Something of a publishing milestone has gone relatively unnoticed in the Anglophone world to date, namely the production of a new French Lutheran hymnal, Liturgies et cantiques lutheriens , published by the Lutheran Church-Canada, a sister church of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and a church with whom the Lutheran Church of Australia has close, fraternal relations.
As one descended from Huguenot ancestors (French Protestants persecuted by Louis XIV in the late 1600s and later exiled to Holland, England, North America, South Africa and elsewhere), I take a particular interest in this event. The hymnal is apparently the largest French hymnal ever produced, either by Protestants or Roman Catholics, and promises to be of great service not only to French Canadian Lutherans but also in other Francophone Lutheran settings, for example in Africa, not to mention France itself.
Now, one must ask, if a relatively small church like the LCC - which is roughly the same size as the Lutheran Church of Australia - can successfully engage in such a venture in order to srve only a portion of its membership, why cannot the LCA take heart from their success and resolve to produce a new English-language hymnal for Australian Lutherans which will preserve the best of our hymnody from the past while introducing Australian Lutherans to some of the excellent modern Lutheran hymnody? Such a hymnal is sorely overdue in our church (our last LCA hymnal was published c. 1971 and s supplement to it in c.1986).
Here is an illustration of the new hymnal, which also contains approved liturgies, and a report made available by the Lutheran Church-Canada:
The French-language hymnal Liturgies et cantiques luthériens went to press the week of last year’s Reformation Day. This Lutheran Church-Canada project has spread excitement around the French-speaking Lutheran churches worldwide. The most recent hymnal was printed in 1975 and is no longer available and any existing copies are well-worn.
No other French-language hymnal has been so comprehensive and reflective of Lutheran practice and doctrine. Liturgies et cantiques luthériens has 864 pages and includes 434 hymns, three settings of the Divine Service, Matins, Vespers, and Compline, Holy Baptism, Marriage, and Funeral services among many other liturgical resources.
“In real and important ways this volume restores and edifies and strengthens and establishes evangelical Lutheran practice and teaching in francophone churches as never
before,” says Rev. David Somers, who along with Rev. David Saar have created this new resource. “Never before has such a complete service book and hymnal been available in French for members of any church body, Protestant or Roman Catholic'".