Does anyone remember the Folk Masses from the 1960s? When folk became popular, churches would have one Mass a week with folk-style songs played on guitars and banjos. "Michael Row the Boat Ashore," for example, became "Come My Brothers and Praise the Lord." Soon, there were hymns written that sounded more folky than churchy (Maybe there was a Brill Building for religious songwriters). Contemporary folks songs were used. Two Trio songs like that were "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and "Let's Get Together." The Gordon Lightfoot song Jim mentioned was another contemporary song that was ued.
When you think about it, it's sort of a natural evolution. From medieval times through the antebellum South, hymns were used to teach theology and the Bible to people who couldn't read or write. There is a story, probably apocryphal, that the insurrectionist slave song "Follow the Drinking Gourd" began life as a hymn called "Follow the Risen Lord." In some ways, a good song can teach a message better than a sermon.
The process continues (see link belowO
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