Archive for January 2016

Feast of St. Aldhelm of Sherborne (May 25)   1 comment

England in 700 CE

Above:  England in 700

Image in the Public Domain



Poet, Literary Scholar, Abbot of Malmesbury, and Bishop of Sherborne

St. Aldhelm comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days from the Roman Catholic Church and The Church of England.

St. Aldhelm was a scholar, poet, and churchman.  Our saint, a relative–perhaps a brother–of King Ine of Wessex (reigned 688-726), studied at Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, where Maildubh (died in 675), an Irish monk and scholar was abbot.  For a time St. Aldhelm studied at Canterbury under the tutelage of St. Adrian/Hadrian (died in 710).  Bad health forced our saint to return to Malmesbury, where he served as a monk under Abbot Maildubh until succeeding him in 675.  St. Aldhelm introduced the Rule of St. Benedict to the monastery, made the abbey a center of learning, oversaw the construction of a new church on the grounds, and expanded the land holdings of the monastery.

St. Aldhelm was a literary figure.  He was, as far as historians know, the first Anglo-Saxon to write in Latin.  His Latin writing style reflected his erudition, for it was abstruse and sesquipedalian.  His works were standard in English ecclesiastical schools for centuries, declining after the Norman Conquest (1066).  Our saint also wrote in Old English, but none of his writings in that language have survived.

St. Aldhelm, who had a strong devotion to Mary and the saints, became the first Bishop of Sherborne in 705, after the division of the large Diocese of Winchester.  He held that post until he died at Doulting, Somerset, on May 25, 709. offers several works about our saint:

  1. St. Aldhelm:  His Life and Times, Lectures Delivered in the Cathedral Church of Bristol, Lent, 1902 (1903), by George Forrest Browne;
  2. Life of S. Ealdhelm, First Bishop of Sherborne (1905), by William Beauchamp Wildman; and
  3. Two Ancient English Scholars:  St. Aldhelm and William of Malmesbury:  Being the First Lecture on the David Murray Foundation in the University of Glasgow Delivered on June 9th, 1931 (1931), by Montague Rhodes James.





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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Saint Aldhelm of Sherborne 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






Feast of Apolo Kivebulaya (May 30)   Leave a comment

Map (2)

Above:  The Borderlands of Uganda and Zaire, 1979

Image Source = The International Atlas (Rand McNally, 1979)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor



Apostle to the Pygmies

Also known as Waswa Munubi

From the calendar of saints of The Church of England comes Apolo Kievebulaya, Apostle to the Pygmies, to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

The life of our saint began in the Kingdom of Buganda, on the northwest coast of Lake Victoria in Uganda.  Waswa Munubi, one of five children, entered the world circa 1864.  His parents raised him to become a traditional healer, but he became disillusioned after learning that a local healer was a fraud.  Our saint converted to Islam and became a soldier instead.  Arab traders had introduced Islam to Buganda.   Muteesa I (reigned 1856-1884), the Kabaka of Buganda, had political-military problems with them by 1875, when he began to accept European weapons and Christian missionaries of various denominations.

The life of a soldier did not fit our saint.  Alexander Murdoch Mackay (1849-1890), a missionary from the (Presbyterian) Free Church of Scotland, arrived in Buganda in 1878.  He labored for Christ in Africa until 1890, when he died of Malaria.  Among the people in whom Mackay planted the seed of faith was Waswa Munubi.  In time our saint deserted the army and fled to the region of Ankole.  While he was hiding out our saint began to read the Gospel of Matthew.  He reported that Matthew 5:13, about being the salt of the earth, proved especially influential in helping him decide to become a Christian.  In 1894 our saint began to prepare for baptism.  That sacrament occurred on January 27, 1895.  He took the name Apolo, after St. Apollos, who, according to Acts 18:24-25, was “an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures” and “fervent in the spirit.”

At first Apolo worked as a catechist after studying at Kampala.  He catechized in the Toro region in 1895 then at Nyagawi (near the Rwenzori Mountains) in 1895-1896.  In 1896 our saint became the catechist in Boga.  Apolo had to contend with major challenges.  He had to face hostility because of his opposition to certain traditional practices, such as polygamy and drinking.  Furthermore, Chief Tabaro forbade the construction of a church building.  Then, in 1898, Tabaro scapegoated Apolo.  The chief’s sister, living in Apolo’s household, had fallen accidentally on a spear and died.  Apolo faced legal charges and spent months in prison until the dismissal of those charges.  Then Tabaro welcomed Apolo back, befriended him, and converted to Christianity.

 Apolo’s next phase of ministry was as a member of the clergy.  He became an Anglican deacon on December 21, 1900, and a priest in June 1903.  He never married.  Our saint had been engaged, but his intended died.  Afterward Apolo concluded that life as a single man was most conducive to his vocation.  Our saint received the name “Kivebulaya,” meaning “European,” for he wore a suit underneath his vestments.  He worked hard for Jesus, converting many people.  Apolo was a man of the people in the borderlands of Uganda and the Belgian Congo.  He lived among them, slept in their homes, and ate the food they offered.  He traveled in western Uganda and the northeastern Belgian Congo (the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016).  A border adjustment in 1915 meant that Boga (and therefore Apolo’s home base) became part of the Belgian Congo.  Among the groups to which our saint introduced the Gospel of Jesus Christ was the Pygmies, starting in 1921.

Our saint died in Boga on May 30, 1933.





Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Apolo Kivebulaya,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of Uganda and the Belgian Congo.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 716


Feast of Jiri Tranovsky (May 29)   1 comment

Religions in Central Europe 1618

Above:  Religions in Central Europe, 1618

Image in the Public Domain


JIRI TRANOVSKY (APRIL 9, 1592-MAY 29, 1637)

Luther of the Slavs and Father of Slovak Hymnody

Also known as Juraj Tranovsky, Jerzy Trzanowski, Georgios Tranoscius, and George Tranoscius


Jiri Tranovsky comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), the service book-hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

Tranovsky was ethnically Polish.  The native of Teschen, Silesia (now Cieszyn, Poland), entered the world on April 9, 1592.  He studied at Guben (now in Germany) and, from 1605 to 1607, at Kolberg (now Kolobrzeg, Poland) then, starting in 1607, at the University of Wittenberg, where he began to write poetry in Latin and Czech.  He traveled to Bohemia and Silesia in 1612.  Then our saint taught at St. Nicholas Gymnasium, Prague, before serving as rector of a school in Holesov, Moravia (now in the Czech Republic), from 1613 to 1615.  In 1615 and 1616 Tranovsky taught in the school at Mezirici (now in the Czech Republic), where he also led the local singing society.

Tranovsky was a Lutheran minister.  Following his ordination at Mezirici in 1616 he served in that town until 1621.  The turmoil of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) and the official religious intolerance of King Ferdinand II of Bohemia and Hungary (reigned 1617-1637; Holy Roman Emperor, 1619-1637), persecutor of Protestantism, forced Tranovsky and his congregation into exile in 1621.  1624 was a terrible year for the flock and its shepherd.  Wartime conditions contributed to a plague, so Tranovsky had to bury three of his children and half of his congregation.  Later that year authorities imprisoned our saint.  They exiled him to Silesia the following year.  There he became the court preacher to the castle in Bielitz (now Bielsko, Poland).  Wartime conditions forced Tranovsky to move again in 1628, so he became the court preacher to Orava Castle (now in Oravsky Podzamok, Slovakia).  Our saint’s health was failing.

