Project Canterbury

Let’s Know Our Hymnal:
A Christian Education Unit for Grades V-VI

By Helen W. McHenry

New York: Protestant Episcopal Church, 1943.

THIS unit seeks to help children of the fifth and sixth grades to understand and appreciate the Church Hymnal. The hymns of the Church are aids to worship, and for many members of the Church, they have the strongest appeal. The beauty of the words and music helps immeasurably in creating a spirit of worship. The experience of participating with others in the singing of hymns also creates a feeling of fellowship which unites a group as nothing else can.

Intelligent appreciation of the Hymnal demands that we know something about it. The words of the hymns should be understood and related to the music. If we know something about the author of a hymn and the composer of its music, we feel that we have met an old familiar friend when we sing it.

Hymns should be helpful, not only in our services, but in our everyday experiences. Some of our finest and greatest hymns were written as prayers and expressions of adoration. Familiarity with these will give our children a means of expression in their own religious life which will become increasingly valuable to them. Children naturally love to sing. We should provide for them hymns that will be helpful on all occasions.

Although the primary purpose of this unit is to teach an appreciation of the Hymnal, it will be impossible to do this without entering into every phase of religious life. The children cannot help but increase their knowledge of the Church Year through their study of the hymns we sing on Christmas, Easter, during Lent, or on the other great festivals and seasons.

Many hymns tell stories, and we shall send the children to the Bible and other sources of information to discover these for themselves. They may discover for the first time that the Psalter is a hymn book many centuries older than our own, and they will be led to compare the hymns in our book with the Psalms in the Bible upon which they were based.

Many of the hymns were written by great saints and heroes of the Church, and the group will be encouraged to learn all they can about these people. Thus, though we started out to teach an appreciation of the Hymnal, we shall also increase our knowledge of the Bible, Prayer Book, the Church Year, and the history and teachings of the Church.

It would be impossible in the ten sessions of this unit to learn everything about all the hymns in our Hymnal. It is to be hoped, however, that it will be a stepping stone to a lifelong interest in the great hymns of the Church, that it will create a spirit of curiosity and a desire to learn more about hymns and Church music.

Experiences of Our Children

Certain experiences common to children of this age will serve as guides in presenting this unit. The group has been singing hymns in the worship services of the Church school and church. Some of the hymns have appealed to the boys and girls because they understood the words or liked the tune. Other hymns with words that they did not understand or perhaps could not even pronounce they have not sung at all, or attempted only half heartedly. Such hymns have been just an uninteresting part of the program instead of an integral part of a worship experience. With a little research, perhaps into the dictionary, the Bible, or an encyclopedia, these hymns may take on a new meaning, and a little training in singing will help to master the tunes.

Perhaps some of the members of the group sing in the junior choir. These children will begin the study of the unit with an interest already developed.

Our Parents Coöperate

In years gone by, it was the custom for families to come together for worship. This practice has now become very rare. One step in that direction may be the gathering of a family to sing hymns. This would be one splendid outcome of securing parent cooperation in working out this unit.

Many times there are parents with special talents who can be invited to do special jobs in connection with the activity. The teacher should use every opportunity of this kind to make as many contacts as possible with parents. Very often, interest in the work a child is doing at the Church school has brought parents into the Church, or has increased the interest of those who had become indifferent. Then, too, one hour, or two at the most is a very short time in which to teach so important a subject. The parents have the opportunity to give much additional help at home during the week.

It may well be that the teacher using this unit is unable to sing or play a piano, but there may be a parent who can. Without the help of such a parent the children may be deprived of the joy of singing the hymns as well as studying about them.

Our day schools seek opportunities to enlist the interest and cooperation of parents, for they realize how much the parents can help the child at home. This same fact should be remembered by our Church school teachers.


“We learn by doing” is an expression familiar to us all, and an important one to remember in the teaching of this unit. It is interesting to find out where our hymns come from, and why we sing them, but even more interesting to sing the hymns themselves! If we are thinking of hymns in their relation to the Church Year, how much more interesting the study will be if we plan a service or a religious drama to illustrate these hymns! The activities suggested for this unit are planned to make the study come alive. Of these the first two should be part of the work of every group. Only large classes will select more than one other.

