Archive for July 2015

Feast of Henry Fothergill Chorley (December 15)   1 comment

London Bridge

Above:  Tower of London, 1890

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08569

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

HENRY FOTHERGILL CHORLEY (DECEMBER 15, 1808-FEBRUARY 16, 1872)

English Novelist, Playwright, and Literary and Music Critic

Henry Fothergill Chorley found his vocation and succeeded in it.

Chorley came from a Quaker family of Lancashire, England.  His father was a lock manufacturer who died four years after going  bankrupt.  An uncle, one Dr. Retter of Liverpool, gave young Chorley an office job.  That paid pills, but our saint had musical and literary interests, so some cousins encouraged him to become a writer.

He did so.  In 1830 Chorley started writing for The Athenaeum, a literary magazine which existed from 1828 to 1921.  Three years later he joined the editorial staff.  Eventually our saint wrote music criticism and literary reviews.  He left The Athenaeum in 1868 and became a music critic for The Times of London.  Chorley favored the music of Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) and Louis Spohr (1784-1859) yet not that of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), Robert Schumann (1810-1856), and Richard Wagner (1813-1883).  On the literary side, our saint, a friend of Charles Dickens (1812-1870), wrote novels, dramas, opera librettos, and other works.  His books included the following:

  1. Music and Manners in France and Germany (1841);
  2. Pomfret (1845);
  3. Modern German Music (1854);
  4. Roccabella (1859);
  5. The Prodigy (1866); and
  6. The National Music of the World (published posthumously, 1880).

Chorley also wrote hymns.  Among them was “God the All-Terrible!” (1842), which has become part of “God the Omnipotent,” a composite text.

Chorley died at London on February 16, 1872.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 22, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALENE, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Henry Fothergill Chorley and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Christian Furchtegott Gellert (December 13)   1 comment

Christian Furchtegott Gellert

Above:  Christian Furchtegott Gellert

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

CHRISTIAN FURCHTEGOTT GELLERT (JULY 4, 1715-DECEMBER 13, 1769)

German Lutheran Minister, Educator, and Hymn Writer

Christian Furchtegott Gellert was a godly, intelligent, and capable man.  The son of a Lutheran minister entered the world at Hainichen, Saxony, on July 4, 1715.  Our saint studied theology at the University of Leipzig before becoming a minister and assisting his father.  Gellert served as a clergyman for about four years, for he did not meet certain expectations.  Not only was he “congenitally timid,” but he proved to be less than capable of speaking well without notes in an age when German Lutheranism forbade preaching from a prepared text.  Thus, in 1739, Gellert became an educator.

He was an excellent teacher.  From 1739 to 1741 Gellert served as the domestic tutor to the sons of one Herr von Luttichau.  Then, in 1741, our saint returned to Leipzig, where he began graduate studies, earning his M.A. degree three years later.  During the period of 1741-1744 Gellert also supervised the education of his nephew, an undergraduate at the university.  Our saint joined the faculty of philosophy department at the University of Leipzig.  He became an assistant professor in 1751.  A decade later, citing bad health, our saint declined a full professorship.  During his career teaching philosophy (including poetry and rhetoric) Gellert gave charming and excellent lectures, became a respected German classicist due to the humorous fables he wrote, and earned a reputation as an educator who cared about the progress of his students.  Among his pupils were German literary and philosophical giants such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781).

Gellert also wrote hymns.  Among them was “Jesus Lives! No Longer Now.”

Our saint died at Leipzig on December 13, 1769.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 22, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALENE, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Christian Furchtegott Gellert and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Paul Eber (December 10)   1 comment

Paul Eber

Above:  Paul Eber

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

PAUL EBER (NOVEMBER 8, 1511-DECEMBER 10, 1569)

German Lutheran Theologian and Hymn Writer

His hymns, some of them written for his own children to sing to Luther’s melodies, are distinguished for their childlike spirit and beautiful simplicity.

William Gustave Polack, The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal (1942), page 503

Paul Eber, author of seventeen hymns, was, among the Wittenberg poets, second only to Martin Luther (1483-1546).

