Archive for January 2015

Feast of Johan Nordahl Brun (July 27)   1 comment

Kalmar Union 1400

Above:  The Union of Kalmar, 1400

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHAN NORDAHL SVENDSEN BRUN (MARCH 21, 1745-JULY 26, 1816)

Norwegian Lutheran Bishop, Author, and Hymn Writer

Intermarriage among the royal families of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden culminated in the Union of Kalmar (1397-1523).  Norway was part of Denmark from 1380 to 1814, when, in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars, Sweden (which broke away from the Union of Kalmar in 1523) gained Norway.  Norwegian nationalism persisted during these centuries leading up to Norwegian independence in 1905.  Our saint for today was part of that nationalistic movement.

Johan Nordahl Svendsen Brun entered the world at Bynesset, Norway, on March 21, 1745.  His parents were Svend Busch Brun (a merchant) and Mette Katarina Nordahl Brun.  Svend taught his son arithmetic and writing.  Mette taught her child to read the Bible.  Our saint had read the Bible twice before his eleventh birthday.  He was on the path to the ordained ministry.

That path contained some difficult times, however.  A half-brother, a theology student at Copenhagen, encouraged Brun to study theology and even tutored him in the subject.  Our saint studied at the Latin school and the university at Trondhjem, Norway, and worked as a family tutor in the home of one Mr. Mennche, a councilor there.  In Copenhagen Brun failed his initial theological examination and performed badly on his first homiletical test.  Back at Trondhjem, our saint wrote poetry, taught, and preached.  For a brief time in 1771 he served as the private secretary to one Bishop Gunnerius during a trip to Copenhagen.  Brun did not know German, so he had to resign.  At Copenhagen, however, he wrote Zarine, a play which won much acclaim.  In 1772, still in Copenhagen, Brun wrote the first Norwegian-language play, Einer Tamberskeilver, which attracted more criticism than acclaim at the time.  Our saint also wrote nationalistic songs, including the first, unofficial Norwegian national anthem.

Bergen, Norway

Above:  Bergen, Norway, Between 1890 and 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-06107

Brun became an ordained minister in 1772.  From 1772 to 1774 he served as the assistant minister at his hometown, Bynesset.  There he married Ingeborg Lind (1746-1827) in 1773, after an engagement period of twelve years.  For nearly three decades (1774-1804) Brun was the senior pastor at the Church of the Cross, Bergen.  Then, from 1804 to 1816, he served as the Bishop of Bergen.  There he died on July 26, 1816.

Brun composed hymns.  In 1786 he published Evangelical Hymns, a collection of sixty-five texts.  An excerpt from one of them follows:

Today I was my Savior’s guest,

My soul was there so richly blest,

The Bread of Life receiving.

Oh, may thereby my faith prevail,

So that its fruits shall never fail

Till my account is given

Before the throne in heaven.

–Translated by Oluf Hanson Smeby (1851-1929)

Brun was a Pietist, resisting rationalistic (Enlightenment) influences in Lutheranism.  This meant that he also disagreed with Confessional Lutheranism, which has no kind words or rational or Pietistic theology.  As for me, I am an Episcopalian, thus I have Richard Hooker’s Three-Legged Stool, which consists of scripture, tradition, and reason.  I value reason highly, thus I harbor strong rationalistic sympathies; I am more of a rationalist than a mystic.  Pietism, which in its classical form, entails a focus on personal experience, requires only the most perfunctory of shoves to become a form of works-based righteousness or of legalism; it is a heresy which infects much of Protestantism, especially the Methodist and Holiness movements and their heirs, much of Lutheranism, and, to a lesser extent, the Moravian Church.  Professor Phillip Cary argues persuasively in his Great Courses DVD series on The History of Christian Theology (2008) that:

The emotional focus, however, was not the experience of conversion but the wounds of Christ.  Thus unlike other forms of Pietism, Moravian heart religion was not a turn to inner experience but a turn to the flesh of Christ.

