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Music History in Special Collections

Churches of Christ Hymnals

A Brief History of Churches of Christ Hymns

At the beginning of the Restoration Movement, Alexander Campbell aimed to stray from a hymn's ability to exude creedal sentiments. Campbell wanted a more welcoming communal experience. The Stone-Campbell Movement shirked the use of choral singing and promoted congregational singing. The idea was to compose hymns that could be sung by the entire congregation instead of a trained choir. One way to meet this objective was to replace round notes with shape notes. Shape notes are easier to follow and harmonize without musical training. 

Great Songs of the Church by E.L. Jorgenson is the longest-lived hymnal of the Stone-Campbell Movement. Jorgenson's work was created out of the need for one standard, a versatile hymnal that the majority of congregations could use. It has been used in churches in every state in the United States, every providence of Canada, and has featured in churches in most of the English speaking world. 

The Christian Hymn Book : a compilation of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, original and selected by Alexander Campbell 

One of the founding members of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement." Both Disciples of Christ and Churches of Christ came out of that original movement. Published the year before his death, Campbell joined forces with the American Christian Missionary Society in order to revise and enlarge the last collection of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs in accordance with the brotherhood of disciples. 

Click here to view the library catalog record. 

Click here to learn more about Alexander Campbell. 


Great Songs of the Church : a comprehensive collection of Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs of the first class, suitable for all services of the church, alphabetically arranged by E.L. Jorgenson 

Elmer Leon Jorgenson's hymnal reconnected Churches of Christ churches to the historic tradition of hymns and spiritual songs, especially the great hymns of the past.

Click here to view the library catalog record. 

To continue reading about Jorgenson click here. 


Christian Hymns : for every purpose in worship by L.O. Sanderson 

Lloyd Otis Sanderson wrote more than 400 hymns during his life from 1901-1992. Some of his more famous hymns are "Buried with Christ," "The Lord Has Been Mindful of Me," "Pray All The Time," "I'll Never Forsake My Lord" and "Be with Me Lord." 

Click here to view the library catalog record. 

Click here to learn more about L.O. Sanderson.

Tips for Searching the Library Catalog for other Hymnals 

  • Many of these hymnals are tagged as "Musical Scores" so check that box under "Format" in Pepperdine Library's Catalog. 
  • Here are a couple of common subject terms to search for in Pepperdine Library's Catalog:
    • "Hymns" 
    • "Hymns, English"
    • "Churches of Christ Hymns"
    • "Gospel music" 
    • "Christian life Hymns" 
    • "Shape-note hymns"