Archive for February 2016

Spare Me Your Secondhand Smoke   Leave a comment

No Smoking

Above:  “Smoking Not Allowed Here” (1897)

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-56425

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Among the realities of life in society is that, whatever we do affects not just ourselves but others.  Thus, if we are responsible, we will act of out a sense of responsibility to and for each other.  This principle constitutes one of the foundations of my ethics.

I teach for the University of North Georgia (UNG), a successor of Gainesville State College (GSC), for which I also taught.  Prior to the consolidation of UNG I taught for GSC part of the time on a satellite campus of Lanier Technical College at Winder, Georgia, a short drive from Athens.  I parked my car in the back and entered the building in the rear.  One day, as I approached the building, I noticed an inconsiderate person smoking while standing next to the sign announcing that there was a ban on smoking on the campus.  I pointed out this fact to the young man, but he indicated that he did not care.  At that point I told him precisely what I thought of him.  What came up, came out.  My use of such language has long been rare, but sometimes people have acted in ways that have justified occasional spice in my vocabulary.

There is abundant evidence of the effects of secondhand smoke.  Given that fact alone, I harbor no sense of guilt over choosing to vacate the premises rather than continue exposure to secondhand smoke when I have the opportunity to leave.  I am also physically intolerant of cigarette and cigar smoke; my throat becomes irritated, my eyes water, et cetera.  On certain occasions when I have not been able to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, smokers have stood in front of me much too long, despite the obvious nature of my physical discomfort.  They have not seemed to care.

I also understand the science of addiction in broad terms.  Furthermore, I have heard and read accounts by smokers (current and former) about their struggles to quit.  None of those factors cancel out or reduce the moral mandate to act out of a sense of responsibility to and for others, especially those in one’s physical proximity.  Smokers, please spare the rest of us your secondhand smoke.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 29, 2016 COMMON ERA

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Feast of Caroline Chisholm (May 3)   Leave a comment

Colonial Flag of Australia

Above:  The Colonial Flag of Australia

Image in the Public Domain

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CAROLINE CHISHOLM (MAY 3, 1808-MARCH 25, 1877)

English Humanitarian and Social Reformer

Caroline Chisholm helped tens of thousands of people via her work, which did not pay very well.  She was a philanthropist by means of time and work more than money.

Helping others defined Chisholm’s life.  She, born Caroline Jones at Northampton, England, on May 30, 1808, grew up in The Church of England, which has defined her feast day as May 16.  Our saint’s parents, Caroline Jones and William Jones, farmers, modeled caring for others–even taking people into the home.  Our saint was the youngest of her father’s 16 children and a daughter of the last of his four wives.  Our saint, aged 22 years, married Captain Archibald Chisholm, who was 13 years her senior.  He was also in the military service of the East India Company.  The new bride converted to her husband’s faith, Roman Catholicism.

Husband and wife spent years separated by long distances because of their work as well as long periods of time together.  They had eight children, six of whom survived them.  In the 1830s and 1840s our saint and her husband were both in India.  There, at Madras, she founded the Female School of Industry for the Daughters of European Soldiers, to protect the virtue of young women from soldiers.

In 1838 the first Australian phase of our saint’s life began.  Archibald was on leave from active duty.  The family relocated to the area of Sydney, New South Wales.  There our saint noticed the problem of unemployment in the colony.  Immigrants were arriving in droves, but the government had no plan for dispersing them to the countryside, where there was great demand for labor.  Chisholm, who remained in Australia with her children after her husband returned to active duty in 1840, met every ship of immigrants in Sydney.  She also found positions for girls and took some into her home.  During the following year Chisholm obtained permission from the government to establish a home for immigrant girls at Sydney.  Then she acted on it.  Our saint also developed a plan to resettle immigrants in the countryside.  She supervised the establishment of rest stations and employment agencies toward this end.  She also planned to resettle 23 families on donated land at Shellharbour, but some wealthy landowners in the area blocked that plan.  Archibald retired in 1845 and returned to Australia.  The Chisholms traveled across Australia to raise funds for their humanitarian work, for no financial support was forthcoming from the government.

