Archive for January 2014

Feast of John Diefenbaker, Tommy Douglas, and Lester Pearson (August 16)   4 comments

H2O 2004 01

Above:  Canadian Houses of Parliament, from H2O (2004)

A Screen Capture I Took Via PowerDVD

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JOHN GEORGE DIEFENBAKER (SEPTEMBER 18, 1895-AUGUST 16, 1979)

Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party (1956-1967) and Prime Minister of Canada (1957-1963)

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THOMAS CLEMENT DOUGLAS (OCTOBER 20, 1904-FEBRUARY 24, 1986)

Premier of Saskatchewan (1944-1961) then Leader of the New Democratic Party (1961-1971)

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LESTER BOWLES PEARSON (APRIL 23, 1897-DECEMBER 27, 1972)

Leader of the Liberal Party (1958-1968) and Prime Minister of Canada (1963-1968)

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Today I add to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days three Canadian statesmen who, despite their political differences, were each partially responsible for creating the national health care system.

Our story begins, however, with Prime Minister Richard Bennett (1870-1947), who led his country from 1930 to 1935.  In 1935 he, the leader of the Conservative Party, was seeking another mandate.  The Prime Minister proposed a set of social programs, including national medical insurance.  Bennett lost the election and his proposal died.  Within a few years, however, a Baptist minister (whom some accused of being a Communist) influenced by the Social Gospel picked up the torch.

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Above:  Tommy Douglas

Image Source = http://www.pittmeadowstoday.ca/education-canadians-voted-tommy-douglas-our-greatest-canadian-in-2004/

Thomas Clement Douglas (1904-1986), son of Thomas Douglas and Annie Clement Douglas, was born in Falkirk, Scotland.  The family immigrated to Canada when he was six years old.  His father, an iron moulder, suffered from an injury which almost led to the amputation of one leg.  Douglas, whose future depended greatly on his father’s ability to earn a living, became convinced that quality health care should not depend upon one’s ability to afford it.  The family returned to Scotland during World War I then went back to Canada.  Douglas, shaped by the Social Gospel and by social injustices (many of them economic), earned his B.A. at Brandon College, Manitoba, in 1930 (the same year he married Irma Dempsey), and is M.A. at MacMaster University in 1933.  Then he became pastor of a Baptist congregation at Weyburn, Saskatchewan.

Politics beckoned Douglas.  He ran unsuccessfully for the provincial legislature on the Farmer-Labour ticked in 1934.  The following year he ran successfully for the federal House of Commons as a candidate of the Co-opearative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), a Fabian Socialist party.  Douglas, elected to a second term in 1940, resigned four years later to run successfully for Premier of Saskatchewan.

The CCF, founded in 1932, during the depths of the Great Depression, was an outgrowth of Progressivism.  It received much support from trade unionists, farmers, and urban intellectuals.  Causes the CCF supported included:

  1. Clearing slums;
  2. Electrifying rural areas;
  3. Establishing public works programs;
  4. Socializing financial institution and public utilities;
  5. Creating national health insurance;
  6. Establishing pensions for disabled people;
  7. Subsidizing affordable rental housing;
  8. Supporting agricultural prices; and
  9. Passing a national bill of rights.

Many of these goals became realities in governments led by Progressive Conservative John Diefenbaker and Liberal Lester Pearson.

Douglas, Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961, instituted important and historical reforms.  He granted public employees the right to bargain collectively.  The Premier’s administration granted equality of access to public places and ownership of property regardless of race, creed, color, or nationality.  And, in 1947, the provincial government began to offer a variety of insurance programs (including medical).

In 1961 the CCF ended its existence; the New Democratic Party (NDP), more moderate than the CCF, took its place with Douglas as the first federal leader.  He, returned to the House of Commons in 1962, remained there through 1979, except for a brief gap in 1968-1969.  Douglas, who left the national leadership of the NDP in 1971, received the honor of the Order of Canada in 1980.  The staunch defender of civil liberties died at Ottawa, Ontario, in 1986.

