What is New Scottish Hymns?

Greg de Blieck and Ellyn Oliver give an overview of the New Scottish Hymns project.

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You might be interested to hear about the ministry of New Scottish Hymns...

What is New Scottish Hymns?

New Scottish Hymns began as an album project by the New Scottish Arts charity. The aim was to produce a recording that reflected a uniquely Scottish approach to modern hymn writing. Along with modern hymns, we recorded songs from historical Scottish hymn writers like Horatius Bonar. We made it because we want to encourage churches to think about the distinction between hymns and modern praise choruses; to grasp the important role hymns can play.  Hymns are not just the musical language of a dying church culture - they can, and should still be of wonderful service to us as we try to focus our hearts and minds on our great Saviour.

Why Hymns?

Scotland has a great heritage of hymn writers who wrote powerful songs about God's glory. They used poetic, honest language to express deep biblical truths, setting them to memorable folk melodies. Their songs stood the test of time because the sensibilities and priorities that guided these hymn writers meant that their songs could be adapted to new contexts. The relevance of the message was in clear sight: the tunes were singable and not especially dependent on any one musical style. We want to explore and develop that approach, and help both modern and traditional churches to build a common musical language that allows them to better communicate to a wider audience.

It’s not about writing doggedly within one strict style. Rather, we want to draw on the influences that resonate with us, translate them, and use them to speak to our culture.

What is a Modern Hymn?

You can hear examples of our approach at our website, but here are the words of a song from our first album:

You’re the Shepherd – Greg de Blieck

You're the shepherd, we're the sheep
You won't slumber, though we sleep
Oh what love our saviour shows
To the little ones he knows
We are guilty, You are good
We fell short, but You withstood
For Your father's holy name
You endured and overcame

We were helpless in our sin
You forgave and took us in
Though our hearts still turn from You
Yet with patience You pursue

You're the teacher, we are taught
By Your precious blood we're bought
You're the healer we are healed
By Your cross our hope is sealed
We're forgiven by Your blood
Orphans called as sons of God
Brought from darkness into light
Washed in red and clothed in white

Yours the triumph, Yours the throne
Praise and glory, Yours alone
Tongues of angels, songs of men
Let the heav'ns resound again

Recordings, sheet music and PowerPoint-style videos for this (and all our songs) are available for free on our website.

What’s Next for New Scottish Hymns?

Since the release of the New Scottish Hymns album, we’ve been performing our songs around Scotland, recording new videos and publishing blog posts about church worship. In the future, we want to grow New Scottish Hymns into a useful music ministry that helps to unite, encourage and equip the church with even more new songs and hymns.

We’re hoping to open up the ministry to help grow a variety of new hymns projects - recordings from different artists and songwriters.

Our next project currently in production will include more hymns from Greg de Blieck, and featuring Ellyn Oliver and many of the musicians involved in the original album.

We’d love to keep you up to date with our new songs and concerts, so please sign up to our e-newsletter, or send us your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook.