Singing the Faith was published in 2011 as Methodism’s authorised hymnal, in succession to Hymns & Psalms (1983). It began life in 2004 as a Methodist Publishing House project to supplement H&P, but in 2007, the Methodist Conference approved the creation of a complete new hymnal instead. It was compiled by the conference-appointed Music Resources Group (MRG), chaired by the Rev. Barbara Bircumshaw and under the general editorship of Professor Peter Brophy. The arguments for a new hymnal included the Church’s need to respond to the increased diversity of musical styles used within worship since the publication of H&P. In particular, there was a strong desire to affirm new hymns worship songs, global hymnody and the contributions of distinctive religious communities such as Iona and Taizé as part of Methodism’s authorised hymnody.
Singing the Faith contains 790 items set to music as well as a broad selection of text-only canticles and psalms. The hymns and songs range from translations of the earliest Christian hymns to material written in the first decade of the twenty-first century and include contributions from around the world, with texts in Greek, Latin, Siswati, Spanish and Xhosa as well as English. Over forty liturgical settings are included, providing material for Eucharistic liturgies, prayer responses etc.
Many traditional texts were revised in accordance with a policy to avoid the use of gender-exclusive language in relation to humans. However, this could not be applied universally due to copyright restrictions imposed by some contemporary authors. Similarly, a decision was taken to modernise archaic language where possible. Musically, many new tunes and arrangements were provided. A guiding principle was the need to enable musicians to realise unfamiliar material effectively from the score.
The Methodist Church maintains a website, Singing the Faith Plus <http://www.singingthefaithplus.org.uk/>, containing guidance on using the hymnal.