Archive for March 2016

Feast of Flora MacDonald (July 28)   3 comments

Flag of Canada Current

Above:  The Flag of Canada

Image in the Public Domain

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FLORA ISABEL MACDONALD (JUNE 3, 1926-JULY 26, 2015)

Canadian Stateswoman and Humanitarian

Flora MacDonald worked to help the poor and other vulnerable and marginalized people at home and abroad.  This was consistent with her Christian upbringing.

BEGINNINGS

MacDonald, of Scottish descent, was a native of North Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where Mary Isabel Royle MacDonald gave birth to her on June 3, 1926.  Our saint’s father, George Frederick MacDonald, was a trans-Atlantic telegraph operator for Western Union.  He was active in community life.  From this example young Flora learned civil responsibility.  The father also taught his daughter that she could become anything she wanted.  That lesson seemed unrealistic when Flora was young, for the horizons of females were curtailed relative to those of males.  Our saint studied at Empire Business College, where she prepared to become a secretary.  She became a bank teller instead.  Then, in the early 1950s, she traveled to Europe and hitchhiked across it.  Next she returned to Canada and became involved in politics.

MacDonald was a member of the former Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.  She was a Red Tory–socially liberal, even radical by certain standards of her times.  At first she worked on the campaign of Nova Scotia party Leader Robert Stanfield in 1956.  He won, and MacDonald became a secretary at the party’s national office later that year.  She worked on the campaigns of federal party leader John Diefenbaker (Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963) in 1957 and 1958.  MacDonald held various support positions  in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Progressive Conservative Party until 1963, when Diefenbaker fired her for supporting a leadership review.  That year MacDonald became an administrator in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.  In 1967 she supported Robert Stanfield’s successful bid to become the party’s federal leader.  The following year MacDonald worked on the Stanfield’s unsuccessful federal campaign at the time of Trudeau Mania.

THE POLITICIAN AND HUMANITARIAN

Trudeau Mania had run its course by 1972, the year Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau‘s Liberal Party lost its majority in the House of Commons and emerged from the federal election with a minority government propped up by the New Democratic Party.  1972 was also the year MacDonald won her seat in the House of Commons, representing the riding of Kingston and the Islands, in Ontario.  She won re-election in 1974, 1979, 1980, and 1984, serving until her defeat in 1988.

In 1976 MacDonald sought the federal leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party.  She would have won (and gone on to become the Prime Minister three years later) if many male delegates who had sworn to support her had actually voted for her at the party convention.  Her bid failed because of the “Flora Syndrome,” as it became known.  The party was not yet ready for a female leader.  The successful candidate was Joe Clark, whom I also respect, along with Pierre Elliott Trudeau.  Clark’s government, with its minority in the House of Commons, lasted for a mere nine months in 1979 and 1980, sandwiched between two majorities for Trudeau and the Liberal Party.  Clark has admitted that he erred by governing as if he had a majority government.  What a MacDonald government would have been has become a matter of counterfactual history.

MacDonald and Clark became political allies.  He appointed her Secretary of State for External Affairs, making her the first woman to hold that post.  She also supported Clark during his unsuccessful bid to retain party leadership in 1983.  (Brian Mulroney defeated Clark.)  The Progressive Conservative Party lost its majority in 1993, when it lost its majority and retained only two seats, in contrast to the 169 seats it had won five years earlier.  The party increased its numbers in the House of Commons during the following eleven years, but it never came close to forming another government.  The merger of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance to form the Conservative Party of Canada prompted the opposition of both Clark and MacDonald.  Our saint regarded the merger as a betrayal of principles.  In 2003 she wrote in The Star, a newspaper:

My reaction to the agreement (to merge) was first all one of incredulity, then anger.  The Party’s future lies not in some right-wing alliance that would violate the progressive and moderate traditions of its former leaders, but with a renewed emphasis on the values that the great majority of Canadians feel represent their views.

She voted for the New Democratic Party in the federal election of 2004.

MacDonald served ably as Secretary of State for External Affairs in 1979 and 1980.  She facilitated the settlement of more than 60,000 Vietnamese boat people in Canada.  In August 1979, at the Commonwealth conference in Lusaka, Zambia, our saint declined to go shopping with the wives of ministers.  She spent five hours in a refugee camp instead.  MacDonald also played a vital part in the “Canadian caper” of 1980, for she authorized falsified passports for the six Americans the Canadian embassy staff spirited out of Iran.

