Archive for August 2016

Feast of Priscilla Lydia Sellon (November 20)   1 comment

Priscilla Lydia Sellon

Above:  Priscilla Lydia Sellon

Image in the Public Domain

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PRISCILLA LYDIA SELLON (MARCH 21, 1821-NOVEMBER 20, 1876)

A Restorer of the Religious Life of The Church of England

The description of Priscilla Lydia Sellon comes verbatim from Common Worship (2000), the most recently approved alternative to The Book of Common Prayer (1662) in The Church of England.  It is a fitting description, for Sellon’s work was pioneering in the realm of Anglican religious orders for women.

Sellon, born at Hampstead, England, on March 21, 1821, was a daughter of Commander Richard Baker Sellon of the Royal Navy.  Her mother died shortly after giving birth to her, and the commander remarried eventually.  Our saint grew up in a loving home and blended family.  She also grew up in much economic comfort.

On January 1, 1848, Sellon heard and answered a call from God.  That summons was a vocation to educate poor children in Plymouth.  Our saint, at a young age, routinely worked long days; a 16-hour-long work day was relatively light.  She founded a free industrial school for girls, a night school for boys aged 12-16 years, a school for starving children, and a home for the orphans of sailors.  Sellon also assisted female emigrants and prepared people for baptism and confirmation.  In 1849 she and a few other women founded the Society of the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Spirit, of Davenport.  This was controversial, given the ubiquity of anti-Roman Catholic bias in English society, the English press, and The Church of England.  The Oxford Movement was so controversial that some of its opponents accused Tractarians of being in league with Satan.  That controversy over the Oxford Movement disrupted church life in the Anglican Communion for decades and framed the debate over Sellon’s humanitarian order.  In that controversy Richard, our saint’s father, offered a vigorous defense of his daughter and her religious work.

That work was essential.  Early on it included tending to patients in London suffering from cholera in 1849.  Five years later Sellon sent some members of her order to Crimea under the authority of Florence Nightingale, who supervised medical care in the context of the Crimean War.  Our saint, paralyzed in 1861, continued the good work until her death.  In 1864, for example, she answered Emma Rooke‘s request that the order commence work in the Kingdom of Hawai’i.  The mission station at Honolulu opened later that year.

Sellon died at West Malvern, England, on November 20, 1876.  She was 55 years old.  Her order has ceased to exist, but the legacy of its work is everlasting.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

PROPER 15:  THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CROFT, ANGLICAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS, EPISCOPAL SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF MATTHIAS CLAUDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILIAN KOLBE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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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), 60

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Feast of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (November 13)   Leave a comment

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Above:  St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI (JULY 15, 1850-DECEMBER 22, 1917)

Founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart

Francesca Savierio Cabrini, born at Sant’Angelo, Lodigiano, Italy, on July 15, 1850, became a great champion of emigrants and immigrants.  She, the youngest of thirteen children, grew up on a farm and trained at a convent to become a teacher.  At the age of 18 years she tried to become a nun, but her health prevented that effort from succeeding.  Our saint taught at the House of Providence Orphanage for girls (closed in 1880) at Cadogono, Italy, for six years.  Finally, in 1877, she was able to take her monastic vows.  Three years later Cabrini founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, dedicated to the care of poor children in schools and hospitals.

Our saint aspired to become a missionary to Asia, as St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) had done.  Pope Leo XIII (reigned 1878-1903) had another idea, however.  He sent her and six other members of the order to the United States, where an influx of Italian immigrants had led U.S. Roman Catholic bishops to request priests and religious from Italy.  Italian immigrants were a despised population for a set of reasons:

  1. Most of them were Roman Catholics.  The United States was a predominantly Protestant nation-state in which anti-Roman Catholicism was endemic and accepted.  In various states in the late 1800s Blaine Amendments to constitutions prohibited the granting of public funds to parochial schools.  The real target was Catholic schools, although the wording of the amendments applied to institutions of other denominations, ironically.  And in 1884, at a rally for James G. Blaine, the Republican presidential nominee, a Presbyterian minister stated that Blaine would save the United States from the Democrats, the party of “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion,” a reference to, in order, alcohol, Roman Catholicism, and the Civil War.  Blaine was almost certainly unaware of that remark in real time, but his support for the failed federal constitutional Blaine Amendment that inspired state constitutional amendments made criticisms of him for being anti-Roman Catholic seem not unreasonable.
  2. Most of Italian immigrants were also poor.  They competed with others, including many native-born Americans, for low-paying jobs.  Economic insecurity has frequently contributed to opposition to immigration.
  3. They spoke Italian and needed to learn English.  This was easier for some than it was for others.  With the issue of language came the related issue of the culture the tongue from the old country carried.  This was a point of controversy with regard to more than one ethnic group (i.e, Danes, Norwegians, Germans, Swedes) in the United States in previous generations.  [Aside:  It remains one today, mostly with regard to Hispanics.  The other groups assimilated, as many Hispanics are doing.  This year, for example, I have heard news stories about politicians having to appeal to Hispanic voters who do not speak Spanish.]
  4. Nativism and xenophobia have never ceased to exist in the United States, a country of immigrants and descendants thereof, since the founding of the republic.  They have fed off the fact that immigration alters the country’s demographics, a reality that has proven frightening in the U.S.A. since the late 1700s.  This has been evident in, for example, the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798), the existence of the American Party (1843-1856), and the federal immigration law of 1924.  [Aside:  One can find evidence of nativism and xenophobia in contemporary social media and politics in many nation-states quite easily in 2016.]

Cabrini and her six companions arrived in New York City in 1889.  Their first convent, if one could call it that, was a tenement unfit for human habitation.  Archbishop Michael Corrigan, who initially thought this mission to slum-dwelling immigrants unsafe for the women, ordered them to return to Italy.  Cabrini replied that Pope Leo XIII outranked him.  In time the archbishop an advocate for and benefactor of the sisters’ work among the slum-dwelling immigrants.  Cabrini remained in the United States for the rest of her life and became a naturalized citizen.  She died of malaria at Chicago, Illinois, on December 22, 1917.  She was 67 years old.  Our saint was responsible for the existence of 67 institutions–schools, hospitals, and orphanages–in Europe, North America, and South America.

The Roman Catholic Church moved relatively rapidly to recognize Cabrini formally.  Pope Pius XI declared her a Venerable in 1937 and a Blessed the following year.  Then, in 1946, Pope Pius XII canonized her.

Cabrini is the patron of emigrants, immigrants, orphans, hospital administrators, and victims of malaria.  Her life invites to consider those who are vulnerable and those who are foreign to us.  They bear the image of God also, her life reminds us.  Will we act accordingly?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

PROPER 15:  THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CROFT, ANGLICAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS, EPISCOPAL SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF MATTHIAS CLAUDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILIAN KOLBE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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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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God our Father,

you called Frances Xavier Cabrini from Italy

to serve the immigrants of America.