Tranovsky translated and wrote texts.  In 1620 he translated the Augsburg Confession into Czech.  Eight years later he was hard at work on Odarum Sacrarum sive Hymnorum (1629), a hymnal containing 150 Latin texts for congregational singing.  Tranovsky included several original tunes.  From 1631 to his death in 1637 he was the senior pastor at Liptovsky Svaty Mikulas, Upper Hungary (now Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia), where he wrote his masterpieces.  Phiala Odoromentorum (A Vial of Sweet Incense, 1635), was a prayer book.  The Cithara Sanctorum (Harp of the Saints, 1636), also known as the Transocius, was a hymnal containing 414 hymns, 150 of which were his.  This volume became the basis of Czech and Slovak Lutheran hymnody.

Tranovsky suspected that he would die before the age of 50 years.  He was correct, for he died on May 29, 1637, aged 45 years.

Most of Tranovsky’s hymns do not exist in any English-language translation.  I have found a few, however, and added two–“Come, Rejoicing, Praises Voicing” and “Christ the Lord to Us is Born, Hallelujah“–to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  I have found several others in translations by Jaroslav Jan Vajda (1919-2008) in current Lutheran hymnals:

  1. “Let Our Gladness Banish Sadness” (1960), in the Lutheran Service Book (2006);
  2. “Your Heart, O God, is Grieved” (1970), in Hymnal Supplement 98 (1998), Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), and the Lutheran Service Book (2006); and
  3. “Make Songs of Joy to Christ, Our Head” (1978), in the Lutheran Service Book (2006).

I have also found a Vajda translation of an anonymous text from the Tranoscius (1636) in slightly older Lutheran hymnals.  The Worship Supplement (1969) and the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) contain “God, My Lord, My Strength, My Place of Hiding” (1969).

I wonder what treasures among Tranovsky’s hymnody remain untranslated into English.





Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Jiri Tranovsky 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








Feast of Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall (May 17)   Leave a comment

Supreme Court Building

Above:  The United States Supreme Court Building, 1980

Photographer = Carol M. Highsmith

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-highsm-13879



Attorney and Civil Rights Activist

and his pupil


Attorney and Civil Rights Activist


With this post I add two essential civil rights attorneys to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  Their lives remind us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has political and social dimensions.  The name of Thurgood Marshall comes to me via The Episcopal Church’s Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), which notes his affiliation with the denomination and assigns the feast day of May 17, the date in 1954 on which the U.S. Supreme Court announced its seminal and unanimous ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.  Adding Marshall’s mentor and colleague, Charles Hamilton Houston, to this post is logical.

This account begins with Charles Hamilton Houston, Sr. (1895-1950).  At his funeral attorney and colleague William Hastie said of him:

He guided us through the legal wilderness of second-class citizenship.  He was truly the Moses of that journey.

Our saint came from a Christian home in which he learned about selflessness and the imperative of justice.  His parents were former teachers.  William LePre Houston (1870-1953) attended the night school of the Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C., from 1906 to 1909 then began to practice law.  Mary Ethel Hamilton Houston, who married William in 1892, worked as a hairdresser to prominent Washingtonians.  The parents sacrificed for the best interest of their son, thereby helping him to succeed.  Houston attended Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, from 1911 to 1915, graduating as one of six valedictorians.  Then he taught at Howard University for two years.

Houston might have become an obscure university professor if not for World War I.  He served in the racially segregated U.S. Army from 1917 to 1919, encountering institutional and personal racism.  These negative experiences fixed his course; he resolved to become an attorney and fight via the courts for those who could not defend themselves from the racism of others.  He attended the Harvard Law School (LL.B., 1922; D.J.S., 1923), became the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review, and studied civil law at the University of Madrid in Spain.  He, admitted to the bar in 1924, joined his father’s law practice, which became the firm of Houston and Houston (1924-1939) then Houston, Houston, Hastie, and Waddie (1939-1950).

Houston influenced many people as well as American society via his work at the Howard University School of Law and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  He was the Vice-Dean of the School of Law from 1929 to 1930 then the Dean thereof from 1930 to 1935.  He reformed it and transformed it into a more rigorous institution that earned accreditation from the American Association of American Law Schools.  Among the students Houston mentored was Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993).

Marshall was a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and a descendant of slaves.  His father, William Marshall, was a Pullman porter, and his mother, Norma Marshall, was a teacher.  In 1929 Marshall married his first wife, Vivien Burrey, who died in February 1955.  After graduating from Lincoln University (in Pennsylvania) our saint attended the Howard University School of Law.  He had applied to the law school of the University of Maryland, but a segregationist admissions policy kept him out.  Marshall graduated  first in his class at the Howard University School of Law in 1933 then began to practice law in Baltimore.  In 1934 he began to represent the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP, suing the University of Maryland to force it to abandon its segregationist admissions policy.  He succeeded in Murray v. Pearson (1936).

The method by which Marshall worked for civil rights was through the legal system.  This fact angered some radical activists, but, in the context of Jim-Crow dominated America, the efforts of Houston, Marshall, and others like them were relatively radical.  De jure segregation on the basis of skin color had been the law of the land since Plessy v. Ferguson (1896); the U.S. Supreme Court had said so, using the absurd argument that separate facilities were legal as long as they were equal.  They were inherently unequal, however.  Overturning that infamous ruling was a goal, one which took decades to accomplish.  Houston, who did not live long enough to witness Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), established the strategy that led to that seminal ruling.

From 1935 to 1940 Houston served as Special Counsel for the NAACP.  He deployed attorneys, including Marshall, to sue for the equalization of teachers’ salaries in the U.S. South, for White teachers made more than their African-American counterparts.  Houston also argued on behalf of Lloyd Gaines (1911-disappeared in 1939) before the U.S. Supreme Court in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1939).  The court held that the law school of the University of Missouri had no legal right to deny Gaines admission because of his skin color.

Marshall argued 32 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and won 29 of them.  His first such case, which he won, was Chambers v. Florida (1940).  Authorities had denied four African-American suspects legal representation and used forced confessions to obtain convictions in the case of the murder of a White man.  The Supreme Court overruled those verdicts.

Marshall brought that passion for justice to the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which he founded in 1940 and led.  That year Houston became a member of the NAACP’s Legal Committee, of which he became chairman in 1948.  Both he and Marshall argued civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Houston argued Steele v. Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company et al. (1944) and Tunstall v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, Ocean Lodge No. 76, et al. (1944), in which the court ruled that railroad unions must represent African-Americans fairly.  He also argued Hurd  et al. v. Hodge et al. (1948), in which the court ruled against racially discriminatory housing covenants.

Houston worked long hours routinely.  This hurt his family life and damaged his health.  His childless marriage (1924-1937) to Margaret Gladys Moran ended in divorce.  The marriage (1937-1950) to Henrietta Williams, his father’s former secretary, was happier.  It produced a son, Charles “Bo” Hamilton Houston, Jr., who became the apple of his father’s eye.  The birth of a son (in 1944) gave Houston another reason to labor for civil rights.  Our saint died of a heart attack at Washington, D.C., on April 22, 1950.  He was 54 years old.  Houston’s last written words regarding his son were:

Tell Bo I did not run out on him but went down fighting that he might have better and broader opportunities than I had without prejudice or bias operating against him, and that in any fight some might fall.

Houston devoted his professional life to the service of his society.  Not only did he pursue a legal strategy for civil rights but he also served in other capacities.  He sat on the District of Columbia Board of Education from 1933 to 1935, the American Council on Race Relations from 1944 to 1950, and the Fair Employment Practices Committee from 1944 to 1945.  Houston was indeed like Moses, for he worked hard for an important goal yet did not live to see it come to fruition.  The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) via Brown v. Board of Education (1954).  That was a landmark case, one which Marshall argued, but it was, in a way, just a beginning, for massive resistance and calls for the impeachment of “activist” federal judges ensued.

