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Singing the Faith: The Power and Potential of Hymns
- Course Dates: Fri 6 May 2016, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
‘Let me write the hymns of the Church and I care not who writes the theology,’ wrote a Congregational Minister in the nineteenth century.
Both in England and across the world, hymns give a voice to people in the pew and it is through this lens that their development and potential, both inside and outside the church, will be explored, through words and singing, during the day.
We will sing hymns from the early church, reflect on their role at the Reformation, look at the contributions of Watts and the Wesleys and consider the reasons they were not formally allowed in the Church of England until the nineteenth century. We will see how different denominations use hymns in different ways, drawing on examples from Africa. The radical and prophetic potential of hymns will be explored.
Some hymns have also been cultural icons but now hymns are sung less frequently outside the church than they once were – what has brought about this change and what has replaced the hymn in this respect? We shall ask what makes a hymn popular and think about how they sustain people in times of joy and sorrow.
During the day, we shall reflect on the relationship between hymns and worship songs and ask questions about the future of congregational song. Each participant is asked to bring a hymn or worship song which has been important in their faith journey.