The Secretary’s Newsletter: No.60: Spring 2014

Secretary’s Newsletter 60 Spring 2014

The Secretary’s Newsletter:

No.60: Spring 2014
From the Secretary:
Revd Robert A. Canham
CA12 5SZ
Email: Please see the Contact page

Booking for our 2014 Cirencester Conference

Our 2014 Conference at Cirencester Agricultural University begins on Wednesday 30th July, concluding Friday August 1st. Application Forms were sent out with the previous mailing. If you would like to come, but have not yet booked, there is still just time ~ but please do so right away! If you have mislaid your Application Form, please down-load one from the Society Website, otherwise contact the Secretary or the Conference Bookings Officer, Gordon Taylor:

Phone: 020 8681 6895 Email:

Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology ~ access update

We are immensely grateful to Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd for making it possible for The Hymn Society of Gt Britain & Ireland to obtain an Institution Subscription to enable our members to gain access to the Online Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. This will be a huge asset to many or our members for whom it would not otherwise be possible to subscribe. Good news! The link to the Online Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology is now up and running via the Members’ Area of The Hymn Society Website. If you do not already have a Username and Password to access the Private Members’ Area you will need to obtain one from our Web Coordinator, Gillian Warson (email: In order to access the Online Dictionary you will also need a Login Code to enter as ‘email address’ and an additional Password. These may also be obtained from Gillian. Please note that Gillian will keep a register of all those applying for access as the Password, for security reasons, will be changed periodically. Please also note: this facility is only available to subscribing individual members of the Society, not to non-members and not to Libraries, institutions etc. all of whom will be expected to make their own subscription arrangements.

We welcome new members who recently joined the Society

Mr Harry A. Hicks (Mundesley, Norfolk)
Dr Anthony & Mrs Jean Orton (Horsforth, Leeds)
Dr David W.Reynolds (Stillorgan, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND)

We regret having to report members’ deaths

Mr Leonard Bennett (Sheffield, South Yorkshire)
Mrs Jennifer Wakely (Leicester, Leicestershire)

Jenny Wakely, a recent member of the Society, was well known for her presence at, and contributions to, Conference. In 2008 her text Many petals make one flower was selected by the adjudicators, following the Hymn Search initiated by the Society. In an email to one of our members, Jenny said: “I am strongly influenced by hymn writers like Brian Wren, Fred Kaan and of course Alan Gaunt. I prefer to write, and sing, hymns which have a wider theological focus than simply the writer’s own personal feelings and relationship with God, so that the congregation can feel united through the words.”

Directory of Members and its availability

The Hymn Society’s Directory of Members is constantly updated. At present, due to financial constraints as we prepare to host the forth-coming International Hymn Conference at Cambridge in 2015, we are not distributing it universally. However, if any member would particularly like a copy please get in touch with the Secretary, indicating whether an emailed version or a paper version is required.

Workshop on Hymns ~ Dorking, Saturday 17th May 2014

Our member, Martin Ellis, has organised a Workshop on Hymns entitled He who sings prays twice—Exploring and Comparing Singing the Faith and Ancient & Modern. It is available to members of The Hymn Society and the RSCM as well as the Surrey Association of Organists. The meeting will begin at 3.00 pm, include a refreshment break, and conclude around 6.30 pm. Amongst the Contributors are Michael Garland and Tim Ruffer. For more information contact Mr Martin Ellis, 22 Church Street, Dorking, Surrey RH4 1DW
Phone: 01306 876449 Email:

A Festival of New Singable Hymns in Blackburn Cathedral

This Festival was organised by our member, composer and hymn writer David Smalley, and took place on 11th March. Led by a massed choir of 200 singers from schools and adult choirs and attended by four mayors and other dignitaries, it was well attended and a huge success. Proceeds after expenses were divided between three local charities.

RSCM Awards to our Exec. President and Hon. Vice-President

The RSCM reports: ‘Two academics are also being honoured with Fellowships; Dr Ian Sharp, has been a long-standing and loyal member of both the RSCM Council and the RSCM Liverpool Area Committee. He was also Foundation Dean of Liverpool Hope University. Ian has led many events, worked as an examiner and composer, and written for Church Music Quarterly, the RSCM’s magazine. Professor J.R. (Dick) Watson, Emeritus Professor of English at Durham University, is being honoured for his tireless contribution to the editing of hymns. He was General Editor of The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology published last year.’

Awards will be presented by Lord Brian Gill, Chairman of the RSCM Council and Scotland’s most senior judge, during a special Celebration Day service in Hereford Cathedral on Saturday 4th October 2014. “It always gives me great pleasure to personally present these awards,” he said. “They are our annual opportunity to honour and thank those who have given distinguished service to the cause of church music and to RSCM in particular.”

Subscription Renewals ~ Thanks from the Treasurer

Our Treasurer, Michael Garland, is most grateful to all those of you who have either paid your subscription by Banker’s Order or responded swiftly to requests made through the Newsletter for Subscription Renewals. This has saved an enormous amount of time and effort. If your subscription has not yet been paid for 2014, could you please make your cheque payable to The Hymn Society of Gt Britain & Ireland and send it right away to Revd Canon Michael Garland, 63 Church Street, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham GL53 8AT

Hymn Society Pastoral Link Person

Many find The Hymn Society much more than a collection of people who have a like-minded interest in hymns and hymnody; it is very much a family, especially to those who are able to meet up each year at Conference. With this in mind, our January Executive enthusiastically endorsed a suggestion that Claire Wilson should act as a Pastoral Liaison Person on behalf of the Society, keeping in touch with members through all the changing scenes of life, in trouble and in joy. Some have already benefited by receiving a card but, of course, the need or occasion needs to be known about! If you have a need, or news to share or, particularly, know of another member who has, please get in touch with Revd Claire Wilson, Ground Floor Flat, 26 Frognal Lane London NW3 7DT
Phone: 0207 794 3801 Email:

Newton, Cowper and the BBC at Olney

2014 marks the 250th Anniversary of John Newton’s arrival at Olney; his ministry began there on Sunday, 27th May, 1764. The BBC has recently been to Olney, filming two items for a three part documentary series Eighteenth Century Music. This is going to be presented by Suzy Klein who was filmed in Olney giving some background to Newton’s hymn, Amazing Grace and William Cowper’s poem, The Negro’s Complaint. It is anticipated that the programme will be broadcast in May. (Thanks to The Newton Project Prayer Letter for this information).

Singing the Faith Plus

Have you discovered the website yet? It contains information and worship resource information including hymns and is a dynamic site which is regularly being updated. It is worth a look.

Linking The Hymn Society with other websites

Under the Resources—Useful Links tab on the Singing the Faith Plus website there is a mention of The Hymn Society with a link to our website. Do you know of any other websites where we might establish a mutually beneficial link between the two? If you have suggestions, please contact our Web Coordinator, Gillian Warson:

The Whole Booke of Psalmes—a record sale

Last year the forthcoming sale of The Whole Booke of Psalmes was reported (Secretary’s Newsletter: No.57: Summer 2013). The book, universally known as The Bay Psalm Book and generally acknowledged to be the first book printed in America, was produced in 1640 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony by the Congregationalist Puritans who left England in search of religious freedom.

The book was sold last November at Sotheby’s in New York for $14.2 million (£8.5 million)—the highest sum ever paid at auction for a printed book!


Thanks to our member, Ian Murphy for the following:

One of the questions asked on The Weakest Link television quiz some time ago was: “In what language of the British Isles was the hymn Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer originally written?” The contestant thought for a moment and then said “Islamic?”

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