“Peacocks” led the singing from the new Presbyterian hymnal, Glory to God, at the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation's breakfast for 125 people Wednesday (July 4) at the 220th General Assembly.
David Eicher, editor of Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal, thanked the 15 members of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song (PCOCS) for their nearly four years of service. They are called peacocks as a play on the committee's acronym.
Committee member the Rev. Eric Myers, pastor of Frederick (Md.) Presbyterian Church, reflected on the emotional impact of singing hymns during the selection process, particularly “God, the Sculptor of the Mountains.” He said he was so struck by the beautiful imagery and the impact it may have on congregations, that he had trouble singing it.
“I was caught in a moment and excited for the church,” Myers said. “I was overwhelmed by the promise of the gift this (hymnal) will be for the church, not from us, but from God.”
The Rev. Michael Waschevski, associate pastor serving First Presbyterian Church, Ft. Worth, Texas, described the process of selecting hymns and songs.
“We made a decision early on … that we didn't want to know who wrote them,” Waschevski said, adding that when they considered one hymn written by his college roommate, he couldn't tell anyone.
“It made it in as hymn number 30.”
That hymn, “God, Be the Love to Search and Keep Me,” is found in the sampler. Some texts and tunes were even written by people gathered at the committee's table during the selection process, according to Waschevski.
“This has been a very spiritual process,” said the Rev. Meg Flannagan, Hymnal Advocacy and Relations Coordinator for PPC. “It has been very respectful … loving and worshipful.”
Following the songs and hymns, breakfast goers heard recommendations from a list of the new book titles published by PPC. Two of the titles recommended by the Rev. David Maxwell, executive editor for Geneva Press and TheThoughtfulChristian.com, included Selected to Serve: A Guide for Church Leaders and A Sustainable Presbyterian Future: What's Working and Why.