Diefenbaker 1926

Image in the Public Domain

Now we turn our attention to John Diefenbaker (1895-1979), a man who defended his opinions vigorously then acknowledged that those fellow countrymen who disagreed with him were also loyal Canadians.  National unity mattered greatly to Diefenbaker, as did how decisions which governments and corporate boards made affected common people.  “Dief the Chief” was a Western populist whose principles made him unpopular with elements of his political party, the Progressive Conservatives.

Diefenbaker, born at Neustadt, Ontario, in 1895, was son of William Thomas Diefenbaker and Mary Florence Bannerman Diefenbaker.  The future Prime Minister, who moved to the Fort Carlton region of the North-West Territories with his family in 1903, relocated with them to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, seven years later.  He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with his B.A. in 1915 and with his M.A. the following year.  Diefenbaker served in the Army in 1916 and 1917 then entered law school, graduating in 1919.

The Saskatchewan attorney entered political life.  In 1925 and 1926 he ran unsuccessfully for the House of Commons on the Conservative Party ticket.  In 1929 and 1938 Diefenbaker ran unsuccessfully for provincial offices.  Yet, from 1936 to 1940, he led the provincial Conservative Party.  And from 1940 to 1979, he sat in the House of Commons.  Diefenbaker, federal leader of the Progressive Conservative Party (renamed in 1942) from 1956 to 1967, served as Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963.

Along the way Diefenbaker married twice.   His first wife was Edna Mae Brower (1899, 1951), whom he married in 1929.  He remarried in 1953, wedding Olive Freeman Palmer (1902-1976).

As Prime Minister Diefenbaker had some important accomplishments.  As a matter of principle he opposed government favors for millionaires.  This policy disturbed many members of the Eastern, big business-oriented wing of his party yet pleased his fellow Western populists.  Diefenbaker, like Tommy Douglas an advocate of a national bill of rights, secured passage of it in 1960.  The Prime Minister led the international movement to isolate the Apartheid government of the Republic of South Africa.  And, in 1961, he appointed a Royal Commission on Health Services.  Three years later the Royal Commission endorsed the Saskatchewan model–mandatory health insurance.  (This had been mandatory in the province since 1961.)

The Canadian Bill of Rights (1960) was a landmark law.  It was the first national legislation to protect human rights and basic freedoms.  This bill of rights lasted until 1982, when the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms superceded it.

Diefenbaker, a Baptist, died at Ottawa, Ontario, in 1979.

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Above:  Lester Pearson, July 16, 1956

Copyright: Copyright assigned to Library and Archives Canada by copyright owner Duncan Cameron
Credit: Duncan Cameron / Library and Archives Canada / e007150483

Mikan number 3727308

http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=3727308&rec_nbr_list=105124,3727311,3840421,3727310,3840420,3727308,3840408,3840418,3840414,3727312

The final luminary in our Canadian triad is Lester Pearson (1897-1972), Diefenbaker’s frequent political adversary.  Pearson was born at Toronto, Ontario.  He, the son of a Methodist pastor, attended public schools at Peterborough and Hamilton.  Pearson served in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I.  His military service ended when a bus ran over him and the Corps sent him home.  Then Pearson attended the University of Toronto (B.A., 1919) and Oxford University (degrees in 1923 and 1925).  Next he worked as a Lecturer (1924-1926) then as an Assistant Professor (1926-1928) of History at the University of Toronto.

Then Pearson commenced his career as a diplomat.  He, married to Maryon Elspeth (1901-1989) since 1925, became a first secretary in the new federal Department of External Affairs in 1928.  This led to a series of diplomatic postings and service on two royal commissions then a stint as Secretary (later Counsellor) of the Canadian High Commissioner’s Office in London.  Pearson, nearly the first Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), served as the first Ambassador to the United States in 1945-1946.  Next, in 1946-1948, he was the Undersecretary of State for External Affairs.  In 1947 Pearson served as Chairman of the UN’s Political and Security Committee; he proved instrumental in the partition of Palestine in 1947.

