1931 - 2020 Author of "Gentle God, When We Are Driven" in Voices Together Shirley Erena Murray (b. Invercargill, New Zealand, 1931) studied music as an undergraduate but received a master’s degree (with honors) in classics and French from Otago University. Her upbringing was Methodist, but she became a Presbyterian when she married the Reverend John Stewart Murray, who was a moderator of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand. Shirley began her career as a teacher of languages, but she became more active in Amnesty International, and for eight years she served the Labor Party Research Unit of Parliament. Her involvement in these organizations has enriched her writing of hymns, which address human rights, women’s concerns, justice, peace, the integrity of creation, and the unity of the church. Many of her hymns have been performed in CCA and WCC assemblies. In recognition for her service as a writer of hymns, the New Zealand government honored her as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit on the Queen’s birthday on 3 June 2001. Through Hope Publishing House, Murray has published three collections of her hymns: In Every Corner Sing (eighty-four hymns, 1992), Everyday in Your Spirit (forty-one hymns, 1996), and Faith Makes the Song (fifty hymns, 2002). The New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, for which she worked for a long time, has also published many of her texts (cf. back cover, Faith Makes the Song). In 2009, Otaga University conferred on her an honorary doctorate in literature for her contribution to the art of hymn writing.
I-to Loh, Hymnal Companion to “Sound the Bamboo”: Asian Hymns in Their Cultural and Liturgical Context, p. 468, ©2011 GIA Publications, Inc., Chicago
Shirley Erena Murray