Archive for the ‘Christian Gregor’ Tag

Continuity and Adaptation: Moravians, 1923-1994   3 comments

Hymnals

Above:  My Copies of the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923), the Moravian Youth Hymnal (1942), the Moravian Youth Hymnal (1961), and the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969), February 20, 2015

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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LITURGY IN THE MORAVIAN CHURCH IN AMERICA, PART IV

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Throughout, the revisers have striven to maintain the high standards and noble ideals handed down in the worship-song of the Moravian Church.

Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923), page 5

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I.  PREFACE AND INTRODUCTION

This post stands in lineage with the Preface and Parts I, II, and III.

With this post I enter the phase of this series in which I operate almost entirely from hardcopy sources.  This reality appeals to me, for I relate better to a book than to a PDF file of a book.  I prefer paper to a screen any day.  And I can open two books and compare them side-by-side more easily than I can compare pages on PDF files on the same computer.

The Moravian Church in America published two major liturgical books-hymnals–in 1923 and 1969–and two youth hymnals-songbooks during the span of time this post covers.  The two provinces usually succeeded in balancing quality of texts and music on one hand and cultural popularity of style on the other.

II.  HYMNAL AND LITURGIES OF THE MORAVIAN CHURCH (UNITAS FRATRUM) (1923)

Hymnal and Liturgies (1923)

Above:  My Copy of the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923), February 20, 2015

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Perhaps the best way to commence an analysis of the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923) is with its appearance.  The gold-embossed letters in an ornate font set against a black cover proclaim a strong sense of reverence for God and the worship thereof.  Fortunately, most of the content is consistent with the formality of the external font.  Unfortunately, some of the content is inconsistent with the formality of the external font.

Next I move along to the Liturgy, which occupies pages 11-171.  Most of the content is identical to that of the 1890 expanded version of the 1876 Liturgy from the Liturgy and Hymns.  Some notable differences exist, however:

  1. The Lord’s Supper service permits the use of individual cups.
  2. The Communion for the Sick has become the Private Celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
  3. Language in some rituals indicates the influence of the American Standard Version of the Bible (1901).
  4. The new Special Services section includes four new services:  Missionary, Patriotic, For Schools and Colleges, and the Office for the Service Preparatory to the Holy Communion.
  5. There is a second rite for the Burial of the Dead.
  6. The Liturgical Service in Memory of the Martyrs has become the rite for All Saints’ Day.
  7. The service for a Day of Humiliation and Prayer has departed the Services for the Church Seasons section for the new Special Services section.
  8. The service for the First Sunday in Advent also fits the Third and Fourth Sundays in that season as well as Palm Sunday.  (The Second Sunday in Advent retains a separate service.)
  9. The Communion Liturgies section has become the Communion Hymns section.

Of all of these changes, the one which arches my eyebrows the most is the fact that the service for three of the four Sundays in Advent applies also to Palm Sunday.  I, as an Episcopalian who uses The Book of Common Prayer (1979), am accustomed to a Palm Sunday ritual unique to that day.  The Moravian service in questions sounds like Advent, for it includes the hymn “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” and sounds like Palm Sunday, for it includes the hymn “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed” and Isaiah 42:3 (Authorized Version):

A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench; He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

The Patriotic service (pages 79-81) replaces Office of Worship XXXI (pages 31 and 32 of the Offices of Worship and Hymns, 1891).  The new service replaces a certain prayer, the one with the morally troublesome petition to learn “submit ourselves to every ordinance of man” for God’s sake.  That prayer, in full is:

Watch graciously over all governments; establish them in truth and righteousness, and give them thoughts of peace.  Bless the President of the United States and both Houses of Congress; the Governor and Legislature of this Commonwealth, and all others that are in authority; and grant us to lead under them a quiet and a peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  Teach us to submit ourselves to every ordinance of man for Thy sake; and to seek the peace of the places where we dwell.  Give prosperity, O God, to this land, and salvation to all its people.

Offices of Worship and Hymns (With Tunes) (1891), page 32

Is there no exemption for civil disobedience against Jim Crow laws and genocidal dictators?  The replacement prayer is still troublesome from a post-Watergate perspective, however:

Bless the President of the United States and both Houses of Congress, the Governor and Legislature of this Commonwealth, and all others that are in authority.  Protect them from violence, and fill the hearts of the people with reverence and love for those who, as the ministers of God, have been set for the punishment of evil-doers and the praise of them that do well.  Raise up for us shepherds that shall perform Thy pleasure, who, in patience and fortitude, shall stay themselves upon their God.

The Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923), page 80

The Hymnal and Liturgies (1923) includes a lectionary table, a list of the festivals of the church year, 25 chants and responses, 952 hymns, and several indices.  The topically arranged hymns include a healthy representation of the output of Moravian authors, translators, and composers as well as products from ecumenical hymnody.

The hymns range from the old to the more recent, “recent” meaning the author, translator, or composer was alive in 1923.  Most of the hymn content of the book, however, comes from people who died before that year.  And the quality of texts ranges from John Mason Neale (1818-1866) translations of Greek and Latin hymns on the high end to Frances Jane Van Alstyne (Fanny J. Crosby) (1820-1915) hymns on the low end, with “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know” occupying room in the middle (closer to Crosby than to Neale).

The format of the hymn section is old-fashioned by contemporary standards.  The musical systems contain the first verse only, so the other verses fill space below the systems.  This is a format consistent with practice of the time.  I have identified it in other volumes dating from 1895 to 1918 in my collection.  I have also noticed a different format–placing more or all verses inside the systems–in denominational hymnals as early as 1918.

III.  MORAVIAN YOUTH HYMNAL (1942-1961)

Moravian Youth Hymnals

Above:  My Copies of the 1942 and 1961 Editions of the Moravian Youth Hymnal, February 20, 2015

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The First Edition (1942)

The Moravian Youth Hymnal for Use in Church School and All Young People’s Meetings stands in line with Moravian youth hymn books as far back as 1755.  It is certainly a successor to the Hymns and Offices of Worship (1866) and the Offices of Worship and Hymns (1872).  Those who prepared the Moravian Youth Hymnal manifested a commitment to quality.  As the Preface to the First Edition stated:

It is a lamentable fact that the Christian churches of America have been slow in giving their young people the best in sacred music.  Many testify to the fact that they find better music in their public schools than in their churches and church-schools.  The various denominations have been moving to raise the quality of church-school music.  With this hymnal, the Moravian Church makes its contribution to a great cause.

The First Edition opens with 219 hymns, arranged topically.   All the verses are inside the musical systems, unlike the arrangement in the Hymnal and Liturgies (1923).  The selection of hymns indicates a classical bias, of which I approve.  They range from antiquity (Clement of Alexandria, who lived from 170 to 220 C.E.) to the twentieth century, with Henry Van Dyke‘s masterpiece, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” set to a tune arranged from Ludwig von Beethoven‘s Symphony #9.  Also, “Jesus Loves Me! This I Know,” present in the Hymnal and Liturgies (1923), is absent from the Moravian Youth Hymnal.  The classical bias is also evident in the Orders of Worship.  The first Order of Worship opens with either “Morning” from Edvard Grieg‘s Peer Gynt or a hymn, “Light of the World, We Hail Thee.”  The hymnal impresses me.

The Worship Section of the Moravian Youth Hymnal (1942) contains Orders of Worship, Aids to Worship, and a Devotional Poetry section.  There are sixteen Orders of Worship:

  1. Morning Watch;
  2. Divine Guidance;
  3. The Word of God;
  4. The Lord Is Come;
  5. The Lord is Risen;
  6. The Spirit-Filled Life;
  7. The Good Shepherd;
  8. Worship and Admonition;
  9. Christian Education;
  10. Worship Through Music;
  11. Life, a Stewardship;
  12. The Christian Home;
  13. For God and Country;
  14. Peace and World Brotherhood;
  15. The Field is the World; and
  16. A Service for the Out-of-Doors.

Order of Worship XIII, the patriotic service, includes the troublesome prayer about submitting “ourselves to every ordinance of man” for God’s sake, unfortunately.  I have too much of a rebellious tendency in my thinking to consent to that sentiment.

There are six categories of Aids to Worship:

  1. Calls to Worship,
  2. Prayers,
  3. Offertory Sentences,
  4. Benedictions,
  5. Suggested Scripture Selections; and
  6. Responsive Readings.

The Devotional Poetry Section has twelve categories:

  1. Worship,
  2. Prayer,
  3. God’s Word,
  4. God’s Time,
  5. Faith and Trust,
  6. The Child Christ,
  7. The Man Christ,
  8. Salvation and Easter,
  9. The Christian Life–Brotherhood-Aspiration,
  10. Nature and the Out-of-Doors,
  11. Peace, and
  12. Morning Worship.

Indices complete the volume.

