Hmong hymnal will be unveiled April 26
4/10/2003 News media contact: Linda Green · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn
By Kimberly Pace*A
United Methodist hymnal catering to the language and music of the Hmong
community will be introduced in a special celebration April 26 in
Seventeen years in the making, The Hmong United
Methodist Hymnal, containing more than 300 hymns, will be unveiled at
Hmong Christian Community United Methodist Church. The hymnal includes
many hymns from Southeast Asian sources, as well as translations of
traditional and contemporary songs familiar to most English-speaking
United Methodists. Organized in the same manner as the 1989 United
Methodist Hymnal and making use of the same headings and subheadings,
the Hmong hymnal also includes 18 Wesley hymns.
The Hmong came
from Laos, and their ancestors originated in southwestern China. The
United Methodist Church has Hmong congregations in California,
Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Carolina.
Before the hymnal
publication, most Hmong Christians used the only songbook in their
language available at the time, a words-only edition prepared by the
Christian Missionary and Alliance Church.
In 1986, the Hmong
Community United Methodist Church of St. Paul, Minn., prepared a
text-only hymnal, Cov Ntseeg Yesxus Phoo Nkauj, which contained 323
hymns. Although the congregation had developed the hymnal for its own
use, it distributed the resource to other Hmong United Methodist
churches. By 1990, that hymnal was in its fifth edition.
1999, Chou Yang and the Milwaukee Hmong Community United Methodist
Church formed a committee to begin work on a new hymnal, the first in
the Hmong language to contain both words and music. The hymnal was
patterned after most traditional hymnals, in particular the 1989 United
Methodist Hymnal. Musician and composer Sou Yang took on the tasks of
typesetting, arranging and composing new music. The first draft was
completed in 2001, followed by copyright clearance and additional
editing. The final version was completed in February, 17 years after the
St. Paul text-only first edition.
The United Methodist Board of
Discipleship funded The Hmong United Methodist Hymnal with additional
support from sources that included the Minnesota and Wisconsin annual
conferences, the Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation, the Asian Caucus
and the Hmong Caucus.
Although the board provided significant
funding, "the committee is still in need of funds to pay production and
printing costs," said Dean McIntyre, who served as editorial consultant
for the hymnal and a staff member of the board's worship section.
the beginning, the committee has desired to distribute the first
printing to Hmong United Methodist congregations in Minnesota,
Wisconsin, California and North Carolina without charge. The first
printing of 5,000 will accomplish that task," he said. The committee
also wants additional financial assistance with production and printing
costs from any annual conference, church agency, congregation, group or
More information is available by contacting the
book's editor, Chou Yang, at Hmong Christian Community United Methodist
Church in Milwaukee, (414) 645-4844.
# # #
*Pace is director of communications for the United Methodist Board of Discipleship in Nashville, Tenn.
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