Isaac Watts vs. Catherine Winkworth

We end the First Round with a matchup between two musicians, Isaac Watts and Catherine Winkworth. Naturally, we’re calling this the Battle of the Bands. Watts was a prolific Anglican hymn writer whose greatest hits catalogue would be well known to church goers. Winkworth, also a Brit, is credited with bringing the German chorale tradition to the English-speaking world.

Yesterday, Martin de Porres trounced John of Beverley 84% to 16% and will face Dymphna in the next round.

It’s hard to believe, but the Saintly Sixteen begins tomorrow! Vote today and stay tuned. Our Lenten journey continues…

Isaac Watts

Isaac WattsIsaac Watts, famously thought of as the father of English hymnody, was born in Southampton, England, on July 17, 1674. Whereas many English people were members of the Church of England, Isaac’s identity as a Nonconformist shaped his vocation and ministry. He received a classical education in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew and demonstrated a proclivity to rhyme at an early age. As he grew older and progressed in his studies, he was offered a scholarship to study at Oxford or Cambridge as a candidate for ordination in the Church of England. He refused this opportunity and chose to study at the Dissenting Academy at Stoke Newington. He was ordained as a Nonconformist minister in 1702 and served a congregation in London for ten years.

Isaac is credited with writing between 600 and 750 hymns, a quarter of which are still in popular use. Many of his hymns were metrical adaptations of the psalms for use in English-speaking congregations. His hymn-writing was said to flow from his own personal faith, described as “gentle, quiet, sturdy, and deeply devout.” The Hymnal 1982 contains seventeen of Isaac’s hymns including “Joy to the world,” “From all that dwell below the skies,” and “When I survey the wondrous cross.”

In addition to hymns, Isaac wrote a textbook called Logic. The full name of the book likely did not fit on the cover: Logic, or The Right Use of Reason in the Enquiry After Truth With a Variety of Rules to Guard Against Error in the Affairs of Religion and Human Life, as well as in the Sciences. The book defined logic as a practical art and became a standard text in universities and among philosophers.

Isaac spent the last few decades of his life largely out of the public eye because of health complications. He continued writing sermons and hymns as well as writing on less religious topics such as the English language and logic. He died in 1748.

Collect for Isaac Watts
God of truth and grace, you gave Isaac Watts singular gifts to present your praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for your Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing your praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

-Marcus Halley

Catherine Winkworth

Catherine WinkworthBorn in 1827, Catherine Winkworth had a way with words. When Catherine was a sixteen-year-old British school girl, General Charles James Napier conquered the Indian province of Sindh. The conquest was unauthorized and brutal. When Catherine heard about it, she told her teacher that Napier’s dispatch should have read “Peccavi,” Latin for “I have sinned.” It was a dark twist on what the dispatch presumably was,“I have Sindh.”

The pun was sent to the humor magazine, Punch, and became a meme that traveled through history.

Catherine’s cleverness continued to serve her well in her calling. She translated hundreds of German hymns into English and introduced English audiences to the German chorale tradition. She labored to make sure that the translated songs retained the poetry, rhythm, and meaning of the originals.

In 1852, Catherine began to work among the poor in the Sunday School and District Visiting Society. This society gathered volunteer teams to visit poor people in their homes to provide help and comfort. Long after she left this work, Catherine received letters from the people she met and helped. Her compassion was evident in her translation of biographies of founders of sisterhoods for the poor and sick: Life of Pastor Fliedner and Life of Amelia Sieveking. Winkworth not only served people who lived in poverty, but she also had a passion for women’s rights and advocated for higher education for women and girls.

In 1878, Catherine went to care for her nephew, who was disabled. Soon after, she had a pain in her heart and died within an hour.

Collect for Catherine Winkworth
Comfort your people, O God of peace, and prepare a way for us in the desert, that, like your poet and translator Catherine Winkworth, we may preserve the spiritual treasures of your saints of former years and sing our thanks to you with hearts and hands and voices, eternal triune God whom earth and heaven adore; for you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

-Carol Howard Merritt

Isaac Watts vs. Catherine Winkworth

  • Catherine Winkworth (56%, 4,149 Votes)
  • Isaac Watts (44%, 3,261 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,410

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Isaac Watts: National Portrait Gallery [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Catherine Winkworth: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


202 Comments to "Isaac Watts vs. Catherine Winkworth"

  1. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 7, 2018 - 8:02 am | Permalink

    As a descendant of English Non-Conformists, I had to go with Isaac!

    • Peter deKramer's Gravatar Peter deKramer
      March 7, 2018 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

      here here!

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 7, 2018 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

      This was a tough decision, but as a proud Episcopalian I had to go with the father of British hymnody. Go Isaac!!

  2. Belle's Gravatar Belle
    March 7, 2018 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    I figure that Watts will win this one — after all, who can deny the composer of “Joy to the World”? But I voted for Winkworth anyway, as a smart, sharp woman who pursued a life of service to the poor, the sick, and to women’s education and rights.

    • March 7, 2018 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      Yes, Watts is awesome, but her service to the poor made Catherine my choice for today.

      • Diane MC's Gravatar Diane MC
        March 7, 2018 - 9:04 am | Permalink

        My thoughts exactly.

      • Diana's Gravatar Diana
        March 7, 2018 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

        When Catherine heard about it, she told her teacher that Napier’s dispatch should have read “Peccavi,” Latin for “I have sinned.” It was a dark twist on what the dispatch presumably was,“I have Sindh.”

        This sealed the deal for me. I wish I had that sort of wit.

        • Kappa Waugh's Gravatar Kappa Waugh
          March 7, 2018 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

          Brilliant pun did it for me, too!

          • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
            March 7, 2018 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

            I believe that if there is nothing more that I gain from LM this Lent, peccavi will be more than sufficient. Of course it is not the only thing that I have gained so far this LM.

          • Christine Watrous's Gravatar Christine Watrous
            March 7, 2018 - 2:37 pm | Permalink

            Me too!

          • The Very Rev. Hollinshead T. Knight's Gravatar The Very Rev. Hollinshead T. Knight
            March 7, 2018 - 3:14 pm | Permalink

            And also with me.

          • Diane E Waugh's Gravatar Diane E Waugh
            March 8, 2018 - 12:58 am | Permalink

            Kappa Waugh I have to agree with you. Diane Waugh. Ps. Could we be related? So few Waugh’s out there!

      • Rebecca Christian's Gravatar Rebecca Christian
        March 7, 2018 - 9:41 pm | Permalink

        I agree.

    • Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
      March 7, 2018 - 8:44 am | Permalink

      My reasoning is along the same lines. I’d like to see Catherine advance so more people learn of her. Let her works be as well known as Isaac’s!