Subsequent Editions and Printings

The Moravian Youth Hymnal went into multiple printings and editions.  I acquired two different versions via the Internet for my library.  One is the First Edition (1942); the other comes from 1961.  The title page of that volume contains four years:  1942, 1954, 1956, and, of course, 1961.  That book has two prefaces and claims to be the Second Edition.  I notice some discrepancies, however:

  1. The Preface to the Second Edition states that the hymn section remains unaltered and that the Orders of Worship have undergone extensive revision.
  2. Yet that same Preface mentions junior hymns supplement (#222-235), all classical, tasteful hymns, such as “Away in the Manger” and “We Three Kings.”
  3. The 1961 version of the Moravian Youth Hymnal also contains hymns #220 (Christian Gregor‘s Hosanna of 1783) and #221 (Francis Florentine Hagen‘s Morning Star).

The revised Orders of Worship exist in two sections:  Services of Worship and Liturgical Forms.  The revised forms quote the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (1952), not the Authorized Version.  Updated versions of all of the sixteen orders from 1942 are present, with one name change; “Divine Guidance” has become “Choosing the Way.”  The two new Services of Worship are “The Church” and “Thanksgiving and Harvest Home.”  The eleven Liturgical Forms are:

  1. Worship,
  2. Beatitudes,
  3. Christ (Lent),
  4. Trinity,
  5. Christian Life,
  6. Christian Growth,
  7. Love,
  8. Humility,
  9. Peace,
  10. Stewardship, and
  11. Youth.

The Aids to Worship section has five categories–the six from 1942 minus Prayers.

Indices complete the volume.

I know from Internet searches that the Moravian Youth Hymnal remained in print at least as late as 1966.

IV.  MORAVIAN FELLOWSHIP SONGS (NO EARLIER THAN 1954)

Moravian Fellowship Songs is a volume considerably less illustrious than the Moravian Youth Hymnal.  The slim paperback (96 pages, to be precise) offers no publication date, but my review of internal evidence (copyright notices on songs) indicates that the American Moravian Youth Fellowship published the book no earlier than 1954.  The range of quality of the 112 songs ranges from the abysmal to the excellent.  Classics of hymnody rub shoulders with “This Old Man” and “Hiking Song.”  Between those two extremes reside rounds and spirituals, far from my favorite genres.  (I am a European classicist.  Brian Wren takes this attitude to task in Praying Twice:  The Music and Words of Congregational Song, 2000.  It is an expression of classism, he writes in disapproval.  Nevertheless, I remain an ardent European classicist.)  Forms for a communion service and a lovefeast fill the back of the book, which ends with an index and a list of fun songs.

V.  HYMNAL AND LITURGIES OF THE MORAVIAN CHURCH (1969)

Hymnal and Liturgies (1969)

Above:  My Copy of the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969), February 20, 2015

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The final volume I analyze in this post is the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969), the one with a cross and a chalice on the red front cover.  My copy of the Hymnal and Liturgies (1969) is thicker than my copy of its 1923 predecessor despite the fact that the 1969 book contains 358 fewer hymns than the Hymnal and Liturgies (1923).  The 1923 volume offers 952 hymns and 25 chants and responses, but its immediate successor contains 594 hymns and 29 chants and responses.  Another difference is that the Hymnal and Liturgies (1969) offers a more ecumenical hymnody than does its immediate predecessor.  The selection in the 1969 volume is more contemporary relative to its publication date and contains more folk and gospel hymns than does the Hymnal and Liturgies (1923).

The Liturgy of 1969 is similar to that of 1923 in many ways.  There are, however, some noticeable differences:

  1. The Liturgy of 1923 contains two General Liturgies, I and II.  The Liturgy of 1969, however, contains four, the Liturgies of Confession, Trust, Adoration, and Covenanting.
  2. The version of the Church Litany in the Hymnal and Liturgies (1969) is abbreviated and revised to remove duplications.
  3. There is just one rite for the Burial of the Dead again.  (There are two in the Liturgy of 1923.)
  4. The Liturgy of 1969 merges the Liturgical Services for the Church Seasons section and the Special Services section from 1923 into the Church Year and Special Occasions section.
  5. Some of the rites in Church Year and Special Occasions section have different names than their 1923 counterparts.  “Missionary” has become “the Spread of the Gospel,” “Epiphany” has become “Epiphany and Christian Witness,” “Whitsunday” has become “Pentecost (Whitsunday),” “All Saint’ Day” has become “All Saints,” “For Schools and Colleges” has become “Education,” “Patriotic” has become “National Occasions,” and “A Day of Humiliation and Prayer” has become “Penitence and Prayer.”
  6. The Communion Hymns section has become the Holy Communion section.
  7. The preparatory service for the Lord’s Supper, located in the Special Services section in 1923, has moved to the Holy Communion section.
  8. The Liturgy of 1969 merges the services for Pentecost and August Thirteenth.
  9. The Liturgy of 1969 merges the confirmation service and the rite for Baptism of Adults, adds the Reaffirmation of Faith, and creates a unified rite for the Admission of Adults with the option of omitting unnecessary elements in congregational settings without, as the Preface says, “damage to the whole.”

