Together in Song

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Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II ( ISBN   1-86371-762-5) was published in 1999. It is a book of 783 psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for use in Christian worship in Australia and elsewhere. It is a significant revision of The Australian Hymn Book published 22 years earlier.


It was created by an ecumenical editorial committee chaired by Canon Dr. Lawrence Bartlett and containing representatives from the Anglican, Churches of Christ, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Uniting churches.

Major changes include modernising the texts (using inclusive language and reducing archaic language), removing hymns that had fallen out of use, emphasising psalms, and adding of more modern musical settings and worship songs. The book also reflects changes agreed by the English Language Liturgical Consultation in 1988.

Canon Dr. Lawrence Bartlett describes the book as "Ecumenical in that it represents the liturgical insights of those churches represented on the Editorial Committee" and "Contemporary in that all the material, whether old or new, is presented so that today's worshippers can use it without embarrassment or confusion."

The collection of hymns is intentionally international with material drawn from 48 countries. The addition of new songs has broadened the range of musical styles represented, spanning from plainsong to worship songs composed at Hillsong. The most represented hymnwriter is Charles Wesley with 41 hymns, while contemporary hymnwriters like Brian Wren has 24 hymns included, John L. Bell has 27 and Shirley Murray has 5. In some circumstances, where the editorial committee could not find a song that adequately fulfilled a need they wrote their own such as Shirley Ludgater's hymn about marriage as an act of creation: "When the light of first creation".

One criticism of the book is that the use of inclusive language (noted by alt. after the author's name) has ruined the flow of many older hymns.

The hymns are divided into sections reflecting theological themes or liturgical uses and are arranged chronologically within each section. The hymn book is available in harmony, melody line (with guitar chords), large print, software and audio CD editions. The harmony version contains multiple indexes of tunes, metres, composers and arrangers, authors and translators, texts based on scripture passages, subjects, the church year, first lines and common titles (but not the guitar chords which appear in the melody edition). The melody edition omits some of these indexes.

In 2017 it was announced that there would be no further printings of the hymnal as the publisher, HarperCollins, decided not to renew licence agreements with copyright holders upon their expiration in 2018. [1]

See also

Companion to Together in song

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A hymn is a type of song, and partially synonymous with devotional song, specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. The word hymn derives from Greek ὕμνος (hymnos), which means "a song of praise". A writer of hymns is known as a hymnist. The singing or composition of hymns is called hymnody. Collections of hymns are known as hymnals or hymn books. Hymns may or may not include instrumental accompaniment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hymnal</span> Collection or book of religious hymns

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Elizabeth Joyce Smith is an Australian Anglican priest and hymnist. She has published three collections of hymns, and several of her hymns have been included in the ecumenical hymnal Together in Song. Ordained a deacon in the Anglican Church in Australia in 1987, Smith became a priest in 1993. She earned a PhD from the Pacific School of Religion, where she focused on feminist hermeneutics and liturgical studies. Her doctoral thesis was published in 1999, with the title Bearing Fruit in Due Season: Feminist Hermeneutics and the Bible in Worship. She has served on the Liturgy Commission for the Anglican Church of Australia since 1997. In 2018, she was commissioned to write a hymn for the installation of Archbishop Kay Goldsworthy. In 2020, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her contributions to liturgical scholarship and to the Anglican Church of Australia.


  1. "Closing chorus for printed version of Together in Song". Closing chorus for printed version of Together in Song. Retrieved 2020-07-19.