Hymn #397: Thank Our God for Sisters, Brothers

Roger Kingsley Powell (1914-2003) wrote this hymn for a 1948 union Thanksgiving service in Camillus, New York.  It was later used in 1952 for the first gathering of the National Council of Churches of Christ.  This association enables mutual ministry among a number of different denominations.


Roger Powell was born August 4, 1914, in Kingston, New York.  An ordained American Baptist minister, he served two New York churches before being appointed registrar and instructor in speech at Colgate Rochester (New York) Divinity School in 1952.  He died in Rochester on April 18, 2003.

 

This anonymous tune, called PLEADING SAVIOR, was first printed in The Christian Lyre (1831).  There, it appeared with a text beginning "Now the Savior Stands A-pleading," hence the tune name.  When the tune was used in England, it was renamed SALTASH.

 

Joshua Leavitt edited The Christian Lyre, which was published in New York City in 1830.  This collection was considered a landmark in American hymnals, although it received sever criticism from Lowell Mason and Thomas Hastings, leading music scholars of the time.