Getting Acquainted With Our Hymnal

This is the title of a regular feature of each of the ten sessions of the unit, and should be carried on in connection with, and in addition to,’ the activity chosen from the list below. It has been planned especially so that a broad general knowledge of the Hymnal will be gained. It may happen that, if the group were planning a service or drama for a certain season, the hymns for that season will be learned and no others. Our Hymnal should be a source to which we can turn under many circumstances. The group should be encouraged to discover its many uses. Part of each session, therefore, should be set aside to “get acquainted” with it.

Singing the Hymns

Every possible opportunity should be given to the children to sing the hymns as well as to study about them. The ideal arrangement would be for this group to meet in a room of their own where there is a piano. Or perhaps they might plan with the organist to meet in the church on certain Sundays to practice the hymns they study. Parent cooperation can be secured by inviting parents who can sing or play to help in this. If, due to a lack of space or equipment, it is not possible for the children to sing during their class periods on Sunday mornings, the parents may arrange for an afternoon or evening at some one’s home when the children can get together to sing.

Forming a Junior Choir

One very valuable activity will be the forming of a Junior Choir, using the group studying this unit as a nucleus. It is a good plan to let the boys and girls do as much of the organizing as possible, making their own rules and deciding upon the place and time for rehearsals during the week. The Sunday morning class periods should be kept free for research connected with the hymns they are to sing at rehearsals. They will probably wish to form a committee to talk to the rector and the organist, also to report to the student council or the Church school and to arrange for taking part in the Church school worship services. Parent cooperation is most valuable in this activity. If the teacher of this group is unable to take charge of the Junior Choir, or if the organist finds it impossible, there may be a parent who is capable of training the group.

The mothers will be most helpful in guiding the children in the planning of such vestments as are simple, dignified, and easy to care for. Perhaps a group of mothers can be interested in making the vestments and forming a committee to take charge of laundering and repairs.

Although the group will confine itself to the singing of hymns at first, it is not a very large step to the learning of the canticles also, and even some simple anthems suitable for children. It is possible to hold the interest of the children for a period of years through active participation in a Junior Choir. Familiar with the Church through participation in its services, they also come to Confirmation at an earlier age, and with a greater understanding than other children.

Planning Services for the Church School

The group may wish to arrange with the rector and superintendent to plan the Church school worship for the Sundays while they are studying the unit. This will involve a careful analysis of the service used in the Church school, or perhaps the planning of a form of service of their own. One important thing to remember is to choose the central theme for the service, then to plan all the parts around the central theme, so that the service becomes a real expression of worship, with a special intention. The season of the Church Year should also be taken into account. If there are a processional and recessional, the class will discuss the time and meter in which hymns are written, and choose ones that will be suitable for a procession. Some hymns are much more appropriate than others for offertory hymns, and they should be selected with care. Prayer hymns should be chosen with words and music in mind. The group will need Prayer Books, Bibles, and their Hymnals in planning the service. They should be shown how to use the Topical Index of the Hymnal to find the hymns that are most appropriate.

Planning a Service for a Special Occasion

If this unit is begun in September it will be appropriate to plan a special service for Thanksgiving Day. Any festival of the Church Year, however, may be chosen. The rector and the superintendent of the Church school should be consulted, so that a Sunday morning will be set aside for this purpose, and the entire Church school can share in the work done by this group. It, may be possible to practice the hymns with the Church school on the Sunday before the service.

This group should be encouraged first to collect as much information as possible about the day selected. This would involve looking up stories and pictures, studying traditions that have grown up in connection with the celebration of the festival, and learning the hymns that can be used for this special occasion, and their history.

The next step is to choose the theme for the service, and to plan the service itself. If the boys and girls discover a traditional service that has been used in connection with the day, they may adapt that, or they may choose to plan one of their own. Appropriate hymns should be selected, and prayers chosen from the Prayer Book or other sources, or they may choose to write their own. An explanation or story of the festival should be included; the offering designated for a special purpose. The service should be conducted by the members of the group. They themselves should select the ones to lead in the various parts of the service. It should be rehearsed so that it will proceed smoothly. Friends and relatives as well as the other members of the Church school may be invited to participate. This activity, well done, will be an experience that the group will never forget.

