Feast of Emanuel Cronenwett (March 9)   1 comment

Butler, Pennsylvania, 1895

Above:  Butler, Pennsylvania, 1895

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-01278

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EMANUEL CRONENWETT (FEBRUARY 22, 1841-MARCH 9, 1931)

U.S. Lutheran Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

Invited, Lord, by boundless grace,

I stand a guest before Thy face;

As host Thou spreadst no common food:

Here is Thy body and Thy blood.

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How holy is this Sacrament

Where pardon, peace, and life are spent!

This bread and cup my lips have pressed;

Thou blessedst, and my soul is blessed.

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Now lettest Thou Thy guest depart

With full assurance in his heart.

For such communion, Lord, with Thee

A new life may my off’ring be.

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When Thou shalt in Thy glory come

To gather all Thy people home,

Then let me, as Thy heav’nly guest,

In anthems praise Thee with the blest.

The Lutheran Hymnal (1941), Hymn #308

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Emanuel Cronenwett (1841-1931) was a U.S. Lutheran minister and hymnist.  Our saint entered the world at Scio, near Ann Arbor, Michigan.  His parents were the Reverend George J. Cronenwett, a Lutheran pastor, and Magdalena Knapp Cronenwett.  This George Cronenwett, by the way, was not Georg Cronenwett, the German-born Lutheran circuit rider who planted congregations in northern Ohio.

Emanuel followed in his father’s ministerial footsteps.  Our saint attended Capital University, Columbus, Ohio, founded as the theological seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States (1818-1930).  He served as a minister of that denomination and its immediate successor, the American Lutheran Church (1930-1960).  Cronenwett served for four years at Trinity Lutheran Church, Carrollton, Ohio, from 1863 to 1867.  He spent the next ten years in Wayne County, Ohio, serving the Waynesburg and Wooster congregations, and at Delaware, Delaware County, Ohio.  Then, in 1877, he moved to Butler, Pennyslvania.  For the rest of his life (about 54 years) he was the pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.  During his career he also published a volume of poems and hymns (in 1926), declined the presidency of his alma mater (in 1901), and received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania.  When Cronenwett died, on March 9, 1931, he had been ill for two months.  His wife, Eva Catherine Helfinch (1843-1927) and five of their ten children predeceased him.

The magnitude of our saint’s output of hymns–original and translated–was staggering.  Unfortunately, the committee which produced The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) altered most of the Cronenwett texts it included.  (I understand that, as Brian Wren wrote in Praying Twice:  The Music and Words of Congregational Song, 2000, that hymn lyrics are communal property and that certain words and turns of phrase lose their meaning with the passage of time, but the alteration of texts does not help me learn what the author or translator wrote.)  On the other hand, archive.org has made the 1880 and 1908 versions of the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal of the old Ohio Synod easily available.  I invite you, O reader, to consult them, for they contain unaltered Cronenwett texts.  The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal (1880) lacks an author index, but the Index to First Lines contains the names of authors and translators and features “E. Cronenwett” frequently.  The 1908 hymnal, however, contains an Index of Authors and Sources of Hymns, fortunately.  I encourage you, O reader, to embark on a treasure hunt.

Among the greatest virtues–if not the greatest virtue–of Anglicanism is collegiality.  John Calvin (not an Anglican, of course) allowed for the category of “matters indifferent,” wherein theological disagreements are minor and permissible.  Anglicanism–at least in its more tolerant forms–contains ample room for much disagreement.  (Being sacramental and creedal, not sacramental and confessional, goes a long way toward accomplishing that reality.)  I apply the graciousness of Anglican collegiality in full bloom to Cronenwett, a Confessional Lutheran with whom I would have agreed often and disagreed strongly at least as often.  Yet one must not pass a canonical examination to be a Christian or enter Heaven.

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

Emanuel Cronenwett and others, who have written and 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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One response to “Feast of Emanuel Cronenwett (March 9)

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  1. Pingback: Feast of Matthias Loy and Conrad Hermann Louis Schuette (August 11) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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