Marty Wheeler pays tribute to Rae E. Whitney, who appeared via Skype, during the Diocese of Nebraska’s annual council.
Marty Wheeler Burnett, canon precentor at Trinity Cathedral in Omaha, pays tribute to lyricist Rae E. Whitney upon her receiving the Bishop’s Cross during the diocese’s annual council:
Through her hymns, we learn about this remarkable woman: her care for God’s creation; her commitment to social justice; her scholarly depth; her lifelong interests in church history and ecumenism; her celebration of women’s ministries. Her texts are grounded in the life of the Christian community. Often starting with a familiar Biblical image, her hymns relate the gospel to the present age and invite singers to join in the ongoing faith story.
During her lifetime, Rae Whitney has witnessed remarkable changes in society and in the Episcopal Church. Her writing continues to evolve and is shaped by her experiences, her Christian faith, her voracious reading, and a deep need to write. Her topics span the breadth of Christian life and experience. She has frequently chosen to write about women: women of the Bible, women saints, and feminine images of God. Whitney’s groundbreaking texts on these subjects have illuminated topics previously ignored by hymn writers. Her hymns have been set to music by the leading church music composers of our time, and she continues to receive commissions and write new hymns.