The Liturgy of 1969, debuting on the cusp of great change in the language of worship and in the calendar of much of Western Christianity, retained old-fashioned pronouns (Thee, Thy, et cetera) and the old calendar, complete with Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima, and Sundays after Trinity.  (The revised Roman Catholic calendar and lectionary, which influenced much of Protestantism and Anglicanism, became effective on the First Sunday of Advent, 1969.  The -gesimas were gone and Sundays after Pentecost replaced Sundays after Trinity.)  These facts, combined with the rapidly changing hymnody of the 1970s (not to mention the 1980s), rendered the Hymnal and Liturgies (1969) outdated when it was young.  The volume was not unique in this regard; I can name other books of the same genre and generation (about 1965-1973) to which that statement applies.  Many of them were excellent books of greater quality than then-contemporary, Low Church Evangelical resources.  And, as much as I pray to God as “You,” not “Thee,” I would rather sing out of the Hymnal and Liturgies (1969) than out of non-denominational Evangelical hymn books such as Hymns for the Living Church (1974), Hymns for the Family of God (1976), and The New Church Hymnal (1976).

As usual with Moravian hymnals, the indexing is thorough.  Also, the biographical notes in one index are quite helpful.

VI.  CONCLUSION

The Moravian Book of Worship (1995) replaced the Hymnal and Liturgies (1969).  Just as use of the Hymnal and Liturgies (1923) continued after 1969, use of the Hymnal and Liturgies (1969) persists.  (I have found evidence of this on congregational websites.)  The increasing diversity of the Moravian Church in America, fed in large part by immigration, has led to more variety in worship and song styles.  Official and unofficial Moravian Church publications I have read accept, if not praise, this change.  I, however, remain a staid Episcopalian and an unapologetic European classicist.  I know what I like, and old Moravian hymnals approach that ideal more often than contemporary ones do.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 22, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF ERIC LIDDELL, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARY TO CHINA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PRAETEXTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ROUEN

THE FEAST OF RASMUS JENSEN, LUTHERAN MISSIONARY TO CANADA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THALLASIUS, LIMNAEUS, AND MARON, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

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BIBLIOGRAPHY OF HARDCOPY SOURCES

The Book of Common Worship:  Provisional Services and Lectionary for the Christian Year.  Philadelphia, PA:  Westminster Press, 1966.

The Book of Worship for Church and Home; With Orders of Worship, Services for the Administration of Sacraments, and Aids to Worship According to the Usages of The Methodist Church.  Nashville, TN:  Methodist Publishing House, 1965.

Burcaw, Robert T., ed.  The Moravian Book of Worship Manual for Worship Planners.  Bethlehem, PA:  Interprovincial Board of Publications and Communications, 1995.

Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication of the United Lutheran Church in America, 1918.

The Covenant Hymnal.  Chicago, IL:  Covenant Press, 1973.

Frank, Albert H.  Companion to the Moravian Book of Worship.  Winston-Salem, NC:  Moravian Music Foundation, 2004.

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints.  New York, NY:  Church Publishing, 2010.

The Hymn Book of the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada.  1971.

The Hymnal.  Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1895.

The Hymnal.  Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1911.

The Hymnal.  New York, NY:  Oxford University Press, 1918.

Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church.  Bethlehem, PA:  Moravian Church in America, 1969.

Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum).  Bethlehem, PA:  Moravian Church in America, 1923.

The Hymnal with the Supplement of 1917.  Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1917.

Hymnbook for Christian Worship.  St. Louis, MO:  Bethany Press, 1970.

Hymns for the Family of God.  Nashville, TN:  Paragon Associates, 1976.

Hymns for the Living Church.  Carol Stream, IL:  Hope Publishing Company, 1974.

Knouse, Nola Reed, ed.  The Music of the Moravian Church in America.  Rochester, NY:  University of Rochester Press, 2008.