By her example teach us concern for the stranger,

the sick, and the frustrated.

By her prayers help us to see Christ

in all the men and women we meet.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Christian Prayer:  The Liturgy of the Hours (1976), page 1318

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Feast of Giovanni Gabrieli, Hans Leo Hassler, Claudio Monteverdi, and Heinrich Schutz (November 6)   6 comments

Flag of the Most Serene Republic of Venice

Above:  Flag of the Most Serene Republic of Venice

Image in the Public Domain

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GIOVANNI GABRIELI (1557-AUGUST 12, 1612)

Composer and Organist

teacher of

HANS LEO HASSLER (BAPTIZED OCTOBER 26, 1564-AUGUST 19, 1612)

Composer and Organist

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CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI (BAPTIZED MAY 15, 1567-NOVEMBER 29, 1643)

Composer and Musician

teacher of

HEINRICH SCHUTZ (OCTOBER 8/18, 1585-NOVEMBER 6, 1672)

Composer and Musician

Lutheran Feast Day = July 28

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With this post I add four composers of church music to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  Classical music is my favorite genre of audio input.  For most of my life I have derived much spiritual benefit from classical church music, including certain works by some of these four composers.

Giovanni Gabrieli, born in Venice, the Most Serene Republic of Venice, in 1557, was a nephew of Andrea Gabrieli (circa 1520-1586), a composer and organist.  Andrea, famous for his madrigals and sacred works, served as the second organist (1566-1585) then primary composer (1585-1586) at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice.  Giovanni, who studied music under the direction of his uncle, succeeded him as the second organist (in 1585) and as primary composer (in 1586), holding both posts for the rest of his life.  In 1584 and 1585 Giovanni and his uncle taught Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612).  The younger Gabrieli also befriended Hassler.  Giovanni, whose major works include the Sacre Symphoniae, composed the first truly orchestral sacred music, with spatially separated choirs, intended for performance at St. Mark’s Basilica.  He also edited and preserved many of his uncle’s compositions.  Giovanni, ill for the last six years of his life, died at Venice on August 12, 1612.  He was 54 or 55 years old.

Hans Leo Hassler, baptized at Nuremberg, on October 26, 1564, became the most German composer of his time.  His father and first music teacher was Isaak Hassler (died in 1591), an organist.  Hans studied music with the Gabrielis in Venice in 1584 and 1585.  Back in Germany, Hans became the organist to the Fugger family, bankers in Augsburg.  Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (reigned 1576-1612) made the composer a nobleman in 1591.  Nine years later Hassler became the director of music for the city of Augsburg.  The following year he transferred to Nuremberg, to fill a similar position.  Finally, in 1608, Hassler became the organist to Christian II (reigned 1591-1611), the Elector of Saxony.  The composer stayed on in that capacity in the service of Elector Johann Georg I (reigned 1611-1656).  Our saint, a Lutheran, composed madrigals as well as sacred music in both the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions.  He died of tuberculosis at Frankfurt on August 19, 1612.  He was 47 years old.

Claudio Monteverdi, baptized on May 15, 1567, at Cremona, Duchy of Milan (now Cremona, Lombardy, Italy), became an influential composer.  He studied music under Mark Antonio Ingegneri (circa 1545-1592), choirmaster at the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In 1590 Monteverdi became a string player in the service of Vincenzo I (reigned 1587-1612), Duke of Mantua.  The composer and the duke traveled to Hungary in 1595 and the Low Countries in 1599.  Also in 1599, Monteverdi married Claudia Cattaneo (died in 1607), a singer.  They had two sons and a daughter.  One son became a Carmelite friar and a chorister at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice.  The other son, a doctor, became a target of the Inquisition in 1627.  Fortunately, the Inquisition acquitted him of charges of heresy the following year.  Duke Vincenzo I promoted Monteverdi to the post of director of music at the ducal court.  In 1612, however, Duke Francesco IV (reigned in 1612), citing the necessity of budget cuts, terminated Monteverdi’s employment.  The composer served as choir master at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice, from 1613 to 1643 (his death), becoming a priest in 1632.

Monteverdi was an influential composer during his lifetime and afterward.  He composed madrigals, motets, operas, and sacred music.  L’Orfeo (1607) has become the oldest opera still performed.  The music to some of his operas has not survived, unfortunately.  Monteverdi also wrote settings of the Mass and of vespers.  Especially notable was Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610), dedicated to Pope Paul V (reigned 1605-1621).

Monteverdi led a frequently unhappy life yet he composed much fairly light music.  That life, the last few years of which he spent in illness, ended at Venice on November 29, 1643.  He was 76 years old.

The birth date of Heinrich Schutz was October 8, 1585 on the Julian Calendar and October 18, 1585, on the Gregorian Calendar.  The site of that debut was Kostritz, Thuringia.  He became the greatest German composer prior to Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).  The son of Euphrosyne Bieger and Christoph Schutz (the manager of an inn) became a chorister at Kassel, under the patronage of Maurice the Learned (reigned 1592-1627), the Landgrave of Hesse-Kessel.  Schutz studied law at the University of Marburg in 1608 and 1609.  Then, in 1609-1612, he, financed by Maurice the Learned, studied music at Venice, where Giovanni Gabrieli was his teacher.  Schutz studied law at Leipzig, starting in 1613, but accepted Maurice’s offer to become the second organist at the court at Hesse.

Starting in 1614, Schutz began to work primarily for the Electors of Saxony, starting with Johann Georg I (reigned 1611-1656).  The composer began by supervising the music of the baptism of Johann Georg’s son.  Next Schutz went to work in the electoral chapel at Dresden.  In 1619 he married Magdalene Wildeck.  The couple had two daughters.  In 1628 Schutz visited Venice, where he studied under Claudio Monteverdi.  Then he returned to Dresden and the electoral court, but left after three years, due to the combination of plague and the ravages of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648).  In 1633-1635 Schutz served as the kappelmeister at the Danish royal court when Christian IV (reigned 1588-1648) was the sovereign.  Then the composer returned to the electoral court at Dresden, where he remained for the rest of his life, despite his expressed wishes to leave.  Schutz died after a stroke, on November 6, 1672.  He was 87 years old.

Schutz left and impressive musical legacy, including madrigals, sacred works, and operas.  Daphne (1627) was the first German opera.  The score has become lost to history, unfortunately.  He also composed a German requiem mass, Musikalische Exequien (1636).  Other sacred works included a Christmas oratorio (1664) and settings of the Passion narratives from the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John.

These composers left a living legacy, one which a person can access via technology easily and legally.  Doing so will prove spiritually beneficial to he or she who really listens to those works and inwardly digests them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THADDEUS STEVENS, U.S. ABOLITIONIST, CONGRESSMAN, AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF SARAH FLOWER ADAMS, ENGLISH UNITARIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HER SISTER, ELIZA FLOWER, ENGLISH UNITARIAN COMPOSER

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servants

Giovanni Gabrielli, Hans Leo Hassler, Claudio Monteverdi, and Heinrich Schutz.

Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder, that our eyes may behold your glory,

and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of our new creation in Jesus Christ

our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

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Feast of Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, and John Merbecke (November 21)   1 comment

Flag of England

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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THOMAS TALLIS (CIRCA 1505-NOVEMBER 21 OR 23, 1585)

English Composer and Organist

teacher and colleague of

WILLIAM BYRD (1543-JULY 4, 1623)

English Composer and Organist

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JOHN MERBECKE (CIRCA 1505-1585)

English Composer, Organist, and Theologian

Also known as John Marbeck

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The Episcopal Church commemorates the lives of these three composers, two of them lifelong Roman Catholics and the other a Calvinist at the end of his life, on November 21, one of two possible dates for the death of Thomas Tallis.  These facts demonstrate one of the most positive features of the calendar of saints of The Episcopal Church.  I refer to the fact that the main two qualifications for consideration for admission to it are being both Christian and dead.  Those are also the main qualifications for consideration for addition to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Thomas Tallis (born circa 1505) was the most important English composer prior to William Byrd (1543-1623), his student.  Both men were lifelong Roman Catholics who navigated the treacherous waters of English religious politics.  Most of the details of the early years of their lives have proven inaccessible to historians, unfortunately.

The account of their lives must therefore begin in the adulthood of each composer.

Tallis worked as an organist at various places.  In 1532 he was at Dover Priory.  Five years later his place of employment was St. Mary-at-Hill, London.  In 1540 Tallis received wages and rewards for services rendered upon the dissolution of Waltham Abbey, Essex.  From Essex he moved along to Canterbury then to the Chapel Royal, London.  Byrd, the organist at the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lincoln from 1563 to 1572, became co-organist (with Tallis) at the Chapel Royal in 1572.  Three years later Queen Elizabeth I granted them a monopoly on the importing of music paper as well as the printing, publishing, and sale of music.  Among the first volumes Tallis and Byrd published after receiving the monopoly was Cantiones Sacrae (1575), or Sacred Song, dedicated to the Virgin Queen.  The book contained 34 motets by Tallis and Byrd.

[Aside:  I consulted the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1968.  The article on Byrd informed me that Tallis composed 16 of the motets and Byrd the remaining 18.  However, the article of Tallis contradicted this, indicating an even 17-17 split.]

The Tallis motets in Cantiones Sacrae (1575) were the only ones of his published during his lifetime.

Tallis composed both instrumental and vocal works.  His catalog included the following:

  1. Mass for Four Voices;
  2. Magnificat (I);
  3. Magnificat (II);
  4. The Lamentations of Jeremiah (I);
  5. The Lamentations of Jeremiah (II);
  6. Salve Intemerata;
  7. Miserere Nostri;
  8. Spem in Alium, arguably his magnum opus, with its 40 parts;
  9. Settings of services from The Book of Common Prayer (1549),
  10. A series of anthems, including the great If Ye Love Me; and
  11. Nine tunes (1567) for the Psalter by Archbishop of Canterbury Matthew Parker (in office 1559-1575).

Especially notable among the Psalm tunes were the third (the basis for the Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, by Ralph Vaughan Williams), eighth (Tallis’s Canon), and ninth (Tallis’s Ordinal) ones.

Tallis, who married his wife Joan in 1552, spent his final years in Greenwich.  She died in 1589.

Byrd and his family relocated to Harlington, Middlesex, 1577.  Juliana, his first wife, died nine years later.  Afterward the composer increased the pace of the publication of his own music, including:

  1. Psalmes, Sonnets, and Songs of Sadnes and Pietie (1588);
  2. Songs of Sundrie Natures (1589);
  3. Cantiones Sacrae (II) (1589);
  4. Cantiones Sacrae (III) (1591);
  5. Three Settings of the Mass, including the Mass for Four Voices and the Mass for Five Voices;
  6. Gradualia (I) (1605);
  7. Gradualia (II) (1607); and
  8. Psalmes, Songs, and Sonnets (1611).

Byrd remained eventually.  In 1592 or 1593 he and his family moved to Stondon Massey, Essex.  He spent the rest of his life there.

Byrd was the greatest composer of the Shakespearean age.  He wrote for every instrument (except the lute) available, composed the best English organ music of the time, and played an important role in the development of music for the viol consort.  He was also crucial to the development of the freely composed fantasia.

John Merbecke, or, as the 1968 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica listed him, John Marbeck, entered the world circa 1505.  Details of his early life have faded from the historical record, unfortunately.  By 1531 he came to live at Windsor; there he remained for the rest of his life.  He became the organist at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, no later than 1541 and served in that capacity until the following year.  He endured a heresy trial and conviction on that charge in 1543 and nearly burned at the stake the following year.  Fortunately, Stephen Gardiner, the Bishop of Winchester, saved his life.  Nevertheless, authorities did seize and burn Merbecke’s “great work,” a concordance of the Bible.  He resumed work on that project and published the result in 1550, however.  That year he also published The Book of Common Prayer Noted, a musical setting of The Book of Common Prayer (1549).  Merbecke’s work fell into a long period of disuse after the publication of The Book of Common Prayer (1552), but Tractarians revived his settings of the 1549 Prayer Book in the 1800s.

Few of Merbecke’s compositions have survived, unfortunately.  Aside from The Book of Common Prayer Noted (1550), three works have survived fully.  There is a Mass, Missa Per Arma Justiael; as well as a carol, the title of which in Latin translates into English as “A Virgin and a Mother.”  There are also two antiphons, Ave Dei Patris Filia and Domine Jesu Christe, one of which is complete and the other of which lacks a tenor part.

Merbecke was also a theological and devotional writer.  Based on his writings from the last decade of his life, he died a Calvinist in 1585.

Fortunately, one can find performances of many of the works I have mentioned in this post, as well as other compositions of these composers, easily and legally on the Internet.  Listening to them will enrich one’s spiritual life.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THADDEUS STEVENS, U.S. ABOLITIONIST, CONGRESSMAN, AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF SARAH FLOWER ADAMS, ENGLISH UNITARIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HER SISTER, ELIZA FLOWER, ENGLISH UNITARIAN COMPOSER

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O God most glorious, whose praises are sung night and day by your saints and angels in heaven:

We give you thanks for William Byrd, John Merbecke, and Thomas Tallis,

whose music has enriched the praise that your Church offers you here on earth.