      • Michelle Walker's Gravatar Michelle Walker
        March 7, 2018 - 10:40 am | Permalink


    • Ruth Anne Hill's Gravatar Ruth Anne Hill
      March 7, 2018 - 10:25 am | Permalink

      I quite agree with my sisters of faith on this one. While Watts had almost had me with “Joy to the World” and the fact we share birthday (he does have a few years on me!!). However, Winkworth gave the English speaking world a new genre of singing as well as helped the poor and, most importantly advocated for higher education for women and girls.

      • Beth's Gravatar Beth
        March 8, 2018 - 10:06 am | Permalink

        Absolutely agree!

    • Karen R's Gravatar Karen R
      March 7, 2018 - 11:10 am | Permalink

      You have persuaded me. Winkworth it shall be.

  3. Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
    March 7, 2018 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    Happy to learn about Catherine, but Isaac Watts wrote way too many of my favorite hymns and singing is my preferred way to praise and pray!

  4. Catherine W Huber's Gravatar Catherine W Huber
    March 7, 2018 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    Catherine with the long face.

    • Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
      March 7, 2018 - 8:47 am | Permalink

      I dare say that Isaac has an equally long face in his portrait.

      • Catherine W Huber's Gravatar Catherine W Huber
        March 7, 2018 - 11:37 am | Permalink


  5. March 7, 2018 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    Another difficult choice. Catherine won my vote because of her work among the poor, her love of German chorales, and especially her unforgettable pun. Saints just wanna have puns.

    • Laura Clarke's Gravatar Laura Clarke
      March 7, 2018 - 8:19 am | Permalink

      My decision making process exactly.

    • Hannell Thompson's Gravatar Hannell Thompson
      March 7, 2018 - 8:57 am | Permalink

      I’m with you and your thoughts!

    • paul champion's Gravatar paul champion
      March 7, 2018 - 9:13 am | Permalink

      Catherine, if only to raise knowledge of her life by continuing to the next round.

    • Nicole SW's Gravatar Nicole SW
      March 7, 2018 - 9:58 am | Permalink

      Indeed! Catherine for the pun, her contribution to our music tradition and her work with the poor. Humor is a saving grace!

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 7, 2018 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Exactly! And yet, having just sung When I Survey at our diocesan convention and with Holy Week close upon us, when it will be sung again and again, It’s Isaac today for me.

  6. Ken's Gravatar Ken
    March 7, 2018 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Isaac Watts, the greatest of all English-language hymn writers. He has had a greater impact on the church than most (but not all) of his fellow Round of 32-ers. Yes, he’s my pick for the Golden H. Go, Issac!

    • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
      March 7, 2018 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

      My choice, too, Ken. Original hymns and prayers, a foundational work on logic, commitment to principal – too much evidence in support of Isaac. The “peccavi” pun is cleve but didn’t sway my vote. Thank you!

      • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
        March 7, 2018 - 2:47 pm | Permalink

        Oops – meant “principle”. Need to pay more attention to autocorrect!

    • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
      March 7, 2018 - 8:10 pm | Permalink

      But what about Charles Wesley, who wrote thousands of hymns?

  7. Kim Rossi's Gravatar Kim Rossi
    March 7, 2018 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I voted for Isaac because – well – “Joy to the World” – Don’t need to say more.

    • Lindsay's Gravatar Lindsay
      March 7, 2018 - 10:08 am | Permalink

      Mr. Watts wrote hymns of comfort and joy…”My Shepherd Will Supply My Need” and “Joy to the World”. He get my vote today.

  8. Tom Brown's Gravatar Tom Brown
    March 7, 2018 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Favored Catherine for challenging British imperialism in India and getting her hands dirty in working with the poor.

  9. Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
    March 7, 2018 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Catherine Winkworth brings together both lines of my ancestry: German and British. She also shares a name with five members of my family. But her work with the poor and her advocacy for women’s rights, as well as her scholarship and contribution to our hymnals are what swayed me today.

  10. Thomas A Pugh's Gravatar Thomas A Pugh
    March 7, 2018 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    As an avid user and lover of puns, I had to go with Catherine here. Plus all the other stuff she did was pretty awesome too.

  11. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    March 7, 2018 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one and led me to look up more information about both of today’s saints. I admire Catherine for her work with the poor and her dedication to education for women. But I had to go with Isaac this morning as the writer of some of my favorite hymns and his text on logic. How could I not vote for the one who wrote “Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come; Be thou our guard while troubles last, And our eternal home.” And, on a lighter note, “How doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day From every opening flower!”

    • March 7, 2018 - 9:46 am | Permalink

      “How doth the little crocodile improve his shining tail, by pouring waters of the Nile on every golden scale.” I did not know the author of the original; this is one of Lewis Carroll’s parodies! Thanks for the smile this snowy morning.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 7, 2018 - 3:26 pm | Permalink

        I’ve always thought of “How doth the little crocodile” as sung to William Billings’ tune for “Methinks I see a manly host of angels on the wing.” If I knew how to attach a video, I’d hum a few bars.

        • Sally Clark's Gravatar Sally Clark
          March 7, 2018 - 8:25 pm | Permalink

          Delightful thought!

  12. Ann W.'s Gravatar Ann W.
    March 7, 2018 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    As a Lutheran, I owe a tremendous debt to Catherine Winkworth, the translator and poet par excellance of the German Lutheran hymns and chorales, which are still used to this day. “Now tho daily earth’s deep sadness may perplex us and distress us, yet with heavenly joy you bless us!”

    • Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
      March 7, 2018 - 8:34 am | Permalink

      Isaac Watts, because anyone who uses logic to avoid error when it comes to religion, is okay by me.

  13. Catherine Linberg's Gravatar Catherine Linberg
    March 7, 2018 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Winkworth got me reading and ever-fascinated with the fine print in the hymnal: who wrote the words for the tune? As a little Cathy, I thought she was winking at me! Now grown and going by my given name, Catherine, I still go to the credits and smile whenever a woman’s worthy work shows up!

  14. Susan C's Gravatar Susan C
    March 7, 2018 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    It was a no-brainer to me as well, but I voted for Catherine Winkworth. In her shorter life, she not only had a significant impact on English and therefore American music, proved herself to be a poet and linguist who could translate beautiful words and sentiments beautifully, but was also a compassionate advocate for the poor and an activist to boot. I love music, words and ACTION.

  15. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    March 7, 2018 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    This year’s round of 32 has been so full of horrible hard choices that I have ended up just thinking of my morning vote as an extension of my alarm clock – if my brain isn’t working yet, it sure will be when I’m done with all this thinking.
    I usually come down on the side of earthly service, and women and the poor will get my vote on an ordinary day, but I have to declare today extraordinary and let my musician self have the last word.

  16. Betty Lane's Gravatar Betty Lane
    March 7, 2018 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Watts was a great hymn writer, but Catherine not only introduced the great German music form to the English with her wonderful translations. But she also was a great servant to the poor and stood up for the rights of women and girls, including the right to education. So she gets my vote.

