Wadebridge was the scene of a world premiere during June.

A new hymn was debuted for the first time at the John Betjeman Centre having been written specifically for a service taking place at the centre.

The hymn was written after worship leaders discovered there was a lack of hymns about Elijah and the Widow, one of the stories planned for a service. Advice was sought online and although no one could suggest an existing hymn, the message was picked up by Dr John Hartley from Bradford, who is a frequent hymn writer and composer. He felt inspired to set about creating a new hymn for this day which he called Old man, I Cannot feed you.

The words not only re-tell the story: “I gather sticks for fire: these few are the ones I can find. Go home and bake for you a cake? You’re out of your tiny mind!” The final verses go on to make a link with our society today, reminding us that even though we have an abundance from a generous God, some people still need to use foodbanks unless we are willing to share.

John also composed a catchy tune in 6/8 to go with his words. The congregation at the service, which was led by Lay Worship leader Wendy Dalley and assisted by pianist Janet Hereward, quickly learnt the tune just before the worship began, with the words projected onto the wall at the front.

During the service they heard the reading from I Kings 17 about Elijah and the Widow, not only about how God provided for the least regarded people in society but also how Elijah himself was instrumental in allowing God’s love to be shown towards the dying son and bringing him back to life. Immediately afterwards, the congregation all joined enthusiastically in singing this new hymn. They then went on to think more about what the reading was saying and how it might be applied today.