Many Voices, One Song is an effort of the Presbyterian Hymnal Project. It seeks to have Presbyterian congregations sing a common hymn in worship on selected dates.
“We want to do this to put attention on congregational song,” said the Rev. Meg Flannagan, hymnal advocacy and relations coordinator for the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC), which will publish a new Presbyterian hymnal in 2014.
Flannagan said many Presbyterians are also “feeling a need to bring our voices together” in this time of ferment in the church.
The selected hymns coincide with liturgical holidays and are probably ones that congregations would have sung on those days anyway, Flannagan said.
For example, the common hymn for Oct. 30 (Reformation Sunday) is “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”
“I sincerely hope that this is an opportunity for us to think about who we are spiritually and theologically,” Flannagan said.
The Hymnal Project is asking participating congregations to take pictures or record video of the sing-along in their churches. These will then be shared on the PPC’s YouTube channel.
Three yoked Presbyterian churches in West Virginia — Alexander Memorial, Liberty and Baxter — will be among those participating. Agnes Doyle-Kalland, piano player for two of the congregations, heard about the sing-along from the Presbytery of West Virginia and thought it sounded like a good idea.
“Little churches don’t get to be in everything,” she said. “This is something that our little church could be a part of the larger church.”
Flannagan is hoping to see the songs sung in a variety of worship spaces, from sanctuaries to pubs. She said she hopes mission co-workers can also share in the sing-along with their local partners.
“Hopefully on these days, people can stand up and sing and hear other Presbyterians and Christians singing around the world,” she said.
For a full list of sing-along dates and selected songs, visit the Presbyterian Hymnal Project website.