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O, let us exalt our dear Lord and proclaim,
In songs of true gratitude, praise to His name!
As songs of the angels in sweetest accord,
Our thanks and our praises shall rise to the Lord.
-- Zion's Harp # 165

Composer Bio Information

Baumgartner, John's bio information

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John Homer Baumgartner

John Homer Baumgartner, known to many as “Johnny B.,” was born in Bluffton, IN on December 6, 1901 to Joel and Rosina (Schwartz) Baumgartner. Raised on the farm, he eventually founded the Baumgartner Hatchery and operated it for several decades. He employed many others at the hatchery, providing an income for their families during the Depression and beyond. On September 16, 1923, he married Mary Gehring. The Lord blessed them with twelve children.

As a member of the Bluffton Apostolic Christian Church, John loved singing. Expressing enthusiasm in congregational song leading and choir directing, he also taught music classes to the entire Sunday school using a large 4ft x 8ft blackboard on which he had painted the grand staff. His appreciation for the Zion’s Harp hymnal is evident by his participation in the 1958 revision. As chairman of the committee, he composed three new tunes which are still used in the current edition, for hymns #4, 21, 45, 160, and 224.

In addition to his passion for singing, John also found joy in nurturing many species of plants around his house, and in teaching others to appreciate this aspect of God’s creation. Many 4-H’ers and biology students appeared at his farm to collect from the variety of leaves for their assignments.

Since John also cultivated an interest in history and a desire to record material that would inform, exhort, and enrich future generations, he undertook to compile the history of the Bluffton church. This required a vast amount of research, as written materials on Apostolic Christian Church history were scarce at the time. In his later years he would be up early in the morning, clacking away on a typewriter. With the collaboration of several others, The First One Hundred Years was completed in fall of 1970. A month after the book went to the printer for final preparation, John passed away suddenly on November 21, 1970 at the age of 68.

“It [is] interesting to take the Zion’s Harp song book and read these songs, for they have a very deep meaning, and fit well into the time we are living in, namely, 1970. …This Zion’s Harp was the church hymnal all through the time till now, [and has] served to the uplifting of many souls through the many decades that it has existed... The book was compiled of many hymns that were written when the Christian was imprisoned due to his faith in the Lord. Persecution brought the believer closer to the Lord, and through this, many of these songs were written. It is a beautiful reading book for the true believer.” – John H. Baumgartner, The First One Hundred Years


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