The Church’s one foundation Is Jesus Christ her Lord She is his new creation By water and the word From Heav’n he came and sought her To be his holy bride With his dear love he bought her And for her life he died.
Here’s one of the first hymns we sang in St. Mary’s as soon as singing was allowed again in June! It’s surprising that this seems to be the only hymn by Samuel John Stone in our hymnbooks, as he was a prolific and, in his time, popular, hymn writer. Born in 1839, he was the son of a clergyman (who was also a hymnwriter and botanist) and followed him into the church. Like his father he served in several churches: he was curate first in New Windsor from 1862, and while he was there he wrote a collection of hymns for the congregation based on the twelve articles of the Apostles’ Creed, Lyra Fidelium – this hymn was one of them. Later he served as his father’s curate at Haggerston in Middlesex, at that time a new parish. He succeeded his father to the living in 1874, and died there in 1900.
The tune to which we usually sing it, Aurelia, was written by Charles Wesley’s grandson, Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810 – 1876), as a setting for Jerusalem the Golden. Wesley was a professional organist and composer, holding posts at the cathedrals of Hereford, Exeter, Winchester and Gloucester, and worked hard to raise the profile of church musicians. He composed many hymn tunes and also wrote the words to several, including Lead me, O Lord.