Eber’s life entailed both joy and misfortune.  The son of a master tailor of Kitzingen, Bavaria, began to attend the gymnasium at Ansbach in 1523, at the age of eleven years.  In time, however, illness forced Eber to return home.  En route his horse threw him the dragged him for more than a mile.  This incident caused our saint to become deformed.  Life continued, and Eber studied under Martin Luther and Philipp Melancthon (1497-1560), the great systematic theologian, at Wittenberg University from 1532 to 1536.  In 1533 our saint married Helena Kuffnerin, who became the mother of his fourteen children.  On the professional side, Eber remained at Wittenberg, tutoring in philosophy at the university from 1536 to 1544, teaching Latin there from 1544 to 1557, teaching Hebrew there and serving as the preacher at the Castle Church from 1557 to 1558, and succeeding Johann Bugenhagen (1485-1558) as the town pastor of Wittenberg and the general superintendent of Saxony.  Eber, who received his Doctor of Theology degree in 1559, succeeded Melancthon as the leader of a school Lutheranism many Lutherans considered Crypto-Calvinistic.

Helena died in July 1569.  Our saint joined her in death on December 10 of that year.  His influence in Lutheran hymnody has never ceased, however.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 22, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALENE, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Paul Eber 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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Erik Christian Hoff (December 8)   Leave a comment

Akershus Fortress and Castle

Above:  Akershus Castle and Fortress, Oslo, Norway

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

ERIK CHRISTIAN HOFF (JANUARY 21, 1832-DECEMBER 8, 1894)

Norwegian Lutheran Composer and Organist

The name of Erik Christian Hoff came to my attention when I read about the life of his contemporary, Ludwig Mathias Lindeman (1812-1887), with whom he competed in the 1870s.  The new official hymnal was the Kirkesalmebog (1869) of Magnus Brostrup Landstad (1802-1880).  That hymnbook contained words yet not music, as was the custom at the time.  Hoff had prepared the Melodibog til samtlige authorisered Salmeboger, containing 265 tunes, including many Danish and Swedish tunes plus 61 tunes of his composition, for consideration as the official musical companion to the hymnal.  However, Lindeman’s Koralbog, indeholdende de i Landstads Salmebog forekommende Melodier (1871) became the authorized chorale book in 1877.  Lindeman’s innovation was to change how Norwegians sang, replacing uniform rhythms and slow tempo with dotted rhythms, faster tempos, and rests (not the usual fermatas) at the ends of phrases.  Hoff’s proposed chorale book, which he published privately in 1878, was more traditional.

Hoff, son of a smith of Bergen, Norway, entered the world on January 21, 1832.  He attended school at Stord, received his introduction to music there, and graduated at the top of his class.  For a time our saint taught music at Bergen, where he became the lead singer at the Korskirken (Church of the Cross).  Next Hoff studied organ and music theory at the Vogel conservatory, from which he graduated with honors.  From 1860 to 1862 he taught at Halmestrand.  Then Hoff moved to Christiania (now Olso), the capital city of Norway, which was then part of Sweden.

Hoff worked in Christiania for the rest of his life.  From 1862 to 1864 he conducted choirs and taught music; he taught until 1870.  From 1864 to 1894 he served as the organist at the Garnisonskirken, the garrison church at Akershus Castle and Fortress.  Among his most ardent admirers was King Oscar II (reigned 1872-1905), who visited frequently to hear him play.  Hoff, who ceased teaching so he could devote more time to choral music, composed works for the organ, songs for male chorus, and songs for children.

Hoff died on December 8, 1894.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 20, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL HANSON COX, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND ABOLITIONIST; AND HIS SON, ARTHUR CLEVELAND COXE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF WESTERN NEW YORK, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANSEGISUS OF FONTANELLE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, AMELIA BLOOMER, SOJOURNER TRUTH, AND HARRIET ROSS TUBMAN, WITNESSES TO CIVIL RIGHTS FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS AND WOMEN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN II OF ANTIOCH AND ELIAS OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCHS

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

We bless your name for inspiring Erik Christian Hoff

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of William Gustave Polack (December 7)   3 comments

Polacks

Above:  The Family Tree of William Gustave Pollack

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

WILLIAM GUSTAVE POLACK (DECEMBER 7, 1890-JUNE 5, 1950)

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

The name of William Gustave Polack came to my attention because I collect hymnals and their companion volumes.  More than a decade ago I acquired a copy of The Lutheran Hymnal (1941).  More recently I purchased a copy of the Handbook thereto.  Then I saw the name of the author of that volume:  William Gustave Polack.

