The anthology of hymns Pilgrim Praise by Fred Kaan (1929-2009) has come to be regarded as a landmark for hymnody in the 20th Century. It contained fifty original hymn texts written by Kaan which aimed to offer reflection and responses to the challenges facing the church and Christians as it preached the Gospel in a rapidly changing, modern world. The collection soon became popular throughout not only the United Kingdom, but also Canada and the United States. It launched Kaan as one of the eminent hymnwriters of the century, along with Timothy Dudley-Smith, Erik Routley, and many others. From Kaan’s pen have come many enduring and popular hymns.
Kaan was born in Holland, and lived through the Nazi occupation of his native country (1940-1945) during World War Two (1939-1945). This experience no doubt shaped his lifelong commitment to pacifism, peace and justice, themes that speak clearly in his hymn ‘For the Healing of the Nations’. His hymn writing was rooted in a deep theological integrity, exemplified by his post-communion hymn ‘Now Let Us From This Table Rise’ – the first hymn he ever wrote.