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World renowned hymnist to speak Monday

April 17, 1997

By Melissa Miller

Lariat Reporter

An internationally known lyricist of contemporary hymns will speak on the spiritual power of hymns Monday .

The work of Brian Wren has appeared in many denominational hymnals and separate volumes in English speaking nations. Wren will speak 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday in 107 Waco Hall East and 7 p.m. Monday in Roxy Grove Hall.

'Brian Wren is significant because he is internationally known,' said Dr. Ray Luper, associate professor of music.

Hymns and contemporary music differ in several ways.

According to Luper, a hymn is more appropriate for congregations rather than solos. Also, a hymn contains several stanzas, usually without a refrain, and relies less on feeling than praise choruses, Luper said.

'His hymns say to get out and do things, stop staying within the church, but to reflect it in our lives and show that we care about people,' Luper said. 'That is a common theme in his hymns.'

Luper said Wren's work is starting to catch on among churches. First Presbyterian Church in Waco uses several of Wren's hymns in worship.

'His reputation is quite widespread,' Jan Bodine, music minister at First Presbyterian, said. 'His hymns are well known, but it's like wearing an old pair of shoes; they feel good, but every so often you need to get a new pair.'

Born in England, Wren contributed to what Luper refers to as the 'hymnic explosion' of the 1970s when a group of hymn writers emerged from England.

'He is significant because he is a contemporary writer on hymn texts and he is also a theologian,' Bodine said.

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