WELS Hymnal Project

More Options with More Psalms

I am not sure what my pastor will do a decade from now.

On this past Easter Sunday, he chose to have the choir sing the Psalm. It was Psalm 118, which will continue to be the appointed Psalm for Easter in the new lectionary. The choir piece had the refrain, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” The words of the piece were printed in the bulletin.

On most Sundays, my pastor prints the Psalm in the service folder for the congregation to sing. Sometimes, when the Psalm is from the hymnal, he simply prints the page number in the service folder, and we all turn there in the hymnal.

When the new hymnal is published we hope to give my pastor the same option. There will be Psalms printed in the hymnal, and a Pastor will be able to direct the congregation to turn to that place. We are working on ways to make that process a little less confusing than it can be now.

We also hope to give my pastor an option that he does not have now. We would like to print a book of psalm settings, called a Psalter, and have that available for congregations to have in their worship spaces. It will contain the psalm settings in the hymnal, but will also have a wider variety of psalm settings to choose from. Congregations that have both hymnals and supplements in their pew racks now should find it easy to transition to having a hymnal and a psalter there.

Individuals who want to pray through the Psalms for their personal devotions might enjoy using the psalter, since it will contain all 150 Psalms and have suggestions for personal devotional use.

If my pastor continues to print everything in a paper bulletin, or even if he switches to projecting everything on a screen, we hope to make even more settings beyond those found in the hymnal or psalter available digitally.

Perhaps neither I nor my pastor will be alive a decade from now. But the Word of God remains eternally, and because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done" (Psalm 118:17).

About Paul Prange

Rev. Paul Prange is the Psalmody Committee Chairman for the WELS Hymnal Project. He currently serves as the WELS Administrator for Ministerial Education. Prange has served congregations in Austin, TX, Roscommon, MI, and on the Apache reservations in Arizona. Prange and his wife, Leanne, raised three children in Saginaw, MI, where Prange served for fifteen years as president of Michigan Lutheran Seminary.


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