The Chisholm family relocated to England in 1846 and continued to work on the issue of emigration from the mother country to Australia.  Our saint lobbied the Parliament successfully to permit free passage for the wives and children of freed convicts and to ensure suitable conditions aboard the ships.  In 1849, with the support of Anthony Ashley Cooper (1801-1885), Chisholm founded the Family Colonization Loan Association, with branches in the British Isles and Australia.  The Society facilitated emigration to Australia, functioned as an employment agency, and offered lower interest rates than other lenders.  Archibald returned to Australia in 1851 to work as an agent of the Society.  The family reunited there–this time in the colony of Victoria–three years later.

The Chisholms continued to commit good works in Australia in the 1850s and 1860s.  Our saint lobbied successfully for government funding for the construction of shelter sheds for miners.  Archibald and children operated a store while Chisholm traveled across Australia, speaking on behalf of small farmers.  In the early 1860s she opened a school for girls at Newtown (near Sydney).  Later our saint moved the school to Tempe (also near Sydney).

Our saint was, by the standards of the day, a radical.  She worked for the dignity of women and girls in the rough-and-tumble setting of colonial Australia, favored the secret ballot, and supported women’s suffrage.  Furthermore, she not only thought that someone ought to do something, but acted to address those issues she was able to influence.

All the Chisholms had returned to England by 1866, living first in Liverpool then in Highgate, London.  Our saint died on March 25, 1877, aged 68 years.  Archibald died in August that same year.  Both husband and wife had lived their Roman Catholic faith, uniting faith and works.

Archive.org offers three works germane to our saint:

  1. The A.B.C. of Colonization; in a Series of Letters by Mrs. Chisholm (1850);
  2. Memoirs of Mrs. Caroline Chisholm, with an Account of Her Philanthropic Labours, in India, Australia, and England; To Which is Added a History of the Family Colonization Loan Society; Also the Question, Who Ought to Emigrate?, Answered by Eneas Mackenzie (1852); and
  3. An profile in The Illustrated Magazine of Art (1854).

Chisholm

Above:  Caroline Chisholm’s Image on Money

Image Subject to Fair Use

Legacies of Caroline Chisholm include the Caroline Chisholm Society, Victoria, Australia, and her image on the back of the Australian $5 bill from the late 1960s to the early 1990s.  There is also a cause for the canonization of our saint in the Roman Catholic Church.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 15, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE NEW MARTYRS OF LIBYA, 2015

THE FEAST OF ALEXANDER VIETS GRISWOLD, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF FRANCIS HAROLD ROWLEY, NORTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF THOMAS BRAY, ANGLICAN PRIEST

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of St. Alcuin of York (May 20)   4 comments

Carolingian Empire 843

Above:  The Carolingian Empire, 843

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ALCUIN OF YORK (CIRCA 735-MAY 19, 804)

Abbot of Tours

Stating that one stands on the shoulders of giants is accurate is many contexts, including the life and legacy of St. Alcuin of York, a scholar, educator, and theologian.

St. Alcuin, a native of York, Northumbria, entered the world in the 730s.  Sources have proven to be inconsistent regarding the year, with some offering 732 and others stating 735, always with the caveat “circa.”  He attended the cathedral school at York, the most renowned institution of learning in England.  Our saint taught there form 766 to 778, became a Roman Catholic deacon in 770, and served as the headmaster from 778 to 782.

St. Alcuin made his greatest contribution in the Frankish Kingdom/Carolingian Empire.  In 781 he was returning from a visit to Rome when he met King Charles I “the Great,” a.k.a. Charlemagne (reigned 768-814; Holy Roman Emperor, 800-814) at Parma, Italy.  Our saint accepted the monarch’s offer to lead the Palace School at Aix-en-Chapelle.  St. Alcuin made that school the center of learning in the kingdom and organized schools throughout the realm.  He also encouraged the study of secular liberal arts as means of spiritual edification, taught members of the nobility and the royal family, wrote works on education and grammar, and played a crucial role in preserving knowledge and reviving education in Western Europe after the demise of the Western Roman Empire.

