Your Sunday Hymn: God So Loved the World

For the fourth Sunday of Lent, a beautiful old hymn by John Stainer, sung by the exquisite St. Paul’s Cathedral boys choir.

Here’s the history of the St Paul’s Boys’ Choir:

There has been a choir of boys and gentlemen at St Paul’s Cathedral for over nine centuries. The earliest records date from 1127, when the Bishop of London, Richard de Belmeis, founded what was the first choir school and made provision for ’almonry’ boys to serve the Cathedral.

The 2nd of December 1697 saw the opening of Wren’s great Cathedral following the Great Fire of 1666. John Blow, the Minister of the Choristers, wrote his anthem, ’I was glad when they said unto me’ to be sung at this grand occasion. He was assisted by his pupil Jeremiah Clarke, who was to become the first official Organist of the new Cathedral. Purcell’s ‘Te Deum and Jubilate’ was also performed, accompanied by Father Smith’s large new organ, esteemed the best in Europe according to the diarist John Evelyn.

In 1860 a significant change in the building took place when the screen on which the organ was housed was removed. This meant that both choir and organ now had to fill a much larger space encompassing both Quire and Dome areas. 1872 was an important year: a new organ was built and the Cathedral also appointed John Stainer as Organist.

Stainer proposed a choir of 40 boys and 18 Vicars Choral to achieve the necessary vocal power to fill the Cathedral following the removal of the choir-screen. He demanded more rehearsal time for the Vicars Choral and encouraged a more professional approach altogether. This meant that he was able to extend the musical repertoire enormously, and began to sow the seeds of the musical tradition we know today.

Lyrics:

God so loved the world

Author: John Stainer (1840-1901)
God so loved the world.
God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoso believeth, believeth in Him
should not perish, should not perish
but have everlasting life.

For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world.
God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through Him might be saved.

God so loved the world.
God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoso believeth, believeth in Him
should not perish, should not perish
but have everlasting life,

everlasting life, everlasting, everlasting life.
God so loved the world.
God so loved the world.
God so loved the world.

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