Aims of the Society
The Hymn Society of the United States and Canada is for those who:
Believe that congregational song is an integral component of worship
Wish to promote the writing and singing of new texts and tunes
Value a deeper understanding of the words and music they sing in worship
The Southern Ontario Chapter of the Hymn Society began at the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the summer of 1998. Might there be enough interested hymn lovers in Toronto and surrounding area to form a chapter? Letters were sent out, invitations were issued, and a first meeting was held at the Toronto Baptist Convention offices. Introductions, hymn singing and a presentation on the newly published Voices United met with great interest. SOCHS was the first, and remains the only autonomous local Chapter of the Hymn Society; some members join the Hymn Society organisation, receive its publications ('the Stanza' e-newsletter and 'The Hymn' print magazine) and attend its periodic online events and annual Conferences. Several Canadians have, and continue to participate in the program, life and governance of the Society.
Since that initial meeting, SOCHS has acquired an executive/working group, Sine Nomine newsletter, and has offered three free events each year that have delighted participants with presentations from such people as Ruth Watson Henderson, Andrew Donaldson, Lydia Pedersen, Mel Hurst, Cedar Klassen and Debbie-Lou Ludolph.
Attention has been paid to the publication of new hymn resources, with introductions of The Book of Praise, Catholic Book of Worship III, More Voices and the Salvation Army Songbook.
In addition to these "local" events, SOCHS has sponsored internationally known hymn writers and commentators: John Bell, Emily Brink, Michael Hawn, Dan Damon. These have been well received by people from all over southern Ontario.