Missing Hymns

Missing Hymns

Author: Peter Leibensperger
January 26, 2021

When I talk to various people in our church of late, I hear some common themes: Our choir members miss singing anthems in person every week to minister to our congregation; our volunteer soloists have missed sharing their talents in worship on a regular basis while the building has been closed; and our congregation at large misses singing together those wonderful hymns that affirm our faith and remind us who we are and who God is. 

While it is difficult to address the first two complaints—safety demands that we avoid ensemble singing until the vaccine is distributed, and fluctuating Covid numbers dictate when the building is closed to soloists—we are trying hard to scratch the third itch. Hymns are a very important part of our worship culture, and since the pandemic began, we’ve tried to make sure that we include hymn arrangements in our services and hymn sheets in our bulletins. We hope that you make use of the hymn sheets to follow the lyrics while a hymn tune is played, but we realize that that is not the same as being able to sing along. So, starting in February, my lovely bride, Kelly Leibensperger, and our esteemed organist, Mark Cole, will prerecord hymns to be played in worship each week. Kelly will sing the melodies and hymn texts straight out of the bulletin with the goal of making it possible for our congregants to sing hymns at home with their families. (You will, of course, need to make use of the hymn sheets in the bulletins if you don’t have the words memorized, so be on the lookout for those hymn print-outs too.)

We hope the congregation will be excited about this change—I know that the choir members look forward to it. Months ago during a Zoom chat, the Chancel Choir and I took time to share some of our favorite hymns that we were missing. I’m listing those hymns below for your viewing pleasure.  I wonder which hymns you are missing right now?  Feel free to share them with me!

“As I Went Down to the River to Pray” selected by Becky
“Be Thou My Vision” selected by Janet L.
“Christ of the Upward Way” selected by Quint
“Come Labor On” selected by Bonnie
“Great is Thy Faithfulness” selected by Margaret and Judy
“It is Well with My Soul” selected by Joan
“Let All Things Now Living” selected by Nancy Ruth
“Morning has Broken” selected by Janet S.
“Nearer My God to Thee” selected by Alan
“O God Beyond All Praising” selected by Kelly
“Open My Eyes that I May See” selected by Bud
“Wayfaring Stranger” selected by our late friend, Steve
“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” selected by Rich




First Presbyterian Church


20 King's Highway East, Haddonfield, NJ 08033
(856) 429-1960