Feast of George Thomas Coster (August 27)   1 comment

Above:  Hessle and Hull, England

Image Source = Google Earth

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

GEORGE THOMAS COSTER (OCTOBER 3, 1835-AUGUST 29, 1912)

English Congregationalist Minister, Hymn Writer, and Humanitarian

George Thomas Coster comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Methodist Hymnal (1966).

Coster grew up in a Christian home.  He, one of thirteen children, debuted in Chatham, Kent, England, on October 3, 1835.  Everyone in our saint’s home was active in Christian work of some sort.  Christian work of a societal nature was prominent in the Coster home.  Our saint learned from that modeling of behavior.

Coster became a Congregationalist minister.  He studied at New College, a Congregationalist theological seminary in London.  Our saint, ordained at Newport, Essexy, in 1859, served as pastor at:

  1. Saffron Walden, Essex;
  2. Barnstaple, Devonshire;
  3. Fish Street, Hull;
  4. South Norwood, London;
  5. West Cliff, Whitby;
  6. Bedford Chapel, Stroud; and
  7. Hessle, a suburb of Hull.

Coster had a weak constitution.  Therefore, occasional spells of ill health interrupted his ministerial work.

The companion volumes to The Methodist Hymnals of 1935 and 1966 insist that our saint served as pastor Wesleyan Methodist congregations, as well.  Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952) contradicts that story.  I am inclined to believe Haeussler, author of the companion volume to The Hymnal (1941).  The Haeussler book is the thickest and best-researched of all the single-volume hymnal companion volumes, and one of my favorite resources.

Coster was also a humanitarian.  At Hull, for example, he founded a program that provided free meals for the poor.  Our saint also founded the Hospital for Poor, Sick Children (later renamed Victoria Hospital).  Furthermore, Coster founded a self-help organization for the crippled and the blind.  This organization was a local branch of the Guild of Brave Poor Things.  If all this were not enough, our saint also campaigned for the construction of shelters for London cabmen, who pulled taxi cab.  These men, exposed to the elements, needed shelters.

Coster wrote hymns, poems, meditations, and devotions.  He edited Temperance Melodies and Religious Hymns (1868).  Our saint’s other published works included the following:

  1. Lorrin and Other Poems (1859);
  2. Poems and Hymns (1862);
  3. Pastors and People (1869);
  4. The Rhyme of St. Peter’s Fall (1871);
  5. Allegories (1878);
  6. Red Roofs; and Other Poems (1886);
  7. Poems (1890);
  8. Gloria Christi (1896);
  9. Hessle Hymns (1901);
  10. When the Stars Appear (1903); and
  11. Beams of Christ’s Glory:  Meditations for Each Sunday of the Year (1905).

Coster wrote at least 14 hymns, most of which have fallen into disuse.  English Congregationalist hymnologist W. Garrett Holder wrote:

Many of his hymns are above the average.  It is strange that Mr. Coster’s hymns should have been so overlooked by most editors of hymnals prepared for use in that section of the Church to which he belongs.

–Quoted in Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952), 607

Within my library of old hymnals, the greatest concentration of hymns by Coster is in The Pilgrim Hymnal (1904), with six texts.  The Pilgrim Hymnal (1912) includes five hymns by Coster.  The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931) has two Coster texts.  The Pilgrim Hymnal (1958) includes just one hymn by Coster.

Hymnary.org lists ten hymns for Coster.  Hymntime.com lists twelve texts, however:

  1. “Comrades’ Names Are on Our Banner” (1901);
  2. “Dost Thou Bow Beneath the Burden” (1879);
  3. From North and South and East and West” (1864);
  4. “Going to the Father” (1899);
  5. King of the City Splendid” (1897);
  6. Lord of the Gracious Sunshine” (1893);
  7. “Lord of the Sea! Afar from Land” (1874);
  8. “March On, O Soul, with Strength” (1897);
  9. O Friend Divine! with Thee Apart” (published in 1900);
  10. “Skill and Beauty from Thee Live” (published in 1882);
  11. “Thou Whose Great Baptismal Hour” (1892);
  12. We Join with All in Every Place” (1891);
  13. “Lord God Almighty, in Thy Hand” (1897); and 
  14. O God, Our Father, Enthroned on High.”

Coster retired in 1902.

Our saint, aged 76 years, died in Rotherham, Yorkshire, England, on August 29, 1912.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 14, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE LAST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM OF CARRHAE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF CHRISTOPH CARL LUDWIG VON PFEIL, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CYRIL AND METHODIUS, APOSTLES TO THE SLAVS

THE FEAST OF JOHANN MICHAEL ALTENBURG, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR, COMPOSER, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VICTOR OLOF PETERSEN, SWEDISH-AMERICAN LUTHERAN HYMN TRANSLATOR

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

George Thomas Coster and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

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 JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

One response to “Feast of George Thomas Coster (August 27)

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pingback: George Thomas Coster | GATHERED PRAYERS

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: