Review: Hymnquest 2006

HymnQuest 2006HymnQuest is a computer database of hymns and songs used in worship. It is not a new, computerised hymnbook, but rather an electronic bookcase of existing hymnbooks (350 of them, to be precise) that is fully indexed, cross-referenced and searchable. Hymnbooks included in HymnQuest include Christian Hymns, Mission Praise (in its various incarnations), Grace Hymns, Junior Praise, Praise!, The Scottish Psalter, and Songs of Fellowship (both volumes). Two notable omissions are the Wakeman Trust’s Psalms and Hymns of Reformed Worship, and Sankey’s Sacred Songs and Solos. A full list of all the hymnbooks included in the collection is available on the publisher’s website: www.hymnquest.com

The strength of HymnQuest lies in the way it combines it massive size with a user-friendly interface. The collection includes more than 13,600 tunes and over 18,600 hymns, including from Isaac Watts (196 hymns), Charles Wesley (530 hymns) and more modern authors such as Vernon Higham (166), and Graham Kendrick (296). The full-text of most of the hymns is included, though only the first line of the tunes is available.

Of course, having 18,600 hymns on CD is of no benefit if you are unable to access them easily, and that is where HymnQuest excels.

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Review: War and Grace by Don Stephens

War and GraceWar and Grace is a terrific book. It contains thirteen mini-biographies all involving people caught up in the First or Second World Wars.

The stories are wonderfully varied. Some show how Christians involved in the conflict were helped and strengthened by their faith. Others tell of those converted during or following the war. There are stories of generals and civilians, and of both men and women. The stories tell of Americans, Britons, Germans and Japanese, of those who survived the war, as well as those who did not.

What marks this book out is the obvious love Don Stephens has the people he writes about. The following comment is not uncommon: ‘For over thirty years I have had the privilege of writing and speaking to…’ War and Grace is truly a labour of love. You feel that the author knows each of the men and women in the book, and as a result the reader feels he knows and understands them, too.
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