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)   6 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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Feast of Immanuel Nitschmann, Jacob Van Vleck, William Henry Van Vleck, Carl Anton Van Vleck, Lisette (Lizetta) Maria Van Vleck Meinung, and Amelia Adelaide Van Vleck (July 3)   2 comments

Nitschmann-Van Vlecks

Chart and Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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IMMANUEL NITSCHMANN (APRIL 2, 1736-MARCH 25, 1790)

German-American Moravian Minister and Musician

brother-in-law of

JACOB VAN VLECK (MARCH 24, 1751-JULY 3, 1831)

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

father of 

WILLIAM HENRY VAN VLECK (NOVEMBER 14, 1790-JANUARY 19, 1853)

U.S. Moravian Bishop

brother of

CARL ANTON VAN VLECK (NOVEMBER 4, 1794-DECEMBER 21, 1845)

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

father of

LISETTE (LIZETTA) MARIA VAN VLECK MEINUNG (APRIL 13, 1830-SEPTEMBER 19, 1914)

U.S. Moravian Composer and Educator

sister of

AMELIA ADELAIDE VAN VLECK (OCTOBER 18, 1835-AUGUST 20, 1929)

U.S. Moravian Composer and Educator

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With this post I add six members of one family to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  I had selected four people before I started taking notes.  Along the way I found a fifth Van Vleck and added a Nitschmann.  Reading about Immanuel Nitschmann has led led me to schedule another post–one about some of his other relatives, members of a leading family during the early period of the Renewed Moravian Church–for another month.  One should try to stay focused in each post, after all.

We begin, O reader, with Immanuel Nitschmann, born at Herrnhut, in Saxony, on April 2, 1736.  His parents were Bishop Johann (John) Nitschmann. Sr. (1703-1772), and Juliana Haberland Nitschmann (1712-1751), thus he came from a prominent family in the Moravian Church.  Immanuel, a minister, emigrated to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1761.  Fortunately, he had plenty of time to devote to music.  He played the violin and the organ, copied much music (including symphonies and string quartets by Franz Joseph Haydn) for the collegium musicum, led rehearsals of that ensemble, and arranged arias for three violins, viola, and figured bass.  Our saint led the collegium musicum at Bethlehem from 1761 to 1773 and from 1780 to 1790.  Johann Friedrich Peter (1746-1813) led the fifteen-member ensemble from 1773 to 1780.  Nitschmann died at Bethlehem on March 25, 1790.

Nitschmann married twice and had two children.  His first wife was Maria Price (1740-1783).  Wife number two was Maria Van Vleck (later Jones) (1757-1831), sister of our next saint, Jacob Van Vleck (1751-1831).

Jacob came from a Dutch family in New York.  He attended school at Nazareth, Pennsylvania, before studying theology at the Moravian seminary at Barby, Germany.  In 1778 our saint was back in the United States, serving as the assistant pastor in Bethlehem.  Two years later he became the superintendent of the girls’ school there.  From 1800 to 1812 Jacob served as the minister at Nazareth then at Lititz, Pennsylvania.  Then, in 1812, he succeeded Bishop Johannes Herbst (1735-1812) as pastor at Salem, North Carolina.  Three years later Jacob, a newly-minted bishop, returned to Bethlehem.  He died there on July 3, 1831.

Jacob Van Vleck–minister, musician, and educator–contributed to the lives of his communities.  He, a skilled performer of the violin and of keyboard instruments, led the collegium musicum at Bethlehem from 1790 to 1800, succeeding his brother-in-law, Immanuel Nitschmann.  Jacob also taught at Nazareth Hall, the boys’ school at Nazareth, from 1802 to 1809, and derived pleasure from studying the organ and playing for worship services.  He composed few works due to the demands of church duties on his time.  Nevertheless, Jacob’s compositions reveal his great talent.  Jacob’s wife was Anna Elizabeth Staeheli (1764-1829).  They had two sons, William Henry Van Vleck (1790-1853) and Carl Anton Van Vleck (1794-1845), both ministers.

