News from the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland

For the latest news and information check back here often


Annual Conference 2020

Unfortunately the Conference has been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic

Our present intention is to hold our next Conference, still at Leyland and with the Festival of Hymns in Blackburn Cathedral, from Tuesday, 20th – Friday, 23rd July 2021. Do, please, pencil a note in the back of your current diaries. We will certainly hope that by then everything will have settled down and that it will be possible to meet.

For information on the conference please click here.

April 2020


Alan Luff RIP
From our Secretary Robert Canham
Read more.

March 2020

A Coronavirus Hymn
A new hymn text by Graham Deans.
Read more.

‘This sudden Sabbath gives us pause’ – a response to the Coronavirus crisis:
A new hymn text by Andrew Pratt
Read more.

February 2020


Study Day on Psalms
June 6th a Study Day in East Dulwich.
Read more.

Vintage Hymns 2020
March 7th at St Mary the Virgin, Primrose Hill.
Read more here

Songs for Sighing
February 29th at Wesley’s Chapel and Leysian Mission
49 City Road, London EC1Y 1AU
Read more here

Secretary’s Newsletter 83 Winter 2020
The latest Newsletter from the Secretary is now available to read here.

Martin Ellis RIP
Read more here

January 2020

Graham Maule RIP
Graham Maule (24/09/1958 – 29/12/2019)
Read more here


November 2019

Annual Report 2019
The Annual report for 2018-2019 is now available for members to read online here.

Minutes of the AGM
The Minutes of the 2019 AGM is now available for members to read here.

Secretary’s Newsletter 82 Autumn 2019
The Autumn Newsletter from the Secretary is now available for all to read here.

Bulletin 301 – Autumn 2019
For members, the Autumn 2019 Bulletin is available to read here.

October 2019

Book Launch – Save The Date!

If you happen to be anywhere near Belfast, N Ireland, on 22nd November, feel free to pop into the Cathedral in Donegall Street for 7.30pm. And tell your friends who may not be on Facebook! Read more here.

All Things Bright and Beautiful
Hymn Society member, Dr Gillian Warson offers a defence of a much maligned hymn

Church Times (No. 8170, 18 October 2019 p. 20) contains an article robustly defending Cecil Frances Alexander’s hymn, All things bright and beautiful, which has come in for sustained criticism in recent years. The article is an abbreviated version of the Lecture which Gillian delivered to The Hymn Society Conference held in Canterbury in July. The article can also be found on the Church Times website

Expanding the Core Repertoire
At the Canterbury conference our Executive Vice-President, Martin Leckebusch, used a sectional to launch a project exploring what hymns we think should be “core” hymnody. Your opportunity to add your thoughts can be found here.

Vintage Hymn Festival
Saturday, 5th October 2019 at St Gregory’s Church, Sudbury CO10 1BA between 2.00 and 5.00 pm. Find out more here

July 2019

Occasional Papers 3 No11
Hymns of the Book of Revelation

Available on this page, for members to read. Not a member but are interested? You can purchase a physical copy posted to you or instant download of PDF or eBook here

The latest on the Bulletin Archive
We have digitised back to issue 127 in the archive. These are scanned PDF files of the original Bulletins. We plan to complete the archive back to issue 1 of 1937 and then convert these to text based PDFs.

Annual Conference audio
On this page, for members only, there are audio recordings of the sessions.

Photos from the Conference
can be found here

Annual Conference 2019

Our Annual Conference for 2019 is a two-day occasion from Tuesday, July 23rd – Thursday, July 25th 2019. The venue? Keynes College Campus, University of Kent, Canterbury. This conference features a Festival of Hymns in Canterbury Cathedral’s Western Crypt

For information on the conference please click here.

On this page, for members only, there are audio recordings of the sessions.

May 2019

Hymn Festival, Paris
Led by Revd James Dickinson, with RSCM, France, under John Crothers – photos here.

April 2019

Secretary’s Newsletter 80
The Secretary’s Newsletter for Spring 2019 is now available to read online here.

Bulletin 299
The latest Bulletin is now available for members to read online.
Read it here.

Notre Dame on fire – hymn
15 April 2019 – A hymn text by Andrew Pratt following the fire at Notre Dame.

Digitising Volume XVI has begun!
Issues for July 2001 – October 2002 (Bulletins 228 – 233) are now available for members to read and the relevant links are updated in the index.

Good Friday
A new hymn text for the season from Andrew Pratt.
Read it here.

February 2019

Secretary’s Newsletter 79
The Secretary’s Newsletter for Winter 2019 is now available to read online here.

Bulletin 298
The latest Bulletin is now available to read online.
Read it here.

January 2019

London Regional Day
The People’s Song – Three Key Traditions Saturday 9 March 2019 10.30am – 4.30pm
More details here.


November 2018

Hymns and the Great War
Committee member Anne Harrison appeared on Premiere Christian Radio Sunday 11 November. Listen to the programme here.

Singing Welcome II
Search for New Hymns / Songs by The hymn Society US and Canada More Info

October 2018

Minutes of the 2018 AGM
are available to Members here

Annual Report for 2017-2018
is now available to members here.