The Progressive Conservative Party, under the leadership of Brian Mulroney, won a majority in the House of Commons in 1984.  Mulroney had no respect for MacDonald, for he had a profane term by which he referred to her in private.  Nevertheless, he felt obligated to appoint her to the cabinet.  MacDonald served as the Minister for Employment and Immigration from 1984 to 1986 then as the Minister of Communications from 1986 to 1988.  (Joe Clark was the Secretary of State for External Affairs.)  MacDonald opposed the proposed free trade agreement with the United States in private, but, based on the principle of collective responsibility in the cabinet, supported it, although half-heartedly, in public.

GOOD WORKS IN RETIREMENT

The final stage (1988-2015) of MacDonald’s life was also impressive and constructive.  Our saint was a visiting lecturer at Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, Scotland.  She received the Order of Canada and honorary degrees.  She also worked on behalf of charities such as Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders.  Furthermore, MacDonald worked with the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict and the United Nations.  She and Ed Broadbent, former federal leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, studied transnational corporations in Apartheid-era South Africa for the United Nations.  She and Broadbent became friends.  In 1995, also working with the United Nations, MacDonald confronted the dictatorial regime of Nigeria and convince the British Commonwealth to isolate the regime diplomatically.  In 1989 she visited Palestine, where she danced with one Elias, a wheelchair-bound boy with Down’s Syndrome.  Our saint also served as the Chair of the Board of Canada’s International Development Research Centre from 1992 to 1997 and led the World Federalist Movement–Canada.  From 1997 to 2007 MacDonald led Future Generations, which she founded to help the poor and the vulnerable in their communities.  Some of the projects of the organization were in Afghanistan, which our saint visited twelve times to promote the education of girls and women.

SUMMARY

MacDonald, a member of the United Church of Canada, lived her Christian values.  She never married, but she was, according to one nephew, “an incredible aunt.”  She sought to raise up the downtrodden and succeeded.  When news of her death became public, even prominent politicians who disliked her praised her legacy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 31, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA SKOBTSOVA, ORTHODOX MARTYR

THE FEAST OF JOHN DONNE, POET AND ANGLICAN PRIEST

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

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

Help us, like your servant Flora MacDonald, to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 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 Edward William Leinbach (July 18)   Leave a comment

Home Moravian Church

Above:  Home Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Between 1935 and 1938

Photographer = Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952)

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-csas-02662

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EDWARD WILLIAM LEINBACH (NOVEMBER 4, 1823-JULY 18, 1901)

U.S. Moravian Musician and Composer

Edward William Leinbach, who spent most of his life in his native Salem, North Carolina, was a renowned orchestrator, composer, performer, and music teacher.  He was also the most influential musician in his hometown during the last half of the nineteenth century.  Leinbach developed his skills and nurtured his talents throughout his life.  At a young age, for example, he studied piano, organ, and cello.  Our saint studied under Henry Kemble Oliver (1800-1885), businessman, humanitarian, educator, civil servant, church organist, and composer of the hymn tune FEDERAL STREET, in Boston, Massachusetts, for a time.  Leinbach, having returned to Salem, North Carolina, became the organist and choir director at Home Moravian Church, organized the Classical Music Society and the Salem Band, and taught music at the Salem Female Academy (now the Salem Academy and College).  During the Civil War he served in the 26th North Carolina Regiment Band.

Our saint, a son of Johann Heinrich Leinbach (1796-1870) and Elizabeth Schneider Leinbach (1796-1865), husband of Anna Elizabeth Clauder Leinbach, and father of Ada Elizabeth Leinbach, Emma Louise Leinbach, and Mary Virginia Leinbach, died at Salem on July 18, 1901.  He was 77 years old.  His life demonstrated the Moravian ethos of service to God and community in efforts extraordinary and mundane, sacred and allegedly secular.

His hymn tunes LEINBACH and CHRIST THE LORD remain in use.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 29, 2016 COMMON ERA

TUESDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF ERNEST TRICE THOMPSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND RENEWER OF THE CHURCH

THE FEAST OF DORA GREENWELL, POET AND DEVOTIONAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN KEBLE, ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JONAS AND BARACHISIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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

We bless your name for inspiring Edward William Leinbach

and all those who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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Feast of Ferdinand Quincy Blanchard (July 2)   1 comment

Blanchard

Image Source = The Portsmouth Herald, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Friday, June 19, 1942, Page 1

Accessed via newspapers.com

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FERDINAND QUINCY BLANCHARD (JULY 23, 1876-JULY 2, 1966)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

The Reverend Ferdinand Quincy Blanchard left a legacy of outreach and hymnody.  His time as a clergyman spanned three stages of U.S. Congregational denominational life, from Congregationalist to Congregational Christian to the United Church of Christ.