Participating in a Religious Drama

The religious drama may be planned as in the case of the special service, in reference to the season of the Church Year when this unit is being used.

The drama will require more time and effort than the service for a special day, and will be most successful in a school which has a long Sunday session, or with a group which is willing to spend some extra time during the week for planning and rehearsals.

If the drama is to deal with Christmas the group should become very familiar with the Christmas story by reading it from the Bible, studying the Christmas hymns, and finally writing the story in their own words. The stories the children write should form the basis for the drama. The class may be divided into committees, with each committee responsible for developing one part of the story, and selecting the carols or hymns to be used for that particular scene. The group, also, should have a great deal to say in the selection of characters for the various parts. Try-outs and voting, after a discussion, is a fair way to choose the characters.

It is most important to impress upon the children that they are presenting a religious drama, which will provide a worship experience for their audience. Rehearsals should be held in the church if the drama is to be presented there, but in any case a spirit of reverence should be created. One way to impress the group with a spirit of reverence is to write a prayer which is said at the beginning of each rehearsal.

This activity will provide a splendid opportunity for seeking parent cooperation. They should be invited to help with costumes and properties. Perhaps there are parents who have had experience in dramatics, music, costuming, or lighting. Such people can give invaluable help.

Costumes should be simple and suggestive of the period. They need not be elaborate. A foundation garment in a simple chemise pattern may form the base for all the costumes. Shepherds may add cloaks, preferably of a striped material, and turbans. The kings’ robes may be as elaborate as possible. Old costume jewelry and discarded velvet drapes are wonderful materials for a king’s costume. The costume for the women may have the same simple foundation, with a wimple and veil used for the head covering. Angels can be quite effective in simple, long white garments. Wings and halos are not necessary.

As with the costumes, the scenery may be as simple as possible. The children’s imaginations will supply a great deal of the detail. The Christmas decorations which are already in the church, and a manger may be sufficient to suggest the atmosphere of the drama.

Consult the rector, superintendent, and the student council as to the day on which to present the drama. If it is possible, the previous Sunday may be set aside for the Church school to rehearse the music. This will ensure the drama being a worship service in which the entire school participates.

After the drama has been presented the group should have an opportunity to discuss whether it has been a real worship experience with a lasting value for them.

Making a Scrapbook

A scrapbook may be a valuable project to use in this unit. Originality and variety should be encouraged, and the talents of the group used to the best advantage. There may be one or two members who have outstanding artistic ability. They may be encouraged to do the illustrations for the book. Or it may seem wiser to let the members do their own individual drawings and vote upon the ones to be included in the scrapbook. Some others may prefer to do lettering, and still others may form the resource group to gather up the information to be included in the book. The boys and girls should decide upon headings for various parts of the book. They may wish to follow the classifications in the Hymnal, or use headings from the Topical Index. This project may follow very closely the feature, Getting Acquainted with Our Hymnal which introduces each session of the unit.

Although it is best to encourage as much original work as possible, there may be some groups which will be dependent upon pictures from other sources. Well-drawn colored pictures such as those by Copping, Elsie Anna Wood, or Margaret Tarrant may be used for the Biblical illustrations. Pictures in current magazines can be used to illustrate scenes from daily life and nature.

So plan the scrapbook that each part will tell a story, illustrate a point from daily life, or give some interesting information about the hymn chosen instead of being just a series of pictures and disjointed information. Facts about authors and composers, Bible texts or stories that were the inspiration for the hymn, and occasions upon which the hymn is used may be included.

The group should have a definite reason for making the scrapbook, and plan to do something with it when it is completed. They may wish to present it to the church library as a permanent reference book. They may wish to send it to another parish or mission, or give it to one of the younger classes in the Church school. The book will have much more meaning if it is planned to be used for some definite purpose.

Writing a Class Hymn

Discuss a few of the great hymns, to discover why they were written, their theme, or the stories they tell. This may lead the group to a desire to write a class hymn or carol.

The theme for the class hymn may be chosen in a group discussion, or the individual members may be asked to write their thoughts on slips of paper to be discussed and voted upon.

When the theme has been chosen, a tune may be selected to guide them in their writing. It will be best to choose a simple, easy tune which is familiar to the group. One of four lines, in a common meter will be best.

