The Pender UMC Traditional Service Opening Hymn “Jesus, Thine All-Victorious Love” on Sunday May 14, 2023 was played by Heidi Jacobs on piano and Brian Stevenson on organ.
This was Heidi’s first Sunday as Pender’s Pianist.
“Jesus, Thine All-Victorious Love,”
by Charles Wesley The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 422.
Methodists need no introduction to Charles Wesley. For that matter, neither do most singing Christians! Perhaps no other hymn writer except Isaac Watts is so well loved as Charles Wesley. Few were as prolific, at least, or as wide-ranging with regard to the theological topics they addressed….
“Jesus, Thine All Victorious Love” is found in the United Methodist Hymnal at No. 422. As with many Wesley hymns that we sing today, the four stanzas given in the UMH are but part of a much longer hymn called “My God! I know, I feel thee mine.” The complete hymn is found in Collection of Hymns for the Use of the People Called Methodists in the section, “For Believers, Groaning for Full Redemption.” Atop the hymn text in the early editions sits a scripture reference to Romans 4:13, which speaks of the promise God made to Abraham and the righteousness of his faith. The full hymn has twelve stanzas, which can be divided thematically into four groups. Stanzas 1 to 3 articulate an individual’s desire for intimate communion with God the Father using physical, even visceral, images. Stanza 2 is particularly beautiful and connects to the passage from Romans 4, using the language of faith:
I hold Thee with a trembling hand,
But will not let Thee go,
Till steadfastly by faith I stand,
And all Thy goodness know.
This opening group of stanzas speaks of how such an intimate relationship with God not only sustains us, but gives us “health, and life, and power, and perfect liberty.” The use of superlatives such as “all Thy goodness” and “perfect liberty” highlights well the Wesleyan idea of Christian perfection.
The second section focuses on the love of Jesus and that love’s redemptive power. There are several scriptural images at play, and as one might expect from Wesley, or indeed from most anyone writing about love, conversion of the heart is central to this section. The United Methodist Hymnal version begins with this stanza, which is number 4 in the original.
Jesus, thine all victorious love
shed in my heart abroad;
then shall my feet no longer rove,
rooted and fixed in God.
The third section of the text focuses on the Holy Spirit; its three stanzas are all included in TheUnited Methodist Hymnal. One particularly potent stanza speaks of the sanctifying power of the Spirit, highlighting another key tenet of Wesleyanism.
Refining fire, go through my heart,
Illuminate my soul;
Scatter Thy life through every part,
And sanctify the whole.
The fourth section brings to completion the sanctification of the believer and the experience of Christian perfection. The poetry of Wesley’s final stanza is both beautiful and unequivocal in its theological witness:
My steadfast soul from falling free,
Shall then no longer move;
But Christ be all the world to me,
And all my heart be love.
Those who might bravely choose to sing all twelve stanzas of this hymn would experience a beautiful, thoroughly trinitarian witness to the redemptive power of God’s love in Jesus Christ through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. However, most congregations will probably opt to sing a subset of stanzas. The four stanzas found in the United Methodist hymnal are well suited to the Easter season. Beginning with a stanza about the “victorious love” of Jesus Christ reminds us of Jesus’s resurrection and victory over death, that is, of Easter. Following that stanza, then, the next three stanzas about the working of the Spirit seem to suggest the kind of liturgical flow that the Church experiences in the transition from Easter to Pentecost. That liturgical flow is made especially apparent in Year C of the Sunday lectionary, when the gospel of Luke is read.
