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Final discussion from Hope is our song Hymn conference, Wesley Broadway, Labour Weekend, 2009.

These are Notes taken by Katherine Chisholm,
with inserts from John Thornley in italics.
They are very preliminary and off-the-cuff comments, and Conference attendees will wish to add their own, either on this Noticeboard or when they report back to their church/community.
In the mean time John and Gillian are viewing 8 hours of videofilm, with the task of editing this down to a 30 minute DVD which will be mailed FREE to all Conference attendees – a Xmas present for all!
Opening remarks:
Clive Pearson

In NZ hymnody there is an emphasis on landscape. How do you create hymns in a Christian, secular, and multi-faith world? How do you get round ‘the guardians’? But remember guardians can be positive! Woo the guardians – include biblical and theological commentary to help them make connections. Proposal: group letter to e.g. Praise be. Public hymn singing: some of these hymns are secular hymns as well as church hymns e.g Anzac hymn, Peace chant. Don’t fret, again commentary can allay fears and make connections. There needs to be a ‘theological thickening’ of concept of Christ. Importance of singing words that are in danger of becoming extinct in the public domain e.g. grace, forgiveness.
(It may be helpful to write to the producers of Praise Be and Hymns for Sunday Morning. They may take more notice if it came after a group discussion at a local church level. There are other ways of obtaining more NZ hymns in these programmes. We have an opportunity to influence the selection of Praise Be, since its very format depends on its recording hymns out and in the community, and we can lobby/advocate for more NZ input, each and every time they do come our way!)
Jean and Jim Strathdee
Weekend has been humbling energizing, visionary experience
Remember that NZ songs are a gift to the world, and are alive and well in North America. Keep struggling to find your truth.
They treasure unity of thought, and appreciate support from people standing alongside. How do we know that what we’re doing makes a difference? Go ahead and do it anyway.
Susan Jacob
Read a poem written in response to the conference
(See this poem here )
Discussion was then opened to the floor:
-- Bill Wallace Bringing messages from outside the church. Lots of songs about soft justice – identifying oppressed. Tough justice – identifying oppressors (including ourselves). This is harder and will make you unpopular. A Challenge to hymnwriters: Singing hope can divert us from present situation. NZHBT – assessors are also contributors – this looks unjust from an outside perspective. Importance of giving feedback to younger, newer hymnwriters. Electronic publishing/ website would remove publishing pressure, and allow commentary, and feedback. Expressed concern about a Hole in the church – a crisis of spirituality, lack of mysticism. recognizes need for web
-- John Thornley this project may need to be passed to someone else! DVD of weekend being produced.
-- Gaynor McCartney Importance of maintaining communication between us. Will talk to JT. (As we can all see this one is already underway!!!)
-- Bill Bennett following Gaynor. How can I get feedback, how can I (or others) get hymns out there? (This is where Gaynor will explore, in consultation with others, how the Noticeboard site can facilitate sharing/testing words/tunes others have written)
No one here from theological colleges – how can we get them interested and involved?
-- Ann Perrin: came from a theological college, who did support her! Hole in this conference (and the one in Canberra) – that of training the trainers i.e. theological students. Congregational ministers need help in introducing new hymns. (One of the attendees at the Conference – name withheld at this stage – said they will approach their local theological college and offer, with no payment expected (perhaps a petrol voucher?) one hour a month for sharing and singing contemporary hymns (not just Trust stuff. This is an exciting offer!)
-- Robert Bruere Sad about amount of grey hair! How do we pass on to the younger generations?
-- Bronwyn Barless. Baptist. From that perspective: is this musical genre appropriate to all generations? Words are great – put them on the ‘net and let others react with them.
-- Faith Williamson. Outthinking Praise be. Yes! We need to do this, cleverly. Also give free copy of HIOS to each high school to get the words and music out there. (Free copies of COC could be given also to local schools. It is probably best to ensure that free resources will be used. Make contact with the key music people in your local school, and be sure they will make use of any free books or CD you give them, before you do so!)
-- Rob Ferguson. Will give 2 copies to his church organists and will sit down with them and ask them: come back in 3 weeks with 3 tunes you like and we will build service(s?) around them. Advice: ask them to play with the books!
-- Helene Mann. Hope there will be another conference. Requests – in South Island, and not on ‘bank holiday’ weekend.
-- Shirley Murray Alerted us to cultural stream of brass bands. They have a set hymn in each competition – anyone with contacts there should talk to them! Barry Brinson does!
-- John Murray Happiest about new book and people have come to celebrate. Just do it – make sure a new hymn is introduced in the next service. Understand fear – of new theology, of not being able to sing. Be pioneers, you have a vision. Agree with HM – next conference should be in Invercargill!
-- Marnie Barrell we need e-mail group, list. Need to bridge gap between young Christian musicians. They don’t probably need musical support, but can we provide theological input? Can we offer them anything?
Thanks to Katherine for excellent Notes, and allowing John to chip in with his tuppence worth!



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