Posted by: Johnold Strey | August 12, 2013

WELS Hymnal Project Launched

WELS Hymnal Project LogoSometimes it seems that everyone still calls Christian Worship the “new” hymnal. But at age 20, and with a five-year-old supplement that bears the family name, it’s not new anymore. Regardless, the “new hymnal” just took one more step toward becoming the “old hymnal” (a name once reserved solely for The Lutheran Hymnal). The WELS hymnal project has been launched, with a planned publication date of 2024, marking the 500th anniversary of the first Lutheran hymnal published.

The WELS Conference of Presidents extended a call to Pastor Michael Schultz to be the project director for the next WELS hymnal. Pastor Schultz brings a wealth of knowledge and talent to this project. He has made fresh translations of German Lutheran hymns into modern English, authored brand new hymn texts, composed new musical settings of liturgical rites, served as the hymns committee chairman for Christian Worship: Supplement, and prepared the guitar edition of the supplement. He is a member of the WELS Commission on Worship and is one of the presenters for the WELS School of Worship Enrichment. The talents that God has given Pastor Schultz make him the right man for this important project. You can read his introduction to our synod’s hymnal project on the director page of the project’s website, and you can peruse (and, if desired, purchase) some of his previous work at

The website for the WELS Hymnal Project provides a unique avenue for parishes, pastors, and parishioners to stay up to date with the project and to offer constructive suggestions for the project. One important opportunity for feedback will begin with the new church year that starts on December 1, 2013. A three-year review process during the next three church years seeks input regarding the use of orders of service, hymns, psalms, and lectionary choices. Here is the text of a brief email sent from the hymnal’s communications committee chairman, Pastor Jonathan Bauer, intended especially for parish pastors and worship planners in WELS congregations:

You are invited to visit the recently-launched website for the synod’s hymnal project. The home page displays a short video introducing the project and gives you an opportunity to subscribe to receive updates about the project.

You are also invited to take part in a three-year collaborative review process. From December 1, 2013 (Advent 1, Year A) through November 20, 2016 (Christ the King, Year C), the hymnal project will gather input from congregations across the synod regarding their use of the resources found in Christian Worship and its companion volumes. The information gathered will not only benefit the work of the project, but the summary reports and shared insights distributed to participating congregations will benefit their worship life as well. You may enroll your congregation in this review process here.

Even if you would not be directly involved in the review process, you can still visit the project website to keep up-to-date with progress and sign up for email updates that will keep you informed about the project’s progress.

Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal has been one of the most well-received denominational hymnals of our time. As we look ahead to the next generation of worship resources for our synod, I’m sure we can look forward to a similar book — a hymnal that serves our synod’s needs well, a hymnal that will be well received by our congregations, and most importantly (and as the logo for the project suggests), a hymnal that serves God’s people with Christ’s Word and Sacraments as they gather around these means of grace week after week.



%d bloggers like this: