Sunday, January 20, 2008

Glories of the Anglican Hymnal

Coming from a Catholic tradition (although no longer a believer), I have always found the Protestant churches to be rather dull. Limited stained glass work (usually confined to one or two windows) and bare of statues and decoration, they seem to lack colour and character. The buildings themselves, generally in Gothic style, some with stone facing, are beautiful but the lack of decoration inside was what bothered me.

True, some of the Catholic churches can be rather over-the-top or vulgar in the decoration, but one can never accuse them of being bare or dull.

Then I discovered the Anglican Hymnal. All the energies that might conceivably have been devoted to the decoration of church interiors seem to have been directed at the hymn book, with some stunning results (traditional catholic hymns are, by contrast terribly dull, even banal-luckily it is possible to sing quite a number of the Anglican hymns in the Catholic church, provided of course that an enlightened choir master is in charge).

The hymns that have caught my attention at the moment are:

1. Great is Thy Faithfulness by W.M. Runyan (an American)
2. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God almighty by J.B. Dykes
3. May God's Blessing by Cliff Barrows

All of which are excellent in every way and certainly good enough to keep this particular atheist in the choir. Had a wonderful morning practicing these, we have to sing these for a mass next Friday.

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