Most of the readers of the Ministry have been waiting since the 1936 session of the General Conference for the new "Church Hymnal of the Seventh-day Adventists." We are glad to announce that the compilation of hymns has been completed, and the copy is now in the hands of the Review and Herald Publishing Association. Securing of copyrights, where necessary, is already under way, and when these have been adjusted, the book will be hurried through as rapidly as is consistent with good work.
The "Church Hymnal" is to replace "Hymns and Tunes," "Christ in Song," and "Gospel in Song," in our English churches. Many of the best hymns in these books have been retained in the neW hymnal, and it will also contain choice hymns from other collections, as well as a few new hymns by our own writers and musicians.
The aim of the committee has been to retain the best of what we have learned and loved, and to substitute better words with a more spiritual type of music for what has sometimes been in use, but is of less value. There is certainly a wide field from which to choose, as there are more than 100,000 hymns in English, and more than 15o,000 hymns and religious songs in German, to say nothing of those in other languages.
Some may be distressed when they fail to find in the new "Church Hymnal" a certain hymn which they have enjoyed; others may be disappointed that some selections have been made that fail to reach the high standard they had hoped would be maintained. But we invite a charitable attitude toward the new hymnal till time and use make all acquainted with its value.
Those who sing by note will be grateful that the "Church Hymnal" has the words set within the bars of music, so that one can follow the words with the notes. Our former books have had many words separate from the music, and sometimes the tune has been on a page remote from the words.
The indexes of first lines, topics, authors, composers, and the alphabetical and metrical indexes will help in finding any desired words or music. Most tunes have but one set of words. Here and there the same tune accompanies two different sets of words, or vice versa. This duplication is because the words or the music is familiar in that particular setting.
There are twelve early advent hymns which some will delight to find in the new book. The hymnal also has ten choir songs and specials which will fit into occasional use. Sentence and response songs will be welcomed, and will help in closing services and in worship. Responsive Scripture readings for minister and people are given in the last part of the book. This feature should be increasingly used.
There will be no further editions of "Christ in Song." It is hoped that if our churches have been able to get along without it until the present, they will be patient till the "Church Hymnal" is ready. It is recommended that this new hymnal be the only book used by our people both in the church service and in the Sabbath school. If this plan is followed, the new hymnal will be a real blessing.
It is not possible to say at this time just when the book will be ready, but it will probably be some months hence. The publishers have set themselves to the task of hastening the book forward for delivery as rapidly as possible. Notice as to just when the new hymnal will be ready for delivery will be given in ample time in the Ministry and in the Review and Herald.