Grant, we pray, to all who are touched by the power of music such glimpses of eternity

that we may be made ready to join your saints in heaven and behold your glory unveiled for evermore;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 15:16, 19-25, 28

Psalm 47

Revelation 15:1-4

John 15:1-8

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 693

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Feast of Kamehameha IV and Emma Rooke (November 28)   3 comments

Kamehameha IV and Emma

Above:  The Royal Couple

Image in the Public Domain

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KAMEHAMEHA IV (FEBRUARY 9, 1834-NOVEMBER 30, 1863)

King of Hawai’i, 1855-1863

Also known as Alexander Liholiho

husband of

EMMA ROOKE (JANUARY 2, 1836-APRIL 25, 1885)

Queen of Hawai’i, 1856-1863

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Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010) designates November 28 as the day to celebrate the lives of “Kamehameha and Emma.”  In this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, however, the citation is more specific.

Alexander Liholiho, born at Honolulu, Oahu, on February 9, 1834, grew up learning how to be a constitutional monarch.  His uncle, King Kamehameha III (reigned 1824-1854), as a liberal ruler who came from a tradition of absolute monarchy yet promulgated the constitutions of 1840 and 1852.  He also secured recognition of Hawaiian independence and sovereignty from the United States in 1842 and from France and the United Kingdom the following year.  Furthermore, Kamehameha III issued the Edict of Toleration (with regard to the legality of religious diversity) in 1839 and brought Christian missionaries into his court as tutors and translators.  In fact, Congregationalist missionaries from the United States educated Alexander, whose father was High Chief Mataio Kekuano’a (1791-1868) and his mother was Princess Elizabeth Kina’u (1805-1839), the prime minister (to use an English-language term) for a time.

Emma Rooke, born at Honolulu on January 2, 1836, grew up with Hawaiian and British influences.  Her father was High Chief George Na’ea and her mother was High Chieftess Fanny Kekelaokelani Young (1806-1880).  Nevertheless, her maternal aunt, High Chieftess Grace Kama’iku’i Young Rooke, and uncle, Dr. Thomas Rooke, raised her.  Missionaries from the United States educated the future queen.

Alexander became King Kamehameha IV in 1855.  In the realm of foreign policy he resisted U.S. Manifest Destiny and strove to maintain the independence of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, in part maintaining close relations with the United Kingdom.  In this personal life he married Emma Rooke on June 19, 1856.  They had one child, Prince Albert Edward Kamehameha (May 20, 1858-August 27, 1862).  With regard to domestic policy the Holy Sovereigns, as Hawaiians call them, sought to improve the lives of their subjects.  For example, after a smallpox epidemic Kamehameha IV and Emma raised funds for the building of Queen’s Hospital, which continues to exist in 2016.

In 1860 the royal couple, enamored of Anglicanism for its ceremony and gentleness, asked Samuel Wilberforce, the Bishop of Oxford, to send missionaries to the kingdom.  The following year Wilberforce consecrated Thomas Nettleship Staley (1823-1898) the first Bishop of Hawai’i.  Staley and the first two priests arrived in October 1862.  November 28, 1862, was the date of the confirmation of the royal couple, hence the date of their feast.  The new Anglican province was the Hawaiian Reformed Catholic Church, also known as The Church of Hawaii.  Kamehameha IV translated The Book of Common Prayer (1662) into Hawaiian in 1862 and 1863.  The founding of The Cathedral of St. Andrew, Honolulu (1862) was another early step in the building of the new Anglican missionary church in the kingdom.

Kamehameha IV’s life and reign were brief.  He, aged 29 years, died of asthma on November 29, 1863.  His brother succeeded him as Kamehameha V (reigned 1863-1872).

Meanwhile, Queen Dowager Emma devoted herself to good works for years before returning to politics.  She traveled in Hawai’i and Europe to raise funds for churches and for schools and other institutions for the sick and the poor.  Among her backers was Queen Victoria (reigned 1837-1901).  Kamehameha V died in 1872.  Lunalilo, a royal cousin, succeeded to the throne yet died after thirteen months.  Since he had no heirs the succession, according to the constitution, was the decision of the legislature.  Emma, who favored close ties to the United Kingdom, ran against Kalakaua, who sought to maintain Hawaiian independence by establishing closer economic ties to the United States, the largest market for Hawaiian exports.  Kalakaua (reigned 1874-1891) won, 39 votes to 9 votes.

Emma died at Honolulu on April 25, 1885, aged 49 years old.  The construction of the current building of the cathedral, begun in 1867 as a memorial to Kamehameha IV, finished in 1886.    The website for the cathedral says:

Sharing Queen Emma’s Vision Since 1862.

U.S. businessmen, sailors, and Marines overthrew the Kingdom of Hawai’i in 1893.  The Church of Hawaii became the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THADDEUS STEVENS, U.S. ABOLITIONIST, CONGRESSMAN, AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF SARAH FLOWER ADAMS, ENGLISH UNITARIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HER SISTER, ELIZA FLOWER, ENGLISH UNITARIAN COMPOSER

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O Sovereign God, who raised up (King) Kamehameha (IV) and (Queen) Emma to be rulers in Hawaii,

and inspired and enabled them to be diligent in good works and for the welfare of their people

and the good of your Church:  Receive our thanks for their witness to the Gospel;

and grant that we, with them, may attain to the crown of glory that never fades away;

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

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

Proverbs 21:1-3

Psalm 97:1-2, 7-12

Acts 17:22-31

Matthew 25:31-40

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 707

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Eleven Years in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia   Leave a comment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Above:  City Hall, Athens, Georgia

Image in the Public Domain

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On the morning of Tuesday, August 9, 2005, I moved from East Dublin, Georgia, to Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, to begin doctoral studies in history at The University of Georgia (UGA).  My major professor, to whom I refer to as “John Doe” in this post, dashed my hopes and killed my program within sixteen months, however.  I dropped out of UGA in December 2006, for I knew that I would have no third year and perceived no reason to complete the second year.  The graduate supervisor of the department advised me take a M.A. degree instead.  I informed him that I had one already.  Take a second one, he replied; the second M.A. will be from a “superior institution.”  My succinct reply, via email, copied to my negligent major professor, who was stingy with feedback, was, “No.”  The powers that were in the Department of History had tried to convert me into something I refused to become:  someone who could not pass five minutes without saying or thinking “subalternate.”  I liked people who changed the course of history and left documentation about it.  Subalternates did not interest me very much.  I finished Fall Semester 2006, holding myself together with the emotional equivalent of twine and duct tape.  Blazing Saddles, in five-minute-long increments, also helped greatly.  (Thank you, Mel Brooks!)  “To thine own self be true,” as Shakespeare wrote, placing those words in the mouth of Polonius in Hamlet.  I maintained my integrity in the face of pressure to do otherwise.

I still find subalternates boring.  Institutional and Great Man and Woman history retain my interest.

