Hymn #538: Standing at the Future’s Threshold

Paul R. Gregory (b. 1922) wrote this hymn for the final service of the 175th anniversary meeting of the United Church Board of World Ministries, held in 1985.  The text serves as a reminder of the many forms of missionary work needed to heal the world and as a call to continue in that ministry.

Paul R. Gregory was ordained as a minister of the United Church of Christ in 1944.  He served as East and Southeast Asia secretary of the United Church Board for World Ministries from 1957, when the denomination was formed, until his retirement in 1986.

Arthur Seymour Sullivan (1842-1900) composed the tune LUX EOI for the text “Hark!  A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding.”  It first appeared in his Church Hymns with Tunes (1874) and then in Hymns for the Church of England (1875).  The Latin word lux means “light.”

Arthur S. Sullivan was the son of a British Army bandmaster and professor of clarinet.  A child prodigy, Sullivan had learned to play most woodwind instruments by age eight, wrote an anthem at age thirteen, and won the Mendelssohn Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music at age fourteen.