Then, in 1948, Pearson entered politics, his arena for the next two decades.  The future Prime Minister, a member of the Liberal Party, joined the House of Commons and became Secretary of State for External Affairs.  His diplomacy continued–he was ever a diplomat–into political life.  In 1956, during the Suez Crisis, Pearson proposed the creation of a UN peacekeeping force, thereby aiding British and French withdrawal from Egypt.  For this he won the Nobel Peace Prize the following year.  In 1957, with Diefenbaker’s rise to the office of Prime Minister, the Liberal Party became the main opposition party.  Pearson led that party from 1958 to 1968, when he retired from public life.

Pearson became Prime Minister in 1963.  He led two successive minority governments (1963-1965 and 1965-1968).  His tenure was eventful.  In 1965 Pearson signed the Canada Pension Plan (similar to Social Security in the U.S.A.), something for which Tommy Douglas also advocated.  Pearson also presided over the centennial of Canadian confederation in 1967.  Of great importance also were two other laws.

In 1966 the Government of Canada created Medicare–socialized medicine–via the Medical care act.  This accomplishment also had the fingerprints of Richard Bennett, Tommy Douglas, and John Diefenbaker all over it.

Flag of Canada Pre-1965

Above:  The Flag of Canada, 1957-1965

Image in the Public Domain

And, in December 1964, Parliament voted to change the national flag, switching from a flag with the Union Jack prominent in it to the current banner, the one with the maple leaf symbol.

Flag of Canada Current

Above:  The Flag of Canada Since 1965

Image in the Public Domain

This was not a universally popular decision.  John Diefenbaker, a defender of Canada’s British heritage, opposed the new flag.  He spoke of the two founding nations of Canada–Britain and France–and of how the flag should show both heritages.  The former Prime Minister also spoke of the Canadian soldiers who had died fighting under a Canadian flag with the Union Jack on it.

Pearson, ever the diplomat and mediator, tried to resolve a variety of disputes, sometimes unsuccessfully.  In 1965, for example, the Prime Minister, in a speech at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, criticized U.S. policy in Vietnam and suggested that, if the United States were to halt bombing in Vietnam, there might be an opening for a negotiated settlement.  President Lyndon Baines Johnson took great offense and invited him to Camp David.  There the President demonstrated his displeasure by grabbing the Prime Minister’s lapels and scolding him.  Canada, Johnson said, did not do its fair share to spread freedom around the world, so Pearson had no right to criticize U.S. foreign policy.  The Prime Minister came away from that encounter convinced that the President was a bully and that the United States was not a senior partner but a nation to view from a distance.  Pearson’s subtle description of the encounter to his cabinet was to recount

the story of a British policeman giving evidence at a murder trial.  “My Lord,” the policeman told the judge, acting on information received, I proceeded to a certain address and there found the body of a woman.  She had been strangled, stabbed and shot, decapitated and dismembered.  But, My Lord, she had not been interfered with.”

At Camp David, the Prime Minister concluded, he had at least not been

interfered with.

–Quoted in Robert Dallek, Flawed Giant:  Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973 (New York, New York:  Oxford University Press, 1998), page 259

Pearson, a member of the United Church of Canada, died at Ottawa, Ontario, in 1972.

I have been pondering and studying Canada for years.  It is an interest which many people do not understand.  This interest has led me, however, to learn of these great men–statesmen, really–who left Canada better than they found it.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 31, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES FREDERICK MACKENZIE, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CENTRAL AFRICA

THE FEAST OF HENRY TWELLS, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF MARY LUNDIE DUNCAN, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF MENNO SIMONS, MENNONITE LEADER

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servants John Diefenbaker, Tommy Douglas, and Lester Pearson,

to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Matthias Claudius (August 14)   1 comment

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Image Source = http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/c/l/claudius_m.htm

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MATTHIAS CLAUDIUS (AUGUST 15, 1740-JANUARY 21, 1815)

German Lutheran Writer

Life takes circuitous routes sometimes, even leading us to destinations for which we were headed once, but by a different path.  And sometimes our detours away from these original destinations prove useful when we finally arrive at them.  It is as if we are better suited for our tasks at those destinations after we have walked away from them first.  That is grace.

