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Rejoice in the Lord, the first hymnal produced solely by the Reformed Church in America (RCA), has sold nearly 40,000 copies since it was first released in June of 1985 (see review on page 46).

According to the publisher, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the first printing of 20,000 sold quickly. After making corrections, the publisher ran another printing of 20,000, of which, in July of 1986, only 3000 remained. The small (500) printing of a spiral-bound organists also sold out, but will be reprinted soon.

An Eerdman's official explained that one half of the hymnals were sent to directly to the RCA Distribution Center for sale to RCA congregations. Eerdmans has been selling directly to other congregations, many of them Presbyterian.


Publication of the revised Trinity Hymnal, originally scheduled for 1987, has been postponed until the summer of 1988. The change in schedule occured after the Ceneral Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) ruled that, since it is the official publisher of the Trinity Hymnal, its 1987 assembly must approve all editorial decisions. The OPC Assembly also requested that the text and music of all songs that will appear in the hymnal be sent to each OPC congregation.

Originally published by Great Commission Publications in 1961, the Trinity Hymnal was primarily an OPC product. But in 1984 the OPC and the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) jointly set up a committee to revise the hymnal. The committee is chaired by the Rev. Lawrence C. Roff, pastor of the Hopewell Presbyterian Church (PCA) of Hopewell, Virginia.

At their General Assembly Meetings in June 1986 , PCA delegates sang and approved many of the psalms and hymns that will appear in the Trinity hymnal and decided to accept the editorial and publishing decisions of Great Commission Publications.


After singing their way through many sessions, delegates to the Christian Reformed Church's June 1986 synod gave final approval to contents for the third edition of the Psalter Hymnal, scheduled for release in June 1987. Approximately half of the selections, including most of the hymns and some of the Bible songs, had been examined and approved by the Synod of 1985. This year's delegates evaluated the psalms, many Bible songs, and the remaining hymns.

Synod's overall reaction to the proposed hymnal was positive. Delegates recommended deleting only three of the proposed songs, recomitting a handful for textual changes or new tunes, and restoring several favorites that appear in the current edition.

Synod also adopted a new contemporary testimony, "Our World Belongs to God," and approved edited versions of liturgical forms, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Heidelberg Catechism—all of which will appear in the new Psalter Hymnal. Most of the changes in these documents resulted from the decision to incorporate language from the New International Version of the Bible. A study committee will consider further revisions in all the ecumenical creeds and in the Heidelberg Catechism.

The new edition of the Psalter Hymnal will be bigger than ever. It will include all 150 Psalms, 80 Bible songs, and 400 hymns. The book will be published in a music-only edition; in a complete edition, which includes liturgical and confessional materials as well as music; in a large-print edition for the sight-impaired; and in a spiral-bound edition for organists.


The popular "Edelweiss" tune, familiar to most as the stirring Austrian tune sung by the Von Trapp singers in The Sound of Music, has been popping up in new settings. Many Christians now sing "Edelweiss" in church, matching this well-loved tune to the words of the benediction: God, Bless and Keep You Forever.

These Christians are probably unaware that a recent copyright decision prohibits such usage. The Rights and Permissions Office of the Williamson Company in New York, the company that holds the copyright to the Sound of Music, has ruled as follows: "The tune 'Edelweiss' was composed in 1959 specifically for the Rodgers/ Hammerstein musical the Sound of Music. The text and the tune are wedded and the tune may not be used under any circumstances with any other text."

Churches that take "Thou shalt not steal" seriously will honor this legal (and moral) injunction.


Kentucky in October The Twenty-sixth Annual Church Music Institute will be held at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on Oct. 21-24,1986. For brochure write: Paul A. Richardson, Coordinator, Church Music Institute, Box 1812 SBTS, 2828 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY 40280.

Florida in January The twelfth annual church music conference at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church is scheduled for January 6-11, 1987. For complete brochure, write to: CHURCH MUSIC EXPLOSION 1987, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, 5555 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308, (305)771-8840.