“Jesus, Thine All Victorious Love” is a common meter text (188.8.131.52.) and could be sung to a great many tunes. It is often paired with Lowell Mason’s version of AZMON, which is ideal for most stanzas of the text. The iambic structure of the hymn aligns well with the fact that AZMON begins with a pickup note. However, because two lines of the stanza “Jesus, thine all victorious love” begin with a stressed syllable (“Je-sus” and “root-ed”), using AZMON, which has both a pickup and fast note values on the downbeat of each measure, could be awkward. One might consider singing the hymn to a common meter tune that begins without a pickup, such as ST. AGNES. Regardless of the tune chosen, though, or the number of stanzas one endeavors to sing, “Jesus, Thine All Victorious Love” is an exemplary Wesleyan hymn. Consider it the next time you sing during Eastertide.
Adapted from https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-jesus-thine-all-victorious-love-wesley
The Pender UMC Traditional Service Prelude “Great is Thy Faithfulness” on Sunday May 14, 2023 was played by Hetty Jacobs on piano. This was Hetty’s first Sunday as Pender’s Pianist.
The Pender UMC Traditional Service Opening Hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” on Sunday July 10, 2022 was played by Liz Sellers on piano and sung by the Pender Congregation.
“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”
Thomas O. Chisholm The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 140
A native of the small Kentucky town of Franklin, Thomas Obediah Chisholm (1866-1960) was born in a log cabin. He lacked formal education. Nevertheless, he became a teacher at age sixteen and the associate editor of his hometown weekly newspaper, the Franklin Advocate, at age twenty-one.
In 1893 Chisholm became a Christian through the ministry of Henry Clay Morrison, the founder of Asbury College and Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Morrison persuaded Chisholm to move to Louisville where he became editor of the Pentecostal Herald. Though he was ordained a Methodist minister in 1903, he served only a single, brief appointment at Scottsville, Kentucky, due to ill health. Chisholm relocated his family to Winona Lake, Indiana, to recover, and then to Vineland, New Jersey, in 1916 where he sold insurance. He retired in 1953 and spent his remaining years in a Methodist retirement community in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.
By the time of his retirement, he had written more than 1200 poems, 800 of which were published. They often appeared in religious periodicals such as the Sunday School Times, Moody Monthly, and Alliance Weekly. Many of these were set to music.
Hymnologist Kenneth Osbeck provides the background for “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Chisholm had sent a number of his poems to the Rev. William H. Runyan (1870-1957), a musician with the Moody Bible Institute and one of the editors of Hope Publishing Company in Chicago. Runyan wrote of the hymn: “This particular poem held such an appeal that I prayed most earnestly that my tune might carry over its message in a worthy way, and the subsequent history of its use indicates that God answered prayer. It was written in Baldwin, Kansas, in 1923, and was first published in my private song pamphlets.”
George Beverly Shea (1909-2013), the famous Canadian-born singer of the Billy Graham Crusades, introduced this hymn to those attending the evangelistic meetings in Great Britain in 1954. It immediately became a favorite.
A phrase in Lamentations 3:22-23 provides a basis for the refrain: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Stanza one emphasizes God’s unchanging nature: ” . . . there is no shadow of turning with thee;/thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not.” Perhaps James 1:17 provides the scriptural basis for this concept: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
In stanza two, the natural created order, including the cycle of the seasons, bears witness to the faithfulness of God. The final stanza brings the eternal, unchanging God into contact with humanity. We receive from the presence of God “Pardon for sin and a peace that endures.” Indeed, William Runyan’s tune was the ideal musical complement to the warmth of the text. The subtle changes in harmony and the solemnity of the melody amplify the text, bringing the climax on the word “faithfulness” perfectly at the end of the refrain.
This hymn appeared in many evangelical hymnals and song collections, but was not chosen for an official Methodist hymnal until the current United Methodist Hymnal (1989), even though the author was a Methodist. It was a very popular hymn of the former Evangelical United Brethren Church and had been included in their hymnals.
According to Carlton Young, “Great is thy faithfulness” was second only to “In the garden” as the most requested hymn for inclusion in The United Methodist Hymnal. A survey conducted in 2000 by Dean McIntyre, Director of Music Resources, Discipleship Ministries, revealed that “Great is thy faithfulness” remains one of the favorite hymns among United Methodists.
