This summer a conference of Unitarian Universalist musicians and music lovers gathered in Baltimore, MD and online. We gathered to rebuild, to revision, and to reconnect. All of this reinvigorating happened thanks to the Association of Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries and the congregations that support this work (hint, hint, UUBerks is one of them).
Our spirits sang. They sang old songs and new songs. For some of us, our spirits sang songs that we don’t yet quite know yet. Sessions on song leading, song writing, and harmonizing all happened over the course of a few very hot days in July.
We’re planning to gather up many of those songs and some songs yet to be. You see, our current hymnal “Singing the Living Tradition,” was first published in 1993. That means we’re celebrating its 30th year in publication in 2023. So we’re also dreaming up what’s next. “Singing the Living Tradition” has some beautiful songs that can be caught and taught with our hearts. It also has some gaps. If you were alive in 1993, could you imagine exactly then what 2023 would feel like? From where we are now, can you imagine what 2053 will sound like? What songs will we need in 2053? How about what songs do we need now that aren’t in our current hymnal? Can you hear the songs that we reach for often?
The Unitarian Universalist Association is helping to resource and build what’s next. They’re bringing together voices from across our association. River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda Maryland’s own Director of Music, Clif Hardin, is one of the team on this new project. He put out a call during one of the sessions to every composer, lyricist, and everyone in our great faith community. He shared – “This is your chance! I believe everyone has at least one good song in them. There is spirit waiting to break through in all of us, if we are open to it.”
Yours in Song, Ebee Bromley, Director of Music