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Our postlude for this Sunday’s online worship service is an arrangement for organ entitled “Variants on ‘ST. ANNE.’”  ST. ANNE is the tune, or melody, name that we use to sing the hymn “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.” The composer of this tune is presumed to be William Croft. However, the first time it appeared in print, in 1708, the composer was not named. In this original publication, the tune was used to sing a rendition of Psalm 42. In 1715, it was published in A Book of Psalm Tunes, and Mr. Denby was named as the composer. It was not until the early 1720s that two different Psalm publications attributed this tune to William Croft. The tune name of ST. ANNE references St. Anne’s Church, in Soho, London, where Mr. Croft served as the church organist. ST. ANNE has been used in multiple ways over the years, including by Handel in his anthem “O Praise the Lord” and by J. S. Bach in his “Fugue in E flat,” otherwise known as “St. Anne’s Fugue.”  In addition to “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” contemporary hymnals set other lyrics to ST. ANNE—among them are “Begin, My Tongue, Some Heavenly Theme,” also by Watts; “God Moves in a Mysterious Ways,” by William Cowper; “Creator God, Creating Still,” by Jane Parker Huber; and “Living Stones,” by Terry W. York.

Chris Haire
Interim Associate Minister of Music

Resources for this article:  Handbook to The Baptist Hymnal, 1992, Convention Press; The Celebration Hymnal: Songs and Hymns for Worship, 1997, Word Music/Integrity Music; Celebrating Grace Hymnal, 2010, Celebrating Grace, Inc.; and Baptist Hymnal, 2008, LifeWay Worship.