URC Psalter Hymnal meeting summary

As promised, here’s the summary report of the URCNA’s Psalter Hymnal Committee meeting in Grand Rapids last month. A couple of the more interesting paragraphs are below, and can read it in its entirety here.

The URCNA Psalter Hymnal Committee wrapped up another rigorous and productive meeting from April 5-7, 2011, at the facilities of Faith URC in West Olive, Michigan. The Psalter Hymnal Committee (the Committee) worked through selections of Psalms for the new songbook, clarified copyright issues, and took care of many other matters. Here are some highlights from the meeting:

Psalm Selections. The bulk of the meeting consisted of choosing Psalm songs, and the Committee has now chosen proposed Psalm renditions for Psalms 1-61. Each Psalm in Scripture is represented by at least one selection in the proposed Psalm section, with many Psalms having more than one proposed selection. The Committee has made sure that the full text of each Psalm is included for at least one primary version; in addition, there are secondary selections of some Psalms that contain a partial Psalm text.

The Committee has decided to retain appropriate Psalm paraphrases in the Psalm section instead of including them in the proposed hymn section. Thus, Psalm texts that are true to Scripture will be listed as the first selection(s), with the paraphrases being listed after these primary selections. Paraphrase versions will be noted as such. Many well-known blue Psalter Hymnal Psalms are paraphrases and several are being retained as paraphrase versions. Also, some Psalm paraphrases currently in the Hymn Proposal (HP) will be moved to the proposed Psalm section.

The Committee has been numbering the Psalm selections according to their biblical Psalm number, designating multiple renditions of a particular Psalm by letter (e.g. Psalm 51a, Psalm 51b, etc.). Paraphrases come last in the lettering (e.g. Psalm 51d).

In keeping with its mandate to produce a new URCNA psalm/hymnbook (as opposed to merely revising or editing the CRC-copyrighted blue Psalter Hymnal), the Committee is drawing from many excellent sources from the Reformed English-speaking world, including the blue Psalter Hymnal, Trinity Hymnal, Book of Praise (CanRC), Book of Psalms for Worship (RPCNA), Sing Psalms (FPCS), Sing to the Lord (RCNZ), and more. However, the  Committee is sensitive to carefully evaluate the Psalms in the blue Psalter Hymnal, and has included some of the best as primary or paraphrase versions.

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