An award-winning new hymn specially written for Armistice will be performed for the first time at both York Minster and St Paul’s Cathedral’s services to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War on Sunday 11 November.
The hymn, ‘Hope for the World’s Despair’, by Ally Barrett and set to the tune ‘Love Unknown’ by John Ireland, won first prize in the Hymns of Peace competition run by Jubilate Hymns – a foundation that promotes music for worship.
Ally’s hymn was chosen from 147 entries from across the UK.
Ally, who had not intended to enter the competition, said:
“I realised that I wanted to try to find some words that could be sung by a really broad spectrum of people, and yet express something fresh and perhaps a bit challenging. I wanted to recognise those whose battle scars are invisible, but life changing, and who may find Remembrance particularly difficult.
“We’ve come a long way since 1918 in our understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“For the hymn as a whole I started from the brokenness of the world, and our response to this, both in prayer and in action.”
Canon Peter Moger, Acting Dean of York and a member of the Hymns of Peace judging panel, said:
“Ally’s hymn was chosen for the skilful simplicity of the lyrics while addressing some major topics, married with the carefully applied resonances of sacrifice in the chosen tune. We were impressed by the range of themes covered, from issues of contemporary conflict, political power, remembrance and personal responsibility. In particular, the fourth verse about post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans impressed the panel as filling a vital gap in our Remembrance repertoire.”
Sunday 11 November will mark the first public performances of the hymn by the choirs and congregations at York Minster and St Paul’s Cathedral.