Our saint, a son of Herman Adolph Polack (June 10, 1862-April 25, 1930), a native of Crete Township, Illinois, and his German-born wife, Wilhemina “Minnie” Henrietta Carolina Stohs Polack (born circa 1863), entered the world at Wassau, Wisconsin, on December 7, 1890.  Herman was a son of the Reverend Wilhelm Gustave Polack (1825-1898), a German emigrant, and Maria Elizabetha Hansz Polack (1834-1922), a native of Alsace.  Herman, a school teacher, taught in public schools then in Lutheran parochial schools.  He was also an organist, a composer, and a choir director.  He composed the tune CLAIRVAUX for the hymn “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee.”  Herman also served on the music committee for the Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book (1912), the first English-language official hymnal of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), then called the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States (GELSMOOS).  At least three hymnals–the Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book (1912), The Lutheran Hymnal (1941), and the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996)–included that tune.  Herman died at Lakewood, Ohio, on April 25, 1930.  Attendees at his funeral sang “Jesus the Very Thought of Thee” to the tune CLAIRVAUX.

Our saint became a Lutheran minister.  Preparation for ordination included attending Concordia College, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.  He graduated from seminary in 1914.  The Reverend Carl Adolf Frank (1846-1922), founder (in 1882) and first editor (1882-1891) of the Lutheran Witness, ordained Polack and mentored him.  From 1914 to 1925 our saint served  Trinity Lutheran Church, Evansville, Indiana, as assistant pastor (under Frank) from 1914 to 1921 and as pastor from 1921 to 1925.  On August 14, 1914, our saint had married Iona Mary Gick (1891-1971).  By the time of the 1920 Census the couple had three children.  Three more had joined the family in time for the 1930 Census.

In 1925 Polack became a Professor of Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, teaching liturgics and church history mainly.  At that time he became more involved in denominational life.  From 1925 to 1950 he served as the Associate Editor of the Lutheran Witness.  He edited the Concordia Historical Quarterly from 1927 to 1949, served as the Secretary of the Concordia Historical Institute from 1927 to 1937, and led the organization from 1945 to 1949.  Other editorial duties included those for the Concordia Junior Messenger (from 1928 to 1939) and denominational Sunday School literature for young people.

Polack was a leading liturgist in his denomination.  In 1929 he became the Chairman of the Committee on Hymnology and Liturgics of the Missouri Synod.  The following year he organized the Intersynodical Committee on Hymnology and Liturgics for the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America.  In that capacity he oversaw the creation of The Lutheran Hymnal (1941), which included twelve of his hymns–three original texts and nine translations.

Polack wrote many books.  Among his favorite topics were church history and foreign missions.  Some of those volumes were:

  1. The Building of a Great Church:  A Brief History of Our Lutheran Church in America (1926);
  2. David Livingstone:  The Story of a Great Missionary Hero (1929);
  3. Into All the World:  The Story of Lutheran Foreign Missions (1930);
  4. The Story of Luther (1931);
  5. Famous Missionary Pioneers (1933);
  6. The Story of C. F. W. Walther (1935);
  7. The Lord is My Shepherd (1938);
  8. Fathers and Founders (1938);
  9. The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal (1942);
  10. Rainbow Over Calvary (1943); and
  11. Beside Still Waters (1950, published posthumously).

Polack died of a brain tumor on June 5, 1950.  He was 59 years old.  His grave site is at Clear Lake Lutheran Church, Clear Lake, Indiana, which he helped to found (near his cottage) in 1938.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 20, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL HANSON COX, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND ABOLITIONIST; AND HIS SON, ARTHUR CLEVELAND COXE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF WESTERN NEW YORK, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANSEGISUS OF FONTANELLE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, AMELIA BLOOMER, SOJOURNER TRUTH, AND HARRIET ROSS TUBMAN, WITNESSES TO CIVIL RIGHTS FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS AND WOMEN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN II OF ANTIOCH AND ELIAS OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCHS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

thank you for those (especially William Gustave Polack)

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Thomas Cotterill (December 29)   1 comment

Ruins of Sheffield Manor, 1819

Above:  Ruins of Sheffield Manor, 1819

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

THOMAS COTTERILL (DECEMBER 4, 1779-DECEMBER 29, 1823)

English Priest, Hymn Writer, and Liturgist

Thomas Cotterill was a pioneer in the field of English hymnody.

