The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Hymn of the month club

Congregation writes songs on kids' hearts

With the unbridled enthusiasm of a third-grader, James Daubert gives a high recommendation — in the form of an "Oh yeah!" — to his congregation's "Hymns to the Heart" program.

The program, which teaches one much-loved hymn each month to Sunday school students, grew out of a discussion about children in worship, said Nancy Fox, director of children's and music ministry at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Leesburg, Va.

"We realized our children and their families weren't attending worship as regularly as we would have liked and that our kids didn't know the hymns of the church," Fox recalled.

If you go to worship and don't know the music, it may not be "a great experience," Fox reasoned. "We decided that unless we became intentional about teaching these hymns, nothing would change. ... Songs are the first things we learn and the last things with us as we leave this life. They're on our hearts," she said.

In fact, Jeremiah 31:33 was Fox's inspiration for designing the program: "I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

Fox also remembered her years as a school music teacher: "There were no songs that the entire school knew, so we started a song of the month. Everybody learned the same song so we'd have a body of songs we all knew. The entire school spent an hour singing together. I thought, 'Let's do the same with hymns.' "

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February issue


Embracing diversity