I also refuse to call what happened to me anything other than what it was:  academic abuse.  Judgment and mercy on the guilty parties rest entirely in the purview of God, I am not the judge of Dr. Doe and those in the department who made excuses for him.   Grudges do not build me up anyway, and any quest for revenge would damage me and be contrary to my Christian principles.  The trauma of my short-lived doctoral program has left much spiritual scar tissue; I need not add any more to it.  On the other hand, my stress levels today are much lower than they were when I was a graduate student at UGA.  I conclude that the Department of History was not a healthy milieu for me at that time.

Athens, however, has become my home.  Of all the places I have lived it is the one in which I fit best.  The intellectual life of the city is agreeable to me.  And, after all those years of feeling like the damned, marginalized liberal and heretic in South Georgia, I find myself slightly to the right of the center in most circles in which I move.  I have not even changed my opinions much.  I have, however, ceased to be an outcast.  I also refuse to make those to my left feel like outcasts, for I have no desire to do unto others negatively as others have done to me negatively.

I have never lived in one place this long.  I, born in Rome, Georgia, spent my earliest years in Chattooga County, Georgia–a few years in Trion but mostly in the ancestral family home in Summerville.  When I was six years old my parents moved my sister and me to South Georgia.  Starting in 1980 we took the grand tour of the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church.  From kindergarten to Twelfth Grade I attended schools in six counties.   Then I attended college in three more counties and lived in four other counties prior to relocating to Athens-Clarke County.

I have changed spiritually since I arrived in Athens in 2005.  I have, by grace and through trauma, become a better human being.  I am more aware of my weaknesses and my complete dependence upon God.  I am more forgiving, of both others and myself, for being weak.  I am more aware of my responsibilities to others, especially my students.  I know what St. Paul the Apostle meant by “dying to self,” although I cannot express that meaning in words.  I have received abundant grace via human beings and know of my responsibility to function as a vehicle of grace for others better than I did.  I have experienced spiritual death and rebirth.  I know well the pain of the death and the elation of the rebirth.  I am quite aware of my dark side, of my unworthiness, and of the immeasurable riches of the love of God.  I know that the light shines most brightly in the deepest darkness.

I do not know how long I will remain in Athens or its vicinity.  Neither do I know how long I should continue to live here.  I hope and pray that I will remain here as long as that is appropriate and that I will then move along to the proper subsequent location.  Meanwhile, I am glad to reside in Athens-Clarke County.

May my twelfth year in Athens be positive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

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https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/uga-and-me/

Feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 19)   3 comments

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Above:  St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY (JULY 7, 1207-NOVEMBER 17, 1231)

Princess of Hungary and Humanitarian

Also known as St. Elizabeth of Thuringia

St. Elizabeth of Hungary has three feast days.  Since Advent 1969 her feast has fallen on November 17 in the Roman Catholic Church.  The Book of Catholic Worship (1966), reflecting the calendar current that year, lists her feast day as November 19.    Common Worship (The Church of England, 2000) lists her feast day as November 18.  Her feast day in The Episcopal Church is November 19.  Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, 2006) and its predecessor, the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), list her feast day as November 17, however.

St. Elizabeth was royalty.  Her father was Andrew II, King of Hungary (reigned 1205-1235).  Her mother was Queen Gertrude of Merania (1185-1213), sister of St. Hedwig of Andechs/of Silesia (feast day = October 16), Duchess of Silesia (1201-1238) and of Greater Poland (1231-1238).  St. Hedwig, who became a lay sister (without monastic vows) after her husband died, was extravagant in her generosity to the poor, especially widows, orphans, the ill, and lepers.  She founded hospitals for them, in fact.  Her generosity found an echo in the good works of her famous niece.  St. Elizabeth, born at Pozsony, Hungary (now Bratislava, Slovakia), on July 7, 1207, grew up (from the age of four years) in the court of Thuringia (now Hesse, Germany), where she prepared for an arranged marriage to the future Louis/Ludwig IV, Landgrave of Thuringia (reigned 1217-1227).  They married in 1221; he was 20 years old; she was 14.  The couple had three children:

  1. Hermann II (1222-1241; never reigned as landgrave);
  2. Sophie of Thuringia (1224-1275); and
  3. Gertrude (1227-1297), also known as Blessed Gertrude of Aldenberg, Abbess of Aldenberg from 1248 to 1297.  Her feast day is August 13.

Louis/Ludwig, also known as Blessed Louis/Ludwig IV of Thuringia (feast day = September 11), died of fever in Italy in 1227, en route to join the Sixth Crusade (1228-1229).  He was 26 years old.  The Landgrave had approved of his wife’s extravagant generosity to the poor.  She gave state robes to the poor, fed them from the royal granaries, spun wool cloth for clothing for them, sold her jewels to finance a hospital for the poor, and visited the patients daily.  Certain relatives, however, objected strongly to such generosity.  In 1228 she and her children left the court of Thuringia and moved to Marburg.  She might have left involuntarily.  (Sources disagree on that point.)

St. Elizabeth, as a widow (1227-1231), had a difficult life.  She took monastic vows, including celibacy (which proved politically useful for her, preventing a loveless marriage) and obedience to her confessor, Konrad von Marburg (1180-1233), in the Third Order of Franciscans.  Konrad was a cruel man, unfortunately.  He, for example, ordered her beaten and commanded her to send her children away.  She did, however, regain her dowry, which she used to help the poor.  One of the ways she did this was to finance a hospital for the poor at Marburg.

St. Elizabeth died at Marburg on November 17, 1231.  She was 24 years old.  Pope Gregory IX canonized her in 1235.

May we find the most effective way to help those vulnerable people to whom God sends us and whom God sends to us.  Not all of us can afford to finance hospitals, for example, but we can do something, even if it is just to donate food to a local food bank.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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Almighty God, by your grace your servant Elizabeth of Hungary

recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world:

Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble,

in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns

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

Tobit 12:6b-9

Psalm 109:20-25

2 Corinthians 8:7-15

Luke 6:35-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 689

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Feast of Jehu Jones (September 28)   1 comment

St. Paul's Church Cornerstone

Above:  The Cornerstone of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Image in the Public Domain

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JEHU JONES, JR. (SEPTEMBER 4, 1786-SEPTEMBER 28, 1852)

African-American Lutheran Minister

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) commemorate the lives of William Passavant (1821-1894; feast day in The Episcopal Church = January 3), Justus Falckner, and Jehu Jones (1786-1852). pioneering Lutheran ministers in North America, on November 24, the anniversary of the ordination of Falckner in 1703. On my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, however, each man receives his own feast day.

Jehu Jones, Jr., born a slave at Charleston, South Carolina, on September 4, 1786, was a child of slaves.  His mother was Abigail Jones and his father was Jehu Jones, Sr. (1769-1833), a tailor.  Jehu Sr. purchased his freedom and that of his family in 1798.  He joined the ranks of the mulatto elite of Charleston, invested well in real estate, and became the successful proprietor of an inn for White people.  In 1807 he purchased his first slave.  Our saint, trained as a tailor, took over that part of the family business in 1816, allowing his father to focus on the inn.  The family belonged to St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, but Jehu Jr. joined St. John’s Lutheran Church in 1820.  Jones, with the encouragement of his pastor, John Bachman (1790-1874), traveled to New York City in 1832 to receive ordination as a minister and a missionary to Liberia.