Houston received much posthumous recognition, which he deserved.  The NAACP awarded him its highest honor, the Spingarn Medal, in 1950.  The Howard University School of Law eventually named its main building after him.  The Washington Bar Association created the Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion of Merit.  And the Harvard Law School established the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice as well as the Charles Hamilton Houston Professorship.

Marshall’s career led to him becoming a federal appellate judge (1961-1965), the Solicitor General of the United States (1965-1967), and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1967-1991).  He advocated for individual rights, civil rights, and women’s rights.  He also considered the death penalty unconstitutional.

Marshall died of heart failure at Bethesda, Maryland, on January 24, 1993.  He was 84 years old.  President William J. Clinton awarded him a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Marshall’s legacy continues in various forms, including his family.  Via his second wife (from December 1955), Cecilia Suyat, are two children.  Thurgood Marshall, Jr. (born in 1956), is a prominent attorney who served as the secretary of the presidential cabinet during the Clinton Administration.  John William Marshall (born in 1958) has had a distinguished career in law enforcement, having served as, among other things, as the Director of the U.S. Marshals Service and as Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety.

Whenever the consensus of a society is to restrict the range of opportunities of a large portion of its members, that society agrees to curtail its potential and lower its horizons.  This has occurred frequently, unfortunately.  It also continues, unfortunately.  The reality of life together in society is that each of us depends upon the labor of others.  Whatever we do to others, we do to ourselves.

No man is an island,

Entire of itself,

Every man is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less.

As well as if a promontory were.

As well as if a manor of thy friend’s

Or of thine own were:

Any man’s death diminishes me,

Because I am involved in mankind,

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

It tolls for thee.

–John Donne

Houston and Marshall understood this well.





Eternal and ever-gracious God, you blessed your servants

Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall

with exceptional grace and courage to discern and speak the truth:

Grant that, following their examples, we may know you

and recognize that we are all your children, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ,

who teaches us to love one another; and who lives and reigns

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

Amos 5:10-15, 21-24 or Amos 5:10-15a, 24

Psalm 34:15-22

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Matthew 23:1-11

–Adopted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 375


Feast of Thomas Bradbury Chandler, John Henry Hobart, and William Hobart Hare (May 17)   6 comments

Episcopal Flag

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Image Source = Zscout370



Anglican Priest

His feast transferred from August 17

father-in-law of


Episcopal Bishop of New York

His feast transferred from September 12

grandfather of


Apostle to the Sioux and Episcopal Missionary Bishop of Niobrara then South Dakota



With this post I add to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days three holy men from The Episcopal Church’s calendar of saints.  The Episcopal Church has, for logical reasons, assigned each man to a different date.  I, for my logical reasons also, have moved Chandler and Hobart to Hare’s feast day, May 17.  This is, after all my weblog, and the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Says and Holy Days is my project.  I have concluded that the stories of these three men’s lives, told in one post, constitute a compelling account of active Christian faith across generational lines.  Also, combining what would have otherwise been three posts into one enables a readier to notice connections more easily.



The intergenerational story begins with Thomas Bradbury Chandler.  He was one of ten children of William J. Chandler (1698-1754) and Jemima Bradbury Chandler (circa 1703-1779) of Woodstock, Massachusetts.  Our saint grew up on the family farm and attended Yale College, from which he graduated in 1745.  He became the catechist and lay reader of St. John’s Church, Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in 1747.  The congregation had no priest at the time, and the consensus at St. John’s was that Chandler should fill that vacancy.  In 1751 our saint traveled to England, where Thomas Sherlock, the Bishop of London, ordained him to the priesthood and designated him the Rector of St. John’s Church, Elizabethtown.

Chandler spent most of the rest of his life as the Rector of St. John’s Church, Elizabethtown, and became beloved there.  He also traveled in the Northeast, functioning as a missionary.  Our saint, a stickler for doing things decently and in order, refused to permit the Anglican-Methodist revivalist George Whitefield (1714-1770), who visited Elizabethtown in 1763 and 1764, to fill the pulpit.

Chandler, whom Oxford University honored with a D.D. degree in 1766, took up a controversial cause his mentor, Samuel Johnson (1696-1772), Anglican priest, former Congregationalist minister, and first President of King’s College (now Columbia University), New York, New York, favored.  The Anglican congregations in America were in the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London.  There was no bishop in North America, and Johnson and Chandler thought there should be at least one.  This was a controversial position.  On the American side of the Atlantic Ocean many Congregationalists and Presbyterians, fearing that an Anglican bishop in North America would lead to the establishment of The Church of England in the Middle Atlantic colonies, opposed such an episcopal appointment vehemently.  Chandler published his case in An Appeal to the Public in Behalf of the Church of England in America (1767) and in The Appeal Defended, or, the Proposed American Episcopate Vindicated:  In Answer to the Objections and Misrepresentations of Dr. Chauncy and Others (1769).  (Dr. Charles Chauncy had published his rebuttal to Chandler’s Appeal (1767) in 1768.)

Our saint was, as were at least one-third of the subjects in the rebellious thirteen colonies, loyal to the British Empire during the American Revolutionary period.  Chandler was quite vocal in his political opinions, for he wrote and published at least two pamphlets:

  1. A Friendly Address to All Reasonable Americans on the Subject of Our Political Confusions (1774), and
  2. What Think Ye of Congress Now?  Or an Enquiry How Far the Americans are Bound to Abide by and Execute the Decisions of the Late Congress (1775).

Chandler had to leave Elizabethtown and America in 1775, for he was receiving threats from the Sons of Liberty.  He spent the next ten years in England.

The vestry of St. John’s Church, Elizabethtown, invited Chandler to return in 1785.  He accepted the offer.  By the time our saint arrived his health did not permit him to conduct regular services, but the vestry insisted that he be the official rector and reside in the rectory anyway.  In 1786 Chandler received word that he was the first choice of the Archbishop of Canterbury to become the first Church of England bishop in North America, headquartered in Nova Scotia.  Our saint, who had not sought the position, declined it for health reasons.  The post went to Charles Inglis (1734-1816), Rector of Trinity Church, New York, New York, from 1777 to 1783 instead.

[Aside:  The first Anglican bishop in North America was Samuel Seabury (1729-1796), whom bishops of The Church of England refused to consecrate because he, as an American (albeit a Royal Army chaplain during the Revolutionary War) could not swear allegiance to the crown.  Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church consecrated him at Aberdeen on November 14, 1784, however, and he became the first Bishop of Connecticut on August 3, 1785.]

Chandler died at Elizabethtown on June 17, 1790.  He was 64 years old, and Then Episcopal Church was less than one year old, having completed the process of separating from The Church of England in 1789.

Chandler had written The Life of Samuel Johnson, D.D., the First President of King’s College in New York yet not published it during his lifetime.  The volume became available in print in 1805.

Chandler’s legacy continued via his family.  His wife was Jane Emott Chandler (circa 1732-1801).  Their youngest daughter, Mary Goodwin Chandler (1774-1847), married a young clergyman named John Henry Hobart (1775-1830, who became the Bishop of New York.


Chart and Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor



John Henry Hobart was a great missionary bishop and a man of strong opinions.  He funded educational institutions, started congregations and left a legacy which even many who argued with him bitterly had to respect.

Hobart was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  His parents were Enoch Hobart (1726-1776) and Hannah Pratt Hobart (1732-?).  Our saint studied at the Episcopal Academy, Philadelphia, before matriculating at The University of Pennsylvania.  He remained there for two years before transferring to the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), graduating with his A.B. in 1793.  He worked in a counting house in Philadelphia for a few worlds, but commerce was not his vocation.

