RPCNA Psalm Singing
"Fifteen Psalms a year for ten years"—that's the mandate the 1986 Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA) handed to its newly appointed Psalm Translation Committee. The synod also appointed a committee to produce a new supplement to the denomination's latest Psalter (The Book of Psalms for Singing), published in 1973. Both decisions reflect the RPCNA's continued support of their tradition of exclusive psalm singing in public worship (See RW 3, p. 32).
The new supplement to The Book of Psalms will "test old and new tunes, as well as other cultural styles." The committee has asked members of the denomination to submit tunes and translations that conform to certain guidelines: "The kind of supplement we propose would not add choruses or repeats, nor make the kind of changes in wording or phraseology which could be called 'paraphrasing.' "
The synod also mandated the supplement committee to produce a "Training in Praise Seminar" video cassette, containing four thirty-minute segments. The video will focus on congregational singing of the psalms, using examples from The Book of Psalms. One segment will deal with "Learning to be a Precentor." The cassette will be available in the fall of 1987 from Crown and Covenant, 7418 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15208-2531.
How many churches still use the common cup? Who plans the worship services in most churches? How long do most preachers preach?
If you have ever asked such questions, you may be interested in a worship poll conducted in the Reformed Church in America by the Rev. Gregg Mast, Minister for Social Witness in that denomination. The survey polled congregations on a variety of worship customs and procedures. The results (out of a total of twenty-seven areas surveyed) include the following:
What is the primary instrument in your church? ORGAN 88%; PIANO 12%. If organ, is it ELECTRONIC 56%; PIPE 31%.
Are there lay people who regularly participate in worship leadership? YES 50%; NO 48%. If so what role do they play? READ SCRIPTURE 28%; LEAD SINGING 21%; LEAD WORSHIP 20%; OTHER 12%.
At the Lord's Supper do you use WINE—YES 12%, NO 88%; GRAPE JUICE—YES 97%, NO 3%; INDIVIDUAL CUPS—YES 97%, NO 2%; COMMON CUP—YES 9%, NO 89%.
Does your church use paraments on the pulpit and table? YES 57%, NO 41%.
Christmas and Palm Sunday are observed by 99% of RCA churches; Ash Wednesday and Ascension Day by 40%.
To obtain a copy of the survey, contact Rev. Gregg A. Mast, Reformed Church of America, 18th Floor, 475 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10115.
The Trinity Hymnal - A Progress Report
The next edition of the Trinity Hymnal moved a major step closer to publication when the 1987 Synod of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) approved the recommendations of the Revision Committee. The synod made some changes in the contents of the proposed hymnal, turned down a recommendation to delay the project, and then approved the draft for the new edition. The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the other denomination that had adopted the Trinity Hymnal as its official book of praise, approved the recommendations in 1986.
The approval of the OPC Synod was accompanied by some instructions to the Revision Committee. Between now and the scheduled publication date in 1989 no new hymns may be added and no more hymns from the current (1961) edition may be deleted. The only changes the committee may consider, then, include dropping new hymns and reinstating hymns from the current edition.
Sessions and presbyteries are urged to study the draft and submit any suggested changes to the committee in writing by January 15,1988. Any changes will be brought to the 1988 synod for final approval.
"A Guide to a Selection of Books and Recordings Related to Worship" by Michael G. Smith.
This annotated worship bibliography contains brief discussions of about fifty titles (some as recent as 1985). The guide is available for $1.00 from Committee on Christian Education, Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 7401 Old York Road, Philadelphia, PA 19126.
November 5-7, Houston
Conference on Worship for Presbyteries and Synods. Contact: The Office of Worship, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, KY 40205.
January 12-17,1988, Fort Lauderdale
13th Annual Church Music Explosion. Contact: Dairy! Miller, Church Music Explosion, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, 5555 Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308.
February 8-11, Dallas; February 23-26, Newport Beach, CA; April 11-14, Minneapolis; April 25-28, Atlanta 1988 Creator Masterclass Conferences. Contact: Creator Magazine, P.O. Box 100, Dublin, OH 43017.
The Presbyterian Association of Musicians and the Office of Worship, PCUSA, in cooperation with The Bicentennial Committee of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., announce a Bicentennial Hymn Competition with the theme "Celebrate the Journey." Cash award: $500.00. Entry deadline: November 1, 1987. For instructions write: Presbyterian Association of Musicians, 1000 W. Morehead St., Charlotte, NC 27204.