Above: St. Alban’s Church, Highgate, Birmingham, England
Image Source = Oosoom
Confirmation Here: http://www.saintalban.co.uk/
THOMAS BENSON POLLOCK (MAY 28, 1836-DECEMBER 15, 1896)
Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
Thomas Benson Pollock, born at Strathallan, Isle of Man, attended Trinity College, Dublin, where, in 1855, he won the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for English Verse. Our saint studied medicine yet took Holy Orders instead in 1861. He served as the Curate of St. Luke’s, Leek, Staffordshire, then as the Curate of St. Thomas, Stamford Hills, London, before, in 1865, becoming the Curate of St. Alban’s, Birmingham, where his brother, James Samuel Pollock, was the Vicar. St. Alban’s was a large mission in a poor part of the city. It operated a school and maintained a relatively large staff while depending on outside donations to finance the operations. This was a demanding place to serve as a priest. Our saint remained there for three decades, spending the last ten months as Vicar, having succeeded his deceased brother. But finally our saint had to lay down his burden; he had overworked himself.
St. Alban’s became a High Church bastion. This fact proved sufficiently controversial to lead to the threat of mob violence. That putting out more candles, bowing to altars and crosses, etc., inspired some people to contemplate committing violence disturbs me and tells me more about them than about the congregation. Those people with violent tendencies did have an alternative: going elsewhere quietly.
Our saint was an ardent liturgist. He served on the committee of Hymns Ancient and Modern and wrote metrical litanies published in Metrical Litanies for Special Services and General Use. He also edited The Gospeller, the St. Alban’s parish magazine, in which he published some hymns. Among his litanies/hymns was “Jesus, with Thy Church Abide.” I have found partial versions in different hymnals. A five-verse version is in Pilgrim Hymnal (1958), a ten-verse version is in The Hymnal 1940, and an eighteen-verse version is here: http://www.hymnary.org/text/jesus_with_thy_church_abide.
Thomas Benson Pollock spent most of his priesthood and half his life performing difficult and necessary work for the glory of God and the benefit of others. When he could do it no longer, he stopped. Our saint had earned his retirement.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JUNE 25, 2013 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, 1957
THE FEAST OF JAMES WELDON JOHNSON, POET AND NOVELIST
THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT JOHN OF MATERA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT
O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,
and to give his life for the life of the world.
Lead us by his love to serve all those
to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.
Through us give hope to the hopeless,
love to the unloved,
peace to the troubled,
and rest to the weary,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
–Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60