Hobart, realizing this fact, turned toward theology.  In 1797 and 1798, while working as a tutor at the College of New Jersey, our saint pursued theological studies under the direction of William White (1747-1836).  White was the Rector of St. Peter’s Church and Christ Church, Philadelphia (1779-1836), the Bishop of Pennsylvania (1787-1836), Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (1789, 1795-1836), and the Chaplain of the United States Senate (1790-1800).  White ordained Hobart to the diaconate on June 3, 1798, and to the priesthood in 1800.  Our saint served the yoked congregations of Trinity Church, Oxford, Pennsylvania, and All Saints Church, Perkionmen, Pennsylvania, in 1798 and 1799.  He served briefly at Christ Church, New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1799 and 1800.  On May 6, 1800, Hobart married Mary Goodwin Chandler (1774-1847), youngest daughter of Thomas Bradbury Chandler (1726-1790).  At the end of 1800 Hobart became the Assistant Rector of Trinity Church, New York, New York.  In 1811 he became both the Rector of Trinity Church and the second bishop coadjutor in the Diocese of New York.  He served as rector and bishop until his death, in 1830.

The first Bishop of New York was Samuel Provoost (1742-1815), who served in the diocese from 1787 to 1815 and as the Chaplain of the United States Senate (1789-1790) and the Presiding Bishop of the denomination (1792-1795).  Benjamin Moore (1748-1816) had become the first bishop coadjutor in the Diocese of New York in 1801.  When Provoost died Moore succeeded him and became the second Bishop of New York.  Moore died in February 1816, so Hobart automatically became the third Bishop of New York.  This made official was had been unofficial reality for several years, for both Provoost and Moore had not been well, so Hobart had been administering the diocese.

Hobart was an effective bishop.  Between 1816 and 1820 he increased the number of clergy in the diocese by a factor of two and the number of missionaries by a factor of four.  By the end of his tenure (and life) our saint had started missionary work among the Oneida Indians and planted a church in every major town in the state previously lacking one.  In 1817 Hobart helped to found the General Theological Seminary, New York, New York.  He served as its first dean and taught pastoral theology.  Our saint expanded education in the western part of the state, selecting the site of Geneva College (opened in 1822), Geneva, New York.  (It became Hobart College then Hobart and William Smith Colleges.)  Hobart also visited churches in Connecticut and New Jersey during times of vacancies in the episcopates of those dioceses.

This hard work damaged our saint’s health.  He took a sabbatical in 1823-1825 to recover while traveling in Europe.

Hobart was also a controversialist.  The bishop was a pre-Oxford Movement High Churchman.  The Oxford Movement, which started in England in the 1830s (after Hobart’s death), had a strong liturgical emphasis.  Hobart’s High Churchmanship pertained to questions of baptism and Apostolic Succession.  There were competing theologies of baptism and the episcopate.  Our saint argued strongly for his interpretations and cautioned against ecumenical cooperation with denominations with different understandings.  These matters, he insisted, were crucial.

One might recognize Apostolic Succession as one of four standards in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral (1886 and 1888).  The other three standards for Christian unity there are the Old and New Testaments, the Nicene Creed, and the sacraments of baptism and the Holy Eucharist.

Hobart died at Auburn, New York, on September 12, 1830, two days before his fifty-fifth birthday.  Among the bishops who met a Chicago, Illinois, in 1886 to discuss the Quadrilateral was his grandson, William Hobart Hare (1838-1909), the Missionary Bishop of South Dakota (1883-1909), and a son of Elizabeth Catherine Hobart Hare (1810-1883).

Hobart’s immediate successor was Benjamin Tredwell Onderdonk (1791-1861).

Hobart’s published writings included the following:

  1. A Companion for the Altar, or, Week’s Preparation for the Holy Communion (First Edition, 1804; Fifth Edition, 1819)
  2. Feasts and Festivals (1804);
  3. An Apology for Apostolic Order (1807);
  4. Letters to the Vestry of Trinity Church (1811);
  5. The Christian’s Manual of Faith and Devotion (1814);
  6. The State of the Departed (1816);
  7. The Churchman (1819);
  8. Sermons on the Principal Events and Truths of Redemption (1824);
  9. The High Churchman Vindicated (1826); and
  10. The Christian Bishop Approving Himself Unto God (1827), preached at the consecration of Henry Ustick Onderdonk (1789-1858) in the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Posthumous volumes about Hobart, most of them containing writings by him, included the following:

  1. A Great Man in Israel (1830), by John Frederick Schroeder;
  2. Memorial of Bishop Hobart:  A Collection of Sermons on the Death of the Right Reverend John Henry Hobart, D.D., with a Memoir of His Life and Writings (1831), by John Frederick Schroeder;
  3. The Posthumous Works of the Late Right Reverend John Henry Hobart, with a Memoir of His Life by the Rev. William Berrian, D.D. (1832), Volumes I, II, and III;
  4. The Early Years of the Late Bishop Hobart (1834), by John McVickar;
  5. The Professional Years of John Henry Hobart:  Being a Sequel to His “Early Years” (1836), by John McVickar;
  6. The Office of Devotion (Second Edition, 1846);
  7. Instruction and Encouragement for Lent (1859); and
  8. The Correspondence of John Henry Hobart (1911), Volumes I, II, III, IV, V, and VI.




Chart and Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

William Hobart Hare shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people in the Dakotas, Japan, and China.

Our saint was a son of the church.  His family tree included, among others, Thomas Bradbury Chandler (1726-1790) and John Henry Hobart (1775-1830).  Hare’s parents were George Emlen Hare, Sr. (1808-1892), and Elizabeth Catherine Hare (1810-1883), daughter of Bishop Hobart.  George Emlen Hare, Sr., was a prominent Episcopal priest and Biblical scholar in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He taught at and served as the dean of Philadelphia Divinity School (extant 1857-1974).  At the time of our saint’s birth in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1838, George Emlen Hare, Sr., was the Rector of Trinity Church in that city.  He wrote Christ to Return:  A Practical Exposition of the Prophecy Recorded in the 24th and 25th Chapters of the Gospel According to St. Matthew (1840) and Visions and Narratives of the Old Testament (1889).

Our saint became an Episcopal priest.  He attended yet did not graduate from The University of Pennsylvania.  Then he studied at the new Philadelphia Divinity School.  Hare became a deacon in 1859 and a priest in 1862.  At first he was assistant at St. Luke’s Church, Philadelphia, where Mark Antony DeWolfe Howe (1808-1895), later the first Bishop of Central Pennsylvania from 1871 to 1895, was the rector.  In 1861 Hare transferred to St. Paul’s Church, Chestnut Hill, and on October 30, married Howe’s daughter, Mary Amory (May 4, 1837-January 7, 1866).  The couple’s brief marriage produced one child, Hobart Amory Hare (September 22, 1862-June 15, 1931), a physician and author of medical texts.  The Hares spent parts of 1863 and 1864 in Michigan and Minnesota for Mary’s health.  Then, in 1864 Hare became the Vicar of the Church of the Ascension, Philadelphia,  He remained there until 1870, becoming rector in 1867.

Hare entered the missions field in 1870, when he became the Secretary and General Agent of the Foreign Committee of the Board of Missions.  He nearly left that job the following year, when the House of Bishops elected him to become the Missionary Bishop of Cape Palmas (in western Africa), but the House of Deputies concluded that he was invaluable in his then current position.  On All Saints’ Day 1872, however, the bishops elected him the Missionary Bishop of Niobrara, with a territory spanning the Dakotas.  The consecration occurred on January 9, 1873.

From 1873 to 1883 Hare administered the affairs of the Missionary District of Niobrara, ministering to Sioux and pioneers alike.  He divided the district into ten departments, each led by a priest.  This manner of organizing his see proved to be quite effective.  He wrote annual letters, published as pamphlets, to raise funds for the schools.  One such letter was Christian Schools Among the Indians:  Bishop Hare’s Circular (1874).

