Sacrament Meeting Music

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rexgj
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Sacrament Meeting Music

Postby rexgj » Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:08 pm

I don't know if this is the place for this, but I don't know where else to get feedback. My wife is the stake music chairman (I'm a ward clerk). In sacrament meeting today, the music leader had the congregation stand for the opening hymn. I've been in the church a long time, and have never seen this happen. A lot of people were upset about it and felt it was inappropriate to stand for the opening hymn.

Our bishop is a new bishop, and I am not even certain he approved it, and I haven't had an opportunity to discuss it with him.

I have served as a bishop, but can't recall if there is a policy statement on this; but it just seems inappropriate to me. Anyone have any good information on this?

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Postby scion-p40 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:26 pm

She should have the section of the current handbook of instructions for the music callings. I last had such a calling about a decade ago. At that time, standing in Sacrament Meeting was appropriate *only* for the national anthem. However, I have also seen people rise for the Hallelujah chorus. (Since I was in the choir, I was already standing.)

You didn't mention what the opening hymn was. With July 4th around the corner, perhaps it was the US national anthem?

scion-p40
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Postby scion-p40 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:27 pm

P.S. It was okay to stand sometimes in other meetings, just not Sacrament Meeting. ;)

rexgj
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Postby rexgj » Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:32 pm

Thy hymn was "Called To Serve," and this appears to have been the decision of the ward music leader. She had asked the ward music chairman about standing, and was told not to do it--but she did it anyway. We are all kind of puzzled why she had us stand. We've sung Called To Serve hundreds of times and never stood. It was high council sunday, and there was certainly nothing special going on. Just kind of strange.

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Postby aebrown » Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:13 pm

rexgj wrote:Thy hymn was "Called To Serve," and this appears to have been the decision of the ward music leader. She had asked the ward music chairman about standing, and was told not to do it--but she did it anyway. We are all kind of puzzled why she had us stand. We've sung Called To Serve hundreds of times and never stood. It was high council sunday, and there was certainly nothing special going on. Just kind of strange.


I've seen groups of missionaries stand to sing "Called to Serve", which may have been the motivation for that action.

As for standing in general, you can read in the Hymnbook, the following guidelines:

"Members may stand for national anthems in church meetings according to local custom and priesthood direction" (Hymns, 381). "An intermediate hymn provides an opportunity for congregational participation and may relate to the subject of the talks presented in the meeting. The congregation may stand during this hymn as appropriate" (Hymns, 380).
That doesn't say anything about standing "only" for these situations, but there does seem to be an implication of that being the case. Why else mention when it is appropriate to stand?

rexgj
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Postby rexgj » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:00 pm

My wife and I have been involved in church music for many years, she has previously attended many "church music workshops" when we lived in Orem, Utah. Clearly, there is good music that is not appropriate for sacrament meeting. And there are good talks that are not appropriate for sacrament meeting. Indeed, sacrament meeting is very unique in the church, and it should be, because lots of music is appropriate for seminary, or Mutual, or Relief Society and Priesthood meetings, that is not appropriate for sacrament meeting. There lots of musical instruments that are good and appropriate in other settings, that are not appropriate in a sacrament meeting.

Sacrament meeting is a sacred hour, with a purpose and focus quite different from all other church meetings. The church is very clear about avoiding "innovations and deletions" with respect to sacrament meeting--there is just not a whole lot of latitude. And the fact that most of us (my guess) have never stood for an opening hymn (other than for the national anthem), says it is most likely inappropriate to stand for the opening hymn.

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Postby lajackson » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:00 pm

rexgj wrote:Our bishop is a new bishop, and I am not even certain he approved it, and I haven't had an opportunity to discuss it with him.

She had asked the ward music chairman about standing, and was told not to do it--but she did it anyway. . . . It was high council Sunday,


I have lots of opinions about things like this, but I will spare you. There is plenty of material here for bishopric training at the next stake leadership meeting. I expect there will be some.

I would also think the bishop would handle this. It is normally his call. It would appear to me that a lot of traditions overrode the decision making process. This is something a new bishop has to learn how to deal with. It is not easy, and sometimes he will let things go at first glace and fix them behind the scenes so that there is not any embarrassment on the part of those involved.

But, all of the right players were there to see what happened: The stake music chairman, the high councilor, the bishop. I suspect you will hear more about it.

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Postby jbh001 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:49 pm

Appropriate Music for Church Meetings.
Music in Church meetings should help members worship, feel the sacred spirit of the Sabbath, and feel the spirit of revelation. This music should not draw attention to itself or be for demonstration. Some religiously oriented music in a popular style is not appropriate for sacrament meetings. Also, much sacred music that is suitable for concerts and recitals is not appropriate for a Latter-day Saint worship service.

. . . the primary purpose of this music should be promoting worship, not bringing attention to the performance itself.
The fundamental question then is: did singing "Called to Serve" in this manner help members worship more-so than it drew attention to itself.

Standing for hymns is "according to priesthood direction," and some units have received different direction for their local units. For example, in our area our priesthood leaders have asked us NOT to stand for any hymn in Sacrament Meeting, particularly intermediate hymns. More recently, our area seventy asked us not to sing patriotic hymns in Sacrament Meeting because they were too easily drawing the focus and spirit of the meeting away from Christ. (However, singing patriotic hymns was okayed for Relief Society, Priesthood, and other meetings, just not for Sacrament Meeting.)

Direction regarding music from your priesthood leaders might differ from this due to differing needs in your area. Thus, always consult your local priesthood leader if you have any questions.

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Postby techgy » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:26 pm

rexgj wrote:I don't know if this is the place for this, but I don't know where else to get feedback. My wife is the stake music chairman (I'm a ward clerk). In sacrament meeting today, the music leader had the congregation stand for the opening hymn. I've been in the church a long time, and have never seen this happen. A lot of people were upset about it and felt it was inappropriate to stand for the opening hymn.

Our bishop is a new bishop, and I am not even certain he approved it, and I haven't had an opportunity to discuss it with him.

I have served as a bishop, but can't recall if there is a policy statement on this; but it just seems inappropriate to me. Anyone have any good information on this?


Here's a good source for guidance regarding the use of music in church meetings. Remember the comment from Joseph Smith, "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves." Just a thought.

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Postby sterlingb » Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:08 pm

Techgy wrote:Here's a good source for guidance regarding the use of music in church meetings. Remember the comment from Joseph Smith, "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves." Just a thought.

This++ We have to be careful to not let culture (or diversions from it) stand in the way of feeling the Spirit. The way we do things now is not at all similar to the way it was done in the early days of the Church.

*Even if* the act violated a Church policy the rest of the congregation should love that member and let the Bishop handle it privately. Remember that the Lord admonished the Saints to minister to, and pray for, even those who were not worthy to partake of the sacrament (3 Ne 18:30), and standing to sing a hymn would likely pale in comparison to unworthiness.


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