Bachman, pastor of St. John’s Church for more than half a century, was a major figure in Southern Lutheranism.  He was, unfortunately, paternalistic and racist toward African Americans, although he was more progressive in those matters than many of his fellow White people, especially Southerners.  He, for example, used science to argue that White people and African Americans belonged to the same species; this was apparently a point of dispute at the time.  Nevertheless, Bachman defended race-based chattel slavery and argued that African Americans were intellectually inferior to White people.  Bachman’s greatest legacy was in the field of liturgical renewal.  In 1870 he prompted the development of the Common Service (1888).

Jones, who abhorred slavery, never got to Liberia.  His ordination occurred on October 24, 1832.  The difficulties began when he returned to South Carolina in 1833.  In the wake of Nat Turner’s rebellion (1831) the state made already-strict racial laws stricter.  One of these statutes outlawed the return of free African Americans to South Carolina.  Authorities arrested our saint, who spent several months in jail.  In 1833 Jehu Sr. died.  The inn passed to a daughter-in-law (a sister-in-law of our saint).  Jehu Jr., freed from jail, received his inheritance and left the state forever.  He went to New York City, where he attempted unsuccessfully to raise funds for the mission to Liberia.

Jones became a domestic missionary instead.  In 1833 he settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and ministered to African Americans.  The following year our saint founded St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, which consisted originally of about 20 poor people.  The congregation was therefore financially dependent upon others, who pledged to pay, among other things, the mortgage for the building, dedicated in 1836.  Unfortunately, some of those who promised to back the church financially failed to keep their pledges, so the bank foreclosed in 1839.  False allegations of financial mismanagement followed Jones, who defended himself in writing, for the rest of his life.

Jones, who was active in politics, advocated for civil rights and improved living conditions for African Americans.  He also founded congregations in Gettysburg and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, near the Pennsylvania-Maryland border.

Our saint’s life after 1839 was full of challenges.  He spent 1839-1842 in Toronto, Upper Canada.  In 1842 Jones returned to the United States, where he worked as a missionary and a cobbler.  The combination of racism and unfounded charges of financial mismanagement relative to the foreclosure of 1839 foiled his attempt to found a church in New York City in 1849.  Jones continued to minister to the small and impoverished congregation of St. Paul’s, Philadelphia, for years.  He died, aged 66 years, at Centreville, New Jersey, on September 28, 1852.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Jehu Jones,

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

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

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Justus Falckner (September 22)   1 comment

Gloria Dei Church, 1850

Above:  Gloria Dei Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1850

Photographer = Frederick De Bourg Richards

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-39946

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JUSTUS FALCKNER (NOVEMBER 22, 1672-SEPTEMBER 21, 1723)

Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) commemorate the lives of William Passavant (1821-1894; feast day in The Episcopal Church = January 3), Justus Falckner, and Jehu Jones (1786-1852). pioneering Lutheran ministers in North America, on November 24, the anniversary of the ordination of Falckner in 1703. On my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, however, each man receives his own feast day.

Falckner, born at Crimmitschau, Saxony, on November 22, 1672, was the fourth son of Daniel Falckner (Sr.), a Lutheran pastor, and a brother of Daniel Falckner (Jr.).  [Aside:  The tradition of naming a son after the father without adding a suffix, especially common in Germany and England, is really annoying to many historians and genealogists.  To know which Johannes Doe one is reading about is really helpful.  Sometimes it is relatively easy, but on other occasions it is impossible.]  Our saint, who began his studies at the University of Halle, with the intention of becoming a pastor, felt inadequate for that goal by the time he graduated.  Instead he became a lawyer and a land agent like his brother, Daniel Jr.  In 1700, at Rotterdam, the Falckner brothers acquired the power of attorney for the sale of William Penn‘s lands in Pennsylvania.  The following year the Reverend Andreas Rudman (1668-1708), a pioneering Swedish minister in what became the United States, purchased 10,000 acres along Manatawny Creek for Swedish Lutherans.  The connection with Rudman helped to convince the Falckner brothers to serve as clergymen in North America.  On November 24, 1724, 1703, at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Justus Falckner became the first Lutheran minister ordained in North America.  The service was the first recorded instance of the use of an organ at a worship service in what became the United States.

Our saint served as many as 14 congregations spread out over a territory of 200 miles at one time during nearly 20 years of ordained ministry.  His first assignment was a Dutch congregation near New Hanover, Pennsylvania.  Later he succeeded Rudman (who returned to Sweden) at New York City.  Fortunately, Rudman left the congregation in good condition.  Falckner also served at Albany, where the congregation was in dire shape; he had to start “from scratch” there.  In 1719, after the death of Pastor Joshua Kocherthal, our saint assumed responsibility for the congregations in the Hudson River valley.

Meanwhile, if all that were not enough, Falckner would have been a busy man even without those responsibilities.  In 1704 he published the first Lutheran catechism in North America.  Over the years he lobbied for the use of organs in Lutheran churches in the Delaware River valley.  He succeeded.  And, in 1717, our saint married Gerritje Hardick, with whom he had three children (in 1718, 1720, and 1723).

Falckner died at Newburgh, New York, on September 21, 1723.  He, aged 51 years, had damaged his health via his work load.   Daniel Jr., a pastor in New Jersey since 1708, added the Hudson River valley congregations to his responsibilities, starting that year.

Our saint seems to have written at least two hymns (both from 1697, during his college years) extant in English-language translations.  “Rise, Ye Children of Salvation,” in English since 1858, courtesy of Emma Frances Bevan, is plainly by Falckner.  I am less (yet reasonably) certain about “If Our All on Christ We Venture,” which old North American Moravian hymnals attribute in the original German to Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760).  Both Zinzendorf and Falckner wrote in German, I know.  I also know that some old Moravian hymnals mistakenly attributed certain German hymns to the Count.

Falckner was indeed a pioneer of the faith in North America, and thereby worthy of much respect.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Justus Falckner,

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

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

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Paul Jones and John Nevin Sayre (September 4)   Leave a comment

Apotheosis of War

Above:  The Apotheosis of War, by Vasily Vereschchagin

Image in the Public Domain

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PAUL JONES (NOVEMBER 25, 1880-SEPTEMBER 4, 1941)

Episcopal Bishop of Utah and Peace Activist

colleague of 

JOHN NEVIN SAYRE (FEBRUARY 4, 1884-SEPTEMBER 13, 1977)

Episcopal Priest and Peace Activist

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INTRODUCTION

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The Episcopal Church commemorates the life of Bishop Paul Jones on September 4.  On this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, I do the same and add to the feast his colleague and fellow Episcopalian, John Nevin Sayre.

