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 websites, 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 Places Where War Leads to War
We weep for the places where war leads to war.
We pray for your hand there to heal and restore!
Bless all who seek justice and peace as your way.
We pray for Afghanistan’s people today.
A Hymn of Lament for Climate Disaster
“Through Devastating Storms” was written for the opening worship service on Aug.1 for the national Presbyterians for Earth Care online conference, “Creation Care Buffet: Come to the Table.” The hymn recognizes the record-breaking heat waves and forest fires in the West and Northwest United States and hurricanes and massive flooding worldwide. It is a prayer that we will love the Earth and love each other, and so work for healing and hope.
May It Become Our Practice to Counter Hate and Fear
God, in our church’s teaching, may we be bold and clear;
may it become our practice to counter hate and fear.
We’ve said that Jesus’ message is one that’s filled with love,
and yet our sweeping statements are clearly not enough.
O God, We Long for Better Days
We long for Silent Night in crowded pews, by candlelight.
May we who stay at home now find your Christmas blessing.
We Grieve 100,000
O God, we grieve the struggle of those who died alone —
so far from friends and neighbors, from all they’d ever known.
We grieve for precious people who could not say good-bye;
we weep for those, now mourning, who sit alone and cry.
God Whose Will Is Health and Wholeness
God whose will is health and wholeness, hear your people as we pray:
Many now are facing illness; more face sickness every day.
As we lift our song toward heaven, may we use the gifts you give—
science, justice, and compassion— to help others safely live.
A Hymn for the Children at the Border
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
O God, When Trust is Shattered
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
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.