Together in Song - The Australian Hymn Book II

The Australian Hymn Book Pty Ltd published Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II in 1999. It is a book of 783 psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, and it is a significant revision of The Australian Hymn Book published 22 years earlier. The collection of hymns is intentionally international with material drawn from 48 countries. The addition of new songs has broadened the range of musical styles represented, from plainsong to worship songs composed at Hillsong. The most represented hymn writer is Charles Wesley with 41 hymns, while contemporary hymn writer Brian Wren has 24 hymns included, John L Bell has 27 and Shirley E Murray has five.

In some circumstances, where the Editorial Committee could not find a song that adequately fulfilled a need, they wrote their own, such as Shirley Ludgater's hymn about marriage as an act of creation: "When the light of first creation".

All Australian Hymn Book resources follow the same structure; the hymns are divided into sections reflecting theological themes or liturgical uses and are arranged chronologically within each section. The hymnbook contains multiple indexes of tunes, metres, composers and arrangers, authors and translators, texts based on scripture passages, subjects, the church year, first lines and common titles. It was made available in a variety of different formats including harmony, melody line (with guitar chords), large print and audio CD editions.

Created by an ecumenical editorial committee, major changes include modernising the texts (using inclusive language and reducing archaic language), removing hymns that had fallen out of use, emphasising psalms, and adding more modern musical settings and worship songs.

Canon Dr. Lawrence Bartlett, first chair of the Editorial Committee, described the book as "Ecumenical in that it represents the liturgical insights of those churches represented on the Editorial Committee" and "Contemporary in that all the material, whether old or new, is presented so that today's worshippers can use it without embarrassment or confusion."

At the time of its publication in 1999, Executive Editor, Professor Wesley Milgate and the then Music Editor, Mrs. Trisha Matthias, had worked with an Editorial Committee consisting of some 17 representatives from the six participating church bodies. The church bodies were: The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia; The National Conference of Churches of Christ in Australia; The General Church Council of the Lutheran Church of Australia; The Public Worship and Aids to Devotion Committee of the Presbyterian Church of Australia; The Liturgy Commission of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney; and The Commission on Liturgy of the National Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Together they produced the three fine editions of the hymnbook. Following the publication of Together in Song in 1999, The Australian Hymn Book Pty Ltd was restructured to allow the Presbyterian Church of Australia to withdraw from membership and the Churches of Christ and Lutheran Church to become voting members of the Company. In addition to the restructure, the Company recommissioned the Editorial Committee to continue to monitor the use and effectiveness of Together in Song, to research new material for inclusion in future publications and to assist in the introduction of the hymnbook to congregations across Australia. In doing so, the Committee recognised the value of technology in accessing and using music in worship and in early 2000 committed the Company to an electronic version of Together in Song.

This new era of church music was realised with the release, in September 2006, of the Parish and Home Editions of Together in Song. Unfortunately, due to competition from online hymnals and similar resources, the Company decided that this software was no longer viable and discontinued production in 2012.

In 2011, the Churches of Christ withdrew as an official member shareholder of the Company, but they continue to contribute to the ongoing work of the Editorial Committee.