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PAUL JONES (I)

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Jones, born on November 25, 1880, at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was a cradle Episcopalian and a son of a priest.  After graduating from Yale University he attended the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  There, in 1906, Jones heard the Bishop Franklin S. Spalding, of the Missionary District of Utah, speak of the challenges of evangelizing in the Mormon-dominated state.  Our saint volunteered to serve in Utah.  And he did, at St. John’s, Logan.  In 1914 Jones became the archdeacon in the missionary district.  Later that year he succeeded Spalding as bishop.  Our saint built up the diocese well during his tenure (1914-1918).

Jones got into deep trouble for speaking out based on his conscience.  He was a pacifist, for he was convinced that Jesus disapproved of settling conflicts violently.  Jones also argued for recognizing the moral validity of conscientious objection to war.  Both church and society, he insisted, should respect the choice not to engage in violence.  All of this was politically dangerous to advocate for in the United States in 1917 and 1918, a time when much of the population contracted war fever.  In the realm of the ridiculous, Dachshunds became Liberty Hounds, German Shepherds became Alsacian Shepherds, and frankfurters became hot dogs, among other examples of renaming dog breeds and food products.  The city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, banned the performance of the music of Ludwig von Beethoven, who had been dead for 90 years.  Besides, given the composer’s political position regarding Emperor Napoleon I (he considered Bonaparte’s self-promotion a betrayal of principles), would Beethoven have supported German imperialism in 1914-1918, had he been alive?  Reason be damned, this was wartime panic and intolerance.  States and the federal government passed laws suspending the freedom of speech and redress of the government.  Certain opponents of U.S. involvement in World War I went to prison for their nonviolent activities, such as giving speeches and distributing leaflets.  (The First Amendment to the United States Constitution be damned also, apparently.)  Jones had to contend with false allegations of being pro-German and anti-American.  He got off relatively lightly, though; the Episcopal House of Bishops forced him to resign from both the Missionary District of Utah and the House of Bishops.  Years later he got to rejoin the House of Bishops yet without a vote therein.

Jones served as the executive secretary of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, devoted to the nonviolent resolution of conflicts, from 1919 to 1929.  A colleague there was John Nevin Sayre.

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JOHN NEVIN SAYRE (I)

With Paul Jones

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Sayre came from a distinguished family.  He, born on February 4, 1884, at South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was a grandson of John Williamson Nevin (1803-1886), the great German Reformed minister and Mercersburg theologian.  Our saint’s aunt was Alice Nevin (1837-1925), who contributed much to the life of the Reformed Church in the United States and to the civil life of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Sayre’s mother was Martha Finley Nevin (1824-1917), daughter of John Williamson Nevin and sister of Alice.  Our saint’s father was Robert Heysham Sayre (1844-1917), the manager of the Bethlehem Iron Works and the founder of the Sayre Mining and Manufacturing Company.  Sayre’s brother was Francis Bowes Sayre, Sr. (1885-1972), an attorney and diplomat.  Francis Sr. was a professor at Harvard Law School (1917-1923), the Advisor in Foreign Affairs to the King of Siam (1923-1925), the U.S. Ambassador to Siam (1925-1932), the Director of the Harvard Institute of Criminal Law (1932-1933), the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (1933-1939), the High Commissioner of the Philippines (1939-1942), and the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Leadership Council (1947-1952).  In 1913 he married Jessie Woodrow Wilson (died in 1933), daughter of President (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson (in office 1913-1921).  Through Francis Sr. our saint was able to gain access to prominent people, such as President Wilson, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (in office 1933-1945), General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), and Emperor Hirohito (reigned 1926-1989).

Our saint was a well-educated man.  He graduated from Princeton University (B.A., 1907) and the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts (B.D., 1911).  He also studied at the Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York (1908-1910) and the University of Marburg, Germany (1913-1914).  Sayre also taught at Princeton University (1911-1912) and at Boone University, Wuchang, China (1913).

Sayre became a pacifist in 1914.  He agreed with Jones that warfare was incompatible with the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.  Sayre, Assistant Rector (1915-1916) then Rector (1916-1919) of Christ Church, Suffern, New York, found his congregation to be less than fully supportive of his pacifism.  He resigned and helped to found Brookwood School (1919-1921), where he taught nonviolence for two years.  In 1921, when Brookwood School became Brookwood Labor College, an experimental residential two-year institution for workers, he transferred to the U.S. branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.  (He had helped to found that branch six years earlier.)  Sayre edited The World Tomorrow from 1922 to 1924 and served as the organization’s associate secretary from 1924 to 1935, serving under Jones during part of that time.  Sayre traveled the world as he sought to resolve conflicts nonviolently.  In 1927, for example, he, via Francis Sr., gained access to U.S. senators and State Department officials and thereby succeeded in halting the planned U.S. bombing of innocent civilians during a conflict in Nicaragua.

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PAUL JONES (II)

With John Nevin Sayre

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Jones spent his final years as the chaplain of Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio.  He also functioned as a spiritual advisor to students and a member of the faculty, as a well as a traveling speaker.  Other causes for which our saint advocated were economic justice (from a Christian Socialist perspective) and civil rights for African Americans.  In 1939 he and Sayre helped to found the Episcopal Pacifist Fellowship (now the Episcopal Peace Fellowship).  Toward the end of his life Jones helped to resettle European Jews fleeing the Nazis.  He died of multiple myeloma at Yellow Springs on September 4, 1941.  He was 60 years old.

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JOHN NEVIN SAYRE (II)

With Francis Bowes Sayre, Jr.

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Sayre, active in pacifist activism for most of his life, spent most of that life with Kathleen Whitaker, also his partner in activism.  She and her mother, pacifists, had emigrated from England in 1916.  Kathleen became the second Mrs. Sayre in 1922; the marriage ended when Sayre died in 1977.  (Sayre had married his first wife, Helen Augusta Bangs, on June 28, 1910.  She died two years and two days later.)  Other organizations through which the Sayres worked for peace and reconciliation included, of course, the Episcopal Pacifist/Peace Fellowship, the National Peace Conference and the International Fellowship of Witness.  Their pacifism translated, not surprisingly, into opposition to the Vietnam War.

Other favored causes included helping conscientious objectors in Europe and the United States during World War II, sparing the lives and facilitating the release and repatriation of Japanese prisoners of war after that conflict, advocating for civil liberties, and working for civil rights for African Americans.  Sayre died at South Hyack, New York, on September 13, 1977.  He was 93 years old.

A nephew, Francis Bowes Sayre, Jr. (1915-2008), a grandson of Woodrow Wilson, became an Episcopal priest, and from 1951 to 1978, the Dean of Washington National Cathedral.  True to his family heritage, he opposed Jim Crow, McCarthyism, and the Vietnam War.

