On the whole, I’m not thrilled with the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches’ Hymns for a Pilgrim People, but it does have a hymn that I dearly love and doesn’t get enough attention.
“Glory be to God on high” — matched to the Welsh tune Gwalchmai — was written in 1889 by Unitarian minister and hymn writer Theodore Chickering Williams during his tenure (1883-1896) at All Souls, New York. Happy, lively, robust but devout.
The second verse goes:
Creatures of the field and flood, Alleluia!
Earth and sea cry â€œGod is good,â€ Alleluia!
Toiling pilgrims raise the song, Alleluia!
Saints in light the strain prolong, Alleluia!
You can find it in the Unitarian and Universalist Hymns of the Spirit at #161 and at Hymns for a Pilgrim People at #33. It must have been in the Pilgrim Hymnal (which I’ve misplaced), because it’s also in the other Pilgrim Hymnal-alternative, Hymns of Truth and Light at #35. It is not, however, in either of the most recent British Unitarian hymnals, so I think there must be a mutual influence from all of these American red-covered hymnals. (My copy of Singing the Living Tradition is also AWOL, but I don’t think it’s in there. It’s not in The New Century Hymnal.)