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History of Hymns: ‘Alleluia! Give Thanks’ celebrates resurrection

Among the songs of this genre that has stood the test of time is “Alleluia, Alleluia! Give Thanks” by Donald Emry Fishel (b. 1950). Following good folk song practice, the refrain of his tune ALLELUIA NO. 1 is easily learned and memorized after one hearing. The accompaniment and even the key in which the song is written (E Major) are perfect for the folk guitar, though most hymnals also make use of a piano version as well.

British Methodist minister builds bridges with stories

By Mark Woods, Special Contributor… Max Bygraves, a British comedian, singer and actor who died recently, had a catchphrase that he used for the entire six decades of his career in the entertainment business: “I wanna tell you a story.” Storytelling, though, is as old as humanity. Cave paintings from 40,000 years ago depicting successful […]

Computer training feed minds, bodies in Haiti

THOMAS, Haiti—Angeline, 12, looked at the computer screen in front of her and saw the world opening up. “I want to use it for research. I would like to know a lot of things,” she said. She was one of the first students at the Thomas Food Project to sit in front of a monitor […]

History of Hymns: ‘Alas! and Did’ explores our response to the cross

“Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed” belongs to a much larger family of Passion hymns which serve as rhapsodies on the wonder of “forensic justification” (a theological term meaning that through Christ’s sacrifice we receive a righteousness that is not our own). Indeed, Watts’ chief competitor in this category is probably . . . also Watts.

History of Hymns: Hymn contrasts agony of the cross, victory in Christ

Pratt Green wrote this haunting and beautiful text in 1972 in response to a letter from Francis Westbrook. Pratt Green and Westbrook, a composer, often worked together and wrote frequently to each other. Their correspondence is preserved in Pratt Green’s scrapbooks, which are held at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.

History of Hymns: ‘Lord, Speak to Me’ voices prayer for guidance

“Lord, Speak to Me” is not a hymn of rejoicing in the arrival at the end of the journey, but of perseverance and momentum in the working out of the journey. Written in 1872, this hymn predates Havergal’s consecration experience by about a year and a half. In its text, we can easily perceive a person earnestly seeking to contribute more to the work of God’s kingdom.

Series offers easy intro to church traditions

By Erik Alsgaard, Special Contributor… Do you know the difference between a pulpit and a lectern? Do you know why your pastor wears a funny collared shirt—or not? And what’s up with “Shrove” Tuesday, anyway? No? Maybe you should ask Chuck; he knows church. And every week, thousands of online viewers are getting answers to […]

History of Hymns: German hymn praises Christ’s ‘Boundless Love’

Wesley most likely came upon this hymn in the Herrnhut Collection of Count Zinzendorf, which, according to Methodist hymnologist Robert McCutchan in Our Hymnody, would have been the hymnal the Moravians used.

History of Hymns: ‘Cast Out’ applies to all with personal demons

Dr. Bringle’s fresh and captivating texts bring biblical passages to life in unique ways. Her text “Cast Out, O Christ” (2006) focuses on the Gerasene demoniac whom Jesus healed.

UMC launches new ecumenical, interfaith office

On any given Sunday, more Christians are attending worship services in China than in the United States or Europe. That is one indicator of the challenges presented by a changing world of ecumenism as the United Methodist Church reorganizes how it addresses issues of Christian unity and relationships with other faiths. After a denominational vote […]