Hymn #8: Praise to the Living God

Curtis Beach (1914-1993) wrote these words in 1966 while attending a conference concerning the “death of God” controversy.  He heard the opening, “Praise to the living God,” in his head, accompanied by this tune, and wrote the words that evening, finishing at four in the morning.

Curtis Beach, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1914, was a minister of the Congregational Christian Church and later the United Church of Christ after the denomination was formed in 1957.  Beach served churches in Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, and Maine, where he died in 1993.

George Job Elvey (1816-1893) composed DIADEMATA in 1868 for the Matthew Bridges hymn “Crown Him with Many Crowns.”  It has long been a favorite of hymnwriters and editors, appearing three times in The New Century Hymnal.  Diademata is the Greek word for crowns.

George J. Elvey was born in Canterbury, England, and began his musical training as a member of the cathedral choir in that city.  He continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music and at Oxford University and served as organist and choir director for almost fifty years at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.