St. Alcuin was also an important liturgist.  He revised the liturgy of the Frankish Church, basing his revision on the Georgian and Gelasian sacramentaries.  Our saint also introduced the sung creed into the Frankish liturgy and arranged notive masses for each day of the week.  St. Alcuin’s work led the the Roman Missal and to liturgical uniformity in Roman Catholicism.  He was also responsible for preserving many prayers, including the Collect of Purity:

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires are known, and from you no secrets are hid:  Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 355

Many of St. Alcuin’s written works have survived.  There were, for example, 310 Latin letters, a treasure trove for historians who study the 700s.  He also left theological works (often refutations of heresies), hagiographies, and commentaries on the Bible.  His revision of the Vulgate has not survived, however.

St. Alcuin served as the Abbot of Tours, presiding over Marmoutier Abbey in Alsace, from 796 to 804.  The roles (if any) he played in politics during his final years have been unclear for a long time.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 15, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE NEW MARTYRS OF LIBYA, 2015

THE FEAST OF ALEXANDER VIETS GRISWOLD, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF FRANCIS HAROLD ROWLEY, NORTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF THOMAS BRAY, ANGLICAN PRIEST

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Almighty God, in a rude and barbarous age you raised up

your deacon Alcuin to rekindle the light of learning:

Illumine our minds, we pray, that amid the uncertainties and confusions

of our own time we may show forth your eternal truth;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 39:1-9

Psalm 37:3-6, 32-33

Titus 2:1-3

Matthew 13:10-16

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 379

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Feast of St. Dunstan of Canterbury (May 19)   1 comment

Glastonbury Abbey, 1890

Above:  Ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, 1890

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08401

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SAINT DUNSTAN OF CANTERBURY (909-MAY 19, 988)

Abbot of Glastonbury and Archbishop of Canterbury

St. Dunstan of Canterbury lived and worked in a political context different from that of the modern Western world.  Ideas such as constitutional government and the separation of church and state were foreign to the England of the 900s.  The Magna Carta, hardly the most democratic of documents, was centuries away, as was the concept that the monarch should not play an active role in ecclesiastical affairs.  Indeed, the United Kingdom has adopted religious toleration yet not the separation of church and state in contemporary times.

St. Dunstan, born in Baltonsborough in 909, came from a West Saxon noble family.  He studied at Glastonbury Abbey, where he learned music composition, painting, and mechanical arts, in which he was proficient.  Our saint, as a young man, entered the service of Athelstan, King of the Anglo-Saxons from 924 to 927 then King of the English from 927 to 939.  Petty jealousies in the royal court led to our saint’s exile from it.  False allegations of practicing the black arts constituted the pretext for the exile; violent intimidation enforced it.

At this point St. Dunstan’s life took a crucial turn.  He found refuge with a relative, Alphege, who served as the Bishop of Winchester from 934/935 to 951.  Our saint, recovering from an attack of brain fever, became a monk and began to live as a hermit.

In time St. Dunstan’s life intersected with royalty again.  King Edmund I (reigned 939-946) appointed him the royal treasurer.  During the reign (946-955) of Edred our saint was the de facto ruler of the kingdom, governing ably and well.  These duties overlapped with St. Dunstan’s job as the Abbot of Glastonbury (starting in 943).  In that capacity our saint made the abbey school famous and renewed monastic life.  Edred’s successor was Edwy (reigned 955-959), whose incestuous marriage St. Dunstan denounced.  Our saint spent his exile (955-957) in Flanders.  A rebellion among the Mercians and the Northumbrians made Edgar a rival monarch in 957-959 before he ruled as sole King of the English (959-975).  Edgar recalled St. Dunstan and appointed him Bishop of Worcester (957-959), Bishop of London (958-960), and Archbishop of Canterbury (960-988), as well as a royal advisor.

St. Dunstan made his mark as Archbishop of Canterbury.  He replaced married and other non-celibate priests with monks when possible.  Our saint also reformed monasticism strictly according to the Rule of St. Benedict, rebuilt churches, and promoted education.  His time as archbishop overlapped with the reign of King Edward the Martyr (reigned 975-978), the cause of death was murder.  St. Dunstan retired shortly after participating in the coronation of Ethelred II the Unready (reigned 978-1013 and 1014-1016).  England descended into political chaos despite St. Dunstan’s best efforts during the preceding decades to improve the kingdom.

