Lutherans have a great history of incorporating biblical hymns into our worship. Martin Luther was an enthusiast for music, and this is why music and singing forms a large part of Lutheran services. He translated sacred Latin songs into German so the whole congregation could sing. The first of many Lutheran hymnals was published in 1524. For the first 20 years of our existence, churches of our synod did not have a standard hymnal. Congregations used their own hymnals brought from Germany. In the 1870’s our synod began producing hymnals. They were in German and contained lyrics of hymns, a short liturgy, and a few prayers.
Christians who lose their eyesight still want to sing God’s praises with their fellow believers. We at WELS Mission for the Visually Impaired (MVI) continue Luther’s tradition of translating hymns so the blind can actively participate in the worship service. This is why we are brailling the 2021 edition of Christian Worship.
The braille hymnal will contain lyrics of more than 650 hymns along with the standard liturgy. We have contracted with the American Printing House for the Blind to translate and emboss 10 hymnals. We are anticipating their arrival in April 2023.
Books in braille are still a necessity and MVI will provide the new braille hymnal free to WELS/ELS churches and visually impaired members who need them. MVI is also working to supply the hymnal electronically in braille for those who use handheld devices to read braille on the internet. MVI is currently uploading the lyrics of all Christian Worship hymns to our Listen Library for braille access by the blind. Our patrons can already search for hymn lyrics at Listen.WELS.net under the “Worship” tab. Any person who is visually impaired can become a patron with free access to all our Christian resources by completing the MVI Service Application on the Listen Library website.
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