Hymn #394: In Christ There Is No East or West

John Oxenham (1852-1941) wrote this hymn as part of “The Pageant of Darkness and Light,” which was presented at the London Missionary Exhibition in 1905.  The pageant was a major attraction of that month-long event and later toured Europe and the United States.

John Oxenham was born as William Arthur Dunkerley in Manchester, England, on November 12, 1852.  He used a pen name because he was a successful businessman in England and France.  Oxenham eventually turned to writing full-time, producing over forty novels and twenty other works of poetry and prose.

Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949) adapted this tune from a spiritual, “I Know the Angel’s Done Changed My Name,” for use with Oxenham’s text.  It is named MCKEE for the minister of St. George’s Protestant Episcopal Church in New York City.  Burleigh, grandson of a Maryland slave, was baritone soloist at this church for fifty-two years.

Harry T. Burleigh was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, and began his musical career as a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral there.  He rose to be one of the greatest singers of his day, accompanying Booker T. Washington on his fund-raising trips and singing for King Edward VII.  Burleigh was the composer of songs and anthems, including “Deep River,” and a founder of ASCAP.