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Resource: Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms, and Songs for a New Century

Edited for Jubilate Hymns Ltd. by Michael Baughen (general editor), Michael Saward (chair for hymn texts), David Illiff (chair for hymn music), and David Peacock (chair for songs). Stowmarket, Suffolk, UK: Kevin Mayhew, Ltd., 1999. Full music edition $29.95 (ISBN 1 84003 419 X); words only $5.95 (ISBN 1 84003 450 5). Available in North America from sales@kingsgatepublishing.com.

Having produced a full-scale hymnal a generation ago, Hymns for Today’s Church (Hodder and Stoughton, 1982), the Jubilate Hymns group has repeated that feat for the beginning of the new millennium. In the earlier effort, they developed a process that seems exhausting in its scope. Every candidate for inclusion was rigorously vetted by two large, vigorous committees, one each for texts and tunes. These committees evaluated over 1,000 new hymn texts from all over the world (only 150 made it); developed a policy on modernization of older texts; considered over 3,000 older tunes, keeping only a minority; and produced nearly 277 of their own words and tunes for the volume.

Sing Glory is a remarkable resource. The 689 selections include hymns for gathering; for praise and adoration (along with other sung prayers, including almost 40 for intercession); for affirming belief (170 arranged according to the Apostles’ Creed); sacramental hymns; and 200 hymns of response to God’s sending into the world. Each of the 23 sections is separated into hymns, psalms, and songs. Besides the usual indexes of biblical references, authors, composers, tunes, and first lines, there are 18 thematic indexes. Among the latter is a list of more than 60 psalm texts; this in addition to ten columns of psalm references in the biblical index—a boon to congregations who want to sing the psalms regularly.

One weakness is the paucity of hymns for baptism (“Christian Initiation”)—only four suggested! In Hymns for Today’s Church there were ten, all from the twentieth century. The selections for the Lord’s Supper number about 45. Of course, many of the rest can be used on these occasions. But for a congregation seeking to follow the early Reformers in weekly communion and in giving prominence to baptism, it will take creative use of the many indexes—perhaps a good thing after all.