Hello, everyone. I am music director at a small church that is in the process of disaffiliating from the United Methodist church but intends to maintain our Methodist heritage, theology and practice. We have been using the United Methodist hymnal but are now looking for an alternative. We primarily sing the 'traditional' hymns but will use the more modern songs in that hymnal (and occassionally a song that is more recent than its 1980s publication date).
Any suggestions on hymnals that might suit us well as a replacement for the United Methodist hymnal?
You could cut out the title page
...and paint over the word "United" on the spine... The United Methodist Hymnal is a pretty good hymnal for an English-speaking American Protestant church that likes the traditional hymns; I don't think there's anything in it except that word "United" that might seriously trouble a church that has been using it happily up to this point. I would say keep using it, just blot out the bothersome, no longer accurate word in the title. If you are moving away from the Wesleyan tradition, that's another matter, but as long as you don't object to a bit of extra Wesley in your book... Are you joining a group of former UMC congregations? If so, you might enquire whether they have any suggestions, or even perhaps a new hymnal in the works. (I know for the last few years the UMC Music people have been working towards a new hymnal, but I imagine the denominational disarray has put it more or less on hold.) You might also consider making your own hymnal. First Congregational of Houston did this when they had issues with the UCC's then-new New Century Hymnal, and they produced a good alternative hymnal in Hymns of Truth and Light (unfortunately the database is incomplete on this one). GIA put out Hymns for a Pilgrim People for the NACCC, a group that separated from the Congregational mainstream when the UCC was formed in the 1950s. If price is an obstacle, maybe The Christian Life Hymnal would work for you. These are just some possibilities.
The Book of Hymns was the old Methodist hymnal and only mentions the UMC on the title page (and not at all in its earliest printing under the title The Methodist Hymnal).