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May 2021 Newsletter

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Excerpt from Pastor Parsons' articleInfo about the New Hymnal


In lieu of a devotion this month, Pastor Parsons has decided to share some information about the new hymnal, Christian Worship.


CHRISTIAN WORSHIP: Out with the Old and In with the New?

            First off, the answer is “No.” We are not thinking along the lines of “Out with the Old and In with the New.” Some have been curious, wondering if or how we’ll be incorporating the new hymnal at Divine Savior when it is available for use. I hope this article helps to answer those questions. A portion of the info is set up in Question-and-Answer format below. This may seem quite extensive. So, please take your time as you read through this to fully digest the information. Otherwise, it may seem overwhelming to take in so much at once.


Q: Are we switching over completely to the new hymnal?

A: No. We hope to make use of some parts of the new hymnal and incorporate them into worship, but we do not plan to replace the current, red hymnals at this time.


Q: How will the new hymnal be incorporated into worship?

A: Pastor will work with the organists and the Senior Choir to introduce some the new materials (such as new hymns, new settings for old hymns, new settings for the Psalms, or new forms of liturgy) into our regular worship from time-to-time. This will allow the congregation to “get a feel” for the new hymnal and how it may benefit our worship together before having to commit fully to switching over to the new hymnal.


Q: What are the benefits of the new hymnal in comparison

with the old (red) hymnal?

A: This new hymnal is designed to be used as a “singer’s hymnal”. This means that if we choose to do so, it can help us to add a bit of variety to the way we sing the hymns (e.g. only melody or up to four-part harmony for those who wish to sing different parts). The idea is that it helps members to more actively engage in the worship service. The new hymnal is also designed in a way to be more user-friendly when it comes to home/personal devotion.


Q: How is the new hymnal more user-friendly than the old (red) hymnal?

A: With the old hymnal, there were two separate sections of page numbers, so to speak. There was the section in the front of the hymnal with information such as liturgies, prayers, lectionary, and Psalms.

Then there was another section of page numbers that started with Hymn 1. It can be confusing sometimes, especially to visitors, when we have to clarify with section to find something. (For example, Psalm 23 is found on pg. 72 in the front of the hymnal. If you were to open to the large-print 72, you’d be looking at the hymn O Lord, Our Father, Thanks and Praise.)

The new hymnal will keep all pages sequential. The hymn numbers are the actual page numbers. (So, the first hymn will be numbered 301 because the hymn portion starts on pg. 301)

Another helpful navigation tool that has been included is that each section of the hymnal will be color-coded. The liturgy section will have a specific color-coded tab. The hymns will have a specific color-coded tab. Etc.


Q: How is the new hymnal going to be more usar-friendly for home/personal devotion?

A: Many of you have incorporated singing hymns or reading psalms into your own personal devotion time already. The new hymnal is designed in such a way that you can continue to do so, but now includes a few helps/suggestions to make it easier for you. For example, you can follow a specifically laid out plan if you wish. That, coupled with easier navigation of the hymnal and other resources that are available, supports the intention that this hymnal be used for personal devotion. Also, some of the hymns are specifically written/included to be used for such things as devotion.


Q: What about my favorite hymns? Will they still be included?

A: Many of the hymns you know and love will still be included in the new hymnal. There may be a few occurrences where hymns have been removed, but for the most part, most of the same hymns will be available along with newly-included hymns.

            Something to note: Not all the hymns will be in the hard-copy printed hymnal. There is an extensive digital list of hymns available for use during worship. The hard-print copy includes more than 650 printed hymns.

            Of the 650 printed hymns, approximately two-thirds of them will be previously-included, well-known, and well-loved hymns. The remaining one-third will include new hymns or new settings of old hymns. This newly-included music will return some timeless hymns that did not “make the cut” for the red hymnal, and it will also include some new contemporary Christian hymns, as well.


Q: What is the digital resource, Christian Worship Service Builder?

A: Service Builder is a digital resource that has been offered for use to help plan worship throughout the church year, as well as design and print weekly service bulletins. This is a subscription service that must be paid for every year we plan to use it.


Q: Why should we consider using the digital resource, Service Builder? What benefits are there?

A: The primary benefit of using the Service Builder is that after becoming acquainted with how it works, Pastor and the office secretaries will be able to put together worship service bulletin in a matter of minutes. This is a process that currently takes approximately 3-6 combined hours, depending on the service.

            Another benefit is that the Synod Hymnal Committee that is heading this project is working tirelessly to incorporate copyright fees and automatic reporting when hymns are used. If they are successful in this effort, we may be able to eliminate some of the extra costs of separate copyright licenses and save time for Pastor and the office secretaries when it comes to manually reporting the use of hymns. (We currently pay a subscription price for four (4) separate copyright licenses; two for the rights to print music, and two for the rights to stream music in our online video recordings.)


Q: How much will it COST initially to purchase and use these materials?

A: The initial cost of physical materials (one-time purchase) and digital materials (annual subscription) is quite low. Making these initial purchases will be enough to begin incorporating/introducing the content of the new hymnal.

            A member has already offered to cover the cost of all hard-copy materials needed at this stage of implementation. This includes the purchase of materials for use in the church office, pastor’s office, and for the church organists. The member was also generous enough to include copies of necessary printed materials for personal ownership for the pastor and two organists. The total cost of these materials totals $1,665.00 plus shipping

            The cost that has not yet been covered is for the digital subscription materials, such as Service Builder. This is a three-part cost for the first year. The annual subscription cost for Service builder is $600.00 (based on our membership count falling in the 100-199 range). There is a one-time “setup and support” fee of $250.00. And there is an annual subscription cost for Service Builder Playlist (which will be used in the place of HymnSoft with the new hymnal) of $225.00. The total initial cost for these three charges is $1075.00, which is yet to be covered.

            This initial cost calculation does not include the cost of purchasing copies of the hymnals and psalters for the pews. (Note: Without purchasing enough hardcopies of the hymnal and psalter for the pews, Service Builder would be required in order to introduce the new materials.)


Q: What is the cost if we decide to purchase enough hardcopies of the hymnal and psalter for the pews?

A: Based on the number of slots open in the pews, an estimated 242 pairs (hymnal and psalter) would need to be purchased if we decide to do so at a future date. Northwestern Publishing House prefers they be purchased at a 1:1 ratio. The total cost to purchase 242 pairs, based on the currently-listed prices, would be $11,132.00.

            (Note: Based on the size of our congregation, if we eventually purchase 125 pairs or more, our annual subscription to Service builder will be reduced from $600 to $400 for every year after that.)


            If you have further questions regarding the new hymnal or Divine Savior’s planned use of the new hymnal, Pastor Parsons would be willing to address them if able. You can also visit the website for the new hymnal and preview the materials there, as well as find answers to further questions. (

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