Feast of John Ellerton (June 15)   2 comments

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Above:  Flag of England

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JOHN ELLERTON (DECEMBER 16, 1826-JUNE 15, 1893)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer and Translator

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…it is no exaggeration to say that his hand may be traced and his voice heard in every [English] hymn-book of importance during the last thirty years before his death.

–James Moffatt, Handbook to the Church Hymnary (London:  Oxford University Press, 1927, page 329)

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John Ellerton (1826-1893), educated at King William’s College, Isle of Man, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, combined elements of the Evangelical (Low), Broad, and Anglo-Catholic (High) schools of The Church of England.  He, ordained to the priesthood in 1850, became the Curate of Easeborne, Midhurst, Sussed, and of St. Nicholas, Brighton.  During the period of 1850-1860 Ellerton began to compose and translate hymns.

From 1860 to 1872 Ellerton served as Vicar of Crewe Greene.  During this period Ellerton became involved in that community, organizing one of the first choral associations in the Midlands region.  He also served as Vice President of the Mechanics Institution, reorganizing the curriculum and teaching Bible and English history.

Ellerton came close to overworking himself during the final two decades of his life.  He served as Rector at Hinstock, Shropshire (1872-1876), then at Barnes, Surrey (1876-1884), before having to take a year off and to travel abroad.  His final cure was at White Riding, Essex, starting in 1885.

Ellerton’s output was staggering.  He wrote or translated at least eighty-six hymns.  He edited two hymnals–Church Hymns (1871) and The Children’s Hymn Book.  He published Hymns, Original and Translated (1888), a collection of his works.  Ellerton also worked on Hymns Ancient and Modern (1875 and 1889), Hymns for Schools and Bible Classes (1859), The Temperance Hymn Book, and The London Mission Hymn Book.  And he advised the committee which produced the final (1890) edition of the Hymnal Companion tonthe Book of Common Prayer.  Ellerton refused to copyright his hymns because if they were

counted worthy to contribute to Christ’s praise in the congregation, one ought to feel very thankful and humble.

St. Albans Cathedral, St. Albans, named Ellerton as a Canon toward the end of his life, but he was too ill to attend a formal installation ceremony.  Nevertheless, many people referred to him as Canon Ellerton.

Ellerton’s hymns have enriched my spiritual life.  The extent of his contribution there has become abundantly clear when I have looked up his hymns in The Hymnal 1982 and other hymnbooks.  So now I have become very grateful for the life and legacy of John Ellerton.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR

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For Further Reading:

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Ellerton%2c%20John%2c%201826-1893

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

John Ellerton and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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2 responses to “Feast of John Ellerton (June 15)

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  1. Pingback: John Ellerton | GATHERED PRAYERS

  2. Pingback: God the Omnipotent! King, Who Ordainest | GATHERED PRAYERS

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