music and worship

How to Plan a Hymn Festival

How to Plan a Hymn Festival

"No other form of expression can so richly translate the depth and breadth of authentic religious experience like a well-conceived song of praise.” - Juan Vidal (source)

It’s true, isn’t it?

A hymn or song of praise reminds us of who God is and what he has promised us. It fuels our faith - a foundation we can stand upon throughout our lives. It weaves our lives together as believers and connects us with the church’s history and the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us.

This is a powerful thing.

A hymn festival is a special service focused on the hymns and songs of our faith. These might include old favorites and newly-composed hymns, traditional, contemporary, and everything in between. The nature of your hymn festival will depend a lot on your congregation and what music they hold dear.

Here are a few helpful steps for planning your own hymn festival:

Music and Worship Arts Week

Lake Junaluska

I know it's been a few weeks since our trip to NC but our time at Lake Junaluska was too good not to share!  Here's a quick recap of our experience at Music and Worship Arts Week 2013:

- observing the middle school choir, under the direction of Dan Stokes
- meeting new people and catching up with good friends
- buying new music to play with SD
- accompanying two reading sessions
- attending an amazing organ recital, given by Andrew Henderson
- singing around the piano at the house
- learning a few new handbell techniques
- discovering the Blue Rooster Southern Grill (we ate there twice in one week AND we ran into our former pastor from Rochester and his wife BOTH times we were there.  Really, what are the chances?!)
- inspiring worship + inspiring sermons by Susan Leonard-Ray
- huddling under an umbrella on the deck in the evenings during summer rain storms

Blue Ridge Parkway

Love the Blue Ridge Mountains - there's something so peaceful about this view and that fresh mountain air.


The Rose Walk at the Lake did not disappoint and I loved making this walk to worship each morning and to seminars and rehearsals throughout the day.  Such beauty!


In the evenings, we spent some quality time at the lake house - so many memories here, including having the guys grill for us last summer!


SD had been waiting for this moment for an entire year - the best pulled pork sandwich (ever?) from Bogart's in Waynesville.  We had more than our fair share of good southern food during our week's stay!

Blue Ridge Parkway_2

On our last day, we took a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway - can you ever get tired of this view?


The hydrangeas were in full bloom everywhere we went and I could not get over the blues and purples - my favorite!

Read about last year's trip here.