Dr. Hawn is distinguished professor of church music at Perkins School of Theology. He is also director of the seminary’s sacred music program.
“The Church’s One Foundation”
by Samuel J. Stone, adapted by Laurence Hull Stookey The United Methodist Hymnal, 546
Original text by Samuel J. Stone
“The Holy Catholic Church:
The Communion of saints.”
“He is the Head of the Body, the Church.”
The Church’s One Foundation Is Jesus Christ her Lord, She is His new creation By water and the Word: From Heaven He came and sought her To be His holy Bride, With His Own Blood He brought her And for her life He died.
Adaptation by Laurence H. Stookey
The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord; we are his new creation by water and the Word; from heaven he came and sought us that we might ever be his living servant people, by his own death set free.*
Samuel John Stone (1839–1900), then a newly ordained curate at New Windsor Parish Church, wrote “The Church’s One Foundation” in 1866 as a direct lyrical commentary to a controversy in the Church of South Africa, part of the Anglican Communion. The controversy was between Bishop John William Colenso of Natal (an early apologist for the new theory of source criticism) and Bishop Robert Gray of Cape Town (apologist for traditional means of dating and tracing authorship in scripture). Stone’s text was a tribute to Gray’s view. The link between this hymn and the Colenso controversy is well-documented. In C. Michael Hawn’s History of Hymns column on the original hymn, it can be read in more detail: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-the-churchs-one-foundation.
The origins of “The Church’s One Foundation” are found in a lengthier publication titled Lyra Fidelium: Twelve Hymns on the Twelve Articles of the Apostles Creed (1866). The text is constructed around ideas from the ninth article, “The Holy Catholic: The Communion of Saints,” bearing a subtitle from Colossians 1:18, “He is the head of the body, the Church,” and embeds portions of at least 38 scripture passages. H.E.C. Stapleton writes,
The strength of the hymn lies in the simplicity and directness of its message, the vividness of its metaphors, and the deliberate, distinct echoes of words and phrases from scripture. In Lyra Fidelium, there are no less than four biblical quotations annotated to each stanza; in one, seven. It was hailed in Stone’s own time as “the battle-song of the Church” (Stapleton, Canterbury Dictionary).
Including this panoply of scripture was likely a result of Stone’s concern with the orthodox position of the primacy of scripture, one of the central points of the controversy. These passages, as noted by Stone, are as follows:
Two years later, the text was reduced to five stanzas with Stone’s cooperation, resulting in the version most congregations now use. About twenty-two years after its composition, this hymn took its place as a significant lyrical text of the church. Stapleton writes:
The hymn came into its own at the Lambeth Conference in 1888 when it was sung at all the primary services. It is recorded that at St Paul’s Cathedral, its effect was so powerful that the singers were physically overwhelmed: “It made them feel weak at the knees, their legs trembled, and they felt as though they were going to collapse” (Stapleton quoting Wesley Milgate, Songs of the People of God, 1982).
LAURENCE STOOKEY’S ADAPTED TEXT
The adaptation by United Methodist seminary professor and liturgical scholar Laurence Hull Stookey (1937–2016) first appeared in The Upper Room Worshipbook (1983), and then in The United Methodist Hymnal (UMH) following the 1988 General Conference of The United Methodist Church. This was a critical conference concerning the hymnody of the church. The United Methodist Hymnal was adopted at this conference as well as a mandate concerning significantly altered texts, requiring both the original and the altered text to be placed side-by-side. This mandate created space for Stookey’s adaptation, considered to be an “inclusive, ecumenical, and nonsexist” version of the original. This was the only instance in which the mandate of the General Conference was implemented (Young, 1993, p. 629).
