After Helen Van Wyck and Yudha Thianto attended the Calvin Worship Symposium in January 2012, they resolved to organize an event that would introduce their congregation, Hope Christian Reformed Church (Oak Forest, Ill.), to Psalms for All Seasons, the new psalter published earlier this year by Faith Alive.
The congregation at Hope CRC gathers for the Psalm Fest.
“Hope CRC is a proudly ‘singing’ congregation,” Van Wyck said. “We have a great choir of nearly 50 and a strong core of members committed to maintaining excellence in our musical tradition. We are also a particularly liturgically conscious congregation.”
About 100 people attended Psalm Fest, including many from outside Hope CRC, said Lynn Hollender, who also helped plan the event.
“The psalter contains hundreds of settings of all psalms in a variety of musical styles,” Hollender said. “Fourteen songs from the book were selected by the planning committee for inclusion in the service.”
Rev. Gregg DeMey, Elmhurst (Ill.) Christian Reformed Church, who composed some of the psalm settings, worked with the planning committee and served as pianist and song leader for certain selections.
“The Psalms reflect all of the seasons of the human soul and every possible way of communing or communicating with God,” Van Wyck said. “Psalms reflect joy, rage, sorrow, shame, discouragement, victory, righteous indignation, contentment, and all the states in between. We followed Walter Brueggemann’s model, thinking about Psalms of Orientation, of Disorientation, and of Reorientation.
“The Reformed tradition, of course, has a long and rich tradition of psalm singing—we embrace this new book as a way of wedding the dignity of this tradition to many new ways of making music. In the Psalms, and indeed in Psalms for All Seasons, there really is something for everyone in every state of mind imaginable. We’re very thankful for the new publication, and I’m sure Hope will use it much more in the future.”