Feast of John Eliot (May 21)   1 comment

THE REVEREND JOHN ELIOT (1604-1690)

Puritan Missionary among the Algonquin

John Eliot was born at Widford in Hertfordshire, England, in 1604.  By his late twenties (in 1631), however, he had relocated to New England and become pastor of a church in Roxbury, Massachusetts.  While at Roxbury, Eliot learned the Algongquin language and began to preach to members of that nation.  Thus began the great work of his life.

In 1649, during the Commonwealth period of English history, the government created the Corporation for the Promoting and Propagating of the Gospel among the Indians of New England.  Eliot, through this entity, built a Native settlement at Natick, where they received food, clothing, shelter, and education.  Eliot founded the first Native American congregation in New England in 1660 and published an Algonquin translation of the Bible three years later.

Politics, wars, and time ravaged much of Eliot’s work, including settlements he founded, but his legacy continues.  In 1646, Eliot conducted services among members the Shinnecock Nation on Long Island.  Thus the evangelization of that tribe began.  Native pastors carried the effort to fruition.  Among these was Paul Cuffee (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/feast-of-paul-cuffee-march-4/).  And, in 1676, Eliot founded a school open to all Caucasians, African Americans, and Native Americans.  The Eliot School was thus unusual in its day.  Today it continues as the Eliot School for Fine and Applied Arts (http://www.eliotschool.org/).

As Ben Sira wrote, “Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers in their generations” (Sirach 44:1).

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 12, 2010 COMMON ERA

FEAST OF ST. JOSAPHAT, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF POLOTSK, AND MARTYR

FEAST OF CHARLES SIMEON, ANGLICAN PRIEST

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Great Creator, source of mercy, we thank you for the imagination and conviction of your evangelist, John Eliot, who brought both literacy and the Bible to the Algonquin people, and reshaped their communities into fellowships of Christ to serve you and give you praise; and we pray that we may so desire to share your Good News with others that we labor for mutual understanding and trust; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 1:1-11

Psalm 68:33-36

Romans 15:13-21

Mark 4:1-20

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One response to “Feast of John Eliot (May 21)

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  1. Pingback: Feast of Paul Cuffee (March 4) « SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

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