Search for a Hymn or Song Text: “Land, Language, and Liberation”

The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada is conducting a search for a theologically rich hymn or song text for congregational singing that engages one or more aspects of “Land, Language, and Liberation,” the theme for our 2023 Annual Conference to be held in Montréal during the month of July. This theme was chosen in response to the complex issues that continue to challenge all those living in Québec, in Canada, and throughout North America. The search is for a text, whether written for an existing or a new musical setting. The use of multiple languages is encouraged, but not required.

The writer of the winning entry will receive a $500 prize. Deadline for submissions is April 15, 2023.


  1. The text should be written in an accessible poetic style that lends itself to singing. The language should be contemporary, expansive, inclusive, and non-binary.
  2. If the text is written in a traditional hymnic meter, a suggested tune should be indicated. Melodies of both existing and new tunes must be within the singing capabilities of an average congregation.
  3. A new musical setting may be in either a traditional hymnic style or in a contemporary musical idiom using a verse, chorus, and optional bridge structure and suitable for accompaniment by piano, guitar, drum, and bass (or comparable instrumentation).
  4. Each text (and music) should be submitted as a PDF document that can be printed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper. Texts intended for setting to traditional hymn tunes need to be submitted only in words. Texts with a new tune in a traditional hymnic style may be submitted either with the text interlined or printed in block form. Those involving musical settings in a contemporary idiom need to be submitted in two forms: (a) the words and music provided to the congregation and (b) the words and music provided to the musicians.
  5. Engraved manuscripts are not required, but hand-notated manuscripts must be clean and legible. Illegible entries will not be considered.
  6. To preserve anonymity, the name of author and/or composer should not appear on the hymn copies submitted for judging.
  7. All entries must be previously unpublished and should not be simultaneously submitted for consideration in any other contest or for publication in any collection. All entries become the property of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada for the duration of the competition (until August 1, 2023).
  8. The Hymn Society will offer a prize of $500 for the winning entry. The author/composer of the winning entry may choose (1) to accept the prize money and transfer the copyright for the words and/or music to The Hymn Society, or (2) decline the prize money and continue to own the copyright to the words and/or music.
  9. If different persons have created the text and the musical setting, the prize will be divided evenly between the author and the composer.
  10. The Hymn Society reserves the right not to award a prize if no entry is deemed meritorious and to award a prize to a submitted text without doing so for the tune submitted with it.
  11. The winning entry will be published in the Autumn 2023 issue of The Hymn.
  12. There is no limit to the number of entries that may be submitted by each writer. Each entry must be accompanied by an entry form and a $7.00 fee (in US funds; checks made payable to The Hymn Society).
  13. The text (and music), entry form, and appropriate fees must be received no later than April 15, 2023 in order to be considered.
  14. To submit an entry for this hymn search, complete the form below, upload your submission(s), and then click on the payment link to pay the fee of $7.00 USD per submission.