Archive for November 2015

Feast of Anna Julia Haywood Cooper and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright (February 28)   Leave a comment

Flag of The Episcopal Church

Above:  The Flag of the Episcopal Church

Image in the Public Domain

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ANNA JULIA HAYWOOD COOPER, M.A., PH.D. (AUGUST 10, 1858-FEBRUARY 27, 1964)

African-American Educator

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ELIZABETH EVELYN WRIGHT (APRIL 3, 1872-DECEMBER 14, 1906)

African-American Educator

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The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class–it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity.

–Anna Julia Haywood Cooper

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With this post I add to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days two African-American women whose lives stand as testimony to the importance of education and the imperative of resisting assaults–namely racism and misogyny–on human dignity.

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Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858-1964) was originally a slave, a daughter of George Washington Haywood (her master) of Raleigh, North Carolina, and a slave.  Young Anna worked as a servant in her father’s home before leaving for St. Augustine’s Normal School and Collegiate Institute (now St. Augustine’s University), Raleigh, which The Episcopal Church founded for former slaves in 1867.  Our saint made the most of this opportunity, which she had because of a scholarship.  She remained at St. Augustine’s School in various capacities for fourteen years, excelling in mathematics, science, literature, and languages.  She also fought for the right to pursue an academic track usually reserved for male students.  Our saint succeeded in this effort and performed well in it.  Anna, who worked as a tutor while a student then remained at St. Augustine’s School as an instructor after graduating, fell in love with George A. C. Cooper, the second African-American Episcopal priest in North Carolina and one of her former teachers.  They married in 1877.  He died two years later, and she never remarried.

Our saint devoted her life to education.  After becoming a widow she studied at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, where she also pursued and excelled in an academic program usually reserved for men.  Next she taught at Wilberforce College, Wilberforce, Ohio, a school of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, for a few years.  Then she returned to St. Augustine’s School in 1885.  Next our saint went back to Oberlin College, from which she graduated with an M.A. in mathematics in 1887.  Subsequently she taught at then led the influential M Street High School, Washington, D.C.  In her fifties and sixties Cooper undertook doctoral studies, first at Columbia University.  She started in 1914, but had to interrupt her course work due to family matters; she adopted her half-brother’s five children after their mother died.  Our saint completed her course work then her dissertation, a translation of the Medieval French epic poem Le Pelerinage de Charlemagne (The Pilgrimage of Charlemagne).  She completed her doctorate at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.  That institution rejected her Columbia dissertation, so she researched and wrote The Attitude of France on the Question of Slavery Between 1789 and 1848 instead.  In 1925 she received her doctorate.  From 1930 to 1942 our saint served as the President of Freylinghausen University, Washington, D.C.

Cooper died in Washington, D.C., on February 27, 1964.  She was 105 years old.  During her life she, a feminist, had argued that African-American women could, by means of education, improve their communities, and that successful, educated African-American women had a responsibility to support their disadvantaged sisters.  Cooper had also committed many thoughts to paper in A Voice from the South (1892) and given voice to her positions in many speeches.

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Elizabeth Evelyn Wright (1872-1906), a native of Talbotton, Georgia, was a daughter of Virginia Rolfe (a Cherokee) and John Wesley Wright (a carpenter).  Our saint first attended school in a church basement.  Her teachers helped her gain admission to the Tuskegee Institute.  At first Lizzie, as those who knew her well called her, worked for the Institute during the day and attended night classes, but Olivia Washington, wife of Booker T. Washington, arranged for her to attend day classes.

Wright also devoted her life to education.  She interrupted her studies at the Tuskegee Institute to start a school for rural African-American children in Hampton County, South Carolina, but arsonists foiled that plan.  Our saint completed her studies at the Tuskegee Institute then returned to South Carolina to try again.  Arsonists continued to foil her plans to educate rural African-American children.  Wright and two colleagues, Jessie Dorsey and Hattie Davidson, founded the Denmark Industrial Institute, Denmark, South Carolina, in 1897.  Five years later it became the Voorhees Industrial Institute, for Ralph Voorhees, a philanthropist in New Jersey, and his wife donated large sums of money to the school.  For many years this was the only high school for African Americans in the area.

Wright found love, marrying Martin A. Menagee in 1906.  The union was brief, however, for she died of natural causes before the end of the year.  She was 34 years old.