The Course Guidebook, page 93

Collegiality is an Anglican virtue I practice in this post.  Thus, while criticizing Brun’s theology I have no difficulty or reluctance in adding him to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 31, 2015 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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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Johan Nordahl Brun 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 Theodor Liley Clemens (July 23)   Leave a comment

Antigua and St. Kitts 1951

Above:  Antigua, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

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THEODOR LILEY CLEMENS (DECEMBER 8, 1858-JULY 23, 1933)

English Moravian Minister, Missionary, and Composer

Theodor Liley Clemens, born at Baildon, Yorkshire, England, on December 8, 1858, was a career missionary in the Caribbean Basin.  He, the son of a Moravian minister, became one also.  Our saint, ordained in 1886, went to Spring Gardens, Antigua.

Trinidad and Tobago 1951

Above:  Trinidad and Tobago, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

Two years later he married Mary Mercer and transferred to the Moriah congregation on the island of Tobago.  There he remained until 1917.  During his nearly twenty-eight years at Moriah Clemens was active in his community and contributed greatly to the musical life of his congregation.  He trained a fine church choir.  And, since the church’s budget did not allow for imparting sheet music, he composed much music (vocal and instrumental).  Our saint also wrote about a hundred secular works.  Clemens was on disability leave from 1917 to 1919, but he served on the island of Trinidad from 1919 to 1921.  Then he returned to England.  Our saint died at Eydon on July 23, 1933.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 31, 2015 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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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant

Theodor Liley Clemens, whom you called to preach the Gospel

to the people of Antigua, Tobago, and Trinidad.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Isaiah 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 716

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Feast of George Alfred Taylor Rygh (July 16)   2 comments

Luther Rose

Above:  The Luther Rose

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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GEORGE ALFRED TAYLOR RYGH (MARCH 21, 1860-JULY 16, 1942)

U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator

A few years ago, when I started adding Norwegian Lutheran hymns to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog in earnest, I came across the name of George Alfred Taylor Rygh, who translated some of them into English.  At the time I read about him at a hymn website and wrote a blurb about him at GATHERED PRAYERS.  Now I tell a fuller version of the story of his life.

Rygh, born at Chicago, Illinois, on March 21, 1860, studied for the ordained ministry.  He attended Luther College (A.B., 1881) then Luther Seminary, Decorah, Iowa, of the Synod of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (1853-1917).  He completed his theological studies at Capital University, Columbus, Ohio, an institution of the Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States (1818-1930).  Rygh, ordained in the Norwegian Synod, alternated between academic and pastoral work during his career, with editorial duties related to ecclesiastical publications much of the time:

  1. Instructor, Capital University, Columbus, Ohio (1883-1884);
  2. Pastor, First Lutheran Church, Portland, Oregon (1884-1889);
  3. Teacher, Wittenberg Academy, Wittenberg, Wisconsin (1889-1890);
  4. Pastor, Grand Forks, North Dakota (1890-1891);
  5. Professor, North Dakota University (1891-1895);
  6. Pastor, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin (1895-1898);
  7. Pastor, Chicago, Illinois (1899-1910);
  8. Editor, United Lutheran (1909-1913);
  9. Professor, St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota (1910-1913);
  10. Member, The Lutheran Hymnary (1913) committee (Oluf Hanson Smeby, Chairman);
  11. Editor, American Lutheran Survey (1914-1921);
  12. DD.L. degree, Newberry College, Newberry, South Carolina (1917);
  13. Commissioner to the Baltic States, National Lutheran Council (1919-1920);
  14. Pastor, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1920-1930); and
  15. Editor, Lutheran Herald (1925 forward).

Rygh retired to Northfield, Minnesota, where he died on July 16, 1942.