  17. March 7, 2018 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    I really really like Catherine for her work with the poor, her advocacy for women’s rights, and her wonderful pun. But Isaac got my vote with Joy to the World

    • Jennifer Seaver's Gravatar Jennifer Seaver
      March 7, 2018 - 8:44 am | Permalink

      Joy to the world also gets my vote for Watts.

    • Diane Roehl's Gravatar Diane Roehl
      March 7, 2018 - 9:05 am | Permalink

      I feel like I’ve known Isaac all my life. Started playing the organ for a small church before I could reach the pedals. So many wonderful hymns, but only one vote for my friend!

  18. Nolan McBride's Gravatar Nolan McBride
    March 7, 2018 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Close, but joy to the world is my favorite Christmas carol so Isaac it is.

  19. March 7, 2018 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Catherine not only was witty, she was a benefactor of the poor. Plus I am enjoying promoting some of these lesser known saints!

  20. Jen's Gravatar Jen
    March 7, 2018 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    From “Joy To The World” to ” When I Survey The Wondrous Cross” it’s Isaac Watts for me!

    • Wynne Osborne's Gravatar Wynne Osborne
      March 7, 2018 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Me too! These two are in my “top 10 hymns”. We even used Joy to the World as the recessional at my father’s funeral.

  21. Melissa's Gravatar Melissa
    March 7, 2018 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Catherine Winkworth translated the hymn “Now thank we all our God.” This could come down to a contest between “Joy to the World” and “Now thank we.” The choices have been very difficult this year, but what a great opportunity to learn about those Holy Men and Women who have been great witnesses for our Lord Jesus.

  22. March 7, 2018 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Right now they are neck and neck. I wonder what the SEC would do with a tie. Draw lots, maybe?

  23. Nina's Gravatar Nina
    March 7, 2018 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    I love puns, and I grew up on that one, but Isaac got my vote.

  24. Helen Ryan's Gravatar Helen Ryan
    March 7, 2018 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    I voted for Catherine because without her some of my favorite hymns would not be available to English-speakers: “Praise to the Lord! The Almighty, the King of Creation,” “Now Thank We All Our God,” “Comfort, Comfort Ye My People,” and “Blessed Jesus, at Thy Word,” just to name a few.

    • Linda Riffert's Gravatar Linda Riffert
      March 7, 2018 - 3:26 pm | Permalink

      I like all of the hymns that you mentioned plus Open Now They Gates of Beauty!

    • March 7, 2018 - 9:28 pm | Permalink

      I’m not saying how I voted, but do I dare open myself to the wrath of many by admitting that on the whole, I’d take Advent’s “Comfort, Comfort Ye my People” over “Joy to the World?”

      • Yet another margaret's Gravatar Yet another margaret
        March 7, 2018 - 10:32 pm | Permalink

        Thank you! Now I have a question for you. If you were stranded on an island, and you were limited to one musical composition,
        would you choose Handel’s Messiah or Bach’s B Minor Mass? Or, neither of the above….

  25. Christopher's Gravatar Christopher
    March 7, 2018 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    Isaac Watts’s hymns are spectacular, but the metrical Psalter balances that out. Catherine Winkworth’s work with the poor and for women’s rights in addition to what she did for church music wins the day for me.

  26. March 7, 2018 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Having been raised in The Missouri Synod Church where I attended first through eighth grades, Catherine had to get my vote. And then there is her support of education and women’s rights.

    • March 7, 2018 - 9:08 am | Permalink

      Pardon the dangling modifier. I got a new hip on Monday and am still a bit woozy.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 7, 2018 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Dangle ye modifiers while ye may.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 7, 2018 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

        What dangling modifier? I’ve read your comment through five times and can’t find it.

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          March 7, 2018 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

          I wouldn’t know it if fell over it. Along with a lot of other people.

        • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
          March 7, 2018 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

          “Having been raised . . . Catherine”

          • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
            March 7, 2018 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

            Of course! One more sign of how my sensitivities have been degraded by my surroundings. Something like not noticing when someone says, please pardon the expression, “shithole.”

            No comparison intended, Gay; your dangler was artful.

            No, no, no, I didn’t mean THAT; but what I have written I have written, and I’d better stop before someone shoots me.

          • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
            March 7, 2018 - 10:46 pm | Permalink

            This is fun just to sit back and watch!

  27. PhilEsq's Gravatar PhilEsq
    March 7, 2018 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Yes, Catherine worked with the poor, but so did many other saints. And Catherine’s contributions to hymnody are substantial. However, Isaac Watts’s hymns have shaped our worship tradition, as well as informed our beliefs, for centuries. His contributions to Christianity are supererogatory! To say nothing of the wattage his hymns bring to our hearts. (Couldn’t help the pun. Sorry, Catherine.)

    • Vicki Carr's Gravatar Vicki Carr
      March 7, 2018 - 10:37 am | Permalink

      Right on!

  28. Linda LeBreux's Gravatar Linda LeBreux
    March 7, 2018 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    You had me at “I have Sindh”

    • March 7, 2018 - 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Just think: if Catherine had lived early enough to marry John Donne!

  29. Barbara Ruhe's Gravatar Barbara Ruhe
    March 7, 2018 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    This was a tough choice! Isaac Watts died 200 years to the day I was born and he wrote “Oh God Our Help in Ages Past”–the Valparaiso University hymn–so I feel a special kinship with him.

  30. Marj's Gravatar Marj
    March 7, 2018 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    I knew of Isaac Watts and love his hymns. Sadly, I did not know Catherine Winkworth. I voted for Catherine in thanksgiving for her ministry to the poor and disabled and her gift for her musical gifts.

  31. March 7, 2018 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Today I go with the pure musician Isaac…. “gentle, quiet, sturdy, and deeply devout.”
    We have a great many entries in this year’s Saints brackets who did wonderful work in reaching out to poor and hurting, so while appreciate Catherine’s work in this regard.. and am happy to learn about her… the direct musical contribution is what moves me to include Isaac in those who are moving on to the next series of choices.
    There is data that our connection to music and songs goes deep into our souls… such that people deeply into alzheimers actually “come out” as it were, when music they love is played for them…. an amazing gift of God’s grace for us that we don’t always appreciate.
    SO it’s Isaac for me.

    • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
      March 7, 2018 - 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps you, as well as many others, mean “pure poet.” Watts did not write the music, and while many of his texts remain favorites, the chorales associated with Winkworth’s translations are far superior to the tunes associated with Watts’ hymns. But I’m not going pure musician. The work with the poor and the fabulous pun did it for me.

    • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
      March 7, 2018 - 8:20 pm | Permalink

      But Isaac Watts was not a musician, he was a poet.

