A group known as the Hymn Society has released a collection titled Songs for the Holy Other: Hymns Affirming the LGBTQIA2S+ Community for liturgical use in the United States and Canada.
Among the nearly 50 “queer hymns” featured in the collection are: “God of Queer Transgressive Spaces,” “Lovely, Needy People,” “Quirky Queer and Wonderful” and “The Kingdom of God is the Queerest of Nations.”
The ecumenical, non-profit Hymn Society released the hymnal in July but it was publicized just last week by Anglican Journal, the publication of the Anglican Church of Canada, which praised the work for offering “further potential for music as a source of affirmation and inclusion.”
Sydney Brouillard-Coyle, the “gender-non-conforming” music director at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Essex, Ontario, called the collection “an amazing resource for music directors and for priests who are looking for hymns that are affirming for the LGBT community.”
The preface for Songs for the Holy Other laments the building of walls and calls for dismantling these walls through music.
“In our society and in our churches, we continue to build walls marking ‘out’ and ‘in,’” the text reads. “We continue to mark boundaries of ‘us’ and ‘them,’ of ‘normal’ and ‘other.’”
“Songs for the Holy Other aims to provide congregations working to dismantle these walls with a toolbox of hymns by and for those who identify as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, nonbinary, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, aromantic, two-spirit, and other sexual/gender minority (LGBTQIA2S+) community and their allies,” it proclaims.
The preface also explains that the title of the collection, Songs for the Holy Other, “is a self-conscious claiming of otherness as holy and beloved of God.”
“We who have been labeled as ‘wholly other’ are claiming our holiness, and reclaiming our otherness as a prophetic witness to the church,” it states.
One of the hymns, “God of Many Faces,” by Amy Cerniglia, calls for the worship of the “God of many genders,” whose multiplicity is reflected in all of creation.