The Church's one foundationAuthor: S. J. Stone (1866)
Songs of Response
Published in 688 hymnals
Printable scores: PDF, SibeliusAudio files: MIDI
1 The church's one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord.
She is his new creation
by water and the word.
From heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride.
With his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.
2 Elect from every nation,
yet one o'er all the earth,
her charter of salvation:
one Lord, one faith, one birth.
One holy name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued.
3 Though with a scornful wonder
this world sees her oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed,
yet saints their watch are keeping;
their cry goes up: "How long?"
And soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.
4 Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation
of peace forevermore:
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blest,
and the great church victorious
shall be the church at rest.
5 Yet she on earth has union
with God, the Three in One,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
like them, the meek and lowly,
may live eternally.
Source: Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #321
|First Line:||The Church's one foundation|
|Author:||S. J. Stone (1866)|
|Liturgical Use:||Songs of Response|
st. 1 = Eph. 1:22-23, Col. 1:18, 1 Cor. 3:11, Eph. 2:20, Eph. 5:26-27
st. 2 = Eph. 4:4-6
st. 3 = Rev. 6:10
This well-known hymn arose out of a theological controversy in the mid-nineteenth century. John W. Colenso, Anglican bishop of Natal, South Africa, wrote a book that expressed critical views of the historicity of parts of Scripture and questioned some articles of the Christian faith. Samuel J. Stone (b. Whitmore, Staffordshire, England, 1839; d. London, England, 1900), a clergyman in Windsor, England, was one of the people who defended the orthodox Christian faith. He did so in part by publishing his Lyra Fidelium; Twelve Hymns on the Twelve Articles of the Apostles' Creed (1866). “The Church's One Foundation” was his hymn on the article "the holy catholic church, the communion of saints." Stone's text originally had seven stanzas, but he added three more in 1885 for processional use at Salisbury Cathedral. Of those ten stanzas, 1, 2, 4, and 5 are the usual stanzas included in modern hymnals.
The text portrays the Christian church as rooted in the Savior, Jesus Christ, through the water of baptism and the Word of God (st. 1). In accord with the ninth article of the Apostles' Creed, we confess through this text that the church is catholic (universal) and united by "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4:5). As we sing, we lament the "heresies" that "distress" the church (st. 3); although this is a direct reference to the Colenso controversy, the stanza fits many other situations in church history as well. The final stanza ends on a hopeful tone: the church will finally be at peace and at rest.
Stone attended schools at Charterhouse and Pembroke College in Oxford, England. Ordained in the Church of England in 1862, he became curate of Windsor, a position he held until he joined his father in ministry at St. Paul's in Haggerston, London, in 1870. He succeeded his father as vicar at Haggerston in 1874, staying until 1890. From 1890 until his death he served All-Hallow-on-the-Wall in London, which he turned into a haven for working girls and women. In addition to his collection of hymns, Stone's publications include Sonnets of the Christian Year (1875), Hymns (1886), and Iona (1898). He served as a member of the committee that prepared Hymns Ancient and Modern (1909). His Collected Hymns and Poems were published posthumously.
With Lord's Day 21; Reformation celebrations; church festivals; ecumenical services; in times of theological controversy.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
The Church's one Foundation. S. J. Stone. [Processional for Festivals.] The impression made upon the author's mind by Bishop Gray's (Capetown) noble defence of the Catholic Faith against the teachings of Bishop Colenso, was in chief the origin of this magnificent hymn. It has thus associations of historical value, to which special reference is made in the stanza:—
”Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore opprest,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distrest;
Yet saints their watch are keeping
Their cry goes up,”How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song."
The hymn was written in 1866, and is based on the ninth article of the Apostles' Creed. It is known in three forms, (1) the original, which was published in the author's Lyra Fidelium, 1866, in 7 stanzas of 8 lines, and headed "The Holy Catholic Church: The Communion of Saints. ‘He is the Head of the Body, the Church'"; (2) the revised form in 5 st.anzas of 8 lines, made in 1868 for, and published in the Appendix to Hymns Ancient & Modern, No. 320 (the form in universal use); and (3) the expanded text in 10 stanzas of 8 lines, made in 1885 for Processional use in Salisbury Cathedral.