The legacy of the Voorhees Industrial Institute continues.  It became an Episcopal Church-affiliated institution in 1924.  The name changed to Voorhees School and Junior College in 1947 and to Voorhees College in 1962.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 10, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWIN HATCH, ANGLICAN PRIEST, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LEO THE GREAT, BISHOP OF ROME

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Eternal God, you inspired Anna Julia Haywood Cooper and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright

with the love of learning and the joy of teaching:

Help us also to gather and use the resources of our communities

for the education of all your children;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 9:1-6

Psalm 78:1-7

1 Timothy 4:6-16

Luke 4:14-21

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 249

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Feast of John Henry Newman (February 21)   7 comments

John Henry Newman--Sir John Everett Millais

Above:  John Henry Newman, by Sir John Everett Millais

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED JOHN HENRY NEWMAN (FEBRUARY 21, 1801-AUGUST 11, 1890)

Cardinal

John Henry Newman left The Church of England, his native denomination, in 1845 for Roman Catholicism.  Holy Mother Church, in the person of Pope Benedict XVI, beatified Newman on September 19, 2010.  He will certainly be St. John Henry Newman one day.  That is a technicality, however.  Newman is already on the calendars of saints of The Church of England (on August 11) and The Episcopal Church (on February 21).  I wonder what he would have thought of that.  His feast on the Roman Catholic calendar falls on October 9.

One should celebrate the life of Cardinal Newman without necessarily agreeing with him on any given point of doctrine.  Intellectual concurrence is not a requirement when recognizing a person’s sanctity.  One man who needed to learn that lesson was one of our saint’s younger siblings, Francis William Newman (1805-1897), also an intellectual.  Francis William who became a prominent Unitarian with few kind words for Roman Catholicism, was, according to the article about him in Volume 20 of The Encyclopedia Americana (1962), “versatile,” for he wrote about matters as diverse as religion, theology, history, mathematics, economics, social reform and the necessity of it, health, and northern African languages.  On the other hand, he was, according to that article a “humorless, crotchety man” who wrote a “trenchant” book about his famous brother in 1891.  Contributions Chiefly to the Early History of the Late Cardinal Newman was unkind.  I, as an Episcopalian of the Anglican-Lutheran-Catholic (in that order) school, recognize much in Newman’s theology I affirm while finding much with which to disagree.  The disagreement is within the spiritual family, so to speak.  C’est la vie.

The Newman family was of the moderate school of Anglicanism.  The father, John Newman, was a banker in London.  The mother was Jemima Fourdrinier, a descendant of Huguenots.  John Henry Newman, the eldest of six children, encountered Calvinism while attending the Ealing School.  There, in August 1816, at the age of fifteen years, our saint had a conversion experience under Calvinist influence.  Newman matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, in December 1816.  Calvinism faded from his theology as time passed.  In 1821 Newman abandoned Plan A–the pursuit of a career in law.  From 1822 to 1843 he was a fellow of Oriel College.  In 1824 our saint joined the ranks of Anglican deacons.  From 1824 to 1826 he was the Curate at St. Clement’s Church, Oxford.  In 1825, the same year he became a priest, Newman began to serve as Vice Principal of St. Alban Hall.  Excessive work and study caused a severe illness in 1826 and 1827.  In 1827 and 1828 Newman served as the public examiner in classics.  Then, from 1828 to 1843 he was the Vicar of the college church, St. Mary’s, Oxford.  He also helped Richard Whately write Elements of Logic (1845).

Newman was a Tractarian, one of those who wrote tracts supporting the Oxford Movement, the Roman Catholic revival in The Church of England an in Anglicanism in general.  He was, in fact, one of the original Tractarians.  Many of the Tractarians remained within Anglicanism, which they transformed.  Our saint, however, moved toward Roman Catholicism.  On September 18, 1843, Newman resigned as Vicar of St. Mary’s.  During the next two years he wrote An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1845).  On October 9, 1845, Newman joined the Roman Catholic Church.  He studied in Rome in 1846 and 1847.  On March 30, 1847, he became a Roman Catholic priest.

