The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (ELH) was produced by the worship committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, a group of pastors and congregations who trace their theological lineage through the Norwegian immigration of the nineteenth century and the "old" Synodical Conference to the Evangelical Reformation of Denmark and Lutheran Germany in the sixteenth century.
The most immediate parentage of the ELH is the Lutheran Hymnary of 1913 (LHry) and The Lutheran Hymnal of 1941 (TLH).
The ELS attempted the production of a hymnal supplement a number of times over the last 40 years. In each instance the proposed supplement was abandoned for financial and other reasons. Most congregations of the ELS used LHry or TLH, and were comfortable with the diversity of practice. In the late 1980's several congregational circuits of the ELS requested the worship committee to study the possibility of the production of a hymnal that would combine the liturgical and hymnic traditions of the LHry and TLH, so that congregations within the synod would have the option of using a synodically produced worship resource in addition to the worship resources produced by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (Christian Worship; CW) and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (Lutheran Worship; LW). In 1990 the synodical convention directed the worship committee to study the feasibility of hymnal production. The idea was embraced and developed by the ELS worship committee, and was supported by the subsequent annual conventions of the ELS. The ELH was never intended to be the official worship resource of the synod, however. It was designed to serve congregations of the synod along with orthodox worship resources produced by other synods in recent decades.
The worship committee found a great helper in Mr. Rodney Schrank and
the entire staff of MorningStar Music in St. Louis. His agreement to take
on the project development and printing resulted in a worship resource that
is legible and inviting to use. We are thankful for his "eagle eye",
constructive criticism and ever present sense of humor. Additional thanks
must be paid to the following individuals: Alfred Fremder, Carol Webber,
Gaylin Schmeling, Juul Madson, LeRoy Meyer, Alex Ring and the congregations
and individuals who supported the project "sight unseen" with
their pre-publication orders and patronage. The work would not have been
produced without their help.
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