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In Memoriam Alan Gaunt (1935–2023)

We mourn the passing at the age of 88 of the Reverend Alan Gaunt, minister of the United Reformed Church, poet and theologian, and an outstanding hymnwriter of his generation. Alan’s work has featured prominently in leading denominational hymnals including Common Praise and Rejoice and Sing, and in four Stainer & Bell single-author collections. Amongst his most anthologized hymns are ‘Come, living God, when least expected’, ‘Eternal God, your love’s tremendous glory’ and – perhaps his most treasured text – ‘We pray for peace’. In its plea for concord that is not ‘the easy peace built on complacency/ And not the truth of God’ it encapsulates his uncompromising dedication to his understanding of scripture, his ministry and his craft. Alan served Congregational and URC churches in different parts of the North of England from his ordination in 1958 to his retirement to the Wirral with his wife Winifred in 2000. He will be remembered by all inspired by his friendship and example, and by an even wider public through his lasting contribution to the canon of English hymnody.


1. We pray for peace,
But not the easy peace,
Built on complacency
And not the truth of God.
We pray for real peace,
The peace God’s love alone can seal.
2. We pray for peace,
But not the cruel peace,
Leaving God’s poor bereft
And dying in distress,
We pray for real peace,
Enriching all the human race.
3. We pray for peace,
And not the evil peace,
Defending unjust laws
And nursing prejudice,
But for the real peace
Of justice, mercy, truth and love.
4. We pray for peace:
Holy communion
With Christ our risen Lord
And every living thing;
God’s will fulfilled on earth
And all creation reconciled.
5. We pray for peace,
And for the sake of peace,
Look to the risen Christ
Who gives the grace we need,
To serve the cause of peace
And make our own self-sacrifice.
6. God, give us peace:
If you withdraw your love,
There is no peace for us
Nor any hope of it.
With you to lead us on,
Through death or tumult, peace will come.
Alan Gaunt (1935–2023)
© Copyright 1991 Stainer & Bell Ltd
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CCLI No: 1565464
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