Personal and cultural reflections, plus the District of Columbia and some Esperanto
Reviewing Hymns for a Pilgrim People, part 1
It’s red. Any successor to the Pilgrim Hymnal ought to be. (Though my copy — which, for some reason I left at work!? — is blue.)
It’s big. 37.6 ounces and — well — American-hymnal sized. These days, when I see something that large, I want to know what the battery life is. Apart from moving cases of hymnals, I never gave the issue much thought until a British Unitarian minister wondered “how can your elderly members hold them?” Since, I’ve grown to love the smaller formats of British hymnals, and I’m only 40 and arthritis-free.
It’s got tons of hymns, psalms and prayers. More about that later.
It’s inexpensive. Jaws dropped in the hymnal world when, in 1993, the Unitarian Universalist Hymns of the Living Tradition came in (and still is) at $28. This hymnal is $18, which is closer to what seems the norm.
It’s — uh — satisfactorily typeset. Just.Â Which is a shame, because the cover if substantial and attractive (if not my style; I think it will age badly.) Hymnals should be attractively typeset, to encourage esteem in the work and to match the beauty we (try to) bring to the playing and singing; saving money here seems a false economy when you consider the life of a hymnal. This and another GIA-published hymnal I own suffer from a plainness of typography that says to me “department report.” Perhaps it can be justified from a legibility standpoint. It is still better than the other Pilgrim Hymnal replacement, Hymns of Truth and Light which has a good selection of hymns and tunes, barely-adequate typesetting in the body of the book and eye-stabbingly-bad type in the indices. (I wonder if someone didn’t check a proof, or if something failed in press pre-flight.)
Author: Scott Wells
Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.
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