We are looking for a few trustworthy neighbors with flexible schedules to lend a hand in the following areas of need. Are you: Handy with tools and small projects? Available to steward the Chapel during services & events? Able to help with seasonal groundskeeping & bulb planting? For more information about volunteering, please contact: email@example.com / (603) 436-4902
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Sunday July 4 11:00AM – Family members of all ages are invited to worship, sing, and celebrate in the beauty of creation with Rev. Rob Stevens, Ashley Wade, Olin Johannessen, and Jennifer McPherson from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Portsmouth NH. We will follow a simple, spoken liturgy and bask in the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. The service will continue outside where the St. John’s Trio will share music that everyone will be able to sing with their families while they explore the beauty of the Chapel trails. (35 min service)
Spring 2021 is upon us and we are thrilled that summer services will resume beginning with the first service on Sunday July 4 at 11:00AM. Please stay tuned for the full schedule. We are currently taking reservations for event rentals through 2022.
The chapel hymnal is unique in that is not published as a denominational hymn book. It contains tunes from a variety of faiths: Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Catholic. It has a table of contents which lists the numerous hymn indexes, a sample order of service, chants and prayers. Studying the index of authors, I discovered there are many women who wrote hymn poetry but less than a half a dozen who composed the tunes. This week I’m featuring one of these tunes written by a woman.
There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy (Hymn #80) is one of twelve hymns in The Love of God section. In 1875, Lizzie Tourjee was only a high school senior from Newton, Massachusetts when she wrote this tune for her high school graduation. Her father, Eben Tourjee, the founder of New England Conservatory and first dean of the college of music at Boston University, named the hymn tune Wellesley after the college, Lizzie’s destination after high school, and included it in the Methodist hymnal of 1878. Lizzie married a Boston industrialist, raised two sons and spent her life as a music teacher and organist until she died in 1913. Lizzie chose the text for her tune from a 13-stanza poem by Frederick Faber. Born in Yorkshire England into a Calvinist family, Faber became an Anglican minister then later converted to Roman Catholicism. He understood the power of hymn singing and encouraged the practice in the Catholic services he officiated. Faber’s poem, written in 1854, has been set to more familiar tunes including In Babilone and Beecher, both usually rather grand and triumphant. Wellesley has a gentle and inward looking quality especially in this piano rendition by Hannah Ray. This arrangement would make a wonderful prelude to a Sunday morning service at the chapel. I look forward to hearing our talented pianists (two of the five pictured above) play each Sunday next summer. Thinking of them!
Golden Crowns Around the Glassy Sea – The Chapel’s Most Popular Hymn. As I mentioned last week, the chapel hymnal focuses on great hymns of the Victorian era, many of which are not published in modern or even 20th century hymnals. Also, the hymnal is not affiliated with any particular denomination – a perfect fit for an un-denominational chapel!
The hymn most often selected by guest ministers is Hymn # 5, Holy, Holy, Holy (Hymn tune Nicaea). It is one of nine in the Morning Song section and one of the great hymns of the 19th century. John Dykes wrote this rousing tune and Reginald Heber wrote the text. Heber, an Oxford-educated curate in England, dreamed of writing hymns for the Anglican church. At that time, hymn singing was not allowed and as much as Heber tried to gain acceptance for the practice, he was denied by the authorities. He became Bishop of Calcutta in India and died after preaching to large crowd in 1826. His wife found his hymn texts in a trunk and had them published the following year. Many decades later, someone brought the text to John Dykes, also English, educated at Cambridge and minor canon of Durham Cathedral. It is reported that Dykes was so inspired by the text that he wrote the tune in 30 minutes! Dykes wrote more than 300 hymn tunes throughout his career. Thirty-five of Dykes’s tunes are in the chapel hymnal, more than any other composer represented. Here is a beautiful a contemporary a cappella version, all parts sung by Sam Robson, a UK singer.
Although we aren’t together at Little Harbor Chapel this summer I wanted to keep in touch with a series about our chapel hymnal and the stories behind the hymns we sing every summer.
The hymnal was published in 1925 and reprinted in 1934 when it became the chapel hymnal. The inscription on the inside of each cover was handwritten by Louise Pridham, a neighbor and friend of the Carey family. I hope to discover more about the editor of the hymnal and how it came to be the chapel hymnal.
The chapel summer season always begins around the Fourth of July. The late Rev. David Kerr, a long-time guest preacher, often included O beautiful for spacious skies (hymn tune Materna below) as part of his Sunday service. This familiar tune is one of nine hymns in The Nation section of the hymnal. The text ( Katherine Bates) and music ( Samuel Ward) were written separately in the late 1800’s and put together in 1910. The composer and lyricist never met yet both were inspired by the beauty of nature. This NPR article about the hymn includes a classic performance by the legendary Ray Charles. Click here for an opportunity to sing the hymn yourself this holiday weekend. Enjoy a safe and pleasant Sunday!