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Hymn of the Week: “In Christ There Is No East or West”

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The 16th Sunday in ordinary time.

In Christ there is no east or west,
in him no south or north,
but one great fellowship of love
throughout the whole wide earth.

“In Christ There Is No East or West” is an early 20th-century hymn credited to John Oxenham, one of several pseudonym used by William Arthur Dunkerley. Dunkerley was a a prolific English journalist, novelist and poet who wrote hymns under his own name as well as the name Oxenham.

Aside from his literary career, Dunkerley served as dea­con and teach­er at the Ealing Congregational Church and later as mayor of the town of Worthing in Sussex.

Dunkerley’s text was set to a tune called “MCKEE” by composer H. T. Burleigh in 1939. The tune was originally an Irish melody, which was brought to America and adapted by African-American slaves and became associated with the spiritual, “I Know the Angels Done Changed My Name.” The melody was named for Elmer M. McKee, rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church, New York, where Burleigh spent nearly three decades as the baritone soloist.

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