Hymn #433: In the Bulb There Is a Flower

Natalie Allyn Wakeley Sleeth (1930-1992) was inspired by a phrase from a poem by T.S. Eliot for this text, written in Denver, Colorado.  She had been contemplating the change of seasons from winter to spring and even purchased a potted yellow tulip plant to help her in writing these words.

Natalie Sleeth was born in Evanston, Illinois, on October 29, 1930.  She began piano lessons at age four and majored in music theory at Wellesley College.  Her first work, “Canon of Praise,” was not published until 1969, but her choral works have received wide acceptance since that time.

Natalie Sleeth composed the tune PROMISE for her own words, and the song was first performed in anthem form at Pasadena Community Church, St. Petersburg, Florida, at a March 1985 concert.  Her husband, dying of a malignancy, requested that this hymn be played at his funeral service.

Natalie Sleeth, the wife of a Methodist minister and professor of homiletics, spent most of her life in university communities in Nashville, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas; Evanston, Illinois; and Denver, Colorado.  Sleeth received two honorary degrees for her work in church music.