Copyright Policy and the New Psalter

Almost every day, the Crown & Covenant office receives requests to reprint or use its psalter arrangements. To simplify things, The Book of Psalms for Worship has a generous copyright policy.

In the course of a year, an individual or church may make up to 500 copies each of up to 12 selections for a not-for-profit use—as long as the copyright for the tune or arrangement is not held by another party (check the bottom of each page to see if there is a copyright statement).

Any copies that are made should have a credit line, which is listed on page 559, too. The credit line helps a second or third party trace the origins.

The idea of the new copyright policy is to make it easier for an individual or church to make copies for one-time or short-term use. Copies should not be kept for over a year, and booklets and recordings will still require written permission.

First Edition Nearly Sold Out

We planned for a healthy amount of interest in the soon-to-be-released Book of Psalms for Worship. But we underestimated the early response.

With a week to go before the psalters are shipped from the bindery, prerelease orders have reserved 90 percent of the books. And our magazine ads for the psalter (such as in WORLD magazine) are just beginning to reach mailboxes.

The second printing has already been started. If you had planned to own a first edition, you won’t want to wait long to order.

New Psalter Recording

Today, this lovely crew recorded over a dozen a cappella selections from The Book of Psalms for Worship in a spacious, state-of-the-art studio in Pittsburgh, Pa. The CD should be available shortly after the new psalter arrives.

The singers after a long recording day at Audible Images, Pittsburgh.
The singers after a long recording day at Audible Images, Pittsburgh.

Flying Cases—Well, Sort of…

In addition to single copy orders, orders for 93 cases of The Book of Psalms for Worship were placed this week during the pre-release sale. Those case orders represent at least 17 congregations. We are pleased that cases of new psalters will soon be flying out the door!


Anyone who wants to take advantage of the extra discount needs to let us know by Monday.

That June 8 Deadline

Some customers of Crown & Covenant Publications have asked why we have a tight deadline on our special pricing for cases of The Book of Psalms for Worship. The reason is simple: We can ship books to you for less if the books never come to our stockroom. The deadline for letting the printer know where to send the cases of books is June 8. After that time, the printer will prepare to ship the balance to our stockroom. If you want to take advantage of this situation, you can get books for as low as $14.25 per copy with free shipping. We just have to hear from you or your church by Monday! The details are at

PS—You can pass this savings on to friends and family by collaborating on a case shipment. Such collaborations will save us time and resources.

New Psalter Update!

The Book of Psalms for Worship is currently at the printer! We actually received a proof of the entire psalter today for a final perusal.

Right now, the psalter is set to ship to our office at the end of June although this is subject to change if anything crops up in the production process.
Here are a few quick facts about The Book of Psalms for Worship:

  • It will be a bit larger dimensionally than The Book of Psalms for Singing. This was done so all the type could be a consistent size to allow for maximum readability.
  • The thickness of the book will be similar to the current psalter.
  • The new cover will be blue with silver lettering.
  • The first print run will be for 5,000 copies.
  • A special, limited, first edition will be released in addition to the initial print run. (Approximately 75 to 80 will be available for purchase.)
  • Gangi Featured on Imago Fidei

    Pastel artist Nicora Gangi’s “You have left your first love” was featured on Christianity Today’s image blog, Imago Fidei. Gangi who has created art for Crown & Covenant book covers is recognized for her mastery of pastel painting, her photo-perfect depiction of light and shadow, and her use of symbolism and biblical themes.

    Familiar Hymn Tunes and the Psalter

    As mail clerk at Crown and Covenant, I often talk to people who are new to singing the Psalms. Since they are unfamiliar with singing from The Book of Psalms for Singing, I often suggest that they would benefit from a little tool that is available for free from us. This tool is called the Familiar Hymn Tune List in The Book of Psalms for Singing. It is a double-sided sheet of paper listing 120 familiar tunes of hymns that are used in The Book of Psalms for Singing. For example, Psalm 3 uses the tune of the very familiar hymn, Amazing Grace, while Psalm 45C uses the hymn tune for Crown Him with Many Crowns. Psalm 101 is sung to the tune of The Church’s One Foundation.

    I usually include a copy of this list with orders for The Book of Psalms for Singing and am happy and eager to send this free aid to anyone who requests it. It also is available online by going to our storefront and clicking on Psalter Copyrights. There is a link to this tool available on that page.

    Where Are the Psalms? (A Follow Up)

    How refreshing to attend a conference on psalm singing without any other Reformed Presbyterians! Not that I tire of RP fellowship, but rather I was energized by the enthusiasm of non-exclusive psalmists who are hungry to sing psalms. The buzz question (and name) of the conference was “Where Are the Psalms?” (See related post.)


    People were looking. Some were musicians, some pastors, some students. They asked questions like: “Why did the American church go from psalmody to almost exclusive hymnody so quickly?”; “How can we introduce more psalms into our worship?”; “What are the best kind of arrangements to sing?”


    Terry Johnson, pastor of the Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Ga., summarized a history of psalmody and psalm books. He referred to the psalter as the “canonical hymnbook”; and he stressed that in reformed theology the “congregation is the choir” and music must be written with that in mind. He, unlike some others, preferred the Scottish metrical tradition with familiar tunes and clear, modern versifications.


    Composer Hal Hopson, on the other hand, introduced his responsorial psalm arrangements, which use the words straight from scripture. This style requires a trained choir and cantor, singing Anglican-chant style, with the congregation only singing a repeated phrase of the psalm occasionally.


    John D. Witvliet, author and director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, spoke of challenges to psalm singing and how to overcome them.
    1. Viewing worship as expressive not formative. When we think that worship is just about expressing ourselves, as opposed to us being formed and changed by worship, we might not choose to sing the psalms or at least not all of them, suggested Witvliet. He quoted from a few early church fathers to show that they thought that scripture, particularly the psalms, were meant for us to know how to feel and how to be—not just for us to use to express how we already feel or how we already are. Singing the psalms, all the parts, will change us toward what God wants us to be.
    2. Over-familiarity or casual familiarity with the psalms. Sometimes we are so casually familiar with certain psalms that we don’t think about their true meaning or all the applications to our hearts and minds. One solution, he said, is to juxtapose psalms with the sermon sometimes—not always singing the expected or familiar.
    3. The psalms settings we sing. Sometimes the melody doesn’t fit the whole psalm. Witvliet suggested singing different parts to different tunes or finding tunes that can adapt to different moods.
    4. The “untidy parts” of the psalter. Here, the challenge is how to sing imprecations, complaints, and despairing thoughts. “With a holy whisper,” was his reply. We must wrestle with God in humility. All the words in the psalter are profitable for us because they are God’s word, but this doesn’t mean that we sing them casually or with arrogance, especially those more difficult parts.
    5. Resources. If you think there are not enough resources for psalm singing, Witvliet has compiled an encouraging stack in his book, The Biblical Psalms in Christian Worship: A Brief Introduction and Guide to Resources. You will not be surprised to know that Crown & Covenant Publications is mentioned more than once.


    If I am able, I will provide a link to the recorded audio of these talks when they go online.

    J. Michael Morgan, organist of Central Presbyterian in Atlanta and psalm singing enthusiast, brought some of his collection of historic psalters.
    J. Michael Morgan, organist of Central Presbyterian in Atlanta and psalm singing enthusiast, brought some of his collection of historic psalters.