Newman spent most of the rest of his life at Birmingham, England.  There he founded the Oratory of St. Philip Neri and the boys’ school attached to it.  For a while our saint suffered from vicious rumors and even a libel lawsuit.  In 1864, in response to the Reverend Charles Kingsley’s attack on his credibility, Newman composed Apologia pro Vita Sua, an account of why he converted to Roman Catholicism.  That volume marked a turning point in our saint’s reputation; afterward he enjoyed more respect.  Newman was a skilled orator, great intellectual, and capable writer.  He was, like his brother, versatile.  Our saint wrote influential volumes of poetry, prayer, history, prayers, fiction, philosophy, and educational theory.  In 1877 he became an honorary fellow of Trinity College, Oxford.

Newman considered the timing of the declaration of the doctrine of Papal infallibility (in 1870, in the context of the loss of the Papal States and the unification of Italy) inopportune.  He recognized what the article about him in Volume 16 of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1955) called “acknowledged historical difficulties” and feared that the newly proclaimed doctrine might interfere with many conversions to Roman Catholicism.  Nevertheless, he affirmed the doctrine itself.  Despite Newman’s difficulties with the Church hierarchy, frequently in context to his position on Papal infallibility and issues related to its timing, Pope Leo XIII created our saint a cardinal in 1879.

Throughout his life, regardless of his theology at any given moment, Newman stood for the primacy of the spiritual in life.  He was correct on that point.  Our saint died at Birmingham on August 11, 1890.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 8, 2015 COMMON ERA

PROPER 27:  THE TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF JOHN CASPAR MATTES, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF JOHANN VON STAUPITZ, MARTIN LUTHER’S SPIRITUAL MENTOR

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God of all wisdom, we thank you for John Henry Newman,

whose eloquence bore witness that your Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic,

and who made his own life a pilgrimage towards your truth.

Grant that, inspired by his words and example,

we may ever follow your kindly light till we rest in your bosom,

with your dear Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit,

whose heart speaks to heart eternally;

for you live and reign, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Solomon 3:1-4

Psalm 48

1 John 4:13-21

John 8:12-19

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 235

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Feast of Janini Luwum (February 17)   1 comment

Flag of Uganda

Above:  The Flag of Uganda

Image in the Public Domain

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JANINI LUWUM (1922-FEBRUARY 17, 1977)

Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire

Most martyrs of whom I write died long ago.  The New Martyrs of Libya (2015) and Janani Luwum are among the exceptions to this rule.

Luwum confronted a brutal military dictatorship.  Our saint, born in Mucwini village, Kitgum District, Uganda, in 1922, converted to Christianity in 1948.  He began his studies at Buwalasi Theological College, in 1949, became an Anglican deacon in 1953, and joined the ranks of priests the following year.  From 1969 to 1974 Luwum served as the Bishop of Northern Uganda.  In 1974 he became the Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire.  The dictator and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979 was Idi Amin Dada (1923-2003).  Our saint and other Christian leaders protested Amin’s brutal suppression of nonviolent dissent.  Government tactics included rape and murder.  On February 16, 1977 Amin summoned Luwum, other Anglican bishops, the Roman Catholic cardinal, and a senior Muslim cleric to the presidential palace.  The dictator accused the religious leaders of complicity in a plot to assassinate him.  The dictator permitted the other clerics to leave, but Luwum had to remain behind.  Our saint died the next day.  Weeks later Luwum’s family received his bullet-ridden corpse.  They fled to Kenya for safety shortly thereafter.

Luwum had told a critic,

I do not know how long I shall occupy this chair.  I live as though there will be no tomorrow…While the opportunity is there, I preach the Gospel with all my might, and my conscience is clear before God.

Our saint preached the Gospel at all times, using words when necessary.  His martyrdom brought many lapsed Christians back to active faith.  He did indeed preach the Gospel with all his might.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 7, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT LIEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

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O God, whose Son the Good Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep:

We give you thanks for your faithful shepherd Janani Luwum,

who after his Savior’s example, gave up his life for the people of Uganda.

Grant us to be so inspired by his witness that we make no peace with oppression,

but live as those who are sealed with the cross of Christ, who died and rose again,

and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Daniel 3:13-29

Psalm 119:41-48

2 Corinthians 6:2b-10

John 12:24-32

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 229

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Feast of Michael Weisse and Jan Roh (February 12)   2 comments

Moravian Logo

Above:  Logo of the Moravian Church

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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MICHAEL WEISSE (CIRCA 1480-MARCH 19, 1534)

German Moravian Minister and Hymn Writer

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JAN ROH (1485/1490-FEBRUARY 11, 1547)

Also known as John Horn, Johann Horn, and Johann Cornu

Bohemian Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer

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The names of Michael Weisse and Jan Roh came to my attention because of my interest in the history of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum).  As I took notes on Roh’s life the name of Weisse kept recurring.  The best way to tell their stories, I concluded, was together.

