Songwriter Keith Getty was honored last Friday (June 16) as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The award, which commemorates Getty’s contribution to Music and Modern Hymn Writing, marks the first time the award has been given to an individual in the world of contemporary church music.
Getty, along with collaborators including his wife, Kristyn, as well as Stuart Townend, has penned over 60 of the most popular 2,000 hymns sung in the U.S. and United Kingdom, according to Christian Copyright Licensing International. The Getty-Townend hymn, “In Christ Alone,” is the No. 1 most popular hymn sung in the UK for the past nine years and is also among the top 10 in the USA. According to their publishers, it is estimated that over 100 million people sang this one hymn in the last 12 months.
“When I first received the call, I was shocked,” said Getty about the honor. “As a Brit living in America it is an incredible gift to receive from home, especially given the long history of the award and the legacy of individuals who have received it. It is also wonderful to see hymnody and the great hymn-writing heritage I am from in the U.K. be recognized in this way. I am very grateful to her Majesty the Queen for this honor.”
On June 25, the Gettys will lead their second Global Hymn Sing. The Gettys’ 2016 hymn sing resulted in more than 1.1 million congregants in 5,400-plus churches in 100 countries around the world joining together in song. Later this year, they will also launch their Sing! campaign with their first book, Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church, which will be published internationally by B&H (Lifeway), and their first Sing! conference in Nashville.
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