Feast of John Raleigh Mott (October 3)   1 comment

Above:  John Raleigh Mott

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ggbain-22746

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JOHN RALEIGH MOTT (MAY 25, 1865-JANUARY 31, 1955)

U.S. Methodist Lay Evangelist, and Ecumenical Pioneer

It is a startling and solemnizing fact that even as late as the twentieth century, the Great Command of Jesus Christ to carry the Gospel to all mankind is still so largely unfulfilled….The church is confronted today, as in no preceding generation, to make Christ known.

–John Raleigh Mott, at the International Missionary Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1910

John Raleigh Mott comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church, which has set his feast day as October 3.

The Episcopal Church added Mot to the then-new Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (published in 2010) at the General Convention of 2009.  His feast transferred to the successor volume, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016).  The General Convention of 2018 approved the addition of Mott’s feast to the Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, the first revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts since 2006.

Mott, born in Livingston Manor, New York, on May 25, 1865, devoted most of his adult life to missions.  Our saint, the third of four children, was the only son of Elmira Dodge and John Mott.  The family moved to Pottsville, Iowa, in September 1865.  There our saint’s father, a lumber merchant, served as mayor.  At the age of 16 years Mott matriculated at Upper Iowa University, Fayette, Iowa.  He transferred from the Methodist preparatory school and college to Cornell University in 1885.  In the summer of 1886 Mott represented the Cornell chapter of the Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.) at the first international conference of the Y.M.C.A.  Our saint, chapter president in 1886-1888, graduated in 1888, having majored in philosophy and history.  In 1891 he married Leila Ada White of Worster, Ohio.  The couple had four children–two daughters and two sons.

Meanwhile, Mott had commenced his career with the Y.M.C.A.  In September 1888 he began to serve as the National Secretary of the Intercollegiate Y.M.C.A. of the U.S.A. and Canada; he held that post for 27 years.  Concurrent portfolios included the following:

  1. General Secretary of the World Student Christian Federation (1895f);
  2. Assistant General Secretary, Y.M.C.A. (1901f);
  3. Presiding officer, International Missionary Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland (1910);
  4. General Secretary of the International Committee, Y.M.C.A. (1915-1928); and
  5. President of the World Committee, Y.M.C.A. (1926-1937).

Mott was an ecumenical pioneer.  The International Missionary Conference, held at Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1910, began the modern ecumenical movement, in which Mott remained active.  He also attended the Faith and Order Conference (Lausanne, Switzerland, 1927), served as the Vice President of the Second World Conference on Faith and Order (Edinburgh, Scotland, 1937), and was the Chairman of the Life and Work Conference (Oxford, England, 1937).  In 1948 our saint became the honorary lifelong Honorary President (1948f) of the new World Council of Churches.

Mott also engaged in civil services.  After he declined President Woodrow Wilson’s offer to become the Ambassador to China, our saint joined the Mexican Commission in 1916 and the Special Diplomatic Mission to Russia the following year.  During World War I Mott served as the General Secretary of the National War Work Council.  After the war our saint received the Distinguished Service Medal.

Mott, author of 16 books about missions, traveled widely on missions tours.  He received honors in foreign nations as well as the United States, and earned the trust of many people, including St Tikhon of Moscow (1865-1925), the Patriarch of Moscow.

Late in life, Mott received more honors.  He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946.  He eventually became an honorary canon of Washington National Cathedral, also.

Mott, aged 89 years, died at home, in Orlando, Florida, on January 31, 1955.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 2, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RALPH W. SOCKMAN, U.S. UNITED METHODIST MINISTER

THE FEAST OF CARL DOVING, NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JAMES ALLEN, ENGLISH INGHAMITE THEN GLASITE/SANDEMANIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HIS GREAT-NEPHEW, OSWALD ALLEN, ENGLISH GLASITE/SANDEMANIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PETRUS HERBERT, GERMAN MORAVIAN BISHOP AND HYMNODIST

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O God, the shepherd of all, we give you thanks for the lifelong commitment of your servant

John Raleigh Mott to the Christian nurture of students in many parts of the world;

and we pray that, after his example, we may strive for the weaving together of all peoples

in friendship, fellowship and cooperation, and while life lasts be evangelists for Jesus Christ,

in whom alone is our peace; and who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 60:1-5

Psalm 71:17-24

1 John 2:12-14

Luke 7:11-17

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 621

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Give us grace, O merciful God, to seek and serve you in all nations and peoples,

following the example of your servant John Raleigh Mott,

that all the peoples of the earth, who divided and enslaved by sin,

might be led into that glorious liberty that you desire for all your children;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit

be all honor and glory, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 60:1-5

Psalm 71:17-24

Luke 7:11-17

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018

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One response to “Feast of John Raleigh Mott (October 3)

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  1. Pingback: Feast of James Mills Thoburn, Isabella Thoburn, and Clara Swain (November 27) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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