Monday, 27 January 2014

The Big Sing

I've blogged elsewhere about my love for the great hymns of yesteryear.

BBC's Songs Of Praise conducted a survey last year to find the most popular hymns - the full list can be seen here - Kirby Muxloe Free Church had a special afternoon service yesterday at which we sang the top ten:

Guide me, O thou great redeemer  
I the Lord of sea and sky
And can it be
In Christ Alone
How Great Thou Art
Dear Lord and Father of mankind
Make me a channel of your peace
Be still
Abide with me
The Day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended

I found it a lovely reminder of the songs that have been sung to worship and praise God down the years, and a great opportunity to celebrate the songs that have really stood the test of time.  With so many great songs and hymns still being written, I wonder what the top ten will look like in 50 years?  One difference that comes to mind is that we don't have a culture of singing hymns in school assembly anymore - that was a daily occurrence at my old school - people won't have memories of singing hymns while growing up, which may mean some of the "classics" falling out of favour.

It would be a great pity if these songs were consigned to history - they serve as a connection to the congregations of old, and with songwriters like Wesley being represented, as a connection to the development and growth of Church in the UK into the form we see today.

Let's keep these songs being sung!!


  1. It was a brilliant evening - thanks to everyone in the Worship Group who put it together.
    But some of us were chatting afterwards- did the BBC have a properly wide survey sample? surely Amazing Grace and The Lord's My Shepherd should be in the top 10 - both v. popular for weddings and funerals? I LOVE "In Christ Alone" - but not sure how many people would know the Townend classic.[ And what about 'Shine, Jesus, Shine' as one of the most well known modern hymns?]

    1. Interestingly, this article from 2005 says that Shine Jesus Shine was in the top 10 in a previous survey - maybe it's falling out of favour?

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  3. I found your blog via Tracing Rainbows. I’m definitely of an age when I can remember morning hymns and I too find it sad that today’s children will have no such school memory from beyond age eleven. However, I’m glad that some of the “old faithfuls” are disappearing. I well remember “City of God” being explained with depressing regularity at my primary school and fifty years on I’d still be pressed to explain it to anyone else. I was once told that Charles Wesley wrote about six thousand hymns and most of those have disappeared. Hymns will come and hymns will go. Just keep ‘em coming!

    Incidentally I have lovely memories of your part of the country. I was lay worker and then curate at Braunstone in the days when St Peter and St Crispin formed a single parish.

  4. Thanks Frugally Challenged - nice to hear from you - I live within the parish of St Crispins, and attended St Peters for a short time before settling at Kirby Myxloe Free.

    I agree, there are some hymns that maybe disappeared for a reason, we only have the ones that have stood the test of time.

  5. I take singing assembly at school and I teach in a very multicultural school. I had some real militant 7 year olds Muslims refusing to sung a song, 'you've got to move when the spirit says move' because they said it was against their religion! So difficult. X