After months of voting by members of the congregation of Santa Margarita, the following hymns were the nineteen that garnered the most votes. The top 15 were sung at the Songs of Praise event on Wednesday, 17 September.
16 = (four tied)
From heaven you came, helpless babe
Written in 1983 by Graham Kendrick; the tune is called The Servant King.
In the bleak mid-winter
Written as a poem by Christina Rossetti, about 1872. The tune is Cranham, composed by Gustav Holst in 1906.
Morning has broken
Written by Eleanor Farjeon as a poem in 1931. The tune, Bunessan, is Gaelic, first published (melody only) in Lachlan Macbean’s Songs and Hymns of the Gael (1888).
O Jesus, I have promised
Written by John Ernest Bode, of Eton, Charterhouse and Oxford, in 1869. There are several tunes for this hymn; two are most commonly used, Day of Rest, composed by James William Elliott (late 1800s); and Angel’s Story, composed by Arthur H. Mann in 1881.
13= (three tied)
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide
Written in 1847 by Henry Francis Lyte, M.A., a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, who moved to Cornwall as an ordained minister. William H. Monk (1823-1889) wrote Eventide for Lyte’s text in ten minutes. As the story goes, Monk was attending a hymnal committee meeting for the 1861 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern of which he was music editor. Realising that this text had no tune, Monk sat down at the piano and composed Eventide.
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven
This was written by Henry Lyte (see Abide With Me) in 1834. Sir John Goss composed Lauda Anima (Latin for the opening words of Psalm 103) for this text in 1868.
To God be the glory, great things he has done!
Fanny Crosby wrote this in 1875; see below, under Blessed Assurance. The tune, To God Be The Glory (Doane) was written by William Howard Doane, of Connecticut and Ohio, also in 1875.
Make me a channel of your peace
Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. Though he was never ordained to the Catholic priesthood, Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history. However, the earliest known version is from 1912, and was published in French. Sebastian Temple (1928-1997), adapter and composer of the tune in 1967, grew up in South Africa and later moved to London, where he worked for the BBC on news broadcasts relating to South Africa.
9= (three tied)
Amazing grace (how sweet the sound)
Written by John Newton in 1779. The tune, New Britain, was originally a folk tune, with no known composer, typical of the Appalachian tunes from the southern United States.
God of Abraham, Lead Us
Written by one of Britain’s leading liturgical composers since the 1970’s, Bernadette Farrell. It is a hymn for the Easter Vigil, leading us through the stories of the patriarchs and prophets, composed in 1990.
I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above
The origin of the lyric is a poem by diplomat Cecil Spring Rice, which he wrote in 1908 while posted to the British Embassy in Stockholm. In 1921, Gustav Holst adapted the music from a section of Jupiter from his suite The Planets to create a setting for the poem. It was harmonised as a hymn in 1926.
I, the Lord of sea and sky
Words and music were written in 1981 by Daniel L. Schutte, an American composer from Wisconsin of Catholic liturgical music and songs.
Glorious things of thee are spoken
Written in 1779 by John Newton, famous for reforming from being a reckless and godless sailor, involved with the slave trade, to become a leading evangelical Christian. And for writing the words to Amazing Grace. The tune is Austria, or Austrian Hymn, composed in 1779 by Joseph Haydn after a visit to Britain in which he heard the British national anthem, and decided to compose one for his native Austria.
Guide me, O thou great Jehovah/Redeemer
Originally written in 1745 by William Williams, called the “Watts of Wales,” and translated into English by Peter Williams in 1771. The two Williams were not related. This hymn can be sung to several tunes, although the most popular nowadays is Cwm Rhondda, composed by John Hughes (otherwise a colliery official) in 1907.
4= (two tied)
And did those feet in ancient time (Jerusalem)
This is a short poem by William Blake (1757-1827) from the preface to his epic Milton a Poem, one of a collection of writings known as the Prophetic Books. The date of 1804 on the title page is probably when the plates were begun, but the poem was printed c. 1808. The tune, Jerusalem, was composed in 1916 by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, who composed music for a number of hymns that have endured in popularity.
Dear Lord and Father of mankind
Written in 1872 by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), the American Quaker poet, from Haverhill, Massachusetts. Generally, the most commonly used tune for this hymn used to be Rest (1887), by Maker, who played the organ at several churches in Bristol. However, these days it is more often sung to Repton (1888), by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (see Jerusalem).
Blessèd assurance, Jesus is mine
Written by Frances Jane van Alstyne (née Crosby), more commonly known as Fanny Crosby, an American mission worker, poet, lyricist, and composer. She was one of the most prolific hymn writers in history, writing over 8,000 hymns and gospel songs, with over 100 million copies printed, despite being blind from shortly after birth. In 1873, Fanny Crosby was visiting her friend Phoebe Knapp as the Knapp home was having a large pipe organ installed. The organ was incomplete, so Mrs. Knapp, using the piano, played a new melody she had just composed. When Knapp asked Crosby, “What do you think the tune says?”, Crosby replied, “Blessed assurance; Jesus is mine.”
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Written in 1949 by Carl Gustaf Boberg of Mönsterås, Sweden, who amongst many other accomplishments, was a member of the Swedish Parliament between 1912 and 1931. The text now known as “How Great Thou Art” has a convoluted history, being an English translation of a Russian version based on an earlier German translation of “O store Gud.” The translator of the words and adapter of the tune, originally a Swedish folk song, was Stuart K. Hine, a British missionary.
What a friend we have in Jesus
Joseph Scriven was born in Dublin, was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and went to Canada when he was 25. He said that it was composed for his mother in 1855, to comfort her in a time of special sorrow, not intending any one else should see it. It was first published in 1865. The tune, Converse (or Erie) was written in 1868 under the pseudonym Karl Reden; the composer was Charles Converse, a United States attorney.
The life of Joseph M. Scriven, the author of this text, was hard and filled with tragedy. At a young age he had to give up his military ambitions due to poor health. Things were looking up as he prepared to be married, but on the eve before his wedding, his fiancée died tragically in a drowning accident. Scriven moved to Rice Lake, Ontario, and was soon to be wed again. His second fiancée, however, also died suddenly from an illness shortly before the wedding. With no job in a hard economy, Joseph Scriven had to live with friends and acquaintances. His volunteer work with the impoverished and sickly as he tried to live as closely to the Sermon on the Mount as possible was frowned upon by those friends, however, and they quickly disassociated themselves from him. Penniless and alone, Scriven was later found drowned in Rice Lake.