WELS Hymnal Project

An Update from the Psalm Committee

It’s the home stretch. It’s really exciting.

We have chosen all of the Psalm settings for the hymnal. We have chosen all of the alternate settings for those Psalms as well. Congregations that like the current hymnal’s Psalm style will be able to find something for every service. Congregations that prefer metrical paraphrases or more lyrical settings will be able to find something as well. All of those settings can be found either in the hymnal or the Psalter. The electronic worship planning tool will aid in incorporating those in worship folders.

And we are 90% done with choosing all of the settings for the new WELS psalter. We are providing accessible settings for individuals, choirs, and congregations to chant or sing all 150 Psalms. It has been genuinely delightful to pore over thousands of settings, looking for things that the vast majority of people will be able to use.

The basic pattern of the psalter has come together. Each Psalm is printed in its entirety, and pointed to be chanted in the current CW style with familiar chant tones provided. A Psalm prayer is followed by an explanation of how the Church has used that Psalm through the ages, and then commentary on that particular Psalm from Martin Luther in a fresh translation. The settings follow, representing treasures old and new.

We have discovered well over 100 tunes for the metrical paraphrases. Many of them are new to WELS. Some of them are from previous WELS hymnals but are not in the current hymnal. Almost all of them will be printed in singable and playable four-part harmony.

We are aware of new settings being published even this year, and we are reviewing them as we have the opportunity. But the date is fast approaching when we are finished, and then the comprehensive new WELS psalter will be in your hands. We can hardly wait!

I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
Psalm 43:4b

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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