Text: Henry Jeffreys Zelley (1859-1942) Tune: George H. Cook (??-1948) arr. Charles Fuller
1. Walking in sunlight all of my journey Over the mountains, through the deep vale Jesus has said, I'll never forsake thee Promise divine that never can fail.
R/ Heavenly sunshine, Heavenly sunshine Flooding my soul with glory divine. Hallelujah, I am rejoicing Singing His praises, Jesus is mine.
2. Shadows around me, shadows above me, Never conceal my Savior and Guide; He is the light, in Him is no darkness Ever I'm walking close to His side.
3. In the bright sunlight, ever rejoicing, Pressing my way to mansions above, Singing His praises, gladly I'm walking, Walking in sunlight, sunlight of love…
From the big brown Philco radio in the parsonage living room, every Sunday morning at 8:00 sharp, we would hear Rudy Atwood playing Heavenly Sunshine at the beginning of Charles Fuller’s Old Fashioned Revival Hour. My father, who had been up since 5:00 practicing his sermon in the basement, now had breakfast ready for us. The fragrance of coffee and fresh scones made its way up the stairs. My sister, five years younger, would be down in the kitchen enjoying the music and the time with our father. Not a morning person, I did not relish it and dreaded the morning excitement.
It was the Lord’s Day, Sunday! How could you not be excited? Once again we could gather together in the church for Sunday School and church. Once again we could study and hear God’s Word! Sleeper, awake! After a breakfast of fresh baked scones and homemade strawberry jam, we would have devotions and then get ready for church while mother seared the roast beef for Sunday dinner—mashed potatoes and roast carrots, plus….while Fuller preached. Rudy Atwood led the Old Fashioned Revival Hour quartet in familiar Gospel songs, and Mrs. Fuller would read letters from troubled souls who had been blessed by the services the week before. "Take it away, honey," he would say and then she began.
Memories that grow dearer as I grow older, "flooding my soul with glory divine!"
Charles E. Fuller, (1887-1968) who in 1947 founded Fuller Theological Seminary, had grown up in southern California where his prosperous parents owned orange groves. He graduated from Pomona College ready to work as a chemist in his father’s citrus business. In 1916 he was converted and his life changed direction. After some years teaching Sunday School, he entered what is now called BIOLA University (Bible Institute of Los Angeles). Although he had been a Presbyterian, his views changed to a more fundamentalistic view so he moved to the Baptist Church and became a Baptist pastor in 1925. He was called to Calvary Church where he ministered for some time.
As his ministry grew, Fuller quickly realized he could send his message via radio to many thousands more. In 1933, he established the Gospel Broadcasting Association. In 1937, he began national broadcasts of the Old Fashioned Revival Hour on the Mutual Broadcasting System.
People came to hear the broadcasts in the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium, so they had a live audience. The Gospel Quartet, along with Rudy Atwood’s Gospel playing, plus his wife’s reading of the letters, gave it a down home feeling. By 1942, the audience numbered over ten million. In 1968, he made his last broadcast and died soon thereafter.
Scholars have noted that he was a skillful administrator, with a shrewd sense of how radio could advance his ministry and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His preaching and his establishment of Fuller Seminary, now one of the major evangelical institutions in America, made him a force for good in what would become the rise of the evangelical movement that developed after him.
Rudy Atwood (1912-1992), Fuller's musician, began playing the piano as a young boy and then for church. Fuller heard him playing and asked him to be his musician. Atwood became a famous gospel pianist, much sought after for concerts and workshops on how to play Gospel music. As of 2015, recordings of the old programs are streamed weekly on the internet.
Zelley, the author of the hymn text, was a scholar who earned a Ph.D. He became a big promoter of the camp meeting movement. A prolific writer of hymn texts, writing over 1500, he did his seminary work at Pennington Seminary. Cook, the composer, is not very well known. He spent his life working in church music contexts, composing, performing and leading musical events. He died in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Fuller arranged the chorus and left out the stanzas.
Rudy Atwood/Heavenly Sunshine!
Amazing Grace Studio Choir—with the stanzas which Atwood did not use
A medley of gospel songs with the choir beginning with Heavenly Sunshine
Rudy Atwood in Concert, medley of Gospel songs
The Old Fashioned Revival Hour—lots of programs to hear