This hymn, based on the account of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, is an early example of a hymn from the pen of Brian Wren, at the time a minister in the United Reformed Church (URC). He became an important member of a group mentored by Erik Routly, also a pastor in the URC, who sparked a revival of new English hymn writing in the 1960s and 1970’s. Meeting in Dunblane, Scotland, the group was eager to address the relationship of classic hymnody to contemporary society. Wren actually wrote this text to fit one of Routley’s tunes, ABBINGTON, composed for Wesley’s text “And Can It Be.”
Brian Wren (b. 1936) is English by birth, American by choice, Reformed by Tradition, Presbyterian by membership, United Methodist by marriage and Emeritus Professor of Worship, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia. He is a writer, preacher, worship leader and designer, and internationally published hymn-poet, with entries in most recent denominational hymnals in North America, Britain and Australia. Some of his hymn poems have been translated into Finnish, French, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish and Korean.
Brian holds undergraduate and doctoral degrees from Oxford University. He is a Minister of the United Reformed Church (UK). His publications include Education for Justice (1979), What Language Shall I Borrow? - God-Talk in Worship: A Male Response to Feminist Theology (1989- reissued 2009), Piece Together Praise - A Theological Journey: Poems and Collected Hymns Thematically Arranged (1996), Praying Twice: The Music and Words of Congregational Song (2000), Advent, Christmas and Epiphany: Liturgies and Prayers for Public Worship (2008), Hymns for Today (2009) and many hymn collections totaling 250 hymns, the most recent being In God Rejoice (2012). He is a Fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Most of his hymns are published through Hope Publishing Company (USA) and Stainer & Bell (UK)
Alfred Fedak (b. 1953), is a well-known organist, composer, and Minister of Music at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Capitol Hill in Albany, New York. He graduated from Hope College in 1975 with degrees in organ performance and music history. He obtained a Master’s degree in organ performance from Montclair State University, and has also studied at Westminster Choir College, Eastman School of Music, the Institute for European Studies in Vienna, and at the first Cambridge Choral Studies Seminar at Clare College, Cambridge.
As a composer, he has over 200 choral and organ works in print, and has three published anthologies of his work (Selah Publishing). In 1995, he was named a Visiting Fellow in Church Music at Episcopal Seminary of the Soutwest in Austin, Texas. He is also a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, and was awarded the AGO’s prestigious S. Lewis Elmer Award. Fedak is a Life Member of the Hymn Society, and writes for The American Organist, The Hymn, Reformed Worship, and Music and Worship. He was a member of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song that prepared Glory to God, the 2013 hymnal of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Norman Cocker (b. Yorkshire, England, 1889; d. 1953) was born in Yorkshire and went on to become a chorister at Magdelene College, Oxford. He progressed to the Organ Scholarship at Merton College, Oxford but never completed his degree. He was appointed Assistant Organist at Manchester Cathedral in 1920 and later held appointments in various churches and cinemas in the city.