This activity will afford opportunities for originality. Each member of the group should be encouraged to write his own verses and let them be discussed with the group, and altered or enriched according to the group’s suggestions. Finally, the group should vote upon the verses to be used.

After the hymn has been written, it should be used in the worship service, as a definite contribution of this group. They may wish to make a poster, including the hymn, indicating the tune, and illustrating it by original drawings. This could be hung in the Church school room as a permanent exhibit.

We Start Our Unit

One of the principles of learning is that there must be a “readiness,” or a desire to learn a thing before it can be taught successfully. A teacher, in starting a unit of work must remember that her first duty will be to create the desire to learn. This will not be done by announcing that, for the next ten sessions we shall study the Hymnal!

There are several ways in which this unit may be introduced. The teacher may arrange with the boys and girls and their parents to make a trip to hear some fine program of Church music. This will be possible in any city or town where special musical programs are advertised. A trip of this kind does many things. It arouses the interest of the group in the subject to be studied, it gives the group and the teacher a chance to get acquainted, and if the parents are invited, it gives an opportunity for establishing a parent-teacher relationship at the outset of the unit.

Where a trip is not possible, the unit may be introduced by the playing of recordings of fine Church music. This can be done in the Church school session if the class has a separate room, or it may be arranged as a special event for an afternoon or evening at a home. It also gives an opportunity for getting better acquainted with the group and the parents.

If the unit is to be introduced at the time of a great Church festival, the teacher may begin by talking about the festival and looking up the hymns which are sung at that time. From the study of these hymns, the group can proceed to the study of hymns for other seasons and occasions.

Perhaps the teacher will begin the unit with a group that is prejudiced against singing because of unwise or uninteresting selection of hymns in the Church school worship service. In this case it may be well to discuss some of the hymns the group dislikes, trying to find out why. A list of hymns the group does like may then be made with the reasons why. Through this comparison and discussion the group may be convinced that, with a little knowledge, many of the hymns become more attractive.

One very natural way to introduce the unit will be to invite the group to come together to sing. This activity at the very start will arouse the interest of the group. Hymns that appeal should be chosen, and some hints of the stories in connection with them be given to arouse the curiosity of the group, and create a desire to learn more about them. This is an activity which can be planned for the first Church school session if the group is fortunate enough to have a room with a piano. If not, it may be arranged for a special evening at the home of the teacher or a group member.

We Share in the Church’s Work

One of the most important aims of all our teaching in the Church school is to make strong Christians and Churchmen of our boys and girls. They always should be made to feel that the Church school is a part of the Church itself. As they grow older, they should be led to take their full share in the work of the Church.

The activities for the unit have been planned with this aim in mind. By planning worship services and learning how and why the services are conducted as they are, the boys and girls are becoming familiar with the Church, and they will feel that they are contributing something to the work of the Church.

Singing in a junior choir will give the group a feeling of very definitely sharing in the work of the Church. Interest in the Church and her services is aroused by participation, and a desire for Confirmation often follows.

Every opportunity should be given to the group to feel that they are working in the Church. That is why there are suggestions throughout the unit to plan a drama or service in which not only the group itself, but the entire Church school and their parents and friends will take part. All occasions like these give both children and adults the idea that the Church school is a part of the whole parish program.

Culminating Activities

At the conclusion of a unit, both the teacher and the pupils should feel that a definite piece of work has been accomplished. The activities of this unit have been planned with this idea in mind. The presentation of a religious drama, or the conducting of a service which has been carefully planned, using all the knowledge that is gained along the way, will act as a summary, and a means of fixing the information learned firmly in the minds of the group. The completion of a scrapbook, and the act of presenting it to someone else for use creates a feeling of the value of the study. The singing of a hymn which the members of the group have written themselves will give this same feeling of completion.

Singing in a junior choir is an activity which can be carried on long after the unit is ended, but the interest in the junior choir is a direct result of the knowledge gained at that time. In the same way, the group may have enjoyed the experience of getting together to sing so much that they will wish to make a practice of doing so after the unit has been completed.

We Evaluate Our Work

Session ten is planned especially to give the teacher and pupils a chance to evaluate the work done in the unit. Here is a list of questions that should be answered when the unit is completed:

Do I feel that I am better acquainted with our Church Hymnal as a result of the work I have done in this unit?

