The Church's one foundation

Representative Text

1 The church's one Foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is His new creation,
by water and the Word;
from heav'n He came and sought her
to be His holy bride;
with His own blood He bought her,
and for her life He died.

2 Elect from ev'ry nation,
yet one o'er all the earth,
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy Name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with ev'ry grace endued.

3 Tho' with a scornful wonder,
men see her sore oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed,
yet saints their watch are keeping,
their cry goes up, "How long?"
And soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.

4 The church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord, to defend,
to guide, sustain, and cherish,
is with her to the end;
tho' there be those that hate her
and false sons in her pale,
against the foe or traitor
she ever shall prevail.

5 'Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation
of peace for evermore;
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blest,
and the great church victorious
shall be the church at rest.

6 Yet she on earth hath union
with God the Three in One,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
like them, the meek and lowly,
on high may dwell with Thee.

Source: Hymns to the Living God #288

Author: S. J. Stone

Stone, Samuel John, a clergyman of the Church of England, the son of Rev. William Stone, was born at Whitmore, Staffordshire, April 25, 1839. He was educated at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he was graduated B.A. in 1862. Later he took orders and served various Churches. He succeeded his father at St. Paul's, Haggerstown, in 1874. He was the author of many original hymns and translations, which were collected and published in 1886. His hymns are hopeful in spirit and skillfully constructed. He published several poetic volumes. He died November 19, 1900 --Hymn Writers of the Church, 1915 (Charles Nutter)… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: The Church's one foundation
Author: S. J. Stone (1866)
Meter: D
Language: English
Liturgical Use: Songs of Response


Scripture References: st. 1 = Eph. 1:22-23, Col. 1:18, 1 Cor. 3:11, Eph. 2:20, Eph. 5:26-27 st. 2 = Eph. 4:4-6 st. 3 = Rev. 6:10 This well-known hymn arose out of a theological controversy in the mid-nineteenth century. John W. Colenso, Anglican bishop of Natal, South Africa, wrote a book that expressed critical views of the historicity of parts of Scripture and questioned some articles of the Christian faith. Samuel J. Stone (b. Whitmore, Staffordshire, England, 1839; d. London, England, 1900), a clergyman in Windsor, England, was one of the people who defended the orthodox Christian faith. He did so in part by publishing his Lyra Fidelium; Twelve Hymns on the Twelve Articles of the Apostles' Creed (1866). “The Church's One Foundation” was his hymn on the article "the holy catholic church, the communion of saints." Stone's text originally had seven stanzas, but he added three more in 1885 for processional use at Salisbury Cathedral. Of those ten stanzas, 1, 2, 4, and 5 are the usual stanzas included in modern hymnals. The text portrays the Christian church as rooted in the Savior, Jesus Christ, through the water of baptism and the Word of God (st. 1). In accord with the ninth article of the Apostles' Creed, we confess through this text that the church is catholic (universal) and united by "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4:5). As we sing, we lament the "heresies" that "distress" the church (st. 3); although this is a direct reference to the Colenso controversy, the stanza fits many other situations in church history as well. The final stanza ends on a hopeful tone: the church will finally be at peace and at rest. Stone attended schools at Charterhouse and Pembroke College in Oxford, England. Ordained in the Church of England in 1862, he became curate of Windsor, a position he held until he joined his father in ministry at St. Paul's in Haggerston, London, in 1870. He succeeded his father as vicar at Haggerston in 1874, staying until 1890. From 1890 until his death he served All-Hallow-on-the-Wall in London, which he turned into a haven for working girls and women. In addition to his collection of hymns, Stone's publications include Sonnets of the Christian Year (1875), Hymns (1886), and Iona (1898). He served as a member of the committee that prepared Hymns Ancient and Modern (1909). His Collected Hymns and Poems were published posthumously. Liturgical Use: With Lord's Day 21; Reformation celebrations; church festivals; ecumenical services; in times of theological controversy. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook =========================== The Church's one Foundation. S. J. Stone. [Processional for Festivals.] The impression made upon the author's mind by Bishop Gray's (Capetown) noble defence of the Catholic Faith against the teachings of Bishop Colenso, was in chief the origin of this magnificent hymn. It has thus associations of historical value, to which special reference is made in the stanza:—
”Though with a scornful wonder Men see her sore opprest, By schisms rent asunder, By heresies distrest; Yet saints their watch are keeping Their cry goes up,”How long?” And soon the night of weeping Shall be the morn of song."
The hymn was written in 1866, and is based on the ninth article of the Apostles' Creed. It is known in three forms, (1) the original, which was published in the author's Lyra Fidelium, 1866, in 7 stanzas of 8 lines, and headed "The Holy Catholic Church: The Communion of Saints. ‘He is the Head of the Body, the Church'"; (2) the revised form in 5 st.anzas of 8 lines, made in 1868 for, and published in the Appendix to Hymns Ancient & Modern, No. 320 (the form in universal use); and (3) the expanded text in 10 stanzas of 8 lines, made in 1885 for Processional use in Salisbury Cathedral. Further reference to the full text shew that the 1868 version of the hymn is the finest of the three, and that which will live in the hymnbooks of the future. The use of this form of the text is most extensive in all English-speaking countries. It has also been translated into several European and other languages. The versions in Latin include "Nobis unum est fundamen," by the Rev. E. Marshall, 1882 (and circulated as a card); and "Qui Ecclesiam instauravit,” by the late T. G. Godfrey-Faussett, in Memorials, 1878. In reference to the fact that this hymn was chosen as the Processional at each of the three great services at Canterbury Cathedral, at Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul's Cathedral, when all the Bishops of the Lambeth Conference of 1888 assembled, the following lines were written by Bishop Nelson, of New Zealand. They appeared in Church Bells of Nov. 30, 1888.
"Bard of the Church, in these divided days For words of harmony to thee be praise: Of love and oneness thou didst strike the chords, And set our thoughts and prayers to tuneful words. The Church's one Foundation thou didst sing, Beauty and Bands to Her thy numbers bring. Through church and chancel, aisle, and transept deep, In fullest melody thy watch-notes sweep; Now in the desert, now upon the main, In mine and forest, and on citied plain: From Lambeth towers to far New Zealand's coast, Bard of the Church, thy blast inspires the host."
-- Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Composed by Samuel S. Wesley (PHH 206), AURELIA (meaning "golden") was published as a setting for “Jerusalem the Golden” in Selection of Psalms and Hymns, which was compiled by Charles Kemble and Wesley in 1864. Though opinions vary concerning the tune's merits (Henry J. Gauntlett once condemned…

Go to tune page >



You have access to this FlexScore.
General Settings
Stanza Selection
Voice Selection
Text size:
Music size:
Transpose (Half Steps):
Contacting server...
Contacting server...

Questions? Check out the FAQ

A separate copy of this score must be purchased for each choir member. If this score will be projected or included in a bulletin, usage must be reported to a licensing agent (e.g. CCLI, OneLicense, etc).

This is a preview of your FlexScore.
Baptist Hymnal 1991 #350
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
The Cyber Hymnal #818
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #502
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
The United Methodist Hymnal #545
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
Worship and Rejoice #544


Instances (1 - 73 of 73)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
African American Heritage Hymnal #337TextFlexscore
Ambassador Hymnal: for Lutheran worship #292
An Nou Chanté! : Let's Sing! #54
Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #506TextFlexscore
Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #702
Baptist Hymnal 1991 #350TextAudioPage Scan
Baptist Hymnal 2008 #346
Catholic Book of Worship III #526
Celebrating Grace Hymnal #246TextPage Scan
Chalice Hymnal #272Text
Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #538Text
Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #528
Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #739TextPage Scan
Common Praise (1998) #525Page Scan
Common Praise: A new edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern #585Page Scan
Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #636TextPage Scan
Complete Mission Praise #640
Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #486TextPage Scan
Evangelical Lutheran Worship #654TextFlexscorePage Scan
Gather (3rd ed.) #742
Gather Comprehensive #661TextFlexscorePage Scan
Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #321Text InfoTextFlexscoreAudioPage Scan
Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #525TextFlexscorePage Scan
Hymnal: A Worship Book #311
Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #170
Hymns and Psalms: a Methodist and ecumenical hymn book #515
Hymns for a Pilgrim People: a congregational hymnal #484Text
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #501
Hymns of Faith #77TextPage Scan
Hymns of Promise: a large print songbook #49TextPage Scan
Hymns of the Saints: Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints #294
Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #473
Hymns to the Living God #288TextPage Scan
Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd ed.) #606Text
Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #251TextFlexscoreAudioPage Scan
Lutheran Service Book #644TextFlexscorePage Scan
Lutheran Worship #289TextPage Scan
Moravian Book of Worship #511TextPage Scan
Oramos Cantando = We Pray In Song #605FlexscorePage Scan
Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #131Page Scan
Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #442TextPage Scan
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #502Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreAudioPage Scan
Rejoice Hymns #575
Rejoice in the Lord #394TextPage Scan
Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #348
Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #581
Sing Joyfully #115TextPage Scan
Singing the Faith #690
Small Church Music #155Audio
The Baptist Hymnal: for use in the church and home #517
The Celebration Hymnal: songs and hymns for worship #401Text
The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #579
The Cyber Hymnal #818TextScoreAudio
The Family Hymnal: for the worship of God #28
The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #277TextPage Scan
The New Century Hymnal #386TextPage Scan
The New English Hymnal #484TextPage Scan
The New National Baptist Hymnal #377
The United Methodist Hymnal #545TextFlexscoreAudioPage Scan
The United Methodist Hymnal #546
The United Methodist Hymnal #546b
The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #25Text
The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #26
The Worshiping Church #689TextFlexscorePage Scan
Timeless Truths #156TextAudio
Together in Song: Australian hymn book II #457Text
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #347TextFlexscorePage Scan
Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #331
Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #332Text
Worship (4th ed.) #736
Worship and Rejoice #544TextScoreFlexscoreAudioPage Scan
生命聖詩 - Hymns of Life, 1986 #215
찬송과 예배 = Chansong gwa yebae = Come, Let Us Worship: the Korean-English Presbyterian hymnal and service book #255
Include 669 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us