Archive for the ‘Sing the Faith (2003)’ Tag

The Lone, Wild Fowl/The Lone, Wild Bird   Leave a comment

Seagull Flying

Above:  A Seagull Flying

Image in the Public Domain

Text (1925; published in 1926) by Henry Richard McFayden (sometimes listed as MacFayden) (1877-1964), a Presbyterian minister in North Carolina

Hymn Source = The New Hymnal for American Youth (1930)

The New Hymnal for American Youth (1930) lists then hymn as “The Lone, Wild Fowl in Lofty Flight,” yet the more common title in hymnals has become “The Lone, Wild Bird.”  I found a two-verse version (as “The Lone, Wild Bird” and with the archaic pronouns preserved) in The Presbyterian Hymnal:  Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Songs (Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 1990) and in Singing the Living Tradition (Unitarian Universalist Association, 1993).  The Faith We Sing (The United Methodist Church, 2000) and its nearly identical Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) counterpart, Sing the Faith (2003), include a five-stanza version, with the first three stanzas (altered, mostly to update pronouns) credited to McFayden and stanzas 4 and 5 credited to Marty Haugen (1950-), composer of much annoying contemporary church music especially popular in the post-Vatican II Roman Catholic Church, although he is a Protestant (raised a Lutheran and now a member of the United Church of Christ).  The Second Vatican Council did wonders for theology, but church music suffered afterward.

McFayden composed the text on a Sunday afternoon in 1925 and entered it into a hymn-writing contest The Homiletic and Pastoral Review sponsored.  The hymn won third place.

The version of the hymn from The New Hymnal for American Youth (1930) is the oldest I have located.


1.  The lone, wild fowl in lofty flight

Is still with thee nor leaves thy sight.

And I am thine! I rest in thee.

Great Spirit, come, and rest in me.

2.  The ends of earth are in thy hand,

The sea’s dark deep and no man’s land.

And I am thine! I rest in thee.

Great Spirit, come, and rest in me.