Nashville, July 30—The United Methodist Publishing House and Discipleship Ministries (the General Board of Discipleship) announce that their respective boards have endorsed legislation to be submitted to the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church that, if approved, would begin the process of developing a new official hymnal and provide for ongoing revision of the hymnal in the future.
A new hymnal collection would be offered to the 2020 General Conference for approval and be available to congregations and communities of faith upon final approval.
“The hymnal has been a vital tool in carrying the theology of The United Methodist Church for generations,” said the Rev. Tim Bias, General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries. “That function remains important for a new, relevant, and widely used version of The United Methodist Hymnal.”
As proposed, this revision of The United Methodist Hymnal would use the latest digital technology to resource faith communities and individuals who seek to worship God in ways that transform lives and change the world. “The proposal will enable The United Methodist Church to use cloud technology to periodically curate a very large collection of music and worship resources in ways that can be customized to meet the needs of different contexts,” according to the Rev. Brian K. Milford, Book Editor of The United Methodist Church and Chief Content Officer of The United Methodist Publishing House.
Part of the collection would be uniform across all versions. Another part would contain additional hymns, songs, and worship resources that could be selected based on the preferences of the congregation or user.
The official hymnal collection requires General Conference approval. “This is a new way forward,” says Milford. “We are excited about delivering new formats in new ways that help congregations engage their people in vibrant worship.”
Discipleship Ministries will have primary responsibility for the content of the new resource through the Hymnal Revision Committee, and The United Methodist Publishing House will oversee the development, production, and distribution of the resource.