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History of Hymns: Tindley hymn envisions journey toward heaven

Charles Albert Tindley (1851-1933) was one of the eminent preachers of Methodism at the turn of the 20th century. In a collection of Tindley hymns, Beams of Heaven (General Board of Global Ministries, 2006) Emory University hymnologist James Abbington calls Tindley a “pastor, orator, poet, writer, theologian, social activist, ‘father of African American Hymnody,’ ‘progenitor of African American gospel music’ and ‘prince of preachers.’”

History of Hymns: Hymn uses fire metaphor to describe Holy Spirit

Inspiration for composing a hymn comes to Dr. Duck through a variety of avenues. While some hymns are born out of personal experiences, others are commissioned by individuals, congregations or hymnal committees. “Living Spirit, Holy Fire,” included in the United Methodist collection Worship & Song (2011), stems from her interaction with Pilgrim Congregational Church, UCC, in Oak Park, Ill.

History of Hymns: Poetic touch enriches hymns by Anglican bishop

To create a fully functional hymn that has as much poetic integrity as “Jesus, the Saving Name” is a testament to Bishop Dudley-Smith’s mastery of the craft, just as his talent for “hiding the obvious” is a testament to his creative imagination.

History of Hymns: Wesley hymn invites all to ‘the Gospel Feast’

We are reminded that truth, as well as sustenance, is found in the gospel. Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast” is an invitation to that table and a reiteration of that truth.

History of Hymns: ‘Softly and Tenderly’ famed as invitation song

The genius of a gospel song is usually found in the refrain and this one is no exception. The refrain extends the invitation to “come home” four times in the melody, and an additional two times in the accompanying lower voices.

History of Hymns: Sermon on the Mount inspires ‘Purify My Heart’

One of Mr. Leach’s most beautiful hymns is “Purify My Heart” which was part of a self-assigned project of writing hymns based on the Beatitudes. It is sung with a wonderful tune in F minor, TURN MY HEART, that was composed by Amanda Husberg, a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod musician in New York City.

Book Review: Richard Rohr’s latest offers true Christian wisdom

As a pastor himself, Richard draws abiding wisdom and warning from his years of dealing with others, himself and God. He provides first aid to folks who are recovering from religion, and he offers it with an openness one doesn’t often see in church leadership.

History of Hymns: Famed Wesley hymn offers praise to a loving God

The youngest of 18 children, Charles possessed prodigious talents that soon blossomed. Little did he know that “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” would rise to become one of the most popular and consistently vocalized Christian songs.

History of Hymns: This ‘Song of Bethlehem’ isn’t just for Christmas

Louis Fitzgerald Benson (1855-1930), born in Philadelphia, was a person of varied talents. Trained first in law, Benson also was an ordained Presbyterian minister, and served a congregation in Germantown, Pa. He then worked as an editor for the Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, where he published a series of hymnals. He was known, during his own lifetime and today, as one of the finest American hymnologists.

E-book project launched to aid Liberia seminary

By Vicki Brown, Special Contributor… Professors and students at the Gbarnga School of Theology in Liberia spend time and money copying passages the students need for study because they don’t have enough books. But that could change once a pilot project using e-readers gets underway. Two United Methodist agencies are collaborating to raise $30,000 to […]