Posted by: Laura Harbert Allen | January 30, 2009

Lyrics, Tunes and Liturgy

Recently, I attended the organizational meeting of the Hymnal Revision Committee in Nashville, Tennessee. The Committee was authorized by the 2008 General Conference. The task is to develop a compilation of hymns for presentation to the 2012 General Conference.

The production of a new hymnal to replace the current United Methodist Hymnal is not an inexpensive project. There is the cost associated with doing the work of compilation and the actual cost of publishing an approved hymnal. The United Methodist Publishing House and the General Board of Discipleship are responsible for guiding this project.

The Hymnal Revision Committee process has been slowed down, because of the economic downturn in the US economy. The project is largely funded by the UMPH as a part of its financial resources from current revenue and reserve funds. Sales revenue is significantly down and the reserve funds have dropped dramatically in value. Apportionment dollars in general, do not fund the hymnal revision project.

Yours truly was elected to serve as the chairperson of the HRC. The Committee is made up of 27 people, lay and clergy. Many of the committee members are professional musicians. All of them are faithful United Methodist folk. It is a great committee, and I am looking forward to working with the members.

We will proceed to undertake the task, although it seems daunting at the moment. We are starting our work on a shoestring budget. I believe, however, that God is with us.

I solicit your prayers for the vital work of this Committee. We cannot do this project alone, because we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Also, don’t forget to patronize Cokesbury. Your purchases will ultimately help to fund the project.

Please ponder a couple of questions, and let me hear from you.

Does the United Methodist Church need a new Hymnal? Will your congregation purchase a new hymnal?

I love the hymns of the church because they make music in one’s heart, soul and mind.


  1. I think a new hymnal would be great, but I don’t know if our church would purchase because of the economic downturn right now. i love music.

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