After almost four years of work, the committee responsible for the new Portuguese Adventist Hymnal in South America announced a launch date, set for July 8. The new songbook brings together 600 hymns.
The format of the hymnal was reformulated to give greater prominence to the doctrinal identity of the Adventist Church. A total of 230 hymns were removed that are in the current version, released in 1996. In their place, 220 hymns not previously part of the repertoire were chosen.
The committee responsible for the project, made up of leaders from the Adventist Church's South American Division administrative headquarters, the Brazil Publishing House (CPB), and other collaborators representing Adventists from around the country, explained that the changes make the material more relevant and present in the daily life of the church.
The work of the hymnal committee, created in March 2018, was divided into three parts: theological analysis, literary and linguistic analysis, and musical analysis.
In the group responsible for theological analysis of the wording, each hymn underwent careful reading, which led to some alterations so that all the lyrics were in line with biblical theology, as well as highlighting the correct emphases.
The language group analyzed the hymns from a poetic perspective. Four types of changes were made there: (1) to make the language simpler and more accessible, reaching a larger group of members, mainly children and young people; (2) correct the occasional grammatical slip; (3) make the wording aesthetically more beautiful and attractive; and (4) replace words that over time have fallen into disuse or those that have acquired other meanings. For example, the phrase “Vinde, meninos” (“Come, boys”) was replaced with “Venham, crianças” (“Come, children”), and the meter and melodic beauty were retained.
The third group analyzed the scores of the hymns from a musical point of view. Adaptations were made in relation to the tone of the music, so that more people could reach the vocal pitch. In addition, melody corrections were made to facilitate and enrich the harmony.
Congregational worship performed with the new Adventist Hymnal may involve many instruments and many voices. The full result will be heard at the launch of the work, scheduled for July 8 on CPB's social media networks and on TV Novo Tempo.
For Stanley Arco, president of the South American Division, the new hymnal will be present in the praises of several occasions throughout an Adventist church member's week.
“The Adventist Hymnal has always been an inspiration in our services,” Arco said. “And we want, with this new edition, to reinforce our core beliefs in the hearts of our members, strengthen our identity, and boost our greatest hope.
“We hope these praises will be a constant part of worship in our churches, be part of small groups, be part of family worship, and inspire generations to continue to focus on mission and prepare for that big day," he said.
The original version of this story appeared in the South American Division’s Portuguese-language news site.