General Information

Links: Vatican II, Lectionary and Revised Common Lectionary

Dr. Fred Kimball GrahamFred Graham

October 31, 2013
12:00 pm
Seminary Hall 101

The Thompson Liturgical Studies Lecture and Chapel presentation is sponsored by the Hackensack Congregational Church.

The Fiftieth Anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy will be celebrated by Roman Catholics in December 2013. This life-changing document resulted from the Second Vatican Council, in which the late Professor Bard Thompson was a participant-observer. Reference is often made today to resulting changes made to liturgical language, or placement of the Holy Table, but rarely to consideration of the introduction of “more and abundant readings” from Holy Scripture in a totally revised lectionary. It affected not only Roman Catholic spiritual life but also, in a second wave, that of most mainline denominations. The witness is found in the Revised Common Lectionary (1992). Fred Graham, who was a task force member (1988-1992) for the Consultation on Common Texts leading to publication of the RCL, has just edited a new annotated version of the lectionary, marking its twentieth anniversary year. He will address similarities and differences in lectionary schemes, and touch on the impact of lectionary change on hymn writing and preaching patterns in North America.

Dr. Graham will also be present at the Bard Thompson Chapel Service at 11:20am on October 31 in Craig Chapel.


GRAHAM, Fred Kimball. b. Oshawa, Ontario, 8 April 1946. He was educated at the Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT 1966) and the University of Toronto (Mus.Bac. in Education 1967), winning a graduating scholarship which took him to Germany for three years to study sacred music and conducting. He completed a Fellowship in the Royal College of Organists in London in 1970.

Returning to Canada he taught instrumental and choral music in Ottawa, and served as continuo organist for the National Arts Centre (1970-75). In Atlantic Canada he taught music in Saint John, NB, before becoming music director of the Cathedral Church of All Saints (Anglican) in Halifax in 1978, where he taught organ performance at Dalhousie University and was Adjunct Professor of Church Music and Speech Arts at the Atlantic School of Theology.  He completed a Master of Music in Organ Performance and Literature at Eastman School of Music and Art, Rochester, NY, in 1981; pursuing further graduate study in the field of liturgy and worship at Drew University Graduate School in Madison, New York (M.Phil, Liturgical Studies (1988), Ph.D , Liturgical Theology (1991). For his doctoral dissertation, supervised by Robin A. Leaver, he researched Methodist hymn tunes in hymnbooks published by the Methodist Episcopal Church between 1808 and 1878.

Fred Graham was Worship and Music Officer for The United Church of Canada from 1988 to 2001.  During this period he was an associate editor of Voices United, and gave presentations to United Church congregations across Canada in conjunction with the development of the hymn and worship book published in May 1996.  He also supervised the production of Celebrate God’s Presence, The Book of Services for The United Church of Canada (Toronto, 2000).

In this position Graham served as staff liaison to The United Church of Canada’s Association of Musicians (whose name has changed to Music United).  He oversaw the publication of Gathering, a worship planner’s resource published three times yearly by The United Church of Canada, edited in the late 1980s by Sylvia Dunstan*. At the same time Graham was the United Church’s denominational representative and chairperson of Worship and the Arts, a Commission of the National Council of Churches, USA (1988-99).

A member of the North American Academy of Liturgy and of Societas Liturgica, his contribution to ecumenical development in liturgy is extensive. He was president of the Canadian Liturgical Society from1992 to 2000.

He has participated in the work of the Consultation on Common Texts (1988-2008), convening the Consultation from 2002 to 2008. During that time he chaired the production of the Revised Common Lectionary:  Daily Readings (Minneapolis, 2005).

Fred Graham taught at Emmanuel College in the University of Toronto (2001-11), as the inaugural Deer Park Assistant Professor of Church Music and University Organist. He developed the first Master of Sacred Music program in a Canadian university, which opened in September 2008. His work as a music clinician takes him across Canada giving key-note addresses and continuing education presentations on hymnody and worship.

He composed two hymn tunes for More Voices (Toronto and Kelowna, 2007) – EMMANUEL COLLEGE, a setting of ‘Breath of God, Breath of peace” by Adam M. L. Tice; and NEW IDENTITY – a setting of ‘What calls me from death’ by Mary R. Bitner. His tune LIFE RESTORED was composed for ‘A woman and a coin’ by Jaroslav J. Vajda and published in VU.  He contributed a tune arrangement to the Anglican Common Praise (1998). Graham also arranged YARNTON, a tune composed by Brian Wren for his text ‘We are not our own’, commissioned by Drew University for the tenth anniversary of its Liturgical Studies Program, and published in Bring Many Names (Carol Stream, IL, 1989).

Fred Graham became a member of the Royal Canadian College of Organists in 1966.  He has served that organization as a clinician and recitalist, while participating in parish church music throughout his career. He has given concerts in the United Kingdom, Germany, the USA and Canada, and for CBC Radio; and has conducted oratorios and choral concerts in Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax. From 2007 to 2010 he convened the Southern Ontario Chapter of the Hymn Society. He is a charter member of the Charles Wesley Society (1990). In 2011 the United Church of Canada awarded him the Davidson Trust Award ‘for excellence in teaching and scholarship in theological education’.


Further Reading

Fred Kimball Graham. Editor of The Revised Common Lectionary: 20th Anniversary Annotated Edition (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 2012).

With One Heart and One Voice”: A Core Repertory of Hymn Tunes Published for Use in the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, 1808-1878. Drew University Studies in Liturgy, No. 1 (Lanham, MD and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2004).

Twenty short articles in Worship Music: A Concise Dictionary, Edward Foley, ed. (Chicago:  The Liturgical Press, 2000).

‘Sing Lustily’, in Pulpit, Table, and Song: Essays in Celebration of Howard G. Hageman. Drew Studies in Liturgy, No. 1; Heather Murray Elkins and Edward C. Zaragoza, eds (Lanham, MD and London:  The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1996), 169-85.

‘Methodist Hymn Tunes in Atlantic Canada’, in The Contribution of Methodism to Atlantic Canada, Charles H. H. Scobie and John Webster Grant, eds (Montreal:  McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1992), 257-63.

‘John Wesley’s Choice of Hymn Tunes’, The Hymn, Volume 39, No.4, October, 1988, 29-37.