Choosing hymns for the next hymnal

The WELS Hymnal Project wants your feedback as it works on finalizing which of the more than 700 hymns from Christian Worship (CW) and Christian Worship: Supplement (CWS) will be included in the new hymnal.

Every month the WELS Hymnal Project will post a selection of hymns online, indicating which hymns are slated to be kept and which are slated to be cut. You can view the monthly list at welshymnal.com and, if you want, choose up to 10 hymns from the cut list that you would like to see kept in the new hymnal.

Currently, the Hymnody Committee has slated 470 hymns from CW and CWS to be included in the next hymnal. These selections will account for about two-thirds of the approximately 650 total hymns, with the remaining one-third consisting of hymns or hymn settings new to WELS.

According to Rev. Michael Schultz, director of the WELS Hymnal Project, one of the most important criteria used for selecting hymns to be included in the next hymnal is the text. “There is one changeless truth that drives everything about our hymnal project, including the selection of hymns: letting God’s forgiving love in Christ be proclaimed, heard, and sung,” he says.

Since the Hymnody Committee first started meeting four years ago, committee members have reviewed words and music from all existing CW and CWS hymns, are going through hymns from dozens of other hymnals and online resources, and have received hundreds of submissions for new hymns. The 12-member committee also has reviewed usage statistics, conducted a “favorite hymns” survey, and worked with more than 125 congregations to field test an array of musical resources for six current Christian Worship hymns as well as six new hymns not currently found in WELS’ published resources.

Schultz says the targeted release date for the pew edition of the new hymnal is Advent 2021.

A new nine-part series about hymns and their use in our congregations is starting with the July issue of Forward in Christ. Read the first article.

Learn more about the WELS Hymnal Project and review this month’s list of hymns at welshymnal.com.