The saint, born at Cannock, Staffordshire, England, on December 4, 1779, was a son of a wool-stapler.  Cotterill attended the Free School, Birmingham, and St. John’s College, Cambridge, before taking Anglican Holy Orders in 1803.  He served as Curate of Tutbury (1803-1808), Incumbent of Lane End, Staffordshire (1808-1817), and Perpetual Curate of St. Paul’s, Sheffield (1817-1823).

Cotterill wrote hymns and worked on hymnals.  In 1805 he collaborated with Jonathan Stubbs on the First Edition of A Selection of Psalms and Hymns for Public and Private Use.  The congregational singing of metrical psalms was normative in The Church of England in the early 1800s.  Support for the congregational singing of hymns in the Established Church was increasing, but opposition to this change remained strong.  In 1819 Cotterill and his collaborator, James Montgomery (1771-1854), published the Eighth Edition of A Selection of Psalms and Hymns for Public and Private Use in 1819.  Their volume contained 150 psalms and 367 hymns, 25 of which Cotterill had written and 50 of which Montgomery had composed.  The new hymnal proved so controversial that a faction of Cotterill’s church sued him in a diocesan court.  Archbishop of York Edward Venables-Vernon-Harcourt settled the matter.  Cotterill withdrew the Eighth Edition then worked on a replacement, which the Archbishop of York supervised and financed.  The Ninth Edition (1820), dedicated to the archbishop, contained 150 psalms and 146 hymns.  It circulated with official support, but the Eighth Edition (1819) became one of the most influential hymnals in the English-speaking world and in The Church of England.

Cotterill died at Sheffield on December 29, 1823.  His friend and collaborator, James Montgomery, wrote of our saint that he had

the piety of a saint, the tastes of a scholar, the aspect and demeanor of an unaffected Christian gentleman.

Among our saint’s texts was “In Memory of the Saviour’s Love” (1805), a communion hymn:

In memory of the Saviour’s love,

We keep the sacred feast,

Where every humble, contrite heart

Is made a welcome guest.

+++++

One fold, one faith, one hope, one Lord,

One God alone we know;

As brethren all, let every heart

With kind affection glow.

+++++

By faith we take the bread of life

With which our souls are fed,

The cup in token of his blood

That was for sinners shed.

+++++

In faith and memory thus we sing

The wonders of his love,

And thus anticipate by faith

The heavenly feast above.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 20, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL HANSON COX, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND ABOLITIONIST; AND HIS SON, ARTHUR CLEVELAND COXE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF WESTERN NEW YORK, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANSEGISUS OF FONTANELLE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, AMELIA BLOOMER, SOJOURNER TRUTH, AND HARRIET ROSS TUBMAN, WITNESSES TO CIVIL RIGHTS FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS AND WOMEN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN II OF ANTIOCH AND ELIAS OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCHS

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

thank you for those (especially Thomas Cotterill)

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Douglas LeTell Rights (December 1)   Leave a comment

Divinity Library, Harvard, 1900

Above:  Library, Harvard Divinity School, 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a08542

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

DOUGLAS LETELL RIGHTS (SEPTEMBER 11, 1891-DECEMBER 1, 1956)

U.S. Moravian Minister, Scholar, and Hymn Writer

Douglas LeTell Rights, born in Salem (now Winston-Salem), North Carolina, on September 11, 1891, was a minister and a scholar.  The saint’s mother was Emma Jones Rights.  His father was George Hanes Rights, editor of The Union Republican, a local newspaper.  Our saint attended local schools, graduating from Salem Boys School in 1905, at age 14.  Eight years later he graduated from the University of North Carolina with an A.B. degree.  Two years of study at the Moravian Theological Seminary, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, ended with graduation in 1915.  Then Rights studied for a year at Harvard Divinity School, graduating with a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree in 1916.

Twin City Daily Sentinel, October 9, 1916, page 2 01A

Twin City Daily Sentinel, October 9, 1916, page 2 01B

Twin City Daily Sentinel, October 9, 1916, page 2 01C

Twin City Daily Sentinel, October 9, 1916, page 2 02A

Twin City Daily Sentinel, October 9, 1916, page 2 02B

Twin City Daily Sentinel, October 9, 1916, page 2 02C

Twin City Daily Sentinel, October 9, 1916, page 2 02D

Twin City Daily Sentinel, October 9, 1916, page 2 03

Above:  Twin City Daily Sentinel, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, October 9, 1916, Page 2

Accessed via newspapers.com

Then his ministerial career began.  Rights, ordained in October 16, became the pastor of the First Moravian Church, Greensboro, North Carolina, serving until 1918, when he left to become a chaplain in the United States Army.  That service ended the following year, when our saint became the pastor of Trinity Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  He remained there until his death (1956).  During his tenure church membership increased from about 200 to more than 850.

