HYMNS ETC. - Upcoming & Recent Events
Our latest hymn,” God, Whose Voice Is Never Silent,” was included in Ordinary Time 2018, Vol. xxx No. 3, published by the Order of St. Luke, edited by Jonathan Hehn. The Order of St. Luke is an ecumenical religious order founded in 1946 and dedicated to sacramental and liturgical scholarship, and is open to laypersons, seminarians, and clergy throughout Christendom. Here is the refrain to be sung before and after the four stanzas:
God, whose Voice is never silent, may we hear, and then obey
Your unceasing call for justice, love, and peace on earth today.
After researching the roots and writing the history of her father’s Swedish-American family for at least two decades, Mary’s six volumes of We Came from Sweden are finally all in print. In completion of this project, her publisher, Lilja Press in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, sent this lovely bouquet (in the colors of the Swedish flag, and also her alma mater, Carleton College.)
(Complete sets of the books have been donated to the Minnesota Historical Society in Minneapolis and the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.
2018 Hymn Society Conference. John and Mary attended the annual conference of the Hymn Society at Washington University in St. Louis, MO July 15-19, 2018. The theme this year was “Sacred Song and the Public Square.” It was an exciting conference, with more diversity in attendance, worship styles, and content of plenaries and sectionals and a real relevance to the moral and spiritual issues confronting us today. Among the many inspiring offerings at the conference: Morning prayers led by Peter Rehwaldt that combined historical slides and stories relating to social justice issues in St. Louis, with short, but powerful, pastoral reflections on scripture, prayers, and hymns with meaningful, relevant texts. A sectional on “Handbells and Hymnody,” led by Charles Peery who brought along his choir to demonstrate his creative and practical ideas. An opening plenary by Ysaÿe Barnwell that introduced us to the African-American tradition of using music to build communities and showed us authentic singing styles. A closing hymn festival led by Paul Vasile that literally took us out into the public square singing. Jan Kraybill, in her amazing Sunday afternoon organ recital, showed us why she was leaving her position as our executive director to concentrate on her career as a performing artist. We welcomed our new executive director Mike McMahon, and as usual, enjoyed the company of longtime and newmade friends. Next year’s conference is July 14-18 in Dallas, Texas. Consider joining us.
A text for peaceful marchers. After the conference, John asked Mary to write a one-stanza text that could be quickly learned and sung to a well-known hymn tune when people march peacefully in the street in support of a justice issue. Mary, remembering words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bishop Desmond Tutu, sent him this text that can be sung to ODE TO JOY:
We are still a people dreaming
Love alone can drive out hate.
Love can counter selfish scheming,
put an end to harsh debate.
Dream with us, and add your voices.
Sing of all that Love can do.
Practice love till earth rejoices.
Sing until our dreams come true.
When Mary included this text in her annual Christmas letter, a relative in Geneva, Illinois, shared it with the chaplain at her assisted living center and suggested it would be appropriate for the Green Fields Community Martin Luther King gathering they were planning. The chaplain had the choir sing all of “Joyful, Joyful, we adore you” in a celebrative mood, and then the “dreaming” stanza in a slower, more reflective manner. Several participants asked for copies of the text afterwards.
Another hymnal. When GIA introduced its new African-American ecumenical hymnal, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism at the Hymn Society conference in St. Louis, Mary was surprised to learn it included her text, “A Long-Lost Lamb,” with a setting by Carl Haywood. This hymn had earlier appeared in another collection, Voices Found (Church Publishing, 2003).
A Book Recommended at the Hymn Society Conference. In Their Own Words: Slave Life and the Power of Spirituals, by Eileen Guenther (MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc., 2016) is a book all Americans should read! The author, professor of church music at Wesley Theological Seminary, puts African-American spirituals within the context of the shocking reality of slave life, using interviews and narratives from former slaves that were collected as part of the WPA projects in the 1930s and housed in the Library of Congress. Guenther even provides a concordance and reverse concordance with the scripture basis for 100 spirituals. Mary could not put this book down once she began to read it!
Our Faith That Lets Us Sing: Fifty New Hymns and Short Worship Songs has just been published by Wayne Leupold Editions. This fourth collection of new texts and tunes includes hymns and songs for all ages to sing with faith and hope of God’s love in troubled times, not just in congregational worship but whenever the congregation gathers. The texts are scripture-based, written in contemporary language and standard poetic meters. The singable tunes are well-crafted and easily learned. Indexes and notes on the background of each hymn and song provide useful information for worship planners. To Order: Call Toll Free Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc., 1-800-765-3196 or 1-336-996-8653, Monday-Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm EST. Have your MasterCard, VISA, or Discover information ready. Or, order online at www.wayneleupold.com
Elfie: Adventures on the Midwest Frontier, a chapter historical fiction book for children, chronicles the adventures of the Sheldon-Loverin “double cousins” as their families were settling in Iowa and South Dakota after the War Between the States. The stories are based on a 1942 family history written by her maternal grandfather, Frank Clyde Sheldon, and memoirs written at the age of ninety by his “double cousin,” Elfie May Loverin Minard, and transcribed by her great-great grandson, Dave Minard. Mary’s oldest granddaughter, Katie Kangas, did the watercolor illustrations, and her youngest granddaughter, Hazel Keithahn, provided the calligraphy for the “Elfie” font. For more information about the book, reviews, and how to order, go to https://marynelsonkeithahn.com/
Embracing the Light: Reflections on God’s Word isa collection of 130 short meditations and prayers on Christian faith, life, and mission within the framework of the liturgical and secular year. It also offers insights into important life events from birth to death and issues such as peace and reconciliation and caring for one another. The meditations include hymns (some her own), stories from various sources, and personal memoirs. For more information about the book, reviews, and how to order, go to: https://marynelsonkeithahn.com/
Consider also our “Sing the Stories” collections of songs for young children (see page on Hymnody with Children) as gifts for young families. The songs in each book recorded on the accompanying CDs provide a great model for young singers learning to use their own voices.