St. Dunstan enjoyed a quiet and productive retirement.  He lived in Canterbury, where he taught at the cathedral school, painted, composed music, made musical instruments, founded bells, and practiced calligraphy.  He died on May 19, 988.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 15, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE NEW MARTYRS OF LIBYA, 2015

THE FEAST OF ALEXANDER VIETS GRISWOLD, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF FRANCIS HAROLD ROWLEY, NORTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF THOMAS BRAY, ANGLICAN PRIEST

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O God of truth and beauty, you richly endowed your bishop Dunstan

with skill in music and the working of metals,

and with gifts of administration and reforming zeal:

Teach us, we pray, to see you in the source of all our talents,

and move us to offer them for the adornment of worship

and the advancement of true religion,

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Job 1:6-8

Psalm 57:6-11

Ephesians 5:15-20

Matthew 24:42-47

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 377

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Feast of Wilbur Kenneth Howard (April 17)   Leave a comment

Flag of Canada Current

Above:  The Flag of Canada

Image in the Public Domain

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WILBUR KENNETH HOWARD (FEBRUARY 29, 1912-APRIL 17, 2001)

Moderator of The United Church of Canada

Wilbur Kenneth Howard followed Jesus and resisted racism.

Howard was a native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  He entered the world on February 29, 1912.  His father and brother were railway porters, for that profession was among the limited range of careers open to African Canadians in the early part of the twentieth century.  Our saint, educated at Brock Public School then at Bloor Collegiate School then at Victoria College (B.A., 1938) then Emmanuel College (B.D., 1941), all in Toronto, pursued a different path.  When he was younger a White family had invited him to attend church with them.  He had accepted, and therefore found his path into The United Church of Canada.

Howard was in a difficult situation in 1941.  He had graduated from seminary yet not one congregation offered him a position.  The reason was racism.  The denominational officialdom at the General Council Office hired Howard to be the Boys’ Work Secretary of the Ontario Religious Education Council.  For the next 24 years our saint worked in the field of Christian education.  In 1949 he became the Christian Education Secretary for the Manitoba Conference of The United Church of Canada.  Four years later he accepted a new position, Associate Editor of Sunday School Publications for the denomination.  That work lasted for 12 years, during which he influenced the content of the curriculum.

From 1965 to 1980 Howard worked on the parish level and found acceptance there.  For five years he was one of three ministers at Dominion-Chalmers United Church, Toronto.  In late 1970 he transferred to Emmanuel United Church, Toronto, where he remained for about ten years.  Our saint also served beyond the parish level, first as the President of the Montreal-Ottawa Conference in 1972 and 1973.  On August 19, 1974, the General Council of The United Church of Canada made history by electing Howard to the office of Moderator.  He was the 26th Moderator and the first one to be African-Canadian.  During our saint’s three years as the denominational moderator he worked part-time at Emmanuel United Church.  He retired from active ministry in 1980.  He was 68 years old.

Howard received degrees subsequent to his seminary program.  In 1969 he received the Doctor of Divinity degree from Victoria University, Toronto.  Six years later the University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba, granted him the Doctor of Letters degree.

Howard was a quiet man who lived simply, demonstrated his willingness to listen to others, and considered the ministry of the church to be a matter best suited to teamwork, not obedient minions following the orders of a dominant figure or figures.  His concerns included evangelism, social justice, environmental stewardship, and the needs of third-world countries.  He also abhorred inter-religious hostility and favored mutual understanding and, when possible and proper, cooperation.

Our saint, who received the Order of Ontario in 1991, received the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease and moved into a retirement community in the early 1990s.  He died in Toronto on April 17, 2001.  He was 88 years old.  The city council observed a moment of silence in his honor, as they should have done.

I can only imagine how much spiritual fortitude Howard must have had to muster to endure the racist indignities to which others subjected him.  I have endured trials much less difficult and struggled with grudges.  Our saint, however much he struggled with others and himself, emerged as a man of much grace.  That fact warrants high praise.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM OF CARRHAE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CYRIL AND METHODIUS, MISSIONARIES TO THE SLAVS

THE FEAST OF JOHANN MICHAEL ALTENBURG, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR, COMPOSER, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VICTOR OLOF PETERSEN, SWEDISH-AMERICAN LUTHERAN HYMN TRANSLATOR

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Wilbur Kenneth Howard,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:25-45

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 60

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Feast of Luther D. Reed (April 3)   2 comments

Lutheran Books February 13, 2016

Above:  Some of Luther Reed’s Major Works and Immediate Successors Thereto

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor, February 13, 2016

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LUTHER DOTTERER REED (MARCH 21, 1873-APRIL 3, 1972)

U.S. Lutheran Minister and Liturgist

Luther Dotterer Reed was an influential Lutheran liturgist in the United States.  He was chiefly responsible for the creation of the Common Service Book (1917) and the Service Book and Hymnal (1958), two of the major Lutheran service-books of the twentieth century.

