When it comes to liturgy, I’m a completionist, meaning I want to make use of all the legitimate options afforded in the Prayer Book in their proper times.  That means I want to say the Daily Offices and minor offices every day (not that my success rate is so high yet), and use each choice of prayer and canticle at appropriate opportunities.

I’m also a completionist when it comes to Bible-reading, and that includes the Ecclesiastical Books.  That’s why I made a supplementary lectionary (best used in Midday Prayer) to cover the various corners of the Bible that the Daily Office Lectionary had to leave out.  (I recently discovered that I’d neglected to fill in the missing chapters of Ezekiel, so I updated the file!)

And so, in this mindset I set out, a couple years ago, to figure out how I could accomplish a similar mission: sing all the hymns in the hymnal!  I made a rough year-long plan using the 1940 hymnal, which I can share if you really want it, though it is definitely quirky and personalized.  And when my congregation and I got our hands on the 2017 hymnal I began the slow process of starting all over again, aiming to make a cleaner, simpler, more logical plan for Daily Hymnody that could be used by anybody.  It took quite some time to “get it right” but now I’m happy to release:

for the Book of Common Praise (2017) and the Book of Common Prayer (2019)
(formatted to be printed in “booklet” format if you’ve got a fancy printer)
(formatted to be printed as double-sided landscape that you can fold into a booklet)

Here are some explanatory notes of how this works.

Morning & Evening Hymns

The collection of Morning Hymns and Evening Hymns are treated separately.  They are placed on their own rotations (two-week and one-month, respectively), and thus will be sung several times in a given year.  Especially memorable or historical hymns are repeated more often in these cycles, to avoid awkward 17-day cycles or something silly like that.  Their frequent repetition also allows them to be replaced if there happens to be a large number of Daily Hymns in a given day.

How the Daily Hymns Work

The liturgical calendar has both fixed-date feasts (like Christmas) and moveable feasts (like Easter), which necessitates a daily hymnody plan that operates on both calendar styles in tandem.  This is managed by presenting hymns for fixed dates in either a parallel column or at the bottom of the page near the moveable-date hymns they’ll typically line up with.

As I mentioned in my review of the 2019 hymnal, there are more hymns in here that fit Advent and Lent compared to other books, making this project a lot easier than its 1940 hymnal version.  And, I think, more satisfying to use.  Here’s a quick commentary on how this order for Daily Hymnody uses the 2019 hymnal.

The Advent Hymns (#1-26) are spread throughout the Advent season, generally matched to the theme of the Collect each week.

The Christmas Hymns (#27-82) are sung through most of the 40 days from Christmas Eve until February 2nd (the feast of The Presentation).  Hymns that reference “today” or “this happy morn!” are placed earlier, in the actual twelve days of Christmas.  Hymns that pay particular attention to Mary are placed later, as a topical lead-up to the Presentation.

The Epiphany Hymns (#83-94) are sung January 6th through 11th.

The Lent Hymns (#95-104) are sung in the first week and a half of the season.  The Passiontide Hymns (#105-122) cover Holy Week, and also most of weeks 4 & 5.

The Easter Hymns (#123-146) are sung through Easter Week and the beginning of each subsequent week in Eastertide.  The Rogation Day Hymns (#147-8) are on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Ascension.

The Ascension Hymns (#149-161) cover the ten day of that period, and the Pentecost Hymns (#162-166) cover most of Pentecost Week.  The Trinity Sunday hymn is appointed on its Eve.

The various Saints Days hymns (#168-198) are appointed on their proper (or similar) days.  This includes a couple extra saints days and an All Saints’ Week November 1st-7th, using the Burial Hymns (#318-320) to add an “All Souls” flavor along the way.

The Thanksgiving Hymns (#199-209) are sung on November 21st-29th, ensuring that Thanksgiving Day will be enveloped in that spread of time.

The National Hymns (#210-218) are appointed for Memorial Day, July 1st-4th (covering both Canada Day and Independence Day), and November 8th-11th (giving a lead-up to Veteran’s/Remembrance Day).

The Baptism Hymns (#252-262) adorn the Sundays “Proper 8” through Proper 18 (basically all summer).  The Confirmation Hymns (#300-305) cover Propers 19-23 (and December 5th, because that’s my confirmation anniversary), and the Church Dedication Hymns (#313-317) finish the line on Proper Sundays 24-28.  The Sundays through this time of year also have General Hymn appointed, specially chosen to match its Collect of the Day.

The Communion Hymns (#263-299) are sung on nearly every Thursday from Maundy Thursday through Advent.

The Matrimony Hymns (#306-308) are appointed for the 5th of June and August, highlighting the popular “wedding season” in our culture today.  The Ordination Hymns (#309-312) are sung on the Wednesday of each set of Ember Days throughout the year.

The General Hymns, then, fill out the remaining gaps in the church year.

  • The Trinity section is mostly devoted to Trinity Sunday and the weekdays following.
  • Most of the “Praise to God” and “… God’s Works” section occupies Fridays & Saturdays from Proper 7-17.
  • Most of the “Jesus: Advent” section is sung in the days leading up to the First Sunday in Advent.
  • Most of the “Name…” and “Life & Ministry of Jesus” sections are sung in Epiphany 4-8 (Proper 3-7), with a few entries dotting the final days before Lent, a day in Eastertide, and a few in the week of Proper 8.
  • The “Mission” hymns cover Thursdays in Epiphany 4-7 or Proper 3-6.
  • The “Praise of Jesus” section mostly fills out Eastertide.
  • Most of the “Penitence” section is sung through the middle of Lent.
  • The “Jesus: Helper” section covers Mondays through Wednesdays in the weeks of Propers 9-13.  This is continued with the Holy Spirit, Holy Scripture, and Church sections, taking you to Proper 18.
  • Starting with the week of Proper 18, the split between MTW and FS ends.  The “Christian Vocation” section covers most of 18, “Christian Walk” is sung through Proper 22, continued by “Christian Warfare” and “Christian Duty” through Proper 25.
  • Propers 26-29 end the church year with the “Kingdom of God” and “Church Triumphant” sections.

Anyway, the two links above will get you booklets that give you these orderings in a neat and readable fashion.  I just offer this explanation as background for the curious.  Go, sing, worship, enjoy!

14 thoughts on “Sing the Hymnal in a Year!

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