GS 2013 art 197

GS 2013 Article 197 – Appeal of Dunnville re: Procedure of Testing New Hymn Melodies

Committee 2 presented a proposal with this result:

1.         Material:

Letter of appeal from the church at Dunnville (8.5.9)

2.         Observations:

  • 2.1.      The church at Dunnville appeals the decision of “Synod Burlington 2010 to include the proposed melodies and ‘improvements’ to musical notation as recommended in Article 123, 4.2.”
  • 2.2.      Dunnville argues that although it is not in the province of general synod to decide on technical matters concerning musical notation, this does not negate the responsibility of general synod to decide on procedural matters.
  • 2.3.      Dunnville claims that the churches ought to have had an opportunity to test new melodies and changes to the musical notations prior to the publication of the Book of Praise, as was done with the revised psalms and the new hymns.
  • 2.4.      Dunnville recommends:
    • [1.]       That the changed hymn melodies be restored to their previous state.
    • [2.]       That in the future Synod allow the churches to test proposed new melodies and give feedback prior to publication for use in the worship services.

3.         Considerations:

  • 3.1.      Dunnville is correct to point out that new melodies and changes in musical notation were introduced to the churches for the first time via the APV Book of Praise approved by Synod Burlington 2010 and this meant that the churches could not test them prior to publication. This was an unexpected course of events for the churches which had seen a different course of action with the introduction of revised psalms and new hymns.
  • 3.2.      It should be pointed out that the APV Book of Praise was itself a vehicle for testing in the churches, much like the Augment before it and therefore the testing of new melodies and musical notations could still take place between 2010 and 2013. The publication of the APV was not a final decision, but a decision to begin another round of testing. Dunnville was not obligated to test the published changes in the worship services.
  • 3.3.      It would have been better, in hindsight, due to the extent of the changes and the disturbance they caused, for the SCBP to have included these matters in their Report to Synod Burlington 2010, so that the churches could have interacted with them before synod. Wherever there are changes which affect the singability of the Psalms or hymns, there should be transparency in reporting the proposed changes.

4.         Recommendations:

That Synod decide:

  • 4.1.      Regarding the request to restore the changed melodies to their previous state because of procedural matters: to deny the appeal of Dunnville.
  • 4.2.      Regarding the procedural matters: to agree with the church at Dunnville that a better course should have been followed.