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September 21, 2010

The Power of a Hymn

Upcoming movie, 'Alone Yet Not Alone,' tells a true tale of faith and redemption

I just finished an interview with T. David Gordon, author of Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns, about the power of hymns vs. the relative mediocrity of most of today's modern worship and praise choruses. That conversation came right after a call from my friend Ken Wales, a Hollywood producer who wanted to let us know about a new film he's working on -- a film which, coincidentally, also recognizes the power of hymns.

Alone Yet Not Alone, a true story, began shooting this week in Roanoke, Virginia, with Wales and Michael Snyder as producers, George Escobar as director, and Oscar-nominated composer Bruce Broughton (Silverado) handling the music. Wales says it's a cast of talented but mostly unknown actors, except for Jenn Gotzon, who played Tricia Nixon in Frost/Nixon.

The story is set in the mid-1700s in western Pennsylvania, where European settlers and Native Americans aren't quite getting along. When natives raid one village, they kidnap two young sisters, Barbara and Regina Leininger, who are later separated. The young girls cling to the hope instilled by their family's Christian faith, especially by remembering the words to a German hymn their family often sang together, "Allein, und doch nicht ganz allein." The first stanza is translated:

Alone, yet not alone am I, Though in this solitude so drear,
I feel my Saviour always nigh.
He comes the very hour to cheer,
I am with Him, and He with me
E'en here alone I cannot be.

The hymn ends up playing an instrumental role not only in sustaining the girls during their captivity, but even in reuniting them with their mother.

Wales says the film, tentatively slated for a fall 2011 release, is "an Amazing Grace type of movie," another project he produced. He says it will be a family-friendly flick that accentuates the faith angle in the story.


I remember reading in Corrie ten Boom's biography, that after strokes had taken almost all of her speech, she could still sometimes SING hymns -- but only the Dutch versions of her childhood.

Can't wait to see this film. Praise the Lord, there are still successful Christian film companies

I had a lot of fun working on this film and met a lot of nice people. I am looking forward to its release.

I can not wait to see this movie. It is one of my most anticipated movies of the year.

This we are sure is a must see! Can't wait until the release! I worked on this film myself and there are a lot of great people involved in the film. It was an honor to meet everyone who worked on the set and in the filming of it. We really need more films of our history like this.

Any idea when this fill will be realeased? I would love to see it.

I hear from many small churches from all over the country who are leading worship services without any accompaniment because they are getting smaller and smaller. I think the younger generation is really missing out on the substance that are in these old hymns.

do you have the German text to "Alone yet not alone am I"

thanks, herta zoller

This is all I could find on that hymn. It sure has an interesting background to it, from some Germans who came the US in the 1700s, and it helped to reunite a family. I don't know if it is perfect word for word, it's been 40 years since I took German, but it was all I could find.
"Allein und doch nicht ganz allein bin ich in meiner Einsamkeit.
Denn wenn ich ganz verlassen scheine, vertreibt mir Jesus selbst die Zeit.
Ich bin bei ihm und er bei mir, so kommt mir's gar nicht einsam vor."