Our friends at Dunker Journal call our attention to a panoramic Brethren conference photo taken on the grounds of the Winona Lake (IN) Christian Assembly in 1913. You may see some ancestors here–see if you can figure out the buildings and the geography. To see the photo click here.
The photographer is identified on the photo as “Vandeventer,” and the historical archives of the Eastman Kodak Company list several photography awards and cash prizes being given to a Vandeventer of Winona Lake, Indiana, who used a “Century camera” for his work.
At least one local folk historian in Winona Lake believes that the photographer Vandeventer is the same person as the artist-turned-evangelist who wrote the hymn “I Surrender All.”
The following is from the website of hymnologist Wayne Walker at http://www.defenderoftruth.com/page10.html
“A song which expresses the idea of forsaking all to be a disciple of Jesus is, ‘I Surrender All’ (#332 in “Hymns for Worship Revised” and #98 in “Sacred Selections for the Church”).
“The text was written by Judson Woodbridge VanDeVenter (1855-1939). He was an artist who became a preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church who did evangelistic work. The words were penned in 1896 while he was conducting a meeting at East Palestine, OH, to recall an earlier time when, after a long struggle between continuing in art or going into fulltime religious work, he had finally surrendered and dedicated his life to Christ.
“The tune (Surrender) was composed by Winfield Scott Weeden (1847-1908). Weeden was the song director for VanDeVenter’s evangelistic campaigns. The song was first published in Gospel Songs of Grace and Glory, compiled in 1896 by Weeden, VanDeVenter, and Leonard Waver in Philadelphia, PA, for the Hall-Mack Co. Originally the music was written for soprano-tenor duet. However, some alterations were made to the text and an arrangement for full four-part harmony was done in 1935 for “Christian Hymns” (No. 1) by the editor Lloyd Otis Sanderson (1901-1992).
“The song suggests what we must do to surrender to Jesus.”