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Hymn History: We Gather Together

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens his will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to his name; he forgets not his own.

The Pender UMC Traditional Service Middle Hymn “We Gather Together” on Thanksgiving Sunday November 20, 2022 was played by Liz Eunji Moon on piano, Teresa Rothschild on clarinet, Brian Stevenson on flute and sung the Pender Sanctuary Choir and congregation.

In many American hymnals, “We gather together” appears as a Thanksgiving hymn. Perhaps this is because of the opening line and the general idea that God is with us regardless of our circumstances. However, the hymn speaks more about God’s providence throughout the trials of life. The story behind this hymn clarifies its text.

This hymn is a late sixteenth-century expression of celebration of freedom by The Netherlands from Spanish oppression. Like many older hymns, it finds its way to us through a circuitous route. Although listed as an anonymous hymn, some sources indicate that Adrianus Valerious (c. 1575-1625), known for his poems on the Dutch War of Independence from the perspective of a peasant, authored the original text in Dutch. Since making a living as a poet was not possible, Valerious had a prosperous career as the Toll and Customs Controller for Veere, eventually being promoted to Tax Collections and finally appointed to the City Council.

The hymn was first published in Nederlandtsch Gedenckclanck (1626), a collection by Valerius in Haarlem, focusing on folk poems and melodies on the Dutch Wars (1555-1625). Valerius collected and arranged the songs for this publication for 30 years until his death in 1625. This collection is not as important for its poetry as it was for understanding the Protestant attitudes of the day. The work’s significance was exemplified by its adoption in Zeeland as part of the religious education curriculum in homes and the church.

Austrian Edward Kremser (1838-1914) included the hymn in Sechs Altniederländische Volkslieder (Six Old Netherlands Folksongs) in 1877 for his men’s chorus, all six anonymous songs taken from the Valerius collection 250 years earlier. According to UM Hymnal editor te Rev. Carlton Young, the performance of these tunes led to their popularity and inclusion in many hymnals.

The story extends to the United States through Theodore Baker (1851-1934), a New York-born musicologist who studied in Leipzig and authored the famous Biographical Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Baker translated the hymn from German for an anthem entitled “Prayer for Thanksgiving” published in 1894. Baker is the source of the hymn’s traditional Thanksgiving connection in the United States.

The Dutch, long a stronghold for the Reformed theology of John Calvin, were in a struggle against Spain for their political independence and against the Catholic Church for religious freedom. A twelve-year truce was established in 1609, giving young Prince Frederick Henry a chance to mature into an able politician and soldier.

During this time, the Dutch East India Company extended its trade beyond that of the English. The high period of Dutch art flourished with Hals, Vermeer, and Rembrandt. Under the guidance of the Prince Frederick Henry’s leadership, Spain’s efforts to regain supremacy on land and sea were finally overcome in 1648. There was indeed much for which to be thankful.

Some of the political overtones in this hymn faithfully translated by Baker are apparent. Hymnologist Albert Bailey suggests that the phrase, “The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,” is an allusion to the persecution of the Catholic Church under the policies of Spain. Thousands had been massacred and hundreds of homes burned by the Spanish in 1576 during the Siege of Antwerp.

In stanza two, the writer states, “so from the beginning the fight we were winning,” stressing that Protestants had always been assured of winning the cause. The truce of 1609 proved that the Lord “wast at our side.”

The final stanza is a series of petitions . . .

” …pray that thou still our defender will be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!”

This is an eschatological stanza. The ultimate battle has not been won and will not be won until all battles cease.

The hymn gained recognition in the United States when it found its way into the hymnal of the Methodist-Episcopal Church in 1935. The popularity increased during World War II when singers connected “the wicked oppressing” to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. More recently, the “We Gather Together” was featured at the Funeral Mass for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1994.

An interesting sidebar was that Baker’s anthem inspired another hymn. A young Julia Cady Cory (1882-1963) heard this text in 1902 at her church, Brick Presbyterian in New York City. Cory’s “We praise thee, O God, our Redeemer, Creator” is a more general hymn of praise and thanksgiving that also uses the Dutch tune KREMSER. Cory’s hymn did not include any reference to nationalism, making it a more general ecumenical hymn of thanksgiving.

The United Methodist Hymnal has placed this hymn in the “Providence” section rather with other traditional American Thanksgiving hymns, broadening its use from this national holiday to use during any difficult circumstances.

Dr. Hawn is distinguished professor of church music at Perkins School of Theology. He is also director of the seminary’s sacred music program.

From https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-we-gather-together1

 
 

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Today is Palm Sunday!

palm-sunday

Our live streams will be at 9:00 am (Traditional/Blended) and 11:15 am Common Ground (Contemporary).

