Feast of Calvin Weiss Laufer (April 16)   2 comments

Handbook to the Hymnal (1935) August 28, 2013

Above:  Part of the Title Page of a Germane Volume from my Library

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CALVIN WEISS LAUFER (APRIL 16, 1874-SEPTEMBER 21, 1938)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymnodist

Using The Hymnal (1933) has proven to be quite a boon to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  This source has yielded many wonderful discoveries already.  And I have eight months’ worth of saints yet to go!

Among those discoveries (from my perspective) is the Reverend Calvin Weiss Laufer (1874-1938), a native of Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania.  He attended Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania (B.A., 1897; M.A., 1900) then Union Theological Seminary.  Our saint, ordained in 1900s, served at two churches:

  • Steinway Reformed Church, Long Island City, New York (1901-1905), and
  • First Presbyterian Church, West Hoboken, New Jersey (1905-1915).

Then Laufer worked for arms of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. for the rest of his life.  From 1915 to 1924 he labored for the Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work.  Then, from 1925 until his death, he worked for the Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, focusing on musical publications.  Our saint, in his official capacity, was partially responsible for the following books:

  • The Church School Hymnal for Youth (1927);
  • Junior Church School Hymnal (1928);
  • Songs for Men (1928);
  • Primary Music and Worship (1930); and
  • Hymn Lore (1932);
  • The Hymnal (1933);
  • Handbook to the Hymnal (1935); and
  • When  the Little Child Wants to Sing (1935).

Laufer, a protege of Lewis Fitzgerald Benson, produced other volumes:

Our saint wrote hymns, some of which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  He wrote “We Thank Thee, Lord, Thy Paths of Service” (1919) for use in the Flatbush Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, New York, New York, in September 1919.  The pastor, Herbert H. Field, was a dear friend with whom Laufer dined weekly.  Laufer wrote the triumphant “Thee, Holy Father, We Adore” (1931) in the midst of grief.  Our saint wrote of those circumstances in the Handbook to The Hymnal (1935):

This triumphant and joyous hymn of faith was born out of a great domestic sorrow that left the author’s heart and home bereft of an inspiring companionship.  The experience of God’s grace, in its ministry of comfort and a sense of victory in this soul crisis, not only illumined the darkness that fell but revealed the majesty and greatness of God in unforgettable glory.

–Page 19

And Laufer wrote “O Thou Eternal Christ of God” (1933) after an especially memorable Palm Sunday service.

Robert Guy McCutchan, editor of Our Hymnody:  A Manual of The Methodist Hymnal, 2d. Ed. (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1937), wrote of our saint:

A writer of hymns, a devotional poet, and a musician of attainment, Doctor Laufer has made a notable contribution to the Church at large.

–Page 164

Yes, Dr. Laufer did.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 30, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES CHAPMAN GRAFTON, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF FOND DU LAC

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Calvin Weiss Laufer)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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2 responses to “Feast of Calvin Weiss Laufer (April 16)

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  1. Pingback: Calvin Weiss Laufer | GATHERED PRAYERS

  2. Pingback: Feast of William Hiram Foulkes (June 26) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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