The Student Parish at my university in Michigan made great use of the “supplemental hymnal” concept.

While they had older hymnals—the Voices As One series from WLP and Cross Generation from GIA—there was still a need to collect our other favorite songs and hymns not found in those resources, and bind them in a way for our congregation to sing at our services. This supplement included songs that deeply resonated with our community and our style of worship. We sang them often, and often by heart.

Since no publication contains every last bit of music your congregation could possibly want to use, supplemental hymnals (also known as reusable song books) can be a great option. With a ONE LICENSE Annual Reprint License or a School Reprint License, you have permission to create this worship resource for your congregation.

Recently, I spoke with a church that was ready to begin this process and thought that a guide would be helpful. Read below for more insight.

  1. Decide among your worship, finance, and sustainability committees that investing in a supplemental hymnal resource is a wise decision. Consider questions like: Will the initial investment of copy paper and ink outweigh the cost of the worship aids we reprint weekly? Do we have the time and energy from our secretarial staff, music assistants, and perhaps students looking for service hours to make this happen? Is this project in line with our social ethical teachings to be green and reduce our carbon footprint?

  2. Compile the list of titles you would like to include using the ONE LICENSE List feature. Be sure to invite feedback from a variety of sources: Will your high school youth group be using these during their Wednesday night services? Are there enough options for the seasons if you want to use it year-round? Are there favorite service music parts or songs that resonate with your community? Consider holding a poll on your organization website and invite feedback.

  3. Once the final list is decided, finalize your list under the “Manage Lists” tab and title your list after the name of the resource. This will make reporting those titles (as you use them each week) easier (see item 10, below).

  4. Retrieve any available music downloads by clicking the “Download All” button. Clicking this button will place all available downloads in a single folder on your computer. Alternatively, to narrow down the downloads you receive in the zip file, please download the individual files from the title/search page.

  5. If the Member Publisher has not provided a download, scan and insert the approved congregational reprint box/version from an octavo or hymnal you already own, type out the lyrics, or engrave into a music notation software program like Finale or Sibelius.

  6. Make sure to include all relevant copyright information for each selection on each page, including title, composer and author names, publisher/copyright holder name, and copyright year.

  7. Include the required licensing information once in the resource—likely the title page or back cover—that states: Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #A-000000. All rights reserved. Replace the zeros with your own license number. If you are a school, your license number should begin with an L. Keep in mind that should you allow your ONE LICENSE license to expire, you must discard the copies you made of this supplement.

  8. Decide the format of the binding and cover and consider investing in a card stock or laminated option. Spiral binding, staples, a pocket folder with brads, or a traditional glue/padding press are all great options for in-house production. For the cover, consider including the congregation name, logo, or even hold an art contest. A solid color makes for easy reference with the announcements, inviting everyone to take out their “red folder/blue spiral/green supplement”.

  9. Proofread your final product and begin the printing process. When it is time to place them in the worship space, invite the committee and those who participated to help! This will encourage community and reverence over the completion of the project. It’s good to be green!

    10. IMPORTANT—Use the convenient ONE LICENSE tools to report the music you used from this supplement each week, noting the frequency you used each song. Only report the specific songs you use in a given week, not the entire list. For planning purposes, you are able to report twelve weeks in the past and six weeks into the future. Again, keep in mind that extended-use booklets/hymnal supplements are valid only so long as your license is in force.

Enjoy your brand new supplement!


Written by: Brenna C. Cronin, General Manager

Cover Photo copyright: Rawpixel.  This image is available for purchase at www.istockphoto.com.

In copy photo copyright: John-Mark Kuznietsov and Pixabay. This image is available for download at www.pexels.com.