The new official Hymnbook of the Reformed Church in Hungary is now out. The publication contains 210 new hymns and will be available from 27 September. The volume marks the end of a more than ten-year process.
The new Reformed hymnal is available from Monday 27 September. The Hymnary is also available in digital form at https://enekeskonyv.reformatus.hu and will soon be accessible as a mobile phone app.
The book will be the official hymnal of RCH from the first Sunday of Advent, 28 November, as decided by the Synod of the Reformed Church of Hungary at its meeting on 24 September. Tamás Bódiss, head of the National Church Music Office of the Synod Office, told us about the publication of the new hymnal:
"Our new hymnal, with its renewed content and a revised order, intends to help fulfil the liturgical function of singing (praise) at the church services and celebrate with active participation the order of the service and the festive seasons of the church year. We have deleted hymns that are not in use, kept all well-known hymns in use, adapting their score and wording where necessary. Regarding the less known but valuable pieces, we have tried to increase their future use by adapting the text and melody, and finally we have added new hymns to the hymnal, both those already known and requested by the communities, and those that enrich the existing hymnary in terms of thematic variety and style. Our thanks go to all those who have worked so hard to compile the hymnbook. May this new hymnal be God's instrument for the renewal of our church and our congregations."
The hymnal contains all the hymns of the previous edition, with the exception of the fifty-five least frequently used hymns of the previous version. In order to make it easier for readers who used to the numbering of the previous hymnal to find their way around the new book, the authors have included a comparative table.
Over the last century, our hymnal has been one of the most authentic and proudly representative works of the Reformed Church in Hungary. Nevertheless, renewal and re-edition was long overdue. As Károly Fekete, Bishop of the Transtibiscan Reformed Church District (Debrecen), pointed out:
"Seventy years have passed since 1948, which is a very long time considering the changes in the way of singing in the church. It is our hope that our church will learn from the possible debates and controversies of this era and from the sense of lack of a renewed hymnal. By structuring and numbering the hymns according to different categories, which invites further extension and change of the hymnal, we wish to encourage our community to own it and not to wait as long as we did with re-editing the hymnal, and the future shaping of it, based on the experience during the use."
The renewal of the hymnal was coordinated by the Liturgical and Hymnological Committee of the General Convent of the Common Synod of the Hungarian reformed church in the Carpathian Basin. The publication was officially approved by the Synod of the Reformed Church in Hungary in 2019. As decided at the recent Synod meeting on 24 September, the new Hymnary will officially introduced and used by congregation at the beginning of the new Church Year, the first Sunday of Advent.