Is there a new Unitarian hymnal coming?

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I'm thinking, the UK Unitarian and Free Christian hymnal Hymns for Living (the green one) is now twenty-two years old. That's pretty old for a hymnal. I like the unofficial competition, Hymns of Faith and Freedom, more but isn't much younger and suffers for being words-only. (An aside to American Unitarian Universalists: the much smaller British Unitarians have a choice of hymnals, coming from very different editorial vantage points. Why don't we?)

  • So I'm wondering, is there talk in the UK about a new generation of hymnals?
  • Also, do we know what's used in the Unitarian churches of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand?

2 Replies to “Is there a new Unitarian hymnal coming?”

  1. I heard talk a few years ago about a group of UU churches getting together to publish an alternative hymnal, similar in strategy to when the First Congregational Church of Houston published their own HYMNS OF TRUTH & LIGHT. The UCC motivation was to create an alternative to the abysmal NEW CENTURY HYMNAL. The UU motivation was to have a hymnal with more hymns suitable for use in small membership churches. Many hymns in our present hymnal are not very easy for small congregations to sing (check out some of the more exotic multi-cultural inclusions). I hear that with on-demand publishing technology, publishing these hymnals is now a much more cost effective strategy for groups of churches publishing alternative hymnals.

  2. The answer is yes. But it’s only a supplement. This disappoints me as I’d much prefer one with that took the best of the red and green books plus some new material (the best of SLT for example). We’ve been getting samples at the last two GAs, but I still don’t know when it will be out.

    As a non-musician I don’t see the need for music in the books myself (they should exist for choirs and organists etc but I don’t think everyone needs one). This does allow for much more variety. The good Anglican hymnal I knew of has over 700 hymns in, about 5 to a double page. If we’re limited to 300 there’s a lot less possibility of having enough good hymns for a variety of churches.

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