Role of hymns in September 11th aftermath

Wednesday 27 November 2002

The role which hymns have played in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks has been highlighted by a University of St Andrews theology lecturer.

The Rev Ian Bradley from the School of Divinity will appear prominently in a major two and a half hour television programme being broadcast on several American networks coast-to-coast on Thanksgiving Day tomorrow (Thursday 28 November 2002). “Hymns of Hope and Healing” is based on the September 11th tragedy and tells the story behind a number of timeless and powerful hymns which have provided hope and inspiration to people working at Ground Zero and others caught up in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Centre.

Dr Bradley, one of only two British interviewees taking part in the programme, provides expert commentary on the background to hymns, their meaning and story, filmed around the University earlier this year. One of the most moving sequences is with Amazing Grace where the programme cuts from a lone piper playing it in St Salvator’s Quadrangle, St Andrews to a Salvation Army band playing at Ground Zero. Dr Bradley points out that the tune for this hymn, known as ‘Virginia Harmony’, almost certainly originally came from Scotland and was transported across the Atlantic by 18th Century emigrants from Scotland to America.

In addition to Amazing Grace, the hymns featured include How Great Thou Art, It is Well with My Soul, Blessed Assurance and Great is thy Faithfulness. All of these were sung at the Ground Zero site, either by rescue workers or in services to commemorate those who died. The programme sees Dr Bradley exploring the historical story behind each hymn and the circumstances in which they were written and includes interviews with survivors of the Twin Towers attack, rescue workers and others directly affected by the tragedy.

As well as being aired coast-to- coast across the United States on Thanksgiving Day and repeated by several networks there in December, the programme will be shown in Australia and negotiations are underway for broadcast in the UK.

Dr Bradley teaches and publishes in the areas of contemporary British Christianity, Celtic Christianity, worship, hymnody and pastoral care at the University of St Andrews.


NOTE TO EDITORS – Dr Bradley is available for interview today (Wed 27 November) excluding 11am-midday and 2pm-4pm – telephone 01334 462840.

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact: Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email [email protected] View University press releases on- line at Ref: hymns/standrews/chg/27nov2002

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