Secretary's newsletter summer 2018

Secretary’s Newsletter 77 Summer 2018

The Secretary’s Newsletter:

No.77: Summer 2018
From the Secretary:
Revd Robert A. Canham
CA12 5SZ
Phone: 017687 78054
Email: Please see our Contact page

GDPR Consent Forms

200 of our members have returned their GDPR Consent forms – thank you to all 200! If you haven’t returned your form yet, please do so. Please Note: there are four boxes on the form, each of which requires either a YES or a NO. Some responders have not realized that the bottom three boxes also need to be filled in!

If you have Internet access, the easiest way is to complete the form online. Instructions as follows: On the HSGBI website homepage, if you click on the ‘Contact Us’ button (second in from right on the homepage), then scroll down on the page that then appears, the Consent Form, together with a submit button, is at the bottom of that page. The various options are on the form so you just have to work your way through them (not very many) clicking on the appropriate one. The date to be entered is the date of submission, not your date of birth.

Revised Format of Bulletin

Some of you will have noticed that with the advent of Volume 22 in January of this year, the format of the Bulletin has changed in various ways, most significantly with the text being ‘left-hand aligned’ instead of ‘justified’, resulting in a ‘ragged’ right-hand margin.

The purpose of these changes has been to make the Bulletin more accessible and easier to read for some people.

So far there has been little response to these changes either positive or adverse; however, if any members would like to comment (has it been a help or a hindrance?) please get in touch with the Secretary who will pass information on to those responsible for publications.

We welcome new members who recently joined the Society:

Mr John McFarland Campbell (Portarlington, Republic of Ireland)
Mrs Sue McFarlane (Tredegar, Gwent)
Mr Matthew Mclnally (London)
Mr Trevor & Revd Pam Thorn (Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire)
Mr John R. Turner (Rutherglen, Glasgow)

We regret having to report the deaths of members:

Miss Grace Caudrey (Wollaton, Nottinghamshire)
Mrs Eleanora Speight (Sevenoaks, Kent)
Mrs Cecily Taylor (Sanderstead, Croydon, Surrey)

In my last Newsletter, I noted the 100th Birthday of Revd Dr Ian M. Fraser, a powerful presence and influence in hymnody. We have since heard of his death on April 10th. Another hymn writer, Revd Kim Fabricius, died suddenly on June 29th. We hope to carry obituaries for our member Cecily Taylor (another considerable hymn writer), Ian Fraser and Kim Fabricius in a future issue of the Bulletin.


to our Honorary Vice-President Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith who has recently received an Honorary Fellowship of the Guild of Church Musicians.

From our member Ruthie Thomas

Conference attendees at Carmarthen will remember the engaging and lively Session we enjoyed with Ruthie Thomas, sharing something of her faith journey and singing some of her songs. I have recently received the following message from Ruthie:

Those who enjoyed the presentation at The Hymn Society Conference in Carmarthen might be interested in the online book: Sunshine in Your Face, Songs, Secrets and Snippets from a Hard Road. This brings to light songs written and inspired in my time living in West Wales and revealing secrets and snippets from and around that journey. Join the community and read online at:

Publicised by Singing the Faith Plus

During May, St Andrew’s Methodist Church, Sheringham, celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their church with ‘50 hymns for a 50th Anniversary’: “We are celebrating our 50th Church Anniversary this year and one of the special events we are holding is to sing ‘50 Hymns and Songs of Praise’.” We hope it went well for them. Why not initiate something using hymns imaginatively in your church?

The Hymn Society Website and exclusive Members’ Area

Enclosed with this Bulletin mailing you will find a letter from our Web Administrator, Ken Cope. The front page gives details of all that has been going on with the development of the website since he undertook the task in the Autumn of 2016. The back page gives the all-important instructions about how to register and gain access to the Members’ Area and the treasures it contains! See below…

An unsolicited Testimonial

Our member, Ross Hinds, recently emailed me: ‘I have just registered on the website and am delighted with all the resources now available. In particular the Treasures are fascinating, especially when knowing who has done the selection. I was not aware of the riches that the website contained… Perhaps you would consider publicising to members what is there and how to register.’

How to register? See the reverse side of Ken Cope’s letter! – or look here: Please open this page to register, filling in your username, password, full postal address and any other details on the registration form.

A Litany of thanks

Whilst considering the website, and the Combined Index comprising more than 75 years of Bulletins, this is a good opportunity to recall Revd David Goodall who conceived and initiated the website some twenty years ago, and Gillian Warson who took it over, redeveloped it and managed it for many years. Gillian began the work of creating the online Digital Index of the Bulletins. Thanks to both of these.

And then, a deep debt of gratitude is due to Terence Atkins who produced the Classified Index to Vols I to X which first appeared back in 1986 in printed format. Since then Terence has painstakingly researched and produced the Index to every subsequent volume. The recent printing and distribution to members of Index XX (circulated with the Winter 2018 Bulletin) is something of a milestone in his endeavours. It was Terence’s work on Volumes I to XVII which became the basis of the Access database developed by Gillian and which was made available to members of the Society only a few years ago now.

Thanks are also due to Michael and Viv Garland who convert the raw material provided by Terence into the booklet format for submission to our printers; this, too, is a considerable task. And, finally, thanks to Ken Cope who now undertakes the conversion of that data and incorporates it in the online digital index on the website.

Two recent publications from the Iona Community

Known Unknowns is a book by John L. Bell and Graham Maule featuring one hundred of their hymn texts, all contemporary, and all adapted so that they can be sung to existing familiar tunes; this is especially useful in small congregations with limited musical resources. Each hymn has a tune married to it which will be known in any congregation. The subject matter covers a wide range of pastoral concerns including abuse, change, illness, dismay and healing. There are also hymns on civic life, social justice and interfaith matters, along with a healthy selection of songs on the life and ministry of Jesus and texts for the liturgical seasons – sounds good for any church with an adventurous vision wanting to expand its horizons of faith. The book is currently on offer at £9.99.

Strange Majesty, The hymns of Leith Fisher is edited by Douglas Galbraith and contains 22 hymns (words and music) exploring themes not easily found in the standard repertoire. Leith Fisher was a minister and a member of the Iona Community; a parish minister in the Church of Scotland, a broadcaster, a gifted speaker (and listener) with exceptional pastoral skills. Despite his extraordinarily busy schedule he was often at his desk late into the night writing letters, reports, commentaries, poems, prayers – and hymns, seven of which appear in Church Hymnary (CH4) 2005. However, at his death in 2009 Leith left a number of unpublished songs and hymns, the best of which Douglas Galbraith has brought together in this book, set to known tunes and traditional Scottish melodies, including from the Hebridean tradition. The book is currently on offer at £8.99.

Both books are available online from or from Wild Goose Publications, The Iona Community, 21 Carlton Court GLASGOW G5 9JP

Postscript – Hymns found in unlikely places:

In her book H is for Hawk 2014, Helen Macdonald reflects on her bereavement following the death of her father and the therapeutic benefit of her training a Goshawk. She was fascinated by T.H. White’s book The Goshawk 1951. White trained his own hawk ‘Gos’ in the early c.20th. On one occasion White regaled his frightened hawk with readings from Shakespeare’s plays, various sonnets, and whistling hymns to it. On another occasion he was, for ten minutes, whistling the tune of the hymn that was supposed to call the hawk to him – the old Scottish melody to Psalm 23. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to have worked as Gos did not understand this! White knew little about training hawks; in consequence, the hawk suffered considerably.

If you wish to print this out please open the PDF file here.