Indianapolis Star, May 18, 1920, page 7 I

Indianapolis Star, May 18, 1920, page 7 II

Above:  Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, Indiana, May 18, 1920, Page 7

Accessed via newspapers.com

Rights married Cecil Leona Burton (1894-1977) on June 15, 1920.  The couple had five children.  Two sons, Burton, and Henry, became Moravian ministers.  Douglas (1922) died in infancy, George (1928-1951) died in the Korean War, and Eleanor (Rights Roller) revised one of her father’s hymn texts in 1991.

Gastonia Gazette, June 28, 1957, page 8 01

Gastonia Gazette, June 28, 1957, page 8 02

Gastonia Gazette, June 28, 1957, page 8 03

Above:  Gastonia Gazette, June 28, 1957, Page 8

Accessed via newspapers.com

Our saint had a lifelong interest in Native Americans.  Over time his collection of artifacts became quite large and he became an authority on native peoples of North Carolina.  Rights also founded and served as the first President of the Archaeological Society of North Carolina (1933-1991), a predecessor of the North Carolina Archaeological Society.  His articles and books relative to indigenous peoples included the following:

  1. Traces of the Indian in Piedmont North Carolina (1924);
  2. A Voyage Down the Yadkin-Great Peedee River (1929);
  3. “The Trading Path to the Indians,” in The North Carolina Historical Review, October 1931; and
  4. The American Indian in North Carolina (1947).

Our saint also studied the history of the Moravian Church.  Many of his sources were in German, a language he read.  Rights, the Archivist of the Southern Province of the Moravian Church in America from 1950 to his death (1956), wrote about Moravian history in the Tar Heel State also:

  1. The Beginning of Bethabara, in Wachovia, the First Moravian Settlement in North Carolina (1953); and
  2. The Records of the Moravian Church in North Carolina, Volume VIII:  1823-1837 (1954), as editor.

Rights had varied interests, as his affiliations indicated.  In addition to the groups I have named already, he belonged to, among others, the American Legion, the Freemasons, The Wachovia Historical Society, the Boy Scouts of America, and The North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.  The Moravian College and Theological Seminary awarded our saint the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 1947.

World peace was among our saint’s interests.  The former Army chaplain (1918-1919) considered war to be a “dangerous disease.”  Rights considered promoting peace via Christianity to be a duty.  He proposed a lecture series, whereby world leaders would speak of ways of creating peace, to Harvard University.  Our saint made the first contribution to the endowment for the lecture series.  The first lectures occurred in 1960.

Rights also wrote hymns.  I found two such texts, both under copyright protection as of 2004, in the Moravian Book of Worship (1995).  One hymn was “Veiled in Darkness Judah Lay” (1915), an Advent text, originated during World War I, the conflict which informed the references to “our dark night” and the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds outside Bethlehem.  The committee which prepared the Moravian Book of Worship included the text as our saint’s daughter, Eleanor Rights Roller, had altered it in 1991.  In 1956 Bessie Whittington Pfohl, wife of Bishop J. Kenneth Pfohl, asked Rights to compose a hymn appropriate for the transition from one year to another.  The result was “With Praises and Thanksgiving” (1956).  Every year the Pfohls hosted a New Year’s gathering at their home in Winston-Salem.  They debuted the new hymn at the 1957 event.

The days are swiftly passing, time is not ours to hold,

Rights wrote in that hymn.  On November 15, 1956, the synod of the Southern Province chose him as its next bishop.  At the time our saint was recovering from a heart attack.  Certainly those who chose him to serve as a bishop expected him to complete the process of recovery.  Rights died on December 1, 1956, however, so he never joined the ranks of Moravian bishops.  Nevertheless, he left a great legacy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 15, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RUTH, ANCESTOR OF KING DAVID

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONAVENTURE, THEOLOGIAN

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

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

Help us, like your servant Douglas LeTell Rights,

to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ,

our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++