Tuesday, 05 March 2019

Singing a “New Song”

Written by By Rev. David McGregor, Australian Hymn Book Company Editorial Committee
Rev. David McGregor, Former UCA President Rev Dr D’Arcy Wood and UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer Rev. David McGregor, Former UCA President Rev Dr D’Arcy Wood and UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer

Australian churches now have access to a new worship resource - Songs of Grace - the newly-published supplement to the ecumenical worship hymnal Together in Song.

Songs of Grace is a 54-song collection and marks the fruition of many years by the Australian Hymnbook Company’s Editorial Committee of discovering and discerning “new song” for the diversity of Christian worship in Australia.  

Former UCA President Rev. Dr D’Arcy Wood, who is the Australian Hymnbook Company Board Chair, officially launched the book in Melbourne on 2 March.

He was joined by UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer and a large gathering of people inside the University of Melbourne’s Trinity College Chapel for the launch, which included singing several songs from the book.

The release of Songs of Grace comes close to 20 years since Together in Song’s launch.

Much has changed in church worship music in the intervening period, including use of internet and song-projection usage, as well as church copyright licences being a necessity these days in any worshipping community.

Editorial Committee Chair Rev. Canon Dr David Cole (Anglican Church) reflects in the Songs of Grace foreword:

It is our prayer that this collection will further resource Australian churches in singing God’s praises in the contemporary context … and is offered to the churches so that they will be better resourced for their task of singing together with prayerful vitality the songs of the people of God.

Songs of Grace is an initiative of the Australian Hymn Book Company which was behind both the 1977 Australian Hymn Book and the more-recent Together in Song.

A number of the songs on Songs of Grace were place-getters in the national hymn competition held by the Australian Hymn Book Company in 2013.

I am the UCA Assembly’s representative on the AHB Company’s Editorial Committee, an ecumenical group comprising the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Uniting Churches. 

One of the strengths of Songs of Grace is its incredibly extensive series of indexes. It includes scripture and church year references for both hymnbooks, so it is a resource not only for the musician but for the person responsible for planning worship. A CD Rom with all lyrics and references is available.

The Anglican Church’s Philip Nicholls deserves much acknowledgement for his work as Music Editor.

I wholeheartedly commend this resource to you in your worship as the People of God.

Rev. David MacGregor is the UCA member for the Australian Hymn Book Company Editorial Committee, a Panel Member of the Transforming Worship Circle and minister at Wellers Hill-Tarragindi Uniting Church in Brisbane.

Songs of Grace is published by and available through Australian Church Resources: https://www.acresources.com.au

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