Our saint, born in Jersey City, New Jersey, on July 23, 1876, was a child of Edward Richmond Blanchard and Winifred Quincy Blanchard.  The young man’s vocation included ordained ministry, the path he followed.  He graduated from Newton High School, Newton, Massachusetts, then attended Amherst College (A.B., 1898) and Yale Divinity School (B.D. 1901).  The young minister, newly ordained, became the minister of the First Congregational Church, Southington, Connecticut, in May 1901, and, shortly thereafter that year, the husband of Ethel Hebard West.  The couple had two children, Edward R. (aged five years at the time of the census of 1905) and Virginia W. (aged three years at the time of the 1920 census).   From 1904 to February 1915 Blanchard served as the pastor of the First Congregational Church, East Orange, New Jersey.  His final pastorate, nearly 36 years to the day, was Euclid Avenue Congregational Church, Cleveland, Ohio, from which he retired at the age of 74.  (That congregation has been South Euclid United Church of Christ since July 2014.)

Blanchard's Last Sermon

Image Source = The Evening Independent, Massillon, Ohio, Saturday, February 3, 1951, Page 3

Accessed via newspapers.com

The author of the item above mistook 1951 minus 1915 as equaling 35.

Blanchard served beyond the parish level also.  He reached out to African Americans by serving as a trustee of Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee (starting in 1917), and a member of the Executive Committee of the American Missionary Society from 1908 to 1936, serving as chairman during the last nine years.  Our saint also sat on the Prudential Committee of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (starting in 1936).  And, in 1942-1944, he was the Moderator of the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches.

Blanchard, who received honorary doctorates from Amherst College (1918) and Oberlin College (1919), left a literary legacy.  He edited an edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island for the Barnes Company School Classics series.  Books our saint wrote included the following:

  1. For the King’s Sake (1916);
  2. The Authority of Jesus (1923);
  3. How One Man Changed the World:  A Story Told for Boys and Girls (1928);
  4. Jesus and the World’s Quests:   A Study of Jesus’s Relation to Modern Life (1930).

Blanchard also wrote at least five hymns:

  1. O Child of Lowly Manger Birth” (1906), an abridged version of which is “O Jesus, Youth of Nazareth;”
  2. Bethlehem Sleeps Beneath the Stars” (1909);
  3. Before the Cross Our Lives are Judged” (1928);
  4. Clear O’er the Hills Ring Out the Glad Hosannas” (1929); and
  5. Word of God, Across the Ages” (1951), for the publication of the Old Testament of the Revised Standard Version (1952).

Our saint died in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, on July 2, 1966, three weeks before what would have been his ninetieth birthday.

Some of his hymns remain in current denominational hymnals as of the writing of this post.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 29, 2016 COMMON ERA

TUESDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF ERNEST TRICE THOMPSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND RENEWER OF THE CHURCH

THE FEAST OF DORA GREENWELL, POET AND DEVOTIONAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN KEBLE, ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JONAS AND BARACHISIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Ferdinand Quincy Blanchard and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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My Easter Triduum 2016   1 comment

Marker March 26, 2016

Above:  My Father’s Grave Marker, Americus, Georgia, Saturday Morning, March 26, 2016

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Most of my Easter Triduums are meaningful yet similar to each other; they run together in my memory.  The Triduum of 2016 was an exception to that rule.

The Reverend John Dodson Taylor, III, my father, was a minister of The United Methodist Church.  Complications of Alzheimer’s Disease forced his retirement a few years ago.  He died, not quite 71 years old, on October 30, 2014, less than a year after entering a nursing home in Americus, Georgia.  For reasons I choose not to explain in this post the interment of his cremains did not occur until Holy Saturday, March 26, 2016.

I spent part of Maundy Thursday, all of Good Friday, and half of Holy Saturday in Americus.  The Maundy Thursday service at Calvary Episcopal Church was the Prayer Book liturgy with part of the rites for Good Friday tacked on the end.  It was Johannine, for, in the Gospel of John, Jesus died on Thursday, not Friday.  The community-wide service of the Stations of the Cross at Calvary Episcopal Church at Noon on Good Friday was also meaningful.  The lessons I took away from those liturgies were:

  1. Love is evident in the sacrifice, and
  2. We mortals stand at the foot of the cross, not in the position of judgment.

