The Rev. Anna Moon, TroyHope Ministry, is a member of the team revising the United Methodist Hymnal.
Senior Editor-Writer, Michigan Area
On September 21, 2017 Discipleship Ministries announced that work on a ground-breaking revision of The United Methodist Hymnal is underway.
A Hymnal Revision Committee has been selected to move ahead with design of this print/digital, contextually adaptable resource and a pastor from the Michigan Area has been appointed to that team.
The Rev. Anna Moon, pastor at TroyHope Ministry (English Ministry) at Korean UMC in Troy reports that she received word of her appointment by the Council of Bishops in February. “My first thought was, ‘How do they know about me?’ I feel very honored by this invitation,” she told MIConnect.
The process for Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH), the Council of Bishops, and the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools to select the 15 committee members began in late 2016 and continued through the spring of 2017.
“Revising our church hymnal, especially by adding the songs and prayers that define worship for United Methodists of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds, will help our congregations expand relationship-building and discipleship-making into their communities,” said the Rev. Junius B. Dotson, General Secretary (CEO) of Discipleship Ministries, which shares responsibility for the denomination’s hymnal with The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH).
“We are honored to have the members of this diverse committee working to develop a version of our hymnal that can grow and expand with our church,” Dotson said.
Brian Milford, President and Publisher at UMPH, said the revised hymnal will be significantly different from the traditional printed hymnal, with a much deeper and broader scope of material and delivery methods that utilize current and future technology.
“The current hymnal, published in 1989, includes four major sections with a limited number of hymns, songs, acts of worship, services, and prayers,” Milford said. “The 2020 UM hymnal will potentially contain thousands of items in these same categories, gleaned from previously published resources such as the 1989 hymnal, Mil Voces Para Celebrar, Songs of Zion, The Faith We Sing, Zion Still Sings, Worship & Song, and many other collections.”
The Hymnal Revision Committee will select from these resources and from other published works of contemporary music and text literature, new and existing hymns, songs and prayers submitted for consideration, and might commission additional works, Milford said.
Rev. Moon acknowledges that in her ministry as a worship leader and pastor, she has used all of the resources Milford listed. “We had three generations in the church I served. With blended worship, we used the ‘green book’ along with the ‘red book,’ because we needed classic hymns at the same time our praise team leaders wanted to encompass traditional hymns with how contemporary worshippers express themselves daily.”
Anna has a wide musical background. She received a bachelor’s degree in voice performance with teaching certificate from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and a master’s degree in voice performance from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She was a praise/worship leader for a number of years in both Korean and in English. Anna served as a public school music teacher for ten years before attending Fuller Theological Seminary, where she earned a Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in worship. She was ordained an elder in the Detroit Annual Conference in 2015 and a year later was appointed to serve TroyHope Ministry.
Anna says, “Music is a huge part of our worship and daily life. I believe using the right words to sing to God and remind ourselves of who God is, is so important.” While she is not sure about the expectations placed upon her by the committee, Anna is excited about the opportunity to serve because, “Music is a wonderful gift God has given us.” She especially embraces hymns that are a testimony to God’s love; “those hymns that have scripture texts that help us to remember the promises of God.”
Another source of excitement for Anna is the diversity of the Hymnal Revision Committee —cultural, theological, and ethnic. (See listing below.) What does she bring? “My focus is worship across generations. How can we, all generations, worship together with different genres and different styles but the same sacred words? I wonder how the committee will process all that?” Anna looks forward to helping to make the new hymnal a resource for young and old. “Hymns that were written many years ago. We can’t just mouth them. How can we make them our personal testimony, sung out of our heart?”
Publishers explain that new delivery methods will make it possible to include many resources. Rather than one print version of the hymnal that is the same for all churches, each United Methodist congregation will be able to have a customized print version, if that is the delivery method they prefer, Milford said.
A core of material, which will be present in every print version of the hymnal, can be augmented with selections from a Hymnal Revision Committee-selected and General Conference-approved supplemental body of work.
The Hymnal Revision Committee embodies the identity of today’s church and the church of the future. Other constituencies not represented on the committee will be sought and highly valued as consultants in the revision process. The committee members are:
Neil M. Alexander, President and Publisher Emeritus of UMPH, Nashville
Rev. Karen Chraska, Associate Pastor of Worship and Music at Trietsch Memorial UMC, Flower Mound, Texas
Rev. Nelson Cowan, Provisional Elder in the Florida Annual Conference and a doctoral student in liturgical studies at the Boston University School of Theology, North Andover, Mass.
Rev. Melissa Drake, Field Outreach Minister in the Iowa Annual Conference, Atlantic, Iowa
Lim Swee Hong, Ph.D., Professor of Sacred Music at Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, and member of Hewitt First UMC, Hewitt, Texas
Louisa Locklear, Music Director at Pembroke First UMC and public school music teacher, Pembroke, N.C.
Monya Logan, Minister of Worship and the Arts at St. Luke “Community” UMC, Dallas
Rev. Geoffrey Moore, Rev. Geoffrey Moore is President of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada and a provisional elder in the North Texas Conference.
Rev. Lydia Muñoz, Lead Pastor at Church of the Open Door, Kennett Square, Pa.
Diana Sanchez-Bushong, D.M.A., Director of Music and Worship at Westlake UMC, Austin, Texas
Rev. Theon Johnson III, Associate Pastor, Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, San Francisco
Beverly McAlilly, Director of Music Ministries and Organist, First UMC, Tupelo, Miss.
Mark Miller, Associate Professor of Church Music and Composer in Residence at Drew University, Madison, N.J.
Rev. Anna Moon, Pastor at TroyHope Ministry (English Ministry) at Korean UMC, Troy, Mich.
Rev. Dr. Karen Westerfield Tucker, Professor of Worship at Boston University, Boston