250th Anniversary of Amazing Grace by Mark Zimmermann
Creative Communications for the Parish commemorates the anniversary of one of the most well-known and beloved hymns in 2023. January 1, marks the 250th anniversary “Amazing Grace,” first sung in a church on January 1, 1773.
Did you know? “Amazing Grace”:
- Tells the story of songwriter and ship captain John Newton’s* own spiritual journey, which led him from a scandalous past to a saving conversion.
- Is one of the most recorded hymns of all time. The Library of Congress has more than 3,000 recordings in its library.
- Has been translated into more than 50 languages.
- Is performed about 10 million times annually.
- Its author, Newton himself, would become one of the most outspoken abolitionists in British history.
As all can resonate in some way with once being spiritually “lost but now found,” being religiously “blind but now seeing,” “Amazing Grace” is a perfect song and theme to celebrate in 2023. Here are some ways churches can participate using Creative Communications resources, designed specifically for this occasion:
- Make it a theme for the year and include the hymn in worship throughout 2023.
- Distribute Gospel-centered resources about grace to worshipers in-person or in the mail.
- Share the message of grace with booklets accessible for all ages, (adults, staff, families, teens and children).
- Show grace with outreach products for the homebound members or visitors.
- Discuss ways of extending and receiving grace in your small groups.
- Host Bible studies, retreats and celebrations around the concept of grace.
- Host a movie night showing a historical drama of John Newton.
Learn more at www.CreativeCommunications.com/AmazingGrace
* John Newton, writer of this hymn, was an Anglican clergyman serving in Olney, England, who penned the lyrics from personal experience. An unbeliever as a young adult, Newton served as a sea captain in the Atlantic slave trade. In 1748, a violent storm off the coast of Ireland struck Newton’s ship so severely that he called out to God for mercy. This event marked Newton’s turn toward God, which he called “the hour I first believed.” Eventually leaving sailing behind, Newton then began studying Christian theology and was ordained in the Church of England in 1764. He was a minister in Olney, England, when he wrote “Amazing Grace” in 1772. The song poetically tells what it feels like to be a person far from faith who is brought near to God.