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Writers quick to pen new hymns in tribute to the late Queen

16 September 2022

‘Tears and Celebration’ is being released as a single, sung by Katherine Jenkins

LICC and Bible Society

The cover for the single of the hymn “Tears and Celebration”, sung by Katherine Jenkins

The cover for the single of the hymn “Tears and Celebration”, sung by Katherine Jenkins

A NEW hymn which was written in tribute to the late Queen is being released as a single.

The hymn, “Tears and Celebration”, written by Andy Flannagan and Sam Hargraves, is set to the tune Dim Ond Iesu/Cymraeg, best known for “Here is love vast as the ocean”.

Its debut performance was on the BBC’s Songs of Praise, sung by Katherine Jenkins, who has also recorded the single. The music video was released on YouTube and other streaming platforms on Wednesday by the Christian charites the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity and the Bible Society.

There are two versions of the last verse, one for UK audiences, which reads: “May we rise above divisions/Lord, our brokenness we bring/That a more united kingdom/ Would give glory to the King.” And an alternative version for the Commonwealth asks: “May this commonwealth now echo/The wide kingdom of our King.”

Mr Flannagan wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that responses to the hymn were “snowballing”. He later said that he had “wanted to write something to help folks process and pray” as they mourned the Queen.

“As I sat at my piano, the beautiful old tune of the Welsh revival merged with new words for this moment that just seemed to flood out — words that invite us to participate, not just commentate. I hope they are useful.”

The full text and score of “Tears and Celebrations” is available for free at jubilate.co.uk.

Just hours after the news of the Queen’s death broke on Thursday evening of last week, another hymn was penned by the Revd Dominic Grant, a United Reformed Church minister in Barnet, north London, to the tune Thaxted — best known for the words “I Vow to Thee My Country”.

Two days later, it was already being sung in many Anglican churches, including Christchurch Priory, in Dorset, where the Vicar, Canon Charles Stewart, said that the words had moved the congregation.

Many told him that they would never forget them. The first verse mourns her loss: “We stand to mourn a sovereign/ a nation’s guide and friend/ who through long years of tumult / was faithful to the end./ We offer our thanksgiving / for all that she instilled: /her constancy of service/her lifetime’s vow fulfilled. /Now from our world departed/ though never from our hearts /receive her in the peace, Lord/ your love alone imparts.”

The second and final verse asks “that all who stand in mourning/or languish now in fear/ may know again your promise/to wipe away each tear”.

The assistant organist at Christchurch, David Beeby, said that the hymn had been a “great blessing”; it had helped people to express their thoughts and prayers following the Queen’s death.

Mr Grant has written about 50 hymns in his 15 years of ministry, but said that this was the first time that he had done so for a state occasion.

He said on Tuesday: “My impetus to write was in the hope it may be helpful for people in church, by drawing together what people are feeling and wanting to say. It is very gratifying to hear that is has found a resonance in some churches.”

Read a letter to the Editor from Canon Charles Stewart

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