In Christ There Is No East or West

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Based on New Testament passages such as Galatians 3:28 and 1 John 4:7-12, this text describes certain ideal characteristics of the church: its comprehensiveness (st. 1), unity (st. 2, 5), love (st. 3), and holiness (st. 4), ideals for which we must continually work and pray. Perry says of his text, "The spirit of reconciliation was invoked from the Pauline Epistles, and the spirit of fellowship from the Johanine."


Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 21, Question and Answer 54 confesses that the ascended Jesus Christ is now “head of his church, the one through whom the Father rules all things” and “through his Word and Spirit, out of the entire human race, gathers…a community chosen for eternal life...”


In Christ There Is No East or West

Call to Worship

Let us worship God,
who reconciled us to himself through Christ.
We are new creations;
the old has gone, the new has come!
Let us worship God as Christ’s ambassadors.
Through us and through our worship
may we announce the good news to all.
Let us worship God in spirit and in truth.
Praise God! We are reconciled, redeemed, renewed!
—based on John 4:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
[Reformed Worship 34:19]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


I believe that God,
because of Christ’s satisfaction,
will no longer remember
any of my sins
or my sinful nature
which I need to struggle against all my life.
Rather, by grace
God grants me the righteousness of Christ
to free me forever from judgment.
—Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 56
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

The following is a guide for extemporaneous prayers. The pattern provides a suggested text
for the opening and closing of each part of the prayer and calls for extemporaneous prayers of
thanksgiving, petition, and intercession.
God of our salvation,
we rejoice that in you there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free,
male or female, for we all belong as one in Christ Jesus.
We praise you for the evidence of that unity in
the church of past generations . . .
the church of all places . . .
the cooperation between missionaries . . .
the corporate work of the churches in this community . . .
our baptisms, which make us a part of your body, the church . . .
As one body we lift our common prayers
for creation and its care . . .
for the nations of the world . . .
for our nation and its leaders . . .
for this community and those in authority . . .
for the church universal as it works on your behalf . . .
for this local church in its ministry . . .
for persons with particular needs . . .
We pray this in the name of the one God and Father of all,
who is above all and through all and in all. Amen.
—based on Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 4:6
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Triune God, we pray for the church you love.
We pray for its unity:
Make us one as you are one.
We pray for its holiness:
Make us holy as you are holy.
We pray for the church in all its universal breadth:
Strengthen your church in all places, nearby and very far away.
We pray for its mission:
Make us joyful and effective ambassadors for our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the name of Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Spirit,
one God, now and forever, Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Sections of this prayer may be spoken in various languages.
Sovereign God,
we give you thanks for calling us your children
and for entrusting us with the care of your creation.
Help us to feel the many textures of your global tapestry.
Unstop our ears, that we may hear
your Word spoken in many languages.
Breathe into us the sweet aromas of life,
that we may taste the fruits of your reign.
Even now, Lord, even in Asia,
so vast, so deeply rooted in tradition;
where your church is small, but where religion is great,
Lord, teach us respect.
Help us learn from those who express faith in you in different ways.
Deepen our understanding of customs that are unfamiliar.
Help us discover new ways to witness in this ancient land.
Even now, Lord, even in the Middle East,
the cradle of the church, the land many faiths call holy,
and now the place where the pain of the cross is so vivid,
where the dry earth is watered by the tears of suffering,
free your people from their warring madness.
Teach us mutual respect, that the captives might be freed
and the frightened might be comforted.
Even now, Lord, even in Latin America,
where your church stands faithfully with the weak and the poor,
where martyrs are made and drugs dictate,
where we are paying for the sins of our past,
bring peace to our neighbors, O Lord.
Tear down the barriers that divide
and build bridges that bring people together for the common good.
Even now, Lord, even in Africa,
where your church grows rapidly,
where faith is exuberant, but where there is famine and oppression,
break the cycle of suffering among our sisters and brothers
and help us to respond to their needs in ways
that bring your message of hope to those who languish in despair.
Even now, Lord, even in North America,
where so much affluence causes so much indifference—
North America, the land with so much to give
yet a land held prisoner by its possessions—
help us to assume the role of a servant, as Jesus did.
Open our eyes to all parts of your creation
even now, Lord, even if what we see frightens us.
And help us to trust you to guide us as we act faithfully. Amen.
[Reformed Worship 16:40]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

