Employees at the Presbyterian Center here gathered this morning for worship and to celebrate the publishing of the new Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) hymnal, Glory to God.
At the beginning of the service, congregants sang the first two stanzas of “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!” using the 1990 (blue) hymnal. Then, during an interlude, they processed to the front of the chapel and exchanged those hymnals for the new ones. The remaining two stanzas of the hymn were sung from Glory to God.
“Music is important to the church, and this hymnal is going to be important to the church,” said the Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly.
Parsons delivered a homily on Matthew 25: 1-13, in which five foolish bridesmaids do not bring enough oil to keep their lamps lit.
“One of the signature ways the church has kept oil in its lamps is through song,” he said. “We should give thanks and praise that we have a way to keep oil in our lamps.”
Work on the hymnal has taken almost a decade to complete. In 2004, the 216th General Assembly initiated the hymnal project by authorizing research into a new denominational songbook. The Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song (PCOCS) was formed in 2008 under the leadership of hymnal editor David Eicher and committee chair Mary Louise “Mel” Bringle.
The Presbyterian Publishing Corporation presented the complete list of contents to the 220th General Assembly (2012) in Pittsburgh, which commended Glory to God for use in congregational worship.
More than 1,000 PC(USA) congregations and institutions adopted the hymnal pre-publication. Those orders will be delivered by Oct. 10.
For more information about hymnal editions or events, or to order the hymnal, visit www.presbyterianhymnal.org.