  32. Sharon's Gravatar Sharon
    March 7, 2018 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    My vote is for Catherine Winkworth. I admire and respect anyone who can take a song or a poem in one language and translate it into another language that scans and makes sense while not losing the flavor of the original. I checked the Episcopal hymnal that we use currently and discovered there are several hymns translated by Ms Winkworth that I love and treasure for their message. Not that I don’t love Isaac Watts, but I find that the added talent of Ms Winkworth more compelling.

  33. Patricia White's Gravatar Patricia White
    March 7, 2018 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    His hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” clinched him for me. Also, my younger son is named Isaac. Very close call though.

  34. Julia Belian's Gravatar Julia Belian
    March 7, 2018 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    Apocryphal story: When Isaac was a little boy, he drove his father to distraction with his unceasing rhymes. Father Watts warned Isaac repeatedly to stop with the couplets, but Isaac seemed compelled, and he continued to state everything in that form until his father, exasperated beyond all reason, finally took up a (statutorily permitted) stick to try to beat the rhyming out of Isaac. After a few smacks, Isaac cried out,
    “Oh, Father! Do some pity take,
    And I’ll no longer verses make!”

  35. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 7, 2018 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    This one was tough, but I did a bit more reading. Watts was a a bit of a dissenter, and committed to education of children regardless of class and to women’s education. Because the music is wonderful, and he was so much more complicated than the music, Isaac for me today.

  36. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    March 7, 2018 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    My favorite “Joy to the World” is by 3 Dog Night. Isaac’s other songs are
    inspiring & I love his logical approach (a medieval Mr. Spock, b4 his time)
    But its Catherine, her puns & causes that win my vote today.

  37. David's Gravatar David
    March 7, 2018 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    How could I not vote for Isaac?
    First, my congregation sings a variant of his “From all that dwell below skies” every week; who doesn’t sing “Joy to the World” every year?; and “O God Our Help in Ages Past” is a personal favorite.
    AND he was a Nonconformist who was (depending on which scholar you ask) either a closet Unitarian or at least sympathetic to Unitarians and opposed their persecution in England by the Anglican Church. As a Unitarian myself, I feel like one of my people (or at least an ally) finally made it into the running!

    Watts was a big defender of many religious minorities excluded by the Church of England, so he’s not only a hymn writer without whom much of our worship would look radically different, he’s a model for religious tolerance and lifting up faith over denominational affiliation.

    Vote Watts!

    • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
      March 7, 2018 - 2:53 pm | Permalink

      David, “Like”!!! Thank you. Beautifully written.

  38. Jay Weigel's Gravatar Jay Weigel
    March 7, 2018 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Catherine’s translation of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” was the clincher for me. In earlier years I had wondered who she was and looked her up in the Britannica. No matter how much I like “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, her translations have it all over his CM hymns.

  39. March 7, 2018 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    It is hard to resist a nonconformist. I have been known to lean in that direction occasionally. I voted for Winkworth because of her outreach to the poor and women. The hymns are a couple of my favorites but Catherine gets this round from me.

  40. Alan Christensen's Gravatar Alan Christensen
    March 7, 2018 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    I voted for Catherine but would like to see Isaac in a future Lent Madness as he shaped the faith of so many.

  41. Pilgrim Gregory's Gravatar Pilgrim Gregory
    March 7, 2018 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    I voted for Issac for reasons many and complex, but ultimately because of his celebrity blogger: The Reverend Marcus Halley. READ THIS MAN! Click on his name at the bottom of Issac’s bio and look at his site. Start with the top essay:
    “It’s time to tell the truth.” It is, indeed.

    • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
      March 7, 2018 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Pilgrim Gregory, I followed your suggestion and went to Marcus Halley’s blog. Wow! Thank you for the suggestion. Definitely “Like”.

  42. aleathia nicholson's Gravatar aleathia nicholson
    March 7, 2018 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Sad to say and hard to admit but I’d never heard of Catherine. In her honor and to make up for my ignorance…oooh! That sounds so harsh! Well, to acknowledge that I now know more than I did due to LENTMADNESS, she gets my vote.

  43. Joyce Rush's Gravatar Joyce Rush
    March 7, 2018 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    Again, we had a tough one but Catherine got my vote. Translating choralea, which I love to hear, overshadowed Isaac’s many hymns, today.

  44. Richard Adams's Gravatar Richard Adams
    March 7, 2018 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    I do not understand the tally. Winkworth cannot compare with Watts in terms of spiritual insight, productivity, and legacy. Look at your hymnal. Watts created new hymns, Winkworth merely translated German hymns (some of them superb of course). We are indebted to both but without question Watts has a deeper influence on Episcopalian culture. As a cradle Episcopalian, an important reason I worship in the Episcopal church is its music and language. We should not underestimate this portion of our heritage.

    I am tempted to think this year’s March madness has a subtle gender bias.

    • Story's Gravatar Story
      March 7, 2018 - 9:53 am | Permalink

      Ahh, do not dis translation, it is harder than you would think! But, I went with Isaac too. I mean come on, he wrote “Joy to the World!” As for the gender bias, I think what you are noticing is that people are thrilled that this year’s bracket is at least nearly 50% female, as compared to last years which hardly had any women saints. I don’t know if there are just not as many female saints as males or what, but no matter what it is not good. We do make up half of the population. It is telling to me that 50% female feels like a lot to me. It should feel normal, but alas, it doesn’t. Nevertheless, I agree, go Isaac!

    • Helen Ryan's Gravatar Helen Ryan
      March 7, 2018 - 11:08 am | Permalink

      Not everyone who plays Lent Madness is Episcopalian. I’m a Lutheran at heart and Catherine Winkworth’s translations first caught my notice when I attended a Lutheran church in my early 20’s. I’m pleased she’s finally getting some recognition.

      Also, I know this is a minority opinion, but I’ve always found “Joy to the World” grating.

    • Jennifer of Sol's Gravatar Jennifer of Sol
      March 7, 2018 - 11:25 am | Permalink

      I did look at my hymnal, a lot, as a cradle Christian. I saw Winkworth’s name, a lot, but her contributions were never celebrated or explained. Probably I need to go scream into a pillow at the suggestion doing so now is ‘no fair to men’!
      I love “Joy to the World” but one of the joys of Lent Madness is the opportunity to go deeper into Christian tradition and find some lasts to be firsts for a few shining and maybe even golden moments.
      Today my vote is for Catherine in gratitude for one of the most frequently sung unsung saints of God!

    • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
      March 7, 2018 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Oh well. There’s been a subtle male bias in the church and most cultures around the world for ummm, millennia. I don’t think we should regret that in this little bit of recreational education, males and females are finally on an equal footing. Count up the numbers of male vs. female Golden Halos to date. Male saints have still prevailed more often than female saints.

    • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
      March 7, 2018 - 1:34 pm | Permalink

      AARRGGHH! “Winkworth merely translated German hymns…” Please, no!

