An Open Letter to Bishop Alexander

is my latest piece up at the Cafe.

It’s a plea for the new hymnal—study for which was authorized by General Convention—to include a full complement of Office hymns, and to identify them as such. Too, it’s time for a new translation into contemporary English and I’m urging that, like the Prayer Book itself, these be released into the public domain.

We are the heirs of a long and profound liturgical tradition. We must remain good stewards of these riches.

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9 Responses to An Open Letter to Bishop Alexander

  1. bls says:

    I so agree about the new translations. I really wish I could be in on that, actually….

  2. Chris says:

    Having worked for a denominational publisher in the past, and assuming that there aren’t too many congregations that have morning or evening prayer services (an assumption that might be wrong … what do I know? I’m Lutheran!) … at what point does “reality” (the office’s use/lack thereof) intersect with the decisions to invest time, money, human resources, and pages in a new hymnal? Is it possible that your publisher is running the cost/benefit analysis and, realizing that few people say the offices, is not investing much resources in these hymns?

    Again, I’m making assumptions I’m ill-equipped to make … so if I’m off-base, I apologize. But having worked for a publisher who had to make real-world decisions about a hymnal, Sunday School curriculum, etc., I have seen the impact of market forces on what would (ideally) be strictly liturgically or theologically-informed decisions.

  3. Actually—that’s part of the point, Chris…

    I don’t think it’s just me. I think the number of people saying the Office is increasing but it’s not being done through parishes so there’s less awareness that there are folks out there who really want this.

    Chances are that nothing will be done; but I have said my piece. (And will keep saying it as well…)

  4. brian m says:

    I wonder if the Order of the Holy Cross could be persuaded to publish an edition of all of the Office Hymns found in their MONASTIC BREVIARY. They are rendered in very stately modern English and are quite comprehensive.

  5. Anastasia says:

    I don’t really want a new hymnal.

  6. Oh, I wouldn’t mind a new hymnal—but the new hymnal I have in mind is not going to be anything like the hymnal that Church Publishing would put out.

  7. Brian—yes. I agree entirely.

  8. David Donnell says:

    May I add a fourth plea: that this hymnal, whatever it may or may not contain, be PROOFREAD (both text and music) before millions of copies are published?

    This step was standard procedure in the past, but it seems to have been omitted in the case of The Hymnal 1982.

  9. brian m says:

    Church Publishing does not proofread, as a matter of course. Note the hilarious errors throughout Derek’s beloved DAILY OFFICE BOOK. As an acquaintance once surmised, someone was eating lunch and watching TV whilst transcribing the RSV lections for that project.

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