The life of Matthias Claudius (1740-1815) demonstrates this point well.  He, the son of a Lutheran minister, studied at Jena (1759-1763), focusing first on theology then switching his emphasis to law instead.  Our saint’s career path took him into journalism; he edited a newspaper, The Wandsbeck Messenger.  Our saint’s career progressed, but not without frequent monetary problems.  In 1776 he became a commissioner of agriculture and manufactures of Hesse Darmstadt.  Then, the following year, Claudius reverted to Chistianity after a severe illness.  That year, 1777, our saint returned to the editorship of The Wandsbeck Messenger, publishing much religious poetry there.  He was probably in a position to reach more people than if he had become a pastor like his father.  In 1788 our saint accepted an appointment to become auditor at the Schlesswig Holstein bank in Altoona.  Years later, he died at the home of his daughter and son-in-law at Hamburg.

Our saint’s reputation seems to depend primarily upon hymn texts, some of which have entered English hymnody via translations.  Among these texts is “We Plow the Fields and Scatter,” a hymn especially appropriate for harvest time each year.  More broadly, though, the text is one of gratitude for what God has done.  Such a text is a fine legacy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 30, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK OAKELEY, ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINT BATHILDAS, QUEEN OF FRANCE

THE FEAST OF CHARLES I OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND, KING AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF LESSLIE NEWBIGIN, UNITED REFORMED THEOLOGIAN

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Matthias Claudius and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Elizabeth Payson Prentiss (August 13)   1 comment

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Image Source = http://www.hymntime.com/tch/bio/p/r/e/prentiss_ep.htm

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ELIZABETH PAYSON PRENTISS (OCTOBER 26, 1818-AUGUST 13, 1878)

U. S. Presbyterian Hymn Writer

Elizabeth Payson, born in Portland, Maine, was daughter of the Reverend Edward Payson, a Congregationalist minister.  She, a writer from her youth, published first at age sixteen years, in The Youth’s Companion.  In time she wrote a variety of books, from poetry to children’s literature.  A partial list follows:

  1. The Flower of the Family (1856);
  2. Little Suzy’s Six Birthdays:  First Series (1857);
  3. Little Threads (1864);
  4. Stepping Heavenward (1869);
  5. Fred, and Maria, and Me (1872);
  6. Aunt Jane’s Hero (1873);
  7. Religious Poems (1873);
  8. Golden Hours,or, Hymns and Songs of the Christian Life (1874);
  9. The Home at Greylock (1876); and
  10. Gentleman Jim (1878).

Her husband edited an posthumous volume, Life and Letters (1878).  There was another posthumous volume, How Sorrow Was Changed into Sympathy:  Words of Cheer for Mothers Bereft of Little Children (1884).  A posthumous collection of previously published material was Avis Benson; or Mine and Thine; with Other Sketches (1880).

Our saint became a teacher, instructing students at Portland Maine; Ipswich, Massachusetts; and Richmond, Virginia; before, in 1845, marrying the Reverend George Lewis Prentiss, a Presbyterian minister, later a Professor of Homiletics at Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York.

Our saint’s historical reputation rests primarily on one hymn, “More Love to Thee, O Christ,” which, although printed first in 1869, probably dated to as early as 1856.  The text speaks for itself far more eloquently than my powers to summary and paraphrase.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 29, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LYDIA, DORCAS, AND PHOEBE, COWORKERS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL

THE FEAST OF ANDREI RUBLEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ICONOGRAPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS GENESIUS I OF CLERMONT AND PRAEJECTUS OF CLERMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; AND SAINT AMARIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT GILDAS THE WISE, HISTORIAN AND ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Elizabeth Payson Prentiss and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Alfred Tennyson (August 5)   1 comment

Tennyson

Image in the Public Domain

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ALFRED TENNYSON (AUGUST 6, 1809-OCTOBER 6, 1892)

English Poet

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For finished and exquisite artistry he had no peer among his contemporaries.  His mind moved habitually on high levels; his teaching was always on what ennobles and exalts; and though his sensitive spirit was acutely alive to to the questionings and spiritual uncertainties of his age, which his work faithfully reflects, his faith in Divine goodness and guidance and in the life beyond gave comfort and strength to his generation.