    • Liz in Sparks's Gravatar Liz in Sparks
      March 9, 2018 - 6:14 am | Permalink

      I agree wth you.

  45. Megan Devlin's Gravatar Megan Devlin
    March 7, 2018 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    I know I’m going against the grain in voting for Isaac, but you got to love a guy who both appreciates the power of hymns and writes them but also can write an argument on logic.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 7, 2018 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

      The Devlins stick together.

  46. Mary-Theresa Anderson's Gravatar Mary-Theresa Anderson
    March 7, 2018 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Nonconformist resonates with most saints.

  47. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 7, 2018 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Went with Catherine Winkworth initially b/c of my love of Lutheran chorale settings (a joy to sing). She’s represented by 10 hymns in 1982, but curiously that hymnal in its pew form gives only 5 of them in SATB, the remainder in unison despite the great melodies by German and French (Goudimel) composers. Fortunately for me, 655 If thou but trust in God to guide thee, a longtime favorite, is printed in SATB form. Those that aren’t I’ll attempt them if the organist provide a little coaching. Altogether, Catherine has given us pretty respectable number of texts, slightly more than half of Isaac Watts’s 17. But then I read about Catherine’s work *among* the poor, *against* imperial arrogance, and *for* women’s rights. Having come to Lent Madness this morning fresh from a viewing of Prime Minister’s Question Time in the Westminster Parliament’s House of Commons–where angry MP’s from all parties were raising questions about the homeless, women’s rights, British arms deals, and education made sharper by the state visit of Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman taking place today–well, what could I do but vote for Catherine, who undoubtedly would haven MBS a piece of her mind, Prince or no Prince!

  48. Betsy Amey's Gravatar Betsy Amey
    March 7, 2018 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    Gotta go with Isaac Watts, whose hymns prevailed in my childhood at Kenilworth Union Church!

  49. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 7, 2018 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    Isaac Watts.

  50. Sue Legnani's Gravatar Sue Legnani
    March 7, 2018 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    A vote for Catherine today. She was a Christian Educator who used her musical gifts to teach and heal the soul as well as caring for those left behind by society. Besides, we all know that those who sing pray twice.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 7, 2018 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Or more depending on number of rehearsal, Sue.

  51. March 7, 2018 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    Although Isaac Watts wrote some of my favorite hymns, I must go with Catherine for her works for the poor and women, as well as against oppression.

  52. Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
    March 7, 2018 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    From one nonconformist who took a path less traveled for college, my glass is raised for Isaac today .. in goes the vote.

    Plus, the world could use a bit more joy these days!

  53. March 7, 2018 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one. It seems that Catherine, who served the poor and women who needed help, is traveling on the tide in this, the year of women.

  54. Megan O Jones's Gravatar Megan O Jones
    March 7, 2018 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    I was going to go with Isaac, because of his contribution to logic in the world, which should be used all the time. The world would be a much better place if more people applied logic to their arguments.

    But then Catherine’s work with the poor won me over. This morning I saw a video taken of a homeless camp in our area, with terrible, hateful commentary about the homeless. The man actually went into the place where people have found a place to sleep and instead of offering any kind word, acted as though they were a smelly pest control problem. So a saint who went into people’s homes and offered help and comfort hit my heart.

  55. Mrs. B.'s Gravatar Mrs. B.
    March 7, 2018 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    At last, the source of “peccavi,” long a favorite. Cynthia, I sat in front of you in church for years. Thank you for that lovely pun.

  56. March 7, 2018 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    Sided with Isaac because the Episcopal hymnal, including many of his, has a special place in my spiritual journey and that original book title made me laugh at its ridiculous length.

  57. March 7, 2018 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    I just feel the vote is swayed by the East Coast. I’m in Colorado and by the time I get on to vote, there is a lead but then that lead always seems to win. West Coast folks, maybe we need to vote more. Get out and vote! Please!

    • Deb Wepler's Gravatar Deb Wepler
      March 8, 2018 - 9:47 am | Permalink

      I am in Indiana. I often don’t get to reading the choices and voting until the evening, so I try to read and make my choice before I read the comments or check who is ahead. Otherwise, I feel I am swayed by the numbers and the comments. And, this week, I was out of state for 5 days (in Colorado) and voted a couple of days late on my chart. It was hard not to read ahead of the results or the comments.

  58. Glenn Horton-Smith's Gravatar Glenn Horton-Smith
    March 7, 2018 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    Tough choice. Watts has 17 hymns in The Hymnal 1982, but 9 of Winkworth’s translations are in the hymnal (one of them twice, two tunes), including some I really love, like “If thou but trust in God to guide thee,” “Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates,” and “Now thank we all our God.” And then there is her work with the poor, with the stories of those she inspired. And I want to hear more about her. But I’m interested in Watts too. Decisions, decisions. Going with Winkworth.

  59. Lera's Gravatar Lera
    March 7, 2018 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    This has been the most difficult choice so far. I so love Isaac Watts’ hymns, and only to a small lesser degree, Catherine Wickworth’s. However, her work among the poor turns her into my favor, so Catherine it is. So sorry, Isaac.

  60. Victoria Stefani's Gravatar Victoria Stefani
    March 7, 2018 - 10:56 am | Permalink

    A sharp mind, service to the poor, women’s rights, being actively WITH the people she served, in their homes, if they had them, in their daily environment: Catherine Winkworth gets my vote.

  61. Nancy Stone's Gravatar Nancy Stone
    March 7, 2018 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    Having been raised by church musician parents and being one myself for over 60 years, this was a difficult choice. In hymnody, I lean heavily on Watts and Wesley, but was pleased to learn more about Catherin Winkworth and voted for her in hopes that more will learn of her and all her works.

  62. March 7, 2018 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    I voted for Isaac Watts. During the Battle of Springfield (NJ, my home town), part of the Revolutionary War, the American soldiers ran out of ammunition. They were ordered, “Give ’em Watts, boys.” The soldiers tore pages from the hymnals, rolled them up, stuck them in their guns, and shot them. Not that this did any good, but…. (Your fun, historical fact for the day! And, it’s a statement I quoted just last month at a music class I was teaching in Phoenix.)

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 7, 2018 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that, Lucille. I’m a history lover from Freehold where St. Peter’s got shots in the steeple for being Anglican.

  63. Karen Sculley's Gravatar Karen Sculley
    March 7, 2018 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    A tough choice! Even though I adore puns, I voted for Isaac Watts because of my shared enjoyment of music and logic. This was a very difficult vote today, SEC!

  64. Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
    March 7, 2018 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    Took me three hours to decide, but I’m going with Isaac. Both Isaac and Catherine devoted their lives to worthwhile work. However, Isaac stands far above most of his fellow hymn-composers; “Joy To the World” does seem inspired. He was ahead of his time in advocating for education for poor children and for women (thank you, Kim, for that info in your comment). His text on logic was a strong and good influence on other thinkers. And even in his last years, when his health was bad, he continued to compose hymns and write.

