A fixture in many homes and churches across the LCANZ, the Lutheran Hymnal turns 50 this month.

Authorised by the Lutheran Church of Australia and first published by Lutheran Publishing House in October 1973, the treasured and popular volume of hymns, liturgy, prayers, worship orders and information, was into its second edition by June 1974 and its first reprint by 1980.

Among the events and celebrations marking the anniversary was a Friends of Lutheran Archives gathering at North Adelaide in late August. ‘United in song – the story behind the Lutheran Hymnal (1973)’, the meeting featured ALC pastoral studies student Jacob Fabich as guest speaker and Andrew Ampt as organist to lead the hymn singing.

The event showcased the history of the hymnal, including why a new hymnbook was needed in place of one published in 1922; the fact it took 22 years to produce, with work beginning across the two synods 15 years before the birth of the LCA; the people responsible for its development; and the church’s reaction to what was the biggest publishing venture the LCA has ever undertaken.

The meeting’s program was live-streamed and can be accessed online at the Friends of Lutheran Archives YouTube channel.

In Canberra, the Lutheran Hymnal’s birthday was to be marked at Hymnfest on 30 September at St Peter’s Lutheran Church at Reid.

Organised in collaboration with the Royal School of Church Music, the event was planned to include a choir and a performance by Sydney city organist Robert Ampt, brother of well-known Adelaide organist Andrew Ampt.

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