Archive for February 2019

Feast of Gustaf Aulen and Anders Nygren (November 15)   1 comment

Above:  Flag of Sweden

Image in the Public Domain

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GUSTAF EMMANUEL HILDEBRAND AULÉN (MAY 15, 1879-1977)

teacher and colleague of

ANDERS THEODOR SAMUEL NYGREN (NOVEMBER 15, 1890-OCTOBER 20, 1978)

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SWEDISH LUTHERAN BISHOPS AND THEOLOGIANS

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After World War I, Neo-orthodoxy became a major theological movement in English-speaking Christianity.  A similar movement in Swedish-speaking Christianity at the same time was Lundensian theologyGustaf Aulén and Anders Nygren were architects of that theology.

Aulén, born in Sjungsby on May 15, 1879, became a minister, bishop, theologian, and liturgist.  He, an assistant professor at the University of Uppsala (1907-1913) then Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Lund (1913-1933), founded the Swedish Theological Quarterly in 1925.  He remained on the editorial staff into his retirement.  While at Lund, he wrote influential works (later translated into English):  The Christian Conception of God (1927), Christus Victor (1930), and The Faith of the Christian Church (1932).  Aulén, a student of Nathan Söderblom (1866-1931) at Uppsala, favored the Classic Theory of the Atonement over Penal Substitutionary Atonement, which St. Anselm of Canterbury favored, and the Moral Exemplar Theory, which Peter Abelard favored.  Aulén also taught Nygren at Lund then served with him on the faculty.

Nygren, born in Gothenburg on November 15, 1890, had a lifelong fascination with philosophy that influenced his scholarly and theological work.  He, ordained in The Church of Sweden in 1912, left parish ministry nine years later.  In 1921 he received his doctorate from the University of Lund and became a lecturer there.  Three years later, he became Professor of Systematic Theology, serving until 1948.  Lundensian theology incorporated philosophical methods and perspectives for the purpose of seeking to engage in theology in a scientifically responsible manner.  Lundensian theology was also moderate, avoiding anti-intellectualism on the right and disregard for tradition on the left.  That philosophical background was evident in Nygren’s Agape and Eros (two volumes, 1930 and 1936), which argued that agape and eros are polar opposites.

Both Aulén and Nygren became bishops.  Aulén became the Bishop of Strängäs, serving from 1933 to 1952.  He, as a bishop, contributed tunes to the new hymnal (1927) and helped to shape the new service book (1942).  Aulén also helped to form the World Council of Churches (1948), as did Nygren, the first President of the Lutheran World Federation (1947-1952).  Nygren served as the Bishop of Lund from 1948 to 1958.

Both Aulén and Nygren also continued to write after they retired.  Aulén wrote, for example, Eucharist and Sacrifice (1956) and Reformation and Catholicity (1959).  Nygren, in retirement, wrote Meaning and Method:  Prolegomena to a Scientific Philosophy of Religion and a Scientific Theology (1972).

Above:  The Title Page to Commentary on Romans

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Both men argued for continuity from Jesus to St. Paul the Apostle.  Nygren made that point in his influential Commentary on Romans (1944), a volume other exegetes of that epistle quote.  According to the Carl C. Rasmussen translation (1944),

Until quite recently it was customary for theology to draw a sharp line between Jesus and Paul.  Jesus preached the coming of the kingdom of God; but Paul, it was said, changed this to the doctrine of justification by faith.  Now there is room for no doubt that this view is false, and that the continuity between Jesus and Paul is essentially unbroken.  When, therefore, we seek to fix the basic thought in Paul’s view of the gospel, it is quite proper to point out how it has both its origin and its anchor in Jesus’ proclamation about the kingdom of God.

–9

Above:  The Spine of Commentary on Romans

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The bishops died within a year of each other.  Aulén, aged 98 years, died on December 16, 1977.  Nygren, aged 87 years, died in Lund on October 20, 1978.

Their contributions to theology have never died, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 28, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THOMAS BINNEY, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND “ARCHBISHOP OF NONCONFORMITY”

THE FEAST OF ANDREW REED, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ANNA JULIA HAYWOOD COOPER AND ELIZABETH EVELYN WRIGHT, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATORS

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH C. CLEPHANE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom,

and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servants Gustaf Aulén and Anders Nygren,

and we pray that by their teaching we may be led to a fuller understanding

of the truth we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord,

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

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 61

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Feast of Samuel Seabury (November 14)   5 comments

Above:  Samuel Seabury, by Ralph Eleaser Whiteside Earl

Image in the Public Domain

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SAMUEL SEABURY, JR. (NOVEMBER 30, 1729-FEBRUARY 25, 1796)