The Liturgy of the Reformed Church in America Together with the Psalter Selected and Arranged for Responsive Reading.  Gerrit T. Vander Lugt, Ed.  New York, NY:  Board of Education, 1968.

The Methodist Hymnal.  New York:  Eaton & Mains, 1905.

The Methodist Hymnal:  Official Hymnal of The Methodist Church.  Nashville, TN:  Methodist Publishing House, 1966.

Moravian Book of Worship.  Bethlehem, PA:  Moravian Church in America, 1995.

Moravian Youth Hymnal.  Bethlehem, PA:  Interprovincial Board of Christian Education, 1942.

Moravian Youth Hymnal.  Bethlehem, PA:  Interprovincial Board of Christian Education, 1961.

The New Church Hymnal.  Lexicon Music, 1976.

The New Psalms and Hymns.  Richmond, VA:  Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1901.

The Pilgrim Hymnal with Responsive Readings.  New York, NY:  Pilgrim Press, 1904.

The Pilgrim Hymnal with Responsive Readings and Other Aids to Worship.  Boston, MA:  Pilgrim Press, 1912.

Worship in Song Hymnal.  Kansas City, MO:  Lillenas Publishing Company, 1972.

The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns.  Philadelphia, PA:  Westminster Press, 1972.

Wren, Brian.  Praying Twice:  The Music and Words of Congregational Song.  Louisville, KY:  Westminster John Knox Press, 2000.

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Adjusting to America: Moravians, 1735-1848   12 comments

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Above:  A View of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Publication Date = May 20, 1761, by Thomas Jeffreys

Artist = Thomas Pownall (1722-1805)

Painter and Engraver = Paul Sandby (1731-1809)

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-04087

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LITURGY IN THE MORAVIAN CHURCH IN AMERICA, PART II

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Grant us to bless them that curse us, and to do good to them that hate us;

Have mercy upon our slanderers and persecutors; and lay not this sin to their charge;

Hinder all schisms and scandals;

Put far from thy people deceivers and seducers;

Bring back all that have erred, or have been seduced;

Grant love and unity to all our congregations;

Hear us, gracious Lord and God!

–From the Church Litany, in A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the Protestant Church, of the United Brethren; New and Revised Edition (1809)page x

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I.  PREFACE AND INTRODUCTION

This post stands in lineage with the Prelude and Part I.

Immigrant and emigrant traditions intrigue me.  One reason for this fact is the reality of my ancestry, for I descend primarily from English people, some of whom settled in North America during the colonial era.  Some of my ancestors fought under the command of General George Washington during the U.S. War for Independence, in fact.  So I, a Caucasian, English-speaking male with deep roots in the United States of America, feel as non-ethnic as one can.  The closest I come to a sense of ethnicity is, to quote Gilbert and Sullivan’s H. M.S. Pinafore, “I am an Englishman.”  Indeed, “God Save the Queen,” er, “My Country, “Tis of Thee.”  Do you want tea with that?

People whose roots do not run deeply in the country in which they live occupy a different cultural space than do the rest of us.  Xenophobes and nativists consider that different cultural space inherently negative.  I reject the extremes of ethnocentrism, which holds up one’s culture as the ideal, and cultural relativism, which rejects the existence of standards and considers one culture just as good as any other.  No, I stand in the middle, where I welcome the positive influences and reject the negative ones, regardless of cultural origin.  Emigrants and immigrants have enriched this nation in countless ways, from cuisine to physical infrastructure.  Nevertheless, my digestive tract rejects much of their spicy food, so I practice considerable caution in the realm of culinary multiculturalism, much to the approval of my innards.

One of my the themes of this post is the struggle of many American Moravians with many of their fellow Americans who misunderstood them.  “Why do you use different hymn tunes than we do at the Methodist (or Baptist, Presbyterian, et cetera) Church?’ some asked, sometimes with hostility.  “What is the reason you insist on being different from other Protestants?” many wanted to know.  And, given the prominence of the nativistic politics of the American Party/Native American Party/American Republican Party in the middle third of the nineteenth century, these were serious questions which pointed to profound issues with which the Moravian Church in America had to struggle.

One lesson I have learned is that, despite the frequency of repetition of the ethic of “live and let live” or even to embrace and learn from certain differences, many people are unapologetic conformists.  This reality becomes obvious in a plethora of locations, from schools to places of employment.  I argue, however, that if God had intended us to be alike, God would not have created us to be different.

