by Amy Eyler, Worship Elder
Having served on the search committee in 2014 when Bethany was searching for a new Worship Director (ultimately Kyle Turver), I, along with others on that committee, had the privilege of engaging in countless conversations with so many of you as we gathered input into articulating Bethany’s values for worship as a guide to the search process. Central to many of these conversations was a re-affirmation of the value we place on hymn singing as a part of our corporate worship. Many shared personal stories of specific hymns that have brought great comfort.
Bethany’s existing hymnal is approaching 20 years old. As hymnals and Bethany’s worship have inevitably evolved, there are a growing number of hymns in our current hymnal that we no longer use, and we often supplement with inserts in the worship bulletin.
Session recently approved the formation of a hymnal selection committee to discern and recommend a new hymnal for Bethany. In addition to myself (as Bethany’s current Worship Elder), this committee is comprised of Kerry Dearborn, Jan Huso, and staff members (non-voting)—Sylvia Oines and Kyle Turver.
As articulated in our approved charge -“This committee is charged with reporting back to Session in a timely manner with its recommendation for a new hymnal that will empower and inspire Bethany’s worship of God. In its work, the selection team will rely on the Holy Spirit’s leading as it discerns through prayerful conversation, study of scripture, and congregational listening. The team will reflect upon Bethany’s unique worship history and theological culture, including but not limited to our mission statement, DNA character and the five traditions that feed into our church culture. In addition, the team will consider opportunities for growth that may be aided by a new hymnal. These include but are not limited to: global music, languages, and hymnody from the African American tradition. The team will provide opportunities for input from musicians, leaders and the congregation at large. The team will select a hymnal that includes hymns of old and new expressions which will embolden and empower us to voice our love to Jesus and tell Christ’s story in and to our Seattle culture.”
We value both your prayers and your ongoing input into this process. We will offer specific opportunities (both in person and on-line) for congregational input in January. Please look for ongoing information in the coming months both updating you on and inviting you to participate in this process.