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Methodist Hymn Book (1933)

This new collection was published in the wake of Methodist Union to serve the newly united Methodist Church. Representatives of the three uniting Churches began meeting in November 1929 to plan the new book, but it was not published until December 1933. Andrew Pratt has shown how, in both structure and content, it was a predominantly Wesleyan book, closely related to the WM hymn book of 1904. This reflected the WM preponderance on the committee and the autocratic stance of its chairman, F. Luke Wiseman. Hymns from the PM tradition were notably few. The committee worked largely in camera, in only limited consultation with the wider church at a late stage in its proceedings. The result was traditional to the point of being reactionary and showed little sign of taking into account the sweeping social and cultural changes that had already transformed western society following the disintegrating effect of World War I. The book came too early to benefit from the new wave of hymn-writing of the 1960s and beyond. In spite of (or perhaps partly because of) this, the 1933 book remained in use for half a century and was not replaced until Hymns and Psalms (1983).

Sources

  • John Telford, The New Methodist Hymn Book Illustrated in History and Experience (1934)
  • Andrew Pratt, O for a thousand tongues: the 1933 Methodist Hymn Book in context(2004)

Entry written by: JAV
Category: Publication

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