Secretary’s Newsletter Autumn 2018
The Autumn 2018 issue is now available here

Hymnology Collections
A new page has been added with a selection of UK and Ireland hymnology collections here.

September 2018

Songs of Peace – the winner!
The winner has been announced! See the music video of the winner here.

Annual Conference 2018

Our Annual Conference for 2018 was another three-day occasion from Tuesday, July 24th – Friday, July 27th 2018. The venue? The delightful setting of Bishop Burton College. It is a pleasantly situated land-based college offering courses as diverse as agriculture, floristry, equine, art and design, and engineering! Located just outside the town of Beverley with its minster, York is also not too distant.

For information and photos from the conference please click here.

July 2018

Secretary’s Newsletter Summer 2018
The Summer 2018 issue is now available here.

Bulletin 296 Summer 2018
Available to read online, the Bulletin is available to members only.
More details here

A new hymn text
A hymn text by Mike Dove ‘Glorious Godhead’ is available here.

May 2018

Occasional Paper Series 3 No10
War and Hymns by J.R. Watson
Available free to to members here, or you can purchase a copy in various formats here.

Secretary’s Newsletter
The Spring 2018 issue is now available here.

April 2018

Latest News from the website:
We have just created an interactive index for the Bulletin which covers almost every issue since 1937 (it will eventually cover all issues).

More details here.

A Focus on Welsh Hymnody
Saturday 5th May, 2018 1:00pm
Chilwell Road Methodist Church, Beeston, Nottingham, NG9 1EH

More details here.

February 2018

Secretary’s newsletter No75 Winter 2018 is available here

Bulletin 294 Winter 2018
Available to view online, the Bulletin is available to members only.
More details here.

January 2018

Hymns of Peace
Jubilate are running a national competition to find a new hymn of peace for the churches to sing at Remembrance services and throughout this centenary year.
More details here.


December 2017

Minutes of the 2017 AGM
Please click here to read the minutes of the 2017 AGM – please note this is made available to members only.

2016-2017 Annual Report
The Annual report for 2016-2017 is available here – please note this is made available to members only.

November 2017

A Christmas hymn by Andrew Pratt, now with a suggestion of accompanying music by Rhidian Griffiths.
Read or hum along here.

A Carol for Christmas by Ruthie Thomas.
A Music Resource PDF to download and sing is available from Ruthie Thomas here. (Kindly note the Copyright info.)

October 2017

The Autumn edition of the Secretary’s Newsletter is now available here.

When Two Stars Collide
A new hymn text from Andrew Pratt after the detection of gravitational waves caused by the collision to two neutron stars. Read it here.

August 2017

What does it mean to sing a hymn? This is a question posed by Andrew Pratt in a collection of new hymn texts. Read them or hum along here.

Charles Wood Summer School & Festival in collaboration with the HSGBI present a Festival of Hymns
More here.

Annual Conference 2017

18th – 21st July

All the latest photos and info from the conference here

July 2017

Ruthie Thomas in Western Telegraph
An article about Ruthie Thomas in a Welsh newspaper
Click here to read it.

The Secretary’s Newsletter:
No.73: Summer 2017
Click here to read it.
If you wish to print this out please open the PDF file here.

300th Anniversary of the Birth of Williams Pantycelyn Celebrated with a new book
Flame in the Mountains: Williams Pantycelyn, Ann Griffiths and the Welsh Hymn by H. A. Hodges
Read about it here.

Copies of this important book will be available to purchase at the Hymn Society 2017 Conference in Carmarthan.

June 2017

Keith and Kristyn Getty recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours
Keith and Kristyn Getty are long-time members of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland. We rejoice with them at this signal honour.
Read more here.

“Lift Up a Living Nation”: Community and Nation, Socialism and Religion in The English Hymnal, 1906
By Katie Palmer Heathman
An article taken from:
Cultural and Social History
The Journal of the Social History Society: Volume 14, 2017 – Issue 2
Read it on our website here.

Anne Harrison receives the Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship.
More details here.

A hymn text written in response to violence and terrorism in our cities
by Andrew Pratt

Read it here.

Singing Welcome: Hymns and Songs of Hospitality to Refugees and Immigrants.
A new resource from The Hymn Society of thr United States and Canada
More details here.

Hymns for Hope and Healing
Words and music to refresh the church’s ministry of healing.
A new book, Edited by Jan Berry & Andrew Pratt with Janet Eldred & Anne Sardeson.
More details here.

May 2017

Hymn Writers Workshop
10:00am-4:00pm Saturday 6 May
St Paul’s, Robert Adam Street,
London, W1U 3HW
More details here.

The Spring edition of the Secretary’s Newsletter is here.

April 2017


Treasure No 80
An Article from Bulletin 281, Autumn 2014, Treasure No 80: Finding the Right Voice – Glimpses of Poetic Imagery in the Hymn Tune by Joan Thackray
Available to read or download here.

Treasure No 79
An Article from Bulletin 276, Summer 2013, Coda by Ian Sharp.
Available to read or download here.