Further reference to the full text shew that the 1868 version of the hymn is the finest of the three, and that which will live in the hymnbooks of the future. The use of this form of the text is most extensive in all English-speaking countries. It has also been translated into several European and other languages. The versions in Latin include "Nobis unum est fundamen," by the Rev. E. Marshall, 1882 (and circulated as a card); and "Qui Ecclesiam instauravit,” by the late T. G. Godfrey-Faussett, in Memorials, 1878. In reference to the fact that this hymn was chosen as the Processional at each of the three great services at Canterbury Cathedral, at Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul's Cathedral, when all the Bishops of the Lambeth Conference of 1888 assembled, the following lines were written by Bishop Nelson, of New Zealand. They appeared in Church Bells of Nov. 30, 1888.
"Bard of the Church, in these divided days
For words of harmony to thee be praise:
Of love and oneness thou didst strike the chords,
And set our thoughts and prayers to tuneful words.
The Church's one Foundation thou didst sing,
Beauty and Bands to Her thy numbers bring.
Through church and chancel, aisle, and transept deep,
In fullest melody thy watch-notes sweep;
Now in the desert, now upon the main,
In mine and forest, and on citied plain:
From Lambeth towers to far New Zealand's coast,
Bard of the Church, thy blast inspires the host."
-- Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Bulletin Score (melody only)
The actual words have not changed much from Stone’s original text, though there are differences in what verses are sung. Stone’s hymn originally consisted of seven stanzas, to which he added three more, and today most hymnals include the original 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6, though not every hymnal contains all five. In the first two verses, we proclaim our unity as the Church in Christ, through baptism, the Word, and Communion. In stanza 3 and 4, we pray that divisions might cease and we would fully experience that unity, and in verse 5, we acknowledge the unity greater than the sum of individual people, our fellowship with God, the Three in One.
The tune that most often accompanies this text is AURELIA, composed in 1864 by Samuel S. Wesley and first published as a setting for “Jerusalem the Golden.” It was paired with Stone’s text shortly after, to the chagrin of some: Dr. Henry Gauntlett was apparently very annoyed by this match-up, as he thought Wesley’s tune was “inartistic, secular twaddle.” Dr. Gauntlett was not to have the last word however, and the tune has stuck. Still not a favorite of some, there have been a few revisions: Erik Routley suggests singing the text to the tune ST. THEODULPH. Brian Moss, for Indelible Grace, composed a new tune that at the same time expresses a prayer for unity, and the assurance of Christ, in its quiet but confident melody.
This hymn is especially fitting for the ending of communion, a celebration of our unity in the body and blood of Christ. It can also be sung as a response to declarations of our faith, such as the creeds, a Scripture passage, or a sermon. In the liturgical calendar, it is particularly appropriate for world communion Sundays. In Sing a New Creation #177, there is a Chinese version of the text, which focuses more on persecution rather than schisms. If you want to celebrate our world-wide unity in Christ, but don’t have the resources to do non-Western music, using the Chinese text with the familiar tune is an excellent option.
Laura de Jong, Hymnary.org
In the mid-nineteenth century, Bishop John William Colenso of Natal raised a ruckus in the Catholic Church when he challenged the historicity and authority of many of the Old Testament books. Bishop Gray of Capetown wrote a stirring response of defense, which, in 1866, inspired Samuel Stone, to write this beloved hymn, basing his text on Article 9 of the Apostle’s Creed: “The Holy Catholic (Universal) Church; the Communion of Saints; He is the Head of this Body.” Now an affirmation of Christ as the foundation of our faith, we sing this hymn with those who have gone before us and with Christians around the world, declaring that beyond any theological differences, cultural divides, and variances in practice, we are all part of the same body, the body of Christ.
