Presbyterian teaching elder Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, who with her husband, Bruce, co-pastors Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware, has a well-known ministry writing hymns that enable worshipers to respond liturgically to what’s happening in the world. Recently her hymn lamenting the Charleston church shootings, “They Met to Read the Bible” has met with wide acclaim.
In 2014 Paul Tellström, pastor Irvine (CA) United Congregational Church, and his partner of 29 years, Carl Whidden, Jr., commissioned Carolyn to write a hymn for their marriage service on September 7, 2014, as their wedding gift to each other. They wanted her to adapt an old favorite, the traditional Thanksgiving hymn “We Gather Together,” for the processional. Paul wrote, “The struggle that is alluded to fits well with the work our church did to fight Prop 8, and the subsequent flow of weddings we have had here since, including ours.” In the service, about two dozen religious leaders of different traditions, who worked with Paul in the fight against Prop 8, stood and gave the marriage pronouncement.
With the concurrence of Paul and Carl, Carolyn has generously given permission for free use of the hymn to anyone who supports the work of the Covenant Network, with the request that donations for the use of the hymn be sent to the Covenant Network. Please remember to include the copyright and commissioning information when you use the hymn.
We Gather Together (A Wedding Hymn)
We gather together to ask for God’s blessing;
For God is the maker of heart and of home.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing
As fear is overcome by the love God has shown.
We thank you, O God, for this joy that we witness–
For love and commitment so lasting and strong,
For hope that seeks justice and sings of your promise,
For faith that speaks the truth till the world sings your song.
We offer our prayers here as two of your children
Now honor each other through vows that they share.
God, give them a marriage of love, peace and welcome.
Give blessing to their home and all homes everywhere.
Tune: Nederlandtsch Gedenckclanck, 1626. Harm. Eduard Kremser, 1877
Text: Verse 1: Adrianus Valerius, 1597; Translated Theodore Baker, 1894,
revised by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, 2014.
Verses 2-3: Copyright © 2014 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
This hymn was commissioned for the wedding of Paul Tellström and Carl Whidden, September 7, 2014.