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History difficult to track for ‘Thou Once Despised Jesus’

The authorship of some hymns remains shrouded in mystery. This 18th-century hymn has remained in use, though in an adapted form, to the current day even though we have never been certain of its origins. Hymnal compilers during the 18th and 19th centuries often made it difficult to ascribe authorship. Most collections from this era […]

Nineteenth-century hymn celebrates the resurrection

“Up from the Grave He Arose” Robert Lowry UM Hymnal, No. 322 Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior, waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord! Up from the grave he arose with a mighty triumph o’er his foes; he arose a victor from the dark domain, and he lives forever with his […]

‘Death’s strong bands’ beaten in Luther hymn

“Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands” Martin Luther, trans. Richard Massie UM Hymnal, No. 319 Imagine yourself in worship with Martin Luther (1483-1546) on Easter Sunday in the late 1520s, just a few years after he had posted his famous Ninety-Five Theses on the church door at Wittenburg. Luther had prepared revisions of the […]

Aging Well: Older adults are vital to ‘vital congregations’

I’d like to be a fly on the wall of the Tampa Convention Center during the United Methodist Church’s General Conference which begins April 24. If I could, I would make myself practically invisible and just listen to the 900-plus folks who will gather to consider modifications in church law, policy and resolutions. No doubt […]

International colleagues give us ‘Christ is Risen’

“Christ is Risen” (“Cristo Vive”) Nicolás Martínez, trans. Fred Kaan UM Hymnal, No. 313   Christ is risen, Christ is living, dry your tears, be unafraid! Death and darkness could not hold him, nor the tomb in which he lay. Do not look among the dead for one who lives forevermore; tell the world that […]

Pastor writes Easter hymn for a time of great turmoil

“Christ is Alive! Let Christians Sing” Brian Wren UM Hymnal, No. 318 Christ is alive! Let Christians sing. The cross stands empty to the sky. Let streets and homes with praises ring. Love, drowned in death, shall never die. * For those of us who recall the turbulent 1960s in the United States, the sounds […]

Faith Talk Resources

Here are some special resources you might find helpful …   Did You Know? The United Methodist Church has developed a unique lingo during its history. We have words that relate specifically to how we, as United Methodists, carry out our ministry. Need to get familiar with the terms? Try checking out the glossary…   […]

A brief history of General Conference sessions

Each General Conference has its story and its record of accomplishment. Associate editor Bill Fentum offers a boiled-down look at each one since 1968, when the United Methodist Church was formed.