Sankey

Rev Roy Jenkins looks at the enduring legacy of 19th-century American singing evangelist Ira D Sankey and how his repertoire book of 1200 Sacred Songs and Solos, lives on into the 21st century. In June 1873 the singing evangelist Ira D Sankey sailed with his preaching partner Dwight L Moody from their native America to Liverpool. Their mission according to the great contemporary revivalist Charles Spurgeon, was 'to win ten thousand souls for Christ'. Preaching to an estimated four million people, their success and influence extended way beyond religious life into every strata of society - class, culture and politics. Whilst Gladstone was an admirer - no doubt at their ability to connect with the masses, members of the Establishment including those of the House of Lords and Queen Victoria expressed grave concern. Moody was a charismatic preacher, but Sankey the sensational performer moved his audience to tears in a way that was unheard of in Britain, combining all the power and influence of the music hall with his deep personal faith.

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