–James Moffatt, ed. Handbook to the Church Hymnary (London, England, UK:  Oxford University Press, 1927), pages 516 and 517

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Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892), perhaps the most famous English poet of the Victorian age, was son of George Clayton Tennyson, an Anglican priest.  Our saint published is first volume of poetry with his brother Charles; Poems by Two Brothers (1827) debuted before Tennyson started his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge (1828).  While a student there he published a solo volume, Poems, Chiefly Lyrical (1830).  Many great poems followed.  Our saint became the national Poet Laureate in 1850.  In 1884 he became a peer, the Baron Tennyson of Aldworth and Farringford.  He died in 1892, interred at Westminster Abbey.

Tennyson, who never wrote hymns per se, did compose texts from which others excerpted hymns.  Here is one example:

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar

When I put out to sea,

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But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.

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Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell

When I embark;

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For, though from out our bourne of time and place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have reached the bar.

And here is another example:

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light;

The year is dying in the night;

Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

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Ring out the grief that saps the mind,

For those that here we see no more;

Ring out the feud of rich and poor,

Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,

The civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right,

Ring in the common love of good.

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Ring out old shapes of foul disease,

Ring out the narrow lust of gold;

Ring out the thousand wars of old,

Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,

Ring in the Christ that is to be.

I found these texts and another one (which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog) in The Hymnal (1933), Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., one of the better hymnbooks–certainly one classier ones–of the previous century.  And I found another Tennyson in Hymns for the Family of God (1976), one of the hymnals on the other end of the spectrum from classy:

More things are wrought by prayer

Than this world dreams of.

Wherefore, let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friends,

For so the whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.

That text is a rare bright spot of quality in that hymnal, populated by a combination of gold and dross–mostly the latter.

This is a post about Tennyson, however, so I return to him.  Our saint, a man of deep piety and great literary ability, used his talents to glorify God and to beautify the world–to exalt the noble and the lovey.  He set the bar very high.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 28, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF CHARLES KINGSLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST, NOVELIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARNBY, ANGLICAN CHURCH MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD FREDERICK LITTLEDALE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Alfred Tennyson

and all those who with words have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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Feast of John Brownlie (August 4)   1 comment

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Image Source = http://www.hymntime.com/tch/bio/b/r/o/w/brownlie_j.htm

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JOHN BROWNLIE (AUGUST 3, 1859-NOVEMBER 18, 1925)

Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns

John Brownlie (1859-1925) contributed much to his community and to the larger church.  His interest in hymnody led him to enrich the lives of Christians of his day and many of us born since then.  Our saint, educated at the University of Glasgow, became a minister of the Free Church of Scotland (1843-1900) then its successor, the United Free Church of Scotland (1900-1929).  From 1885 to 1890 he served as the assistant pastor of the congregation at Portpatrick, Wigtownshire; from 1890 he was the senior pastor.  From 1897 to 1901 our saint sat on the board of governors of Stranraer High School; in 1901 he became the chairman of the board.

Brownlie’s most enduring legacy is that of his contribution to English hymnody.  He translated many hymns into English and composed many original hymns.  And he published collections of these texts, original and translated.  A partial list of such volumes follows:

  1. Hymns of Our Pilgrimage (1889);
  2. Zionward:  Hymns of the Pilgrim Life (1890);
  3. Pilgrim Songs (1892);
  4. Hymns of the Early Church (1896);
  5. Hymns of the Greek Church (1900);
  6. Hymns of the Holy Eastern Church (1902);
  7. Hymns from the East (1907);
  8. Hymns of the Russian Church (1907);
  9. Hymns of the Apostolic Church (1909); and
  10. Hymns from the Morningland (1911).

