Archive for April 2019

Feast of H. Baxter Liebler (November 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  Episcopal Flag

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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HAROLD BAXTER LIEBER (NOVEMBER 26, 1889-NOVEMBER 21, 1982)

Episcopal Priest and Missionary to the Navajo Nation

H. Baxter Liebler 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).

The Brooklyn-born Liebler spent nearly half of his long life ministering to members of the Navajo nation in Utah.

Liebler, born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 26, 1889, was a son of Mildred Walther Liebler and theater producer Theodore Liebler.  Our saint became a businessman then a second-career priest.  He married his first wife, Frances F. Marks (d. 1978) in 1913.  Liebler, ordained to the priesthood in 1978, served first as Curate of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, New York, New York.  In 1918 he founded St. Saviour’s Church, Old Greenwich, Connecticut.  In 1942 Liebler was the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Riverside, Connecticut, when he was on vacation in southwestern Utah.  He noticed the poverty of the Navajo there; they lacked even schools and clinics.  He had had a fascination with Native Americans since childhood.  The combination of factors led to Liebler becoming a missionary.

Liebler did something about that poverty; he returned the following year and remained for the rest of his life.  Our saint founded St. Christopher’s Mission, Bluff, Utah, as well as a school and a clinic.  He respected the Navajo culture, mastered the language, and integrated Navajo prayers and tunes into the liturgy.  He rejected culturally destructive assimilation, by which many folkways and languages have gone extinct, and many indigenous people have fallen into a host of severe woes and ills.  Liebler was glad when the State of Utah assumed responsibility for the school and the clinic, for he preferred to focus on evangelism.  He excelled in that; he baptized about 2,000 Navajos.

Liebler remained active in retirement (1962-1982).  He moved to Oljato and founded the St. Mary-of-the-Moonlight Mission, as well as the Hat Creek Retreat Center.  Our saint, a widower, also remarried.  His second wife was Joan Warburton Eskell (1915-2009).  He died in Oljato on November 21, 1982, five days prior to what would have been his ninety-third birthday.

One legacy of Liebler’s work is The Episcopal Church’s Navajoland Area Mission (a.k.a. the Episcopal Church in Navajoland), carved out of the Dioceses of Arizona, Utah, and the Rio Grande (encompassing New Mexico and much of western Texas) in 1977.  Navajoland has three regions and nine congregations in 2019.  Bishop David Bailey emphasizes ordaining indigenous priests and deacons as the mission area nears the presumptive election of its fourth indigenous bishop.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 23, 2019 COMMON ERA

TUESDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF TOYOHIKO KAGAWA, RENEWER OF SOCIETY AND PROPHETIC WITNESS IN JAPAN

THE FEAST OF JOHANN WALTER, “FIRST CANTOR OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF WALTER RUSSELL BOWIE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, SEMINARY PROFESSOR, AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant H. Baxter Liebler,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the Navajo people.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 716

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Feast of Theodore P. Ferris (November 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  Trinity Episcopal Church, Boston, Massachusetts

Image Source = Library of Congress

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THEODORE PARKER FERRIS (DECEMBER 23, 1908-NOVEMBER 26, 1972)

Episcopal Priest and Author

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Preaching on the Ascension encounters certain obstacles which may in turn be used as opportunities.  The first obstacle is the resistance of the average layman to Christian doctrine.  In spite of the rising tide of “neo-orthodoxy” among the clergy, there are still a great many laymen who are interested in Christianity as a way of life, but are not at all interested in its framework of faith.  They believe that they can keep the Christian standards of moral conduct and give up the Christian articles of faith.  The Ascension, being one of those articles, does not concern them.  They want to know the things Jesus said, not the the things that were said about him….

A doctrine begins with a significant event from which people draw a general conclusion.  Just as people cannot escape the impact of events, so they cannot escape drawing conclusions  which attempt to explain the experience, relate it to the rest of experience, and communicate it to future generations by expressing it in an intelligible form.

–Theodore P. Ferris, in The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 9 (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1954), 24-25

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Theodore P. Ferris comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the ninth volume (1954) of The Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the exposition on the Acts of the Apostles.

Ferris, a priest, taught preaching in seminaries.  He, born to Walter Andrew Ferris and Eva Parker (Ferris) in Port Chester, New York, on December 23, 1908, graduated from Harvard University in 1929 then from the General Theological Seminary in 1933.  He became a deacon in 1933 then a priest the following year.  Our saint served in three congregations in thirty-nine years.  He was:

  1. Assistant Rector, Grace Episcopal Church, New York, New York (1933-1937), doubling as a tutor a the General Theological Seminary;
  2. Rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Baltimore, Maryland (1937-1942); and
  3. Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Boston, Massachusetts (1942-1972), doubling as adjunct instructor of homiletics at the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1943-1964).

