Description: Creature Canticles: or, Where Have All the Animals Gone?

Throughout the Bible, the whole creation is called to join in praise of God: from wild animals and cattle, to creeping things and flying birds (Psalm 148:10).  However, hymn texts from the Western Christian tradition contain oddly few references to other-than-human creatures.  In this talk, I document that curious omission along with its few notable exceptions; propose a few explanatory hypotheses; and highlight remedial directions that have been taken (and might be taken further) by recent hymn text writers to return animals to their rightful place in creation’s song.

About the Speaker: Mary Louise (Mel) Bringle is Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies and coordinator of the Integrated Studies major at Brevard College in Brevard, NC. Her original hymn texts and translations are included in hymnals and supplements of numerous denominations in North America and Scotland. She has served as President of The Hymn Society and chair of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, responsible for creating the 2013 PCUSA hymnal Glory to God. In the summer of 2020, she was named a Fellow of the Hymn Society. She is a ruling elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville, NC.

Location: Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University – Waco, TX.