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150th Anniversary 
1872 - 2022

Celebrating 150 Years of Music

During our 150th anniversary year, we will celebrate our musical heritage by featuring a hymn each month. We will start with a hymn that was written the same year as Zion’s founding. In subsequent months we’ll sample hymns from each of the hymnals we’ve used and reprise music from previous anniversary celebrations. The congregation will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite hymns and Sunday School songs and of course, there will be a music-filled anniversary service on March 13. In the bulletin and weekly announcements, we’ll share a bit of the history of each month’s hymn.

Introducing the Hymn of the Month

April 2022 Hymn: “He’s Risen, He’s Risen”

Both the text and tune for the Easter hymn “He’s Risen, He’s Risen” were written by Pastor Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther, the founding President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Pastor Walther was born in Germany in 1811, studied at the University of Leipzig, and was ordained in 1837. Two years later he emigrated to Missouri where he served both as a pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church and taught at the first LCMS college, Concordia Log Cabin College, housed in two log cabins on the church’s grounds. The college was the forerunner of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Pastor Walther headed Concordia Seminary and taught theology there until his death in 1887. He served again as the president of LCMS at the time of Zion’s founding (1864-1878). On Easter Day, 1860, Pastor Walther was at sea on a return visit to Germany. It was on that voyage that he composed “He’s Risen, He’s Risen.”

Featured Anniversary Hymn, March 13, 2022: “O God Our Help in Ages Past”

We celebrated our 150th anniversary with the congregation, choir, and organ joining together for the Partita on St. Anne. A partita is a musical form consisting of a set of variations. The hymn “O God Our Help in Ages Past” is sung to the tune, St. Anne. This work was written by well-known Lutheran organist and composer Paul Manz (1919-2009). He served at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church Minneapolis from 1946-1983 and then as a professor at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. Professor Manz toured the country as an organ recitalist, presenting hymn festivals in particular. He was at Zion Lutheran Church, Schenectady on May 1, 1979 for a hymn festival and presented this partita at that time. William Croft composed the tune in 1708 while he was the organist at St. Anne’s Church in Soho, London, England. The text, which paraphrases Psalm 90, was written by Englishman Isaac Watts, a Congregational minister credited with writing over 750 hymns. Among his best known hymns are “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “Joy to the World,” and “O God Our Help in Ages Past.”

March 2022 Hymn:  “In Holy Conversation”

This week the contemporary hymn “In Holy Conversation” focuses us on prayer as we prepare for the Prayer Vigil that will precede the March 13th service celebrating our 150th anniversary. The text was written by Pastor Gregory J. Wismar (b. 1946) in 2004 and set to a Swedish melody. He has contributed texts to six other hymns that appear in the Lutheran Service Book (LSB), the hymnal that we currently use. Pastor Wismar served LCMS churches in New England. He held a variety of leadership positions in the LCMS and New England District, including chair of LCMS Commission on Worship during the production of the LSB. Pastor Wismar created many worship resources, hymns, choral works, and anthems including Resources for Youth Ministry, Creative Worship for the Lutheran Parish, and Hymn Selection Guide. Pastor Wismar is now retired and living in Connecticut where he continues to contribute to church publications and is a travel columnist for a local newspaper.

February 2022 Hymn:  "God the Father, Son, and Spirit"

This hymn is found in the Church Anniversary section of The Lutheran Hymnal which was published in 1941. This hymnal allowed the congregation to sing in parts, with the music for each hymn was printed in the form we are accustomed to seeing it today. Prior English and German hymnals contained only the words or the words and tune. The Lutheran Hymnal was used at Zion until 1978. “God the Father, Son, and Spirit” does not appear in later hymnals.

“God the Father, Son, and Spirit” is sung to the tune St. Hilary; the composer is unknown. The text, based on Isaiah 54: 2-3, was written by Rev. William Gustave Polack (1890-1950), a noted pastor in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Professor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO from 1925-1950. He was the author of numerous books on Lutheranism and Lutheran history.

January 2022 Hymn:   “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”

“Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” appeared in The Atlantic Monthly magazine in 1872, the year of Zion’s founding, written by Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier. He hailed from Massachusetts and was a writer, farmer, teacher, shoemaker, editor, and political activist. Whittier wrote nearly 100 hymns, was a prominent leader in the anti-slavery movement, served in the Massachusetts legislature, and was a founder of the Republican Party. In the US, the hymn is sung to the tune Rest, written by Frederick Charles Maker who was a professor and organist in Bristol England. In the United Kingdom, the hymn is sung to the tune Repton which was written by Hubert Parry, an English composer, teacher, and music historian. Of the five English language hymnals used at Zion, this hymn only appears in the Lutheran Book of Worship (“the green book”) which was published in 1978.