Thousands of suggestions for new hymns
The Church of Sweden has decided that the current hymn book will be revised and renewed. As part of this work, anyone who wishes to do so has been able to submit suggestions for new hymns to a digital mailbox.
The mailbox opened on 1 November 2021. Now, with three weeks to go before it is closed, 4,247 suggestions have been received.
“We’re delighted that there has been so much interest. It reflects the importance of the hymn book, both as a crucial element of worship and as a form of cultural heritage with which many people have a special relationship," says Ann-Katrin Bosbach, project manager for the work on a revised hymn book.
300 hymns to make the first cut
The next step will be for four groups to assess the suggestions received and make an initial selection of which hymns will move forward in the process.
Each group consists of five people, including at least one church musician and one minister. Other members of the groups are choir singers, young people under 20, educators, deacons and others.
“We have strived to include a wide range of skills, genders, ages and geographical locations,” says Ann-Katrin Bosbach.
“A group of experts will also be attached to the work, which will be finalised in the spring of 2023.”
The four selection groups are expected to start their work in April 2023. Before that, the suggestions received will be sorted and categorised and their originators anonymised.
“We are aiming for around 300 hymns to be selected from those submitted,” says Ann-Katrin Bosbach.
“The ambition is that churches in Sweden will then be able to try out these hymns in 2025.”
Contributions from children and young people continue to be encouraged
Although the general collection process will end on 31 December, the work of collecting newly written hymns will continue. The Church of Sweden will be targeting children and young people in particular in the immediate future, encouraging them to send in contributions.
“There are many young people who write their own lyrics and songs about God and existential issues, and many young people sing in church. It’s important that they are also included in this work. We know that dioceses and parishes are working on courses and camps for young people who want to write hymns,” says Ann-Katrin Bosbach.
She adds that later in the process, it will also be necessary to place additional orders.
“We hope there will be many nuggets of gold in the material that has now been collected. However, based on the requests for specific categories of hymns in the task description, we assume that we will also be making targeted orders,” she concludes.
Facts: Hymn book revision
Following decisions by the General Synod in 2016 and 2018, the Church of Sweden has begun work on revising and renewing The Swedish Hymn Book.
The work is taking place in two parallel tracks: first, producing new hymns, and second, revising the current hymn book from 1986. The latter work includes reviewing language, style and theological content, along with any musical changes resulting from this. This work has not yet started. Currently an investigation is being made of the judicial and economic prerequisites.
Read more about the revision of The Swedish Hymn Book.
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About Svenska kyrkan
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The Church of Sweden is a national church, open to everyone living in Sweden regardless of nationality. It is a place for church services, meetings and dialogue. The Church of Sweden is an Evangelical Lutheran church with 5,9 million members. There are 3500 churches in Sweden, and 13 dioceses.
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