William Henry Van Vleck, born at Bethlehem in 1790, was among the three original ministerial students at the Moravian Theological Seminary at Nazareth when it opened in 1807.  (Peter Wolle was also in that class.)  William Henry, ordained, served at Philadelphia, Nazareth, and New York City.  He, a bishop from 1836, moved to Salem, North Carolina.  He also served for a time a the Provincial Helpers’ Conference.  He, the husband of Anna Elizabeth Kampman (1785-1865), died at Bethlehem in 1853.

Carl Anton Van Vleck, born at Bethlehem in 1794, was a minister, composer, musician, and music educator.  He composed few pieces; his only known piano work was a brief rondo in F major.  Other compositions included “The Hope, the Star, the Voice,” “The Watch-Tower Light,” and “Early Friends.”  Our saint preferred, however, to teach music, so he focused on that activity.  He did at Greenville, Tennessee, on December 21, 1845.

Carl Anton married Christiana Susan Kramsch (1797-1877) and had four children–a son and three daughters.  After he died in 1845 Christiana and her children relocated to Salem, North, Carolina.  Two of the daughters–Amelia Adelaide Van Vleck (1835-1929) and Lisette (Lizetta) Maria Van Vleck (1830-1914)–became composers and music educators.

Rhode Island-born Lisette (Lizetta) was talented.  She sang her first solo at age two, in her father’s church.  Later she studied at the Moravian Young Ladies’ Seminary, Bethlehem.  In 1852, at Salem, our saint began to teach piano at the Salem Female Academy.  Sixteen years later she resigned then married Alexander C. Meinung (1823-1908), also a skilled musician.  The two of them taught music to many young people in Salem for decades.  She died at the newly-merged Winston-Salem on September 19, 1914.

Lisette (Lizetta) was a capable composer.  She wrote short pieces, such as polkas, waltzes, marches, and galops.  Her works included the “Nettie Galop,” the “Military Parade March,” the “Hannah Polka,” “Our Words of Love,” “Annie Schottisch,” the “Annie March,” and the “Laura Polka.”

Amelia Adelaide Van Vleck, born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1835, was also a prominent musician, music educator, and composer in Salem (later Winston-Salem).  “Miss Amy,” as people called her, matriculated at the Salem Female Academy in 1853.  She taught there after graduating.  For half a century our saint served as the organist at Home Moravian Church, Salem.  She also composed many works, such as the “Irma Waltz,” the “Centennial March” (1871, for the centennial of the founding of Home Moravian Church), the “Salem Band Waltz,” “The Unknown Soldier Boy,” “My Dear One’s Waltz,” “The River Waltz,” “Waltz,” “The Sky Lark,” “The Rainy Day,” “Colonel Belo’s March,” and “Lullaby”–all short pieces.  She died at Winston-Salem on August 20, 1929.

Music has long been one of the treasures of the Moravian Church.  The six saints I have added in this post glorified God in their lives.  Most of them did so, among other ways, via music.

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

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

Immanuel Nitschmann, Jacob Van Vleck, William Henry Vleck,

Carl Anton Van Vleck, Lisette (Lizetta) Maria Van Vleck Meinung, and Amelia Adelaide Van Vleck,

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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I corrected certain details on April 19, 2015.  The Nitschmann family tree can be a difficult puzzle to solve, especially given certain contradictory information and the repeated use of some combinations of first and last names.–KRT

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Feast of Karl Friedrich Lochner (February 25)   Leave a comment

Germany 1648

Above:  Map of Germany in 1648, after the Peace of Westphalia

Scanned from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

As Voltaire explained correctly, the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. 

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KARL FRIEDRICH LOCHNER (APRIL 2, 1634-FEBRUARY 25, 1697)

German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

Whom should I give my heart’s affection

But Thee, who givest Thine to faith?