Although inclusive language in contemporary hymns is gaining wide acceptance, the adaptation of well-known texts remains controversial and lives in a narrow space, with one side being possible issues of non-equity/non-representation—the other being retention of language that holds to the integrity of the original text. In addition, further divisions arise in churches and church bodies about gendered language, archaic language, and subtle changes of theology from adapted texts. These divisions are far too large a conversation to address in this article. Still, careful reflection on the practice of adaptation does bear on Stookey’s text.
It is interesting to note that Stone’s language, which directly addressed the issues of the 1866 controversy, is largely untouched by Stookey, honoring the original impetus of the text. In stanza three, direct statements align with Stone’s concern when he writes, “by schisms rent asunder, / by heresies distressed.” In stanza 4, there is language that perhaps describes the feeling of the church, saying, “Mid toil and tribulation, / and tumult of our war.” These statements, retained by Stookey, remain faithful to the original wording, though the cultural, historical, ecclesial, and theological contexts differ. Hawn also notes in his article, writing, “The church exists in a constant state of controversy and potential schism. In many ways, this text articulates feelings that are as fresh as ever” (Hawn, “History of Hymns”).
The most noticeable aspect of Stookey’s adaptation concerns Stone’s use of feminine pronouns, drawing on the metaphor of the church as the bride of Christ: “Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior” (Eph 5:22–23, NRSV). The subjugation of women as the context for the ecclesial metaphor is troubling for many Christians. Stone’s text is replete with this metaphor, beginning with the first stanza: “The church’s one foundation / is Jesus Christ her Lord.” This gendering of the church is strongly underscored in the third phrase, “from heaven he came and sought her / to be his holy bride” (emphasis added) and remains present throughout the near entirety of the hymn. It is only in the second half of Stone’s final stanza that we finally sing that “we” are the church referred to in this text.
In Stookey’s adaptation, he replaces feminine pronouns and phrases with “we” language. Often, Stookey is straightforward, substituting “our” and “we” for “her” and “she.” Sometimes, he changes short phrases, such as “one holy name she blesses” to “one holy name professing.” Another short example is the change of text from “and to one hope she presses, / with every grace endued” to “to one hope always pressing, / by Christ’s own Spirit led.” These shorter modifications subtly paraphrase the original—in the first instance, changing the idea of blessing God’s name to professing God’s name. This change shifts us from praising God to making an open declaration of God. In the adaptation, the singers move from being infused with grace to following the leading of the Spirit, both of which are evidence of God’s work within us.
Less frequent are instances of adaptation on a larger scale. The last four lines of the side-by-side texts cited at the beginning of this article exemplify this. This adaptation, quite different in the language used, retains the original ideas of being sought out by Christ and the claim of salvation for the church through the death of Christ but adds the church’s identity as servant people, something not seen in the original text.
Another aspect of Stookey’s adaptation concerns ecumenism and inclusivity in addition to reworking feminine pronouns and images in the text. Stone’s original second stanza begins with “Elect from every nation” (his first draft said, “She is from every nation”). Stookey broadens the meaning in his adaptation— “Called forth from every nation.” The term “elect” may have had its origins in the influence of Calvinism and Reformed doctrine on The Anglican Church at this time. The clause, “from every nation,” may reflect England as a world political and military power at the height of its colonial influence around the world. The Anglican communion was a worldwide catholic (universal) church. The idea of the “elect” of God is a crucial doctrinal distinct from one embraced by the United Methodist Church. By changing “Elect from” to “Called forth,” Stookey reflects the Wesleyan doctrine of free grace and universal availability of prevenient grace to all people.
These are, by far, not the only issues taken up by Stookey in his adapted text that bear further discussion. By changing the perspective from third person (feminine) to the first-person plural, Stookey changes our idea of ecclesiology—the nature of the church. Perhaps we can consider these initial understandings, recognizing Stookey’s offering as a theological reflection that moves our sung faith toward non-binary gendered language and allows for the inclusion of all among Christ’s called. The church’s ministry and our perception of the church in the twenty-first century are changing. Thankfully, we rest on the tradition of the saints but must also sing a faith that is vibrant and efficacious in our time.