The Missionary District of Niobrara divided into the Missionary Districts of North and South Dakota in 1883.  Hare became the Missionary Bishop of South Dakota, a post he held for the rest of his life.  He oversaw a network of parochial schools and established his headquarters at Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  He lived in a wing of All Saints School (for Sioux and pioneer girls), near Calvary Episcopal Cathedral.  Our saint wrote of the schools one year in How the Church Schools in South Dakota Help Indian Boys and Girls.  ( provides 1850 as the date, but that is incorrect, for he would have been 11 or 12 years old at the time, and the document lists his title as Missionary Bishop of South Dakota.)

Hare’s job was demanding.  Nevertheless, our saint doubled as a missionary bishop in Japan in 1891 and in Japan and China in parts of 1891 and 1892, with a return to South Dakota separating those two tenures.  Furthermore, Hare’s health became an issue.  Thus he traveled in Europe from October 1895 to April 1896.  The work of the church in South Dakota continued, as another pamphlet, Indian Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Dakota:  Letter from Bishop Hare (1899), attested.  Hare eventually requested a bishop to assist him.  Answering that request affirmatively entailed altering the denominational canons.  In 1905 Frederick Foote Johnson (1866-1943) became the Assistant Bishop of South Dakota.

Hare visited sisters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, from time to time.  He died at Atlantic City during one such visit on October 23, 1909.  He was 71 years old.

Johnson succeeded our saint as Missionary Bishop of South Dakota then left to become the Bishop Coadjutor of Missouri, serving under Daniel Sylvester Tuttle (1837-1923), Bishop of Missouri from 1886 to 1923 and Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church from 1903 to 1923.  Foote served as the Bishop of Missouri from 1923 to 1933, when he retired. is host to biographies of our saint and other published works by him:

  1. Reminiscences (1888);
  2. Addresses Relating to the Growth of the Church in the Missionary Jurisdiction of South Dakota:  From June, A.D. 1860 to June, A.D. 1898 (1898);
  3. Bishop Hare’s Indian Boarding Schools in South Dakota (1910);
  4. The Life and Labors of Bishop Hare:  Apostle to the Sioux (1914), by Mark Antony DeWolfe Howe (1864-1960), his late wife’s half-brother; and
  5. Zitkano Duzahan, Swift Bird:  The Indians’ Bishop; a Life of the Rt. Rev. William Hobart Hare (1915), by Mary B. Peabody.



I ponder the contributions of these three men to the glory of God, to The Episcopal Church, to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and to the lives of the people they touched in positive ways then stand in awe of them.  These were men of God whose influences (both direct and indirect) was great.  I join others in standing on the shoulders of such giants.








Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servants

Thomas Bradbury Chandler, John Henry Hobart, and William Hobart Hare,

who were faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following their examples and the teaching of their holy lives,

we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness

of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 718


Feast of Christina Rossetti (April 27)   Leave a comment

1886. chalks, 79x63.5cm

1886. chalks, 79×63.5cm

Above:  Portrait of Christina Rossetti, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Image in the Public Domain



Poet and Religious Writer

Christina Georgina Rossetti was among the greatest poets who wrote in the English language.  She was also a devout High Anglican whom The Church of England and The Episcopal Church have recognized as a saint, with April 27 as her feast day.  The churches determined that date not from her death but from April 27, 1842, the day the eleven-year-old Christina wrote her first poem, “To My Mother on the Anniversary of Her Birth.”

The Rossetti family was ethnically Italian.  Gabriele Pasquale Giuseppe Rossetti (1783-1854) had fled the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1821, settling first in Malta then in England three years later.  He was a political refugee, for reprisals against those involved on the losing side of then Neapolitan Revolution of 1820 were swift and ruthless.  In 1826 Gabriele married Maria Francesca Polidori (1800-1886), daughter of another Italian expatriate.  The couple had four children, all talented:

  1. Maria Francesca Rossetti (1827-1876), author and Anglican nun (1873-1876);
  2. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), poet and painter;
  3. William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919), poet and art critic; and
  4. Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894).

Gabriele taught Italian at King’s College, London.  Bad health forced his resignation in 1847, harming the family’s financial status.  In 1853 and 1854 Christina and her mother operated a school at Frome, Somerset.  That venture failed, so Christina and her parents moved in with her brother, William Michael, in 1854.  Gabriele died later that year.  The family remained under one roof until 1876.  William Michael married artist and painter Lucy Madox Brown (1843-1894) in 1874.  (Maria Francesca Rossetti, Christina’s sister, had been Lucy’s governess.)  Christina and her mother moved to Bloomsbury in 1876.  There the mother died ten years later.  Christina dwelt there for the rest of her life, having never married, despite several opportunities to do so.

Christina was talented in prose and poetry.  Her grandfather, Gaetano Polidori (1764-1843), printed Verses (1847), her first book.  Dante Gabriel, for whom she had posed as a model often, drew the frontispieces for Goblin Market and Other Poems (1862) and The Prince’s Progress and Other Poems (1866).  Other published works included the following:

  1. Maude:  Prose and Verse (1850);
  2. Poems (1866);
  3. Commonplace, and Other Short Stories (1870);
  4. Sing-Song:  A Nursery Rhyme Book (first edition, 1872; second edition, 1893);
  5. Verses (1873);
  6. Annus Domini (1874);
  7. Speaking Likenesses (1874);
  8. Poems (1876);
  9. Seek and Find:  A Double Series of Short Studies of the Benedicite (1879);
  10. Called to Be Saints:  The Minor Festivals Devotionally Studied (1881);
  11. A Pageant and Other Poems (1881);
  12. Letter and Spirit:  Notes on the Commandments (1883);
  13. “Dante, the Poet Illustrated Out of the Poem” (1884);
  14. Time Flies:  A Reading Diary (1885);
  15. Poems (1890); and
  16. The Face of the Deep:  A Devotional Commentary on the Apocalypse (1892).

Posthumous volumes included the following:

  1. New Poems by Christina Rossetti:  Hitherto Unpublished or Uncollected (1896);
  2. The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti (1904); and
  3. The Family Letters of Christina Georgina Rossetti; With Some Supplementary Letters and Appendices (1908).

Those who sing from hymnals created by committees with good taste might know some of our saint’s poems as hymn texts.  The two primary examples these days are “Love Came Down at Christmas” and “In the Bleak Midwinter.”  In the latter Rossetti wrote of the weather as it was in England, not in Palestine.

In the bleak mid-winter

Frosty wind made moan,

Earth stood hard as iron,

Water like a stone;

Snow had fallen, snow on snow,

Snow on snow,

In the bleak mid-winter,

Long ago.


Our God, heaven cannot hold him

Nor earth sustain;

Heaven and earth shall flee away

When he comes to reign:

In the bleak mid-winter

A stable-place sufficed

The Lord God Almighty

Jesus Christ.


Enough for him, whom Cherubim

Worship night and day,

A breastful of milk,

And a mangerful of hay;

Enough for him, whom Angels

Fall down before,

The ox and ass and camel

Which adore.


Angels and Archangels

May have gathered there,

Cherubim and Seraphim

Thronged the air–

But only his mother

In her maiden bliss

Worshipped the Beloved

With a kiss.


What can I give him

Poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd

I would bring a lamb;

If I were a wise man

I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give him–

Give my heart.

“Love Came Down at Christmas” is also wonderful.

Love come down at Christmas,

Love all lovely, Love divine;

Love was born at Christmas,

Stars and angels gave the sign.


Worship we the Godhead,

Love incarnate, Love divine;

Worship we our Jesus:

But wherewith for sacred sign?


Love shall be our token,

Love be yours and love be mine,

Love to God and all men,

Love for plea and gift and sign.

