The Hymnal of The First Baptist Church
Throughout its over 150-year history, First Baptist Church has consistently prepared thoughtful worship experiences and offerings of which the finest music has always been an integral part. Such thoughtfulness has borne fruit in the congregation’s attitude toward hymnody.
In the 1990s, as the church began to redefine its denominational identity and maintained its liturgical Charleston worship style, the congregation became a melting pot of traditions, and subsequently of worship backgrounds. These changing trends, coupled with the church’s consistent exposure to contemporary hymnody, made the task of replacing our aging hymnal with an adequate commercially produced hymnal an impossibility. A hymnal designed both for and by our congregation and staff clearly seemed to be a logical progression and good stewardship of the church’s resources and talents.
With the blessing of the Music Committee, work on the collection began in 2004. The Music Committee approved an organizational structure of thematic headings, choosing to divide the hymnal into two major sections. The first would trace the life of Christ through the Church Year. The second would include topical hymns for specific acts of worship.
In 2005, the Music Committee charged the Ministerial Staff to prepare a list of new material to supplement the congregation’s current vocabulary of hymnody. Not simply choosing favorites, the staff filled deficiencies in the thematic headings, particularly those dealing with the Baptism and Communion. The resulting 453-title collection is a diverse one that is specifically tailored for the worship needs of our congregation.
The Hymnal of the First Baptist Church was dedicated in the spring of 2006 as part of the year-long celebration of the church’s sesquicentennial anniversary.