Archive for the ‘The United Methodist Hymnal (1989)’ Tag

Feast of Robert Guy McCutchan (September 13)   15 comments

Above:  Part of the Title Page of Our Hymnody (1937)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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ROBERT GUY MCCUTCHAN (SEPTEMBER 13, 1877-MAY 15, 1958)

U.S. Methodist Hymnal Editor and Hymn Tune Composer

Pseudonym = John Porter

Robert Guy McCutchan comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Methodist Hymnals of 1935 and 1966.

McCutchan was one of the great American hymnodists.  He made his mark in the field of hymnal companion volumes with Our Hymnody (1937), the companion to The Methodist Hymnal (1935).  This hymnal companion volume has earned its reputation as the first substantial work in its genre in the United States.  The book, at 619 pages long, indicated meticulous attention to details.  It may have been the most detailed and thoroughly researched hymnal companion volume in the United States until the companion to The Hymnal (1941) of the Evangelical and Reformed Church.   Armin Haeusslder’s The Story of Our Hymns (1952) was 1902 pages long.  Since then, the four-tome companion to The Hymnal 1982 (1985) of The Episcopal Church may have claimed the title of the most thorough hymnal companion. 

Carlton R. Young, writing in Companion to the Hymnal (1970), the mate of The Methodist Hymnal (1966), issued his evaluation of our saint:

McCutchan’s motto might well have been the first line of the hymn “Let all the world in every corner sing.”  He devoted himself to bringing hymns into men’s lives.

–605

McCutchan, born in Mount Ayr, Iowa, on September 13, 1877, spent his life in music.  He studied at Park College, Parkville, Missouri, then at Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa (B.M., 1904).  In 1904, our saint began to teach voice at Baker University, Baldwin College.  He also founded the conservatory at that institution of higher education.  After teaching music privately in Berlin and Paris in 1911, McCutchan returned to the United States.  He, the Dean of the School of Music (1911-1937) at DePauw University (1911-1937), served under future bishops Francis J. McConnell (1871-1953; President, 1909-1912) and G. Bromley Oxnam (1891-1963), President from 1928 to 1936.  McCutchan retired in 1937.

Above:  Part of the Title Page of The Methodist Hymnal (1905)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The time for Methodist hymnal revision had come around again.  Decades had passed since the publication of The Methodist Protestant Church Hymnal (1901) and The Methodist Hymnal (1905).  The hymnal of 1905 had been a joint project of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.  Steps toward the new hymnal started in 1928.  In 1931, in the depths of the Great Depression, the three denominations cooperated on a joint hymnal.  That year, McCutchan also became the editor.

Above:  Part of the Title Page of The Methodist Hymnal (1935) Prior to the Merger of 1939

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

McCutchan had his bona fides.  He had collaborated on Better Music in Our Churches (1925) and Music in Worship (1927).  Our saint had also served as the music editor of the American Junior and Church School Hymnal (1928).  And he had written monographs and articles.  Furthermore, McCutchan had composed three hymn tunes (FOWLER, DEPAUW, and OXNAM) and two responses (“The Beatitudes of Our Lord” and “Thy Testimonies are Very Sure”), which he eventually included in The Methodist Hymnal (1935).

Above:  Part of the Title Page of The Methodist Hymnal (1935) After the Merger of 1939

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

McCutchan had a strong sense of propriety.  While serving as the hymnal editor, he composed three more hymn tunes (ALL THE WORLD, MASEFIELD, and TIPLADY) and another response (“O Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness).  These, included in The Methodist Hymnal (1935), bore the alleged name of the composer:  John Porter, born in 1877.  In Our Hymnody (1937), McCutchan wrote:

“John Porter” is the nom de plume if a hymn-writer who prefers to remain anonymous.

–32

Elsewhere, McCutchan explained:

It simply would not do for it to be known that the editor was their composer.

–Quoted in Carlton R. Young, Companion to the Hymnal (1970), 605

McCutchan also harmonized the hymn tune CAMPMEETING, found in The Methodist Hymnal (1966) and The United Methodist Hymnal (1989).

McCutchan’s subsequent publications included:

  1. Aldersgate, 1738-1938 (1938),
  2. Hymns in the Lives of Men (1945),
  3. Hymns of the American Frontier (1950), and
  4. Hymn Tune Names:  Their Sources and Significance (1957).

