For many years, the music that is written and sung as a part of the regular worship life of our congregations and communities has significantly reflected the Moravian Church’s witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the world. The practice of writing and collecting hymns is part of an ongoing conversation with God and God’s people in the world. Even in the midst of disruption, persecution and distress, the Moravian Church created new music and poetry that in many cases signaled our spiritual awakenings.
The Moravian Church is credited with producing the first protestant hymnal in 1505 and has been vigorously producing hymnals and similar resources ever since. The 1995 Moravian Book of Worship, affectionately known as the “Blue Hymnal,” was begun in 1987 after the decision was made that it was time for something new to bring us to the 21st century. It was intended to be a transitional document since we did not yet know what the new century would bring to our proclamation of our Christian identity.
At the request of the Provincial Elders Conferences of the Northern and Southern Provinces, a committee has been convened to explore if it is time for a new music resource.
Our committee met in late February 2017 to discuss our mandate and make a plan for how we might discern with our congregations whether or not we, as a church, need to begin the process of collecting, compiling and completing the work of creating a new resource for worship music and prayers. Around our table, a diversity of experience and ideas made for interesting conversation about how we might be called forward in ministry and what resources and media would enhance the work of ministry for our time and for the future. We trust that this conversation will become even more compelling as the voices and thoughts of other sisters and brothers are included.
The committee developed two surveys to get a sense from our congregations, pastors and musicians whether a new resource is necessary and what kind of resource might be needed as we move forward in ministry together. The surveys will be available online and in print (by request) on April 1, 2017. We hope to get a large segment of our population’s perspectives and ideas through these surveys and invite your participation. We will collect and collate the responses in a report that will be submitted to the Provincial Elders’ Conference of both the Northern and Southern Provinces by November 2017.
In addition to the questions about worship practices and technical questions in current uses of the Moravian Book of Worship, we will also invite your thoughts around questions like these:
- How important is using a Moravian worship resource to your congregation’s sense of identity?
- What is the relationship between your congregation’s worship and its sense of mission?
- Mr. Thomas Baucom, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rev. Rebecca Craver, email@example.com
- Rev. Brian Dixon, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rt. Rev. Chris Giesler. email@example.com
- Rev. Dr. Nola Knouse, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rev. Aaron Linville email@example.com
- Mrs. Lillian Shelton, firstname.lastname@example.org
We want your opinion!
Interested in sharing your thoughts about a new Moravian hymnal? The exploration committee wants to hear from you! To participate in our online survey, please visit one of these SurveyMonkey links:
For Worship Leaders: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/moravianworshipleader
For Lay Members: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/moravianworshipgeneral
You can also print and submit your opinions via these downloadable PDF files:
If you prefer to offer your thoughts via a printed survey, please send your name and address to Hymnal Survey, c/o Moravian Music Foundation, 457 S. Church St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101
From the March 2017 Moravian Magazine