Thursday, May 1, 2014

President Studies Hymn History in the United Kingdom

One of President Haynal's hobbies is researching the history of hymns.  He is now on an 8-day "vacation" in the United Kingdom visiting sites related to some of Christendom's most beloved hymns.  What follows is the first of several reports he will make while on this journey.

During her short life, Frances Ridley Havergal, 1839-1879, wrote hundreds of hymns that have inspired and encouraged Christians over the years.  On Wednesday, April 29, I visited the old church and graveyard in Astley where Frances lived the first six years of her life while her father was the pastor and where she is now buried.

Just a few miles away is Areley House in Stourport, where in 1874, penned the words for Take My Life and Let It Be.  The story of why those words were written can be found here.  Havergal originally intended the song to be sung to a tune her father had written.  A recording of her words sung to that tune can be heard here.  Areley House is now a home for the elderly.

Flowing through Stourport is River Severn which many believe was the inspiration for my favorite Havergal hymn, Like a River Glorious.

I will attend Choral Evensong at a different cathedral each evening.  Tuesday, April 28, I enjoyed the service at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford.  Last night heard the boys choir at 800-year-old Lichfield Cathedral.

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