McCutchan, as a hymnologist, was ecumenical and down-to-earth.  He was a Methodist, of course, and he spent much time thinking about the realities of music in churches ranging from rural, wood-frame structures to Gothic buildings in urban settings.  His work entailed collecting many American hymnals and song books–more than a thousand at the time of this death.  He bequeathed that collection to the associated colleges at Claremont, California.  And McCutchan devoted much time to music in Adventist, Brethren, and Congregationalist churches, too.  He devoted his life to helping worshipers in churches sing great hymns.

McCutchan suffered from cancer during his final years.   His wit, according to his widow, 

came to his aid and those who cared for him through all the difficult days.

–Quoted in Young, Companion to the Hymnal (1970), 606

McCutchan, aged 80 years, died in Claremont, California, on May 15, 1958.  His first wife, Carrie, had predeceased him.

McCutchan spent his life well, in the service of God.  He spent that life in the field of hymnody. 

Hymns, being sung theology, have long been crucial to the faith of many Christians.  St. Paul the Apostle quoted a portion of a hymn in Philippians 2:6-11.  Many people have matched the words and tunes of hymns they have used to renew their faith.  And many have derived spiritual highs from wonderfully-composed and beautifully-performed descants.  McCutchan’s contribution to church music and his grasp of hymnody mattered greatly.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 19, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH OF NAZARETH, HUSBAND OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Robert Guy McCutchan)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Philip Doddridge (June 26)   4 comments

philip-doddridge

Image in the Public Domain

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PHILIP DODDRIDGE  (JUNE 26, 1702-OCTOBER 26, 1751)

English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

Philip Doddridge, along with people, such as Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley, occupies space in the pantheon of English-language hymn writers.  He wrote over 400 hymns as follow-ups to sermons.  Unfortunately, as the contents of hymnals change with each generation, the number of great hymns decreases (with some exceptions) as the proportion of substandard praise music (“seven-eleven songs” and other texts with few words) increases (with some exceptions).  One lineage of hymn books documents this pattern.  The Methodist Hymnal (1905) contains twenty-two Doddridge hymns.  The Methodist Hymnal (1935) has eight.  The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966) contains seven.  And The United Methodist Hymnal (1989) has a not-so-grand total of one.

Doddridge was born in London, England, in 1702.  His father was a wealthy oil merchant.  His mother was the daughter of a Lutheran pastor who had fled persecution in Bohemia.  Family life was devout yet brief, for our saint became an orphan at a young age.  Doddridge, educated at Kingston Grammar School then at the Nonconformist (Congregationalist) school at Kibworth, declined an opportunity to study for Anglican Holy Orders.  He became a Congregationalist minister in 1723 instead.

Doddridge, minister at Kibworth for for a few years, moved to the Castle Hill Meeting (now a congregation of the United Reformed Church) at Northampton in 1729.  There he ministered to a flock of poor people and founded a seminary, where he taught most of the subjects and trained hundreds of clergymen.  This work ended in 1750, when our saint contracted tuberculosis.  He, seeking to restore his health, traveled to Lisbon, Portugal, yet died there the following year.

The publication of Doddridge’s hymns occurred posthumously. And his collected theological works–many of them influential across decades and centuries–filled ten volumes:  I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X.  I have added some of Doddridge’s texts to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  There are too many others to include all of them in this post, but here are two:

How gentle God’s commands!

How king his precepts are!

Come, cast your burdens on the Lord,

And trust his constant care.

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Beneath his watchful eye

His saints securely dwell;

That hand which bears all nature up

Shall guard his children well.

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Why should this anxious load

Press down your weary mind?

Haste to your heavenly Father’s throne,

And sweet refreshment find.

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His goodness stands approved,

Unchanged from day to day:

I’ll drop my burden at his feet,

And bear a song away.

and

Ye servants of the Lord,

Each in his office wait,

Observant of his heavenly word,

And watchful at his gate.

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Let all your lamps be bright,

And turn the golden flame;

Gird up your loins, as in his sight,

For awful is his name.

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Watch, ’tis your Lord’s command:

And while we speak he’s near;

Mark the first signal of his hand,

And ready to appear.

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O happy servant he

In such a posture found!

He shall his Lord with rapture see,

And be with honor crowned.

Doddridge’s legacy is a wonderful one.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 15, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., NATIONAL BAPTIST PASTOR

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Philip Doddridge 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

Feast of Frederick Pratt Green (October 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  Logo of the Methodist Church of Great Britain

FREDERICK PRATT GREEN (SEPTEMBER 2, 1903-OCTOBER 22, 2000)

British Methodist Minister, Poet, and Hymn Writer

Writing about saints which church authorities have recognized as such has a great deal of value, but so does recognizing others upon whom ecclesiastical hierarchies have not bestowed that label.  There are many more deserving people in the latter category than inhabitants of the former.  One way to find the names of non-canonized saints is to consult a hymnal.  That is how I began the process of learning about this saint.

