Ordination hymns

In the last entry, Derek Parker [blog is extinct, 14 April 2005] mentions an ordination hymn in the comments.

This is a good place to do a little hymnological archaeology. For my own ordination, at Canon, Georgia, I looked up the meeting of the second Georgia Universalist Convention in 1839 the proceedings were published in a paper, later preserved on microfilm, in case you want to do the same where a minister was ordained: the first in northeast Georgia, and the earliest for which we have a detailed record. From that, I discovered what was sung there, and used it in my service (text in “continue reading”).

But I haven’t yet found the hymn Derek cites (despite my rather good collection of Universalist hymnals) but the text is in common meter, so finding a decent tune is duck soup. (My ordination’s hymn is in long meter, so I applied Duke Street “Unto thy Temple Lord We Come to it.)

As for gender exclusive ordination hymns (with respect to the ordinand) I have seen at least one nineteeth-century hymn (written, fwiw, by Universalist minister Edwin Hubble Chapin) that put the male pronouns in italics, which I suppose it to prompt substitution. Whether the substitution is to a plural (for multiple ordinations at State Conventions, as was often the practice) or to accomodate the ordination of women, I cannot say.

If I find anything more, I’ll add it here.

Used at the ordination of David H. Porter, in 1839, and mine, in 1999.

With heavenly power, O Lord, defend
Him whom we now to thee commend;
His person bless, his faith secure,
And make him to the end endure.

Gird him with all-sufficient grace;
Direct his feet in paths of peace;
Thy truth and faithfulness fulfill,
And help him to obey thy will.

Before him thy protection send;
O love him, save him to the end!
Nor let him, as thy pilgrim, rove
Without the convoy of thy love.

Enlarge, inform, and fill his heart;
In him thy mighty power exert;
Thy thousands yet unborn may praise
The wonders of redeeming grace.

Anonymous, #525 in the Universalist Collection, ed. Hosea Ballou, 2d.

2 Replies to “Ordination hymns”

  1. -Just to let interested readers know, the Rev. Wells Behee has discovered that the Universalist ordination hymn I trotted around wasn’t really Universalist. It was written by a Unitarian named Ganett (spelling?), and simply used by Universalists in the New York Convention.

  2. William Channing Gannett to be exact, and I’m still locating a source for this hymn. I hadn’t been anthologized in Unitarian circles for some time.

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