Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations are invited to join the spirit of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) (GA223) by singing a hymn commissioned for the assembly during their June 17 worship services. The assembly convenes on June 16 and on the next day assembly-goers will visit churches throughout the St. Louis area for morning worship.

The new hymn,“Draw the Welcome Circle Wider,” by noted Presbyterian hymn-writer Mary Louise Bringle, was commissioned by the GA223’s Committee on Local Arrangements (COLA). Presbyterians are well acquainted with Mel Bringle through her hymns, her teaching at conferences, and her service as chair of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, which produced Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal.

Mary Louise (Mel) Bringle, writer of the new hymn commissioned for the 223rd General Assembly (2018).

Mary Louise (Mel) Bringle, writer of the new hymn commissioned for the 223rd General Assembly (2018). —Photo from Brevard College,

Sung to the familiar tune BEACH SPRING—accompaniment for the tune may be found at #490, 498, or 716 in Glory to God—the new hymn incorporates the GA’s theme, “Renewing the Vision: Kindom Building for the Twenty-first Century,” with biblical metaphors, social justice themes, and even a surprising nod to the GA’s location in St. Louis.

Through an arrangement with GIA Publications, Inc, the copyright holder of the hymn, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians (PAM) has made arrangements for local congregations to be able to download, print, and use the hymn in worship services while GA223 is in session. It may be accessed on the PAM website at

Please note that copyright restrictions prohibit the song from being posted directly on FaceBook or another website.

Churches wishing to use “Draw the Welcome Circle Wider”after June 17 are asked to secure permission through ONE LICENSE ( for congregational reprints. GIA will publish the hymn in an anthology later this year.

The Presbyterian Association of Musicians says, “We hope that you will be able to connect with General Assembly by using this hymn in your worship services on June 17!”

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