Virtual Hymnal A New UU Virtual Hymnal Is Under Construction

A Black woman wearing headphones smiles and sings, holding a tablet or iPad.

Our Vision: to build a living collection of song resources through an accessible, equitable, online platform grounded in UU values. This virtual hymnal will help Unitarian Universalism live into our prophetic calling as a joyful, liberatory, and anti-oppressive faith.

Our Virtual Hymnal Task Force is actively designing our new platform and creating licensing agreements with musicians. These are two significant projects that are taking our time and attention.

Please note that due to the intensity of our work on technology and licensing frameworks, the Task Force is not accepting music submissions, suggestions, or contributions until much later. The thought of new hymns and chants is exciting, and so we understand the joyful impulse to write in with hymn submissions or suggestions. However, we do not anticipate being ready for new music submissions until 2025, when there will be a public invitation here and through other channels.

Spring 2024: A Virtual Hymnal Update & Sneak Peek

In January (below) Rev. Erika Hewitt and Camille Hatton gathered the curious to learn about how we've designed our virtual hymnal "container" and licensing agreements. Thanks to our participants, we received helpful questions and ideas that the Virtual Hymnal Task Force reviewed.

We now have a set of exciting updates to share with you about our virtual hymnal prototype! We'd like to reveal our working model, show off its bells & whistles, explain its testing phase, and present the financial details that are emerging. Each gathering will also include a poll of your most cherished public domain hymns—information that will be folded into the Beta version of the virtual hymnal.

The recorded compilation of these sessions will be available on this page in July 2024.

January 2024: Our Q & A Summary

Our Task Force held helpful and exciting Zoom Q & A sessions in January 2024. That informative video—with a compilation of all questions asked—is now available (Vimeo).

Imagine web access to hundreds of UU hymns that you can search for and confidently use in a range of events—from worship to social justice vigils! In close consultation with the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries (AUUMM), the UUA has begun exploring what the next hymnal might include—and its Virtual Hymnal Task Force has been at work since March 2023.

The Virtual Hymnal Task Force is currently comprised of at least six members:

  • Camille Hatton, Consulting Project Manager

  • Mary Benard, UUA Publications Director

  • Rev. Erika Hewitt, UUA Minister of Worship Arts

  • Beverly Horton, musician and Lay Chaplain, First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, Ontario

  • Carey McDonald, UUA Executive Vice President

  • Susanne Maziarz, Music Director, Neighbourhood UU Congregation of Toronto, Ontario.

  • We are in the process of adding an additional music professional (who is also an AUUMM member)

The Task Force is currently designing the robust technology platform required for this unprecedented hymn collection, and researching the licensing agreements that will also be required.

We anticipate spending the 2023-2024 congregational year to develop a pilot so that we can invite feedback on that technology and its capacities. The Task Force is not engaged in selecting or soliciting hymns at this time; it will be late 2024 or even early 2025 before we're able to shift our focus to developing guidelines and priorities for choosing songs for the Virtual Hymnal.

To receive periodic updates about our Task Force's work—including Zoom gatherings to talk about it—please subscribe to the WorshipWeb newsletter, "From the Muse to the Pews."