First Episcopal Bishop

Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut and Rhode Island

Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

Keeping track of the calendar of the calendar of saints in The Episcopal Church used to be simple; one consulted the calendar in the front of The Book of Common Prayer.  The calendar of saints was not expansive for a very long time.  Then, in the 1960s, the Church introduced Lesser Feasts and Fasts, revised occasionally then, in the 1980s through the early 2000s, revised and expanded every three years.  For example, Lesser Feasts and Fasts 1997 (1998) gave way to Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2000 (2001), replaced by Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2003 (2004), succeeded by Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006 (2007), the official calendar of saints for more than a decade.  The General Convention of 2009 authorized a greatly expanded side calendar of saints, Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010).  The General Convention of 2015 authorized that volume’s expanded and revised volume, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016).  Last year’s General Convention authorized Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, the new official calendar, without removing A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2016).

This feast has two names in The Episcopal Church.  It is, according to Lesser Feasts and Fasts, the Feast of “the Consecration of Samuel Seabury, 1784.”  However, in Holy Women, Holy Men and in A Great Cloud of Witnesses, this is the Feast of “Samuel Seabury, First American Bishop, 1796.”

At least four Samuel Seaburys lived.  Samuel Seabury, Sr. (1706-1764), was our saint’s father.  Samuel Seabury, Jr. (1729-1796), was the bishop.  Samuel Seabury, III, was one of the sons of Samuel, Jr.  Samuel Seabury, IV (1801-1872), an Episcopal priest, was a grandson of Samuel, Jr., a nephew of Samuel, III, and a son of Charles Seabury, also a priest.

Our saint, born in Groton, Connecticut, on November 30, 1729, was a son of Abigail Mumford (Seabury) and Samuel Seabury, Sr. (1706-1764), then a Congregationalist minister.  The father, a convert to Anglicanism in 1731, served in parishes in Connecticut.  Samuel, Jr., who graduated from Yale College in 1748, became a catechist with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel via his father.

Our saint was a minister and a physician.  After studying medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1752-1753, he became a deacon in 1753 then a priest on December 21 of that year.  Two days later, the Bishop of London licensed Seabury to preach in New Jersey.  Our saint arrived in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on May 25, 1754.  He transferred to Jamaica, New York, in 1757, then to Westchester, New York, in 1766.  In Westchester he was also a doctor and a schoolmaster.  He served in that town until 1775.

Seabury was a Loyalist and an advocate for having Anglican bishops in North America.  Both of these opinions were politically controversial.  His allies in both causes included Thomas Bradbury Chandler (1726-1790) and Charles Inglis (1734-1816).  Chandler was a prime candidate to the first bishop of The Church in England in North America, but failing health prevented him from accepting that post.  That duty fell to Inglis, who became the Bishop of Nova Scotia, with a vast diocese encompassing British North America and Bermuda, in 1787.  In Westchester Seabury wrote his Loyalist opinions under the pen name “A.W, Farmer,” short for “A Westchester Farmer,” and conducted a written debate with Alexander Hamilton.  Seabury’s political position led to his arrest by rebels in November 1775.

Seabury, once released, served behind British lines on Long Island.  He tended to the spiritual and medical needs of British soldiers there.  Oxford University awarded our saint a Doctor of Divinity degree for his loyalty to the British Empire on December 15, 1777.  The following year, Seabury became the chaplain to the King’s American Regiment.  After the war, our saint began to collect a pension from the British government.  He continued to receive this pension until he died.  The British pension gave many Americans a reason to distrust Seabury.

The Church of England in the United States needed to reorganize itself and to separate from the mother church to survive and thrive.  Three bishops were necessary, though, and British law did not allow for bishops of The Church of England to consecrate a bishop who refused to swear loyalty to the monarch.  On March 25, 1783, ten of fourteen Anglican clergymen in Connecticut gathered to choose a bishop.  Their first choice was Jeremiah Learning, who, citing age and health concerns, declined.  Then they elected Seabury.  He arrived in England on July 5, 1783.  After no bishops of The Church of England agreed to consecrate him, Seabury traveled to Scotland, where non-juring bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church consecrated him on November 14, 1784.

Seabury, who returned to the United States in late June 1785, immediately began to exercise his office, arch eyebrows, and make allies and enemies.  Meanwhile, William White (1747-1836), the Rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the chaplain of the Confederation Congress, and before that the chaplain of the Second Continental Congress, was trying to organize the American church.  Seabury presided over the first convention of the Diocese of Connecticut on August 3-5, 1785.  He ordained four deacons, including one for Maryland.  Our saint did not attend the General Convention White called in Philadelphia the following month.  Seabury and White disagreed on polity; the former resisted a laity with what he considered too much power, and the latter sought to grant much power to the laity.  Seabury also disapproved of White’s proposed Book of Common Prayer.  Seabury published his Communion Office, based on the Scottish liturgy, in 1786.  In 1785-1786 Seabury was the only American bishop.  In that capacity he ordained men for service beyond Connecticut.  This disturbed many, some of whom questioned the legitimacy of Seabury’s consecration.  White moved to restrict our saint’s authority to his diocese.