His hymn translations continue to appear in hymnals.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 30, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK OAKELEY, ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINT BATHILDAS, QUEEN OF FRANCE

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

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

George Alfred Taylor Rygh and others, who have translated 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 Johannes Renatus Verbeek (July 13)   Leave a comment

Moravian Logo

Above:  Logo of the Moravian Church

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JOHANNES RENATUS VERBEEK (NOVEMBER 17, 1748-JULY 13, 1820)

Moravian Minister and Composer

Johannes Renatus Verbeek, born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on November 17, 1748, became a minister and a composer of the Unitas Fratrum.  He attended the Moravian schools at Zeist, Gross Hennersdorf, and Niesky prior to his seminary days at Barby.  Verbeek, ordained in 1777, served as the secretary of the Unity Elders Conference at Barby and Herrnhut.  Perhaps his most enduring legacy was his work as the coordinator of global missions.  He traveled widely in that capacity, visiting the West Indies in 1796-1798 and Pennsylvania and North Carolina in 1806, for example.  Verbeek also composed anthems, including a Christmas piece, “Unto Us a Child is Born.”  Our saint died at Herrnhut on July 13, 1820.

Verbeek died, but his legacy continues.  Many people are Moravians today partially because of the missionary work he coordinated.  Also, people continue to perform his anthems.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 30, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK OAKELEY, ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINT BATHILDAS, QUEEN OF FRANCE

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

THE FEAST OF LESSLIE NEWBIGIN, UNITED REFORMED THEOLOGIAN

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servant

Johannes Renatus Verbeek,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

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Feast of Peter Ricksecker, Johann Christian Bechler, and Julius Theodore Bechler (July 13)   Leave a comment

Bechlers

Chart and Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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PETER RICKSECKER (1791-JULY 13, 1873)

U.S. Moravian Minister, Missionary, Musician, Music Educator, and Composer

student of

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BECHLER (JANUARY 7, 1784-APRIL 18, 1857)

Moravian Minister, Musician, Music Educator, and Composer

father of

JULIUS THEODORE BECHLER (JUNE 26, 1814-MARCH 8, 1875)

U.S. Moravian Minister, Musician, Educator, and Composer

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The multi-saint post is one of my favorite kinds of posts to write, for it highlights the positive influences we human beings are supposed to have on each other.  Today, in such a post, I add three people to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

We begin with Peter Ricksecker (1781-1873), born at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  He attended the Moravian Theological Seminary, Nazareth, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1811.  From 1811 to 1831 our saint taught at Nazareth Hall, the boys’ school at Nazareth.  Next he taught at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for about five years (1821-1826).  Ordination and assignment to a missionary post on the Caribbean island of Tobago followed in 1826.

Trinidad and Tobago 1951

Above:  Tobago, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

He remained in the region, serving at St. Kitts and Jamaica in subsequent years.

Antigua and St. Kitts 1951

Above:  St. Kitts, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

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Jamaica 1951

Above:  Jamaica, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

Bad health forced his return to Bethlehem in 1848.  From 1854 to 1857 our saint, with the help of his daughter and son-in-law, the Reverend D. Z. Smith (also excellent musicians), Ricksecker ministered among the Native American population at and near Leavenworth, Kansas.  There, in 1857, our saint founded a music school.  He died at Bethlehem on July 13, 1873.

Ricksecker, a skilled violinist, vocalist, and organist, studied composition at  Nazareth Hall under Johann Christian Bechler (1748-1857), Principal from 1806 to 1812.  Ricksecker composed works for choristers and instrumentalists.  During my research I read references to six band marches and a piano work, the Battle of New Orleans.

Saaremaa Island 1968

Above:  Saaremaa Island, Estonia, 1968

Scanned from the Rand McNally World Atlas–Imperial Edition (1968)

Johann Christian Bechler (1748-1857), Ricksecker’s teacher of composition, entered the world on Ossel Island, Russia (now Saaremaa Island, Estonia), on July 7, 1784.  He taught organ at the Moravian theological seminary at Barby before emigrating to America, where he remained until 1836.  Bechler served as the Principal of Nazareth Hall from 1806 to 1812 and from 1817 to 1822 and at Lititz, Pennsylvania.

