Sunday, 25 February 2018

The Church's One Foundation : Festival Hymn of the Church

A hymn which has an interesting origin and history is the hymn usually called by its first line, "The Church's One Foundation." It was written by Samuel J. Stone in 1866. 

The story of its conception in the mind of the waiter is that he was impressed by the defence of the Catholic Faith made by Bishop Gray, of Capetown, against the teachings of Bishop Colenso. This fact gives it an historic association which adds interest and meaning to its stanzas, which in the original number ten. 

The hymn as it appeared originally is an elaboration of that portion of the Apostles' Creed which is indicated by the title, 'The Holy Catholic Church: The Communion of Saints. He is the Head of the Body, the Church." 

This title is given to the hymn in the author's collection known as "Lyra Fidelium." It is a festival hymn of the church.
Samuel J. Stone

We give herewith those stanzas which are most familiar and most widely used. 


The Church's one foundation 

Is Jesus Christ her Lord; 
She is His new creation 

By water and the Word; 
From heaven He came, and sought her 

To be His holy Bride, 
With His own blood He bought her, 

And for her life He died. 



Elect from every nation, 

Yet one o'er all the earth, 
Her charter of salvation 

One Lord, one Faith, one Birth; 
One holy Name she blesses. 

Partakes one holy Food, 
And to one Hope she presses. 

With every grace endued. 



Though with a scornful wonder 

Men see her sore opprest, 
By schisms rent asunder. 

By heresies distrest; 
Yet saints their watch are keeping, 

Their cry goes up, "How long?" 
And soon the night of weeping 

Shall be the morn of song. 



Mid toil and tribulation, 

And tumult of her war, 
She waits the consummation 

Of peace for evermore; 
Till with the vision glorious 

Her longing eyes are blest, 
And the great Church victorious 

Shall be the Church at rest. 

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