Hymn of the Week: July 3, 2022
by Pat Partridge, Canon Precentor Organist and Choirmaster
Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis
"In Christ there is no East or West"
The text of this hymn first appeared in an Episcopal hymnal in the Hymnal 1940 where it was matched with MCKEE, a tune that has the distinction of being one of the first works coming from the African-American culture to enter a hymnal of a major Protestant denomination.
The words "In Christ there is no East or West" are john Oxenham's sole syric to attain lasting use in worship. In its efforts to use inclusive language whenever possible, changes were made in the text by the Standing Commission on Church Music.
The tune MCKEE was adapted from the African-American spiritual "I know the angel's done changed my name," a song popularized in the latter part of the nineteenth century by the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University. Somewhat later, the melody was arranged for piano by Samual Coleridge-Taylor. The tune was published first in leaflet form and then made its hymnal debut in the Hymnal 1940. It has now been published in many other hymnals in the United States and Britain.
Listen to a version of the hymn here: