Above: John Edgar Park
JOHN EDGAR PARK (MARCH 7, 1879-MARCH 4, 1956)
U.S. Presbyterian then Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
John Edgar Park (1879-1956) was a distinguished educator, spiritual writer, and minister of the Gospel.
Park, born in Belfast, Ireland, on March 7, 1879, was heir to a rich legacy of faith. His father was a minister, as were our saint’s grandfather and great-grandfather. Park studied at New College, Edinburgh, and Royal University, Dublin, before continuing his studies at Leipzig, Munich, and Oxford. After he graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, Park became a Presbyterian minister in 1902. That phase of Park’s life did not last long, for he went to work as a lumberjack in the Adirondack Mountains for a time. In September 1904 our saint became the pastor of West Parish Church (Congregationalist), Andover, Massachusetts. He left there in 1906 to serve at Second Congregational Church, West Newton, Massachusetts, where he remained for 19 years.
Then Park’s educational career began. From 1925 to 1926 he was a Professor of the Theory of Worship at the Boston University School of Theology. His next position was President of Wheaton College, Newton, Massachusetts (1926-1944), where he modernized the curriculum. Our saint, the Lyman Beecher Lecturer at Yale University in 1936, received honorary degrees from Tufts University, Middlebury University, Wesleyan University, and Wheaton College (Newton). In 1944 he retired, aged 65 years.
Park, among the most popular preachers in New England, wrote at least four hymns:
- “O Jesus, Thou Wast Tempted” (1913);
- “We Would See Jesus” (1913);
- “O Christ, Whose Love Hast Sought Us Out” (1953); and
- “The Peace of Heaven is in Our Fields” (1955).
Our saint was also a prolific author of books. They included the following:
- Historical Sketches of the West Parish Church, Andover, Massachusetts, 1906 (1906);
- The Keen Joy of Living (1908);
- The Wonder of His Gracious Words: An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount (1909);
- The Dwarf’s Spell: A Christmas Play (1912);
- Parables of Life (1912);
- The Man Who Missed Christmas (pre-1913);
- How I Spent My Million: A Christmas Story (1913);
- The Rejuvenation of Father Christmas (1914);
- The Disadvantages of Being Good (1915);
- The Children’s Bread (1916);
- The Return of Our Boys: A Tale of Great Days (1919);
- The Bad Results of Good Habits, and Other Lapses (1920);
- The Merrie Adventures of Robin Hood and Santa Claus (1922);
- The Christian Heretic, and Other Stories (1929);
- The Miracle of Preaching (1936); and
- The Art of Living (1948).
Park died at Cambridge, Massachusetts, on March 4, 1956.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
DECEMBER 12, 2015 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINT JANE FRANCES DE CHANTAL, FOUNDER OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE VISITATION
Dear God of beauty,
you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to
John Edgar Park 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
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