16 Jul GS 2016 art 122
GS 2016 Article 122 – Appeals and letters re: GS 2013 Art. 124, 173 (SCBP Mandates)
Advisory Committee 4 presented its report. The report was discussed. During discussion the following amendments were moved and seconded:
- To remove
- “To instruct the SCBP to seek, receive, evaluate and recommend proposals for changes to the hymn section to be compiled for possible submission to a future Synod.”
- To replace
- “4.1 That General Synod 2013 erred in directing the churches to propose changes to the hymn section of the Book of Praise by way of overtures to the minor assemblies instead of by the long-standing practice of directly addressing the SCBP.”
- “4.1 To uphold the appeals and revert to the long-standing practice of having churches directly address the SCBP.”
- 1.1 Appeals from the following CanRC: Burlington-Fellowship (22.214.171.124), Toronto-Bethel (126.96.36.199), Hamilton-Blessings (188.8.131.52)
- 1.2 Letters from the following CanRC: Glanbrook-Trinity (184.108.40.206), Cloverdale (220.127.116.11)
- 2.1 The appeals and letters deal with the general mandate of the Standing Committee for the Publication of the Book of Praise (SCBP) as well as with whether or not the SCBP should be given a renewed hymn mandate. Because these matters overlap, they can be dealt with together.
- 2.2 GS 2010 (Art. 142) gave the SCBP a mandate which included the following: “To instruct the SCBP to seek receive, evaluate and recommend additional hymns to be compiled and proposed at a future date for testing by the churches and for possible recommendation to a future Synod.” They considered that “the adopting of a definitive Book of Praise at this time does not exclude that more hymns may be submitted and examined by the SCBP and tested by the churches in a supplement and added in a future edition of the Book of Praise.”
- 2.3 The SCBP reported to GS 2013 that due to its heavy workload it was “unable to engage meaningfully with this part of its mandate.” The SCBP “wishes to stress that, once the 2013 edition of the Book of Praise is complete, it looks forward to be able to devote more time and energy on this part of the mandate in the future.”
- 2.4 In its report to GS 2013, the SCBP requested the following mandate with respect to the hymns:
- 2.4.1 To instruct the SCBP to seek, receive, evaluate and recommend additional hymns to be compiled and proposed at a future date for testing by the churches and for possible recommendation to a future synod;
- 2.4.2 To instruct the SCBP upon request to make available to churches the songs which have previously been reviewed.
- 2.5 GS 2013 (Art. 173) decided “not to renew the mandate of the SCBP given in Article 142 of Synod Burlington 2010 but to direct the churches which desire the addition of hew hymns to take their proposals through the ecclesiastical route.”
- 2.6 GS 2013 (Art. 124) further decided “that all requests concerning factual errors, grammatical, typographical or other minor stylistic matters throughout the Book of Praise may be addressed by individuals or churches to the SCBP for its consideration and possible suggestion for change to a future synod. All requests concerning other changes to the contents of the Book of Praise (e.g. translation of confessions, changes to metrical psalms, rewording and rhyming of psalms and hymns, changes to liturgical forms) need to arise out of the churches in the ecclesiastical way, namely from classis to regional synod and general synod.”
- 2.7 In its report to GS 2016, the SCBP “requests that the mandate to receive, scrutinize and evaluate the contents of correspondence from the churches be continued and to report to the next General Synod as to the validity of the suggestions made.”
- 2.8 Toronto-Bethel considered that the SCBP has the expertise and experience necessary to deal with songs and music; that the churches have a committee for reviewing hymns (namely, the SCBP); and that the GS 2013 decision is premature since the SCBP did not complete the mandate of GS 2010. Toronto-Bethel recommends that GS 2016:
- 2.8.1 Reconsider Art. 173 of GS 2013;
- 2.8.2 Direct the churches to submit their proposals for new hymns directly to the SCBP;
- 2.8.3 Instruct the SCBP to seek, receive, evaluate and recommend additional hymns to be compiled and proposed at a future date for testing by the churches and for possible recommendation to a future Synod; and
- 2.8.4 Instruct the SCBP to submit a report on its work to the next general synod.
- 2.9 Burlington-Fellowship and Hamilton-Blessings use similar grounds as Toronto-Bethel in appealing GS 2013 Art. 125. These churches ask GS 2016:
- 2.9.1 To judge that GS 2013 erred in directing churches to propose changes to the hymn section of the Book of Praise by way of overtures to the minor assemblies instead of by the long-standing practice of directly addressing the SCBP. As additional ground, the churches state that the matter of the Book of Praise belongs to the churches in common and that GS 2013 was wrong to direct the minor assemblies to deal with proposals concerning it;
- 2.9.2 To mandate SCBP to work with the churches towards a new augment, expanding and revising the present hymn selection for review in the churches, and to include in this expansion a selection of traditional and contemporary hymns;
- 2.9.3 To renew the mandate of GS 2007: “to also review the suitability of individual hymns that we already have in our Book of Praise, for possible change, deletion, or improvement.”
- 2.10 Cloverdale and Glanbrook-Trinity support a return to a mandate which allows churches to submit proposed changes to the Book of Praise directly to the SCBP.
- 3.1 The SCBP requested that the mandate to deal with correspondence from the churches be renewed and that they report to the next general synod as to the validity of suggestions made. Synod considers this to be a valid request.
- 3.2 Burlington-Fellowship and Hamilton-Blessings correctly point out that the mandate given to the SCBP by GS 2010 was the same as the mandate given by GS 2001 and subsequent synods. Toronto-Bethel is correct in pointing out that the SCBP in 2013 asked to have this mandate renewed, and indicated its desire to take up this as yet unfulfilled part of their mandate from 2010. GS 2010 considered that the completion of the new edition of the Book of Praise doesn’t necessarily exclude continuing to search for additional hymns.
- 3.3 The contents of the Book of Praise are indeed a matter of the churches in common (CO 30, 55). Because of this, the SCBP has been appointed to deal with matters relating to the Book of Praise. Therefore, any proposals to change the hymn section of the Book of Praise should be considered by the SCBP. Before any such proposals are adopted, they would need to be approved by a general synod. This assembly would decide what will be changed, and when any changes will be implemented.
- 3.4 Historically, the SCBP has been mandated to involve the churches in submitting, testing and evaluating any proposed changes to the hymn section. Churches will have ample opportunity to express their desires and opinions regarding any modifications, additions or deletions, as well as when they would be printed in the Book of Praise.
- 3.5 Members of the SCBP are selected on the basis of some expertise in music, liturgy, theology and language and thus are best suited to review and recommend proposed additional hymns.
- 3.6 The churches that submitted appeals are correct in pointing out that time and energy will be spent receiving and reviewing hymns regardless of which route is followed. Synod considers that it is a more efficient use of time to have the SCBP deal with these matters.
- 3.7 Burlington-Fellowship’s request to mandate the SCBP to work towards a new augment goes beyond the appeal as it introduces a new element into the mandate.
That Synod decide:
- 4.1 To uphold the appeals and revert to the long-standing practice of having churches directly address the Standing Committee for the Publication of the Book of Praise (SCBP).
- 4.2 To include in the mandate of the SCBP (see GS 2016 Art. 127):
- 4.2.1 To receive, scrutinize and evaluate the contents of correspondence from the churches and report to the next General Synod as to the validity of the suggestions made.
- 4.2.2 To instruct the SCBP to seek, receive, evaluate and recommend proposals for changes to the hymn section to be compiled for possible submission to a future Synod.