    Catherine’s work with the poor, opposition to colonialism, and authorship of biographies are commendable, but she was one of many and doesn’t stand out among her peers as Isaac does. She did valuable work translating hymns, but on balance I think Isaac’s contributions merit advancement to the Saintly Sixteen.

  65. Verdery D. Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery D. Kassebaum
    March 7, 2018 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    As of 8:12 Pacific Standard Time, Catherine was ahead.
    I still can’t decide between them. They are both impressive, and I will cheer for whichever wins.

  66. Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
    March 7, 2018 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    Also, today’s winner will go up against Eglantyne Jebb in the next round. A good bit of Catherine Winkworth’s support today has been for her work with the poor, but I predict that Jebb’s work in founding Save the Children will trump that. A match between Jebb and Isaac Watts would be fascinating — kind of a body versus soul contest.

  67. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 7, 2018 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    I distrust a “proclivity to rhyme,” but I also object to calling a pun in Latin a “meme.” This one is really a coin toss. I voted for Catherine because of her work with the poor. I was more moved by the fact that they wrote her letters than by her translations of German songs. I am struck in today’s match-up by the importance of literacy and universal education. May we take education seriously in this country and provide a quality, safe education for all students. Peccavimus.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 7, 2018 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Some people do have a rhyming proclivity.
      It surfaces unbidden in our daily activity.
      It’s no great blessing, much more like a curse:
      The search for a rhyme makes it hard to be terse
      When that’s what’s required; and still more worse
      It ruins our grammar and makes our discourse silly,
      But rhyme we must, willy-nilly, nilly-willy.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 7, 2018 - 3:52 pm | Permalink

        rhyme on oh Silly Ones.
        To rhyme in time
        is not a crime
        To speak in verse
        not such a curse.

      • Sally Clark's Gravatar Sally Clark
        March 7, 2018 - 8:32 pm | Permalink


    • Sally Clark's Gravatar Sally Clark
      March 7, 2018 - 8:32 pm | Permalink

      I so enjoy your comments.

  68. Rev. Doug McLemore's Gravatar Rev. Doug McLemore
    March 7, 2018 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    Watts has my vote. 15 hymns in our UMC hymnal all original including Joy To The World.
    Winkworth’s hymns (only 14) in our UMC were all translations.
    Watts was a nonconformist by correct reason and logic. What more can be said.

  69. Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
    March 7, 2018 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    I delight in puns, and know that good translating is difficult and important work. But when I survey the wondrous breadth of his work — especially that most moving hymn — the lyric theologian gets my vote. And these days, we are also sorely in need of all the logic we can get!

  70. Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
    March 7, 2018 - 11:43 am | Permalink

    I am no fan of old hymns – it’s the archaic musicality that sets my hair on fire mostly. When faced with having to sing a hymn in church (I stick to the contemporary service), I look down at the credits and think, “surely there is something more relevant to today than something written in 1750….” However, I do love the hymns as spiritual poetry.
    In light of that, I have had the most fun with Catherine’s collection and have found many a great line to end a note to a friend.
    Having voted, I must buzz and hit all those flowers and make today’s honey.

  71. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 7, 2018 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    Winkworth not only served people who lived in poverty, but she also had a passion for women’s rights and advocated for higher education for women and girls.

    And with that my vote was decided.

  72. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 7, 2018 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    I was already inclined to vote for Isaac Watts because in this year’s Lent Madness “just” making intellectual contributions is getting seriously slammed. Also because I actually sing more of his hymns than Winkworth’s. And then I Googled him, and learned what a revolutionary he was.

    Just as one example, from this article “The popularity of Isaac Watts’ hymns caused a tempest in his day. In his day, English congregations predominately sang Psalms, so singing verses that were of ‘human composure’ (such as ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’) caused great controversy….In America, in May 1789, Rev. Adam Rankin told the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, meeting in Philadelphia: ‘I have ridden horseback all the way from my home in Kentucky to ask this body to refuse the great and pernicious error of adopting the use of Isaac Watts’ hymns in public worship in preference to the Psalms of David.’”

    Watts on his philosophy: “”Where the Psalmist describes religion by the fear of God, I have often joined faith and love to it. Where he speaks of the pardon of sin through the mercies of God, I rather choose to mention the sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God. Where He promises abundance of wealth, honor, and long life, I have changed some of these typical blessings for grace, glory and life eternal, which are brought to light by the gospel, and promised in the New Testament.”

    He was troubled all his adult life by physical and psychiatric illness. Yet he hung in there, and as well as a being a scholar and path-breaking author, he was a faithful pastor and charismatic preacher. And apparently also a really sweet guy.

    We couldn’t have had Catherine’s hymns without Isaac’s. He has my vote.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 7, 2018 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

      This is incredibly interesting. I wish I had read this before casting my vote. Thank you.

      • Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
        March 7, 2018 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

        You’re welcome! That’s the joy of Lent Madness. I wouldn’t have been moved to learn more about Isaac without it.

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          March 7, 2018 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

          Thank you THANK you. What a wonderful support of my vote.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 7, 2018 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Barbara, for giving Isaac his historical and spiritual context. How funny that he was considered a radical in the 18th century, yet an earlier LM comment today was that his hymns were antiquated and irrelevant.

    • Sally Clark's Gravatar Sally Clark
      March 7, 2018 - 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Thank you.

  73. Deborah Sampson's Gravatar Deborah Sampson
    March 7, 2018 - 11:56 am | Permalink

    When you sing, you pray twice.

  74. Deacon Victoria Rebeck's Gravatar Deacon Victoria Rebeck
    March 7, 2018 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

    This was another tough one. But since Phoebe the Deacon was defeated, much to my heartbreak, I had to go with Catherine, for her writing about Theodor Fliedner, the founder of the deaconess movement in Germany (which spread to many countries and continues in the lay deaconess/home missioner order in the United Methodist Church).

  75. Judy Bye's Gravatar Judy Bye
    March 7, 2018 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Catherine. I was named after my mother’s twin. Five of us have been named after her. Even her grandchildren named their children after her. She sang in the choir for something like 50 years. And my granddaughter is named after her. She adored each one of us. In her later years she said to me one day that it made her feel better when I was in town, just because I was there. All of us miss her.

  76. Judy Bye's Gravatar Judy Bye
    March 7, 2018 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    This is third time I’ve gotten a message that I’ve already posted or something that means that. I’m done commenting.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 7, 2018 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

      No! I will miss you!

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 7, 2018 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Only for today, I hope.

