Highest Bidder Gets to Block a Hymn

We’ll say this is on the ecumenical front, given the first name of the minister. A Pray Tell reader sent this in:

Block Hymn

I suppose in Protestant churches the hymns given a sabbatical would mostly be historic pieces in the hard-bound hymnal, so it’s not an unchristian attacks on living composers and authors.

Does this work for you? Is this an idea for your development office??




  1. Reminds me of the (possibly apocryphal) survey that determined that the most-loved hymn is “Amazing Grace,” and the most-disliked hymn is . . . “Amazing Grace.”

      1. @Charles Day:
        Well, for a more complex background on what is probably the best known hymn in the English language, and its author:


        Detractors (at least in traditionally oriented parts of St Blog’s) of the hymn text have assumed that the opening line is indicative of Newton’s Calvinistically inflected Anglicanism, but the assumption may just be that, an assumption. One can find similar sentiments of Catholic saints pushed to their depths. There’s something universal to it. Behold Berliners singing it to the Sacred Harp setting:


      2. @Karl Liam Saur:
        LOL. I clicked your link and note the authors said “arguably the best known” and you promoted that to “probably the best known”, but all that misses the point which is that being well-known is not the same thing as being loved. And that was Thomas’ point.

      3. @Charles Day:
        Charles – my probably included the important qualifier “English language”. I wasn’t using the same standard as my link (which doesn’t include that qualifer) and never intended to – the link was for the background to the author and text. Nor was I referring at all to Thomas’ point.

        Just to explain the context of my remark.

  2. I would make no such assumption. This could just as easily be a way to block a detested P&W piece, too. “Attack” on persons strikes me as overstated characterization, for what it’s worth.

    But ideas of this sort have been around for a while (offhand, I’d say at least a couple of years, if general memory serves). I am not a fan of them, so I’ve not cataloged for reference.

  3. This surfaces every now and then – not sure if it’s been on PTB, but I know it’s been on Facebook.

    I wonder if there’s a similar bid sheet to give a particular scripture passage a year’s sabbatical, or maybe put one of the pastor’s sermon topics on sabbatical.

    My guess is this is supposed to be a “cute” fundraiser (like auctioning off the best parking space) – heck, after all, it’s ONLY music. It seems that what it does simultaneously is reinforce the misconception that individual, personal tastes are the significant way we determine what is sung or not at worship.

    1. @Alan Hommerding:
      “It seems that what it does simultaneously is reinforce the misconception that individual, personal tastes are the significant way we determine what is sung or not at worship.”

      And that’s why I am not a fan of these things. Just as bad to invite bid to program a hymn more frequently.

    1. @Peter King:
      But if you did that, you also have blocked the joy or comfort or uplifting of the spirit that another member of the Body at prayer finds in that hymn.

  4. We recently had this at an auction we held for the Parish. The Pastor and I (music director) bid together to out bid the rest and ensured the money was raised and no hymns were banned. 🙂

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