In Christ There Is No East or West

Tune Information

B♭ Major


Musical Suggestion

Both the text, with its description of the unity of all Christians, and the tune, with its African American origin, make this hymn an excellent choice for World Communion Sunday, the first Sunday of October. As with many hymn tunes of folk or spiritual origin, the harmonization for organ and four-part congregational singing can detract from the simplicity and accessibility of the tune. Plan ahead to introduce this tune without the hymnal harmonization. Use an unaccompanied flute, violin, or clarinet on the melodic line as an introduction. Or present the tune on the organ without harmonization so that the congregation can learn the hymn in unison. For an introduction, play through the tune with a lilt by feeling two beats per measure with an upbeat tempo.
Another effective alternative is to have an unaccompanied soloist sing the first stanza or two, demonstrating the style for the congregation. The second week, one or all of these simple hand-bell/handchime and percussion parts could be added.
Once again a team of youth or adult volunteers willing to spend thirty minutes of preparation could present the percussion and ringing parts. A church school class or a children's choir also could learn the parts with a little more teaching time. Only the melody should be supplied on the organ, piano, or another instrument.
This combination of handbells or handchimes and percussion with flute on the melody makes a good processional or entrance for a children's choir. The flutist should memorize the melody and walk with the group. The whole hymn could be played through more than once as the layers are added. The procession should be casual, with the choristers moving to the music, turning to right and left, pausing in their forward motion to make eye contact and smile at congregation members. As they enter, they should clap to the music and encourage the congregation to join in the clapping. When the participation catches on, start the singing with a cue to congregation and organist. Body movement, which is essential to enjoying this kind of music, needs to be demonstrated and encouraged for most congregations.
For later use of MCKEE consider a more traditional organ introduction. Several organ collections include settings of MCKEE:
  • Sent Forth: Short Postludes for the Day by Robert J. Powell (Augsburg Fortress 11-10612)
  • Twelve Hymn Preludes for General Use by Peter Pindar Stearns (Harold Flammer 5145)
  • Suite on Afro-American Hymn Tunes by Charles Callahan (Concordia 97-6081)
  • Seven Hymn Improvisations and Free Accompaniments, Set 2 by Michael Burkhardt (Morning Star 10-860)
  • Hymn Preludes and Free Accompaniments, vol. 20 by Stephen Gabrielsen (Augsburg Fortress 11-9418)
The Michael Burkhardt improvisation is delightful and simple, fitting well with the earlier presentations of this hymn. The Burkhardt free accompaniment also is simple harmonically and very easy to sing with. The Gabrielsen prelude and free accompaniment use more complex harmonies and should be presented when the congregation has more confidence with the tune and text.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 40)
— Mary Jane Voogt

