Being a member of the standing Hymnal Revision Committee (HRC), I feel lucky I could attend yesterday the special meeting of UUNEI officials and some other church members at Jowai. Graced by the President and the General Secretary of the Union, the occasion was led by Mr R Pariat and Mr L.Laloo (the Chairman & the Secretary of the HRC respectively) in which Rev Carleywell Lyngdoh, Seniormost Minister of the Union released the newly edited Khasi Unitarian Hymnal. I cannot think of any better time to have this much awaited edition completed and released now before we wind up our Quasquicentennial celebrations next month during our Annual General Conference. This edition has come after a long time and only few old copies are available in most churches. Our organizers should take note and be careful to avoid stampede in our hymnal counters when all our churches and fellowships meet at Jowai next month!
The meeting recalled our first Hymnal printed in Ann Arbor by Rev Dr JT Sunderland in 1892 which became the guiding light and strong companion of the early followers of HKS. The 2nd edition was published in 1907. The newly released hymnal was mainly based on the 1983 hymnal with thorough edition that had taken more than 100 hours. Its 542 pages contain songs, readings, writings and prayers and various services. It even includes small things like important UUNEI dates. Most of the 394 songs are in Khasi, some in certain Khasi dialects, but towards the end you will also find 5 songs in Karbi and 12 in English. One of the greatest editions this time relates to the original Unitarian Anthem composed by HKS himself!
A special mention may be made about one particular principle adopted by the HRC not to include any song in our hymnal that glorifies any human being. In the process, one popular hymn about our founder composed by Rev Carleywell was removed; the composer himself is an HRC member!
And for the first time we have given a proper title to our hymnal: KA JINGSHAI BLEI (The Divine Light)!
To Nang Roi (Keep Evolving)!