCLM. The survey is available at http://www.cpg.org/hymnalstudy2
"We have established this survey as part of The Episcopal Church's ongoing work with liturgical materials and in compliance to Resolution B004 as approved at General Convention 2009," Meyers explained. "This is important work in the life of our church and we are grateful for participation as our church embraces this task."
Resolution B004 "authorize(s) Church Publishing Incorporated, working with the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, to conduct a feasibility study on the need for revision of The Hymnal 1982 by speaking to congregations, dioceses and all seminaries of this Church, and to report its findings to the 77th General Convention."
The survey, coordinated by the Church Pension Fund's Office of Research, will be available online until January 31, 2011.
"The study seeks answers to two basic questions," said Dr. Matthew J. Price, Church Pension Group Director of Analytical Research. "First, do the hymnal and the other authorized resources that the Church has for worship music meet the needs of the Church? If the answer to the first question is 'no', then the question should be asked as to whether a new Hymnal is the most efficacious means of answering these new needs."
Meyers explained that prior to the December 15 debut of the online survey, the first step in the Hymnal Revision Feasibility Study was to invite clergy, music directors and church members in 1400 congregations, representing all sizes, locations, and languages in a stratified random sample, to participate in an initial phase of the study.
Following the January 31 deadline, the responses from the initial phase along with the general survey info, will be collated and all data reviewed, under the leadership of Jeannine Otis, a well-known musician from the Diocese of New York and an SCLM member.
These results, along with recommendations for next steps, will be presented to General Convention 2012 as part of the SCLM report.