God Of Our Fathers
Opening with an expression of gratitude that acknowledges God’s guidance and help in the past, the hymn appeals to God for His presence and blessing in the present and also in the future. Daniel Crane Roberts wrote the hymn in 1876 for the July fourth centennial celebration at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Brandon, Vermont, where he was pastor. Roberts, a graduate of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, served with the 84th Ohio Volunteers during the Civil War.
In the late 1880s, Roberts submitted the hymn to the committee for the 1892 Episcopal Hymnal, and it was accepted. Before the hymnal was printed, George W. Warren, organist at St. Thomas’s Church in New York City, and J. Ireland Tucker were appointed to choose a hymn for the centennial celebration of the United States Constitution in 1889. They selected “God Of Our Fathers” and put it to the tune Warren composed for the occasion and named it “National Hymn.”