Archive for January 2015

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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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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Feast of Victor Olof Petersen (February 14)   1 comment

Augustana College

Above:  Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, 1914

Image Source = Library of Congress

J195906–U.S. Copyright Office

Copyright Claimant = Haines Photo Company, Conneaut, Ohio

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VICTOR OLOF PETERSEN (SEPTEMBER 24, 1864-FEBRUARY 14, 1929)

Swedish-American Lutheran Hymn Translator

Victor Olof Petersen, whose surname some sources list as “Peterson,” loved hymns and translated certain Danish and Swedish hymns into English.  I have found three of his translations.  “O Bride of Christ, Rejoice” was under copyright in 1996 yet had entered the public domain by the time the Lutheran Service Book (2006) rolled off the presses.  “Wheresoe’er I Roam” was under copyright when The Covenant Hymnal:  A Worshipbook (1996) debuted.  I do not know if the text is still under copyright.  Likewise, I have no information regarding the copyright status of “My Heart is Yearning Ever,” which I found in The Hymnal and Order of Service (1925, The Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod).  I do know that the translations have become increasingly difficult to find, except in certain old hymnals and a few current ones.

Petersen, born at Skede, Smaland, Sweden, on September 24, 1864, was a scientist and an educator.  He emigrated to the United States of America in 1867.  His early education occurred at Stanton, Iowa.  Then our saint attended Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois–first the academy then the college proper.  (Many colleges used to have high schools attached to them.)  Petersen graduated from college in 1889.  That summer he worked under a former professor, Dr. Joshua Lindahl, at the state museum in Springfield.  Next our saint taught physics and chemistry at Augustana College for sixteen years, becoming a professor after he completed some course work at Harvard University.  In 1906 Petersen became the Secretary of the Rock Island Tropical Plantation Company.  From 1907 to 1913 he managed the Chalohijapa Plantation in southern Mexico.  When the Mexican Revolution forced our saint to return home, he worked in real estate and insurance in Rock Island for seven years.  From 1920 to 1928 Petersen chaired the Department of Chemistry at Huron College, Huron, South Dakota.  He died at Huron on February 14, 1929.

Petersen was active in the American Lutheran Church, Huron, in the 1920s.  He was presumably a member of the Augustana Synod, which had Swedish origins, for a long time.  The Huron congregation, officially The English Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion of Huron, Beadle County, South Dakota, or “The English Lutheran Church” for short, until 1923, was of Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish origin.  In 1909 it affilated with the Synod of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (1853-1917), a predecessor body of, in order, the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (1917-1946)/The Evangelical Lutheran Church (1946-1960), the American Lutheran Church (1960-1987), and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  Likewise, the Augustana Synod preceded the Lutheran Church in America (1962-1987) and the ELCA.

Petersen died and denominational labels have changed, but his translations of Danish and Swedish hymns continue to exist.  You, O reader, might find them (or at least some of them) edifying.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SYNCLETIA OF ALEXANDRIA, DESERT MOTHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABELARD OF CORBIE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHN JULIAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE PALLOTINES

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Victor Olof Petersen 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 Christoph Carl Ludwig von Pfeil (February 14)   Leave a comment

Southern Germany

Above:  Southern Germany, from the Rand McNally World Atlas–Imperial Edition (1968)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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CHRISTOPH CARL LUDWIG VON PFEIL (JANUARY 20, 1712-FEBRUARY 14, 1784)

German Lutheran Hymn Writer

Blessed Jesus, all our hearts incline

Thee to follow, where Thy footsteps shine;

At all times, and everywhere,

May our words and actions bear

A semblance, gracious Lord, to Thee.

–Baron Christoph Carl Ludwig von Pfeil, according to an unknown translator; quoted in The Liturgy and Office of Worship and Hymns of the American Province of the Unitas Fratrum, or the Moravian Church (1908)

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Baron Christoph Carl Ludwig von Pfeil (1712-1784) came from non-baronial origins.  His father was in the service of the Count of Leinigen.  Our saint, born at Grundstadt, near Worms, Germany, studied at the Universities of Halle and Tubingen.  In 1732 he became the Wurttemberg secretary of the legation at Regensberg.  He held various political offices from 1745 to 1763, but resigned rather than cooperate with the absolutist policies of Count Montmartin, the Prime Minister of Wurttemberg.