Reed was a son of the Church.  He entered the world at North Wales, Pennsylvania, on March 21, 1873.  His parents were Annie Linley Reed and Ezra L. Reed, a Lutheran minister of the old Ministerium of Pennsylvania and its umbrella organization, the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America (1867-1918).  From his father our saint learned much, including music and the Mercersburg Theology (high church Calvinism) of the Reformed Church in the United States (1793-1934).  Reed came under the direct influence of the Mercersburg Theology at his father’s alma mater, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1892.  Next our saint matriculated at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (hereafter LTS Mt. Airy), from which he graduated in 1895.

Reed was a parish minister for just a few years.  Upon graduating from LTS Mt. Airy he entered the liturgical boondocks of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania.  Western Pennsylvania was an unlikely place for a Lutheran minister with a strong liturgical bent.  In 1895 our saint became the pastor of Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Allegheny, across the river from Pittsburgh.  As Reed described the facility, it was a chapel with a central pulpit and a lunch table for an altar.  Traditionally the pastor wore street clothes to church on Sundays.  In 1903, when our saint left for his next posting, there was a choir (which he had directed), he wore a Geneva robe to church on Sundays, and the use of vestments and paraments had begun.  Reed studied at the University of Leipzig in 1902.  He served as pastor in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, briefly before returning to his alma mater, LTS Mt. Airy, in 1906.  There he remained in one capacity or another until 1950.

Luther D. Reed

Above:  An Item in the Lebanon Courier and Semi-Weekly Report, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, May 24, 1905, Page 2

Accessed via newspapers.com

Reed worked beyond the parish and seminary levels, frequently in the cause of liturgical renewal.  He understood worship as occupying the center of Christian life.  The beauty of worship matters, he insisted, for it can inspire one to commit good works–lead one into the world.  From 1898 to 1906 our saint led the Lutheran Liturgical Association, the goal of which was to convince U.S. Lutherans to accept the Common Service (1888) as something simple yet dignified and Lutheran yet catholic.  Reed edited the Memoirs of the Lutheran Liturgical Association (1906).  From 1907 to 1936 he served as the President of the Church Music and Liturgical Art Society.  And, from 1930 to 1940, he was the President of the Associated Bureaus of Church Architecture of the United States and Canada, devoted to encouraging architecture suitable for proper liturgy.

Reed married Catharine S. Ashbridge (1878-1942) in 1906.  They remained married until by her death they did part.

Book Dedication

Above:  The Dedication to The Lutheran Liturgy (1947)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

In 1906 Reed went to work at LTS Mt. Airy, where he would have preferred to remain since his graduation 11 years earlier.  Until 1950 he served as the Director of the Krauth Memorial Library.  From 1911 to 1945 our saint was Professor of Liturgics and Church Art.  He was the first such professor at any Protestant theological seminary in North America.  And, from 1938 to 1945 Reed was also the president of the seminary.  If that were not enough, the served as the Archivist of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania from 1909 to 1939, and, starting in 1919, of the new United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA), which he had helped to form via merger.

Reed served as the chairman of the joint commissions that created the Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church (1917) and its successor, the Service Book and Hymnal (1958).  He also wrote two editions (1947 and 1959) of The Lutheran Liturgy, both classic works of Christian liturgical history and commentary on the then-current Lutheran services.  [Aside:  The best way to enjoy Reed’s depth of knowledge in liturgy is to read these two books.]  Reed favored restoring the Eucharistic canon, or prayer of thanksgiving, which Martin Luther had excised in the 1500s.  He included a proposed text for one on pages 336 and 337 of the first edition (1947) of The Lutheran Liturgy.  Variations on that canon graced the Service Book and Hymnal (1958), the Worship Supplement (1969), the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), and the Lutheran Service Book (2006).  Reed’s restoration of the Eucharistic canon took hold in North American Lutheranism beyond the lineages of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), The Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC), and The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS).  In 2008, for example, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) added an original Eucharistic canon in Christian Worship:  Supplement.  Other conservative Lutheran denominations have not restored the canon, however.

