"God of Grace and also God of Glory"Harry Emerchild FosdickThe United Methodist Hymnal, No. 577

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Harry Emerson Fosdick

God of grace and God of glory,on thy world pour thy power;crown thine primitive church’s story;carry her bud to glorious flower.Grant us wisdom, provide us courage,for the encountering of this hour. “God of grace and God of glory” was created in 1930 by Harry Emerchild Fosdick (1878-1969) for the dedication of the famed Riverside Church in New York City. Fosdick was granted degrees from Colgate College and Union Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1903 to minisattempt in the Baptist Church and came to be pastor of First Baptist Church, Montclair, N.J. Fosdick offered as a chaplain during World War I and also then was pastor of First Presbyterian Church in New York City. From this congregation he was dubbed to pastor Park Avenue Baptist Church, which was recalled Riverside Church. As we sing this hymn, perhaps it is beneficial to remind ourselves of the occasions that shaped the “hour” and the “days” that carry out the conmessage for this good hymn. “God of grace and also God of glory” was composed while the United States remained in the throes of the Great Depression between the 2 World Wars. Fosdick was a champion of the social gospel, a movement that recognized the plight of the negative, specifically in the urban Northeastern throughout the Industrial Rdevelopment. UM Hymnal editor Carlton Young has noted: “Fosdick’s stirring radio sermons, books, and also public pronouncements establiburned Riverside as a forum for the critique of the very same wealth and also privilege whose gifts had actually made feasible the building of the church. “Under his leadership Riverside Church was interdenominationwide, interracial, without a creed, and also, astonishingly for Baptists, forced no specific mode of baptism. At the center of Fosdick’s ministry was metropolitan social minisattempt.” Fosdick was maybe the the majority of vocal proponent of the social gospel of his time—a position that brought both wide acinsurance claim and broad disdain. The congregation relocated to a $5 million edifice made feasible by a gift from John D. Rockefeller Jr. The new structure overlooked the Hudchild River in what Fosdick referred to as “a less swank district” than Park Avenue, where the congregation had actually been located close to Harlem. The hymn was created in the summer of 1930. It took form as he reflected on the construction of the new building, and also was initially sung as the processional hymn at the opening business on Oct. 5, 1930, and aobtain at the dedication on Feb. 8, 1931. The language of the hymn is eventually that of petition. “Grant us wisdom, grant us courage” concludes each stanza through the effect of a refrain. A petition begins stanza 3 with “Cure thy children’s warring madness,/ bend our pride to thy regulate.” The last stanza, equally prophetic, starts with “Save us from weak resignation/ to the evils we deplore.” Fosdick created the text to be sung to the stately REGENT SQUARE (commonly sung to “Angels from the worlds of glory”). Methodist hymnologist and hymnal editor Robert G. McCuthan, however, initially paired it with the Welsh tune CWM RHONDDA for the 1935 Methodist Hymnal. It was an immediate success and the brand-new coupling has actually been virtually universally adopted. Hymnologist William Reynolds says Fosdick disapshowed strongly of the new pairing. When Dr. Young asked the poet why he ongoing to oppose the use of CWM RHONDDA through his text, Fosdick replied, “My views are well known—you Methodists have actually always been a bunch of wise men.” That conversation notwithstanding, I object to the tempo played by many organists who take the hymn a lot also fast at the beginning, forcing the congregation to race via the prophetic petitions that conclude each stanza.


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The Welsh tune needs an accordingly stately tempo (think “processional,” not “steed race”) that gives the congregation time to absorb the obstacles offered by the poet.