Kathy’s history of hymn writing . . . .
I got interested in writing hymn words many years ago. I had previously written poetry (usually for family events or milestones) and thought I’d try writing poetry for singing.
My process is this: I select or am given the event or occasion for the hymn, then choose the music (using mainly Public Domain hymns) and finally the poetry is written to fit the music. I use a pretty old program called Finale PrintMusic for putting the words to the music.
I don’t recall the exact date or even the title of the first hymn I wrote, but believe it was in the late 1970’s – a Mother’s Day hymn. Unfortunately the words have been lost over time. I can’t even recall if it was even sung once!
The next hymn I wrote was in the early 1990’s, a Christmas version of “Thine, the Amen.” At Messiah Lutheran Church where my husband served for nearly 30 years, we sang “Thine, the Amen” as the Post-Communion canticle for the Sundays of Easter. I thought “wouldn’t it be neat to have a Christmas version so we could tie the two Church celebrations together in song”. And thus was written “Thine, the Nativity. “ The words set to music are above. Please feel free to use this hymn around Christmas time. I would love to know that you have used it, but don’t feel obligated. One note: this music “Thine” is NOT Public Domain. However, if you have the CCLI license you can use the music. If you don’t hold that license, you can get permission to use the melody by contacting Augsburg Publishing House. From the time I wrote these words, until the Christmas we left Messiah, this hymn was sung as the Post-Communion Canticle each year for the three Sundays of Christmas.
In the spring of 2004, the parochial school that Messiah is an Association member of, celebrated their 100th birthday. I was asked to write a hymn for this occasion to be sung at the celebration service. I decided to write two hymns, one specifically designed for children to sing “Thanksgiving for Concordia Lutheran School” (sung to “Acclamations” copyright held by Hope Publishing) and a second one for adults “One Hundred Years of Blessings” (sung to “Munich”, public domain).
In the summer of 2004, we were getting ready to send our first Vicar back to the Seminary for his final year. I thought wouldn’t it be fun to write him an ordination/installation hymn, which I did. And thus began a tradition for me to write a hymn for each of our eight vicars. Normally the only time I got to hear the hymn sung was during the “Roast” we held right before the Vicar left Seattle. It was a very special moment for me, as both Ernie and I had become very close to each of our Vicars, and it was a touching moment for them also, to have a hymn written especially for them. I have no idea if any of the hymns were ever sung at their ordination/installations, of course, because I was not in attendance of any of the ordinations of our Vicars.
However, in 2016, our second Vicar, Jonathon Krenz was called and installed as the Pastor of Messiah’s mission in Moscow, Idaho. Because he was first installed in Seattle, my hymn was sung there, and then the following week he was installed in Moscow, Idaho – so I got to hear it sung again. That was very special.
I’ve written a couple other installation/ordination hymns for three men who were members of Messiah: Jared Melius (2006), David Solum (2010) and Jim Pierce (2017).
I’ve also written two wedding hymns: for Jonathon Krenz (former Vicar) and Sarah Rudie in 2005 “A Wedding Blessing for Jonathon and Sarah” and in 2007 for David Solum and Lisa Palmreuter “A Wedding Prayer”. David was a member at Messiah before he went to the Seminary. He is serving a church in Michigan.
Sometime in the mid-2000’s I wrote a Confirmation hymn called “Our Confirmation Prayer” to the tune of “Joyful, Joyful we Adore Thee”. This hymn brings to mind the responsibilities of the church to pray for, and guide the confirmands. This hymn was sung on each Confirmation Sunday at Messiah while my husband was serving there. This is another hymn that I would love for other churches to sing. The tune is Public Domain. Words and Music are above. Of course, again, I’d love to hear if you use it, but don’t feel obligated.
One year (early 2000’s), Ernie’s Advent series was on the three women of Christmas – Mary, Elizabeth and Anna. I wrote a hymn for each of these women, using “Ach Gott Vom Himmelreiche” as the tune. I’ve included these three short hymns set to music above, in case someone would like to use them for a similar Advent series.
I was asked to write a final hymn called "Our Lord Our God, We Give You Thanks" while at Messiah, which was a retirement hymn for when Ernie retired from the ministry. It was sung at the last service we attended at Messiah (January 8, 2017) and was a surprise for him. When he came into the sanctuary as a “retiree”, he got a special bulletin which did NOT have the hymn in it. Then at the appointed time in the service, the congregation sang this hymn. Needless to say, it was an emotional time for both of us. The words and music are provided above. This hymn was written specifically for Ernie . . . but he and I would be honored if it was sung by other congregations on the event of a retiring pastor.
I don’t know when or if I will write additional hymns.