Feast of W. Sibley Towner (January 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia

Image Source = Google Earth

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W. SIBLEY TOWNER (JANUARY 10, 1933-MAY 23, 2018)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

W. Sibley Towner comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The New Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the introduction, commentary, and reflections on Ecclesiastes in Volume V (2000).

Towner was a gentleman and a scholar.  He, born to Wayne A. and Frances S. Towner, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on January 10, 1933, studied at Yale University.  Our saint earned his B.A., B.D., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University.  He was also a Fulbright Scholar at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.  Our saint became a Presbyterian (Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., not the Presbyterian Church in the United States) missionary in Lebanon.  For three years he taught secondary school at the Gerard Institute, in 1954-1957.  While in Lebanon, Towner met Jane Ann Miller.  They married in Beirut in 1956.

Towner, ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1960, taught Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, and the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary through 1976.  In 1976 our saint became The Reverend Archibald McFayden Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, across the street from each other in Richmond, Virginia.  [Note:  The two institutions federated as Union-PSCE in 1997 and became Union Presbyterian Seminary in 2009.]  Towner, known as “Sib,” was a respected and admired member of the faculty.  His sense of humor, his penchant for writing limericks, and the twinkle in his eyes set people at ease.  Towner also wrote columns, articles, and Biblical commentaries.  Our saint, who retired in 2002, remained active in seminary life until Parkinson’s Disease forced him to stop.

One can acquire Towner’s book-length commentaries on Genesis and Daniel, Volume V of The New Interpreter’s Bible, and Prayers that Sing and Stir the Heart (2018).

Towner, aged 85 years, died in Kilmarnock, Virginia, on May 23, 2018.

He must have been a wonderful man to know, under whom to study, and with whom to work.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDER OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [W. Sibley Towner 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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