Christina was ill for much of her life.  She found comfort in her faith, as evident in her published works.  In 1871 she came down with Graves’ Disease, a disorder of the thyroid gland.  It affected her appearance negatively.  Then, in 1891, she received the diagnosis of cancer, which caused her death three years later.

Her legacy continues, fortunately.





O God, whom heaven cannot hold, you inspired Christina Rossetti

to express the mystery of the Incarnation through her poems:

Help us to follow her example in giving our hearts to Christ,

who is love; and who is alive and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.

Exodus 3:1-6

Psalm 84

Revelation 21:1-4

Matthew 6:19-23

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 349


Feast of St. Mellitus (April 24)   1 comment

England 600

Above:  England, 600 C.E.

Image Source = Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1967)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor



Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury

We know little about the early life of St. Mellitus.  He was probably Italian and of noble birth.  He might also have been the Abbot of St. Andrew, Rome, leader of the monastery to which St. Augustine of Canterbury and St. Gregory I “the Great” had belonged.  We do know, however, that St. Gregory I, as the Bishop of Rome, had sent St. Augustine and a team of missionaries a few years before he, at the request of St. Augustine (then the Archbishop of Canterbury) another team of missionaries.  The leader of that second team was St. Mellitus.

St. Mellitus became an important figure in the English Church in the 600s.  St. Augustine consecrated him a bishop in 604.  St. Mellitus, apostle to the East Saxons, established his headquarters at London.  He had to go into exile for at least a year in the late 610s because he refused to give sacramental bread to pagan princes.  His eventual successor (after decades of a vacancy) as bishop in that region was St. Cedd of Lastingham.  St. Mellitus became the third Archbishop of Canterbury in 619.  His tenure, during most which he was prone to bad health, was mostly uneventful.  He died in office on April 24, 624.

Foundational figures fascinate me, for I know that I am fortunate to stand on the shoulders of giants.  My faith has much to do with that St. Mellitus, who left his homeland, settled in a foreign country, and engaged in missionary work there.  My ancestry is mostly British, so I owe a debt of gratitude to the founders of British Christianity, especially Roman Catholic missionaries to England in the late 500s and early 600s.









Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Saint Mellitus,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of England.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 716


Feast of St. Peter Chanel (April 28)   Leave a comment

Wallis and Futuna

Above:  Wallis and Futuna

Image Source = Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1967)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor



Protomartyr of Oceania

Born Pierre Louis Marie Chanel

Each of us has a set of rules to fulfill in the project of glorifying God.  The question is how many of us will seek to fulfill those roles.  Even when one does this, the reality of what one’s roles are might prove surprising to one.

St. Peter Chanel was French.  He, the fifth of eight children of Claude-Francois and Marie-Anne Sibellas Chanel, worked as a shepherd prior to commencing studies at the parochial school at Montrevel-en-Brasse, Ain, in 1814.  Our saint, who made his first communion on March 23, 1817, developed a lifelong interest in foreign missions while still at home.  He continued his education at various church-run schools from 1819 to 1827.

Chanel became a priest in 1827.  He served briefly as assistant at Amberieu-en-Bugey before transferring to Crozet.  During his tenure of three years he revitalized that rural parish.  Yet our saint wished to become a missionary.  In 1831 Chanel joined the new Society of Mary (the Marists), a missionary order.  The Marists assigned him to serve as the spiritual director at the seminary at Belley for five years.

Chanel got his opportunity to serve as a missionary in 1836.  He became the superior of a group of seven Marish missionaries to the southwestern Pacific Ocean.  They arrived at Futura Island on November 8, 1837.  At first Niuliki, the local king, welcome them.  Our saint learned the local language well and began to have success converting people.  This fact made Niuliki, a priest-king, nervous.  He became hostile when his son, Meitala, requested baptism.  The king sent a warrior, Musumusu, to prevent that from happening.  Musumusu killed Chanel.  Niuliki’s efforts were in vain, for priests converted most of the population to Christianity within five months of ours saint’s martyrdom, dated April 28, 1841.

The Roman Catholic Church beatified Chanel in 1889 and canonized him in 1954.

Chanel did not live long enough to see most of the population of Futuna Island convert, but his efforts contributed to the fulfillment of that goal.









Father, you called St. Peter Chanel to work for your Church

and gave him the crown of martyrdom.

May our celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection

make us faithful witnesses to the new life he brings,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Psalm 117

Mark 1:14-20

New Saint Joseph Weekday Missal–Complete Edition, Volume 1–Advent to Pentecost (2002), pages 983-984


Feast of Edward Thomas Demby and Henry Beard Delany (April 14)   2 comments

Episcopal Flag

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Image Source = Zscout370



Episcopal Suffragan Bishop for Colored Work, Diocese of Arkansas and the Province of the Southwest


HENRY BEARD DELANY, SR. (MAY 5, 1858-APRIL 14, 1928)

Episcopal Suffragan Bishop for Colored Work, Diocese of North Carolina


In 2016 the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church is Michael Curry, an African American.  The fact that he leads the denomination testifies to the reality of how much The Episcopal Church has changed for the better since the days of Bishops Demby and Delany, in large part due to their efforts.  The fact that the denomination commemorates their lives on April 14 is also positive.

First I will explain the types of bishops germane to this post.  A diocesan bishop leads his or her diocese.  A bishop coadjutor serves under a diocesan prior to succeeding him or her automatically.  A suffragan bishop serves under a diocesan bishop without the right of succession.  A suffragan bishop can, however, become a diocesan bishop via election and confirmation to that post.  An old joke illustrates the difference between a bishop coadjutor and a suffragan bishop.  A suffragan bishop asks his her diocesan bishop,

How are you?,

but a bishop coadjutor asks his or her diocesan bishop,

How are you feeling?

Edward Thomas Demby, V, and Henry Beard Delany, Sr., were pioneers in the struggle for social justice in The Episcopal Church.  In 1918 the Church consecrated them Suffragan Bishops for Colored Work.  They were under the authority of White bishops and subject to an ecclesiastical establishment frequently insensitive to social equality.  Suffragan bishops could not even vote in the House of Bishops until 1946.  Demby and Delany were second-class bishops, but they remained faithful in their labors for Jesus.


Demby, some said after he died, could have eradicated racism by good example alone, if that were possible.  He entered the world at Wilmington, Delaware, on February 13, 1869.  His parents, who had never been slaves, were Edward Thomas Demby, IV, and Mary Anderson Tippett Demby.  Our saint’s education started locally and in his community.  Then he studied at the following schools, in chronological order:

  • The Institute for Colored Youth, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
  • Centenary Bible Institute, Baltimore, Maryland;
  • Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio; and
  • The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

Demby, originally a Methodist, left the church John Wesley made for the church that made John Wesley.  Our saint became a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) in 1894, the same year he began to serve as Dean of Students at Paul Quinn College, Dallas, Texas.  In 1895, however, Demby converted to The Episcopal Church.  John F. Spalding, the Bishop of Colorado, became our saint’s mentor and sent him to Tennessee.  There, 1898, Demby joined the ranks of the Sacred Order of Deacons.  He became a priest the following year.  In Tennessee our saint served as the Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Macon, the principal of the parochial school, and the vice principal of Hoffman Hall.  From 1900 to 1907 Demby served churches in Cairo, Illinois; Kansas City, Missouri; and Florida.  In 1902 he married his second wife, Antoinette Ricks, a nurse.  (His first wife, Polly Alston Sherill Demby, had died a few years prior.)  In 1907 Demby became the Rector of Emmanuel Church, Memphis, Tennessee.  In time he came to double as the Secretary of the Southern Colored convocations and as the Archdeacon for Colored Work in the Diocese of Tennessee.  In matters of racial policy he sided with W.E.B. DuBois against Booker T. Washington.

