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The new hymnal has arrived

Northwestern Publishing House, in partnership with WELS Commission on Worship, is sending two copies of the new WELS hymnal and one copy of Christian Worship: Psalter to every congregation. These free copies were shipped late last week. Congregations that preordered hymnals should see deliveries begin this month.

Additional supporting resources for pastors, musicians, and worship planners will be available to congregations and WELS members, including 17 books, 3 digital products, and multiple accompaniment volumes. Nearly 100 volunteers served on 12 committees for the last 9 years as part of the WELS Hymnal Project. Learn more about the hymnal at christianworship.com.

To help introduce congregations to the new hymnal and celebrate the blessings of worship, WELS Commission on Worship is providing resources for congregations and individuals to observe National Hymnal Week, Sept. 19–26:

  • 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. Materials have already been sent to those who signed up for worship resources.
  • A hymn sing. A video recording of various choirs will lead members through hymns from different seasons of the church year. Some congregations are offering this during the Bible class hour on Sept. 19. The video will be available by Sept. 10 to assist with final planning. A promotional video preview was just released.
  • 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 on their own.
  • Concert. A pre-recorded online concert featuring a children’s choir, chamber choir, college choir, and liturgical ensemble will be available for viewing beginning Saturday, Sept. 25.

Resources will be available at welscongregationalservices.net/national-hymnal-week.

Congregations will make their own decisions whether or not to use the new hymnal. It’s my prayer that they do. I believe that it will be a rich resource that will keep us unified in our worship and will be a blessing to all who use it.

Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder

 

 

 

 

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Worship resource previews new hymns

To help WELS members get a taste of some of the new hymns that will be included in Christian Worship: Hymnal, the WELS Hymnal Project has released Christian Worship: Hymn Preview.

This digital resource showcases 54 of the more than 200 new hymns that will be included in the new hymnal scheduled to be released by Advent 2021. With each hymn is a brief comment on its origin, spiritual meaning, usage in the wider Christian church, or other interesting detail. The booklet also includes several examples of additional accompaniments that will be available for musicians in the accompaniment edition.

“It’s more than just a little appetizer—it’s a full course,” says Rev. Aaron Christie, chairman of the Hymnody Committee. “If you spend time with it, you will have an excellent sampling of the various types of hymns and concepts that are there for you in the new hymnal.”

Due to copyright restrictions, Christian Worship: Hymn Preview is only available as a downloadable, viewable (but not printable) PDF at christianworship.com. The WELS Hymnal Project has also added several other hymn resources online, including a comprehensive list of the 683 hymns planned for inclusion in the new hymnal and a list of cut and retuned hymns from the 1993 hymnal and 2008 supplement. Several articles explain more details behind the creation of a new hymnal. Read more about these new additions.

Christie prays that the preview will be a tool to help leaders make a decision about the new hymnal but also that “it gives a wide swath of members a new appreciation for the treasures we have in hymnody.”

He continues, “Spend time experiencing it. See what wonderful things are there. Work with it. Read it. Listen to it. Pray its texts.”

Learn more about Christian Worship: Hymnal at christianworship.com.

 

 

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Hymns for Life: preserving a priceless spiritual treasure

For many Christians, hymns are woven into the fabric of our faith lives. “Jesus Loves Me” may be the first song we learn as a toddler; “Amazing Grace” may be the last song that passes our lips before Jesus carries us home. Hymns have the power to convict and comfort, to instruct and inspire. And for many, a beloved hymn may be a memory that lingers when others are stolen by age or disease.

In 2012, the WELS Commission on Worship discussed the importance of preserving our rich hymn heritage—ensuring that the next generation of believers doesn’t lose this priceless spiritual treasure. In response, the Hymns for Life Committee was established to craft a three-year hymnology curriculum for WELS teachers to use in their primary, middle, and upper grade classrooms. Content from the curriculum can also be incorporated into Sunday school programs.

“The Hymns for Life curriculum is designed to impress the biblical truths expressed in hymns on the hearts and minds of young believers,” says Mr. Jeremy Bakken, publishing editor of the project. The title of the curriculum sums it up simply: hymns learned in childhood will stay with children for an entire lifetime. Bakken continues, “Our prayer is that students will appreciate these hymns and recall their spiritual truths in every stage of life.”

The curriculum helps students learn from and appreciate all components of a hymn: from its scriptural truths to the poetry of its language to the joy and beauty of its music.

Mr. Kevin Bode, teacher and music director at Emmanuel Lutheran School, Tempe, Ariz., is the curriculum development chair of the Hymns for Life Committee. As a teacher, he understands the need to connect young believers with hymns: “This curriculum is so important because hymns are a powerful blessing God has given us. They keep us close to him amidst all the chaos and evil around us.”

In fact, Bode has put the curriculum into practice in his own classroom. Each week, he introduces students to the content of a hymn, which is then sung each day. Once students are comfortable with the melody, Bode adds musical variations or physical movements to bring out the joy of the music: “They are simple to do, keep the hymn fresh, and students find them fun to do,” he adds.

According to Bode, two powerful elements come together in the Hymns for Life curriculum: music and biblical teachings. “Music moves the soul and has a way of touching our emotions, and we want to give students the chance to experience this. And we know the power of biblical truths and the words of Jesus. Hymn lyrics remind students what God has already done for them, is doing right now, and will continue to do for them until they are safe in his arms.”

To learn more or purchase Year A of the Hymns for Life curriculum, visit online.nph.net/hymnsforlife or call 800-662-6022. Year B will be released in the summer of 2021, and Year C will be released in the summer of 2022. All three years of the curriculum have been developed to coincide seamlessly with the new Christian Worship, which will be released in 2021.

 

 

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