Ferris, a bachelor, also found time to write.  Aside from his work for The Interpreter’s Bible, his published works included:

  1. This Created World (1944),
  2. When I Became a Man (1957),
  3. The New Life (1961),
  4. Book of Prayer for Every Man (1962),
  5. What Jesus Did (1963), and
  6. The Image of God (1965).

Ferris, a trustee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, left a fine legacy in other ways.  He, a recipient of at least six honorary doctorates, served as a delegate to the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches in 1948.  He also composed the hymn tune “Weymouth” (1941) for The Hymnal 1940 (1943).

Ferris, aged 63 years, died in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 26, 1972.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2019 COMMON ERA

HOLY SATURDAY

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN, MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND “PASTOR OF THE REFORMATION”

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN X, KING OF DENMARK; AND HIS BROTHER, HAAKON VII, KING OF NORWAY

THE FEAST OF MARION MACDONALD KELLERAN, EPISCOPAL SEMINARY PROFESSOR AND LAY LEADER

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Theodore Parker Ferris and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Isaac Watts (November 25)   6 comments

Above:  Isaac Watts

Image in the Public Domain

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ISAAC WATTS (JULY 17, 1675-NOVEMBER 25, 1748)

English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

Church of England, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada feast day = November 25

Episcopal Church feast day = November 26

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His dying crimson, like a Robe,

Spreads o’er His Body on the Tree;

Then I am dead to all the Globe,

And all the Globe is dead to me.

–Isaac Watts (1707); the usually omitted verse of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross;” quoted in Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (St. Louis, MO:  Eden Publishing House, 1952), 213

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Isaac Watts was one of the greatest hymn writers in the English-speaking world.

Watts, born in Southampton, England, on July 17, 1675, came from a family of religious dissenters.  His father, Isaac (Sr.), spent time in prison due to religious opinions.  Our saint, well-educated from an early age, mastered Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.  His religious affiliation prevented him from attending Cambridge or Oxford, however.  Watts, therefore, attended and graduated from the academy at Stoke Newington (now in London).  Starting in 1702, he spent a decade as minister at Mark Lane Chapel, London.

Watts suffered from bad health most of his life.  Failing health forced him to leave active ministry in 1712.  Our saint lived in the household of the Abney family for 36 years.  He could do little more than write, which he did.  Watts wrote books about language, theology, and logic.  He also composed more than 600 hymns and helped to facilitate the transition from metrical psalms to hymns.

Hymns by Watts include:

  1. “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross;”
  2. “Joy to the World;”
  3. “Jesus Shall Reign;” and
  4. “O God, Our Hope in Ages Past.”

Watts died at Stoke Newington, England, on November 25, 1748.  She was 73 years old.

Many of his hymns continue to nourish faith, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 19, 2019 COMMON ERA

GOOD FRIDAY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MURIN OF FAHAN, LASERIAN OF LEIGHLIN, GOBAN OF PICARDIE, FOILLAN OF FOSSES, AND ULTAN OF PERONNE, ABBOTS; AND FURSEY OF PERONNE AND BLITHARIUS OF SEGANNE, MONKS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALPHEGE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT EMMA OF LESUM, BENEFACTOR

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS PETRI SWEDISH LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN, HISTORIAN, LITURGIST, MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, HYMN TRANSLATOR, AND “FATHER OF SWEDISH LITERATURE;” AND HIS BROTHER, LAURENTIUS PETRI, SWEDISH LUTHERAN ARCHBISHOP OF UPPSALA, BIBLE TRANSLATOR, AND “FATHER OF SWEDISH HYMNODY”

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God of truth and grace, you gave Isaac Watts singular gifts to present your praise in verse,

that he might write psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for your Church:

Give us grace joyfully to sing your praises now and in the life to come;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with

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

1 Chronicles 16:1-6

Psalm 108:1-6

Colossians 3:12-17

Luke 18:35-43

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 705

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Feast of James Otis Sargent Huntington (November 25)   Leave a comment

Above:  James Otis Sargent Huntington

Image in the Public Domain

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JAMES OTIS SARGENT HUNTINGTON (JULY 23, 1854-JUNE 28, 1935)

Founder of the Order of the Holy Cross

James Otis Sargent Huntington comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church.

