Frodsham Methodist Church has a proud history of work with children and young people and there are many today who were inspired in their Christian journey by the work of the late Brian Callin, a physicist who moved away from Frodsham to become General Secretary of MHA.
Brian was the son of Revd Robert Wilfrid Callin. Robert was born in 1886 at Douglas, Isle of Man, where he was baptised on 21 February 1886. Records show that his father was a police constable and later a prison warder.
At the age of sixteen Robert became a member of the Primitive Methodist Church and four years later was accepted for ministry and went on to train at Hartley Victoria College in 1906.
His first ministerial appointment as a probationer was St Anne’s-on-Sea, followed by periods in Harrow and Grimsby where he was called to serve as a Chaplain to the Armed Forces. From 1916 to 1919 he ministered in Belgium and in France, before holding ministerial appointments in Scunthorpe, Sheffield and Chester.
Robert was appointed Chairman of the District at Bakewell in 1929. After a period as Secretary of the newly formed Chester and Warrington District, Robert was appointed Chairman of the Bradford District, a position he held until his death at Horton, near Bradford, in 1951.
Robert was a lover of music and a poet and on the eve of the Great War of 1914-1918 he wrote his hymn, “O Lord of Every Lovely Thing”. The hymn was written for children, to be used at the Primitive Methodist Church, Victoria Street, Grimsby, Sunday School Anniversary of 1914. It was later published in a collection of hymns for young people’s meetings and mission services before finding its way into The Methodist Hymn Book of 1932.
O Lord of every lovely thing,
The Maker of them all.
Who from the winter’s gloomy wind
Dost shed the splendours of the spring,
On Thy great name we call.
With flowers that through the valleys teach
Thy love and truth divine,
With streams that sing, and hills that preach,
With waves that laugh on every beach,
We praise Thee we are Thine!
Not Thine alone because from Thee
Our life and breath we hold;
But Thine because in Christ we see
The grace that sets our spirits free,
And for the truth makes bold.
Count us amongst the radiant choir
That sounds Thy name abroad,
Set in our hands the heavenly lyre,
With songs of love our hearts inspire,
The mighty love of God.
Until with those who toiled and dreamed
To build Thy kingdom here,
With those the world hath ne’er esteemed,
With all the hosts of Thy redeemed,
We in Thy home appear.
(Robert Wilfrid Callin, 1914)
Robert reminds us today that the God who creates, is a God of truth and love, a God who gave us Jesus, so that we may share His love with others, until we are all, even those we may least expect, united with Him forever.
This recording of the tune to “O Lord of Every Lovely Thing” is performed by David Philp in October 2012:
1. The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology, (2020) O Lord of Every Lovely Thing, Canterbury Press, Available from: www.hymnology.hymnsam.co.uk, [Electronically accessed July 2020]
2. Dickinson, G. (2015), Robert Wilfrid Callin (1886-1951), Available from: myprimitivemethodists.org.uk [Electronically accessed June 2020]
3. Leary, W. (1990), Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits.
The reflections here are written by members of our congregation.