Traditional/Blended at 9:00 am with traditional hymns, handbells, children’s message and more.

Common Ground Contemporary at 11:15 am with praise band, praise music, children’s message and more

The days leading up to Easter often have an understandably somber feel to them, particularly as we contemplate Jesus’ arrest, trial, and execution. It’s easy to forget that the week begins with a joyful event: the Triumphal Entry!

Sunday, March 28, 2021, is Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, we commemorate Jesus’ celebrated entry into Jerusalem just a few days before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion.

The “palm” in Palm Sunday refers to the palm branches waved by the adoring Jerusalem crowds who welcomed Jesus and proclaimed him King. The event is commonly referred to as the Triumphal Entry. Here’s the account from Matthew 21:1-11:

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

From Chuck Knows Church — Palm Sunday. Have you ever waved a palm branch in a worship service? If so, do you know why? Chuckle along and learn about Palm Sunday with Chuck

Holy week at Pender

 

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Easter Sunday is Coming to PenderUMC

 

 

Easter Worship Services — April 21:

  • 8:15 am Traditional Worship with Organ, Brass Quartet & Choir (in the Sanctuary)
    Of course it is no surprise that this Sunday is EASTER! And we all know there will be flowers and brass and triumphant music and favorite hymns and excited children and dressed-up adults and both Alleluias and Hallelujahs and even rumors of an empty grave and eternal life . . . and there will be a story that reminds us of what we are celebrating. And just because it is no surprise to you, doesn’t mean there is not someone in your circle of acquaintances for whom our Easter Celebration might be a wonderful new thing to experience! Remember that part of the story? – when Mary saw the empty tomb, she ran to tell her friends Peter and John. Let’s do the same and have a great Easter together.
  • 9:30 am Contemporary Worship with Live Band (in the Fellowship Hall)
    Many of us love all the traditions of Easter, including the flowers, music and dressing up in our Easter best! We can worship in various ways though, including this informal service where you might see folks wearing anything from shorts and t-shirts to dresses, suits and ties. Feel free to grab a cup of coffee in our lobby and bring it in with you. Our worship is led with guitars and drums, and you might even recognize a song or two from the Christian radio station! We’ll share the Easter story, and talk about its significance for us today. This is a great opportunity to invite a friend, neighbor, or coworker. Let them know you’re saving a seat for them as we save a seat for you!
  • 11:00 am Traditional Worship with Organ, Brass Quartet & Choir (in the Sanctuary)
    Of course it is no surprise that this Sunday is EASTER! And we all know there will be flowers and brass and triumphant music and favorite hymns and excited children and dressed-up adults and both Alleluias and Hallelujahs and even rumors of an empty grave and eternal life . . . and there will be a story that reminds us of what we are celebrating. And just because it is no surprise to you, doesn’t mean there is not someone in your circle of acquaintances for whom our Easter Celebration might be a wonderful new thing to experience! Remember that part of the story? – when Mary saw the empty tomb, she ran to tell her friends Peter and John. Let’s do the same and have a great Easter together.
Childcare:


Easter Sunday Services
:  On Easter, Sunday April 21, there will be no Sunday School so that families can worship the risen Christ together. There will be a Nursery and another room for 3-5 year olds open at the 8:15, 9:30, and 11 o’clock services. If you have any questions please contact Elizabeth.”

 

What do you mean by Traditional-Blended or Contemporary worship?

We understand that people have different styles for connecting with God in a meaningful and personal way. Pender offers two styles: Traditional-Blended and Contemporary. You will discover the people who attend these worship services are varied in age.

Traditional-Blended is largely traditional in flavor from a wonderful organ and beautiful hymns, choral, orchestra, children’s or bell music and traditional surroundings in our main sanctuary. Mrs. Theresa Carpenter leads the choir, and several servant volunteers are involved. During these services there is a time for the children on the altar steps at the front, and all children are invited to enjoy!

Contemporary worship is led by our praise band in a rock-and-roll style with many contemporary Christian songs that you might hear on the radio.  Pastor Catharine delivers the message, often enhanced with video or drama.  Our contemporary worship services are more casual in nature, so wear your jeans or shorts if you want to.

Come for this Easter’s Traditional Worship to experience special music (Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus) and a special message brought by Pastor Catharine. 

Come for this Easter’s Contemporary Worship to experience great rock-style music and a special message brought by Pastor Catharine.  Our contemporary worship service is called “Common Ground” and is offered at 9:30 every Sunday, including Easter!

All of our worship is Christ-centered, Biblically-minded and relevant to life today. Pender UMC desires that you feel God’s Spirit nurturing you and that in worship you experience the very real presence of Christ with us. May you be blessed by God as you gather with us.