Bechler composed while in America yet not in Europe, at least as far as documentation indicates.  He wrote many anthems (such as Praises, Thanks, and Adoration), Parthia (a suite for woodwinds), and Der Nachtwacher (a set of variations on a chorale tune for violoncello and two violins).

Bechler returned to Europe in 1836; there he remained.  He served at, in order, Sarepta, Russia; Berlin, Prussia; and Zeist, The Netherlands.  Then, in 1849, he retired to Herrnhut, in Saxony, where he died on April 18, 1857.

Among Bechler’s other students was Peter Wolle (1792-1871), whom he instructed in the organ.

Bechler and his wife, Augusta Henrietta Bechler, had a worthy heir, Julius Theodore Bechler (1814-1875).  Julius Theodore, born at New Dorp, Staten Island, New York, on June 26, 1814, studied pianoforte at Nazareth Hall, Nazareth, Pennsylvania, from 1824 to 1829.  He also studied at the Moravian Theological Seminary, Nazareth, before teaching at Nazareth Hall from 1832 to 1838.

Julius Theodore led an illustrious ministerial career.  In 1838 he married Emma Cornelia Smith (1816-1853); they had two children.  He served as pastor at Bethania, North Carolina, from 1838 to 1844 then at Emmaus, Pennsylvania, from 1844 t0 1846.  Then he transferred to Lititz, Pennsylvania, He married for the second time in 1854; wife number two was Theodora Elizabeth Fruehauff (1826-1913), a teacher, musician, artist, and linguist.  They had two children.  From 1855 to 1862 our saint was the Principal of Linden Hall, Lititz (a girls’ school), succeeding the Reverend Eugene Fruehauff.  Then, in 1862, Julius Theodore founded and led the Sunnyside College for Girls.  He died on March 8, 1875.

I give thanks for the faithful lives and legacies of these saints, who glorified God and benefited their communities.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 30, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK OAKELEY, ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINT BATHILDAS, QUEEN OF FRANCE

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

THE FEAST OF LESSLIE NEWBIGIN, UNITED REFORMED THEOLOGIAN

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servants

Peter Ricksecker, Johann Christian Bechler, and Julius Theodore Bechler,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

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Feast of Francis Florentine Hagen (July 7)   3 comments

Morning Star

Above:  The Title Page to Morning Star

Image in the Public Domain

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FRANCIS FLORENTINE HAGEN (OCTOBER 30, 1815-JULY 7, 1907)

U.S. Moravian Minister and Composer

Francis Florentine Hagen belonged to an esteemed tradition–Moravian ministers who were also composers.  He maintained a high standard of quality in music while not embracing tradition for its own sake.  Bad performances of German chorales did nothing to grow the church, he said, much to the chagrin of some.  Thus Hagen accepted some popular forms of American church music–just not the dross, as he defined it.

Hagen, born in Salem, North Carolina, on October 30, 1815, was one of five children of Johann Joachim Hagen (1771-1844), a tailor and missionary, and Susanna Lick Hagen (1787-1853).  Our saint attended the Moravian Theological Seminary, graduating in 1835.  He taught at the boys’ school at Salem until 1837, then at Nazareth Hall, the boys’ school at Nazareth, Pennsylvania, from 1837 to 1841.  Then he returned to Salem.  In 1844 Hagen married Clara Cornelia Reichel (died in 1862).  They had six children.  He married a second time, to Ellen Smyser (died in 1872), in 1864.  They had three children.

Hagen’s ministerial career was as follows:

  1. Ordained a deacon (1844);
  2. Pastor at Bethania, North Carolina (1844-1851);
  3. Pastor at Freidberg, North Carolina (1851-1854);
  4. Ordained a presbyter (1852);
  5. Pastor at York, Pennsylvania (1854 forward);
  6. Member, Provincial Elders Council (1861-1867);
  7. Delegate to the General Synod at Herrnhut (1869);
  8. Pastor at New Dorp, Staten Island, New York, then at Harmony, Iowa (1867-1877);
  9. Retirement due to injury (1877); and
  10. Pastor at Easton, Maryland (1888-1889).

