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Music in American Religious Experience$
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Philip V. Bohlman, Edith Blumhofer, and Maria Chow

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195173048

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173048.001.0001

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 “When in Our Music God Is Glorified”

 “When in Our Music God Is Glorified”

Singing and Singing about Singing in a Congregational Church

(p.195) 8 “When in Our Music God Is Glorified”
Music in American Religious Experience

Judith Gray

Oxford University Press

Drawing upon the participatory worship and ethnography of its author, this chapter considers the frequent use of hymns that use singing as a text about the sacredness of singing in the hymnody of the United Church of Christ. In both text and context, the Pilgrim Hymnal of the Congregational Church and the choices of congregation members illustrate the ways in which personal choices about music express communal concepts and practices of faith and worship. Statistical comparison is employed to follow patterns of song choice of the course of five years (1989-93) in the First Congregational Church of Washington, DC, thus illustrating the rich texture of hymn singing during the life and liturgy of the church itself. The chapter concludes that hymns allow worshipers to express thoughts and sentiments they would otherwise not express.

Keywords:   faith, hymn, liturgy, Pilgrim Hymnal, United Church of Christ, worship

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