Hymn #576: For the Healing of the Nations

Frederik Herman Kaan (b. 1929) wrote this text in 1965 for a Human Rights Day service at Pilgrim Church, Plymouth, England, where he was serving as pastor.  His most widely sung hymn, it was also used at the twenty-fifth anniversary of the United Nations.

Fred Kaan was born in Haarlem, The Netherlands, and became a minister of the Congregational Church Union of England and Wales (a forerunner of the United Reformed Church).  He has written more the two hundred hymns, often using the themes of ecumenism and concern for the powerless.  Kaan served on the staff of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.
Henry Purcell (1659-1695) composed this melody as a choral anthem in the seventeenth century.  Sydney Nicholson adapted it as a hymn tune and titled it WESTMINSTER ABBEY for the famous London church where Purcell was organist from 1679 until his death in 1695.

Henry Purcell is believed to have been born in London, England, in 1659.  He died at Dean’s Yard, Westminster, London, on November 21, 1695.  Purcell had been organist at Westminster Abbey since 1679 and gained a reputation as one of England’s greatest composers.