Meanwhile, a change in British law in 1787 permitted bishops of The Church of England to consecrate bishops for the United States.  Samuel Provoost (the only non-Loyalist priest in New York) and William White became the first Bishops of New York and Pennsylvania, respectively.  Provoost did not speak to Seabury, and, for a time, neither did White.

Seabury and White were the main founders of The Episcopal Church in 1789.  They made the compromises necessary for the creation of one denomination, not two.  Seabury beat back Congregationalism (strongest in the South) and made his peace with a somewhat empowered laity.  His Communion Office also influenced the Eucharistic rites in The Book of Common Prayer (1789).  Our saint also served as the Presiding Bishop in 1789-1792.  Seabury, who also doubled as the Bishop of Rhode Island from 1790 to 1796, ruled his roost.  He styled himself,

…by Divine permission Bishop of Connecticut.

Seabury died in New London, Connecticut, on February 25, 1796.  He was 66 years old.  His wife, Mary Hicks, born in 1736, had died in 1780.

Seabury was ahead of his time sacramentally in one way.  He argued for the weekly Sunday celebration of the Holy Communion.  That did not become commonplace in The Episcopal Church until the 1960s and 1970s, a time of liturgical renewal.  Our saint would have approved of the definition of the Holy Eucharist as

the central act of Christian worship,

according to The Book of Common Prayer (1979).

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 28, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THOMAS BINNEY, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND “ARCHBISHOP OF NONCONFORMITY”

THE FEAST OF ANDREW REED, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ANNA JULIA HAYWOOD COOPER AND ELIZABETH EVELYN WRIGHT, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATORS

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH C. CLEPHANE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

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Eternal God, you blessed your servant Samuel Seabury with the gift

of perseverance to renew the Anglican inheritance in North America:

Grant that, joined together in unity with our bishops and nourished by your holy Sacraments,

we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal;

through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with

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

Isaiah 63:7-9

Psalm 133

Acts 20:28-32

Matthew 9:35-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 679

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We give you thanks, O Lord our God, for your goodness in

bestowing upon this Church the gift of the episcopate,

which we celebrate in this remembrance of the consecration of Samuel Seabury;

and we pray that, joined in unity with our bishops and nourished by your holy Sacraments,

we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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Feast of John Tavener (November 12)   2 comments

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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SIR JOHN KENNETH TAVENER (JANUARY 28, 1944-NOVEMBER 12, 2013)

English Presbyterian then Orthodox Composer

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Suffering is a kind of ecstasy in a way.  Having pain all the time makes me grateful for every moment I’ve got.

–Sir John Tavener

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John Tavener composed beautiful music that still enriches the lives of many people.

Tavener, born in Wembley, England, on January 28, 1944, grew up a Presbyterian and studied music from an early age.  His father was an organist at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Frognal, Hampstead.  Our saint studied music and began to compose at Highgate School, London, where he also sang in the choir at classical concerts.  Tavener became a fine pianist.  He began to study at the Royal Academy of Music in 1962.  There our saint decided to focus on composition.  Tavener also served as the organist and choirmaster at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Kensington, from 1961 to 1975.

Tavener was a prominent composer, starting in 1968.  That year he debuted a cantata, The Whale, based on the Book of Jonah.  He composed A Celtic Requiem the following year.  Tavener, who began to teach at the Trinity College of Music, London, in 1971, composed an opera, Thérèse (1973), about St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and a chamber opera, A Gentle Spirit (1977).

Tavener was no stranger to health problems and spiritual crises.  His brief marriage to dancer Victoria Maragopoulou in 1974 haunted him.  Health problems included a stroke in 1979, Marfan Syndrome (diagnosed in 1990), and a heart attack in 2007.  Tavener was acutely aware of his mortality.  In 1977 he converted to Russian Orthodoxy, the faith he practiced for the rest of his life.

The Russian Orthodox Church and literary works were the primary influences in Tavener’s music, starting in 1977.  Major compositions included The Lamb (1982; a setting of a poem by William Blake), Ikon of Light (1984), The Protecting Veil (1989), We Shall See Him as He Is (1990), Song for Athene (1993), Eternity’s Sunrise (1997), and Prayer of the Heart (2000; for Icelandic singer Bjork).  When Tavener began to set texts from non-Christian traditions to music, many people suspected he had become an apostate.  Tavener, who remained an Orthodox Christian, was expanding his artistic range.

