Feast of George Edward Lynch Cotton (October 6)   2 comments

St. Paul's Cathedral, Calcutta, 1865

Above:  St. Paul’s Cathedral, Calcutta, India, 1865

Image in the Public Domain

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GEORGE EDWARD LYNCH COTTON (OCTOBER 29, 1813-OCTOBER 6, 1866)

Anglican Bishop of Calcutta

George Edward Lynch Cotton was an educator and a priest and bishop of The Church of England.  He, born at Chester, England, on October 29, 1813, was son of Captain Thomas Cotton, killed in action on November 13 of that year, and of Mary Cotton.  Our saint died at Westminster then at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating from the latter in 1836.  He became a priest and a school administrator, serving first as the Assistant Master of Rugby School from 1837 to 1852.  Cotton became the basis of the “model young master” in Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1867), by Thomas Hughes.  On June 26, 1845, our saint married Sophia Anne Tomkinson.  The couple had two children–Colonel Sir Edward Thomas Davenant Cotton-Jodrell (1847-1917) and Ursula Mary Cotton Atkinson (died in 1928).  From 1852 to 1858 Cotton led Marlborough College.  He left that post to become the Bishop of Calcutta and Metropolitan of India.

As the Bishop of Calcutta and Metropolitan of India Cotton was responsible for Anglican missionary work in India (the present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) as well as Ceylon, Burma, Mauritius, and Australasia.  He led vigorous missionary activity, improved the position of chaplains, and founded schools for British and Eurasian children.  Our saint became especially famous for ordering crates of socks for children’s homes.  Cotton’s episcopate and life ended on October 6, 1866, at Koshtea (now Kushtia, Bangladesh), where, after consecrating a cemetery there, he disembarked from a steamer and fell into the Ganges River, in which he drowned as the current carried him away.

His widow edited the Memoir of George Edward Lynch Cotton, D.D., Bishop of Calcutta, and Metropolitan, with Selections from His Journals and Correspondence (1871).

Cotton’s published works included the following:

  1. Short Prayers and Other Helps to Devotion:  For Boys of a Public School (First Edition, 1843; Fifth Edition, 1854);
  2. Instructions in the Doctrine and Practice of Christianity:  Intended Chiefly as an Introduction to Confirmation (First Edition, 1845; Fourth Edition, 1858); and
  3. Seven Sermons Chiefly Connected with Public Events of the Year MDCCCLIV (1855).

Another literary legacy of Bishop Cotton is a hymn, “We Thank Thee, Lord” (1856), which debuted in print in Hymns for Use in the Chapel of Marlborough College (1856).

Cotton spent his life in the cause of the highest possible good.  He would have accomplished more had he lived longer, but at least he did much with the time he had.

May we do much for the glory of God and the benefit of others with the time we have.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 16, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALEN POSTEL, FOUNDER OF THE POOR DAUGHTERS OF MERCY

THE FEAST OF GEORGE ALFRED TAYLOR RYGH, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF THE RIGHTEOUS GENTILES

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Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant George Edward Lynch Cotton,

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

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

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)

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2 responses to “Feast of George Edward Lynch Cotton (October 6)

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  1. Pingback: We Thank Thee, Lord, for This Fair Earth | GATHERED PRAYERS

  2. Pingback: Feast of Edward White Benson (October 13) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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