published: Sunday, May 27, 2012
Famous hymn was written in Sebring
Music is the language of the heart, a universal language that speaks to all people, going places where words alone will not penetrate. It is also the language of the mind.
There is a song that most of us know, and I'm certain that you have heard or sang it in your place of worship called "I Surrender All," written by Rev. Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter. Not only is the song completely beautiful, but also Van DeVenter was a personal friend of George E. Sebring and this song in particular was written in the home of George Sebring as Van DeVenter was conducting a meeting.
Born in 1855 on a farm in Monroe County, Mich., Van DeVenter grew up interested in art and music. He became a Christian at the age of 17. After graduating from college, Van DeVenter became an art teacher and then supervisor of art for the high school in Sharon, Penn.
In 1885, he toured Europe, visiting art galleries and museums and studied painting. He was also a musician, having studied in numerous singing schools. Van DeVenter was heavily involved in his local Methodist Episcopal church, where he sang in the choir. He found himself especially fulfilled when participating in evangelistic rallies and revivals. Friends encouraged him to resign from the school system to enter full-time music evangelism and for five years he struggled with that decision.
Finally, when in prayer, he said "Lord, if you want me to give my full time to thy work, I'll do it; I surrender all the thee." For the next several years, he traveled extensively through the United States, England and Scotland, assisting in evangelic work, leading the singing for evangelists.
While Engaged in meetings in East Palestine, Ohio, Judson stayed in the home of George Sebring (whose family founded Sebring, Ohio and who himself later founded of Sebring, Florida). It was in Sebring where Van DeVenter wrote the hymn "I Surrender All."
Moving to Tampa in 1923, he began teaching hymnology at Florida Bible Institute. He retired after several years, but still occasionally showed up on campus to lecture or speak in chapel.
In the 1930's, a student at Florida Bible Institute heard Judson Van DeVenter speak. That student was Billy Graham, who later wrote: "One of the evangelists who influenced my early preaching was also a hymnist who wrote "I Surrender All', the Reverend J.W. Van DeVenter."
I Surrender All
by Reverend Judson W. Van DeVenter:
"All to Jesus, I surrender; all to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live.
(Refrain) I surrender all, I surrender all, all to Thee,
My blessed Savior, I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender; Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken; Take me, Jesus, take me know.
All to Jesus, I surrender; Make me, Savior, wholly Thane;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine.
All to Jesus, I surrender; Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power; Let Thy blessing fall on me.
All to Jesus I surrender; Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory, to His Name!
A huge thanks again to Carole Goad, archivist at the Sebring Historical Society, for sharing the wonderful stories about the history of Sebring with us; try to make it a point to stop by and say hello to her, and ask her about the newly released coffee table book "100 Years of Sebring."
Mayor George Hensley urges all citizens, groups, clubs, societies and businesses to join in the celebration. Call 863-655-5554, email email@example.com, go to the website www.Sebring100.com and Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SebringCentennial/. Thanks to the News-Sun for the opportunity to keep everyone informed on Sebring's Centennial Celebration. Reference this article every Sunday and you won't miss a thing!
Jen Brown is a member of the Sebring Centennial Committee.
Not written in Sebring (by: Catherine - 8/26/2013)
The hymn was written in East Palestine, Ohio, at the then home of George Sebring. This is well-documented.
WOW! (by: sebring_resident - 6/2/2012)
A song that I hear sung guite often in church and on my playlist on my MP3, kindly brings the song to a new meaning for me. That is so cool.
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