Tavener, knighted in 2000, died in Child Okeford, England, on November 12, 2013.  He was 69 years old.  Maryanne Schaeffer (his wife since 1991) and three children survived him.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 27, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF NICHOLAS FERRAR, ANGLICAN DEACON AND FOUNDER OF LITTLE GIDDING; GEORGE HERBERT, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND METAPHYSICAL POET; AND ALL SAINTLY PARISH PRIESTS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANNE LINE AND ROGER FILCOCK, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT GABRIEL POSSENTI, PENITENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUIS DE LEON, SPANISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND THEOLOGIAN

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Eternal God, light of the world and creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring John Tavener and all those

who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

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

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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Feast of Martha Coffin Pelham Wright, Lucretia Coffin Mott, James Mott, Abigail Lydia Mott Moore, and Lindley Murray Moore (November 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Partial Family Tree

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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MARTHA COFFIN PELHAM WRIGHT (DECEMBER 25, 1806-1875)

sister of

LUCRETIA COFFIN MOTT (JANUARY 3, 1793-NOVEMBER 11, 1880)

wife of

JAMES MOTT (JUNE 20, 1788-JANUARY 26, 1868)

brother of

ABIGAIL LYDIA MOTT MOORE (AUGUST 6, 1795-SEPTEMBER 4, 1846)

wife of

LINDLEY MURRAY MOORE (MAY 31, 1788-AUGUST 14, 1871)

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U.S. QUAKER ABOLITIONISTS AND FEMINISTS

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It is time that Christians were judged more by their likeness to Christ than their notions of Christ.  Were this sentiment generally admitted, we should see such tenacious adherence to what men deem the opinions and doctrines of Christ while at the same time in every day practice is exhibited anything but a likeness to Christ.

–Lucretia Coffin Mott, at the Cherry Street Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 30, 1849; quoted in A Year with American Saints (2006), 19

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One of my goals in renovating this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, is to emphasize relationships and influences.  This post is an example of that approach.  Lucretia Coffin Mott comes to my Ecumenical Calendar via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).  The other saints come to my Ecumenical Calendar via relationship to or via cooperation with her.

Lucretia and Martha Coffin were daughters of Thomas Coffin (a merchant; died in 18150 and Anna Folger.  Lucretia (born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on January 3, 1793) and Martha (born in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 25, 1806) studied in Quaker schools.  Lucretia, a student then a teacher at Nine Partners Boarding School, Millbrook, New York, became an active feminist when she noticed the discrepancy in pay for men and women performing the same work.  Martha moved with her family to Philadelphia, where she attended Quaker schools.  Lucretia and her fiancé, James Mott, a former teacher at Nine Partners, joined her family in Philadelphia in 1811.  The couple had five children, all moral and social reformers.

James Mott, born in North Hampstead, Long Island, New York, on June 20, 1788, was a cradle Quaker.  He was a son of Anne Mott (née Mott; 1768-1852) and Adam Mott (1762-1839), superintendent of Nine Partners Boarding School.  He and Lucretia were teachers at Nine Partners when they fell in love.  They moved to Philadelphia in 1813.  In that city James became a partner in Thomas Coffin’s nail business.  Then, in 1822, our saint went into the textiles business.  His involvement in selling cotton gave way to selling wool, for James was an abolitionist.  He, as a conscientious merchant, joined the free produce movement, which boycotted all goods slaves produced.

James had a younger sister, Abigail Lydia Mott, born in Caw Bay, Long Island, New York, on August 6, 1795.  She studied at Nine Partners Boarding School and, in 1811, became a teacher there.  Two years later, she married fellow teacher Lindley Murray Moore.

Lindley Murray Moore hailed from Nova Scotia.  The Moores, of Rahway, New Jersey, were Loyalists during the American Revolutionary period.  They were also Quakers, so they refused to engage in violence.  They also refused to assist the rebellion against the British Empire.  With the seizure of their property in 1779, Samuel Moore (1742-1822) and his family moved to Nova Scotia.  Later they relocated to Upper Canada (Ontario).  Lindley, born in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, on May 31, 1788, bore the name of Lindley Murray (1745-1826), a Quaker, a Loyalist, and a friend of his father.

Lucretia became a Quaker minister in 1821.  Husband James supported her in her traveling and speaking.  Lucretia spoke against slavery, called for its abolition, and supported the free produce movement.  In the late 1820s, when the Hicksite Quakers broke away from the Orthodox Quakers, Lucretia and James Mott became Hicksite Quakers.