Do the hymns mean more to me than they did before?

Have I learned anything about the stories of the hymns and the people who wrote them?

Do I know how to find the hymns for special occasions?

Do I understand the worship services of the Church better than I did before?

Have I learned to sing any new hymns, and can I sing the old ones with more understanding than I could before?

Do I wish to continue studying the hymns because I have become interested in them?

Source Material

The New Church Hymnal (1943 edition)

A Bible

A Prayer Book

Stories of Hymns We Love by Cecelia Margaret Rudin. (Chicago, John R. Rudin Co., Inc. $1)

One Hundred and One Hymn Stories by Carl E. Price. (Nashville, Abingdon-Cokesbury. 75c)

The Whole World Sings by Lois R. Robison. Intermediate Pupil’s Workbook. (Nashville, Graded Press. 20c)

Famous Hymns with Stories by Elizabeth Howard Bon-sall. (Philadelphia, Union Press. $1)

Every Child’s Story Book of Saints. (New York, More-house-Gorham. First and Second Series $ 1.20 each)

An encyclopedia

Prices of books and other materials given here for the convenience of leaders were, furnished by the various publishers and are subject to change.

Session Plans

Getting Acquainted With Our Hymnal

Look through the Hymnal and see how many hymns are familiar to you.

If you have a favorite hymn tell what it is and why you like it.

Turn to the index of the Hymnal and see how the hymns are classified.

Sing some of the hymns that you know. See how well the words and music fit together. Read the words and listen to the music for Christmas hymns and Lenten hymns and tell some of the differences between them.

Discuss the activity we shall carry on as a class.

Other Activities

One of these may be selected by the group and carried through as suggested.

Making a Scrapbook

Did you ever think of the ways that hymns came to be written?

Turn to Hymn 74, O Little Town of Bethlehem. Have you ever heard the story of this hymn?

Now turn to 543, The King of Love My Shepherd Is. Can you tell by reading the words whence this hymn came?

Have you ever seen a picture that could be used to illustrate this hymn?

Would you like to learn facts about more of the hymns we sing, and make a scrapbook of our information?

Planning the Church School Service

The coöperation of the rector or superintendent of the Church school must be secured for this activity.

Did you ever wonder why we sing the hymns we do in the service? Why do you suppose we sang the hymns this morning? Did they “fit in” with the prayers we said, or the story or lesson that was read?

Could you tell what season of the Church Year it is by the hymns we sang?

What is the date of next Sunday? What day of the Church Year? Let us take our Prayer Books and look at the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel for the day. Could you find a hymn that would be appropriate to sing next Sunday?

Shall we begin next Sunday to plan the worship services for the Church school?

Will you look through your Hymnals at home during the week and select some hymns you think will fit into the service?

Taking Part in a Religious Drama

Have you ever thought that hymns can be made to tell a story?

What hymns could you use to tell the Christmas story?

Would we need an Advent hymn?

Who were the first visitors to the Baby Jesus? Who told them where He could be found? Let us turn to the Christmas hymns and carols, and see how many we can find that tell the story of the angels and shepherds.

Where was the Baby Jesus found? What hymn tells us about it?

Who else came to Bethlehem to see the Baby Jesus? What hymns tell that story?

Let us read the Christmas story at home this week, then write it in our own words, and bring our stories to class next Sunday so that we can discuss them.

Planning a Service for a Special Day

When are the times when you feel most like singing? What kind of hymns do you like to sing when you are feeling especially happy?

What day of the year do we in the United States set aside to show our thankfulness for all the good things we have been given?

Can you tell the story of Thanksgiving Day?

Let us turn to the Topical Index in our Hymnals and look at the titles of the hymns listed under Gratitude. How many of these do we already know?

Let us turn to Hymn 447, Now Thank We All Our God. Would you like to learn the story of how this hymn came to be written?

What do we have to be thankful for? Do these hymns marked Gratitude say any of the things we want to say ourselves?

Shall we begin next Sunday to plan a service for our Church school for Thanksgiving Day?

Writing a Class Hymn

Let us each choose a hymn we like especially well and either read it or sing it to the group.

