There are over 20 hymns by Fred Kaan in Rejoice and Sing, so it is not surprising that one of his hymns is often chosen by our worship leaders.
Fred Kaan was born in the Netherlands and his teenage years were the time of the Nazi occupation. His parents were active in the Dutch Resistance, taking refugees into their home. As a teenager he became a pacifist and began attending church. His experiences of wartime had a lasting effect upon him.
In 1952 he began to study for the Congregational Ministry at Western College, Bristol. His first pastorate was in Barry, South Wales. In 1963 he moved to Pilgrim Church in Plymouth. It was in Plymouth that many of his hymns were written as his poetic gifts became evident. The first edition of Pilgrim Praise was published in 1968.
From 1968 until 1978 Revd Kaan was secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in Geneva. After this time he became Moderator of the West Midland Synod of the United Reformed Church. His final ministry was in Swindon.
Fred Kaan died in 2009. Rev Roberta Rominger, then General Secretary of the United Reformed Church said, ’We thank God for the gift to us of Fred Kaan, whose passion for peace and justice, ecumenical drive and ability to enable the Church to sing the faith in plain but moving speech have had a major influence on the Church in the last half of the twentieth century’.
You may have sung some of these hymns:
For the Healing of the Nations, Lord we pray with one accord. (Rejoice and Sing 620),
Now let us from this table rise (R & S 463),
We have a King who rides a donkey (R & S 210)
Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us, (R & S 646),
Put peace into each other’s hands and like a treasure hold it, (R & S 635) .