Books: Our Heritage of Hymns & Exploring the Hymnal

Our Heritage of Hymns

(leader's guide with resources). Mary Nelson Keithahn, with contributions from Richard F. Coil-man, C. Michael Hawn, Mary Louise Van Dyke, Ronald A. Nelson, Dolores Hruby, and Judy Koch. Foreword by Austin C. Lovelace. Choristers Guild, 1986, 88 pp. $14.95.

Exploring the Hymnal.

Mary Nelson Keithahn and Mary Louise Van Dyke. Choristers Guild, 1986, 32 pp. $9.95.

Choristers Guild, long known for its excellent work in promoting quality music for worship, has published two fine programs for hymn education.

The first, Our Heritage of Hymns, is an excellent, multi-faceted educational program for the eight well-known hymns listed below:

How Firm a Foundation
(FOUNDATION)
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
(STUTTGART)
Angels We Have Heard
on'High (GLORIA)
As with Gladness, Men
ofOld(DIX)
All Glory, Laud, and Honor
(ST THEODULPH/ VALET WILL ICH DER GEBEN)
Christ the Lord Is Risen
Today (EASTER HYMN)
Come Down, O Love Divine (DOWN AMPNEY)
All Creatures of Our
God and King (LASST
UNS ERFREUEN)

Many of the pages in the book—including workbook pages, posters, hymnal markers, four-part musical settings, charts, and awards for hymn memorization—may be reproduced for class use. The student pages, useful with children in grades three and above, include a variety of attractive activities. Visual aids are tasteful and appealing.

But the highlight of the book is the teacher pages and related articles in which various authors dig into their own practical experiences and come up with a wide variety of teaching devices that smell of success. Of special interest to me were the suggestions for performance involving ostinati, drones, canons, Orff instruments, handbells, choral speaking, dramatization, signing, and dance. All instructions are clear and include helpful illustrations.

Supplemental articles in Our Heritage provide additional suggestions for promoting hymns in the life of the congregation.

The second program, Exploring Our Hymnal, helps church leaders use learning centers to educate children in using and understanding their own denominational hymnals. Like Our Heritage of Hymns, this program features student worksheets that may be reproduced for class use.

The authors of this program have been careful to base their program on hymns shared by most denominational hymnals—hymns like the following: "O God, Our Help in Ages Past," "All Creatures of Our God and King," and "Come, Thou Almighty King." Activities in the course focus on ten topics, including the following: becoming familiar with the hymnal, using the alphabetical index, learning to read the interlined hymn stanzas, understanding the hymn text and author, understanding the hymn tune and composer, and learning to use a hymnal companion.

Epiphany Prayer

Father,
you revealed your Son to the nations
by the guidance of a star.
Lead us to your glory in heaven
by the light of faith.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus
Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.