NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The new 2008 Baptist Hymnal made its official debut during a morning worship Aug. 8 at LifeWay Christian Resources' home office in Nashville, Tenn., and again that evening at the city's renowned Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
The 2008 Baptist Hymnal is published by LifeWay Worship, the music area of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
LifeWay President Thom S. Rainer said, "Two and a half years ago [LifeWay Worship director] Mike Harland came into my office and talked about a plan and a vision of creating a new hymnal and a new Worship Project that would help churches craft their worship experiences. I sensed that it was truly a God thing. Today, we have reason to celebrate God's goodness with the dedication of this new hymnal."
Harland led in the singing of the first hymn in the new hymnal, "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty," then introduced a number of hymn writers and composers on hand for the debut, including Buryl Red and Keith and Kristyn Getty.
Red, of New York City, was the music writer of "In Remembrance," one of the songs included in the hymnal from the LifeWay-published musical "Celebrate Life." He said the text of the song "calls us to remember the past, observe the present and commit to the future."
"When I saw the words to that song, the music came to me immediately," Red said. "I'm honored and blessed to have been able to be involved with writing and composing that song [with Ragan Courtney]."
Introducing the Gettys, Harland called them, along with their co-writer Stuart Townend, "some of the most anointed hymn writers today."
The Gettys, originally from Ireland but now living in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, have been a part of the creation of the new Baptist Hymnal and the upcoming Worship Project since its inception.
Keith Getty said, "It's been such an honor to be involved and our thanks to all who've worked on this whole project. It's our goal to write hymns with two purposes -– to honor God and to bring generations together through singing these songs of worship."
The Nashville Praise Symphony accompanied the evening event, led by Camp Kirkland, a Christian musician, educator, arranger and orchestrator from Franklin, Tenn. The Tennessee Baptist Men's Chorale, under the direction of Wayne Causey, sang a variety of sacred selections and served as the lead worship choir for the evening.
LifeWay employees and guests at the Schermerhorn Center joined in singing a range of hymns from the new Baptist Hymnal, including songs of collective worship, modern hymnody and a gospel medley. Worship leader Travis Cottrell led a medley of contemporary worship songs and Harland closed by leading the congregation in a dedicatory hymn: "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross."
"If the recognition of this project only brings honor and attention to us, it's not what we hoped," Harland said. "It's all to point people to God."
Polly House is a corporate communications specialist with LifeWay Christian Resources. For more information about the new Baptist Hymnal and the upcoming Worship Project, go to www.lifewayworship.com. To see a previous Baptist Press report about the hymnal's titles and theology, go here