1. Why another hymnal?
In worship one of the main ways we praise and honor God, give voice to our prayers, and communicate the wonders of God’s works is through song. Though the underlying gospel message doesn’t change from generation to generation, the concerns, prayers, and social context of each generation do. Since the publication of Rejoice in the Lord and the 1987 Psalter Hymnal we have seen sociological change with a move toward postmodernism and witnessed the exponential growth of technology – our world is very different today than it was twenty years ago. The words we use for worship need to express these new realities that form the backdrop of our worship – a new hymnal for a new generation.
This desire for a new hymnal for a new generation fits with the reality that a hymnal has a lifespan of about 20 years. The Psalter Hymnal and Rejoice in the Lord have both surpassed the 20-year mark. A new or revised hymnal about every 20 years has also been the practice of the CRC, with hymnals being released in 1914, 1934, 1959, 1976, and 1987.
2. Are there enough churches that use hymnals to make this project worthwhile?
Yes, there are. Before we began this process, we did a survey of churches in the CRC and RCA and found that there are still a significant number of churches that use hymnals and will continue to do so. Also, many churches that rely primarily on modern presentation technologies anticipate keeping a hymnbook in the pew as a supplemental worship resource; others will use it in small group settings. As well, we anticipate that it will be used as a devotional tool and find its place on home pianos.
3. Why bi-denominational?
The synods of the CRC and RCA have encouraged their churches to find ways in which to work collaboratively. It makes sense for us as denominational siblings to work together wherever possible. In fact, Faith Alive Christian Resources has served as the resource provider for both the CRC and RCA since December 2004.
4. Why our own hymnal? There are several recently published hymnals. Why not recommend one of them and save money?
Though it is true that there are many good hymnals available, none come from an explicitly Reformed perspective with our denominations’ DNA. For example, you will find theological differences in baptism sections as well as songs dealing with the end times and heaven. Not only are there legitimate concerns about what is included in these hymnals, there are also noticeable holes. For example, there are fewer songs, or no songs, on the lordship of Christ, providence and election, and other particular nuances of the Reformed faith. Many of these hymnals also lack a global perspective. They include very few songs from the worldwide church, they tend to have more public domain songs (fewer songs from the 1900s on), and they do not promote the singing of psalms.
5. What about those of us who don’t use print books for worship? Is there going to be a version for projection?
YES! We will be offering a number of electronic formats.
- Projection with music and text or text only
- “Cut and paste” for bulletins or other print resources
- View only for tablets/ipads
6. Will this hymnal include a separate section of psalms (a psalter)?
The Psalter Hymnal included a representation of all 150 psalms in a psalter followed by hymns. Rejoice in the Lord captured most of its psalmody in a discrete psalter section. Sing! A New Creation (a joint CRC/RCA supplement) marked a noticeable shift by incorporating psalms where they would most naturally fit in the order of worship or part of the church year. It has become clear that this latest approach encouraged more consistent use of psalms in worship. It is our plan to include the psalms in a variety of musical genres within the hymnal but not to dedicate a separate section to them.
The editorial committee continues to be very committed to supporting the Reformed practice of psalm singing. In fact when looking at the psalms in preparation for the new hymnal, we became so excited about them that we published a separate psalter as we couldn’t include everything in the new hymnal. Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship was released in January 2012 and is available through Faith Alive. For more information go to www.psalmsforallseasons.org
7. What about creeds and confessions?
Because Lift Up Your Hearts is bi-denominational the number of pages it would take to include the creeds/confessions/testimonies from both denominations made including them problematic. We also found that in a good many churches the common practice even if they sang out of the hymnal was to reprint or project the portions of the confessions used in a particular service. So after much discussion and consultation we decided to do the following: the Apostle’s Creed will appear in the hymnal itself, the creeds/confessions/testimonies including the Belhar will be published in a separate book entitled Our Faith making it possible for churches who still would like them in book format to have them in their pews. All of these are also available for free download on the web and a CD will be available for purchase for further ease of use.
8. What about the forms found in the back of the 1987 Psalter Hymnal ?
The RCA already has their forms in a separate book “Worship the Lord” and does not have a tradition of including such material in the hymnal.
For the CRC, since a decision by the CRC synod in the early 1990s congregations are no longer required to use the forms found in the back of the Psalter Hymnal though churches are encouraged to make sure that whatever they do use includes specific elements. Since that decision there were additional forms created (Synod 1994) that have only ever been available on the website. Other churches have taken forms from other sources or created their own. Some of the forms in the back of the hymnal (i.e. elders/deacons/ordination) don’t reflect later decisions of synod (i.e. confidentiality clause) and do not reflect the opening of the offices to women. The forms also do not represent newly formed offices like the office of Ministry Associate. All to say that our current practice is woefully out of date and again cannot be updated when included in a hymnal they are in essence frozen in time.
