In order to provide an opportunity to think about the blessings of worship as well as get a sneak peek at what the new hymnal has to offer, WELS is celebrating WELS National Hymnal Week, Sept. 19–26.
“It’s good for us to reflect on why we’re doing what we’re doing because we want worship to be all about Jesus, proclaiming what he has done for us and the life we have in him,” says Rev. Jon Zabell, chairman of the Commission on Worship and pastor at St. Paul, Green Bay, Wis.
Many of the components of National Hymnal Week will mirror what participants could experience at the WELS worship conference, an event that had to be canceled this year due to the pandemic. Yet, since congregations and members will be able to participate locally—even virtually—more people will be able to be involved. “Worship is something God’s people will be doing into eternity, so for us to spend time on that is worthwhile,” says Zabell.
WELS Commission on Worship will provide resources for National Hymnal Week events:
- A worship service for Sunday, Sept. 19. This service will be based on the new lectionary readings of the day and include hymns and music from Christian Worship: Hymnal. Recorded music tracks will allow congregations who don’t have many musicians to participate. “We’ll provide congregations with what they need for their own local setting so they can involve their people in the best way they can,” says Zabell.
- A hymn sing. Meant to be used during Bible class, the hymn sing gives members an opportunity to get acquainted with more new hymns from the upcoming hymnal. Video and audio recordings of various choirs will lead members through hymns from different seasons of the church year.
- Presentations. Throughout WELS National Hymnal Week, WELS members can watch video presentations on new hymnal resources as well as on broader worship topics. Members can meet in small groups to view and discuss the presentations or watch them at home for their own edification.
- Concert. A pre-recorded online concert featuring a children’s choir, chamber choir, college choir, and liturgical ensemble will be streamed Sunday afternoon, Sept. 26 (exact time to be determined). These WELS musicians will present arrangements of new hymns as well as cherished favorites.
Resources will be available at christianworship.com in upcoming months. More information and a planning timeline are available now as well as an opportunity to sign up for updates.
Northwestern Publishing House, in partnership with WELS Commission on Worship, is sending two copies of Christian Worship: Hymnal and one copy of Christian Worship: Psalter to every congregation. It is planned that these free display copies should arrive in September in time for National Hymnal Week so members can page through these new resources in conjunction with the activities.
Congregations and individuals can pre-order Christian Worship: Hymnal and Christian Worship: Psalter at nph.net.