Hymn #21: God Reigns o’er All the Earth

Jane Parker Huber (b. 1926) wrote this text in 1981 as a study of the many realms of God’s activity.  Each stanza touches on a different theme, from nature to human life, to the wider universe, and finally to the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Jane Parker Huber served on the Presbyterian Hymnal committee from 1985 to 1989, helping her denomination select the hymns that would be included in this new worship resource.  She is the author of four collections of original hymns published between 1982 and 1996.

Franklin L. Sheppard (1852-1930) adapted this traditional English melody for a text by Maltbie Babcock, “This Is My Father’s World.”  It is named TERRA BEATA, meaning “blessed earth.”  Sheppard claimed to have learned the tune from his mother, although some credit him as the composer.

Franklin L. Sheppard graduated first in his class at the University of Philadelphia and joined his father’s business as manager of a foundry.  An elder in the Presbyterian Church, Sheppard was president of the Board of Publications and served on the committee that prepared The Hymnal (1911) of that denomination.