So given that fact, the differences in practice (fewer churches turn to the back for the forms), the fact that the forms are available for free on the web, and the reality that this is a bi-denominational hymnal the forms will not appear in the back as some are accustomed. However, there will be resources included within the hymnal for the celebration of the sacraments similar to what you find in Sing! A New Creation . Other litanies or short prayers with sung refrains may be found throughout the book as space allows.
9. Will my favorite song be included?
No promises on this one. Songs were chosen with the larger church in mind as well as making sure there was a balance of content and style. As a result not every great song made it into the hymnal.
10. Are you going to change the tune/text of songs?
The question faced by the editorial committee has been change for whom? Within both denominations there are various hymnals in use with differing versions of many texts and different text/tune pairings, so who do we ask to change?
We decided that each song needed to be evaluated separately. The committee worked from the default position of not changing anything unless it is clear that a change is necessary and that such a change will strengthen the song. A complete list of songs with their assigned tunes is available on this sight.
11. How big will this book be? Will it fit in our pew racks?
In order to represent the growing diversity within our denominations we have included just over 800 songs with the hymnal; 1104 pages. For comparison, Psalms for All Seasons which fits in standard pew racks is 1140. Our intent is to use the same cover material and type of paper so with fewer pages it should weigh slightly less.
|1957 Psalter Hymnal (Blue)||1.13 ld|
|PCUSA: Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual Songs||2 lbs|
|Rejoice in the Lord||2 lbs|
|Trinity Hymnal||2.3 lbs|
|Worship and Rejoice||2.6 lbs|
|Lift Up Your Hearts||2.6 lbs|
|Psalms for All Seasons||<2.7 lbs|
|1987 Psalter Hymnal (Grey)||2.9 lbs|
12. What type of music will be in Lift Up Your Hearts ?
This hymnal will include music from various genres (traditional hymnody, contemporary, African American, global, etc.). Every church has about two hundred songs solidly in its singing repertoire, and we hope that by providing a wide variety of styles each church will find songs that fit within that known repertoire as well as new texts and tunes with which to grow.
13. What additional resources are you planning to produce with this hymnal?
We have made no commitments as of yet. We will continue to ask this question as we move along in the process and hear from the churches as to their specific needs.
14. When will it be completed?
Lift Up Your Hearts: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs will be released in June 2013 in time for the CRC and RCA synods.
15. Who is on the committee?
16. What color will it be?
The hymnal will be cranberry type red. The cover will look very similar to Psalms for All Seasons with the tree wood cut replaced by wheat and of course red instead of blue.
17. I wrote a song that I would like to submit. How can I do that?
The submission process is now closed.
18. What other Faith Alive hymnals contain songs that will be found in Lift Up Your Hearts ?
Many songs have appeared in many of Faith Alive Christian Resource's other hymnals. For a complete list, see this spreadsheet.
19. How many songs from the 1957 Psalter Hymnal (Blue) will appear in Lift Up Your Hearts ?
There will be approximately 136 songs from the 1957 Psalter Hymnal (Blue) in Lift Up Your Hearts. For a complete list, see this spreadsheet.
20. How many songs from the 1987 Psalter Hymnal (Gray) will appear in Lift Up Your Hearts ?
There are approximately 302 songs from the 1987 Psalter Hymnal (Gray) in Lift Up Your Hearts. For a complete list, see this spreadsheet.
21. How many songs from The Worshiping Church will appear in Lift Up Your Hearts ?
There are approximately 214 songs in The Worshiping Church that will appear in Lift Up Your Hearts . For a complete list, see this spreadsheet.
22. How many songs from Sing! A New Creation will appear in Lift Up Your Hearts?
There are approximately 126 songs in Sing! A New Creation that will appear in Lift Up Your Hearts. For a complete list, see this spreadsheet.
23. How much will Lift Up Your Hearts cost and how do I pre-order copies?
You can preorder Lift Up Your Hearts from Faith Alive Christian Resources ( faithaliveresources.org /1-800-333-8300). All preorders will be shipped and billed in June 2013.
- $17.99US/$17.63CDN per copy on orders from January 1 to May 31, 2013
- $19.99US/$CDN* per copy after May 31, 2013
*Canadian cost to be determined
24. How much will Our Faith (creeds/confessions/testimonies) cost?
Our Faith is $6.99. There is also an electronic edition of Our Faith available for $9.99US/$9.79CDN
25. How much will the electronic versions of LUYH cost?
If you have a specific question or concern not addressed in the FAQs or on this website, feel free to email the hymnal editor, Rev. Joyce Borger ( email@example.com ).
The task of putting together a hymnal which will provide the words we use in worship is daunting. The editorial committee recognizes the pastoral nature of this task and desires that the process is undergirded and led by the Holy Spirit. Please join us in praying for this process as together we form a hymnal for a new generation.