Michael Weisse was a native of Neisse, Silesia (now Nysa, Poland).  He, born circa 1480, grew up in the Roman Catholic Church.  Weisse probably matriculated at the University of Krakow in 1504.  After he completed his studies our saint entered the Franciscan monastery at Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland) and became a priest.  In 1518, howevr, Weisse left monastic life and Roman Catholicism behind and entered the Unitas Fratrum, the Bohemian Brethren.

Jan Roh, Weisse’s contemporary, was of Bohemian origin.   Roh, a.k.a. Johann Horn, John Horn, and Johann Cornu, was a native of Domascbitz near Leitmeritz, Bohemia.  The saint, born in 1485/1490, became a presbyter in the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) in 1518 at Jungbunzlau, Bohemia.  He became one of the three Seniors of the Unity.  Three years later, he joined the ranks of bishop.

Sometime after 1518 the lives of Roh and Weisse began to overlap.  Roh, Weisse, and John Augusta (1500-1572) represented the Bohemian Brethren in theological discussions with Martin Luther.  In 1531, the year in which Weisse became a presbyter, he edited the Unity’s first German-language hymnal.  The volume reflected Weisse’s Zwinglian theology of the Holy Communion.  Roh, who edited the Unity’s Czech hymnal of 1541, revised Weisse’s German-language hymnal in 1544, correcting the Eucharistic theology to conform to the Brethren’s position–the real presence.  In 1532 and 1535 Roh and Augusta prepared the Unity’s confession of faith in Czech and Latin.  Weisse translated the 1532 statement into German, incorporating his theological tendencies in the process.

Weisse, who joined the Unity’s Inner Council in 1532, died of food poisoning in 1534.  He had founded German-language congregations in Bohemia and Moravia.  Weisse had also, since 1531, been overseer of the German-language congregations at Lanskroun and Fulnek, Moravia (now the Czech Republic).  The saint’s original legacy in hymnody consists of hymn tunes, hymn texts, and translations of hymn texts.  I have added some of his hymn translations and original texts to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  The Moravian Book of Worship (1995) contains six hymn tunes Weisse composed and one he adapted.

Among Weisse’s original hymns from the hymnal of 1531 was the following, as Donald M. McCorkle (1929-1978) translated it in 1963:

To us a Child is born this night.

Behold His glorious light;

To us a Son is given,

Who Himself is our true God,

Our Life here and in heaven.

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Now wide is opening heaven’s door,

And out the light doth pour;

A gleam of majesty,

Christ the Son of Righteousness,

Who makes all people free.

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The light is Christ, our gracious Lord,

The true Immanuel,

To Christians now revealed;

And with wondrous grace and truth

Shows them what was concealed.

Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969)

Roh, who composed and adapted hymn tunes, wrote hymns, a few of which exist in English translations.  I have added the Catherine Winkworth translation, “Once He Came in Blessing” (1858), to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  I have also found “Praise God! Praise God with Singing” (translated by John Daniel Libbey, 1871, altered).  Roh’s original text dated to 1544.

Praise God! Praise God with singing!

Rejoice, thou Christian flock!

Fear not though foes are bringing

Their hosts against thy rock;

For though they here assail thee

And seek thy very life,

Let not thy courage fail thee;

Thy God shall turn the strife.

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O be not thou dismayed,

Believing little band.

God, in His might arrayed,

To help thee is at hand.

Upon His palm engraven

Thy name ever found.

He knows, Who dwells in heaven,

The ills that thee surround.

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His purpose stands unshaken–

What He hath said he’ll do;

And, when by all forsaken,

His Church He will renew.

With pity He beholds her

E’en in her time of woe,

Still by His Word upholds her

And makes her thrive and know.

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To Him belong our praises,

Who still abides our Lord,

Bestowing gifts and graces

According to His Word.

Nor will He e’er forsake us,

But will our Guardian be

And ever stable make us

In love and unity.

Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969)

Roh died at Jungbunzlau, Bohemia, on February 11, 1547.

NOVEMBER 1, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS

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

thank you for those (especially Michael Weisse and Jan Roh)

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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