  77. Laura N's Gravatar Laura N
    March 7, 2018 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Isaac. He was in the lead right from Isaac vs. Catherine because hanging on the wall of my office (by way of the “Keep Calm and Carry On Page-a-Day Calendar) is a quote from Isaac: “What’s amiss I’ll strive to mend, And endure what can’t be mended.” Added to all the hymns I like and his scholarship, and it was easy to vote for him. Kudos to Catherine for her good works and translations.

  78. Rene Thompson's Gravatar Rene Thompson
    March 7, 2018 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

    While ‘Joy to the World’ is a joy to the world, as a disability advocate with a twisted sense of humor, I felt the need to support Catherine.

  79. Cheryl K's Gravatar Cheryl K
    March 7, 2018 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I looked up some of the hymns Catherine translated. Turns out “Decl thyself my soul with gladness” is among them, one of my favorite hymns. Swayed my vote over to Catherine.

  80. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    March 7, 2018 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Four words: Joy to the World. [mic drop]

  81. Bob the Acolyte Master's Gravatar Bob the Acolyte Master
    March 7, 2018 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I own quite a few hymnals (the “newest” dating back to over 30 years ago). When I look in the indices, all of them have more hymns written/translated by 3 people whose last names start with “w” than any others: Watts, Winkworth, and (Charles) Wesley. The later has his Golden Halo! Let’s get the second this year…and then the third! Today, I’m on Isaac.

  82. March 7, 2018 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    “I have Sindh” is making my head hurt as I try to figure out if it really was opposition to colonialism or simply clever. As Napier has often been credited for the comment, I wondered if there really was criticism behind it or not. Anyone know more?

  83. Karen Johnson's Gravatar Karen Johnson
    March 7, 2018 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Isaac. And I wish I had a degree from the Dissenting Academy on my resume.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 7, 2018 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that would be a great addition to my resume also.

  84. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 7, 2018 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Joy to the World and the Right Use of Reason (which we could use more of, int he church and outside it). A quiet revolutionary battling ill health, and supportive of education for all. My vote goes to Isaac Watts.

  85. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 7, 2018 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    First I was going to vote for Watts, then I was being swayed by Catherine’s work for others. In modern times though, I think Watts’ _Logic_ is badly needed, so I’m going back to him.

  86. john w miller's Gravatar john w miller
    March 7, 2018 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

    This was a really hard one for me to choose. I love so many of Watts’ hymns, embedded so deeply in my heart, but Catherine’s work along with her hymnody is a wonderful example of what God calls us to be.

  87. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 7, 2018 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Last year on my Christmas cards, I wrote a couple of verses of a Christmas hymn by Martin Luther (From Heaven unto Earth I Come), kind of in honor of his 500th anniversary (still can’t believe he didn’t get the 2017 Golden Halo). One of the recipients jokingly responded, “I didn’t know Martin Luther could write that well in English.” Well, that hymn had been translated by Catherine Winkworth! Just another little nudge for me — I was going to vote for her anyway based on today’s write-ups.

  88. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 7, 2018 - 1:31 pm | Permalink

    “She labored to make sure that the translated songs retained the poetry, rhythm, and meaning of the originals.” I love the German language and have loved Catherine for many years for that reason. The translations, written in an unforced, spontaneous English idiom, are exquisite in their sensitivity to every nuance of the German text.

    It was in large measure through Catherine’s work that we Anglicans received the priceless gift of Lutheran hymnody and made it so our own that many, I suspect, would be surprised to learn that a favorite hymn sprang from a Teutonic source. Not merely the hymns and their often magnificent settings, but also the peculiar (as in “peculiar honors”) spirituality which they embody, have incalculably enriched us.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 7, 2018 - 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Oh when the saints in come marching . . .
      Silent night, holy night, all ’round yon virgin mother and child is calm . . .
      Joy to the world, let earth her king receive, let every heart him room prepare . . .
      God ye merry gentlemen rest . . .
      Yes, the German very catchy is. I have the syntax well gecaught and eager am my translations to begin.

  89. Becky's Gravatar Becky
    March 7, 2018 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

    This one was tough. I was drawn to the nonconformist in Isaac, but Catherine’s dedication to the poor is what garnered my vote for her.

  90. Donna Scarfe's Gravatar Donna Scarfe
    March 7, 2018 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Have to go with Issac. I used to sing When I Survey the Wondrous Cross to my kids at night for a lullaby.
    (Subliminal indoctrination?) 5 verses and they were asleep!

  91. Bradley Rymph's Gravatar Bradley Rymph
    March 7, 2018 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

    This one was so very easy for me — hands down for Isaac Watts. I already knew him as possibly the second greatest hymn writer in Christian history (after Charles Wesley, of course). But I didn’t know that he refused scholarships and ordination in the Church of England as a “non-conformist” or that he was one the major proponents of the need to include logic and reason in one’s approach to faith. As someone today who both refuses ever to let institutional religion dictate proper thought to me and believes that “reason” is perhaps the most important leg in Anglicanism’s “three-legged stool” or Methodism’s “Wesleyan quadrilateral,” Isaac Watts may be my new personal patron saint. If he makes it through today’s voting, he will probably get my vote through all remaining rounds of this year’s Lent Madness.

  92. Timothy J. Mannion's Gravatar Timothy J. Mannion
    March 7, 2018 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Wow, this is closer than I thought. 55/45. I tossed around another of the #MeToo candidates, but remembered that Watts texts are the standard by which we ordain Christmas.

    “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.”

    So, it’s Isaac for me.

  93. Yet another margaret's Gravatar Yet another margaret
    March 7, 2018 - 1:57 pm | Permalink

    This was a no-brainer: Catharine gets my vote. Now if Ralph Vaughan Williams had been holding down the opposition, the vote would have had to go for him. Take a look at the 1940 Hymnal. Some of us still use it today.

  94. Gra's Gravatar Gra
    March 7, 2018 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Love them both, but it has to be Catherine since I can’t imagine life without the German chorales!

  95. Anna's Gravatar Anna
    March 7, 2018 - 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Watts because his own personal faith (was) described as “gentle, quiet, sturdy, and deeply devout.”

    • eljay's Gravatar eljay
      March 7, 2018 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

      I agree wholeheartedly. I voted for Isaac Watts. “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing” is angelic.

  96. Joel bejot's Gravatar Joel bejot
    March 7, 2018 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Though I love Watts’ hymns, I had to go with Winkworth, who translated many hymns that I grew up singing in the Lutheran church. And I can’t resist a good Latin pun.

  97. R. Reimer's Gravatar R. Reimer
    March 7, 2018 - 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Catherine and her passion for education for girls, her cleverness with words and her gift to us of music!

  98. Georgene Kruzel's Gravatar Georgene Kruzel
    March 7, 2018 - 3:04 pm | Permalink

    To have such an impact on Church music at large, to write hymns that live on in the hearts and voices of so many, and to write words that live on through the education of theologians and philosophers I had to go with Isaac Watts. Catherine Winkworth’s translations and other ministry and social services are very strong but, for me, she was just barely edged out this time.

