The Power of Music


Like rising music stars and LVC alumni The Small Town Titans, the Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette ’82, who writes modern lyrics to traditional hymns, has a passion for her work. 

She began writing new hymn text reflecting on modern-day struggles in 1998 after hearing about the practice at a conference. Later that year, after Hurricane Mitch roared through Honduras killing 10,000 people, Gillette penned “The Storm Came to Honduras” as a lament about the suffering of the people there. PBS featured the hymn in a news story about the relief efforts, and the response Gillette received encouraged her to continue writing. 

“I think it was then that I started to see the possibilities for helping people in churches to see the real connections between faith and life, between the Bible and the newspaper, between being blessed and being called to be a blessing,” Gillette said. 

With her husband and co-pastor, the Rev. Bruce Gillette, Carolyn has written and released more than 400 lyrics to traditional hymns that examine the state of our world and the need for social justice reform. 

Gillette credits the success of her life’s work to her strong Christian upbringing, support and guidance from LVC faculty, and the experience of doing service work in Haiti over winter break while still a student. “That week in Haiti truly changed my life, making me more aware of the needs of the world around us.” 

And that is the ultimate outcome of an LVC education—development of “the discriminating mind and the understanding heart,” as the College’s centennial theme so succinctly stated back in 1966. More than 50 years later, and the theme continues to ring true. LVC remains a place where students can overcome their circumstances and find their unique paths to making the world a better place through the same vigorous work and perseverance that has sustained the institution throughout its history.