Where do I enter the building?
First, we want you to know that our church has worked hard to create a building with access for all. Whether you find yourself in a wheelchair or carting babies in a buggy, you’ll find automatically opening doors and large entrances.

As you enter the parking lot, you will notice two doors, both under porticos so that you may get out of the rain if it is wet. To enter through the main sanctuary entrance doors, simply look for the semi-circular driveway.

If you enter the sliding glass doors entrance, make a left into the hallway to the end where you will notice the welcome area on your left.

What do my children do?
We invite older children (3rd grade and up) to become fully involved in worship. At the back of the sanctuary are “children’s bulletins” and supplies like crayons.

Our younger children have the option of remaining with their family or being cared for by our wonderful nursery and childcare staff. Childcare is available for children ages birth through 2nd grade in the lower level of our building. Ask an Usher to help you find where to take your children!

On Easter, Sunday April 21, there will be no Sunday School so that families can worship the risen Christ together. There will be a Nursery and another room for 3-5 year olds open at the 8:15, 9:30, and 11 o’clock services. If you have any questions please contact Elizabeth.”

Where do I park?
We attempt to have plenty of parking on Easter morning for our guests. However, we suggest you plan to arrive early, and if parking is full on our lot, there is parking on the street.

What if I need further information?
Our friendly volunteers and staff will welcome your questions! Please call our church office at 703-278-8023 between 9 am and 3 pm, Monday through Friday. Once at Pender, ask any friendly face for help! We are here to assist you.

Easter Offering:
Our Easter Offering this year will support:

 

 

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Easter Sunday at PenderUMC

 

 

Easter Worship Services — April 16:

  • 6:00 am “Sonrise” Worship (led by youth followed by a breakfast)
  • 8:00 am Traditional Worship with Organ, Orchestra & Choir (in the Sanctuary)
  • 9:30 am Contemporary Worship with Live Band (in the Fellowship Hall)
  • 9:30 am Traditional Worship with Organ, Orchestra & Choir (with Communion in the Sanctuary)
  • 11:00 am Traditional Worship with Organ, Orchestra & Choir (in the Sanctuary)

Childcare is Available:
Easter Sunday Services: Childcare is available from 9:15-12:15:

Birth to age 3 in the Nursery

Ages 3 – Kindergarten in Rooms. 119 & 121 — The Story of Easter

Easter Offering:
Our Easter Offering this year will support:

2 students at Africa University
WFCM Food Pantry
Pender ReGift Thrift Store

What do you mean by Traditional-Blended or Contemporary worship?

We understand that people have different styles for connecting with God in a meaningful and personal way. Pender offers two styles: Traditional-Blended and Contemporary. You will discover the people who attend these worship services are varied in age.

Traditional-Blended is largely traditional in flavor from a wonderful organ and beautiful hymns, choral, orchestra, children’s or bell music and traditional surroundings in our main sanctuary. Mrs. Theresa Carpenter leads the choir, and several servant volunteers are involved. During these services there is a time for the children on the altar steps at the front, and all children are invited to enjoy!

Contemporary worship is led by our praise band in a rock-and-roll style with many contemporary Christian songs that you might hear on the radio.  Rev. Dan delivers the message, often enhanced with video or drama.  Our contemporary worship services are more casual in nature, so wear your jeans or shorts if you want to,

Come for this Easter’s Traditional Worship to experience special music (Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus) and a special message brought by Pastor Kenny. 

Come for this Easter’s Contemporary Worship to experience great rock-style music and a special message brought by Pastor Dan.  Our contemporary worship service is called “Common Ground” and is offered at 9:30 every Sunday, including Easter!

All of our worship is Christ-centered, Biblically-minded and relevant to life today. Pender UMC desires that you feel God’s Spirit nurturing you and that in worship you experience the very real presence of Christ with us. May you be blessed by God as you gather with us.

Where do I enter the building?
First, we want you to know that our church has worked hard to create a building with access for all. Whether you find yourself in a wheelchair or carting babies in a buggy, you’ll find automatically opening doors and large entrances.

As you enter the parking lot, you will notice two doors, both under porticos so that you may get out of the rain if it is wet. To enter through the main sanctuary entrance doors, simply look for the semi-circular driveway.

If instead you enter the sliding glass doors entrance, make a left into the hallway to the end where you will notice the welcome area on your left.

What do my children do?
We invite older children (3rd grade and up) to become fully involved in worship. At the back of the sanctuary are “children’s bulletins” and supplies like crayons.

Our younger children have the option of remaining with their family or being cared for by our wonderful nursery and childcare staff. Childcare is available for children ages birth through 2nd grade in the lower level of our building. Ask an Usher to help you find where to take your children!

