New hymns – taking a break

[POSTED 25 MAY 2020]

During the past nine years, we have published over 130 hymns on the StF+ website. Our main goal has been to select hymns that will complement what is already contained in the printed Singing the Faith hymn book.

In 2021, we will mark the 10th anniversary of both book and website. We are taking this opportunity to pause and re-evaluate both the hymns we have already published on StF+ and the criteria we use to select them.

This is an exciting opportunity and we look forward to placing our publications process on a new footing in due course. For the moment, however, we are putting a temporary halt to receiving and assessing any hymn submissions not already in our possession at 25 May 2020.

The thirty or so hymns currently in our possession will be assessed for publication in the usual way, but we are unable to receive or process any more hymns until further notice.

If you have thoughts about the kinds of hymns and tunes we publish on StF+, we’d be very interested to hear from you. Get in touch at stfplus@methodistchurch.org.uk

A complete listing of our current published hymns can be found at Hymns only online. You can also look at the hymns we have published, listed by theme, at Contents list: new hymns published on StF+.

SELECTION CRITERIA AT 25 MAY 2020

What are we looking for?

    • Hymns of all styles, including both more traditional metered hymns and also worship songs most appropriate for accompaniment by praise bands or guitars
    • Texts that complement what is already included in Singing the Faith – either addressing topics or concerns under-represented in the book or speaking to familiar subjects in fresh and original ways
    • Words that express our Christian faith and experience in language that is accessible to a contemporary audience and avoids repeating phrases that have “aged” or even become clichéd over the years
    • Inclusive language - noting the 2009 Methodist Conference requirement that new material should be "gender inclusive in relation to people and offer a balance of gender language in relation to God"
    • Texts that convey authentic feelings and thoughts: are they direct, honest, accessible and clear?


It may help you to read Ian Worsfold's guide to hymn metre and three thoughts on hymn writing by the prolific writer, Martin Leckebusch.

How are hymns chosen?

All submitted texts (and tunes) are circulated around a small group of experienced worship leaders, musicians and theologians. Together, they endeavour to reach a consensus about a hymn, or at least form a majority view based on the above criteria. (A slightly different approach will be taken to event-specific hymns - see below.)

If it is decided not to publish hymn then we respond with an explanation and offer critical and positive feedback.



Event-specific hymns

On StF+ we endeavour to publish new or recent material that not only complements the contents of Singing the Faith but also has enduring value. However, we recognise that hymns responding to a recent news event or topical subject are welcomed by many church members. (See Singing the Moment 1.)

The editor will consider “event-specific” hymns for immediate publication and related publicity; they will then be considered by the StF hymn submissions group for longer-term inclusion on the website. Amongst other factors will be whether a hymn still has value without direct knowledge of its initial inspiration.

Music

When a hymn is submitted as a text only with a tune suggestion it is preferable that tunes should be chosen from Singing the Faith. Sometimes, we suggest alternatives. Hymns and songs that require or have original tunes should be submitted with those tunes in a form that can be reproduced on the website.

Terms of publication

All hymns published on Singing the Faith Plus are published on the understanding that they can be used freely by site-users, with any copyright information printed as appropriate. If an author or composer is listed with CCLI, the hymn should be included under regular reporting requirements. To check if an author or composer is registered with CCLI, refer to CCL and MRL Authorised Catalogue Lists. These are available online at: churches.uk.ccli.com/resources/authorised