9 Replies to “Doctor Who: tonight's episode on SciFi”

  1. There were two hymns in the episode. I assume you recognized “The Old Rugged Cross” as it was sung “in frame.” The hymn at the end, sung in the background, was “Abide With Me” — one of my favorites and, as I gather, culturally rather important to the English.

    It also happens to be one of the few traditional hymns that survived unscathed — if shortened, but not unreasonably — in Singing the Living Tradition. #101.

  2. I didn’t recognize either, though I think I’ve head of The Old Rugged Cross. I assumed they were more important to the British than to us on this side of the pond.

    We never sang either in the Universalist church that I grew up in, even if Abide With Me is in “Singing the Living Tradition.” Thanks for the info, I sat there wondering what they were singing.

  3. Let me tell you: “The Old Rugged Cross” is alive and well in the South.

    Also, it is an American song, and I was surprized to see it on a BBC show. “Abide with Me” may suffer today because of its association with evenings — as few churches have evening services — and funerals. I love it, but have rarely sung it in worship.

  4. let me vouch for that – but not just the south – I guess Im the only one here old enough to remember George Beverly Shay -hope I have that right -singing this on radio and tv. Certainly I’ve sang it enough years ago, that I was able to sing the first verse and chorus without having to listen to Dr. Who.
    for those of you unfamiliar with Old Rugged Cross, here’s the tune and words


    steven rowe

  5. OK, that explains it. My family is Southern so I probably heard about the Old Rugged Cross in those circles, but the Universalist church of my childhood was in New England and didn’t use that hymn, at least that I can recall.

    While Doctor Who is a BBC show, and most of the future humans in last night’s episode had British accents, we can note at least that technically the setting was New New York. So maybe an American hymn was appropriate after all. . .

    Thanks for the link, Steven.

    Here’s an off-topic question that occurs to me because of the regionalism issue. I’m about to move to Canada. I realized that I know nothing about Universalism in Canada: my research has all been in the USA, and what I know of UUism in Canada only relates to Unitarianism. Has there ever been a significant Universalist presence in Canada? The UU church in the town I’m moving to is one of the 1950s-era humanist Unitarian fellowships, I don’t think I’ll learn much of historic Canadian Universalism from them.

  6. Miller volume 1, page 663-670 has some information on Canadian Universalists- peaked in the 1840s, half that size by the 1890s, and by the time of the merger in 1961, only three congregations left – Olinda in Ontario, North Hatley in Quebec, and Halifax in Nova Scotia. This compare to 15 Unitarian Churches and 27 Unitarian Fellowships in Canada at this time. My copy of Miller volume 2 is still loaned out – so I dunno if he had anything to say about Western Canada

  7. Thanks for that reply, Steven. My books are all in storage for the move so I’ll have to look at Miller next month. I’m going to be in Ontario so that’s my strongest interest. The Olinda church is still active (http://www.mnsi.net/~janik/), but it’s a long way from where I’ll be. Olinda is the southern-most tip of Canada and just a stone’s throw from Detroit, so I wonder if this church had more to do with 19th century “northwestern” American Universalist developments than any sort of significant Canadian movement. Their history page says an itinerant minister from Michigan served the church, so that seems to support the theory.

    When I taught History of Liberal Religion in America at the University of North Carolina, I included a range of Universalist material. Looks like when I teach it in Canada as “North America” rather than just USA, I’ll have to reduce the amount of Universalist readings.

  8. I did. And I bawled my head off. “Abide With Me” is my favorite of all time. I learned it when I was still a Mormon, but it seems to apply everywhere.

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