Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Let our rejoicing rise…
When Bishop Mary Glasspool made her Visitation to St. Barnabas in December, she sat down with the vestry after church. We talked about a wide range of topics, including how we might become a more racially diverse congregation. It was noted that a church’s choice of hymnals is now often raised as a key indicator of how inclusive a congregation is striving to become. Churches with copies of the Episcopal hymn book, Lift Every Voice and Sing, in the pews, for example, send a strong signal to Black parishioners and visitors, in particular, that their cultural heritage and religious experience is valued and honored in a very vocal and “hands-on” way. Taking its title from the beloved song lyrics of the same name by James Weldon Johnson, the hymnal’s collection of 280 songs covers a wide range of musical styles from the Historic Black Church that simply are not available to us in the familiar Hymnal 1982, including spirituals, traditional and contemporary gospel tunes, psalm settings, missionary and evangelistic hymns. At the conclusion of the conversation with Bp. Mary, it was decided to purchase 120 copies of the Lift Every Voice and Sing (LEVAS) hymnal as an affirmation of our collective intent, and because it is a really great hymn collection to draw upon as we seek to praise God through singing.
The new hymnals are on back order but are slated to arrive early March. In the meantime, if anyone would like to dedicate a copy of LEVAS in memory of a loved one or in honor of a special event such as a wedding anniversary or baptism, you are welcome to take this opportunity to do so. The hymnal dedications are $25 per copy and will be mounted on bookplates with customary elegance and care on the inside cover of the books.
Please click HERE to purchase Lift Every Voice and Sing.
Seeking to honor the spiritual health of our whole congregation,
Gareth Evans serves as the rector of St. Barnabas. He is an inspirational leader who brings significant pastoral experience, a depth of reverence in worship, and a relatable preaching style.