Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is the author of over 400 hymns that have been sung by thousands of congregations around the world, and are found in 20 books and thousands of web sites, including www.carolynshymns.com. Many of her hymns are published at Sojourners and are also found in Christian Century magazine, The New Yorker, National Public Radio, and PBS-TV. She and her husband Bruce are Presbyterian ministers who have served congregations in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and New Jersey. View the Sojourners video on Carolyn's hymns here.

Posts By This Author

A Hymn for the Children at the Border

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 06-28-2019

Image via REUTERS / Jose Luis Gonzalez

Christ, you taught us to give water
And to help the ones who thirst.
Yet in places near the border,
We confess we’ve done our worst.
Those who walk must now walk farther.
We have made their journey harder;
We dump water in the dirt.

A Hymn to Remind Us We Are Not Alone

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 05-24-2019

So when we seek direction, remind us what is true:
the Advocate is with us to help us follow you.
Christ, guided by the Spirit, may we your people be
A loving, faithful witness in this community.

O God, We Grieve the Hatred

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 03-17-2019

Flowers and signs are seen at a memorial site for victims of the mosque shootings, at the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

O God, we grieve the hatred, the ugly, racist fear
that hurts our common living and harms those you hold dear.
For Muslims who were gathered to worship and to pray
soon found their lives were shattered as violence filled their day.

A Hymn for Loving Those Who Hate Us

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 02-21-2019

Christ, your words of love confound us,
even as we give you praise,
for the lessons that you teach us seem
so far from this world’s ways. How can we love those who hate us?
How can we love enemies?
What of people who abuse us? 
How can we love even these?

When Any Child Suffers, Pray That Love Will Win

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 12-17-2018

Image via Reuters/Josue Decavele

O God of great compassion, you love each little one;
So shake us loose from our believing nothing can be done.
When any child is suffering, Lord, we pray that love will win;
God, may we now obey your word and welcome children in.

A Hymn for the Third Sunday of Advent

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 12-14-2018

People asked him, “How can we
Turn and serve God faithfully?”
John responded, “Be the good
In your home and neighborhood.”
God has called you!  Have you heard?
God has said a mighty word!
Listen, people! Turn from wrong.
Turn around and sing God's song.
Seek God’s justice!  Pave the way!
God is bringing this new day.”

A Hymn for Neighbors Seeking Asylum

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 11-26-2018

Asylum seekers traveling from Central America en route to the United States cross the Tijuana river to reach the border fence between Mexico and the United States in Tijuana, Mexico, Nov. 25, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

When children scream from tear gas where they’ve been told to wait,
when signs tell families, “Don’t pass!” outside our nation’s gate—
O Lord who welcomed children and loves each little one,
we cry, “Where is compassion?” We pray, “What have we done?”

Thanks for a God Who Redeems the Earth

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 11-14-2018

O God, as the prophet proclaimed long ago,
You care for your earth and your gifts overflow.
Though sin leads to things that disrupt and destroy,
You work to redeem and to bring life and joy.

One Day, Naomi and Ruth Crossed the Border

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 11-02-2018
REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

A woman in a group of Central Americans who are hoping to apply for asylum, waits with the others at the border on an international bridge between Mexico and the U.S. in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico October 31, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

One day, Naomi and Ruth crossed the border,
This day, we see streams of new refugees.
God, you have called us to welcome the stranger;
May we in love welcome people like these.

O God, This Day We Grieve

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 10-27-2018

Vigil for the victims of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Penn., Oct. 27, 2018. REUTERS/John Altdorfer

O God, this day we grieve your children who were lost,
and we, as one, are horrified by hatred’s cost.
For people loved by you— your children, called and blest—
were murdered on their Sabbath Day of prayer and rest.

A Hymn for Justice

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 10-02-2018
As women rise to tell the truth,
their voices go unheeded.
God show us what will be:
you're building your community!

O God, When Trust is Shattered

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 08-23-2018

Saint Patrick Catholic Church is seen in York, Penn., Aug. 18, 2018. Picture taken August 18, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

This new hymn is in response to the latest news of abuse by clergy; it was written with input from survivors and counselors. The hymn also references Pope Francis’ Aug. 20 letter, using in particular: “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). Please share the hymn with priests, pastors, church musicians, counselors, friends and others who might find it helpful. Permission is given for its free use. Prayers, including sung ones, and actions are needed to “Bring healing, love and mercy; Bring justice, God of truth.”

A Hymn for Reclaiming Jesus

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 08-01-2018

Image via Sojourners/Bekah Fulton 

We reclaim the name of Jesus; we’re Christ’s body here on earth.
We resist when some would lead us to devalue women’s worth.
We see how Christ loved the stranger, tore down barriers, opened doors.
We will welcome those in danger; we will love and serve the poor. 

Where are the Amber Alerts for Children at the Border?

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 07-27-2018
A Hymn for Those Separated, Frightened, and Alone

Image via REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Down at the border, Amber Alert:
Children are taken, children are hurt.
Lord, this injustice must make you weep:
Why can’t their mothers sing them to sleep?

A Hymn for Children That Need Rescuing

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 07-11-2018

Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, in Brownsville, Texas June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Eric Gay/Pool/

When we watch as children who crossed to this land
Are locked in detention as part of some plan,
May we be reminded that you love them, too;
They’re made in your image; they’re precious to you.

When Jesus Went to Egypt: A Hymn for Immigrant Families

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 06-12-2018

Image via Reuters//Loren Elliott/

O God, we pray for children
And families coming here
Now facing separation,
And filled with grief and fear.
For children, loved and treasured,
Are ripped from loving kin. 
This deed, by any measure,
Is torture. It’s a sin!

God, We Thank You for the Churches

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 02-05-2018

Christ, we thank you for your welcome
that tears walls and borders down,
that gives hope to people fleeing,
that helps churches stand their ground.
For our neighbors, Lord, are asking,
and they’re wondering what we’ll do.
May our churches give them welcome,
and so find we welcome you.

A Hymn of Radical Welcome: As Simon Was Casting His Net in the Water

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 02-02-2018

O Lord, as you went to that house to bring healing,
You showed us the heart of God's purpose and plan.
With love and with care, you brought health — so revealing
That lives are made whole by God's word and command.

A Hymn for Those Listening for God's Call

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 01-12-2018

May we hear others’ stories — what makes them sad or strong / Till — listening — we find friendship, with love our common song

When Nations Turn Toward Trouble

by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 11-28-2017
A Hymn for the First Sunday in Advent

When nations turn toward trouble
and hope seems all but gone,
when threats and conflicts double,
what can we count upon?