With the fall CROP Walk season — sponsored by Church World Service (CWS) and its member denominations — in full swing and World Food Day approaching on Oct. 16, renowned Presbyterian hymn writer Caroloyn Winfrey Gillette has penned a new hymn for use by participants.

Entitled “O God, You Send Us Out to Walk,” Gillette’s new hymn is subtitled “A Hymn of Dedication for Those Participating in CROP Walks.”  It has been posted on the CWS Web site.

In addition to combating hunger — Presbyterians have long been among the most active participants in the annual CROP Walks around the country — Gillette’s hymn lifts up the needs of survivors of a number of recent natural disasters such as the earthquake in Indonesia, typhoon in the Philippines, tsunami in Somoa and Tonga and flooding in the U.S. state of Georgia.

National Presbyterian leaders recently sent a letter to the PC(USA), asking Presbyterians to  “Give, Act and Pray to Help Disaster Survivors.”  

 Gillette’s hymns have figured prominently in recent years as liturgical resources for anti-hunger efforts, including the Souper Bowl of Caring and other disaster relief and humanitarian efforts. Perhaps most widely used was the hymn she composed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC. 

CWS, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and the Presbyterian Hunger Program all have hymns by Gillette on their web sites.  A number of them are in her new book, Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor (Upper Room Books, 2009). She is co-pastor with her husband, Bruce, at Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, DE.

The full text of Carolyn Winfrey Gillette’s new hymn:

O God, You Send Us Out to Walk
A Hymn of Dedication for Those Participating in CROP Walks

Tune: Tallis’ Canon LM (“All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night”)
Alternate Tune: Canonbury LM  (“Lord, Speak to Me, That I May Speak”)

O God, you send us out to walk,
For faith is more than idle talk;
It’s more than saying, “Be well fed!”
When others don’t have daily bread.

We walk with joyful, eager feet
So others will have food to eat.
We staff the checkpoints, offer rest,
And serve you, Lord, for we’ve been blessed.
When we grow weary, may we know
That some must walk where’er they go.
For water, food, or work to do,
They walk till they grow weary, too.

O Lord, we walk in safety here
And know that others walk in fear.
They flee oppression, flood or war;
Each fear-filled day, they walk some more.

Not all here walk with strength or speed
But all can give to those in need.
And as we serve you, may we know
You walk with us where’er we go.

Text: Copyright © 2009 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved. Permission is given for free use of this hymn by churches and groups that support Church World Service/CROP.