Beloved Hymns: A Mini History by Susan Phillips

Amazing Grace
John Newton 1725-1807
Slave trader who converted to Christianity


America the Beautiful

Katherine Lee Bates 1859-1929
A daughter of a clergyman and professor of English literature. She attended the Chicago Worlds Fair 1893 when inspired to write America the Beautiful.

Angels from the Realm of Glory
James Montgomery 1771-1854
A combination of Henry Smart (a blind composer) and Montgomery hymn “Regent Square”. Montgomery is ranked with Wesley with over 400 songs with over 300 sung today. He was born in Scotland and the son of a Moravian minister.

Away in a Manager
Unknown author
Also called “Luther’s Cradle Hymn” from the early 1600

Blessed Assurance, I am Thine Oh Lord, Pass me not or Gentle Savior, Safe in the Arms of Jesus, Saved by Grace (and more)
Fanny Crosby 1820-1915 (Mrs. Joseph F. Knapp)
A blind poet who said, “Her blindness was a blessing” and wrote over 9,000 hymns. Her life was a testimony of faith.

Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Jesus Lover of my Soul, Hark the Heard Angels Sing, Love Divine All Love Excelling, Oh for a 1000 tongues I Sing, Christ the Lord is Risen came from Jesus Christ is Risen Today (and more)
Charles Wesley 1707-1788
Leader of the Methodist movement who wrote over 6,000 hymns.

It came upon a Midnight Clear
Edmund Hamilton Sears 1810-1876
Written by a Unitarian minister.

My Country tis of Thee
Samuel Francis Smith 1808-1895
A 23 year old student wrote the song in 1831 as he was preparing for the Baptist ministry.

O Come all ye Faithful
Unknown
Original title was Adeste Fideles-1852 and translated into English by Frederick Oakley. The song was included in John Francis Wade’s writings (a scribe) to English Roman Catholic College in Lisbon, Portugal. Critics say the song, borrowed from a
French chorale or perhaps this was a composition of John Francis Wade.

em>O Come O Come Emmanuel
Unknown
A Latin hymn from 1200 CE sung during Advent

O Holy Night
Adolphe Adam 1803-1856
A French carol composed in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War in 1812 between the Germans and French. A Frenchman stood and sang O Holy Night and no shots fired. Next, a German stood and sang Luther’s song “From Havens above Earth I come”.

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem
Phillips Brooks 1835-1893,
Episcopal Bishop Phillips wrote the song as a request from the children of the Church school where he was Rector.

Silent Night Joseph Nohr 1792-1848-Vicar Of Church Of St. Nicholas
In 1818, Obendorf Austria, the words were given to a friend, Franz Gruber for a Christmas evening program. The song was sung as a duet with guitar. Four daughters sang the song from village to village while the father sold gloves.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Joseph Medlicott Scriven 1819-1886
Written in 1855, and one of the 10 most popular hymns of over 400,000 church hymns published in Church history.

References:
Whittemore, Carroll E. Stories of the Christian Hymns. 1979.
White, Gary. Stuart, David. Aviva, Elyn. Music in Our World. McGraw Hill. New York. 2001.

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