Feast of Edward King (March 8)   Leave a comment

NPG Ax38337; Edward King

Above:  Edward King

Image in the Public Domain

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EDWARD KING (DECEMBER 29, 1829-MARCH 8, 1910)

Bishop of Lincoln

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We must not give up on any soul as hopeless.

–Edward King

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We should acknowledge God in trade by truthfulness of work, by fair dealing, and by fair wages.

–Edward King

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The housing of the people is in reality immediately connected with the social and moral condition of the nation.

–Edward King

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The Feast of Edward King comes from the calendar of saints of The Church of England.

Edward King came from an ecclesiastical family and served God via the Church.  His grandfather was Walker King (Sr.) (1751-1827), the Bishop of Rochester from 1809 to 1827.  Our saint’s parents were Anne Heberden and Walker King (Jr.), Rector of Stone, Kent.  Edward, born at London on December 29, 1829, was the third of ten children.  He had a reputation for kindliness from an early age.  Anne, one of his sisters, was an invalid for twelve years.  Our saint sat by her bedside many nights and learned Italian so he could share her love of the writing of Dante Alighieri.  Edward’s constitution was also weak; he remained at home while John Day, his father’s curate (and later the Vicar or Ellesmere, Shropshire) tutored him.  Our saint helped Day with the choir and a Bible class for men. In February 1848 King matriculated at Oriel College, Oxford.  There he became a Tractarian.  Our saint had to leave Oxford for health reasons in 1851, but he accepted an honorary degree.  Next he toured the Holy Land and environs (in 1852) and worked as a private tutor (in 1853).  King, ordained deacon in 1854 and priest the following year, served as the Curate of Wheatley from 1854 to 1858.  It was his only pastorate.  Cuddesdon Theological College (now Ripon College), Cuddesdon, beckoned next.  He was chaplain from 1858 to 1863 and principal from 1863 to 1873.  From Cuddesdon our saint returned to Oxford; he became the Chair of Pastoral Theology and the Canon of Christ Church in 1873.  Six years later King helped to found St. Stephen’s House, Oxford, an Anglo-Catholic theological college.  In 1885 King succeeded Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885) as the Bishop of Lincoln.  Our saint remained in that post for the rest of his life.  King remained kindly and concerned about the plight of a wide range of people, from farmers to industrial workers to prisoners condemned to die.  The Gospel commanded him to minister to them, he understood.

King’s liturgical “innovations,” actually returns to older practices, proved controversial and got him into trouble.  At the time members of the Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic wings of The Church of England clashed, with some Evangelical Anglicans went so far as to accuse Anglo-Catholics of being in league with Satan and certain Anglo-Catholics accused Evangelical Anglicans of practicing false religion.  Also, Parliament passed the Public Worship Regulation Act of 1874, forbidding certain ritualistic practices.  In 1888 King had to contend with eight allegations of supposed liturgical malfeasance:

  1. Mixing water and wine in the chalice;
  2. Administering the mixed elements to communicants;
  3. Washing the communion vessels ceremonially then drinking the water;
  4. Facing eastward before communion;
  5. Standing during the prayer of consecration so that nobody in the congregation could see him perform the Manual Acts of Consecration;
  6. Having two lit candles not necessary for illumination on the altar during the service;
  7. Permitting the singing of the Agnus Dei after the consecration of the elements; and
  8. Making the sign of the cross in the air with his hand at the benediction.

Archbishop of Canterbury Edward White Benson (1829-1896) spared King a civil prosecution by convening an ecclesiastical court.  In 1890 the court exonerated the Bishop of Lincoln on all but two counts:  (5) and (6).  Benson ordered King not to commit them any longer.  King obeyed that judgment.  The ordeal, however, stressed him spiritually and physically. The matter should never have come to the attention of any court.

King, who never married, died on March 8, 1910.  He was 80 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 9, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PEPIN OF LANDEN, ITTA OF METZ, THEIR RELATIONS, AMAND, AUSTREGISILUS, AND SULPICIUS II OF BOURGES, FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS ACROSS GENERATIONAL LINES

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTHONY MARY PUCCI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JULIA CHESTER EMERY, UPHOLDER OF MISSIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP II OF MOSCOW, METROPOLITAN OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA AND MARTYR

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O God, our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant Edward King

to be a bishop in your Church and to feed your flock:

Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit,

that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ

and stewards of your divine mysteries;

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

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

Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84 or 84:7-11

Ephesians 3:14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 719

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