I knew both of those already, but hearing a priest remind me of them was helpful.

The most potent moment of my visit occurred on the morning of Holy Saturday.  My mother and I were among the small group which gathered for the interment of my father’s cremains in a garden spot on the grounds of Fellowship Baptist Church, a congregation of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.  The Reverend Wendy Peacock, the pastor there, used the Service for Committal from The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992), appropriately.  Covering the container for my father’s cremains with soil was an emotional moment.

I had to return to Athens-Clarke County, so I did.  That night I attended the Great Vigil of Easter at my parish, St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church.  The liturgy was mercifully brief, for there were just four readings, including the Gospel.  The day had already been long for me, so a marathon of a vigil would have been out of the question for me.  The vigil was glorious, as was the 10:30 Holy Eucharist on Easter Sunday, but I remained subdued.  I had, after all, just buried my father.

I have known of my mortality in a visceral way since my junior college days, when I almost died violently, with someone choking me.  Being dead has not terrified me, but thoughts of manners in which I might suffer and die have scared me.  Watching my father’s deterioration did nothing to calm those fears.  My father’s death made my sense of mortality even more real.  Burying him has made my mortality even more concrete in mind.  Burying him has given me much to contemplate solemnly.

Doing so will require as much time as will be necessary and proper.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

MONDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF SAINT TUTILO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GUNTRAM OF BURGUNDY, KING

THE FEAST OF KATHARINE LEE BATES, U.S. EDUCATOR, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

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A Related Post:

https://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/grave-marker-of-john-dodson-taylor-iii/

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Unprepared for College, Part I   Leave a comment

I have been involved in postsecondary education professionally since 2004, with a hiatus during parts of 2005 and 2006.  My years of experience have led me to conclude that many of my pupils have been unprepared for college.  In fact, if their college-level work is a reliable indicator, they were also unprepared for high school.  That they graduated disappoints me yet does not surprise me.  For a month in 2010 I rated essays from the high school graduation test for the State of Georgia.  During those weeks I became discouraged regarding the state’s standards for acceptable writing, for I received negative feedback for being allegedly too strict.  Those in charge of the rating process did not want me to continue to work for them.

Four main areas of deficiencies alarm me.  The first is historical knowledge, for I teach history courses, usually focusing on the United States.  Many of my pupils have entered my courses poorly informed regarding the past, especially that of the United States, almost always their native land.  They have, therefore, been at a disadvantage in a survey course about U.S. history, a subject they have studied in elementary, middle, and high schools.  Their knowledge of global history, a subject related to U.S. history, has frequently been worse.  I wonder how one can possibly understand current events properly without a grasp of germane and preceding events eludes me.

The second alarming area of deficiency is writing.  Each semester I provide a document I call the Course Manual.  It is 16 pages long, including the title page.  That document includes two pages of advice I should not have to offer to college students.  This counsel includes the importance of using paragraphs, of not confusing possessive and singular possessive forms of words, of knowing the difference between “it’s” and “its,” and of forming the plural version of a word ending in -ist by adding an “s.”  Regardless of how often I inform certain students that “colonist” is never plural, some pupils continue to use it as if it is.  Written literacy is essential, is it not?

Gaps in the vocabularies of some students also bother me.  They are especially inexcusable when the pupils in question have grown up in the United States.  I have had to define terms such as “tyranny,” “mob rule,” “treason,” and “traitor.”  How can one expect to function effectively as an adult without a proper vocabulary?

The inability or unwillingness of many students to obey deadlines and manage their time effectively also disturbs me.  During each course I assign three essays per student.  Every pupil has just over a month to write 8-10 pages based on one of three or four prompts.  I also assign a book report, which comes due late in the semester.  I announce the deadline at the beginning of the course.  Nevertheless, some students submit assignments they have obviously written hastily and edited poorly.  Others submit no paper at all.

To be fair, I have also taught many excellent students and skilled stylists of the English language.  I have concluded that no racial, ethnic, generational, and gender categories predict whether one will be an excellent student and writer.  If I were to leave these points unstated in this post, I would leave an inaccurate impression.

Nevertheless, I perceive that the problems of which I have written have become worse.  They have certainly become more frequent and prominent among students I have taught.  Professors of English composition have my sympathy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

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Posted March 12, 2016 by neatnik2009 in Education and Language, University of North Georgia

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