A Functional Art
A new book by Timothy Dudley-Smith. More info here.

Treasure No 78
An Article from Bulletin 271, April 2012, Treasure 78 looks at Developments in the Near Future: Hymnals in England, by Brian Castle. Available to read or download here.

Treasure No 77
An Article from Bulletin 267, April 2011, Treasure 77 looks at Canticles Old and New, by Anne Harrison. Available to read or download here.

We are now taking PayPal for membership subscriptions. Get immediate access to our Members Area.
More details here.

Book Launch in York
The book launch of Looking for a Voice: A Hymnological Biography by Caryl Micklem and Alison Micklem will take place on Saturday 8th April at 2.30 pm
More details here.

March 2017

Treasure No 76
An article from Bulletin 262, January 2010, Treasure 76 looks at Producing 5,842 hymns by Bert Tosh and is available to read or download here.

Treasure No 75
An Article from Bulletin 258, October 2008, Treasure 75 looks at ‘The Price of Sin’ by Leslie Ivory and is available to read or download here.

Treasure No 74
An article from Bulletin 256, July 2008, Treasure 74 looking at Geoffrey Beaumont and the 20th Century Church Light Music Group, is available to read or download here.

John Newton exhibition & 30 March event
at St Andrew by the Wardrobe
St Andrew’s Hill, Queen Victoria St, London EC4V 5DE
More details here.

Treasure No 73
From the Bulletin of March 2007, Treasure 73, a book review of Gillian Warson’s biography on Fred Kaan by Alan Gaunt is now available to read or download.
Please click here to view.

Short Guide 27 Published
Hymns and Ministry to Those with Dementia” by Graham DS Deans.
Ministering to people who have reached that stage of life when ‘mind and memory flee’ presents serious challenges which cannot be ignored.

February 2017

The Winter edition of the Secretary’s Newsletter is here.

Treasure No 72
From October 2006, What are we saying by singing? by Rowan Williams is now available to read or download.
Please click here to view.

Treasure No 71
From 2005, Peace and War in Hymns by David Wright, is now available to read or download.
Please click here to view.

The Hymn Society London Day
Saturday 11th February 2017
10.30 – 4.30
click here to find out more more


December 2016

Executive Committee member, John Crothers, on French radio, recording the annual programme that introduces French-speaking listeners to English-language Christmas hymns and carols. More here.

New look website that incorporates our Facebook and Twitter feeds is launched (see panel on the right) to coincide with the 80th Anniversary of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

Autumn 2016

The Autumn edition of the Secretary’s Newsletter is now available here.

October 2016

The Hymn Society celebrates 80 years, with special programme on BBC Radio.

Summer 2016

The Summer edition of the Secretary’s Newsletter is now available here.

June 2016

Short Guide 26 Myths About Hymns
now available here.

Here are half a dozen ideas about hymnody which may – or may not – contain a grain of truth … as seen by a self-confessed hymn lover.

May 2016

Short Guide 25 Ordination Hymns
now available here.

Ordinations and commissioning services happen in a variety of contexts, and are a cause of great celebration and spiritual power. Liturgies and traditions notwith-standing, the singing of hymns on these occasions plays a crucial role, and their selection is, therefore, not to be undertaken lightly.

May 2016

Short Guide 24 Confirmation Hymns
now available here.

‘Confirmation’ covers various approaches to Christian initiation and commitment. When adults make a commitment and are received into membership of the church, the act of worship surrounding it can be a celebratory, evangelistic, sacramental expression of unity, and the hymns have a vital role to play in the blend of joy, hope and affirmation that a Confirmation should be.

Short Guide 23 Baptism Hymns
now available here.

Baptism can occur in different contexts and at different stages in life, yet the fundamental spiritual and ecclesiological purpose and outcome of such initiation is the same. Nevertheless, each context and understanding of baptism demands its own approach if they are going to be not only welcoming celebrations of commitment but opportunities to preach and sing the faith of Christ crucified and risen.

Short Guide 22 Funeral Hymns
now available here.

Christian funerals take place either in a church or at a crematorium or cemetery chapel. While the circumstances are different the issues surrounding the picking of hymns are similar. Hymn singing at funerals is in decline, so even greater care needs to be taken in using hymns to enhance the hope of a funeral, rather than increase the discomfort.

Short Guide 21 Wedding Hymns
now available here.

Many couples still choose to marry in church, yet the combined impact of more choice and the increasing lack of prior knowledge of hymnody has made it increasingly more difficult to accommodate their needs and desires with Christian integrity and wisdom. Tunes are the key to wedding hymns.

Spring 2016

The Spring edition of the Secretary’s Newsletter is available here.

Winter 2016

The Winter edition of the Secretary’s Newsletter is available here.

February 2016

Short Guide 20 Using Short Songs in Worship
now available here.

The New Testament encourages believers to sing ‘Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs’, suggesting the Body of Christ needs a range of sung material. As well as hymns, the imaginative use of short songs of various kinds can enrich worship; this paper explores the repertoire of shorter songs and suggests ways of incorporating them into services.