Hagen combined Romanticism and traditional Moravian influences in his music.  He composed anthems, solo songs, an orchestral overture, works for solo piano, and organ pieces.  His compositions included the following:

  1. Remembrance Rondoletto;
  2. A Friend in Need, Is a Friend Indeed;
  3. Her Last Words at Parting;
  4. Mowing the Harvest Hay;
  5. The Grave of My Wife;
  6. Alma Mater;
  7. A Loving Home’s a Happy Home;
  8. Morning Star, a Christmas-Epiphany anthem;
  9. Overture in F Major; and
  10. Scherzo Capriccioso.

He also arranged the works of other composers for the organ.  His Church and Home Organist Companion (two volumes, 1880 and 1881) contained musical arrangements, transcriptions, and original works.

Our saint died at Lititz, Pennsylvania, on July 7, 1907.  His music survives him, fortunately.

Morning Star Music

Scanned from the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923)

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 29, 2015 COMMON ERA

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

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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 Francis Florentine Hagen

and all those who with music 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 Oluf Hanson Smeby (July 6)   5 comments

Albert Lea, Minnesota, 1908

Above:  Albert Lea, Minnesota, April 28, 1908

Photographer and Copyright Claimant = Frederick J. Bandholtz, Des Moines, Iowa

H116197–U.S. Copyright Office

Image Source = Library of Congress

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OLUF HANSON SMEBY (JANUARY 31, 1851-JULY 6, 1929)

U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

My reading in hymnody has brought the Reverend Oluf Hanson Smeby to my attention.  He translated Norwegian hymns into English.  I have added one text, “Abide with Us, the Day is Waning,” to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  Part of another text, a translation of a hymn by Bishop Johan Nordahl Brun (1745-1816), follows:

Today I was my Savior’s guest,

My soul was there so richly blest,

The Bread of Life receiving.

Oh, may thereby my faith prevail,

So that its fruits shall never fail

Till my account is given

Before the throne in heaven.

Smeby, born in Rock County, Wisconsin, in 1851, was the son of Hans O. Smeby and Helene Fryslie Smeby.  He entered the preparatory department of Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, an institution of the Synod of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (1853-1917), then transferred to the college proper, graduating with his A.B. degree in 1871.  Our saint’s next step was Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, from which he graduated three years later.

The Reverend Smeby, ordained in 1874, served God in that capacity for the rest of his life.  From 1874 to 1876 our saint served as the assistant minister to congregations in Freeborn County, Minnesota.  Then, in 1876, he married Marie Carlson, his partner in life, from that point forward.  From 1876 to 1922 Smeby became the senior pastor in Albert Lea, Minnesota, and ministered in churches in the area with the help of other clergymen.  His main responsibilities were the Albert Lea and Oakwood churches, but he also organized churches at Moscow and London Township in 1890 and 1891 and served them for a time.  Oluf and Marie Smeby traveled on good roads, bad roads, and places where roads should have been to take the Gospel and the sacraments to isolated farmers.  Eventually our saint left the care of the Moscow and London Township congregations to other ministers so that he could focus on his work at Albert Lea and Oakwood.  Some of those responsibilities included teaching Norwegian, German, and religion at Luther Academy, Albert Lea, from 1888 to 1904.

As if that were not enough, Smeby served on the denominational level also.  Our saint was the Secretary of the Iowa District of the Norwegian Synod from 1895 to 1907, Vice President of the same from 1907 to 1913, a member of the Committee for Christian Hymns (1898), and the chairman of the committee for The Lutheran Hymnary (1913).

Smeby retired in 1922, after forty-eight years of active ministry.  He died on July 6, 1929.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 29, 2015 COMMON ERA

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

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant Oluf Hanson Smeby,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock.

We pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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