The Jubilate Group

Words and music for worship

Free access to hundreds of contemporary hymns and arrangements by a group of the UK's leading Christian composers and writers.

Christopher Idle

Born at Bromley, Kent. 11 September 1938.

Educated at Eltham College, after which he worked in an office, a shop and a hospital.

Studied English at Saint Peter's College, Oxford (BA 1962) and Theology at Clifton Theological College, Bristol.

Married Marjorie Rycroft, who was then nursing, in 1963; they have four married sons and (to date) seven grandchildren.

Ordained 1965, serving Church of England parishes at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria; Peckham, South East London; Poplar and Limehouse, East London; and North Hartismere, Suffolk, which comprised seven villages.

He and Marjorie returned to Peckham in 1995; from then until 2003 he worked with local schools and churches (Anglican and Baptist), as well as writing and editing from home, and part-time teaching in the Cornhill Training Course for preachers.

Member of the editorial groups for 'Psalm Praise', London 1973; 'Hymns for Today's Church', London 1982; 'Anglican Praise', Oxford 1987; 'Sing Glory', Stowmarket 1999; and 'Praise!', Darlington 2000.

His own hymn texts to date were collected in 'Light upon the River', London and Carol Stream, Illinois. 1998.

Other publications include 'The Lion Book of Favourite Hymns', 1980; 'Hymns in Today's Language?', 1982; 'The Journals of John Wesley' (abridged), 1986; 'Christmas Carols and their Stories', 1988; 'What shall we sing?', 1996; 'The Word we preach, the words we sing', 1998; 'Real Hymns, Real Hymn Books', 2000.

He has contributed to some twenty other books including those on evangelism, inner-city church life, and prayer and poetry collections.

He edited the quarterly 'News of Hymnody' in two spells totalling ten years, and (briefly) the Bulletin of the Hymn Society. He has been a frequent contributor and reviewer for several Christian weekly and monthly periodicals.

He wrote over 320 'Christian Comment' columns for two local newspapers, and had a regular slot on BBC Radio Suffolk.

A conscientious objector to military service in 1958, he has maintained links with the peace movement in various forms including CND, the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Anglican Pacifist Fellowship. .

He also belongs to the evangelical Anglican group Reform and is a supporter of Crosslinks and OMF International (mission societies). .

Recreations include jogging (4 marathons) and football.

In autumn 2002 Marjorie, who was also a writer, adult literacy teacher and occasional organist, was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and she died at St Christopher's Hospice in February 2003. The following September Christopher took official retirement on reaching 65 and returned to Bromley after a 40-year absence. .

With permission to officiate in the Rochester Diocese, he is currently the Hon Assistant Minister at his parish church of Holy Trinity, Bromley Common.

Click here for a list of all Christopher's material on the Jubilate site.  

Lyrics by Christopher Idle

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