Charles Albert Tindley was a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church and a founding figure in American gospel music. Born in Berlin, Maryland, in 1851, he died as pastor of a 12,500 member congregation in Philadelphia. He also wrote the words and music to dozens of gospel hymns, including five published in the current United Methodist Hymnal and others found in the Songs of Zion songbook. In welcoming the celebration, Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, executive director of BMCR, noted that Tindley was "one of the greatest preachers of his day."
Tindley's work is highly relevant to the contemporary church, according to the Rev. Dr. ST Kimbrough, who heads both the Mission Evangelism Office and the Global Praise Program of the General Board of Global Ministries. "His imagery, biblical allusions, and folk expressions are those with which African Americans may readily identify; and yet, his hymns have reached far beyond one group of people to the larger Christian community."
"Beams of Heaven as I Go" and "We'll Understand it Better By and By" are two of the hymns by Tindley in the United Methodist Hymnal. The CD will feature 75 minutes of Tindley hymns in diverse styles. The songbook will be the first major collection of his words and music in 60 years.