In Christ There Is No East or West

Hymn Story/Background

Many hymnals contain William A. Dunkerley's "In Christ There Is No East or West," a hymn text written in 1908 by Dunkerley under the pseudonym of John Oxenham. What is now considered male language in the original text has been altered variously in modern hymnals; our version here is one example; Michael A. Perry concluded that the revision needed to be so radical that an entirely new text would be a better choice. Thus Perry kept only Dunkerley's opening line and wrote a new text on the same theme. Perry's text was published in Hymns for Today's Church in 1982.
Based on New Testament passages such as Galatians 3:28 and 1 John 4:7-12, this text describes certain ideal characteristics of the church: its comprehensiveness (st. 1), unity (st. 2, 5), love (st. 3), and holiness (st. 4), ideals for which we must continually work and pray. Perry says of his text, "The spirit of reconciliation was invoked from the Pauline Epistles, and the spirit of fellowship from the Johanine."
MCKEE has an interesting history. According to a letter from Charles V. Stanford to Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (who arranged the tune for piano in his Twenty-Four Negro Melodies, 1905), MCKEE was originally an Irish tune taken to the United States and adapted by African American slaves. It became associated with the spiritual "I Know the Angels Done Changed My Name," which appeared in J. B. T. Marsh's The Story of the Jubilee Singers with their Songs (1876).
Harry T. Burleigh arranged the tune to fit Dunkerley's text in 1939. As a setting for that text, the tune was published in The Hymnal 1940. Burleigh named the tune after Elmer M. Mc Kee, rector of St. George's Episcopal Church, New York, where Burleigh was the baritone soloist from 1894-1946.
Sing stanzas 1, 2, and 5 in unison, the others in harmony. The instruction in The Hymnal 1940 for this tune is still helpful: sing this hymn "with dignity."
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Initially studying mathematics and physics at Dulwich College, Michael A. Perry (b. Beckenham, Kent, England, 1942; d. England, 1996) was headed for a career in the sciences. However, after one year of study in physics at the University of London, he transferred to Oak Hill College to study theology. He also studied at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and received a M.Phil. from the University of Southhampton in 1973. Ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1966, Perry served the parish of St. Helen's in Liverpool as a youth worker and evangelist. From 1972 to 1981 he was the vicar of Bitterne in Southhampton and from 1981 to 1989, rector of Eversley in Hampshire and chaplain at the Police Staff College. He then became vicar of Tonbridge in Kent, where he remained until his death from a brain tumor in 1996. Perry published widely in the areas of Bible study and worship. He edited Jubilate publications such as Hymns far Today's Church (1982), Carols far Today (1986), Come Rejoice! (1989), and Psalms for Today (1990). Composer of the musical drama Coming Home (1987), he also wrote more than two hundred hymns and Bible versifications.
— Bert Polman

Eunae Chung lives in Grand Rapids, MI, with her husband, Moses, and their two children.

Maged Dakdouk is the founder of Bridge of Hope Outreach, a ministry program in Orange County, California, with the focus of reaching the Muslim community in the area.

Anne Zaki is a resource development specialist for global and multi-cultural resources for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Her responsibilities include developing a worship curriculum for the use of Calvin faculty and students studying abroad, compiling testimonies of the international community at Calvin about their various cross-cultural worship experiences, gathering multicultural ministry and worship resources for the Ministry Resource Center, and providing helpful global links on the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship website.
Anne grew up in Cairo, Egypt, in a pastor's home. Since her teen years, she has been involved in teaching and leading ministries. At age 16 she was selected by the Egyptian Government to represent Egypt in an international school in Western Canada dedicated to peace and international understanding worldwide. Two years later Anne came to Calvin College seeking a liberal arts Christian education to help her integrate her Christian faith and her social justice convictions.
Her areas of interests include travel and learning about the different cultural influences on the church worldwide, creating new ministries, mentoring youth, and administration. Her husband is Naji Umran.  They are the parents of four sons, Jonathan, Sebastian, Emmanuel, and Alexander.
Anne received her Bachelors degree from Calvin College in Psychology and Sociology in 1999, and her Master’s degree from The American University in Cairo in the field of Social Psychology in 2002, and her Master's of Divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary in 2009.
— CICW Website Bio (http://www.calvin.edu/worship)

J.W. Schulte Nordholt (b. 1920; d. 1995) was a Dutch writer and professor of the history and culture of North America. He is best known for his publications about the United States, particularly his biography of Woodrow Wilson.

Nicole Berthet is a French author and translator.

Composer Information

Harry T. Burleigh (b. Erie, PA, 1866; d. Stamford, CT, 1949) began his musical career as a choirboy in St. Paul's Cathedral, Erie, Pennsylvania. He also studied at the National Conservatory of Music, New York City, where he was befriended by Antonín Dvořák and, according to tradition, provided Dvořák with some African American musical themes that became part of Dvořák's New World Symphony. Burleigh composed at least two hundred works but is most remem­bered for his vocal solo arrangements of African American spirituals. In 1944 Burleigh was honored as a Fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.
— Bert Polman
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