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CONCLUSION

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As time moved on, so did ecclesiastical institutions.  The Lambeth Conference of 1958 approved the following resolutions:

Resolution 101 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations 

The Church’s Work of Reconciliation The Conference urges all members of the Anglican Communion to further the ministry of reconciliation by: (a) developing deeper understanding and fellowship with churchmen of every land; (b) extending the use of clergy and lay workers in lands other than their own, the exchange of teachers and seminarians, and the participation by lay visitors in the Church life of the countries they visit; (c) the general use of the Anglican Cycle of Prayer to undergird this wider sense of community; (d) participation everywhere in the wider community of all Christian people in the ecumenical opportunities open to them.

Resolution 102 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Christian Citizenship

The Conference calls upon all Christian people to recognise their duty of exercising to the full their responsibility as citizens in the national and international policies of their governments.

Resolution 103 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Christian Citizenship

The Conference calls upon all Christian people to strive by the exercise of mutual understanding, calm reason, and constant prayer, to reconcile all those who are involved in racial, political, economic, or other conflicts.

Resolution 104 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The Rights of Men and Nations

The Conference declares that the Church is not to be identified with any particular political or social system, and calls upon all Christians to encourage their governments to respect the dignity and freedom of people within their own nations and the right of people of other nations to govern themselves.

Resolution 105 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Sharing Material Resources

The Conference draws attention to the widespread poverty in many parts of the world; it notes with thankfulness the measures taken to help under-developed countries to become self-supporting, and calls upon Christians in more favoured lands to use their influence to encourage their governments in the task of relieving poverty by a generous sharing of their material and technical resources with those in need.

Resolution 106 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Modern Warfare and Christian Responsibility

The Conference reaffirms that war as a method of settling international disputes is incompatible with the teaching and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and declares that nothing less than the abolition of war itself should be the goal of the nations, their leaders, and all citizens. As an essential step towards achieving this goal the Conference calls upon Christians to press through their governments, as a matter of the utmost urgency, for the abolition by international agreement of nuclear bombs and other weapons of similar indiscriminate destructive power, the use of which is repugnant to the Christian conscience. To this end governments should accept such limitations of their own sovereignty as effective control demands. The Conference further urges the governments of the leading nations of the world to devote their utmost efforts at once to framing a comprehensive international disarmament treaty, which shall also provide for the progressive reduction of armed forces and conventional armaments to the minimum necessary for the maintenance of internal security and the fulfilment of the obligations of states to maintain peace and security in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

Resolution 107 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Modern Warfare and Christian Responsibility

The Conference calls Christians to subject to intense prayer and study their attitudes to the issues involved in modern warfare, and urges the Church to continue to consult regularly with scientists and political leaders about the many problems of ethics and conscience which arise from advances in nuclear research.

Resolution 108 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The United Nations

The Conference affirms the need for strengthening the United Nations and to this end: (a) urges that serious consideration be given to the revision of its Charter, the more effective use of, and respect for, the existing processes of international justice, and to the creation of adequate means for enforcing its decisions; (b) commends wholeheartedly the work done under the aegis of the United Nations, whereby the skills and resources of member nations are made available for the benefit of the whole of humanity; (c) recommends that all Church people be asked to pray for God’s blessing upon the officers and declared purposes of the United Nations; (d) urges that all Church people be asked to encourage community study regarding the constitution, the plans, and the needs of the United Nations.

Resolution 109 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The United Nations

The Conference draws attention to the work of the Committee of the Churches on International Affairs (within the World Council of Churches) and urges Anglicans to support its efforts to bring an informed Christian opinion to bear on international issues.

Resolution 110 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Condemnation of Racial Discrimination

The Conference affirms its belief in the natural dignity and value of every man, of whatever colour or race, as created in the image of God. In the light of this belief the Conference affirms that neither race nor colour is in itself a barrier to any aspect of that life in family and community for which God created all men. It therefore condemns discrimination of any kind on the grounds of race or colour alone. The Conference would urge that in multi-racial societies members of all races shall be allowed: (a) a fair and just share in the government of their country; (b) a fair and just share in the control, development, and rewards of the natural resources of their country, including advancement to the highest level of attainment; (c) the right to associate freely in worship, in education, in industry, in recreation, and in all other departments of the common life.

Resolution 111 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The Church in an Industrial Age

The Conference urges the provinces of the Anglican Communion to give special study to the task, strategy, and ministry of the Church within industrial society, and by the use of bold and imaginative experiments to strengthen the impact of the Christian faith upon the whole life and pattern of industry.

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I am not a pacifist.  I have tried to become one, but I have not been able to, pardon the term, reconcile certain uncomfortable realities with idealism.  Sometimes the best choice is a bad one, albeit the least or lesser bad choice.  I write this post on the anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb in 1945.  As much as I deplore the human costs (including to innocent civilians) inherent in that act, I also know that the human costs (including to innocent civilians) would have been far worse had an invasion of the Japanese home islands occurred.  Forcing Japanese surrender also kept Soviet troops out of Japan.  President Harry Truman made the decision he had to make; he chose the lesser of two evils when no good option was available.  I also recognize the fact that reconciling with, not antagonizing, Japan after World War II made the world a better place for Allies and Japanese alike.  I wonder world history would have been different had the victorious Allies been kind to Germany and nicer to Japan at Versailles Palace in 1919.

Although I am not a pacifist, I refuse to condemn those who are.  They remind the rest of us of the importance of seeking peace–not just the absence of conflict, but the reality of reconciliation.  “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” may have been originally a moral step forward, insofar as its purpose was to curtail violence, but reconciliation is superior.  As Delenn, the Minbari Ambassador to Babylon 5, said in Passing Through Gethsemane (1995), one of my favorite episodes of Babylon 5 (1994-1998), “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” leaves many people blind and toothless.  Is it not better for all of us to retain our eyes and teeth and to strive for peace, or at least the absence of conflict?  Some violence is necessary, sadly, but most of it is morally unjustifiable.  Frequently the motivation for violence is revenge or pride, not self-defense.  Even when violence is in self-defense, it might damage the one who commits it.  Wildred Owen (who died a week before the armistice in 1918, wrote a poem in the voice of two soldiers.  One soldiers tells the other:

I am the enemy you killed, my friend.

I knew you in the dark; for so you frowned

Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.

Let us sleep now….

Also, given the long tradition of people from various religions (including, unfortunately, Christianity, named after the executed Prince of Peace) engaging in violence at the proverbial drop of a hat, from antiquity to the present day, I derive comfort from the fact many faithful people seek to incite nonviolence in the name of God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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Merciful God, you sent your beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near:

Raise up in this and every land witnesses who, after the examples of your servants

Paul Jones and John Nevin Sayre,

will stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel of the Prince of Peace,

our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you

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

Malachi 2:17-3:5

Psalm 76

1 Peter 3:8-14a

John 8:31-32

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 561

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