The unifying power of hymns

Posted by Stuart Townend on 8 April 2016

Stuart Townend spoke to WeAreWorship about breaking through denominational boundaries.


One of the surprising things about writing In Christ Alone was that it set me off on a course of writing in a more hymn like way, which I hadn’t really done before. I’d written a song called How Deep The Father’s Love 11 years before which was kind of hymn like, but it was a spontaneous accident.

I found out that I really enjoy fitting things into a pattern, working within a structure. And with hymns there’s a tight structure of rhyme, rhythm, metre, that you need to adhere to. I like working within those confines.

It has been amazing to see how a hymn can go much broader into the church than a contemporary song. It’s not unusual to find In Christ Alone being played by a worship band in a lively fellowship as well as on an organ in a cathedral with a choir singing it.

It has a spread, and that was something that, having written it, was very exciting - to be able to go out and write songs that feed churches across the spectrum, not just in one particular denomination or stream.

If I go and do an evening concert we draw people from all sorts of denominations, not just one. It gathers a unique combination of people who come together to worship who normally wouldn’t be sitting together in a church building. I think it’s really pleasing and honouring to God to see people uniting like that.

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