I wonder what your favourite hymn or Christian song might be - what would be in your 'Top 10' or 'Desert Island Discs'? There are so many to choose from, but a number of them have a special enduring and widespread appeal; I'd suggest that 'How Great Thou Art!' is one of those.

The hymn is indisputably regarded by many as something of a 'classic': the tune is catchy and the lyrics are rich with gospel truth. It often features high in the results of any poll, and I reckon its popularity is well deserved. 2024 marks the 75th anniversary of the hymn's original release, and for that reason it was featured on a recent edition of BBC's 'Songs of Praise'.

The remarkable full story of how British missionary, hymn writer and Bible translator Stuart Hine came to write the original hymn is available to read online by clicking here. In summary, it was whilst travelling through the Carpathian Mountains in 1934 that he was inspired to pen the now-familiar words. Over time, the hymn has seen extraordinary reach, including use by a wide variety of leaders and performers including Dr Billy Graham and Elvis Presley!

Stuart Hine, pictured in the 1920s

Stuart had a keen interest in Feba's ministry and was a faithful, committed supporter during his lifetime. Stuart's widow maintained that link and commitment, before passing oversight of the rights from the hymn to a dedicated charitable trust. We at Feba are very grateful to the Trustees of The Stuart Hine Trust who are responsible for administering the distribution of royalties today; they continue to honour Stuart's association with Feba, and consequently we receive regular support from them. Due to Stuart's ministry in Poland and travels in the Carpathian Mountains region, the Trust has a particular interest in our work in Ukraine and surrounding area. You can see a short video message from our partners in Ukraine by clicking here.

To mark the 75th anniversary, a collective of 16 contemporary Christian artists came together to perform a revised and updated version - including a brand new verse, written by Matt Redman and Mitch Wong. Interestingly, they actually recorded the new release in the very same Nashville studio that Elvis used for his version back in 1966.

If you would like to learn the new version for personal use - or perhaps at your local church or elsewhere, then the chord chart can be downloaded free by clicking here. Why not give it a go?! In doing so, you would be not only joining with countless believers around the world in proclaiming wonderful timeless biblical truths, but also supporting the work of Feba and other Christian ministries.

Photo credits: Stuart Hine Trust; Courtesy photo / JulieRoys.com

Blog published by Bob Chambers on 8th May 2024