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|Instances (43)||First Line||Text Title||Refrain First Line||Authors||Composers||Meter||Scripture||Tune Title||Tune Key||Incipit||Languages||Publication Date|
|African American Heritage Hymnal #337||The Church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900||Samuel J. Wesley, 1810-1876||184.108.40.206 D||Matthew 16:18||AURELIA||E Flat Major||English||2001|
|Baptist Hymnal 1991 #350||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Sameul J. Stone||Samuel S. Wesley||220.127.116.11 D||1 Corinthians 3:11||AURELIA||E Flat Major||1991|
|Baptist Hymnal 2008 #346||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone||Samuel S. Wesley; Richard Kingsmore||18.104.22.168 D||AURELIA||D Major||English||2008|
|Celebrating Grace Hymnal #246||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone||Samuel S. Wesley||22.214.171.124 D||AURELIA||D Major||2010|
|Celebration Hymnal #401||The church's one foundation Is Jesus Christ her Lord;||The Church's One Foundation||AURELIA||D Major||1997|
|Chalice Hymnal #272||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Laurence Hall Stookey; Samuel J. Stone||Samuel S. Wesley; Charles H. Webb||126.96.36.199 D||AURELIA||D Major||English||1995|
|Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #538||The Church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900||Samuel S. Wesley, 1810-76; Kermit G. Moldenhauer, b. 1949||188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206||AURELIA||D Major||1993|
|Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #528||The Church’s one foundation||2000|
|Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #739||The Church's one foundation||Samuel John Stone (1839-1900)||Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876)||220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168||1 Corinthians 3:11; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 1 John 5:6; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 1 Peter 2:6; Acts 2:5; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 4:4-6; Ephesians 5:25-29; Hebrews 4:9; Isaiah 40:8; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 7:14; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9||AURELIA||E Flat Major||English||2005|
|Common Praise #525||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel John Stone, 1839-1900||Samuel Sebastian Wesley, 1810-1876||22.214.171.124 D||1 Corinthians 3:10-23; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Galatians 6:1-16; Ephesians 4:1-16; Revelation 19:1-10; Revelation 21:1-6; Revelation 21:10; Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:1-21; 1 Corinthians 3:10-23; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Galatians 6:1-16; Ephesians 4:1-16; Revelation 19:1-10; Revelation 21:1-6; Revelation 21:10; Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:1-21||AURELIA||E Flat Major||1998|
|Complete Anglican Hymns Old & New #650||The Church's one foundation||The Church's one foundation||2000|
|Complete Mission Praise #640||The Church's one foundation||126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52||2000|
|Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #486||The Church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||S. J. Stone, 1839-1900||S. S. Wesley, 1810-1876||184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11||AURELIA||D Major||English||1996|
|Evangelical Lutheran Worship #654||The church's one foundation||Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900||Samuel S. Wesley, 1810-1876||18.104.22.168 D||AURELIA||E Flat Major||English||2006|
|Gather Comprehensive #661||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900||Samuel S. Wesley, 1810-1876||22.214.171.124 D||AURELIA||D Major||English||1994|
|Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #321||The church's one foundation||The Church’s One Foundation||Samuel John Stone||Samuel Sebastian Wesley||126.96.36.199 D||Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:1-3; Matthew 16:15-18; Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27; John 3:5; Acts 2:42; Acts 2:47; Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 3:11; 1 Corinthians 10:17; Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 4:4-6; Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians 5:25-27; Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 3:1-6; Hebrews 9:28; Hebrews 12:1; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:14; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9||AURELIA||D Major||English||2013|
|Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #525||The Church's one foundation||Samuel John Stone, 1839-1900||Samuel Sebastian Wesley, 1810-1876||188.8.131.52 D||AURELIA||E Flat Major||English||1985|
|Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #170||The Church’s one foundation||184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11||1983|
|Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #501||The church’s one foundation||S. J. Stone (1839-1900)||S. S. Wesley (1810-1876)||18.104.22.168 D||Ephesians 5:25-27||AURELIA||E Flat Major||1987|
|Hymns of Faith #77||The Church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone||Samuel S. Wesley||Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:1; Ephesians 4:4-5; Ephesians 5:25-26; Hebrews 9:28; Hebrews 12:1; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:14; Revelation 21:9||[The Church's one foundation]||E Flat Major||1980|
|Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #473||The Church’s one foundation||22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199||1996|
|Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd ed.) #606||The Church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900||Samuel S. Wesley, 1810-1876||188.8.131.52 D||Psalm 118:22; John 3:5; Acts 4:11; 1 Corinthians 3:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 2:20; Ephesians 4:4-6; Ephesians 5:25-27; Colossians 1:18||AURELIA||E Flat Major||2012|
|Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #251||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone||Samuel S. Wesley||184.108.40.206 D||1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 3:14-21; Ephesians 4:4-6; Ephesians 5:26-27; Colossians 1:18; Revelation 6:10||AURELIA||D Major||2013|
|Lutheran Service Book #644||The Church's one foundation (Un solo fundamento y sólo un fundador)||The Church's One Foundation||Lefferd M. A. Haughwout, 1873-1952; Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900||Samuel S. Wesley, 1810-76||220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168||Ephesians 2:20||AURELIA||D Major||English; Spanish||2006|
|Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #442||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone||Samuel Sebastian Wesley||22.214.171.124 D||1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 5:26-27||AURELIA||D Major||English||1990|
|Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #502||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone||Samuel S. Wesley||126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52||1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20; Ephesians 4:4-6; Ephesians 5:26-27; Revelation 6:10; Ephesians 2; Ephesians 4:6; Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 6; 1 Corinthians 3||AURELIA||E Flat Major||English||1987|
|Rejoice in the Lord #394||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel John Stone||S. S. Wesley||184.108.40.206 D||Psalm 30:5; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 4:5; Ephesians 5:26-27; Revelation 6:9-10||AURELIA||E Flat Major||English||1985|
|Revival Hymns and Choruses #260||The Church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900||Samuel S. Wesley, 1810-1876||AURELIA||E Flat Major||English||1982|
|Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #348||The church has one foundation, 'Tis Jesus Christ her Lord||AURELIA||1985|
|Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #581||The Church’s one foundation||220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168||1999|
|Sing Joyfully #115||The Church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone||Samuel S. Wesley||[The Church's one foundation]||E Flat Major||English||1989|
|The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #579||The Church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900||Samuel S. Wesley, 1810-1876||22.214.171.124 D||1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 4:4-6; 1 Peter 2:6||AURELIA||D Major||1996|
|The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #277||The Church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone||Samuel S. Wesley||126.96.36.199 D||AURELIA||E Flat Major||1986|
|The New Century Hymnal #386||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone||Samuel S. Wesley||188.8.131.52 D||Ephesians 2:13-22; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 4:4-6||AURELIA||E Flat Major||1995|
|The United Methodist Hymnal #545||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone||Samuel Sebastian Wesley||184.108.40.206 D||AURELIA||E Flat Major||English||1989|
|The United Methodist Hymnal #546||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone; Laurence Hull Stookey||English||1989|
|The Worshiping Church #689||The Church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone||Samuel S. Wesley||220.127.116.11 D||Acts 20:28; Hebrews 9:25; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 4:4-5; Galatians 5:25-26; Matthew 16:18; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 21:9||AURELIA||E Flat Major||English||1990|
|Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II #457||The Church’s one foundation||18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124||1999|
|Top 500 Baptist Hymns #41||The church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord||Aurelia||2013|
|Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #347||The church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone||Samuel S. Wesley||126.96.36.199 D||Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20; Ephesians 4:4-6||AURELIA||D Major||English||1990|
|Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #331||The church's one foundation (L’église universelle)||The Church's One Foundation||Laurence Hull Stookey; Fernard Barth; Samuel John Stone||Samuel Sebastian Wesley||188.8.131.52 D||AURELIA||D Major||English||1996|
|Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #332||The Church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel John Stone||Samuel Sebastian Wesley||184.108.40.206 D||AURELIA||D Major||English||1996|
|Worship and Rejoice #544||The Church's one foundation||The Church's One Foundation||Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900||Samuel S. Wesley, 1810-1876||220.127.116.11 D||Matthew 5:5; Revelation 5:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Psalm 30:5; Hebrews 9:28; Acts 20:28; Galatians 6:25-26; Matthew 16:18; Galatians 4:4-5; Matthew 5:15; Revelation 21:9; Galatians 2:20||AURELIA||D Major||English||2001|