Where do I park?
We attempt to have plenty of parking on Easter morning for our guests. However, we suggest you plan to arrive early, and if parking is full on our lot, there is parking on the street. 

What if I need further information?
Our friendly volunteers and staff will welcome your questions! Please call our church office at 703-278-8023 between 9 am and 3 pm, Monday through Friday. Once at Pender, ask any friendly face for help! We are here to assist you.

 

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Holy Week at Pender UMC

holyweek-header2

 

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, the most important week of the church year. At the other end of Holy Week is Easter, the most important day of the church year.

For Christians, this is the big event! And it’s all about the mystery that somehow Jesus Christ makes us one with God.

Sunday,  April 9 – Palm Sunday 

All three services, 8:15, 9:30 & 11:00 am, will be held in the Sanctuary.

Invite your friends and family and enjoy a Lenten Cantata, “Come Touch The Robe,” presented by our Sanctuary Choir.

Monday, April 10 – Kids’ Easter Event.  More information and signup

Holy Thursday Supper & Worship Service April 13 at 7:30 pm
Join us as we gather in our Fellowship Hall for a light meal, like Jesus and the Disciples experienced, and share Holy Communion around the tables.

Good Friday Service April 14 at 7:30 pm
Join us in the Sanctuary for a worship service centered around the seven last words of Christ.

Easter Sunday April 16

6:00 am    “Sonrise” Worship (led by youth followed by breakfast)
8:00 am    Traditional Worship (in the Sanctuary)
9:30 am    Contemporary Worship with Live Band (in the Fellowship Hall)
9:30 am    Traditional Worship with Communion in the Sanctuary
11:00 am  Traditional Worship (in the Sanctuary)

During Lent we gave up BAD things. Easter brings us to embrace the hope, forgiveness and possibilities God has for us because of a Risen Jesus!  Let’s wrap our arms around the living Christ and all He brings.

  • Sunrise Service
  • Easter Breakfast
  • 8:00 am Traditional Service with Hallelujah Chorus and brass ensemble
  • 9:30 am Contemporary Service – Common Ground
  • 9:30 am Traditional Service with Hallelujah Chorus and brass ensemble
  • 11:00 am Traditional Service with Hallelujah Chorus and brass ensemble
  • Easter plants are yours to take after the last service


What do you mean by Traditional-Blended or Contemporary worship?

We understand that people have different styles for connecting with God in a meaningful and personal way. Pender offers two styles: Traditional-Blended and Contemporary. You will discover the people who attend these worship services are varied in age.

Traditional-Blended is largely traditional in flavor from a wonderful organ and beautiful hymns, choral, orchestra, children’s or bell music and traditional surroundings in our main sanctuary. Mrs. Theresa Carpenter leads the choir, and several servant volunteers are involved. During these services there is a time for the children on the altar steps at the front, and all children are invited to enjoy!

Contemporary worship is led by our praise band in a rock-and-roll style with many contemporary Christian songs that you might hear on the radio.  Rev Dan Elmores delivers the message, often enhanced with video or drama.  Our contemporary worship services are more casual in nature, so wear your jeans or shorts if you want to, RevKev does!

All of our worship is Christ-centered, Biblically-minded and relevant to life today. Pender UMC desires that you feel God’s Spirit nurturing you and that in worship you experience the very real presence of Christ with us. May you be blessed by God as you gather with us.

Where do I enter the building?

First, we want you to know that our church has worked hard to create a building with access for all. Whether you find yourself in a wheelchair or carting babies in a buggy, you’ll find automatically opening doors and large entrances.

As you enter the parking lot, you will notice two doors, both under porticos so that you may get out of the rain if it is wet. To enter through the main sanctuary entrance doors, simply look for the semi-circular driveway.

If instead you enter the sliding glass doors entrance, make a left into the hallway to the end where you will notice the welcome area on your left.

What do my children do?
We invite older children (3rd grade and up) to become fully involved in worship. At the back of the sanctuary are “children’s bulletins” and supplies like crayons.

Our younger children have the option of remaining with their family or being cared for by our wonderful nursery and childcare staff. Childcare is available for children ages birth through 2nd grade in the lower level of our building. Ask an Usher to help you find where to take your children!

Where do I park?
We attempt to have plenty of parking on Easter morning for our guests. However, we suggest you plan to arrive early, and if parking is full on our lot, there is parking on the street.

What if I need further information?
Our friendly volunteers and staff will welcome your questions! Please call our church office at 703-278-8023 between 9 am and 3 pm, Monday through Friday. Once at Pender, ask any friendly face for help! We are here to assist you.

 

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