One of the reports submitted to General Convention this year analyzes the interest in the Episcopal Church in revising the 1982 Hymnal. The task of doing the research was passed to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, and they've posted their long report on the Church Pension Group website. (See update below for more information regarding the report itself.)
The report contains information that might be surprising to some, but not to all. Robert Hendrikson blogs:
"The group that was most resistant to the idea of revising the hymnal are those under 29 years of age. They are the most resistant by a large percentage. The report concludes, on page 57,
‘Respondents in their twenties and younger are statistically different than the rest of the respondents, reporting the least interest in desiring worship music to reflect their personal musical tastes. This proves counter to the ‘common knowledge’ theory that younger congregants are looking for a more modern or popular-music experience at church.’
The survey found that those ‘whose age is significantly above or below 50 are less likely to support revision. Middle-aged Episcopalians are more supportive of revision than younger and older Episcopalians.’
Among clergy, the numbers are striking, ‘Specifically, both the youngest and oldest clerics tend to be more opposed to revision, while middle-aged clergy are more favorably disposed. Clergy who are younger than 30, in fact, are nearly two-thirds in opposition to revision.’"
There was strong support from female clergy for revising the language of the hymns, and less from the male clergy. There was no gender based difference among the laity who filled out the survey.
More from the Curate's Desk blog here.
Go read the blog analysis. And then come back and tell us what you think.
UPDATE: A clarification on the authors of the report; the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music asked the Church Pension Fund's research group to conduct the study on its behalf, and it is that group that developed and administered the surveys, and wrote the report that is posted on the Church Pension Group website.