Survey of Nation’s Favourite Hymns Reveals Modern & Ancient Mix

A mix of both the ancient and the modern have come out on top in a major survey conducted by the BBC’s long-standing Sunday show, Songs of Praise, on the nation’s favourite hymns, reports The Telegraph.

|TOP|Tens of thousands of viewers were called to give their choice of favourite hymns, which brought out many expected traditional numbers for weddings and funerals but also a few sneaky hymnal hits that have only been on the Christian circuit for a few years, reflecting the rise of evangelical churches.

A special edition of Songs of Praise, to be broadcast from the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday, will officially disclose the winning hymn, How Great Thou Art, a 20th century composition based on a Swedish poem sung to a Swedish folk tune, which evangelist Billy Grahams declared his favourite hymn back in the 1950s.

How Great Thou Art was followed by Dear Lord and Father of Mankind by American Quaker John Greenleaf Whittier at number two, and Queen Victoria’s favourite, The Day Thou Gavest, at number three.

The surprising modern hits that made it into the top ten are the three-year old In Christ Alone by Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty, and the popular Shine, Jesus, Shine, written by Graham Kendrick in 1987.

Andrew Barr, the former head of Education and Religious Broadcasting at BBC Scotland said: “If you asked people down at the pub if they had heard In Christ Alone, I doubt anyone would. But it is a very singable hymn.”|QUOTE|

According to Mr Barr, popular hymns answer a deep spiritual need in people that the Church’s liturgy often failed to reach.

“One feels that hymns will survive even if the organised Church falls apart, because they are the people’s tunes and the people’s words,” he said.

The nation’s top 10 hymns are:-
1. How great Thou art
2. Dear Lord and Father of mankind (tune: Repton)
3. The day Thou gavest (tune: St Clement)
4. Be Thou my vision (tune: Slane)
5. Love divine, all loves excelling (tune: Blaenwern)
6. Be still, for the presence of the Lord (tune: Be Still)
7. Make me a channel
8. Guide me, O Thou great redeemer (tune: Cwm Rhondda)
9. In Christ alone
10. Shine, Jesus, Shine