  99. Cynthia Cravens's Gravatar Cynthia Cravens
    March 7, 2018 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I went with Catherine. For one, “Catherine” is the name of one of my beloved sisters. And, for another, I always lean toward those holy men and women who use their intellectual, spiritual, and musical gifts to glorify God, AND follow Christ’s example by going out into the world and loving their less fortunate neighbors.

    Plus, in speaking truth to power, Catherine conjured up a wicked pun. Not many can and will do that.

    But, I do love “Joy to the World,” and deeply honor Isaac Watts, its writer. I hope I get a chance to vote for him in a future Lent Madness contest.

  100. Jane's Gravatar Jane
    March 7, 2018 - 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Glad Catherine won! Her great compassion & care for the poor & sick made her deserve to win!

  101. Debra's Gravatar Debra
    March 7, 2018 - 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Aw, shoot. I voted, but have mentally changed my vote 3, maybe 4 times. Thumbs up for long and rambling titles, thumbs up for a good pun, both have great hymns, yea for being a non-conformist and for serving the poor. I grew up Lutheran and those hymns pulled me just enough to secure my vote, but I shall continue to waver.

  102. Dottie's Gravatar Dottie
    March 7, 2018 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

    What? Not Watts? One of the greats of hymn writing! While Catherine made a strong contribution in that area , the Weight is with Watts.

  103. March 7, 2018 - 4:02 pm | Permalink

    I love seeing Catherine’s name whenever it appears on a hymn we’re singing! She shows that there are so many possible missions and ministries.

  104. Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
    March 7, 2018 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I thought that anyone who gave us Joy to the World would be a shoo-in to win. It was Catherine’s intelligence and her work with the poor and others that brought me to vote for her.

  105. Isobel's Gravatar Isobel
    March 7, 2018 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

    As the author of some of my favorite hymns I had to vote for Isaac Watts. The words of the hymns that we sing are so powerful and I find that they really enhance my understanding of God’s Word. The hymns are not just a pretty tune, the words themselves could stand alone as poetry.

  106. Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
    March 7, 2018 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to figure out how to ask a question—no luck so far!
    Is there any place where I can see the winners so far? I missed a couple of days, and I can’t find the results anywhere. I tried asking in a comment before, but I didn’t get a reply that I can find.
    Thank you,
    Grace Cangialosi

    • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
      March 7, 2018 - 4:53 pm | Permalink

      If you’re looking on a phone it might be different, but at the top of my computer screen are a number of tabs. The tab labeled Bracket 2018 has all the results to date.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 7, 2018 - 5:04 pm | Permalink

        And I have a question — when I view the vole results, one of the candidates is in bold print, one is not. Normally I’d expect that the one leading at the time would be in bold. That ain’t necessarily so. What does the bold indicate?

        • Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
          March 7, 2018 - 5:35 pm | Permalink

          As I understand it, the one in bold type is the one you voted for.

          • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
            March 7, 2018 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

            Oh. Well isn’t that clever. Thank you so much!

  107. Donna Kerry's Gravatar Donna Kerry
    March 7, 2018 - 4:46 pm | Permalink

    So this was a very tough decision, but since today is International Women’s Day, I voted for Catherine.

  108. Deborah Hays's Gravatar Deborah Hays
    March 7, 2018 - 5:06 pm | Permalink

    This was a tough one. I like both candidates. Reason tells me I should vote for Issac. Logic says to think more about it. I go with passion which said, “Catherine all the way.”

  109. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 7, 2018 - 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Not fair! A contest between two roughly equally prominent hymnodists, one an author and the other a translator. I’m going with the one who made puns (or at least one). And some of her translations of the German are among my favorite hymns.

  110. San West's Gravatar San West
    March 7, 2018 - 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Isaac Watts for me. Oh God our Help in Ages Past was my mantra when our daughter was dying of cancer. It gave me comfort even though the battle was lost.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 7, 2018 - 7:28 pm | Permalink

      I am very sorry for your loss. May you be comforted.

      • San West's Gravatar San West
        March 7, 2018 - 9:43 pm | Permalink

        Thank you

    • Isabel Stanley's Gravatar Isabel Stanley
      March 7, 2018 - 8:07 pm | Permalink


  111. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    March 7, 2018 - 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Reading today’s comments has been so wonderful as we in NJ languish in snow and thunder and all sorts of weather things. Each time someone has mentioned a favorite hymn or six, I’ve had the joy of playing and replaying them in my head until the next round of shout-outs comes up. It’s been GRAND!

  112. Revmnwillems's Gravatar Revmnwillems
    March 7, 2018 - 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Once again, a match-up that might have “gone the distance” had the brackets been arranged differently. Mr. Watts vs Ms. Winkworth would have been an epic final battle.

  113. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 7, 2018 - 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Winkworth for her admirable wit!

  114. Maryw47's Gravatar Maryw47
    March 7, 2018 - 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Tough choice! Love Isaac Watts’ hymns, also the German chorale. Blessings on both the contestants! I picked Catherine–both for her life of service and because it’s my mother’s name.

  115. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 7, 2018 - 8:53 pm | Permalink

    One of the activities my husband and I share with delight is the making and speaking of puns. Both of us devoutly believe that those who criticize us for making puns are just angry and jealous because they haven’t the wit to make them! So Catherine Winkworth had me immediately with her bilingual pun of protest. I have enjoyed singing her translated hymns all my Methodist life. Her work with the poor and advocacy of education and rights for women further convinced me to vote for her.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 7, 2018 - 9:57 pm | Permalink

      The work of making saintly puns
      is a service undervalued and never done
      like washing pans
      putting peaches in cans
      humor means of the worst sinners, you’re nun.

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        March 7, 2018 - 9:57 pm | Permalink


      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 8, 2018 - 12:18 am | Permalink

        putting peaches in cans is certainly a saintly work and then the eating thereof is heavenly reward

  116. March 7, 2018 - 9:45 pm | Permalink

    My appreciation of both these saints has grown. Thanks to all!

  117. Gretchen Pritchard's Gravatar Gretchen Pritchard
    March 7, 2018 - 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Yes, a tough one: what would the hymnal be without either of these. But reading the comments I realized we used Lutheran chorales for both the processional and recessional of our wedding (“Deck thyself, my soul with gladness” and “Now thank we all our God”), and I’m a choral singer, so, Bach and all that. So today, Catherine it shall be. Not to mention her work with the poor.

  118. March 8, 2018 - 2:16 am | Permalink

    Isaac Watts wrote so many wonderful hymns, but I must vote for Catherine Winkworth. As an English speaking Lutheran, I’ve been greatly blessed by her beautiful translations of the rich German Lutheran hymnody. She has long been one of my heroes.

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