Demby had a difficult time as Suffragan Bishop for Colored Work.  He began that work on September 29, 1918, when he became the first African-American Suffragan Bishop in The Episcopal Church.  Until 1922 Demby had no salary, and the salary he received starting in 1922 was relatively meager.  Neither did our saint have an official residence.  He started with a few small congregations in Arkansas and sought to grow them and to found more churches in Arkansas and the Southwest, but financial restraints and White leadership hobbled those efforts.  Nevertheless, Demby did help to found the Christ Church Parochial and Industrial School, Forrest City, Arkansas, and recruited teachers for it.  He also recruited priests and worked with African-American orphanages, schools, and hospitals.

Matters went from bad to worse for Demby in 1932.  The diocesan convention elected a new bishop, but Demby and White allies detected racism in the procedures.  They protested the election and its result to the national church successfully, so The Episcopal Church overturned the election result.  This angered certain prominent churchmen in Arkansas.  They interfered with Demby’s work, rendering him a bishop in name only.  He turned his attention to national church efforts to resist racism.  This work continued after he retired in 1939.

Demby remained active in retirement.  He served churches in Kansas and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Cleveland, Ohio.  At the General Convention of 1940 he stood up for the desegregation of The Episcopal Church, helping to defeat a proposal to place African-American congregations in separate missionary districts.  Within 15 years the segregated dioceses integrated.  Demby lived long enough to see that happen and to witness Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and the approving statement by the Bishop of Arkansas.

Demby died at Cleveland, Ohio, on April 14, 1957.  He was 88 years old.  His written legacy included devotional and theological books:

  1. Devotions of the Cross and at the Holy Mass;
  2. My Companion;
  3. A Bird’s Eye View of Exegetical Studies;
  4. The Writings of Saints Paul and James;
  5. The Holy Sacrament of the Altar and Penance; and
  6. The Manual of the Guild of One More Soul.


Demby’s co-saint for April 14 is Henry Beard Delany, Sr., the Bishop Suffragan, Diocese of North Carolina (1918-1928).

Delany rose from slavery to the episcopate.  He entered the world at St. Marys, Georgia, on May 5, 1858.  His father was Thomas Sterling Delany (1810-1890), a carpenter, plasterer, and brick layer.  Our saint’s mother was Sarah Elizabeth Delany (1814-1891), a domestic servant.  After the Civil War the family moved to Fernandina Beach, Florida, where Delany worked on the family farm and learned carpentry, plastery, and brick laying from is father.  The Delanys were Methodists, but, in 1881, the local Episcopal priest funded a scholarship for our saint to attend St. Augustine’s College, Raleigh, North Carolina, a school founded by Episcopal priests for freedmen in 1867.

Delany lived on the campus of St. Augustine’s College for the rest of his life.  He graduated in 1885 then joined the faculty, teaching masonry and carpentry as well as supervising building projects.  In 1886 he married Nanny James (1861-1956).  The couple had ten children from 1887 to 1906.  Nanny taught at St. Augustine’s College also; the family lived on campus.  Delany, Vice Principal from 1899 to 1908, became a deacon in 1889 and a priest in 1892.  He served as the campus chaplain and musician, was the architect for the Norman-style chapel, and oversaw the construction of the library (1898) and the hospital (1909).  That was the only hospital to serve area African Americans until 1940.  In 1908 Delany became the Archdeacon for Negro Work in the Diocese of North Carolina.

As Suffragan Bishop for Negro Work Delany served not only in the Diocese of North Carolina but also in the Dioceses of East Carolina, Western North Carolina, South Carolina, and Upper South Carolina.  He did this for ten years until he died at home, in Raleigh, on April 14, 1928.  He was 69 years old.

Bishop Delany also resisted racism in The Episcopal Church and in society.  He died prior to the civil rights movement, but his ten children blazed trails.  For example,  Lemuel Delany (1861-1956) became a surgeon.  Sarah Louise Delany (1889-1999) was an educator.  Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany (1891-1995) became a dentist.  These two sisters were the topics of Having Our Say (1991), an oral history.  Hubert Thomas Delany (1901-1990) became an attorney then a judge.  His clients included Paul Robeson, Jackie Robinson, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  The influence of Bishop Delany was evident in his children.


Michael Curry, who served as the Bishop of North Carolina prior to his elevation to Presiding Bishop, spoke of the arrangement of portraits of bishops at the diocesan headquarters to the 194th Annual Convention of the Diocese of North Carolina on January 22, 2010.  He noted that, in the former, suburban Raleigh headquarters, the portraits of the diocesan bishops hung in one wing of the building and the portraits of the suffragan bishops hung in another wing thereof.  The design of the building made integrating those sets of portraits difficult.  In time, however, the diocese moved its headquarters into Raleigh proper.  Curry ordered that, at the new Diocesan House, the portraits of the bishops–diocesan and suffragan–hang together and in chronological order of consecration.  Curry explained the unintentional symbolism of hanging the portraits in separate wings and the intentional symbolism of integrating the sets of portraits:

Now the portraits hang not in any order that recalls Jim Crow, but in the gospel lineage of Simon Peter, Augustine of Canterbury, and Samuel Seabury.

Crazy Christians:  A Call to Follow Jesus (2013), page 122

Bishops Demby and Delany would have approved.









Loving God, we thank you for the ministries of Edward Thomas Demby and Henry Beard Delany,

bishops of your Church who, though limited by segregation, served faithfully to your honor and glory.

Assist us, we pray, to break trough the limitations of our own time,

that we may minister in obedience to Jesus Christ;

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Malachi 2:5-7

Psalm 119:161-168

1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

John 4:31-36

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 327


Feast of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (April 10)   2 comments

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Above:  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Image in the Public Domain



Roman Catholic Priest, Scientist, and Theologian


Lord, since with every instinct of my being and through all the changing fortunes of my life, it is you whom I have ever sought, you whom I have set at the heart of universal matter, it will be in a resplendence which shines through all things and in which all things are ablaze, that I shall have the felicity of closing my eyes.

–Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, quoted by his friend, Father Pierre Leroy, S.J., in the biographical sketch in The Divine Milieu:  An Essay on the Interior Life (first Harper Torchbook edition, 1965), page 42


Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), 73 years old, died of a stroke on Easter Sunday, April 10, 1955, in the City of New York.  He was more famous as a scientist than as a theologian, for the Roman Catholic Church, of which he was a priest, had forbidden him to publish any spiritual, theological, or philosophical works since the 1920s.  He was, by the standards of the Roman Catholic Church at the time, a heretic.  His funeral was a small event, with ten friends present.  Teilhard de Chardin’s reputation grew posthumously with the publication of once-forbidden works.  His death created the opportunity for his spiritual, theological, and philosophical writings to go to the printing presses.

Cinephiles among the readers of this post might know The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968), a pious movie with a flawed script which leaves too many dangling plot threads.  Anthony Quinn does a wonderful job of portraying Pope Kiril (I), a native of the Ukraine.  Kiril is a compassionate man with a Pope Francis-like common touch and desire to effect peace where military conflicts rage.  Among Kiril’s friends is Father David Telemond, whose theological orthodoxy is suspect.  Telemond is the Teilhard de Chardin figure in the story, based on Morris West’s 1963 novel.


Our saint was a Frenchman.  The native of Orcines, Auvergne, France, was the fourth of eleven children of Emmanuel and Berthe-Adele Teilhard de Chardin.  Emmanuel was a gentleman farmer, and Berthe-Adele was a great-grandniece of Francois-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), a.k.a. Voltaire, snarky author of Candide, or Optimism (1759) and one of the most famous author of the Enlightenment.  The 18-year-old Teilhard de Chardin entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) at Aix-en-Provence in 1899.  The realities of French government policy required him to continue his studies in Jersey, England, from 1902 to 1905.  Our saint taught chemistry at the Jesuit high school in Cairo, Egypt, from 1905 to 1908.  Then, from 1908 to 1911, he studied in Hastings, England.  There, in 1911, he became a priest.