Abigail and Lindley Moore left Nine Partners Boarding School in 1813.  They settled in Rahway, New Jersey, where they opened the first of a series of schools they founded.  Over the years they had eight children, three of whom did not live to see their fourth birthday.  The most famous of the Moore children was Edward Mott Moore (1814-1902), an Episcopalian, a surgeon, a professor of surgery, and the father of the public parks system in Rochester, New York.  Abigail and Lindley moved to Flushing, New York, in 1820.  They opened a school, of course.  Eleven years later, they relocated to Rochester, New York, where they became farmers.

Martha Coffin married twice.  In 1824 she married Peter Pelham (1785-1826).  The couple moved to Tampa, Florida, where Peter died.  Martha was a nineteen-year-old widow raising an infant daughter.  The following year, Martha moved to Aurora, New York, where she taught writing and painting at a Quaker girls’ school.  Our saint became engaged to Julius Catlin, who died in 1828.  She married attorney and fellow Quaker David Wright the following year.  The couple had five children, including Ellen Wright (1840-1931), a suffragette who married William Lloyd Garrison, Jr. (1838-1909) in 1864.

Lucretia and James Mott were active abolitionists.  They helped to found both the American Anti-Slavery Society and the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1833.  The latter, extant until 1870, was a multiracial organization whose members included Angelina Grimké Weld (1805-1879) and Charlotte Forten, grandmother of Charlotte Forten Grimké (1837-1914).  Lucretia managed to remain active on the lecture circuit while performing certain crucial domestic tasks.  She also resisted violence.  In 1838, at the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, a mob set the convention hall on fire.  The delegates (white and African-American) linked arms and passed through the mob.  The Motts were delegates to the World Anti-Slavery Convention (1840), in London, England.  Lucretia was one of six female delegates.  They faced exclusion, due to their gender.

Abigail and Lindley Moore were also active abolitionists.  They, active in the Farmington Annual Meeting (Orthodox), were the clerks of the women’s and men’s meetings, respectively, in 1836.  They helped to found the Rochester Anti-Slavery Society in 1838.  Furthermore, Abigail wrote novels, essays, and biographies in which she addressed slavery and the education of females.  She died in Rochester on September 4, 1846.  She was 51 years old.

Martha and David Wright moved to Auburn, New York, in 1839.  Both of them were conductors of the Underground Railroad.

The issue of rights and who should have them linked abolitionism and feminism.  Lucretia and Martha understood that connection, for they and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the Seneca Falls Convention at Seneca Falls, New York (July 19-20, 1848).  The delegates called for legal equality of men and women, as in the fields of voting and property rights.

Lindley Moore, as a widower, returned to education and continued his social activism.  He served as the President of Haverford College (1848-1850) then taught high school.  Our saint also served as the Vice President of the Rochester Temperance Society and financed the education of newly freed slaves in Upper Canada.  He died in Rochester on August 14, 1871.  He was 83 years old.

Lucretia and James Mott continued to make lasting contributions to society.  In 1864 they helped to found Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania.  Lucretia helped to found the American Equal Rights Association two years later.

James Mott died of pneumonia in Brooklyn, New York, on January 26, 1868, while visiting a daughter.  He was 79 years old.

Martha Wright died in Auburn, New York, on 1875.  She was 70 years old.

Lucretia Mott died in Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, on November 11, 1880.  She was 87 years old.

These members of the Mott-Moore-Wright extended family followed a high standard of public morality.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 27, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF NICHOLAS FERRAR, ANGLICAN DEACON AND FOUNDER OF LITTLE GIDDING; GEORGE HERBERT, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND METAPHYSICAL POET; AND ALL SAINTLY PARISH PRIESTS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANNE LINE AND ROGER FILCOCK, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT GABRIEL POSSENTI, PENITENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUIS DE LEON, SPANISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND THEOLOGIAN

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servants

Martha Coffin Pelham Wright,

Lucretia Coffin Mott,

James Mott,

Abigail Lydia Mott Moore,

and Lindley Murray Moore,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

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

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Peter Taylor Forsyth (November 11)   2 comments

Above:  Peter Taylor Forsyth

Image in the Public Domain

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PETER TAYLOR FORSYTH (MAY 12, 1848-NOVEMBER 11, 1921)

Also known a P. T. Forsyth

Scottish Congregationalist Minister and Theologian

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Revelation is redemption.

