Music Notes 
Dear Friends,

This Sunday's Gospel reading is from Matthew 4:12-23. Here Jesus begins his public ministry by calling two brothers, Simon (Peter) and Andrew, who were fishermen just doing their job by the Sea of Galilee. Then he went and found two other brothers, James and John, who were in a fishing boat with their father Zebedee. They also left their boat (and Zebedee), joined Peter and Andrew, and followed Jesus.
At both services we will sing a hymn that connects us with our Gospel reading, "They cast their nets in Galilee" (hymn 661 in The Hymnal 1982 ). The words are by William Alexander Percy (1885-1942). He was from Greenville, Mississippi. His father, LeRoy Percy (1860-1929), served as a United States Senator representing Mississippi from 1910 to 1913. William Percy attended University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, an Episcopal university. From there he went to Harvard, earned a law degree in 1908, and returned to Greenville to join his father's law firm.
During World War I, Percy joined the Commission for Relief in Belgium, during which time he became a friend of Herbert Hoover. In 1917 Percy entered the United States Army and served in World War I, earning the rank of Captain of the 37th Division. After the war he returned to his family's estate, Trail Lake, a plantation of 20,000 acres of cotton. In 1927 extensive floods devastated a large part of Mississippi. William Percy became involved in the relief process and helped thousands who had fled inundated farms and plantations, arranging for medical care, food, and shelter. It is said that his gracious personality endeared him to people of all races.
William Percy began writing poetry in 1911 and later published four volumes of his works. He also wrote a best-selling autobiography, Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter's Son (1941). William Faulkner was a close friend.
"They cast their nets in Galilee" comes from Percy's poem "His Peace" from his collection Enzio's Kingdom and Other Poems (1924). It begins:

                I love to think of them at dawn beneath the frail pink sky,
                  Casting their nets in Galilee and fish-hawks circling by.
                  Casting their nets in Galilee just off the hills of brown,
then continues with the words that appear in our hymnal.
The tune which our hymnal uses with "They cast their nets in Galilee" was written by David McKinley Williams (1887-1978). He was born in Wales but spent his career as a composer, organist, and teacher in the United States. During World War I he served in the Royal Canadian Artillery. From 1921 to 1947 he was organist and choirmaster at St. Bartholomew's Church in New York City, where he developed one of the finest music programs in the country. He was also the head of the organ department at Juilliard School of Music. He was a member of the commission that produced The Hymnal 1940 , the predecessor of The Hymnal 1982 .
GEORGETOWN is the name of the tune for "They cast their nets in Galilee." The composer was a friend of Francis Bland Tucker, who was the rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, Georgetown, Washington, D.C. when Williams wrote the tune in 1941.
Just a footnote: Even though it was a couple months ago that we chose "They cast their nets in Galilee" for this Sunday, it was only on Tuesday that I researched the hymn. Maybe it is a divine coincidence that we are singing this hymn the day after the 75th anniversary of hymn writer William Alexander Percy's death, January 21.
They cast their nets in Galilee just off the hills of brown;
Such happy, simple fisherfolk, before the Lord came down.
Contented, peaceful fishermen, before they ever knew
The peace of God that filled their hearts brimful, and broke them too.
Young John who trimmed the flapping sail, homeless, in Patmos died.
Peter, who hauled the teeming net, head-down was crucified.
The peace of God, it is no peace, but strife closed in the sod.
Yet let us pray for but one thing-the marvelous peace of God.

Grace and Peace

                                                                                         Mark Meyer