Down East Seniors hear from retired Methodist minister

Published 4:46 pm Friday, July 14, 2017

The Down East Seniors Club held its July 12 meeting at the Blind Center of North Carolina in Washington. President Stewart Rumley led the meeting. Jim Hackney played for the singing of “God Bless America,” and Charles Smith gave the invocation. Dick Paul provided humor.

Hackney introduced Smith, a retired United Methodist minister, as the speaker. Smith said that the 1984 General Conference (a national meeting) of the United Methodist Church determined that the Methodist Hymnal needed to be revised, so as to be more relevant to the people of the church. Smith was one of 25 people from across the country assigned to the Hymnal Revision Committee and the leader of the subcommittee for the Psalter portion of the hymnal.

The committee met numerous times at various locations from 1985 through 1988. The meetings were always open to the public, and the press was usually present. There was much debate over which hymns to include, but the general guideline was to make the hymnal meaningful to the layperson. The revised hymnal was reviewed by 800 advisors and finally approved in late 1988. The United Methodist Publishing House published it in 1989. It has been well received and is still in common use. Smith led the group in singing some of the hymns accompanied on the piano by his wife Barbara.

Chip Ide won the 50/50 drawing.