Pfeil’s retirement to Deufstetten, his estate near Crailsheim, was brief.  King Frederick II “the Great” of Prussia (reigned 1740-1786) appointed him to be the Privy Councillor and Ambassador to the Diets of Swabia and Franconia that year.  Then Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II (reigned 1765-1790) created our saint a baron.  And, in 1765, Frederick the Great awarded Pfeil the cross of the Red Eagle Order, a great honor.

Our saint wrote 950 hymns.  He started after the Tenth Sunday after Trinity, 1730, the occasion of a religious epiphany for him, and stopped due to his death.  Unfortunately, few of these texts exist in English translations and even those which do are mostly absent from the majority of English-language hymnals.  Pfeil also published collections of his hymns, including a volume of psalm settings from 1747.

Our saint came down with an intermittent fever, which confined him to bed, in August 1783.  There he remained until he died on February 14, 1784.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SYNCLETIA OF ALEXANDRIA, DESERT MOTHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABELARD OF CORBIE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHN JULIAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE PALLOTINES

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Christoph Carl Ludwig von Pfeil 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 Daniel March, Sr. (March 2)   Leave a comment

Woburn Public Library

Above:  Public Library, Woburn, Massachusetts, Circa 1880

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-15349

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DANIEL MARCH, SR. (JULY 21, 1816-MARCH 2, 1909)

U.S. Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister, Poet, Hymn Writer, and Liturgist

Daniel March, Sr., was a prolific author and enthusiastic world traveler.  Many people considered him to be very well-informed and worth listening to and reading.  Yet his books have faded into obscurity and one hymn–“Hark! the Voice of Jesus Crying” (1868)–has become the text on which his historical reputation rests.  The hymn if four stanzas includes a frequently omitted stanza–the one which speaks of “heathen lands” and “heathen nearer.”  The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) lacks that stanza because of what follows the “heathen” references–theology with which I agree yet which certain Confessional Lutherans considered troublesome in the late 1930 and 1940s, and which many adherents of that school of Christianity still find objectionable.  That stanza, in fact, is absent from both versions of the hymn in the Lutheran Service Book (2006), a successor of The Lutheran Hymnal.  Our saint, an enthusiastic supporter of missions, wrote:

Hark! the voice of Jesus crying,

“Who will go and work today?

Fields are white and harvests waiting,

Who will bear the sheaves away?”

Loud and long the Master calleth,

Rich reward He offers thee;

Who will answer, gladly saying,

“Here am I, send me, send me”?

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If you cannot cross the ocean,

And the heathen lands explore,

You can find the heathen nearer,

You can help them at your door;

If you cannot give your thousands,

You can give the widow’s mite,

And the least you give for Jesus

Will be precious in His sight.

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If you cannot speak like angels,

If you cannot preach like Paul,

You can tell the love of Jesus,

You can say he died for all.

If you cannot rouse the wicked

With the Judgment’s dread alarms,

You can lead the little children

To the Savior’s waiting arms.

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Let none hear you idly saying,

“There is nothing I can do,”

While the souls of men are dying

And the Master calls for you.

Take the work He gives you gladly,

Let His work your pleasure be;

Answer quickly when he calleth,

“Here I am, send me, send me!”

The treatment of the hymn in other hymn books interests me.  In some hymnals Jesus is crying; in others, however, he is calling.  The committee which prepared The Methodist Hymnal (1935) changed no words yet omitted the third stanza.  The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935) committee, however, altered the text–a practice which dated to March’s time and bothered him.  In the 1931/1935 hymnal the third stanza was absent , “heathen lands” became “mission lands,” the “heathen nearer” became the “needy nearer,” and “Rich reward he offers thee” became “Flings a challenge strong to thee.”  The hymn has fallen out of favor with many hymnal committees since the 1950s, being absent, for example, from successor hymnals of the United Church of Christ, The United Methodist Church, and their predecessor bodies.  I have read altered versions of the text and seldom read all four original stanzas in other hymnals.  For example, The Baptist Hymnal (1991) and the Baptist Hymnal (2008) speaks of “distant lands” and the “lost around you,” but not of the heathen.  The Covenant Hymnal:  A Worshipbook (1996) offers all four stanzas, albeit in altered form; there is “a distant land” instead of “heathen lands,” and the “pagan nearby” instead of the “heathen nearer.” The Trinity Hymnal (1961), the Trinity Hymnal–Revised Edition (1990), and the Trinity Hymnal–Baptist Edition (1995) offer the same four-stanza version–one which replaces March’s third stanza with words he did not write and leaves the rest of the text as he composed it.  (I like having a collection of hymnals!)

