Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hymns & Hymn Writers: Anywhere With Jesus by David R. Kenney

There is a church in NE Ohio that is negotiating with the city to keep their place of worship.  The city wants the property to expand the Police Department under the “public Good” concept of eminent domain.  The community is being alerted to the situation and a debate is growing about the “public good” of a police station verses a place of worship.  One of the church’s member has been a member of the congregation his whole life.  In fact, his parents were part of the original congregation that purchased the building.  As emotional as this must be for him, he stood before the largest crowd ever to be assembled in the building and led “Anywhere With Jesus” point out that while he was certainly sentimentally attached to the structure, it is just a building.  The church is the people, not the structure.  The priority is being with Jesus wherever that may be.

Jessie Brown Hunter Pounds (1861-1921), Lyricist

Jessie Brown Hunter Pounds was born August 31, 1861 in Hiram, Ohio.  As a child, her health necessitated her being taught at home.  She was the daughter of Holland Brown who was friends with Isaac Errett, James A. Garfield and Burk A. Hinsdale.  She began writing articles for the Cleveland newspapers and religious journals at the age of 15.  She became a Staff Writer for The Christian Standard.
Jessie Brown Pounds is credited with writing the lyrics (except for the third verse) around 1887.  She also wrote “Am I Nearer Heaven Today?”, “Tell It Today”, “We Are Going Down in the Valley”, “The Way of the Cross Leads Home”, and “Are You Coming to Jesus Tonight?”  She quickly learned that her poetry could be set to music as well.  She wrote some 400 gospel hymns and collaborated with Frederick A. Fillmore for 30 years.  Based on data from, this is her second most popular hymn.  Her most popular hymn was “The Way of the Cross Leads Home”.
She was married to John Edwin Pounds on December 2, 1896 who was a Pastor of the Central Christian Church in Indianapolis, IN.  She died on May 3, 1921 in Hiram, Ohio.  Both her husband and she are buried in Fairview Cemetery in Hiram, Ohio where she preferred the view towards Hiram College.

Helen Cadbury Alexander Dixon (1877-1969), Lyricist

Helen Alexander Dixon wrote the third verse of this song in 1915.  She was born on January 10, 1877 in Birmingham, England.  She was an heiress to Cadbury Chocolate fortune.  
Some books credit this to “Mrs. C.M.A.” which is “Mrs. Charles M. Alexander” which was her name when the third verse of the song was completed.   She married Charles M. Alexander in July 1904 but he passed away in 1920.  She then married Amsji C. Dixon in 1924.  She wrote a few other hymns having studied music in Germany; however, this third verse is the most popular text she wrote for song according to 
There are versions of the song with five verses too.  The version with five verses usually has Jessie Brown Pound’s lyrics as verses 1,3 & 5 with Dixon’s lyrics as 2 & 4.  The verse that is not included in our songbook is “Anywhere with Jesus I need fear no ill, Tho’ temptations gather around my pathway still; He Himself was tempted that He might help me; Anywhere with Jesus I may victor be.” 
She died on March 1, 1969 and is buried in Lodge Hill Cemetery, Birmingham, England.

Daniel Brink Towner (1850-1919), Composer

Daniel Brink Towner was born in Rome, PA in 1850.  He studied under P. B. Bliss during grade school.  He later studied music and became the Head of the Music Department for Moody Bible Institute. 

He wrote the music for this song the same time as Jessie Brown Pounds wrote the works in 1887.  He also wrote the music for “Grace Greater Than Our Sin”, “My Anchor Holds”, “Calvary”, “The Hand That Was Nailed to the Cross”, and “Trust and Obey”.  He is credited with some 2,000 songs both in lyrics and music.

He died on October 5, 1919 and is buried in Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago, IL.  His tombstone marker includes the title “Trust and Obey” which was his most popular song.  “Anywhere With Jesus” was his second most popular song to be included in hymnbooks according to  The name of the tune is called SERENITY.

Anywhere With Jesus

Jesus promised to be with His disciples, “‛teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:20, NKJV.)  Jesus made this statement prior to ascending to Heaven. 

No matter where we may go, we are never alone.  Jesus is always with us.  We may have parents or siblings by our side most of our lives, but there will be a time that we will be alone unless we are a Christian.  As a Christian, we are never without Jesus!  Even when Stephen was soon to breathe his last before those who were about to stone him, the Scriptures reveal “When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.  But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’” (Acts 7:54-55, NKJV.)

We will all stand before Jesus at the Judgment Day—“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad”  (2 Corinthians 5:10, NKJV.)  But Christians do not need to dread this day—“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NKJV.)  For the Christian, Jesus will not only be our judge but he is also our Advocate—“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1, NKJV.)

Does the thought of going anywhere with Jesus provide you comfort?  It can, provided you have become a Christian and faithfully go everywhere with Him!


V. E. Howard, Editor, and Broadus E. Smith, Associate Editor, Church Gospel Songs & Hymns, Texarkana, TX:  Central Printers & Publishers, 1983.

Jessie Brown Pounds, Memorial Selections, Chicago, IL:  Disciples Publishing Society, 1921.

John P. Wiegand, Editor, Praise for the Lord, Nashville, TN:  Praise Press, 1997.

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