Fanny Crosby


Fanny Crosby : biography

March 24, 1820 – February 12, 1915

Until spring 1887 Crosby attended churches of various denominations, including the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn Heights pastored by Congregationalist abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher who was an innovator with church music.Blumhofer (Hymnody, 2006) She also attended the Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church, pastored by her distant cousin Howard Crosby, and the Trinity Episcopal church.Blumhofer (2005), p. 115. Crosby also liked to worship at the North West Dutch Reformed church and the Central Presbyterian Church (later known as the Brooklyn Tabernacle). In later life Crosby nominated Theodore Ledyard Cuyler, who pastored the North East Dutch Reformed Church as one of her favourite preachers. While tradition insists Crosby was a member "in good standing" of the John Street Methodist Episcopal Church in New York City,For example, see Hall (1914), p. 34. there are no contemporaneous records to confirm this.Blumhofer (2005), p. 350. By 1869 Crosby attended the Chelsea Methodist Episcopal Church.Dunlap (2004), pp. 32–33.

While not identified publicly with the American holiness movement of the second half of the 19th century, and despite having left no record of an experience of entire sanctification, Crosby was a fellow traveler of the Wesleyan holiness movement, including in her circle of friends prominent members of the American Holiness movement and attending Wesleyan/Holiness camp meetings.Keith Schwanz, Satisfied: Women Hymn Writers of the 19th Century Wesleyan/Holiness Movement (Grantham, PA: Wesleyan/Holiness Clergy, 1998), For example, Crosby was a friend of Walter and Phoebe Palmer, "the mother of the holiness movement","Phoebe Palmer: Mother of the Holiness Movement", Christian History (2004), and "arguably the most influential female theologian in Christian history",Charles Edward White, "Phoebe Palmer and the Development of Pentecostal Pneumatology", Wesleyan Theological Journal (Spring-Fall 1988): 198, and their daughter Phoebe Knapp, with whom she wrote "Blessed Assurance", often visiting the Methodist camp grounds at Ocean Grove, New Jersey,Wayne Bell, Ocean Grove: Images of America (Arcadia, 2000):30. as their guest. For many years (from at least 1877 until at least 1897), Crosby vacationed each summer at Ocean Grove, where she would speak in the Great Auditorium and hold receptions in her cottage to meet her admirers."A Unique Hymn Writer", The New York Times (August 22, 1897), Messenger, Holy Leisure: Recreation and Religion in God’s Square Mile (Temple University Press, 2000):114. In 1877 Crosby met William J. Kirkpatrick, one of the most prolific composers of gospel song tunes,Ian C. Bradley, Abide with Me: The World of Victorian Hymns (GIA Publications, 1997):172. and "the most prominent publisher in the Wesleyan/Holiness Movement", whom she called "Kirkie",Blumhofer (2005), p. 129. with whom she wrote many hymns. Some of her hymns reflected her Wesleyan beliefs, including her call to consecrated Christian living in "I Am Thine, O Lord" (1875):

Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord, By the power of grace divine. Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, And my will be lost in Thine.Stanza 2, "I Am Thine, O Lord",

In spring 1887 Crosby joined by "confession of faith" the Cornell Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church.