In the Episcopal rites for the Holy Eucharist, following either the Collect for Purity or the Opening Acclamation (if the Collect for Purity is omitted in Rite Two), the Book of Common Prayer allows for the singing of a Kyrie (Lord, have mercy), a Trisagion (Holy Lord), a Gloria in excelsis, or “some other song of praise.” This is one of many instances in the prayer book in which the rubrics allow for great latitude in choosing music to fit the particular occasion. The song of praise is one particular opportunity for musical and textual variety within the rubrics of the prayer book ordo. Here are some suggestions for a song of praise as an alternative to the Gloria in excelsis.
1 Father, we praise thee (CHRISTE SANCTORUM)
6 Christ, whose glory fills the skies (CHRIST WHOSE GLORY)
9 Not here for high and holy things (MORNING SONG), stanzas 4-6; particularly effective in the fall
11 Awake, my soul (MORNING HYMN), stanzas 1-2
373 Praise the Lord, ye heavens adore him (AUSTRIA). This is the alternative tune suggested in the H82.
374 Come, let us join our cheerful songs (NUN DANKET ALL UND BRINGET HER). This metrical setting of Dignus Es would be wonderful for the Easter season
378 From all that dwell below the skies (OLD 100TH). This would be a good option for those hoping to ease out of “THE DOXOLOGY” at the presentation
399 To God with gladness sing (CAMANO). A metrical setting of the Venite would be a good choice and give the congregation to learn this wonderful tune by Richard Proulx.
408 Sing praise to God who reigns above (MIT FREUDEN ZART)
417 This is the feast (FESTIVAL CANTICLE). Use selected stanzas, changing each Sunday of a season.
421 All glory be to God on high (ALLEIN GOTT IN DER HOH). A metrical setting of the Gloria
444 Blest be the God of Israel (THORNBURY). A metrical setting of Canticle 16. This would be appropriate in Advent. It works well to LLANGLOFFAN.
532/3 How wondrous and great (OLD 104TH/LYONS). Old 104th is preferred since it is such a majestic tune and worthy to be taught to congregations
535 Ye servants of God (PADERBORN)
538 God of mercy, God of grace (LUCERNA LAUDONIAE). Chances are your congregation may not know this tune, but it would be worth using for a season so they can learn it.
546 Awake my soul, stretch every nerve (SIROE)
551 Rise up, ye saints of God (FESTAL SONG)
569 God the Omnipotent! (RUSSIA). Use stanzas 1-2.
755 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
782 Gracious Spirit, give your servants (ABBOTT’S LEIGH). This would make a great hymn of praise; however, due to its length, I would only use it if you omit the hymn in procession and do the acclamation and Collect for Purity from the back.
783 Heleluyan (MUSCOGEE INDIAN). This hymn could also be used before the Gospel.
784 Hallelujah! We sing your praises! (HALELUYA! PELO TSO NONA)
786 Cantad al Senor (CANTAD AO SENHOR). This is an excellent choice to get your congregation singing in Spanish. I would suggest using selected stanzas if doing as a Song of Praise.
821 Glory to God
822 Through north and south (LASST UNS ERFREUEN)
Ellen Johnston is Director of the Center for Liturgy and Music.