"There is no period of time in church history -- ever -- in which there have been this many waves of change shaping Christian worship at the same time," said Witvliet. "A generation ago, we assumed that the hymnal in the pew WAS a church's musical repertoire. No one assumes that now."
But no matter how rapid the changes, he added, hymnals are symbols that the "church needs a common body of music to help keep it united. There must be some ties that bind."
Terry Mattingly is the director of the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and leads the GetReligion.org project to study religion and the news.
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