As Sunrise Greets the MorningMark Alan Filbert, Hymnology Consultant
This month we continue our new Hymn of the Month series in which one or more hymns drawn from collections published by Wayne Leupold Editions will be posted on the opening page of the website for consideration by pastors and musicians who may wish to introduce the hymn to their congregations the following month. The Hymn of the Month may be particularly appropriate for a given Sunday during the month, but often will also be thematically relevant for every Sunday during the month or season. Thus pastors and/or musicians may wish to have the choir introduce the hymn on the first Sunday of the month or season and then invite the congregation to join with the choir in singing the hymn on each of the remaining Sundays.
The Hymn of the Month for October 2021 is As Sunrise Greets the Morning, with a text by Edith Sinclair Downing (1922-2016) and a tune by Neville Favell (b. 1936). With the Covid pandemic still raging, caregivers, in particular, are feeling underappreciated and overwhelmed. Thus, a hymn allowing congregations to address those concerns would seem most apt at this time, for, as Downing has written: “This text was an entry in a contest calling for the celebration of caregivers. In the last verse, I ask others to join in the celebration of healers, families, friends, and volunteers as together we demonstrate God’s grace.” Downing was a remarkable woman, holding degrees in cello performance, religious education, and theological studies with a concentration on worship. She began writing hymns in her late sixties and ultimately completed four collections of hymn texts, three of which were published by Wayne Leupold Editions, two in 2009, namely, Through Joy and Sorrow and Sing Praise for Faithful Women, followed by For Us, God’s People Now in 2011. The tune was composed for this text by Downing’s British friend, Neville Favell, at her request