Christian Hymn Society releases a collection of ‘Queer Hymns’

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The Hymn Society released “Songs for the Holy Other: Hymns Affirming the LGBTQIA2S+ Community” for liturgical use in the United States and Canada.

The ecumenical, non-profit Hymn Society released the hymnal in July but it was publicized last week by Anglican Journal, the publication of the Anglican Church of Canada, which said the work offered “further potential for music as a source of affirmation and inclusion.” Among the nearly 50 “queer hymns” featured in the collection are: “God of Queer Transgressive Spaces,” “Lovely, Needy People,” “Quirky Queer and Wonderful” and “The Kingdom of God is the Queerest of Nations.”

Sydney Brouillard-Coyle, the music director at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Essex, Ontario, called the collection “an amazing resource for music directors and for priests who are looking for hymns that are affirming for the LGBT community.”

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Brouillard-Coyle identifies as gender-non-conforming, queer and asexual. “I’ve been going through our hymn book and trying to change some of the language [so] that it’s more inclusive—so instead of ‘We are all God’s sons and daughters,’ using language like ‘We are all God’s precious children,’” added Brouillard-Coyle. “But to have that resource already done for us in some way and to provide new music for us to use is absolutely incredible.”

The introduction for “Songs for the Holy Other” reads: “In our society and in our churches, we continue to build walls marking ‘out’ and ‘in’. We continue to mark boundaries of ‘us’ and ‘them,’ of ‘normal’ and ‘other.’”

“Songs for the Holy Other aims to provide congregations working to dismantle these walls with a toolbox of hymns by and for those who identify as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, nonbinary, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, aromantic, two-spirit, and other sexual/gender minority (LGBTQIA2S+) community and their allies,” the text proclaims.

The preface also explains that the title of the collection, Songs for the Holy Other, “is a self-conscious claiming of otherness as holy and beloved of God.”

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