Erik Routley, Reformed churchman, musician, and theologian is arguably the most significant hymnologist of the twentieth century. In The Unfractured Faith of Erik Routley: From Brighton to Princeton, Nancy L. Graham unveils Routley’s extraordinary life through his own eyes. Anecdotes from nearly forty years of correspondence with his many colleagues and friends enliven the foundations of Routley’s faith, scholarship, and pastoral relationships until his untimely death in 1982. Congregation members from his churches in Edinburgh and Newcastle, former students, fellow clergy, and editorial partners recall Routley’s energy, wit, and straightforward observations, as well as the riveting effect of his sermons and lectures. Routley’s extensive works explore the prophetic and timeless assertion that musicians and preachers are synergistic artists in service to the Gospel. An important part of this book is the detailed description of the Dunblane Music Consultations that lit the hymn explosion of the 1960s. The effects of these remarkable collaborations rippled through the next generation of writers and composers and are the unsung groundwork for the current approach to hymn writing.
Nancy L. Graham is a hymnologist, lecturer, and church musician, with a PhD and Doctor of Sacred Music degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation, Foundation House in Oxford, as well as a Master of Music from Westminster Choir College.
Chapter 1 Beginnings
Chapter 2 Magdalen and Mansfield, 1936-1943
Chapter 3 Wednesbury and Dartford, 1943-1948
Chapter 4 Mansfield College, 1948-1959
Chapter 5 Edinburgh, 1959-1967
Chapter 6 Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1967-1974
Chapter 7 Princeton, 1975-1982
Appendix I Book Dedications
Appendix II Books that Influenced Routley
Appendix III Statement from Sir Ronald Johnson
Appendix IV Letter to friends
Appendix V Letter to John Wilson about Ecumenical Praise
Appendix VI Prophetic Article from The Church Times
Erik Routley kept the study of hymnology alive at a time when no-one was much interested in writing about it, and his work is still a yardstick by which the discussion of hymns is measured. A study of his life and work is long overdue, and Nancy Graham has provided it splendidly. Her book will be welcomed by all who are interested in the study of hymns.
Erik Routley was one of the giants of Congregationalism in the twentieth century. His contributions to church life, chaplaincy, and theological education were immense, but dwarfed by his incredible contribution to church music and hymnody. The lack of a biography has been a serious gap, which has now been rectified by this outstanding publication. Nancy Graham has travelled the globe chasing down every piece of archive material and every possible person to interview. The fruits of that work are this biography, which is thorough, comprehensive, and definitive. Anyone wanting to know about Erik Routley will find everything here.
Four decades after his death, the inimitable Erik Routley remains famous for wit, wisdom, energy, and the capacious curiosity of his thoughts and writings. Nancy Graham offers, for the first time, a careful concatenation of the persons, places, and professional roles that formed the context of his work. Building on research by Nancy Wicklund Gray, Graham draws extensively on primary sources, including correspondence with Routley’s family, friends, and fellows (as he might have called them). Her work is engaging, enlightening, and enjoyable.
The Unfractured Faith of Erik Routley: From Brighton to Princeton is a rich telling of the life of a warm, brilliant, and highly influential hymnologist, congregationalist, and minister and the world in which he lived. As a minister currently serving in the URC, I am aware that the legacy of his life and work is still impacting the church and our worship today. As well as being a delightful read with many warm comments from people who knew him, by setting out the journey of Routley’s life, Nancy’s book offers a helpful perspective and valuable record in the wider story of worship in the reformed church today.
With a light touch which echoes Routley’s own natural style in speech and written word, and by a finely judged juxtaposition of narrative and quotation—from Routley himself and many others—Nancy Graham has crafted a memorial worthy of the man, and all in a style of writing as buoyant and engaging as her subject.