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Do you have chords listed on the hymns?
If so, you can start with bass notes and thirds and perhaps triads. You can use rhythmical notes rather than straight whole or half notes. You can be creative with your rhythms, both lengths and notation wise. Obviously take the time and key signature into consideration and perhaps practice with some recordings on a daily basis.
We don't have chords for the hymns, I know I could get pages for some, but most of the people just watch the lead guitarist for chords, and I don't know how to sight read like that yet.
Maybe that's something I'll work on, as well as getting some pages with chords, and practicing them with a recording daily like you said.
I think it might work to listen to a song several times, then try to hum a harmony line to it, play the song again, while playing your humming tune on th violin. This is really great fun. You can practice this while listening to the radio and singing a harmony line instead of the melody. Then try it with a song you already know on violin.