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April 06, 2007


Deirdre Ashton

This beautiful and dense poem was read at a carol service, Christmas 2012. I made a note of its author and title, because it struck me so forcefully. In its celebration of the incarnation it has a place in Advent in the same way as, say, Christina Rossetti's 'Love Came Down at Christmas'. But of course, the image of open arms on the cross make it appropriate for Easter, too. I look forward to hearing a musical setting.

Kathryn Rickert

This is the hymn that I am going to bring for "Tea and Singing" this afternoon. It's music (by Dorothy Sheets) along with these strong words go where I do not so easily go on my own. I don't pretend to fully grasp this text, but it has drawn my appreciate for many years.

Jim Gordon

Hello Kathryn - thank you for visiting and for your comment. The post is now 7 years old - which is a generation in blogging terms, but I;m still recommending Vanstone's book as a gem of Christian thinking. Hope the Tea and Singing went well. Shalom, Jim

Eileen jorgensen

My childhood memories of mr vanstone are magical. I was born on kirkholt in 1957 and lived next door to the church, st thomas. What a figure mr vanstone was, that's what we all called him.
He brought all the community together what with the gang shows, whit walls, cleaning his coverage when we were small children for some plums and listening to his ghost stories. I remember one especially about a dog with a man's face!
The good times we had, brownies, find, guides, scouts and rangers. Playing in the old church hall when it was raining. Me vanstone used to say " do not go on the piano and do not go down the cellar" but being children we did.
My brother went to all the camps with me vanstone and we all sang in the church choir.
We had brilliant times going Carol singing each Christmas with me vanstone, singing in the stairwells of flats and always finishing up at Mrs Morgan's house for supper.
Best memories of a lovely, down to earth, community gentleman. What fantastic work he did.

Keith Geiselman

Thank you for posting. I first read "Morning glory, starlit sky...." in my teacher William Placher's lectures then book, "Narrative's of a Vulnerable God" (1998) and the simple melody of Gibbon's Song 13.
I found my way here when I searched for information on the author(as www.hymnary.org has none).
Rev. Vanstone's obituary in the Independent https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/obituary-canon-bill-vanstone-1079750.html is lovely the comment about equally moving.
I too often impressed and moved by the devotion and personal humor and tenderness of that generation of war experience pastor/scholars, such as, H.C. Read, and Earnest Gordon (both Scotsmen who immigrated to the US).
Thank you.

Heather Scott

We sang "Morning glory, starlit sky" at St. Francis Anglican Church, Simon's Town, during the 3-hour service yesterday. I think that it is the first time that I have sung it, although it is in our hymn book. I found it deeply moving. I saw that the hymn writer was W.H. Vanstone, and wondered whether it was the same Vanstone who was quoted in one of the books that I am currently reading, "The Last Freedom", by Mary Craig. So I googled "Vanstone" this evening, and am delighted to have come across Living Wittily, and the information about W.H. Vanstone from the obituary. Hopefully our parish priest has a copy of "Love's Endeavour" in his well-stocked library. Thank you for being here.

Malcolm Drummond

I think all of Bill's books are still available through Amazon links. If you want reminiscences of him, Canon David Wyatt at St Paul's Salford is your man. I was Bill's curate in Kirkholt from 1971-74. He used to bin all his parish sermons after use. To this day, I wish I had raided the bins on Monday morning. I could have had a treasury of spiritual insight and learning

Jim Gordon

Thank you Malcolm. This is helpful - and yes, the bins should have been raided!

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