From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Worship resources need fine-tuning, group says

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.UMC.ORG>
Date 21 Oct 1998 13:43:21

Oct. 21, 1998        Contact: Tim Tanton(615)742-5470,Nashville, Tenn.

By United Methodist News Service

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A supplement to the United Methodist Hymnal is
one idea being considered by a group of church agency staff and
consultants who are seeking to sharpen worship resources for local

A need exists for retooling and reorienting worship leaders, pastors and
musicians to meet the growing demand for contemporary styles of worship,
according to participants at the "Consultation on a Hymnal Supplement,"
held Oct. 15-16 at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship Learning

The meeting's original purpose was to explore the idea of developing a
supplement to the hymnal, but the discussion ranged beyond that, leaders
of the consultation said.

"We're basically asking what are the needs of the church that are not
now being met and how can we meet them?" said Hoyt Hickman, who led a
roundtable discussion at the meeting. Publishing a supplement to the
hymnal would be part of meeting those needs, "but we're dealing with
something much bigger" than that alone, he said.

Hickman, retired, served as director of worship resource development for
21 years with the denomination's Board of Discipleship. 

The consultation considered the need for "pedagogy" and training that
would be necessary for full use of a supplement. Meeting the worship
needs of local churches could involve reorienting how the Board of
Discipleship and the United Methodist Publishing House engage worship
leaders, pastors and musicians in conversation about their needs, said
the Rev. Dan Benedict, director of worship resources for the board.

More and more, United Methodists are finding that they can get the
resources they need from sources other than the Board of Discipleship or
the Publishing House, Hickman noted.

Most congregations have people from different subcultures, and they want
to do different things, he said. "People of every generation now have
needs that are not being met."

The consultation brought together people from several different styles
of worship. Speakers made presentations on African American, global and
Gen-X music, as well as the praise and worship style that has roots in
the charismatic movement. Participants in the discussion included staff
from the Board of Discipleship and the Publishing House, music ministers
from United Methodist churches, and people who have been involved in
publishing hymnal supplements for other denominations.

A supplement to the United Methodist Hymnal would include new, current
hymns, Benedict said. It would serve as a starter collection for people
who know nothing about some of the contemporary styles of worship music,
he said.

"Another function it might serve would be to legitimate a genre of
music," Benedict said, citing global music and Gen-X music as examples.

The United Methodist Hymnal already includes examples of some of the
different styles discussed at the consultation. For example, the praise
and worship style is evident in hymns such as "Majesty," "Seek Ye
First," "Blessed Be The Name" and "Freely, Freely," Benedict said.

A firm decision has not been made to publish a supplement to the hymnal,
he said. "It's an intention that's being tested." The testing will look
at the need that exists for such a supplement. Also, the Publishing
House would have to develop a business plan, he said.

"It would be a supplement, but it would be in no way a replacement for
the current hymnal," he said. "It would be to help the church take a
step forward into emerging music resources" that are becoming more a
part of church life, he said.

If such a supplement is published, it would probably come out late in
2000 or in 2001, and it would be paperback, Benedict said. The meeting
participants also discussed doing electronic versions of the supplement,
he said, but added: "That's just kind of dreaming at this point."

The Publishing House and Board of Discipleship worship staff will meet
again, discuss the consultation and decide what to address in future
sessions, Benedict said.

United Methodist News Service
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