Let’s talk about the URCNA Songbook

Notice some inconsistencies with archaic wording in the proposed URCNA hymnal? Does it seem that the title “Jehovah” has all but disappeared? Wondering when it’s necessary to draft an overture?

The answers to these and other questions can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of the URCNA Songbook Committee public page of the URCNA website (www.urcna.org).

The page is helpful for clarifying many matters in the rather complex songbook issue.

What should we call the book and the committee? Both have appeared under different designations in official documents over the years.

The sample book distributed to the churches at Synod London contains the proposed hymn section of an anticipated URCNA songbook and is called the Hymn Proposal (HP). Although the committee working on the book often has been designated as the “Psalter Hymnal” Committee, the name “Psalter Hymnal” is copyrighted and owned by the CRCNA. It’s better to refer to the committee as the URCNA Songbook Committee.

If you, like me, have a difficult time keeping track of what synods have mandated regarding this committee, the FAQ page of the website contains a helpful historical overview.

Just in case you’re still wondering about the first paragraphs questions: Archaic wording has been retained when updated language would require too much rewriting or result in a loss of meaning or richness. Because “Jehovah” is actually a phonetic corruption of God’s name and sounds blasphemous to modern Jews, it has been avoided as much as possible. And overtures should be submitted when a consistory believes a hymn should be removed from or added to the HP. Suggestions or questions regarding minor changes may be sent directly to the Committee via the secretary.

The above article appeared on page 8 of the April 6, 2011 issue of Christian Renewal.

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One thought on “Let’s talk about the URCNA Songbook

  1. In my youth, a running joke we had about the authorized King James version of the Bible was, “If it was good enough for the Apostle Paul it’s good enough for me.” When did our society quit speaking in thees and thous? Yet, in the last 10 years, I had a young URC man, who was seeking the ministry, state the King James language was more holy. We still have a problem with “wine skins” even when it comes to archaic language in our hymnal. I find it embarrassing, especially when the forms in the back of the hymnal still use the thees and thous.

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