–P. T. Forsyth, quoted in Martin E. Marty and Dean G. Peerman, eds., A Handbook of Christian Theologians, 2nd. ed. (1984), 154

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P. T. Forsyth was, toward the end of his life, especially, too conservative for many liberals and too liberal for many conservatives.  The author of twenty-five books and hundreds of articles did, from 1893, anticipate much of the theology of Karl Barth and of Neo-orthodoxy.  Forsyth alarmed fundamentalist by affirming science and critical (in the highest sense of that word) Biblical scholarship while he rejected much of the theology of his contemporary, Adolf von Harnack (1851-1930).

Forsyth, born in Aberdeen, Scotland, on May 12, 1848, graduated from Aberdeen University then, in 1876, became a Congregationalist minister.  After serving in a few pulpits, he became the President of Hackney College, London, in 1921.  Our saint held that office until he died, on November 11, 1921.  In 1904-1905 he served as the Chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales.

Stale orthodoxy has inspired overreactions.  Philipp Spener (1635-1705) reacted and founded Pietism, thereby minimizing the sacraments, the role of the Church, and the importance of doctrine, as well as straying into works-based righteousness.  Adolf von Harnack, another German Lutheran, participated in the post-Enlightenment “flight from dogma,” as James Dunn called it in Jesus Remembered (2003).  Harnack argued that,

…true faith in Jesus is not a matter of creedal orthodoxy but of doing as he did.

–Quoted in Dunn, Jesus Remembered (2003), 38

In Harnack’s dogmaless version of Christianity, as Dunn wrote, the presentation was of

Jesus as a good example, Jesus as more the first Christian than the Christ.

Jesus Remembered (2003), 39

Forsyth had been a Harnackian.  Later in life, however, our saint quoted Harnack only while disagreeing with him.

Forsyth, without rejecting modernity, insisted that the church must define itself according to Christ, whom he referred to as “the Word,” knowable only via the Bible.  Biblical criticism has its place, our saint argued, but it must never be destructive, and must serve “the Word.”  In Forsyth’s Christocentric theology, the objective act of God in Jesus Christ is the origin of Christian faith.  Furthermore, the Gospel is always valid, regardless of whether one believes in it.

Forsyth’s break with Harnack was especially evident in his emphasis on deeds over words.  Our saint insisted that divine revelation was more a matter of deed than word, more a matter of act than declaration.  Forsyth argued that, although the words of Jesus are important, his deeds are more important.  In other words, our saint wrote that Jesus was like what he did, that the work of Christ revealed the person of Christ.  Furthermore, as Forsyth wrote, divine revelation in Jesus is an act that costs God much and restores human fellowship with God.  Forsyth’s focus on divine actions was consistent with his disregard for speculative theology–an attitude that led him to ignore aspects of official Trinitarian doctrine.

(Aside:  I do not criticize Forsyth for that last point.  My attempts to understand the orthodox Trinitarian theology lead me to confusion quickly and tie me into logical knots.  For example, if one holds that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are co-eternal, how can one then say that the Father begat the Son and that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and maybe also from the Son, depending on one’s position vis-à-vis the filioque clause?  I choose to think of the Trinity as a glorious mystery, and to affirm that the truth of the nature of God exceeds human comprehension.)

Forsyth’s theology of the Atonement was collective, not individualistic.  He argued that the Atonement was mainly for the human race, not for individuals.  Furthermore, our saint wrote, the cross represent both reconciliation and judgment upon himself.  Forsyth argued that God has objectively redeemed the world and curtailed the power of evil.  Therefore, our saint wrote, no Christian should ever feel overwhelmed by evil, for the battle between good and evil has ended; Christ has overcome the world.

Forsyth’s Christology was orthodox.  He wrote that Jesus was fully human and fully divine, and that the fully human portion of that reality indicated human limitations–the self-sacrifice of God.  Yet, our saint argued, Christ did not sin, despite moral struggles.

Unlike many Protestants, Forsyth held a high view of the sacraments.  He wrote that they are not merely memorials but actually means of grace.

Forsyth contributed greatly to Christian theology.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 24, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHIAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom,

and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Peter Taylor Forsyth,

and we pray that by his teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth

we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:1-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 61

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Feast of Elijah P. Lovejoy, Owen Lovejoy, and William Wells Brown (November 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Am I Not a Man and a Brother?

Image in the Public Domain

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ELIJAH PARISH LOVEJOY (NOVEMBER 9, 1802-NOVEMBER 7, 1837)

U.S. Journalist, Abolitionist, Presbyterian Minister, and Martyr, 1837

brother of

OWEN LOVEJOY (JANUARY 6, 1811-MARCH 25, 1864)

U.S. Abolitionist, Lawmaker, and Congregationalist Minister

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WILLIAM WELLS BROWN (CIRCA 1814-NOVEMBER 6, 1884)

African-American Abolitionist, Novelist, Historian, and Physician

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If the evil authorities refuse to protect me, I will look to God; and if I die, I have determined to make my grave in Alton.

