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Hymnal Revision Committee (80250-DI-NonDis-!)

The General Board of Discipleship, in accordance with ¶ 1114.3 of The Book of Discipline and in cooperation with The United Methodist Publishing House, petitions the General Conference to enact the following in accordance with ¶ 16.6:

A Hymnal Revision Committee is hereby constituted and authorized to prepare and present to the 2012 General Conference a single-volume hymn and worship book with provisions for supporting resources in multiple media for adoption as an official hymnal of The United Methodist Church and for congregational use in The United States of America.

The committee shall ensure that the resource it creates is attentive to: 1) United Methodists of African descent, Asian American/Pacific Islanders, Hispanic/Latinos, Koreans, Native Americans, and other racial/ethnic constituents; 2) inclusive and non-discriminatory language using guidelines consistent with the language guidelines of the 1989 Hymnal Revision Committee ;
* 3) worship and ritual resources that are both indigenous and reflective of our Wesleyan and ecumenical commitments; and 4) the needs of churches of every size. The General Board of Discipleship shall have primary responsibility for the development of worship and ritual resources to be included in the volume.  

The committee shall consist of a maximum of twenty-seven voting members and an editor who shall be ex officio, as follows:
1) Three active bishops from different Jurisdictional Colleges of Bishops, elected by the Council of Bishops.
2) Ten at-large representatives, two from each jurisdiction, including three laymen, three laywomen, two clergymen, and two clergywomen. These shall be selected by the Council of Bishops from a pool chosen from each jurisdiction with attention to their qualifications and experience in liturgy and music in The United Methodist Church—a pool of one layman, one laywoman, at least one racial/ethnic person, one clergyman, one clergywoman and balanced by the Council of Bishops.
3) One representative of The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts.
4) One representative of The Order of Saint Luke.
5) Three representatives of The United Methodist Publishing House.
6) Five representatives of the General Board of Discipleship (not more than three to be staff members).
7) No more than four additional representatives named by GBOD and UMPH with attention to expertise in liturgy and music in The United Methodist Church to help provide that the overall committee shall have at least one person from each of the following communities: African American, Asian American/Pacific Islanders, persons from Spanish and Portuguese-speaking cultures, Koreans, Native Americans; churches of all sizes; young adults (under the age of 30 at the time of selection).  
One of the three bishops shall be the convener and shall supervise the election of the chairperson and other officers at the first meeting.
The committee may establish subcommittees and add consultants as it sees fit.
The United Methodist Publishing House shall be the publisher in accordance with ¶ 1601 of The Book of Discipline and shall be responsible for the cost of development and committee meetings and employment of the hymnal editor. The General Board of Discipleship shall “provide editorial supervision of the contents” in accordance with ¶ 1114.3 through its representatives on the committee and by supplying staff support to the developmental process.

Concurrently, the research, culminating in the production of an Africana hymnal and worship book, shall begin, with a progress report being given at the 2012 General Conference. The research shall be conducted by a study committee elected by GBOD and UMPH.  


    As Developed and Used by the
1989 United Methodist Hymnal Revision Committee
  (Included with Petition for Reference)

A. Guidelines for Making Specific Changes in Hymns Written in Traditional Language
1. All texts shall be tested by the Wesleyan quadrilateral of Scripture, tradition, experience and reason, which includes sensitivity to our participation in the ecumenical church.  

2. In traditional hymns or in new hymns written in traditional language we can and should employ inclusive forms of address for persons in the assembly, in the community and the world. “Traditional language” is defined as language used in devotional poetry either in [the] original or in [a] translation based on Cranmer and/or the King James Version until the time of World War II.

3. In traditional hymns or new hymns written in traditional language, it should, in most instances, be possible to retain the poet’s original forms of address, descriptions, and metaphors for God, all three persons, but to substitute for unnecessarily repeated gender metaphors, nouns, and pronouns.

4. Texts shall be carefully examined to determine what they state or imply with regard to: care of God’s creation; human rights with respect for all races and cultures and both sexes, and with equal opportunity and dignity for all persons; international understanding and cooperation; the eradication of war and the establishment of justice and peace.

5. Substitutions may be made for gender descriptions, and forms of address for church, nation, nature, objects, and virtues.

B. Editorial Considerations when Dealing with Hymns Written in Traditional Language with a View toward Alterations and Changes

1. Belief: determine that a given text as is constitutes a statement of faith and belief for significant numbers of United Methodists; and determine that if the text is substantially altered, it would or would not remain a statement of faith or belief for significant numbers of United Methodists.
2. Syntax: changes in texts that are quotations or paraphrases of biblical texts ought to be done in the language base of the original text. The above ought to apply also in instances of English translations and devotional poetry. [The committee should] avoid rewording of word order and substituting words that change the poet’s original intention.
3. Substitutions for words and phrases ought not change the essential message of the hymn.

        C. Guidelines for “New Hymns”
    1. The hymn text should be in accord with the basic faith of the Christian community, consistent with biblical teachings and the highest experience and insight.
2. The poetic and often metaphorical language of the hymn should express convictions that are consonant with Christian truth and have a recognizable relation to the psalms, parables, or worship tradition(s).
3. The hymn text should be inclusive and universal in outlook, free from divisive elements and phrases which convey attitudes of superiority or indifference toward people outside the circle of singers.

4. The entire hymn should be structurally sound and have a central theme or organic unity of ideas.

5. The use of language should be simple, concrete, and direct with an emphasis upon clarity and coherence.

    6. The specific words and phrases should be put together in an orderly, connected fashion, while following accepted laws of grammar and syntax.
    7. The hymn’s lines should be poetic, euphonious, and aesthetic. The accented syllable should conform to a rhythm suitable for singing.

        D.    Definition of a “New” Hymn
    1. When it is not written in what we are calling the “traditional English language’ associated with King James Version of the Bible or the Book of Common Prayer, and in common use in the church till about the mid-twentieth century. This language includes syntax, grammar, words for God and people, and other vocabulary not in common use today.

2. When the hymn text was written after 1962, at which time the corpus of our present Book of Hymns was closed.

    Note: For editing purposes, some hymns written after 1962 would, because of their use of the traditional English language, be treated as traditional hymns. Likewise, some hymns written earlier in the twentieth century may, because of language usage, be treated as “new” hymns. But in most cases, the definitions in D.1 and 2 should prevail as the basis for a distinction between “new” and “traditional” hymns.