A scientific career followed.  In 1912 Teilhard de Chardin commenced doctoral studies in paleontology and geology at the Sorbonne.  World War I (1914-1918) interrupted those plans, for he was a stretcher-carrier in the French Army for a few years.  After the war our saint returned to the Sorbonne, where he completed his doctorate in 1922.  That year he became the Chair of Geology at the Institute Catholique, Paris.

That was when the trouble started for Teilhard de Chardin.  Pope Pius X (reigned 1903-1914), with the anti-intellectual mindset he learned from his peasant background, was a theological stalwart.  He condemned Modernism, born out of an effort to reconcile faith and theology with developments in science and other secular knowledge.  Among these developments was evolution, extant since Greek antiquity yet restated and revived powerfully in the writings of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and Alfred Wallace (1823-1913).  Pius X (beatified in 1951 and canonized three years later) unleashed what J. N. D. Kelly described in The Oxford Dictionary of Popes as

a widespread, often embarrassing harassment of scholars which widened the breach between the church and the intelligentsia.

–Page 314

Although Pope Benedict XV (reigned 1914-1922) calmed that conflict, official Roman Catholic suspicion of evolution and Modernism persisted for decades.  For example, in Humani generis (August 12, 1950), Pope Pius XII (reigned 1939-1958) wrote:

A glance at the world outside the Christian Fold will familiarize us, easily enough, with the false directions which the thought of the learned often takes.  Some will contend that the theory of evolution, as it is called–a theory which has not been proved beyond contradiction even in the sphere of natural science–applies to the origin of all things whatsoever….These false evolutionary notions, with their denial of all that is absolute or fixed or abiding in human experience, have paved the way for a new philosophy of error….The Teaching of the Church leaves the doctrine of Evolution an open question, as long as it confines its speculations to the development, from other living matter already in existence, of the human body…..Original sin is the result of a sin committed, in actual historical fact, by an individual man named Adam….

–Quoted and excerpted from The Papal Encyclicals in Their Historical Context:  The Teachings of the Popes from Peter to John XXIII (edited by Anne Fremantle, 1963), pages 294-298

The opening of the proverbial church windows to the world had to wait until Pius XII’s successor, John XXIII (reigned 1958-1963).

Teilhard de Chardin’s superiors suspected that he stood outside of Roman Catholic tradition.  In some ways he did.  Roman Catholicism has long contained mutually exclusive traditions, actually.  Critics in the mold of Pius X stood in the anti-intellectual tradition, which has existed within Roman Catholicism for more than a millennium.  Distrust of scientific knowledge has long run amok there.  Teilhard de Chardin stood within the also longstanding Roman Catholic tradition of reconciling faith and reason, informed by science.

Teilhard de Chardin not only accepted human evolution as fact but gave it a prominent place in his theology.  He wrote that the emergence of humans constituted the birth of reflection.  Physical evolution, he wrote, had gone about as far as it could.  The current phase of evolution, he insisted, was human socialization, that is, cultural convergence toward a single society in which love is the highest radial energy, or inward tendency, toward self-perfection.  The culmination of evolution, Teilhard de Chardin wrote, will be the Second Coming of Christ, the physical center of evolution, and the source of the love energy in that process.

Teilhard de Chardin’s optimistic theology had Christ at its center.  Our saint understood the human-divine relationship as being properly collaborative.  Jesus, he wrote, was the Divine Milieu, always at work in creation.  Since “milieu,” in French, indicates both “center” and “environment,” the use of that word was especially expressive and compact.

Certain critics noted that our saint did little theologically regarding issues of sin and evil, and that his treatment of them was either wrong or inadequate.  St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) had, for example, defined sin as disordered love, which was not Teilhard de Chardin’s opinion.

No human being is perfect, hence no human system of theology avoids flaws.  No theologian has ever been infallible, so yes, Teilhard de Chardin committed some theological errors, as did his critics and St. Augustine of Hippo also.  My primary question regarding our saint’s theology is whether the core of it was sound.  Integrating science and religion and placing Christ at the center of the evolutionary process seems sound to me.

Teilhard de Chardin got into trouble with Holy Mother Church initially because of a paper he wrote on the relationship to original sin to human evolution.  No draft of it satisfied his ecclesiastical superiors, who forced him to sign official renunciations of the views contained in that paper.  In 1925 the Jesuit Superior General removed our saint from the position of Chair of Geology at the Institut Catholique, Paris.  The Vatican forbade Teilhard de Chardin to publish anything in the realms of spirituality, theology, or philosophy, and in the late 1920s, exiled him to China.  Our saint spent most of the next almost twenty years in Asia, living in China until 1934 and again from 1939 to 1946.  He participated in many expeditions, including the one which discovered the 400,000-year-old school of Peking Man in 1929.  Teilhard de Chardin visited France periodically, and traveled in India, China, Japan, and the United States from 1934 to 1939.

Troubles with the Church continued to follow Teilhard de Chardin after World War II.  He returned to France in 1946, but had to leave after a few years.  Our saint served as the director of research at the National Center for Scientific Research.  In 1948 the Jesuit Superior General prevented him from standing as a candidate for the Chair of Paleontology at the College de France.  Teilhard de Chardin eventually left for the United States, where he accepted a position with the Wenner-Grenn Foundation for Anthropological Research.

Our saint had a joie de vivre, for he enjoyed pleasures such as good food and humor.  Nevertheless, official rejection and interference caused him much distress.  Teilhard de Chardin’s friend, Father Pierre Leroy, S.J, wrote:

There was no contradiction in his soul, no ambiguity between his humble loyalty as a son of the Church and the boldness of his philosophical views.  But in the depths of his being there raged the excruciating torment of reconciling his complete submission to the Church with the integrity of his thought.

–“Teilhard de Chardin:  The Man,” in The Divine Milieu:  An Essay on the Inner Life (first Harper Torchbook edition, 1965), page 37


Teilhard de Chardin left an astounding legacy.  He wrote 10 volumes of hard science and 15 of anthropology, philosophy, spirituality, and theology.  He had to endure the Vatican’s official frown during most of his life, but recent Popes have affirmed parts of his theology.  Our saint wrote in The Divine Milieu (written, 1926 and 1927; published in French, 1957; published in English, 1960):

Nothing is profane to those who know how to see.

By that standard, Roman Catholicism knows how to see better after the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II, 1962-1965) than it did before.





Eternal God, the whole cosmos sings of your glory,

from the dividing of a single cell to the vast expanse of interstellar space:

We bless you for your theologian and scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,

who perceived the divine in the evolving creation.

Enable us to become faithful stewards of your divine works

and heirs of your eternal kingdom;

through Jesus Christ, the firstborn of all creation,

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one Gd, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:6-11

Psalm 65

Revelation 21:1-6

John 3:31-35

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 321



I have not attempted to write a comprehensive account of Teilhard de Chardin’s life and theology, for others have done that already.  For more complete yet not tome-length accounts, O reader, I refer you to three sources:

  1. The American Teilhard Association;
  2. “Teilhard de Chardin:  The Man,” by Father Pierre Leroy, S.J., in the Harper Torchbook edition of The Divine Milieu; and
  3. The chapter on Teilhard de Chardin in A Handbook of Christian Theologians–Expanded Edition (1984), edited by Martin E. Marty and Dean G. Peerman.

There are also Teilhard de Chardin’s writings, of course.