The 2004 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) gave authorization to the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, and the Office of Theology and Worship to begin research into the feasibility of a new Presbyterian hymnal. The results of this feasibility study were to be reported to the 217th General Assembly in 2006. With the help of Research Services of the PC(USA), a questionnaire was developed assessing the need for a new hymnal and was distributed in August 2005 to members of the Presbyterian Panel. This Panel consists of three nationally representative samples of groups affiliated with the PC(USA): members, elders, and ordained ministers. Research Services tabulated the results of the Panel survey and then presented the results to the 2006 General Assembly, which granted authorization for the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation to research, develop, and produce a new hymnal. The Presbyterian Publishing Corporation is assuming all costs for the development and production of the hymnal, including the expenses of the Hymnal Committee. No money is being spent on the project from the denomination's budget.
After authorization from the General Assembly, members of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song (PCOCS) were selected and met in the fall of 2008. They spent three years culling through over 10,000 submissions. Although their service is now complete, other work has continues for the publication of the hymnal; staff are proofreading, congregations are singing, and presbyteries are educating. The hymnal will go into production in July 2012. Glory to God will be shipped in the fall of 2013.
The biblical narrative contains many references to singing joyfully to our God. In every generation we are called to claim our song and bear witness to what God is doing in the world. A new hymnal will give us an opportunity to make available a great wealth of hymns and spiritual songs that have arisen since the 1990 hymnal, to acquaint worshipers with wonderful resources from Christian communities around the world, and to review again the great heritage of congregational songs that have been passed on to us from past generations of faithful worshipers.
May God continue to guide us on this path of discernment, and may our next hymnal help God's people sing joyfully for generations yet to come!
Click here to read the Theological Vision Statement and the Statement on Language from the PCOCS that have guided the development of the new hymnal.