Feast of Thomas Bray (February 15)   Leave a comment

bray

Above:  Thomas Bray

Image in the Public Domain

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THOMAS BRAY (1656-FEBRUARY 15, 1730)

Anglican Priest and Missionary

Thomas Bray did much to help The Church of England in North America.  The native of Marton, Shropshire, England, graduated from Oxford University then became a priest in Warwickshire.  In 1696 the Bishop of London selected Bray to supervise church work in Maryland.  Our saint sailed for the colony three years later.  During two and a half months in 1700 Bray became concerned about the neglect of the Anglican Church in the North American colonies, as well as about the realities of life for Native Americans and for African-American slaves.  Back in England he spent the rest of his life working for the welfare of slaves, founding schools and libraries, raising funds for missionary work, and recruiting priests to serve in North America.  Bray also lobbied for the appointment of a bishop for North America.  He was not alone in this cause.  Unfortunately, the Church of England did not consecrate a bishop for North America until 1787, when Charles Inglis (1734-1816) became the first Bishop of Nova Scotia, with a sprawling diocese.  (Scottish non-juring bishops consecrated Samuel Seabury in 1784.)

Bray’s final charge was St. Botolph Without, Aldgate, London, from 1706 until his death, in 1730.  Aside from the North America-related efforts I have listed, our saint, deeply involved in domestic prison reform, suggested that General James Edward Oglethorpe found a colony and include debtors as settlers in it.  In 1732 Oglethorpe secured the charter for Georgia.  The boats arrived the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 2, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHANNING MOORE WILLIAMS, EPISCOPAL MISSIONARY BISHOP IN CHINA AND JAPAN

THE FEAST OF ALICE FREEMAN PALMER, U.S. EDUCATOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT BRIOC, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT TUDWAL, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT OSMUND OF SALISBURY, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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O God of compassion, you opened the eyes of your servant

Thomas Bray to see the needs of the Church in the New World,

and led him to found societies to meet those needs:

Make the Church in this land diligent at all times

to propagate the Gospel among those who have not received it,

and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 102:15-22

Philippians 2:1-5

Luke 10:1-9

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 225

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