This challenging book breaks new ground in the field of Australian religious history by exploring the much neglected field of hymnody. It centres on the work of the Australian Hymn Book Committee and the publication of the Australian Hymn Book and Together in Song, compilations that placed Australia on the world map of hymnody for the first time. Sing a New Song explores the way in which these two hymnals evolved through a complex and demanding compilation and editorial process based on a firm belief that hymns are rich cultural artefacts possessing the capacity to influence the mindset and outlook of those who sing them. This book draws attention to the expansive spirit of goodwill that marked the work of the Hymn Book Committee and its contribution to the rise and spread of ecumenism in Australia over more than four decades. This book also shows that these hymnals helped to revive parts of the Australian Church and energised their public worship. It will interest anyone with an interest in the history of Australian religion and music.
Emeritus Professor Brian H Fletcher was the foundation Bicentennial Professor of Australian History at the University of Sydney. He is currently an honorary Professor in the Department of History. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Royal Australian Historical Society and the Federation of Australian Historical Societies, Professor Fletcher is also the recipient of the New South Wales History Council’s Citation for 2007 and the Centenary of Federation Medal for services to Australian history. He has published many books and articles on various aspects of Australian history. In recent years his research and writing has centred on the role of religion in Australia and has led to the publication of The Place of Anglicanism in Australia. He is an active member of the Anglican Parish of St Alban’s at Epping. Professor Fletcher presently chairs the Journal of Anglican Studies Board of Trustees.