Huntington, born a Unitarian and raised an Episcopalian, worked among “the least of these.”  His mother was Hannah Diane Sargent (Huntington).  Our saint’s father was Frederick Dan Huntington (1819-1904), who taught moral ethics at Harvard.  By July 23, 1854, the date of our saint’s birth, the Reverend Huntington was the pastor of a Unitarian church in Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts.  The elder Huntington converted to The Episcopal Church in 1855.  He rose through the ranks of Episcopal clergy quickly; he served as the first Bishop of Central New York from 1859 to 1904.  Our saint graduated from Harvard then from St. Andrew’s Divinity School, Syracuse, New York.  His father ordained him to the diaconate (1878) then the priesthood (1880).

Huntington’s ministry entailed working with marginalized people.  He, assistant at Calvary Mission, Syracuse (1875-1881), served at Holy Cross Mission, New York, New York from 1881 to 1889.  In New York City he ministered to working class immigrants on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  When our saint discerned his vocation to monastic life, he began to consider how to fulfill that call.  On November 25, 1884, in the Chapel of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist, New York, New York, Huntington made his vows as a monk of the new Order of the Holy Cross.  The vow of celibacy was especially controversial in some quarters of The Episcopal Church.  He led that order in 1884-1888, 1897-1907, 1915-1918, and 1921-1930.

Huntington, like many other Anglo-Catholics, combined social progressiveness with liturgical conservatism.  The high church liturgy added much beauty to the otherwise bleak lives of many to whom he and his fellow monks ministered.  Our saint, active in the Knights of Labor (founded in 1869), founded a mission in Liberia, the Kent School (in Kent, Connecticut, in 1906), and St. Andrew’s School (in Sewanee, Tennessee, in 1905).

Huntington died at the mother house in West Park, New York, on June 28, 1935.  He was 80 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 19, 2019 COMMON ERA

GOOD FRIDAY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MURIN OF FAHAN, LASERIAN OF LEIGHLIN, GOBAN OF PICARDIE, FOILLAN OF FOSSES, AND ULTAN OF PERONNE, ABBOTS; AND FURSEY OF PERONNE AND BLITHARIUS OF SEGANNE, MONKS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALPHEGE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT EMMA OF LESUM, BENEFACTOR

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS PETRI SWEDISH LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN, HISTORIAN, LITURGIST, MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, HYMN TRANSLATOR, AND “FATHER OF SWEDISH LITERATURE;” AND HIS BROTHER, LAURENTIUS PETRI, SWEDISH LUTHERAN ARCHBISHOP OF UPPSALA, BIBLE TRANSLATOR, AND “FATHER OF SWEDISH HYMNODY”

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O loving God, by your grace your servant James Huntington gathered a community

dedicated to love and discipline and devotion to the holy Cross of our Savior Jesus Christ:

Send your blessing on all who proclaim Christ crucified,

and move the hearts of many to look upon him and be saved;

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

Nehemiah 5:1-12

Psalm 119:161-168

Galatians 6:14-18

John 6:34-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 703

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Feast of John LaFarge, Jr. (November 24)   3 comments

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN LAFARGE, JR. (DECEMBER 13, 1880-NOVEMBER 25, 1963)

U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Renewer of Society

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The Negro brings to the Church something that is in danger of disappearing from its life in this country, and thereby putting American Catholicism out of touch with the rest of the great universal suffering world–a keen sense of social justice.

–Father John LaFarge, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 512

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Father John LaFarge, Jr., comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Ellsberg’s All Saints and G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

LaFarge, from a background of privilege, dedicated most of his adult life to resisting bigotry.  His mother was Margaret Mason Perry (1839-1925).  She, a convert to Roman Catholicism, had Isaiah Hecker (1819-1888) for a spiritual mentor.  Our saint’s father was John LaFarge, Sr. (1835-1910), a prominent painter and stained glass window maker.  Our saint, the youngest of eight children, entered the world at Newport, Rhode Island, on February 13, 1880.  John, Jr., a member of the Harvard University Class of 1901, studied for the priesthood in Europe.  There he joined the Society of Jesus (much to his mother’s dismay) and became a priest (ordained at Innsbruck, Austria) on July 26, 1905.