Did you notice that each hymn expresses a thought of its own; that it tells a story, sings praises, asks forgiveness, gives thanks? What did the hymns you chose tell us?

Suppose we were to write a hymn. What are some of the things you would like to say?

Let us write our thoughts at home this week, then try to make a hymn of our own. Play the hymn tunes yourself, or ask someone to play them for you, and choose a tune you really like to sing so that you can tell us about it next Sunday.

What are some of the tunes you know especially well, and that you really like to sing?

Shall we try to make our words fit that music so that we can sing the hymn we write?

Forming a Junior Choir

How many of you have gone to the Church services and listened to the music? Did you notice how much the music of the choir helped the congregation? Could you have sung as well without the help of the organist and choir?

What do you think of the singing in our Church school? Do you think it would help us to have a junior choir? Would you like to help the singing in the Church school by forming a junior choir to sing at our worship services?

Getting Acquainted With Our Hymnal

We learn something about the hymn book of the Hebrew people by reading some of the Psalms in our Bibles and comparing them with some of the hymns in our Hymnal. First let us turn to Psalm 23. It is called a Psalm of David. Who was David? Why would he think of the Lord as a Shepherd? Why would you say this hymn of the Hebrew people has been a favorite with people all over the world? Have you ever heard a hymn that reminds you of this Psalm?

Let us turn to Hymn 543 and read it or sing it together.

Now let us read Psalm 19, and read the first six stanzas. Can you tell in your own words what this Hebrew hymn writer was saying?

Now let us turn to Hymn 547, The Spacious Firmament on High and read how Joseph Addison expressed this idea. How can we find out who Joseph Addison was?

Now let us look at Psalm 100 and the Hymn, All People that on Earth do Dwell (262).

Let us look through our Hymnals and find how many of our hymns were inspired by the Hebrew Psalms. Where do we find these Psalms set apart to be used in our own worship services? What is it called?

We start work on our chosen class project.

Other Activities

Making a Scrapbook

We talk about the kind of information we wish to include in our books. The following may be suggested: Number and first line of the hymn, a brief outline or explanation, facts about the author of the hymn or composer of the music, pictures to illustrate the hymns. We talk about the many kinds of hymns there are, and what divisions we want to make in our scrapbook. We might follow the classifications in the Hymnal, or we might use some headings from the Topical Index.

We each begin to make a list of the hymns we should like to include in our scrapbook.

We divide the group into committees: Investigation, to look up interesting facts about the hymns; Illustration, to find or draw pictures to illustrate our scrapbook; Classification, to decide upon the divisions and titles for our book.

Planning the Church School Service

We find what season of the Church Year it is, and study the hymns that are listed for that season. If possible, we sing some of the hymns, and we ask questions about words or ideas we do not understand. We choose hymns we think the Church school can sing with understanding. If there is a processional, we discuss the time, or meter in which hymns are written, and choose one that would be suitable for marching. If the rector has given us a special theme for the service, we look for suitable hymns under the Topical Index.

We talk about the meaning of the offertory, and choose a suitable hymn for this part of the service.

Taking Part in a Religious Drama

We read and discuss the stories of the Nativity which we wrote at home and brought with us. We vote on the story or parts of stories we like best and complete it. We choose the hymns to illustrate our story.

Planning a Service for a Special Day

We decide the date for our Thanksgiving Day service, and begin to make our plans.

We look at the outline of our own Church school service and at Morning Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer.

We discuss other services we have attended, and tell what we liked or did not like in the service.

Let us this week at home make a list of the things we should like to include in our service and bring this list with us next Sunday so that we can begin to make our plans.

Writing a Class Hymn

We discuss the thoughts contained in the papers we wrote at home, compare them, and decide which one we like best. We discuss hymn tunes that are familiar and easy, if possible we listen while they are played for us, and choose one to guide us in writing our verse.

Forming a Junior Choir

We invite the organist or choir master, or a parent who can play the piano and help with the singing to discuss the forming of a choir group. We set a date for a first rehearsal.

Getting Acquainted With Our Hymnal

We read some of the hymns written by the early Christians. How can we find the names of the authors of our hymns, and the dates when the hymns were written? Let us turn to the Index of Authors and see what are the earliest dates we can discover. Have you ever heard these names before? Shall we look up the lives of some of these well-known saints of the Church?

