Brethren, We Have Met to Worship (1819)
George Atkins, fl. early 19th Century
In the first publication of this hymn, it is attributed to “the late Rev. George Atkins.” Several unsuccessful attempts have been made to further identify him. The hymn is an example of a camp meeting song popular in 19th Century revivals. It is to be found in most of the oblong shape note tune-books popular in the antebellum South. It is also the traditional opening song of the annual Southern Harmony “Big Singing” in Benton, Kentucky. Held on the fourth Sunday in May, The “Big Singing” is the longest running indigenous annual musical event in the country, now in its 135th year.