A few words about sources are appropriate before I delve headlong into the material.  I have listed hardcopy sources at the end of the post.  You, O reader, will find links to other posts behind parts of the text.  And I have found much useful information in an academic paper, “A Look at Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century American Moravian Liturgy” (December 2011), which Michael E. Westmoreland, Jr., wrote for his Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree at Wake Forest University.  I found the paper via an Internet search and downloaded the PDF file.  That document will also prove useful when I start taking notes for Part III of this series.

II.  GERMAN LEGACIES

The origins of the Renewed Unitas Fratrum were, of course, Germanic.  Central to it were Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) and his estate near Berthelsforf, Saxony.  On that estate, in 1722, Moravian exiles had settled and formed a community, Herrnhut.  Developments there and elsewhere in Europe functioned as background to American settlements and influenced them.

Rituals

Many of the influences (some of which I covered in Part I) pertained to rituals of varying degrees of formality.  There was, for example, the Church Litany, based on a litany which Martin Luther had revised from the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Saints.  Luther had translated that text into German and removed all references to saints and the Pope.  The revised version was never as popular with Lutherans as with Moravians.  The Moravian revision debuted at Herrnhut in 1731 and became the center of Moravian liturgical practice and reinforced the communal nature of Moravian religious life.

More informal was the Singstrunde, or the “Singing Hour,” which started in 1727.  Across the Moravian world in the 1700s this constituted a standard part of evening devotions.  At Bethlehem, Pennyslvania, for example, the community held such a service each Saturday, in the late 1740s.  The form of Singstrunde was to sing stanzas and half-stanzas of hymns based on  a theme, thereby creating a sermon in song.  This, of course, required great knowledge of hymnody.  By 1770 readings from the Bible had become part of the service.

Related to the Singstrunde was the Love Feast, which had become the high point of Moravian festivals by the 1750s.  Composers wrote anthems for Love Feasts, which included common meals.

The Moravian practice of saying the Litany of the Wounds every Friday in communal settings in the 1700s pertained to the fact of Good Friday.  When people said it less frequently, they did so at least once a month, one week before Communion Sunday.  (The scheduling of Moravian Communion services has varied from once a quarter to once a month.)  Other times for the saying the Litany of the Wounds included days in the season of Lent.  Since 1753 the Litany has existed in two parts:  the Litany of the Life, Suffering, and Death of Christ, and the Hymn of the Wounds.

Forms were ordered and usually simple, although occasionally elaborate.  The purpose of worship was to promote love for Jesus and each other, and the forms were flexible with constant cores, so as to meet needs in various circumstances.  Related to that norm of ordered simplicity was the basic ministerial garment for Baptism, Communion, Marriage, and Confirmation.  The white surplice (often with a white belt) debuted in Moravian worship at a Communion service in Europe on May 2, 1748.  It, like other vestments, functioned as a uniform, thereby preventing the minister’s wardrobe from becoming a distraction.  My survey of websites of North American Moravian congregations has yielded images of clergymen and clergywomen leading worship while wearing a white surplice, a black Geneva robe (without a stole), and secular clothes.  This is consistent with the optional nature of Moravian vestments outside of those four rites.

The focus on divine (rather than on human) authority became more apparent than it was already in the Moravian Church in 1741.  There has been a series of Chief Elders, spiritual leaders of the Unitas Fratrum.  That year, however, Johann Leonhard Dober (1706-1766) resigned the position.  The job had become impossible due to the recent global expansion of the Church.  Also, Dober had no desire to function as a kind of Moravian Pope, which was what his office might have come to entail had he not resigned his post.  On November 13, 1741, the Church announced formally that Jesus Christ was the Chief Elder.  Since then November 13 has been the Festival of Christ the Chief Elder.  The designated parament color is White and the readings are Ezekiel 34:11-16, 23-24; Psalm 8; Hebrews 4:14-16; and John 10:1-10.

Settlements

Moravians arrived on the North American mainland in 1735.  The first group settled in Savannah, Georgia.  The initial Georgia mission (1735-1779) failed primarily due to internal divisions.  Outside pressures made matters worse, for the pacifistic Moravians refused to take up arms against the Spanish in the late 1730s.  This fact did nothing to endear them to the British military authorities.  Most of the Georgia contingent departed for Pennsylvania in 1740 and founded the settlement of Nazareth the following year.  The founding of other Moravian settlements ensued, such as at Bethabara (1753) and Salem (1766), in North Carolina.