LaFarge understood the relationship between the gospel of Jesus Christ and social justice.  Early assignments included teaching at Jesuit colleges and assisting in parishes.  One assignment was as chaplain at the prison and hospital on Blackwell Island, New York, New York.  Later, our saint served in a mostly African-American parish in Leonardville, Maryland.  In 1924 he founded an industrial school for African Americans at Ridge, Maryland.  From 1926 to 1963 LaFarge worked at America magazine, a Jesuit publication.  In 1963, he, Dorothy Day, and others founded the Catholic Layman’s Union, which became the first Catholic Interracial Council of New York.  He traveled across the United States, speaking about social justice and encouraging the formation of similar organizations.  In 1938, Pope Pius XI asked LaFarge to draft an encyclical on racism.  Our saint completed the draft document, but Pius XI died in 1939, and Pope Pius XII shelved it, just in time for the Holocaust and World War II.

LaFarge, a pioneer for racial justice and opposition to anti-Semitism in U.S. Roman Catholicism prior to the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), understood that one one divine purpose for the human race was unity.  He, therefore, condemned anti-Semitism and racial segregation laws.  That concern for unity also led LaFarge to become a pioneer in the ecumenical movement.  Related to his concern for unity was support for constitutional government; our saint criticized his Church for hostility to constitutional governments and support for dictatorships and therefore for a dubious record on human rights.  He, an advocate for freedom of religion as a human right, lived long enough to learn of the introduction of the draft Declaration on Religious Freedom at Vatican II.

LaFarge, aged 83 years, died in his sleep in New York, New York, early in the morning of November 25, 1963.

Theological orthodoxy and social justice need not be at odds with each other.  Despite the long and shameful record of self-proclaimed orthodox Christians propping up sins such as Jim Crow laws, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, nativism, and the subordination of women, actual orthodoxy, with the Golden Rule as a constituent part, facilitates social justice and confronts institutions and proponents of oppression and hatred.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 18, 2019 COMMON ERA

MAUNDY THURSDAY

THE FEAST OF ROGER WILLIAMS, FOUNDER OF RHODE ISLAND; AND ANNE HUTCHINSON, REBELLIOUS PURITAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT CORNELIA CONNELLY, FOUNDRESS OF THE SOCIETY OF THE HOLY CHILD JESUS

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA ANNA BLONDIN, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF SAINT ANNE

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROMAN ARCHUTOWSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1943

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant John LaFarge, Jr.,

through whom you called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

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

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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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,

and rest to the weary,

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

you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.

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 servant John LaFarge, Jr., 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 St. Clement I of Rome (November 23)   2 comments

Above:  St. Clement I of Rome

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT CLEMENT I OF ROME

Bishop of Rome, 88/91-97/101

Alternative feast days = November 24 and 25

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Think, my friends, how the Lord offers us proof after proof that there is going to be a resurrection, of which He has made Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising Him from the dead.  My friends, look how regularly there are processes of resurrection going on at this very moment.  The day and the night show us an example of it; for night sinks to rest, and day arises; day passes away, and night comes again.  Or take the fruits of the earth; how, and in what way, does a crop come into being?  When the sower goes out and drops each seed into the ground, it falls to the earth shriveled and bare, and decays; but presently the power of the Lord’s providence raises it from decay, and from that single grain a host of others spring up and yield their fruit.

–1 Clement 24 (Staniforth/Louth, 1987)

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We know little about the life of St. Clement I of Rome.  Ancient traditions contradict each other on many details, including whether he was the third or fourth Bishop of Rome and whether he became a martyr.  Certain ancient texts are allegedly of his authorship, but the (First) Epistle to the Corinthians, a.k.a. First Clement, composed via 96 C.E., is genuine.

St. Clement I, who apparently knew some of the Apostles, was one of a group of presbyters of house churches in the imperial capital city at the end of the first century C.E.  He had the duty of writing to churches in other cities.  In his (First) Epistle to the Corinthians, St. Clement I urged that church to restore its fired presbyters to their rightful positions.  This letter was an early example of the church at Rome involving itself in the matters of churches in other cities.  St. Clement I’s claim to ecclesiastical authority related to Rome being the imperial capital, not the Bishop of Rome being a Supreme Pontiff, for the monarchical Papacy had not yet emerged.

St. Clement I emphasized two primary themes in the epistle.  He stressed obedience to proper leaders–respect for the ecclesiastical hierarchy.  Our saint also emphasized respect for the liturgy and sacraments.  He placed these concerns in the context of Christ and love for God:

Love knows no divisions, promotes no discord; all the works of love are done in perfect fellowship.

–1 Clement 49; from Early Christian Writings (1987), translated by Maxwell Staniforth and Andrew Louth

St. Clement I’s epistle is an intriguing follow-up to the Pauline epistles to that church.

