Lutheran Blind Mission to offer large-type, braille hymnals

Within the next few months, Lutheran Blind Mission (LBM) expects to produce the new hymnal, Lutheran Service Book, in both large-type and braille versions.

St. Louis-based LBM is an LCMS mission agency that offers free blind-ministry resources and operates a lending library of books, Bible studies, and other Christian resources in an effort to “help blind and visually impaired people see Jesus.”

The complete large-type edition will have seven volumes of 100 pages each and will include the liturgies and all verses to all the hymns featured in the new hymnal, but no music.

LBM Executive Director Rev. Dave Andrus says he already has received about 500 requests fAndrus, Daveor the large-type hymnal, and expects to have copies ready to mail in February.

Each set of seven volumes will cost $40, which covers printing and mailing costs, and the first printing will produce 1,600 sets.  The large-type edition — used predominantly by older people with vision problems — likely will be reprinted five times, Andrus said.

Interestingly, some 6,000 large-type copies of the Lutheran Worship hymnal were sold between 1982 and 1998 — at a cost of $36 each, according to Andrus.

And those copies, he said, “didn’t have all the hymns and all the verses” like the new large-type edition will have, plus it was bulkier, heavier, and harder to use.

“We worked hard not only to make [the new large-type edition] user-friendly and readable, but not too heavy,” he said, because if it’s easy to use, more people will use it.

“Having a large-print hymnal will allow people to continue to be involved in corporate worship, which will assure them of God’s constant presence, care, and support,” Andrus told Reporter.  “There’s no reason that a person should lose hope, purpose, or faith when they lose their sight.”

The braille edition of Lutheran Service Book — a total of nine volumes — will be produced by several “braille work centers” across the country.  All are located at LCMS churches and are operated by volunteers.

The “early projection” is for 200 braille copies because “we don’t have as many blind people active in a congregation,” according to Andrus.  But if more are needed, he said, more will be produced.

The braille hymnals will be available free to congregations sometime after March 1.

Lutheran Blind Mission will begin accepting orders for both the braille and large-type editions of Lutheran Service Book beginning Jan. 1.

To place an order, fill out the order form at www.blindmission.org, or contact LBM toll-free at (888) 215-2455 or via e-mail at blind.mission@blindmission.org.  Checks for large-type editions — made payable to “Lutheran Blind Mission” — may be mailed to LBM at 7550 Watson Road, St. Louis, MO 63119-4409.

Congregations that purchase Lutheran Service Builder, the electronic companion to Lutheran Service Book, will be able to print their own large-type versions of the hymnal, so they need not order separate copies from Lutheran Blind Mission.

Posted Dec. 13, 2006

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