Fred(erick) Pratt Green (“Pratt Green” was his surname) was born near Liverpool in 1903.  His father, for a time a Wesleyan Methodist Local Preacher, owned a leather business.  Pratt Green, who once entertained the possibility of becoming an architect, worked in his father’s business before entering the Wesleyan Methodist ministry in 1924.  The saint started writing hymns in his sixties, giving the world over 300 new hymns before he died.  Earlier in his career Pratt Green had demonstrated his literary skill by means of a play and English translations of poems.

Between The United Methodist Hymnal (1989) and Chalice Hymnal (1995) alone I located the following hymns which Pratt Green wrote:

  1. When In Our Music God is Glorified
  2. For the Fruits of This Creation
  3. Seek the Lord
  4. All My Hope is Firmly Grounded
  5. Christ is the World’s Light
  6. Break Forth, O Beauteous Light (second and third stanzas)
  7. When Jesus Came to Jordan
  8. O Christ, the Healer
  9. To Mock Your Reign, O Dearest Lord
  10. Of All the Spirit’s Gifts to Me
  11. When Our Confidence is Shaken
  12. By Gracious Powers
  13. Whom Shall I Send
  14. The Church of Christ, in Every Age
  15. When the Church of Jesus
  16. How Blest are They Who Trust in Christ
  17. God Is Here
  18. Rejoice in God’s Saints
  19. An Upper Room Did our Lord Prepare
  20. Loving Lord, as Now We Gather
  21. Now It Is Evening
  22. Come, Sing a Song of Harvest

Pratt Green was a learned and liberal man.  He rejected fundamentalism and embraced ecumenism and social concerns.  He studied other religions extensively and read the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius frequently.  Pratt Green’s hymns reflected his theology.

Pratt Green and his wife, Marjorie (died in 1993), moved into Cromwell House Methodist Home for the Aged, Norwich, in 1990.  There he died peacefully on October 22, 2000.  He and his wife had raised Elizabeth Shepherd, daughter of a missionary who had died in India.  Pratt Green had received numerous honors, including an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters (1982) from Emory University and the rank of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 5, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE SAINTS AND MARTYRS OF ASIA

THE FEAST OF HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK, NORTHERN BAPTIST PASTOR

THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE UNITED REFORMED CHURCH, 1972 

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Fred Pratt Green

and all those who with images and words

have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior,

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

Feast of the First Book of Common Prayer, 1549 (May-June)   Leave a comment

Above:  Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER (1549)

Effective on the Day of Pentecost, June 9, 1549, During the Reign of King Edward VI

The Episcopal Church specifies that one observes this feast properly on a weekday after the Day of Pentecost.

The 1549 Book of Common Prayer, which, along with many of its successors, is available at http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/, was mainly the product of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury and poet extraordinaire.  He translated texts from various sources, ranging from Greek liturgies to German Lutheran rites to the Roman Catholic missal and the Liturgy of the Hours.  Along the way Cranmer quoted the Bible extensively.  Thus it is a common Anglican and Episcopal joke to say that the Bible quotes the Prayer Book.

My first encounter with the Book of Common Prayer was indirect, so indirect in fact that I was not aware of it.  I grew up United Methodist in the era of the 1966 Methodist Hymnal, which is far superior to the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal.  The ritual in the 1966 Hymnal was that of its 1935 and 1905 predecessors, that is, based on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.   So, when I saw the 1979 Prayer Book and read Holy Eucharist Rite I, I recognized it immediately, down to the Prayer of Humble Access.

Now I an Episcopalian.  As someone told me early this year, I left the church that John Wesley made and joined the church that made John Wesley.  The rhythms of the 1979 Prayer Book have sunk into my synapses and my soul.  I also use A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), of  The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, which breaks out from parts of tradition creatively and beautifully while standing within the Prayer Book tradition.

I have become a person of the Prayer Book, thankfully.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 24, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BARTHOLOMEW, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

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Almighty and everliving God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer, with others, restored the language of the people in the prayers of your Church:  Make us always thankful for this heritage; and help us to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding, that we may worthily magnify your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Kings 8:54-61

Psalm 33:1-5, 20-21

Acts 2:38-42

John 4:21-24

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010)