New Sgaw Karen Hymnal project

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New Sgaw Karen Hymnal project

Postby Haruo » Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:55 am

In the last few days I have launched a new project, despite Mrs Haruo's insistence that I not do so, namely an effort to bring about the compilation and production of a new hymnal for Sgaw Karen-speaking Christians (most of whom are Baptists), hopefully in time to publish it during the Judson Bicentennial in 2013. I was inquiring about the availability of Karen hymnals and Bibles from Duane Binkley, an ABC/CBF missionary in Ohio working with Karen refugees resettling in the United States (there are thousands of them now, in many parts of the country, and all looking for Baptist church homes! come on, people!), and I sent him a copy of Joseph Addison's metrical 23rd Psalm, bilingual in English and Karen,
Karen 306 Addison 23 ky-en.JPG
set to CREATION, and he replied,
Thanks for sending a copy of the song. It would be nice if we could get the whole hymnal done in both languages.
I wrote back
As an inveterate hymnalist and hymnologist, I'm quite interested in your comment that "it would be nice if we could get the whole hymnal done in both languages." If I can get my Burmese alphabet skills up to where I can comfortably type in Karen, I'd be thrilled to work on some such project. It would be wonderful to hear a congregation singing bilingually, with the English text of something like, say, "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" sung to the tune in the Karen book (not a Karen tune, but also not one I've ever seen it set to in an English hymnal, and a fine tune), but it might also be very useful to have it set (again bilingually) on the opposite page to one of the "normal English" tunes for the text (BEECHER in US Baptist and Methodist circles, HYFRYDOL in most other US churches, or BLAENWERN or LOVE DIVINE [Stainer] in British churches). It would be good to create a new hymnal including more recent material, more indigenous material, more "World Church" material, etc., and prepared in formats that would allow either printed sheet music or projectable images in both languages. I'm starting to learn Lilypond to assist in this sort of thing (I'm working on a music resource for the Evergreen Region, so I need these skills whether or not I'm also working on a Karen hymnal)...
and one thing led to another and I ended up setting up a Google Group, New Sgaw Karen Hymnal, to facilitate work on the project.

I mension it here not only because I like to brag and remind people I'm a hymnologist and whatnot, but also on the chance that there may be some here who are interested in the project, or in outreach to the Karen Baptists now in our midst, or who know people who might be, and may join or refer others.
Haruo (呂須•春男) = ᎭᎷᎣ = Leland Bryant Ross
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