The author of that hymn entered the world at Millburg, Massachusetts, on July 21, 1816.  His parents were Samuel March and Zoa Park March, farmers.  Our saint, the third of six children, attended the Millburg Academy before matriculating at Amherst College in 1834.  He left Amherst College after two years without graduating yet graduated from Yale College with his B.A. degree in 1840.  March worked as the Principal of Fairfield Academy, Fairfield, Connecticut, from 1840 to 1843 before completing his theological studies at Yale in 1845.  By then he had earned his M.A. from Yale (1843), had been a licensed preacher for three years, and had been the husband of Jane Parker Gilson March (1818-1857) for four years.

Some of the hymnal companion volumes and hymn websites I consulted informed me erroneously that March’s 1845 ordination was in the Presbyterian Church.  Actually, the ordaining authority was the Fairfield West Association, and his first pastorate was the Congregational Church at Cheshire, Connecticut, from 1845 to 1848.  About six years (1849-1855) at First Congregational Church, Nashua, New Hampshire, followed.  From 1856 to 1862 our saint ministered at First Congregational Church, Woburn, Massachusetts.

Then March’s Presbyterian connections began.  He served as the pastor of Clinton Street Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1862 to 1876.  He also spent part of the 1860s serving on the Presbyterian Publication Committee (headquartered in that city), which published some of his books.  And March was, from the 1860s until his death, a minister of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, even though he returned to the pulpit of the First Congregational Church of Woburn for a second tenure (1877-1895).

March, as a family man, married twice.  He and his first wife, Jane Parker Gilson March (1818-1857), had four children:

  1. Anna Parker March (1842-1863);
  2. Charles A. March, who became an attorney and outlived his father;
  3. Daniel March, Jr. (1884-1897), who became a doctor; and
  4. Frederick William March (1847-1935), who became a Presbyterian minister and a missionary to Syria.

Our saint remarried in 1859.  His second wife was Anna LeConte March, who died in 1879.

Dr. Daniel March, Sr. (Doctor of Divinity, Western University of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, 1864) opposed slavery, supported foreign missions, and was a relatively High Church Calvinist.  His published works included an antislavery speech, devotional and other theological books, and a volume of liturgical forms.  Those works include the following:

  1. Yankee Land and the Yankee (1840);
  2. A Poem Delivered Before the Phi Beta Kappa Society in Yale College, August 19, 1846 (1846);
  3. The Crisis of Freedom:  Remarks on the Duty Which All Christian Men and Good Citizens Owe to Their Country in the Present State of Public Affairs (1854);
  4. Walks and Homes of Jesus (1866);
  5. Night Scenes in the Bible (1868);
  6. Our Father’s House, or the Unwritten Word (1869);
  7. Home Life in the Bible (1873);
  8. The Introduction to Household Worship (1873), by a Layman;
  9. Public Worship, Partly Responsive; Designed for Any Christian Congregation (1873);
  10. An article on “Research and Travel in Bible Lands” in Wood’s Bible Animals (1877), by J. G. Wood;
  11. From Dark to Dawn; Being a Second Series of Night Scenes in the Bible (1878);
  12. The Introduction to The Pictoral Bible and Commentator–New Edition (1878), by Ingram Cobbin;
  13. The First Khedive:  Lessons in the Life of Joseph (1887);
  14. Walks with Jesus; or, Days of the Son of Man (1888); and
  15. Morning Light in Many Lands (1891).

March delivered his last sermon at First Congregational Church, Woburn, Massachusetts, in July 1908.  He died in that town less than a year later–on March 2, 1909.  He was ninety-two years old.  Yet our saint’s hymn lives on in various altered forms.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SYNCLETIA OF ALEXANDRIA, DESERT MOTHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABELARD OF CORBIE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHN JULIAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE PALLOTINES

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

thank you for those (especially Daniel March, Sr.)

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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