“Rockin’ at Rockville”

On Saturday, June 15, a small but enthusiastic group of Presbyterians were introduced to the new Presbyterian hymnal “Glory to God” at the Memorial Presbyterian Church in Rockville.  In a large sanctuary with beautiful organ and piano instruments available, two doctoral students at the Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music helped show the new possibilities of using the hymnal–even in smaller congregations.

The Rockville Church has known great “days of glory” in the past, but presently struggles to attract newer and younger participants in a largely rural county with declining population.   Brian McNulty and Brian Mueller, along with Hymnal Advocate Rev. Tim Jessen, introduced ways to use contemporary music in exciting and innovative ways.   At one point, participants joined in praising God with drums and other percussion instruments, including an ordinary cast-iron frying pan.

The new hymnbook will include “old favorites,”  (and some omitted from recent denominational hymnals), as  well as new songs and hymns from around the globe.   Though participation in the two workshops to introduce the Hymnal in Ohio Valley was smaller in terms of both the number of  congregations and participants represented, those who attended were enthused, encouraged, and ready to sing joyfully “new (and old) songs of praise.”

Indeed, they were really “Rockin’ at Rockville” and enjoying the joy of music in praise.    It was heartwarming to see one of our smaller membership congregations provide such gracious and welcoming hospitality.

Thus far,  events have been held in Rockville and Jeffersonville, with a Region presentation earlier in Bloomington.  An additional workshop can be planned for the Evansville area, if there is enough interest.

Tim Jessen , Hymnal Advocate, Presbytery of Ohio Valley