Thy fervent love is my protection;

Lord, Thou hast loved me unto death.

My heart with Thine shall ever be

One heart throughout eternity.

–From The Lutheran Hymnal (1941), Hymn 404, a composite translation of a Lochner hymn from 1673

Karl Friedrich Lochner was a poet, an academic, and a minister.  He entered the world at Nuremberg, Germany, on April 2, 1634, where his father, Friedrich Lochner (1602-1672/1673), was a municipal official.  Friedrich, also a poet, belonged to the Order of the Society of Pegnitz Shepherds (in short, the Pegnitz Order), devoted to the purification and improvement of the German language.  He rose from the rank of notary public to clerk of the Board of Works to the registrar at the Chancery.  Friedrich also married Florentine Heinrich (before 1620-after 1650), with whom he had eight children–four sons and four daughters.  Our saint was the firstborn son and offspring.

Young Karl Friedrich studied at Breslau, Altdorf, and Rostock before becoming a lecturer in logic and metaphysics at Rostock then at Nuremberg.  Another vocation beckoned, however, so he became a minister.  At first our saint assisted at Worhd then at Furth.  In 1663, after the senior pastor died, Lochner succeeded him in that post.  Our saint held that post for the rest of his life, which ended on February 25, 1697.

Our saint, the husband of Sabina Mayer (1638/1639-1704) from October 28, 1660 until his death and the father of ten children–six sons and four daughters–joined the Pegnitz Order in 1671.  Three years later Sigismund von Birken (1626-1681), Chief Shepherd of the order, presented him with the poet’s wreath.  Lochner’s hymns, some of which exist in English translations, have lasted much longer than that wreath.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE ALMSGIVER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF PHILLIPS BROOKS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MASSACHUSETTS

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Karl Friedrich Lochner and others, who have written 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 Christian Frederick Martin, Sr., and Charles Augustus Zoebisch (February 16)   Leave a comment

Moravian Logo

Above:  The Moravian Logo

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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CHRISTIAN FREDERICK MARTIN, SR. (JANUARY 31, 1796-FEBRUARY 16, 1873)

German-American Instrument Maker

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CHARLES AUGUSTUS ZOEBISCH (MAY 9, 1824-MAY 13, 1911)

German-American Instrument Maker

Among the virtues of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) is high regard for the worth of music and musical instruments, even those of “worldly” character.  Thus the Unitas Fratrum has given the world and attracted fine composers, musicians, and instrument makers.  Two members of the latter category were our “new” saints, both natives of Markneukirchen, Germany.

Christian Friedrich Martin (1796-1873) started young.  He made cabinets and guitars with his father, Johann Georg Martin, in Germany.  The younger Martin emigrated to the United States of America in 1833 and changed his middle name to “Frederick.”  In New York City he founded his own guitar-making company (which still exists) and made the first guitars in the United States.  Our saint moved the business to Nazareth, Pennsylvania, in 1839.  He died at Nazareth on February 16, 1873.

Until 1898 the exclusive distributor for Martin guitars was the firm which Charles Augustus Zoebisch (1824-1911) founded in New York City after emigrating to the United States in 1842.  Zoebisch was a successful manufacturer, importer, and distributor of various musical instruments.  He also became the most famous Moravian layman in North America.  He was active in the Moravian Church, belonging to American provincial boards and serving as the President of the Seminary for Young Ladies at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  He died at New York City on May 13, 1911.

These two saints served God in various ways, including then manufacturing of musical instruments.  They applied their talents and other abilities toward a higher purpose.

To what seemingly mundane or “worldly” yet actually higher purpose or purposes is God possibly calling you, O reader?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE ALMSGIVER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF PHILLIPS BROOKS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MASSACHUSETTS

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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

Christian Frederick Martin, Sr., and Charles Augustus Zoebisch,

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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