An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Hymnal, The

The collection of hymns, tunes, and service music authorized for use in the Episcopal Church by General Convention. It is published by Church Publishing Incorporated, formerly Church Hymnal Corporation, a subsidiary of the Church Pension Fund. Hymnals have been authorized for the Episcopal Church by General Convention in 1789, 1826, 1871, 1892, 1916, 1940, and 1982. Only hymn texts were authorized for the first four hymnals. Unauthorized editions of these hymnals with tunes were published privately. The 1916 Hymnal was the first to be published with an authorized musical edition. The music edition was prepared by the Joint Commission on Church Music, with final editing of the volume by Canon Charles Winfred Douglas (1867-1944). It was published in 1918, and also known as the New Hymnal. Profits from its sale were designated to benefit the Church Pension Fund. The Hymnal (1940) drew on a variety of sources for hymn texts in addition to British and American authors. It included a significant representation of texts translated from Latin, Greek, and German, in addition to some representation of texts translated from Dutch, Italian, French, Hebrew, Danish, Irish, Swahili, Syriac, and Welsh. The music edition for The Hymnal (1940) was prepared by the Joint Commission on Church Music, with Douglas as musical editor. It was published in 1943. Prior to the 1982 revision of the Hymnal, the Standing Commission on Church Music adopted a statement of philosophy in 1981 for hymnal revision. This statement agreed that the Hymnal should be a companion for the new 1979 BCP, supporting its changes and areas of emphasis such as the expanded Lectionary, the revised Calendar, and the renewed emphasis on baptism as a public rite; the Hymnal should retain classic texts but also present a prophetic vision, speaking to the church of the future as well as the present; hymn texts should authentically and fully present the church's teaching, with the Hymnal serving as a practical book of theology for the people of God; the Hymnal should be comprehensive in its coverage of all major historic periods, reflecting and speaking to a variety of cultures and races; hymn texts should use inclusive language whenever possible; obscure language should be clarified for contemporary use; the Hymnal should be ecumenical in nature, although it is prepared for use in the Episcopal Church; the Hymnal should be a practical collection, with keyboard settings that can be used by a performer with average skills; the Hymnal should present various musical possibilities when tunes are used more than once; and the Hymnal should present a variety of musical styles that represent the best expressive artistic creativity of musicians. Music for The Hymnal 1982 was prepared by the Standing Commission on Church Music. This edition was published in 1985. The Hymnal 1982 provides a major section of Service Music for the Daily Office, the Great Litany, Proper Liturgies for Special Days, Baptism, Eucharist, and Canticles; Hymns for the Daily Office, the Church Year, Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Burial of the Dead, Ordination, Consecration of a Church, General Hymns (arranged by thematic categories such as “Praise to God,” “Christian Vocation and Pilgrimage,” and “The Church Triumphant”), the Christian Life, Rounds and Canons, and National Songs; along with Indexes for the volume. The Hymnal 1982 includes 720 hymns. Raymond F. Glover served as general editor. The Episcopal tradition of an official hymnal differs from the Church of England, which has never published an authorized collection of hymns. Background information concerning the Hymnal has been compiled and published as Hymnal Companions for the 1940 and 1982 editions of the Hymnal. See Hymnal Companion, The.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.