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John Wesley and the Germans singing together

April 02, 2021
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS
DAVE HANSON


John Wesley’s diary often indicates that he enjoyed “singing with the Germans.” He would sing with them in their worship services. Church of England worship services in Wesley’s day did not include singing hymns. Some Psalms were chanted, but no hymns. Wesley loved the German music so much that he translated some into English, added a few other hymns, and published a hymn book. It was the first hymnal in English in the New World and probably the first hymn book in the English-speaking world. He took the material to Charleston and it was printed in 1736. Only a few copies of this hymnal are available today, however, copies were printed several years ago and given to General Conference delegates.

It was because of John Wesley’s love of the German hymns that English-speaking churches sing hymns as a vital part of our worship today.

The Rev. Dave Hanson is a retired pastor and John Wesley scholar.

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