Feast of Erik Routley (October 8)   2 comments

English Congregationalist (then United Reformed) Minister; Hymn Writer; Composer of Hymn Tunes; died in 1982

Erik Routley was born in Brighton, England, on October 31, 1917.  He grew up to become a Congregationalist minister (United Reformed Church from 1972) and an editor of hymnals.  In 1975 Routley became Professor of Church Music at Princeton University.  Routley’s main contribution of hymnody is dropping “Amen” at the end of the last verse of each hymn.

Also, Routley wrote hymn words and tunes.  Hymns whose words he wrote include “All Who Love and Serve Your City,” “New Songs of Celebration Render,” and “There in God’s Garden.”  He translated the original text of the last hymn into English.



All Who Love and Serve Your City

From Chalice Hymnal (1995), of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

1. All who live and serve your city,

all who bear its daily stress,

all who cry for peace and justice,

all who curse and all who bless:

2. In your day of loss and sorrow,

in your day of helpless strife,

honor, peeace, and love retreating,

seek the Lord, who is your life.

3. In your hour of high decision,

seek the things that serve your peace,

lest the night of your confusion

overtake your day of ease.

4. For all days are days of judgment,

and the Lord is waiting still,

drawing near to all who spurn him,

offering peace from Calvary’s hill.

5. Risen Lord! Shall yet the city

be the city of despair?

Come today, our Joy, our Glory:

be its name, “The Lord is there.”


New Songs of Celebration Render

From Lutheran Service Book (2006), of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod

1. New songs of celebration render

To Him who has wonders done;

Love sits enthroned in ageless splendor;

Come and adore the mighty One.

He has made known His great salvation

Which all His friends with joy confess.

He has revealed to ev’ry nation

His everlasting righteousness.

2. Joyfully, heartily resounding

Let ev’ry instrument and voice

Peal out the praise of grace abounding,

Calling the whole world to rejoice.

Trumpets and organs, set in motion

Such sounds as make the heavens ring;

All things that live in earth and ocean,

Make music for your mighty King.

3. Rivers and seas and torrents roaring,

Honor the Lord with wild acclaim;

Mountains and stones, look up adoring,

And find a voice to praise His name.

Righteous, commanding, ever glorious,

Praises be His that never cease;

Just is our God, whose truth victorious

Establishes the world in peace.


There in God’s Garden

From Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

1. There in God’s garden stands the Tree of Wisdom,

whose leaves hold forth the healing of nations:

Tree of all knowledge, Tree of all passion, Tree of all beauty.

2. Its name is Jesus, name that says, “Our Savior.”

There on its branches see the scars of suff’ring;

see there the tendrils of our human selfhood feed on its lifeblood.

3. Thorns not its own are tangled in its foliage;

our greed has starved it, our despite has choked it.

Yet, look! it lives! its grief has not destroyed it nor fire consumed it.

4. See how its branches reach to us in welcome;

hear what the Voice says, “Come to me, ye weary!

Give me your sickness, give me all your sorrow, I will give blessing.”

5. This is my ending, this my resurrection;

into your hands, Lord, I commit my spirit.

This have I searched for; now I can possess it.  This ground is holy.

6. All heav’n is singing, “Thanks to Christ whose passion

offers in mercy, healing, strength, and pardon.

Peoples and nations, take it, take it freely!” Amen! My Master!


Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness: You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servant Erik Routley.  Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder, that our eyes may behold your glory, and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52


2 responses to “Feast of Erik Routley (October 8)

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  1. Well, it’s about time there was a Feast of Erik Routley–although I suspect the old fellow would have a few words to say in opposition of such a festival. I had the honor of studying with him for a semester in 1977, when, after looking over a few hymn tunes I had written, wrote a letter to me which opened with the words, “You cannot fool me. You must be Welsh.” Thanks for jogging some old and pleasant memories!

    • Thank you for the kind comment.

      The best part of having my own calendar of saints (aside from learning about many inspiring people) is that I get to recognize such individuals. And, if I call these great men and women to the attention of others, I have accomplished my goal.

      True, some of those I recognize came from traditions with out a regular calendar of saints, but they are saints, too–no less than a formally canonized person. As an Episcopalian, I belong to a tradition without formal canonization yet a detailed calendar of saints. History, we say, makes saints. There are many individuals whom the church has recognized formally, as well as numerous local (but not national church) observances. Maybe the church will put Eric Routley on the calendar one day. But at least he is on mine.

      And you are welcome for the pleasant memories.

      Kenneth Taylor

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