Laurence Hill Stookey was a beloved professor of preaching and worship at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., from 1973–2007. Many consider Laurence Stookey to be among the four most influential United Methodist liturgical scholars of the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This list includes Hoyt Hickman (1927–2016), James W. White (1932–2004), and Don Saliers (b. 1937). They worked together to reform Protestant worship following the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) by emphasizing the Revised Common Lectionary. Additionally, they collaborated on the United Methodist Book of Worship (1992) and the Handbook of the Christian Year. Stookey came out of the Evangelical United Brethren tradition, helping United Methodists appreciate the “United” part of their heritage.
Stookey was a native of Illinois, graduating from Swarthmore College, Wesley Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary. He was also a gifted musician who enjoyed playing several instruments. His creative and practically written trilogy of texts has proven invaluable to students and pastors. They include: Baptism: Christ’s Acts in the Church (1982), Calendar: Christ’s Time for the Church (1996), and Eucharist: Christ’s Feast with the Church (1993). If you participate in a baptismal liturgy in a United Methodist Church, you will likely hear and speak words by Laurence Stookey.
Carlton R. Young, Companion to The United Methodist Hymnal (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993).
Victoria Schwarz is a provisional deacon in the Rio Texas Conference and serves as the Associate Pastor and Minister of Music at Berkeley United Methodist Church in Austin, TX. She is active in the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts.
“My Hope Is Built”
Edward Mote The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 368
The Pender UMC Traditional Service Closing Hymn “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” on Sunday January 15, 2023 was played by Uriah Moore on piano, accompanied on guitar by Brian Stevenson and sung the Pender Sanctuary Choir and congregation.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare note trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand.
Edward Mote (1797-1874) falls into the rare category of hymn writers who grew up without religious training and whose parents were pub owners. He was apprenticed at a young age by his parents to a cabinetmaker, but found faith when he heard the preaching of John Hyatt at the Tottenham Court Road Chapel in London at age 15.
Living in Southwark near London, he established a successful cabinet-making enterprise and became a Baptist minister in 1852, at 55 years of age. He ministered for 21 years at Strict Baptist Church in Horsham, Sussex.
Singing hymns was of great interest to him. The master cabinetmaker became a prolific hymn writer, composing more than 100 hymns. He published his hymns with selections by others in 1836 in Hymns of Praise, A New Selection of Gospel Hymns. Hymnologists note that this is the first time the now common term “gospel hymn” appears.
American Methodist hymnologist and hymnal editor Robert Guy McCutchan notes that the hymn was probably written in 1834 and originally began, “Nor earth, nor hell, my soul can move.” The original title was “Jesus, my All in All.” Mr. McCutchan cites the origin of this hymn narrated by the composer as it appeared in a London periodical, The Gospel Magazine:“One morning it came into my mind as I went to labour, to write an hymn on the ‘Gracious Experience of a Christian.’ As I went up to Holborn I had the chorus,
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
“In the day I had four verses complete, and wrote them off…. On the Sabbath following… by the fireside [I] composed the last two verses… Brother Rees of Crown Street, Soho, brought out an edition of hymns (1836) and this hymn was in it.”
Baptist hymnologist William Reynolds summarizes the rest of the story: “The next Sunday [Mote] visited the home of some fellow church members where the wife was very ill. The husband informed Mote that it was their custom on the Lord’s Day to sing a hymn, read the Bible, and pray together. Mote produced the new hymn from his pocket, and they sang [“The Solid Rock”] together for the first time.”
UM Hymnal editor Carlton Young notes in his Companion that the hymn is of uneven quality. Indeed, the version in our hymnals today is the result of careful editing of the original six stanzas into four, choosing the most coherent lines from the original.
One can quickly see how the best lines of Mote’s two original stanzas were combined to make a much more articulate whole in the stanza cited at the beginning of this article.
