Book: Introducing a New Hymnal

James Rawlings Sydnor. Chicago: GIA Publications, 1989.132 pages. $12.95.

Sydnor is a respected Presbyterian hymnologist who earlier wrote the helpful Hymns & Their Uses and Hymns: a Congregational Study (both published by Agape). Part One of his new book focuses on how to introduce a new hymnal to a congregation, how to understand the resources of a new hymnal, and how to thrive on "readiness, gradualness, repetition, and perseverance."

Part Two is devoted to "How to Improve Congregational Singing," which is the subtitle of this book. Here Sydnor treats the use of hymns by clergy, at home (a forgotten art!), in church education, and in hymn festivals. Three pages of well-chosen resources are appended and musical examples are given throughout.

This resource is highly recommended for all church leaders and musicians and will be most useful also for students of hymnody.

Bert Polman (bdp5@calvin.edu) is a hymnologist who is a professor and chair of the music department at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.