IN A poll organised by the Church Times and the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) this month, “How shall I sing that Majesty” was voted the best hymn. The survey was conducted to mark the publication of Sing Praise, a new collection of hymns and songs. The organisers asked respondents to nominate “the best hymn or song used in worship today — one whose words and music combine to lift worship and express profound truths”.
Four out of the top five were classic hymns such as “Love Divine, all loves excelling”, but there was one contemporary worship song, “In Christ alone”, written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The other most popular choices were “All my hope on God is founded”, and “When, in our music, God is glorified”. Eighty-five respondents named 121 hymns or songs.
“The Christian teaching of some familiar hymns is worth 100 sermons,” said the Precentor at Salisbury Cathedral, Canon Jeremy Davies. “But most of us love hymns for more than their theological weight.”
Sing Praise is published jointly by SCM-Canterbury Press and RSCM, and is intended to supplement Common Praise and other mainstream hymn books.
Its 330 items were chosen to represent “the breadth of musical forms current in today’s ‘mixed economy’ Church”, said Anne Harrison, who chaired the editorial team. “While having Anglican worship as its primary focus, Sing Praise reflects the ecumenical sharing of resources which has become natural in recent decades.”
Ms Harrison said that the editorial team wanted “to cherish the treasures of the past while being open to [the] new”.