Angelic old hymn books

IMG_1535 bWe’re encouraged to recycle nowadays, and sometimes this calls for imagination.

For example, what should be done with old hymn books 🙂

It seems sad to simply put them into paper recycling. Sometimes they seem to pile up in church vestries, and sometimes they can be even seen propping up organ stools or other items of furniture in churches.

The Parish of Swaledale with Arkengarthdale in North Yorkshire has come up with a lovely idea. They’ve recently updated their hymn book and an imaginative parishioner has researched recycling hymn books and come up with the idea of turning some of their people’s copies of Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised (1950) into angels.

The photo above is of one of the angelic hymn books which has settled on a window ledge in St Mary’s, Arkengarthdale. Appropriately the outer wings are Christmas carols.

IMG_1575-001Apparently each of the four churches in the parish has one. Later, at St Andrew’s, Grinton, the mother church of Swaledale, we came across a chorus of the angels around the font. And more than that, we were told at recent baptisms in Swaledale the families were given one of the angels as a gift from the church. How lovely!

Wouldn’t it be lovely to see these hymnal angels in other churches beyond Swaledale? We’ve a few old hymnals at St Chrysostom’s and an offer to turn one into an angel for church would be very welcome.  (The US ‘happy housewife’ (!) website gives instructions on how to make them).



About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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3 Responses to Angelic old hymn books

  1. Many of our old hymns have a story to tell, they were often born out of the cirmstances
    of the writer, sometimes tragic or in difficult cirmstances, and they become a testimony
    of how God dwelt with them in these times of trial, Our young peope are growing up sadlly with our moderm hyms which often lack this depth. Our old hymnnbooks do need to be preserved as a reminder and also as a rsource for meditation, we can gain much blessing by just meditating on the words, often when we sing hymns we miss what the writer is trying to convey.

  2. Sal says:

    This is a great use for Common Worship…

  3. Melanie Plumley says:

    The best use for old hymn books is to issue them to the congregation and sing from them. Of course Hymns Ancient & Modern Revised can’t contain some of the more modern material that is genuinely useful but that doesn’t make the older material obsolete…

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