Dr. Young comments on the revised product: “[This hymn’s] compelling topic—the parable about the security of building a house on rock, as opposed to sand (Matthew 7:24-27)—and subsequent redaction and setting to a simple, repetitious, foot-stomping tune have merged to form a hymn of faith that over the generations has proved useful and comforting to many in their daily spiritual journey.”
The “foot-stomping” tune was composed by American gospel song composer, William Bradbury (1816-1868), a fellow Baptist, for Mote’s text in 1863 and appeared during the American Civil War in Bradbury’s Devotional Hymn and Tune Book (1864).
“God of Grace and God of Glory”
Harry Emerson Fosdick The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 577
God of grace and God of glory,
on thy people pour thy power;
crown thine ancient church’s story;
bring her bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
for the facing of this hour.
Pender Opening Hymn “God of Grace and God of Glory” May 22, 2022 accompanied by flute and cello.
“God of grace and God of glory” was written in 1930 by Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969) for the dedication of the famous Riverside Church in New York City.
Fosdick was granted degrees from Colgate University and Union Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1903 to ministry in the Baptist Church and became pastor of First Baptist Church, Montclair, N.J.
Fosdick served as a chaplain during World War I and then was pastor of First Presbyterian Church in New York City. From this congregation he was called to pastor Park Avenue Baptist Church, which was renamed Riverside Church.
As we sing this hymn, perhaps it is helpful to remind ourselves of the events that shaped the “hour” and the “days” that provide the context for this great hymn.
“God of grace and God of glory” was written while the United States was in the throes of the Great Depression between the two World Wars. Fosdick was a champion of the social gospel, a movement that recognized the plight of the poor, especially in the urban Northeast during the Industrial Revolution.
UM Hymnal editor Carlton Young has noted: “Fosdick’s stirring radio sermons, books, and public pronouncements established Riverside as a forum for the critique of the same wealth and privilege whose gifts had made possible the building of the church.
“Under his leadership Riverside Church was interdenominational, interracial, without a creed, and, astonishingly for Baptists, required no specific mode of baptism. At the center of Fosdick’s ministry was urban social ministry.”
Fosdick was perhaps the most vocal proponent of the social gospel of his time—a position that brought both wide acclaim and broad disdain.
The congregation moved to a $5 million edifice made possible by a gift from John D. Rockefeller Jr. The new building overlooked the Hudson River in what Fosdick called “a less swank district” than Park Avenue, where the congregation had been located near Harlem.
The hymn was written in the summer of 1930. It took shape as he reflected on the construction of the new building, and was first sung as the processional hymn at the opening service on Oct. 5, 1930, and again at the dedication on Feb. 8, 1931.
The language of the hymn is ultimately that of petition. “Grant us wisdom, grant us courage” concludes each stanza with the effect of a refrain. A petition begins stanza three with “Cure thy children’s warring madness,/ bend our pride to thy control.” The final stanza, equally prophetic, begins with “Save us from weak resignation/ to the evils we deplore.”
Fosdick wrote the text to be sung to the stately REGENT SQUARE (usually sung to “Angels from the realms of glory”). Methodist hymnologist and hymnal editor Robert G. McCuthan, however, first paired it with the Welsh tune CWM RHONDDA for the 1935 Methodist Hymnal. It was an immediate success and the new coupling has been almost universally adopted.
Hymnologist William Reynolds says Fosdick disapproved strongly of the new pairing. When Dr. Young asked the poet why he continued to oppose the use of CWM RHONDDA with his text, Fosdick replied, “My views are well known—you Methodists have always been a bunch of wise guys.”
That discussion notwithstanding, I object to the tempo played by many organists who take the hymn much too fast at the beginning, forcing the congregation to race through the prophetic petitions that conclude each stanza. The Welsh tune demands an appropriately stately tempo (think “processional,” not “horse race”) that gives the congregation time to absorb the challenges offered by the poet.