Hymn writer and Christian artist Keith Getty earlier this month became the first individual artist in Christian contemporary music to be appointed Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Selected for his contribution to "Music and Modern Hymn Writing," the Belfast-native attended the investiture with his wife and fellow hymnodist Kristyn Getty at a ceremony in Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland.
"When I first received the call, I was pretty surprised," Keith recalls. "It is an honor for us as a family and also for the great hymn-writing heritage we have here in the UK of which we are a tiny part. I am very grateful to her Majesty the Queen, and it was a great privilege today to have her give the award in person."
Beyond their work as hymn writers, the Gettys have spent the last decade as ambassadors of the genre. Often written in collaboration with Stuart Townend, their hymns also include the widely popular, "In Christ Alone." An estimated 100 million people sing Getty hymns during church services each year, with the songs' adaptability to be sung in both contemporary as well as more traditional contexts of church music.
"I'm so grateful to my wife Kristyn, and also profoundly thankful for Stuart Townend, whose hymn writing partnership and brilliance have inspired us in every way," Keith says. "Kristyn and I feel utterly privileged to be able to serve the church in such a way and will continue to write and lead people in singing to build deep believers."
Last year, the Gettys' first book, "Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church," was published by B&H Publishing Group to the critical acclaim of readers and media alike. The Gettys' second annual "Getty Music Worship Conference: Sing!" will be hosted in Nashville, Tenn., on Sept. 10-12, and it is anticipated there will be 7,500 attendees from around the world.
Click below to watch the official lyric video for the Gettys' recent song, "He Will Hold Me Fast," or click here to watch it on YouTube: