Notes from the Piano Bench

God Of Our Father's – Our National Hymn

This patriotic hymn was written in 1876 to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Daniel Crain Roberts a thirty-four-year-old veteran of the Civil War, authored the words. He had served as a private with the 84th Ohio Volunteers during the war. As the war ended, he was ordained as a deacon in the Presbyterian Episcopalian church and shortly after that as a priest. He served the next thirty years pastoring Episcopalian churches in New England.

The majestic melody we sing these words to was not the original tune, but the current tune, was written by George W. Warren. He was a self-taught organist. He served various congregations in New York City and eventually became one of America's premier organists. When George Warren died in 1902, there was a feeling that no organist could play as well as he could, so not a single note of music was played at his funeral, which was attended by thousands. (Then Sings My Soul, BK 2, pg. 165 Robert Morgan)

God of our fathers, whose Almighty hand                                               From war's alarms, from deadly pestilence.

Leads forth in beauty all the starry band                                                  Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense.

Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,                                     Thy true religion in our hearts increase

Our grateful songs before Thy throne a rise.                                           Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace

Thy love divine hath led us in the past                                                    Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way

In this free land by Thee our lot is cast                                                    Lead us from night to never ending day

Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay,                                       Fill all our lives with love and grace divine

Thy word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.                                        And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine!

Sue Metcalf
Choir Director, Church Accompanist