Early Moravian settlements were communes which emphasized the self-sufficiency of the community and members’ responsibilities to and for each other.  Musical skills carried a high priority, but church music did not require professionalism.  Practice time was important and distracted people from dubious pursuits, but too much practice time detracted from communal duties.   Survival mattered, as did the rigorous daily worship schedule, which included morning, midday, and evening prayers.

Hymnals

The hymnals were mostly in German during the 1700s.  In fact, the first English-language Moravian hymnal rolled off the printing presses in England in 1742.  The Tunes for the Hymns in the Collection with Several Translations from the Moravian Hymnbook, with supplements in 1746 and 1749, was a personal collection which James Hutton had prepared.  The original edition had only 187 hymns, thus it was small by Moravian standards.  A Collection of Hymns of the Children of God in All Ages, From the Beginning Till Now; Designed Chiefly with the Brethren’s Church (1754), with Bishop John Gambold, Sr. (1711-1771), as the Editor, contained 1,055 hymn texts, however.  These spanned the time from the Early Church to the-then contemporary age and included works by Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley.  Only fifty-one hymns came from the Ancient Unity.  Next in line was  A Collection of Hymns, for the Use of the Protestant Church of the United Brethren (1789), with a mere 887 hymns plus liturgical texts dispersed among the hymns.  Given the fact that American Moravians used imported British and German worship materials prior to their 1851 hymnal, many of the Brethren in North America knew these English-language materials well.  For a long time, however, German was the main language of worship on this side of “the pond.”

Count Zinzendorf published the Herrnhuter Gesangbuch (1735), thereby starting the Moravian tradition of words-only hymnals for congregations and tune books for church musicians.  The 1735 hymnal offered 999 texts, 208 of which Zinzendorf had written.  Only two hymns came from the Ancient Unity.  Subsequent editions published through 1755 added a total of twelve appendices and four supplements.  Modern Moravian sources consider much of the textual content of hymnals from the “Sifting Time” (ending about 1750) as lacking good taste and exhibiting an excessive–even childish–emphasis on the wounds of Christ.

The next major development in German Moravian hymnody was the “London Book” of 1753-1755.  Alt und neuer Bunder Gesang, a.k.a. Das Londoner Gesangbuch, debuted in two parts.  It contained 3,264 hymns arranged chronologically, from the Early Church to then-contemporary times.  Of these texts, 1,096 came from Moravian sources.  The texts, in German and English in parallel columns, emphasized the fact that the Moravians thought of themselves as standing in continuity with the Early Church and as part of the Universal Church.  This great accomplishment in hymnody also corrected much of the childish language of earlier Moravian hymnals.

Christian Gregor (1723-1801), a bishop from 1789, was responsible for the next great leap in (German) Moravian hymnody.  He, the “Father of Moravian Music,” composed hundreds of hymn texts, introduced arias and anthems into Moravian worship, and stabilized the denomination’s hymnody.  He edited the Gesangbuch (1778), with its 1,750 hymns, more than 300 of which he wrote or revised.  Six years later the Choralbuch, intended for organists, appeared.  The Gesangbuch contained only words and the Choralbuch offered only music.

German-language hymnals remained in use in the United States throughout the 1800s.  A domestically published volume from 1848 contained 836 hymns and went into new printings in 1854 and 1861.  The revision debuted in 1885.  By then English had become the main language of worship, however.

III.  THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURAL ASSIMILATION

The transition to English was part of a process of cultural assimilation and adaption to the dominant culture.  I would be remiss if I were, O reader, to leave you with the mistaken idea that all linguistic developments among American Moravians at the time moved toward the English tongue.  There were, for example, missions among Native people.  Hence there was, for example, A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the Christian Indians, of the Missions of the United Brethren in America (1803), which missionary David Zeisberger prepared.  The second edition debuted in 1847.

The first printing of a Moravian hymnal in the United States occurred in 1813.  The volume in question was A Collection of Hymns, for the Use of the Protestant Church of the United Brethren–New and Revised Edition (1801) with its 1808 supplement.  The 1809 composite hymnal served well in Britain until the publication of its successor in 1826; another revision followed in 1849.  The U.S. Moravian hymnal of 1851 was a revision of that volume, hence the division between Parts II and III of this series.  The 1801-1808-1809 book was itself a revision of the 1789 Collection of Hymns, which John Swertner had also edited.

