GS 2013 art 182

GS 2013 Article 182 – SCBP – Common Song Book

Committee 2 presented a proposal. With a minor change, this was the result:

1.         Material:

  • 1.1.      Report from the SCBP, Section 8.0 (8.2.4)
  • 1.2.      Letters from the churches at Barrhead (, Fergus-Maranatha ( and Langley (

2.         Observations:

  • 2.1.      Synod Burlington 2010 instructed the SCBP to try to involve the Common Songbook Committee (sub-committee of the CCU) in its review of the provisional Book of Praise (Article 146).
  • 2.2.      The SCBP reports that there was only one combined meeting with the URCNA’s Psalter Hymnal Committee (PHC). This was because Synod London 2010 (URCNA), changed their committee’s mandate and directed it to focus on a distinctively URC songbook rather than on a common songbook to be used by a future merged federation. This change of events brought the good progress that had been made to a halt.
  • 2.3.      The SCBP reports that Synod Nyack 2012 accepted the invitation of the OPC to work together in their respective tasks of producing updated songbooks for their respective churches. On the one hand, the URCNA has altered course and is now working together with the OPC in the production of a common OPC-URCNA songbook. On the other hand, the PHC in its report to Synod Nyack noted that the Synod London 2010 had mandated their committee “to be in dialogue with the Canadian Reformed Churches in a manner consistent with Phase 2 relations.”
  • 2.4.      The SCBP recommends maintaining contact between the committees, but does not know what that contact should look like and therefore awaits direction from Synod Carman 2013.
  • 2.5.      The church at Barrhead is of the opinion that the reason for the SCBP’s mandate to revise the Psalms was to facilitate the committee’s work towards a common songbook with the URC. Since that is no longer happening, this negates the SCBP mandate regarding the revision of the psalms.
  • 2.6.      The church at Fergus-Maranatha requests that Synod Carman 2013 not accede to the recommendation of the SCBP that contact be maintained between the SCBP and the PHC because “that task of the committee has been completed; besides, we feel that this recommendation is not considered part of its mandate.”
  • 2.7.      The church at Langley is saddened that the CanRC has been excluded from the URCNA-OPC songbook initiative, but recommends that Synod Carman 2013 mandate the SCBP to “communicate to the URC and the OPC our interest on working with both of them to develop a combined psalter hymnal-type common songbook.”

3.         Considerations:

  • 3.1.      It is regrettable that the PHC turned its attention to its own song book and subsequently initiated a joint project with the OPC, after so much had been accomplished with the SCBP in working toward a common song book.
  • 3.2.      It would still be advantageous for the SCBP to find ways to renew this initiative with the PHC in view of Synod London’s decision to mandate the URCNA Committee “to be in dialogue with the Canadian Reformed Churches in a manner consistent with Phase 2 relations.”
  • 3.3.      Since the decision to develop a common songbook has not been revised or rescinded, this should remain a stated objective since the goal is federative unity.
  • 3.4.      Seeing as the previous synods appointed the members of the SCBP as the Committee for a Common Songbook, Synod Carman 2013 should do the same.
  • 3.5.      The churches at Fergus-Maranatha and Barrhead are incorrect in asserting that since the PHC is no longer working with the SCBP toward a common songbook, the SCBP no longer has a mandate to revise the Psalms. Synod Burlington 2010 considered “The inclusion in a common songbook was not the sole reason for the revision of the Psalms. As well, the work on a common songbook basically came to a standstill after Synod Schererville 2007 of the URCNA. The SCBP did not see this as a valid reason to abandon its mandate to continue revising the Psalms as instructed by Synod Smithers” (Article 146, Consideration 3.2).
  • 3.6.      Given the history, church order and confessions that we share with the URCNA, as well as the goal of federative unity that is being pursued with them, there are good reasons to monitor developments in both the URC as well as OPC songbook committees.

4.         Recommendations:

That Synod decide:

  • 4.1.      To state that the Canadian Reformed Churches remain committed to having a common songbook in a united federation;
  • 4.2.    To thank the SCBP for its work and to reappoint it with the mandate to work out Consideration 3.2;
  • 4.3.    To send Consideration 3.5 as an answer to the churches of Fergus-Maranatha and Barrhead;
  • 4.4.    To send Consideration 3.6 as an answer to the church at Langley.