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Scottish woman wins international hymn writing competition

by Glyn Jones
Lynsey Martin Kimmitt.PNG - Banner image
Youtube screenshot/@LynseyMK

A Church of Scotland member has won a hymn writing competition organised by the World Council of Churches. Lynsey Martin Kimmitt's composition is based on the words of Jesus "Peace be with you". It is the first song competition the church organist has entered.

The winning songwriter combines her job as a solicitor with supporting her husband who is a Church of Scotland minister.

She admits winning the competition took her by surprise. "I wasn't expecting it at all. I was a bit taken aback by it. And I think everyone in the church will be excited as well. It's been exciting."

As part of the prize, ‘Peace be with you’ will be included in the official worship book for the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches. Kimmitt’s hymn is likely to receive its first public performance at the international gathering of Christian leaders in the German city of Karlsruhe at the end of this month.

It was only by chance that the 33-year-old decided to enter the song contest.

"I saw that this was up there as a competition,” she told Premier.

“I hadn't really pushed myself to write my own music. I've always wanted to I've just not had a goal or a reason to do it. The competition was the nudge that I needed."

The Church of Scotland organist from Aberlour in Moray told Premier about the hymn writing process. "The words and chorus for the song came first,” she said.

“The tune came after. I wanted that to be people blessing each other and sharing that with everyone they're singing with."

‘Peace be with you’ takes the words of Jesus as a starting point.  The songwriter explained, "The words of the verses are an exploration of peace."

Kimmitt was inspired by the use of the greeting "peace be with you" in communion services in the Church of Scotland.

"That's such a key part of the communion liturgy - you share that peace with other people. And I think that's just such a powerful thing. It's such a unifying thing."

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