Michael Saward's hymn for St Mellitus

    Long ago to London's city
    came a servant of the Lord,
    sent to lead a holy mission,
    facing pagan flame and sword.
    By the Saxon tribes surrounded,
    he, to peasant and to king,
    spoke of Christ, whose church was founded,
    and whose story now we sing.

    On the hill, close by the Ludgate,
    this bold Christian staked his claim.
    Built a house for godly worship
    and Mellitus was his name.
    From this early congregation
    as the centuries have flown
    spreads the gospel of salvation
    from a cradle to a throne.

    Down the ages, pain and pleasure,
    joy and sorrow, guilt and grief,
    have befallen London's people,
    blend of faith and unbelief.
    Still the church provlaims its message
    of a God who never tires,
    for he seeks to help the needy
    and fulfils their best desires.

    Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
    ever faithful, ever true,
    for our nation, church, and city,
    hear the prayer we raise to you.

from 'Christ Triumphant' and other hymns (Jubilate Hymns Ltd)

Michael Saward comments: written at Discovery Walk, Wapping, London, to mark the 140th anniversary of London diocese, founded in 604. This hymn was first sung in St Paul's Cathedral on 24 April 2004 to the tune Corvedale, written by Maurice Bevan, who had recently retired as one of the Cathedral's Vicars Choral. He originally wrote it to Faber's hymn There's a wideness in God's mercy.

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