Reed, who received honorary degrees (including a Doctor of Divinity degree from Thiel College, Greenville, Pennsylvania, in 1912), was a gentle, kind, unassuming, and gracious gentleman.  Although our saint was not physically imposing he was intellectually masterful.  He wrote and contributed to volumes, mostly related to liturgics:

  1. The Psalter and Canticles; Pointed for Chanting to the Gregorian Psalm Tunes; with a Plain Song Setting for the Order of Matins and Vespers, Accompanying Harmonies, and Tables of Proper Psalms; for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Congregations (1897);
  2. The Choral Service Book; Containing the Authentic Plain Song Intonations and Responses for the Order of Morning Service, the Order of Matins and Vespers, the Litany and the Suffrages of the Common Service for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Congregations; with Accompanying Harmonies for Organ (1901);
  3. The Responsories:  Musical Setting (1914);
  4. Luther and Congregational Song (1947);
  5. The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study of the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America (1947);
  6. The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study of the Common Liturgy of the Lutheran Church in America (1959);
  7. Worship:  A Corporate Devotion (1959); and
  8. The Mind of the Church (1962).

Reed wrote a hymn and at least two hymn tunes also.  The hymn was “O God of Wondrous Grace and Glory” and the accompanying original tune was MOUNT AIRY.  He also composed the tune SURSUM CORDA.

Reed pondered what might and should follow the Service Book and Hymnal (1958).  He favored the inclusion of a provision for the procession of the bread and wine to the altar at the end of the offering.  This development became reality in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978).

Our saint died at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 3, 1972.  He was 99 years old.  The  process of forging the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) was well underway.

Reed’s liturgical legacy thrives, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM OF CARRHAE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CYRIL AND METHODIUS, MISSIONARIES TO THE SLAVS

THE FEAST OF JOHANN MICHAEL ALTENBURG, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR, COMPOSER, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VICTOR OLOF PETERSEN, SWEDISH-AMERICAN LUTHERAN HYMN TRANSLATOR

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

thank you for those (especially Luther Dotterer Reed)

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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Feast of Frances Perkins (May 13)   Leave a comment

Frances Perkins, 1932

Above:  Frances Perkins, 1932

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-1132

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FRANCES CORALIE PERKINS (APRIL 10, 1880-MAY 14, 1965)

United States Secretary of Labor

Frances Perkins read, marked, learned, and inwardly directed potent language from Matthew 25:

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat:  I was thirsty, and ye gave my drink:  I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  Naked, and ye clothed me:  I was sick, and ye visited me:  I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee, an hungred, and fed thee?  or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in?  or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat:  I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in:  naked, and ye clothed me not:  sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then they shall also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

–Verses 34-46, Authorized Version

Fannie Coralie Perkins was a native of Boston, Massachusetts.  She grew up a Congregationalist in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Our saint, born on April 10, 1880, was daughter of Susan Bean Perkins (died in 1927) and Frederick W. Perkins (died in 1916), owner of a stationery business.  Both parents were from Maine.  Our saint, with encouragement from her parents, attended the mostly male Worcester Classical High School.  She went on to attend Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she majored in physics and chemistry.  During her undergraduate program she read How the Other Half Lives (1889), by Jacob Riis (1849-1914), the famous muckraking journalist who wrote about, among other things, life in slums.  Perkins graduated in 1902.  For about the next two years she worked for the benefit of her community in Worcester.  Perkins taught part-time and volunteered with social service organizations in the city.

In 1904 our saint moved to Lake Forest, Illinois, to accept a teaching position.  She taught there until 1907 and spent free time in Hull House and similar institutions in Chicago.  On June 11, 1905, at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Lake Forest, she converted to The Episcopal Church.  She also changed her first name to Frances.  Perkins became an Anglo-Catholic mystic whose faith defined her policy positions.  She stood in the tradition of the finest social teaching of Angl0-Catholicism, for she had an active concern for the poor and the downtrodden.