–Elijah P. Lovejoy, November 3, 1837; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 718

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Shout it from the rooftops!

–Congressman Owen Lovejoy, 1859, in response to the allegation of being a “Negro stealer”

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TO WELLS BROWN, OF OHIO

Thirteen years ago, I came to your door, a weary fugitive from chain and tripes.  I was hungry, and you fed me.  Naked was I, and you clothed me.  Even a name by which to be known among men, slavery had denied me.  You bestowed upon me your own.  Base indeed, should I be, if I ever forget what I owe to you, or do anything to disgrace that honored name!

As a slight testimony of my gratitude  to my earliest benefactor, I take the liberty to inscribe to you this little narrative of the sufferings from which I was fleeing when you had compassion upon me.  In the multitude that you have succored, it is very possible that you may not remember me; but until I forget God and myself, I can never forget you.

Your faithful friend,

William Wells Brown

Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave (1848), Second Edition

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Elijah P. Lovejoy comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).  Owen Lovejoy and William Wells Brown come to my Ecumenical Calendar via personal connections to Elijah P. Lovejoy.

Elijah and Owen Lovejoy were sons of farmers Daniel Lovejoy (also a Congregationalist minister) and Elizabeth Pattee (Lovejoy), of Albion, Maine.

Elijah, born on November 9, 1802, received his name in honor of Elijah Parish (November 7, 1762-October 15, 1825), a Congregationalist minister, an abolitionist, an active member of the Federalist Party, and a friend of Daniel Lovejoy.  Elijah graduated from Waterville College, Waterville, Maine, with honors, in 1826.  He, as a student, had received financial support from Benjamin Tappan (Jr.) and taught in the college’s preparatory school.

Owen, born on January 6, 1811, left the farm at the age of 18 years and matriculated at Bowdoin College.  He studied yet never practiced law.  Owen, a member of the Class of 1832, became a Congregationalist minister instead.

Elijah decided to serve God in the West–Illinois, to be precise–yet needed money first.  He attempted to find work in Boston, Massachusetts, before moving along to New York, New York.  There, in 1827, he sold subscriptions to the Saturday Evening Gazette door-to-door for a few weeks.  During this time of struggles our saint wrote to Jeremiah Chaplin, the President of Waterville, College.  Chaplin sent enough money for Elijah to go westward.

Elijah lived and worked in St. Louis, Missouri, from 1827 to 1836.  At first he taught in schools and submitted poems to newspapers.  Then our saint became a parter in the St. Louis Times, which favored the National Republican Party, a predecessor of the Whig Party.  Elijah, as a journalist, met community leaders active in the American Colonization Society.  Our saint, after a period of spiritual struggle, converted to Presbyterianism in 1832.  He, as a partner in the St. Louis Times, hired a slave, later known as William Wells Brown.

William, born a slave near Lexington, Kentucky, circa 1814, was a mulatto.  His master and father was George W. Higgins.  Our saint’s mother was Elizabeth, a slave.  Higgins sold Elizabeth and William several time.  William grew up mostly in St. Louis, where he worked primarily on river boats.  He and his mother escaped to Illinois in 1833, but slave hunter captured them.  Our saint escaped successfully to Ohio the following year, though.  In Ohio a Quaker named Wells Brown provided clothing, food, and money, and helped William move along.

Also in 1834, the renamed William Wells Brown married Elizabeth Schooner.  The couple had two daughters who lived to adulthood–Clarissa and Josephine.  The latter (1839-1874) wrote her father’s biography in 1856.  The couple separated in 1847, and Elizabeth died in 1851.

William lived in Buffalo, New York, from 1836 to 1845.  There he worked on a steamboat on Lake Eve and helped many slaves escape to Canada.  He also became active in the abolitionist and temperance movements in Buffalo.

Elijah, who studied at Princeton Theological Seminary, starting in 1832, became an ordained minister the following year.  In 1833 he published the first issue of the St. Louis Observer, a Presbyterian newspaper.  He wrote critically of slavery, tobacco, liquor, and Roman Catholicism.  Our saint favored gradual emancipation.  He also refused demands backed up by threats of mob violence–to cease writing about slavery.

In 1836 Francis McIntosh, a free African American taken into police custody unjustly, attacked the officers, wounding one and killing the other.  He subsequently died at the hands of a lynch mob.  A local judge blamed only Elijah, whom he accused of stirring up discontent.  Our saint knew he had to leave St. Louis.  Before he departed, however, a mob destroyed his printing press while authorities watched.  Elijah, his wife Celia Ann French (married in 1835), and family left for Alton, Illinois.