Do you know what a liturgy is?

Have you found the list of hymns under Latin? When do you suppose these were written? Let us read some of these early hymns together, and find the thought in them.

Other Activities

Making a Scrapbook

We ask our committees to work on the hymns chosen for our scrapbook. We find pictures to illustrate the hymns.

Planning the Church School Service

We plan this activity much as we did last week, choosing at least one hymn from those written by the early Christians.

Taking Part in a Religious Drama

We plan the scenes in our drama, and decide whether to use dialogue or pantomime.

We divide into committees, each committee to write one scene: the Annunciation, Shepherds’ Scene, Nativity Scene, Visit of the Wise Men; using for our guide the story we have written.

Planning a Service for a Special Day

We work on the outline o£ the service, and begin to read and discuss the Thanksgiving Day hymns. We learn to sing them if possible.

Writing a Class Hymn

Either in groups or individually, using the hymn tune we have chosen, and keeping in mind the thought we wish to express, we write a stanza for our class hymn.

Forming a Junior Choir

We discuss the first rehearsal of our choir, and set the date when we will first sing at the Church school worship service.

We decide to invite a committee of mothers to discuss the planning and making of vestments.


Getting Acquainted With Our Hymnal


Have you noticed how many of our hymns are written about Christian soldiers? Let us read some of them:

268 Am I a Soldier of the Cross
319 Fight the Good Fight
333 Go Forward Christian Soldier
494 Oft in Danger
497 Onward Christian Soldiers.

Let us read what St. Paul has to say about a Christian soldier. We will find it in his Epistle to the Ephesians chapter 6:10-20. What is a Christian soldier fighting for? What is he fighting against? What is his armor, and who is his leader?

Other Activities

Making a Scrapbook

We discuss the Christian soldier hymns, and decide which ones we would like to include in our scrapbook. We include the story of the hymn, and draw pictures to illustrate the armor of a Christian soldier.

Planning the Church School Service

We use St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians 6:10-20 as the theme of the service, and plan the service, selecting hymns, prayers, and Bible reading on the same theme.

Taking Part in a Religious Drama

We go into the church to set the scenes of our religious drama, but before we enter the church we discuss the drama as a service of worship. We kneel when we enter the church to pray that we may plan and execute the drama in the right spirit.

Planning a Service for a Special Day We write the outline of the Thanksgiving Service and send a copy to the rector or superintendent, and to the organist, and invite them to come on the following Sunday to discuss the plans with us.

Writing a Class Hymn

We continue to write and discuss the hymn.

Forming a Junior Choir

We begin to make a list of the hymns we should like to learn. We discuss some of the familiar hymns we sing because we like the tunes but do not understand the words. We each select a hymn to look up during the week so that we can tell the group about it next Sunday.


Getting Acquainted With Our Hymnal

We discuss the reasons for singing hymns. We look at the Te Deum and the Magnificat in our Prayer Books and discuss the thoughts contained in these hymns. We discuss the meaning of praise and adoration. We read the list of hymns in the Topical Index under these heads: Love, Praise, Majesty, Mercy, Gratitude, Joy. If possible, we sing some of the familiar ones, and learn at least one new hymn under these classifications.

Other Activities

Making a Scrapbook

We choose one of the great hymns of adoration to include in our scrapbook. We write a four line hymn of praise to include in the book.

Planning the Church School Service

We use the theme, Worship, and plan our service accordingly.

Taking Part in a Religious Drama

We consult with the organist about the music for our drama, and with his help, pick the hymns we shall sing during the drama.

We arrange for rehearsals.

We invite the mothers of the class members to help in the planning and making of costumes.

Planning a Service for a Special Day

We discuss our plans with the rector or superintendent, and the organist.

Writing a Class Hymn

We finish the hymn, and if possible practice singing it to the tune we have chosen.

We plan to make a poster, using our hymn as the theme, so that we can hang the poster in our classroom.

Forming a Junior Choir

We discuss the hymns we are to sing at the worship service on the following Sunday. We study the tunes and the words, and look up the author and composer. We look in the dictionary and other source books for the meanings of words we do not understand. We look up the Bible references. We sing the hymns.