From 1907 to 1909 Perkins studied economics and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.  That program led to her work in New York.  In 1909 our saint, having received a Russell Sage Foundation fellowship, started work on her M.A. degree in political science (Columbia University, 1910).  She surveyed living and working conditions in Hell’s Kitchen.

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The people are what matter to government, and a government should aim to give all the people under its jurisdiction the best possible life.

–Frances Perkins

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From 1910 to 1912 Perkins served as the executive secretary of the National Consumers League.  As she went about her work our saint witnessed the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire on March 25, 1911.  In that infamous and avoidable event employees faced a terrifying choice–to die in the flames or to jump from window ledges.  The incident added to Perkins’s catalog of motivating factors as she strove for social reform.

From 1912 to 1932 Perkins worked in the administrations of Al Smith and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Governors of New York.  While serving on the Committee on Safety of the City of New York (1912-1917) our saint exposed hazardous practices in workplaces.  Starting in 1918 Perkins worked via the State Industrial Board, becoming its chair in 1926.  Then she served as the state’s Industrial Commissioner.

Perkins was a feminist.  Not only did she advocate for women’s suffrage, she decided to keep her last name when she married economist Paul Caldwell Wilson (1876-1952) in 1913.  She had to go to court to defend that.  Nevertheless, the name engraved on her headstone was “Frances Perkins Wilson,” her name on the records of the federal census of 1930.  (The census records of 1920 listed her as “Frances Perkins,” however.)

Our saint had to contend with the fact of her husband’s bipolar disorder.  In that time period the treatment was apparently institutionalization, for Paul was in and out of mental hospitals.  Perkins became the primary wage earner out of necessity while raising their daughter, Susanna Wilson (1916-2003).

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I came to Washington to work for God, FDR, and the millions of forgotten, plain common workingmen.

–Frances Perkins

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Perkins served as the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945.  She made history, for she was the first female member of a presidential cabinet in the United States.  Our saint was also one of the architects of the New Deal.  Her numerous accomplishments included drafting the Social Security Act, helping to establish the federal minimum wage, being instrumental in fighting child labor, helping to create the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), expanding the roles of women in workplaces, extending the rights of labor unions and their members, and advocating for unemployment insurance.  Our saint’s unrealized goal was universal access to health care, which has been on the U.S. political landscape since at least 1912, when former President Theodore Roosevelt campaigned on the issue while seeking his old job as the nominee of the Progressive Party.  Perkins resigned as Secretary of Labor on July 1, 1945.  Later that year she joined the federal Civil Service Commission, serving until 1953.

Most of the sources I consulted regarding our saint’s life and labors ignored or barely mentioned the influence of her faith upon her public life.  Not surprisingly, religious-based sources provided that information, including the fact that, while serving as the Secretary of Labor, she made monthly retreats with the All Saints’ Sisters of the Poor at Cantonsville, Maryland.

Perkins wrote books, including the following:

  1. Women as Employees (1919),
  2. A Social Experiment Under the Workmen’s Compensation Jurisdiction (1921),
  3. People at Work (1934), and
  4. The Roosevelt I Knew (1946).

Our saint spent her final years teaching at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Ithaca, New York, starting in 1957.  She died at New York, New York, on May, 14, 1965.  She was 85 years old.

Newcastle, Maine, where our saint spent summers with her grandmother, is the site of the Frances Perkins Center.

The Letter of James offers timeless wisdom:

As a body without a spirit is dead, so is faith without deeds.

–Chapter 2, Verse 26 (The New Jerusalem Bible, 1985)

The faith of Frances Perkins was vivacious.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 11, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ONESIMUS, BISHOP OF BYZANTIUM

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Loving God, we bless your Name for Frances Perkins,

who lived out her belief that the special vocation of the laity is to conduct

the secular affairs of society that all may be maintained in health and decency.

Help us, following her example, to contend tirelessly for justice

and for the protection of all in need, that we may be faithful followers of Jesus Christ;

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

Deuteronomy 15:7-11

Psalm 37:27-31

Ephesians 4:25-5:2

Luke 9:10-17

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 369

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