The Alton Observer debuted in 1836.  Elijah continued to write against slavery, despite threats of mob violence and the lack of police protection.  In late October 1837 he presided over the congress of the Illinois Anti-Slavery Society at his congregation, Upper Alton Presbyterian Church.

Elijah became a martyr on November 7, 1837.  He and some supporters defended themselves against a mob that broke into the warehouse where he had hidden his new printing press.  Our saint died, and the mob threw the printing press into the Mississippi River.  His wife and two children had to go on without him.  There was no funeral, and an unmarked grave held his corpse, despite national attention.  Also, no court convicted anyone for the murder.  John Brown, however, dedicated his life to the destruction of slavery shortly thereafter.

Owen, who witnessed his brother’s murder, took up the mantle.  He and brother Joseph wrote Memoir of Elijah P. Lovejoy (1838).  Owen, pastor of the Congregational Church, Princeton, Illinois (1838-1856), founded congregations in conjunction with the American Missionary Association and became a conductor of the Underground Railroad.  He, a friend of Abraham Lincoln, served in the Illinois State Legislature (1855-1857) then the U.S. House of Representatives (1857-1864).

Owen died in Brooklyn, New York, on March 25, 1864.

William Wells Brown continued to work against slavery.  He, Clarissa, and Josephine lived in England from 1849 to 1854.  He traveled, lecturing on behalf of the abolitionist cause.  In 1854, the Richardsons, who had purchased the freedom of Frederick Douglass, did the same for Brown.  Our saint and his daughter moved to Boston, Massachusetts, that year.  While in England, he had written and published Clotel; or, the President’s Daughter (1853), a novel based on the lives of slave children of Thomas JeffersonClotel was the first novel by an African American.

Brown, back in the United States, persisted in his abolitionist activism.  He, a renowned orator and the first published African-American playwright (for The Escape; or, A Leap for Freedom, 1858), sided with William Lloyd Garrison in the dispute that divided the U.S. abolitionist movement.  Brown, like Garrison, included women in the definition of people who deserved legal equality.  Our saint became more radical after 1854; he advocated for emigration to Haiti, laid aside his opposition to violence, and helped to recruit African-American soldiers for the U.S. Army during the Civil War.

Brown, who married Anna Elizabeth Gray in 1860, added more items to his list of accomplishments.  He became a historian, writing the following volumes:

  1. The Black Man:  His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements (1863);
  2. The Negro in the American Rebellion (1867), perhaps the first work about African American during the U.S. War for Independence; and
  3. The Rising Son; or, the Antecedents and Advancements of the Colored Race (1873).

Furthermore, Brown became a doctor.

Brown died in Chelsea, Massachusetts, on November 6, 1884.

Elijah P. Lovejoy, Owen Lovejoy, and William Wells Brown loved God, followed Christ, and left their country and world better than they found them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 21, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN HENRY NEWMAN, CARDINAL

THE FEAST OF SAINT ARNULF OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; AND SAINT GERMANUS OF GRANFEL, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROBERT SOUTHWELL, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL WOLCOTT, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, MISSIONARY, AND HYMN WRITER

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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 Blessed Odette Prevost (November 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of Algeria

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ODETTE PRÉVOST (JULY 17, 1932-NOVEMBER 10, 1995)

French Roman Catholic Nun, and Martyr in Algeria, 1995

Alternative feast day (as one of the 19 Martyrs of Algeria) = May 8

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Find the good and praise it.

–Alex Haley

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Many people had led objectively good lives.  Unfortunately, a host of them have died violently.

Blessed Odette Prévost, born in Oger, Marne, France, on July 17, 1932, became a teacher.  She, as a laywoman, taught from 1950 to 1953.  Then, in 1953, Prévost joined the Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart; she made her final vows six years later.  The order transferred our saint first to Morocco then back to France then, finally, to Algiers, Algeria, in 1968.  In the capital city Prévost taught the poorest of the poor.  Her kitchen bustled with children’s activities as she tutored pupils and made yogurt for them.  Prévost also encouraged cross-cultural understanding and interfaith dialogue as she witnessed to Jesus with her life.

The early and middle 1990s were a turbulent time in Algeria.  From 1994 to 1996 the 19 Martyrs of Algeria met their fates.  Foreigners were one classification of people frequently targeted for murder.  On November 10, 1995, a gunman murdered Prévost while she walked to Mass.  She was 63 years old.

Pope Francis declared her a Venerable then a Blessed in 2018.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 20, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN HEERMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HENRI DE LUBAC, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, CARDINAL, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF KARL FRIEDRICH LOCHNER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT WULFRIC OF HASELBURY, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of Blessed Odette Prévost,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives  to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 59

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