Our saint also prepared Hymns and Hymn Writers of The Church Hymnary (1899), the companion volume to The Church Hymnary (1898).

The Church is better off for the talents of people such as John Brownlie applied to the glorification of God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 27, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, BISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE

THE FEAST OF ALLEN WILLIAM CHATFIELD, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN COSIN, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF DURHAM

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JONES, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND MUSICIAN

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

thank you for those (especially John Brownlie)

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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Feast of Georg Weissel (August 2)   1 comment

AltrossgaerterKirche

Above:  Altrossgarten Church, Konigsberg, Germany, 1906

Image Source = Picture Library East Prussia,

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GEORG WEISSEL (1590-AUGUST 1, 1635)

German Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer

Georg Weissel (1590-1635), son of Johann Weissel, a judge at then mayor of Domnau (near Konigsberg, Prussia), wrote at least twenty-three hymns.

Our saint, a pastor, arrived at that destination by a winding path.  Weissel studied at the University of Kongisberg from 1608 to 1611 then at Wittenberg, Leipzig, Jena, Strasbourg, Basel, and Marobor.  From 1614 to 1617 he served as the Rector of a school at Friedland (near Domnau).  Then he resigned to resume theological studies at Konigsberg.  Finally, in 1623, our saint became the first pastor of the Altrossgarten Church in that city.  His tenure there ended when his life did.

I have added some of Weissel’s hymns (translated into English, of course) to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.

One way of arriving at a sufficient understanding of someone when preparing these posts is to read his or texts.  Sometimes certain lines “jump out” at me.  Such is the case with regard to “Seek Where Ye May Find a Way,” which Arthur Voss translated in 1938.  The beginning of the fourth verse reads:

My heart’s Delight,

My Crown most bright,

Thou, Jesus, art forever.

Nor wealth nor pride

Nor aught beside

Our bond of love shall sever.

That kind of bond is worth seeking, finding, and retaining.  And Georg Weissel seems to have had it.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 26, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND SILAS, COWORKERS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANGELA MERICI, FOUNDER OF THE COMPANY OF SAINT URSULA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES MATHIAS, UNITED STATES SENATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULA, CONFIDANTE OF SAINT JEROME

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Georg Weissel and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Nancy Byrd Turner (July 28)   2 comments

Flag of Virginia

Above:  The Flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia

Image in the Public Domain

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NANCY BYRD TURNER (JULY 29, 1880-SEPTEMBER 5, 1971)

Poet, Editor, and Hymn Writer

Nancy Byrd Turner was a professional writer.  She, born at Boydton, Virginia, in 1880, was the daughter of Nancy Turner and Byrd Thornton Turner, an Episcopal priest.  She graduated from Hannah More Academy, Reisterstown, Maryland, an Episcopal boarding school for girls.  Our saint taught before turning to writing and editing, joining the editorial staff of The Youth’s Companion magazine (published in Boston, Massachusetts) in 1916; she edited the children’s page from 1918 to 1922.  Next she worked on the staff of The Independent, Boston (extant 1848-1928).  By 1928 she had joined the editorial staff of the Houghton Mifflin Company.  Over the decades of our saint’s life she also published in a variety of other magazines, such as The New Yorker and Good Housekeeping.  She also wrote fifteen books, including Zodiac Town:  The Rhymes of Amos and Anna (1921).

Turner, an excellent poet, wrote a hymn, “O Son of God, Who Walked Each Day,” for The Church School Hymnal for Youth (1928), Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A (1869-1958).

Our saint retired to Ashland, Virginia, where she worked as a freelance writer and from which she traveled as a lecturer.  She, the recipient of the Golden Rose Prize (1930) of the New England Club and the 1948 poetry prize of the Virginia Writer’s Club, died in 1971.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 25, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Nancy Byrd Turner

and all those who with words have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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