We Christians of today live in a different world than St. Clement I did.  We dare not dismiss him and his concerns, for we own him and many like him a great debt of gratitude; a chain of faith links him and them to us.  Furthermore, his advice in his epistle to the Corinthians retains much of value in contemporary settings.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 17, 2019 COMMON ERA

WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK

THE FEAST OF DANIEL SYLVESTER TUTTLE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF EMILY COOPER, EPISCOPAL DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF MAX JOSEF METZGER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF WILBUR KENNETH HOWARD, MODERATOR OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

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Almighty God, you chose your servant Clement of Rome

to recall the Church in Corinth to obedience and stability:

Grant that your Church may be grounded and settled

in your truth by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit;

reveal to it what is not yet known;

fill up what is lacking;

confirm what has already been revealed;

and keep it blameless in your service;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

1 Chronicles 23:28-32

Psalm 78:3-7

2 Timothy 2:1-7

Luke 6:37-45

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 699

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Feast of Henry and Daniel Purcell (November 21)   4 comments

Above:  The Choir of Westminster Abbey (1893), by Henry Crickmore

Image Source = Library of Congress

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HENRY PURCELL (JR.) (SEPTEMBER 10, 1659-NOVEMER 21, 1695)

brother of

DANIEL PURCELL (CIRCA 1664-NOVEMBER 1717)

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ENGLISH COMPOSERS

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Henry Purcell (Jr.) comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church, in which he shares a feast with Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederick Handel on July 28.  Each of the other composers has a separate feast day on this, my Ecumenical CalendarDaniel Purcell joins his esteemed brother as part of my effort to emphasize relationships and influences.

Much information about the Purcell brothers is lacking.  We know enough, I suppose.

Henry Purcell (Sr.) had three sons –Edward, Henry (Jr.), and Daniel.  The family lived within the shadow of Westminster Abbey.  After Henry (Sr.) died in 1664, his brother Timothy, an attentive uncle, raised the sons.  Uncle Timothy was a musician and a gentleman of the Chapel Royal.  He supervised the educations of his three nephews dutifully and well.  Henry (Jr.) and Daniel began their musical paths as choristers at Westminster Abbey.  In 1673, Henry, already studying privately under composers, as well as at the Westminster School, became the assistant to organ-builder and composer John Hingston (1612-1683).  Henry was a copyist at Westminster Abbey in 1676.  Meanwhile, he had begun composing by 1670.  Perhaps his earliest work was in honor of King Charles II, on the monarch’s birthday, in 1670.

Henry composed many sacred and secular works.  He also wrote instrumental works and compositions for the human voice.  He, married to Frances in 1682, had six children, two of whom survived him.  Our saint supported his family via composing and by working as the organist at both Westminster Abbey (1679f) and the Chapel Royal (1682f).

I refer you, O reader, to the following links for musical samples:

  1. Sonatas
  2. Ten Sonatas in Four Parts
  3. Twelve Sonatas of Three Parts
  4. Anthems and Hymns
  5. Abdelazer Suite
  6. King Arthur
  7. Dido and Aeneas
  8. Evening Prayer
  9. Funeral of Queen Mary
  10. Harpsichord Works
  11. Chaconne in G Minor
  12. Come, Come, Ye Sons of Art
  13. Sacred Music

Henry, aged 36 years, died at home in London on November 21, 1695.  He left one incomplete work, The Indian Queen, which Daniel completed.  “Sound, Sound the Trumpet,” from Act V of The Indian Queen, was one of Daniel’s earliest works.

Daniel, having begun to compose while working as the organist of Magdalen College, Oxford, moved to London in 1695.  He composed much incidental music, as well as sonatas and works for violin.  Some of his sacred music–a setting of the Magnificat and one of the Nunc Dimittis–have remained in use in The Church of England.  Circa 1713 Daniel became the organist at St. Andrew’s, Holbern; he remained in that post until he died in November 1717.  The date of the funeral was November 26, 1717.

The Purcell brothers’ legacy continues to enrich the lives of many people, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 17, 2019 COMMON ERA

WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK

THE FEAST OF DANIEL SYLVESTER TUTTLE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF EMILY COOPER, EPISCOPAL DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF MAX JOSEF METZGER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF WILBUR KENNETH HOWARD, MODERATOR OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

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Almighty God, beautiful and majesty and majestic in holiness,

who teaches us in Holy Scripture to sing your praises

and who gave your musicians Henry and Daniel Purcell

grace to show forth your glory in their music:

Be with all those who write or make music for your people,

that we on earth may glimpse your beauty and know the inexhaustible riches

of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Savior:

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

2 Chronicles 7:1-6

Psalm 150

Colossians 2:206

Luke 2:8-14

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 491

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