The two volumes were similar yet different.  Both, consistent with Moravian practice of the age, had words only.  The 1789 hymnal offered 887 hymns, but the 1801 book contained 1,000.  The 1808 supplement thereto added 200 hymns.  The 1789 hymnal dispersed the liturgies among the hymns, but the 1801-1808-1809 volume grouped the liturgies at the front of the book.  Those forms were:

  1. The Church Litany;
  2. Doxologies at Ordinations;
  3. Easter Morning Litany;
  4. Baptismal Litanies;
  5. Holy Communion; and
  6. Liturgy for Burials.

Another important volume was Hymn Tunes Used in the Church of the United Brethren (1836), which Peter Wolle (1792-1871) edited.  The core target audience was Moravian, but Wolle intended it for other Christians also.  He edited the traditional Moravian tunes to make them less foreign.  That fact indicated that Moravians were feeling pressures to conform to the practices of others.

I have read enough in the realm of liturgy during the last few years to develop a firm grasp of the difficulties inherent in linguistic and cultural changes in the public worship of God.  Among many culturally Germanic Lutherans (especially in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) in the United States, the transition to worshiping in English entailed the loss of traditional texts.  Much of this transition was abrupt, for domestic hysteria and vandalism during World War I (a time when many people relabeled Sauerkraut as “Liberty Cabbage”) compelled its acceleration.  The Dutch-language worshipers from the Christian Reformed Church in North America felt much of the same pressure during the Great War.  Their transition was mostly complete by 1940, at the cost of much grief and many tunes and texts.

Language carries culture, which influences one’s identity.  Thus those who dismiss the “other” as automatically and inherently defective because it is different not only engage in ethnocentrism but inflict harm on others.  Those nativists and xenophobes also harm themselves, for their insistence on homogeneity deprives them of positive influences from other cultures.

American Moravians, who were making the transition from German to English as the primary language during the first half of the nineteenth century, experienced an awkward time.  There were still many older church members who knew the German hymns and litanies by heart, but many of the younger Moravians knew English, not German.  And copies of the English-language worship resources were frequently scarce.  One result of this situation was having many people reading the services badly from books (of which the supply was often insufficient) and generally being lost in the ritual, thereby diminishing the traditional services.  Those services were also becoming less frequent, for changing lifestyles rendered the former rigorous worship schedules obsolete.  Also, many Evangelical congregations (such as those of Baptists and Methodists) attracted many young Moravians.

Were traditional Moravian melodies bad because they were different?  Of course not!  Yet many non-Moravians thought so.  I have listened to some traditional Moravian music and concluded that is superior to much traditional American Protestant (especially Baptist and Methodist) music, actually.  Then again, I am an unapologetic European Classicist.  Nativism and xenophobia, however, led to opposition to such foreign influences.

IV.  CONCLUSION

The story of adaptation to America will continue in Part III, which will start with the British hymnal of 1849, the basis of the U.S. hymnbook of 1851.  This series will continue with summaries of revisions in the hymnody and liturgies of the Moravian Church in America as it adapted to changing circumstances.

The allegation that Moravians were somehow foreign or insufficiently American was false.  In fact, an examination of the germane facts belies it, not that bigots care about objective reality.  The first documented celebration of July 4 occurred at Salem, North Carolina, in 1783.  The Moravians there observed the occasion with a Love Feast.  As a common expression states, “enough said.”

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 11, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT GREGORY THAUMATURGUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF NEOCAESAREA; AND SAINT ALEXANDER OF COMANA “THE CHARCOAL BURNER,” ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR AND BISHOP OF COMANA, PONTUS

THE FEAST OF AUGUSTUS MONTAGUE TOPLADY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT CLARE OF ASSISI, FOUNDER OF THE POOR CLARES

THE FEAST OF JOHN HENRY NEWMAN, CARDINAL

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BIBLIOGRAPHY OF HARDCOPY SOURCES

Frank, Albert H.  Companion to the Moravian Book of Worship.  Winston-Salem, NC:  Moravian Music Foundation, 2004.

Hutton, James E.  A History of the Moravian Church.  London, England, UK:  Moravian Publication Office, 1909.  Reprint.

Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church.  Bethlehem, PA:  Moravian Church in America, 1969.

Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum).  Bethlehem, PA:  Moravian Church in America, 1923.

Knouse, Nola Reed, ed.  The Music of the Moravian Church in America.  Rochester, NY:  University of Rochester Press, 2008.

Moravian Church Desk Calendar & Plan Book 2014.  Bethlehem, PA:  Interprovincial Board of Communication, 2013.

Moravian Daily Texts 2014.  Bethlehem, PA:  Interprovincial Board of Communication, 2013.

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