Here is a suitable companion for your Book of Common Prayer—gathering the best of past and present hymnody into a single volume intended mainly for parish worship. This collection of sacred songs is perhaps the finest musical expression of “the beauty of holiness” available to traditional Anglicans today. The criteria shaping this hymnal were true theology, beautiful poetry, well-formed music, a suitable match of music with words, and a breadth of timeless hymnody, subjects and style.
Key features of this timeless hymnal include:
- Words that are consistently theologically sound, while adding the best of newer hymns and contemporary worship music.
- All musical styles are specifically included: Plainsong, Victorian hymns, German chorales, Negro spirituals, shaped-note songs, Gospel hymns and folk songs.
- Staple hymns of the wider Church are included, like “Amazing Grace” (omitted in the 1940), while gems of the Anglican tradition are included, for example: “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken” (also, the tunes ABBOT’S LEIGH by Cyril V. Taylor, JERUSALEM and REPTON by Hubert Parry, and MICHAEL by Herbert Howell).
Songs are included to address gaps in earlier hymnals where lectionary readings and themes lack corresponding music, such as:
- Hymns explicitly connecting the love of God to love of one’s fellow man;
- Hymns about the miracle healings of Jesus that consider theological dimensions;
- Hymns about righteousness and sin that are pointed and particular in their language;
- Hymns of judgment and imprecation;
- Hymns about the believer’s incorporation into Christ, using the Biblical metaphors of members of the human body or a vine and its branches.
A Liturgical Index sets this hymnal apart, allowing priests and music ministers to bind hymns closely to the lectionary readings of the entire church year. Suggested are up to four hymns relating to each Collect, Old Testament reading, Epistle lesson and Gospel reading. Still further:
- Most of the hymns and many of the contemporary worship songs are arranged in four parts, so that congregations can read music and sing in full harmony, if desired.
- More of the words of hymns are presented within the musical staves, making it easier for the eye to travel between words and notes.
- Guitar chords are supplied for hymns where appropriate.
- Keyboard accompaniments appear on all pages with the hymns, permitting a keyboardist to play directly from this hymnal.
- Music ministers will appreciate this hymnal’s thorough explanations of the traditional Anglican chant and simplified Anglican chant contents.
- In addition to four musical settings of the historic Holy Communion service (1662 and 1928) this hymnal includes a complete musical setting of the Holy Communion as approved by the Anglican Church in North America, making an expression of ecumenical unity among traditional Anglicans.