Hymn #120: There's a Voice in the Wilderness

James Lewis Milligan (1876-1961) wrote this hymn in 1925 to celebrate the formation of the United Church of Canada through the merger of the Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian denominations in that country.  The text was consequently published in the church's hymnal The Hymnary (1930).


J. Lewis Milligan was born in Liverpool, England, and received his education there.  In 1911 he moved to Canada, became a lay pastor in the Methodist Church, and was a successful journalist writing for various Canadian papers.  His interest in poetry led to hymnwriting.

Henry Hugh Bancroft (1904-1988) composed this tune, ASCENSION, in 1938.  It appeared as the musical setting for Milligan's text in the United Church of Christ Hymnal (1974).


H. Hugh Bancroft was born February 29 (leap day), 1904, at Lincolnshire, England, and moved to Winnipeg, Canada, in 1929.  He served as organist and choir director for Anglican churches in various provinces.  In 1977 Bancroft was awarded a Lambeth doctorate in recognition of his musical contributions to the Anglican community.