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Monthly column on hymns and songs

For those with ten minutes to spare before the opening prayer, or with permission to borrow, the church's hymn book can open up a world of delight even before we get as far as hymn number one.

Christopher Idle

We have spoken of Prefaces before. How many Christian Brethren, I wonder (note the capitals), were surprised to find that the Preface to the Christian Worship of 1975 was dated 'All Saints' Day'? For those none the wiser, that is November 1. For those despising the observance of any such dates, I think you know when Hallowe'en is, or was. And Guy Fawkes, Remembrance, New Year, Mothers' Day, Bank Holiday, Half Term? Even September 11 now looks set for a place in the international calendar; one American journal has published a whole batch of hymns for the occasion.