Getting Acquainted With Our Hymnal

We discuss the seasons of the Church Year. What are the names of the seasons of the Church Year? What does each season stand for? What are the colors of the seasons?

Let us look at the first division of the Table of Contents in the Hymnal. It gives us a list of hymns for the Church Year. What is your favorite Advent hymn? Is there much difference in the music and thought between the Advent and Christmas hymns?

Other Activities

Making a Scrapbook

We decide to make a special division in our scrapbook for the hymns in the Church Year, and begin to work on it.

Planning the Church School Service

We discuss the season of the Church Year which we are now celebrating and plan our worship service with that season in mind.

Taking Part in a Religious Drama

We choose the characters for the drama.

Planning a Service for a Special Day

We choose the persons who are to take part in the service.

Writing a Class Hymn

We work on our poster.

Forming a Junior Choir

We discuss the hymns we are to sing on the following Sunday. We look at the canticles, and find out what pointing means.


Getting Acquainted With Our Hymnal

Continue the study of hymns for the Church Year.

Other Activities

Making a Scrapbook

We continue to work on hymns for the Church Year.

Planning the Church School Service

We plan a worship service especially suited to the Christmas season.

Taking Part in a Religious Drama

We rehearse our religious drama in the church.

Planning a Service for a Special Day

We go into the church and rehearse the prayers and lessons, and the talk for our Thanksgiving Day service. We arrange for a rehearsal of the hymns for the entire Church school for the next Sunday.

Writing a Class Hymn

We continue the work on the poster, and plan to exhibit it to the Church school, and to sing our hymn for them.

Forming a Junior Choir

We continue to study the hymns we are to use and to rehearse them. We sing the canticles.


Getting Acquainted With Our Hymnal

We study the hymns for our national days. We look in the Index to discover which ones are listed. We read them, and discover how many are familiar. We discuss the reasons for singing hymns on our national days.

Other Activities

Making a Scrapbook

We include a section on hymns for our country.

Planning the Church School Service

We take as our theme, God Bless Our Native Land, and arrange a service of worship.

Taking Part in a Religious Drama

We have a dress rehearsal of our religious drama, with the entire Church school present to sing the hymns with us.

Planning a Service for a Special Day

We rehearse the Thanksgiving Day hymns with the entire Church school.

Writing a Class Hymn

We finish our poster, and rehearse our hymn, which we plan to sing for the Church school on the next Sunday.

Forming a Junior Choir

We continue our study of hymns.

Getting Acquainted With Our Hymnal

We discuss some of the great authors and composers of hymns. We look up the names in the Index, and find that some of them lived long ago, and some of them are living and writing today. We look up the lives of some of the hymn writers and composers in our reference books.

Other Activities

Making a Scrapbook

We put the finishing touches on our scrapbook, make plans for presenting it to the Church school library.

Planning the Church School Service

We plan a worship service for the Church school, using the hymns written by modern authors and composers.

Taking Part in a Religious Drama

We present our Christmas drama for the Church school.

Planning a Service for a Special Day

We hold the service at the time of the Church school’s worship service.

Writing a Class Hymn

We have the poster on exhibition, and we sing our class hymn at the worship service.

Forming a Junior Choir

We continue our study of hymns, and arrange to carry on this work even after we have finished our unit.


Getting Acquainted With Our Hymnal

We evaluate the unit we have studied.

We conduct an Information Please, each member writing one question which is to be answered by the group.

We make plans to meet occasionally to sing hymns together, and to play them on various instruments.

Other Activities

Making a Scrapbook

We present our finished scrapbook to the rector or superintendent to be placed in the Church school library.

Planning the Church School Service

We discuss the ideas of worship which we had before we began our unit, and try to discover how our study of worship services has helped us.

Taking Part in a Religious Drama

We discuss the drama we presented the Sunday before, and consider whether it provided a real worship experience.

Planning a Service for a Special Day

We discuss the service held last Sunday, and consider its value to the Church school, and how the hymns helped the worship.

Writing a Class Hymn

We hang our finished poster where we can see it often, and arrange to keep on using our class hymn.

Forming a Junior Choir

We discuss the value of the choir, and arrange to keep on singing in the junior choir.

Project Canterbury