Today we usually expect all services in our churches to begin with a hymn, But more than 200 years ago it was very different – only the psalms could be sung.
John Newton (who wrote Amazing Grace) played an important part in the decision to have hymns played in churches.
While in Liverpool, Newton and his wife, Mary, would often spend an hour on Sunday evenings praying and singing with friends.
In his first parish as a minister, at Olney in Buckinghamshire, the week night meeting where the hymn below was sung soon had to move to a larger hall.
And, on Sundays, Newton’s ministry attracted so many people that a gallery had to be added to the his church to make room for everybody who wished to worship and praise in the church.
Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
He whose word cannot be broken
Formed thee for His own abode.
On the Rock of ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
Thou may’st smile at all thy foes.
With many peaceful blessings