Feast of Rudolph A. John (March 26)   1 comment

Above:  Rudolph A. John

Image Source = Yearbook and Almanac of the Evangelical and Reformed Church 1939 (1938), 42

Available at archive.org

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RUDOLPH A. JOHN (JR.) (MARCH 26, 1859-JULY 17, 1938)

German Evangelical Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

Rudolph A. John comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Hymnal (1941), of the old Evangelical and Reformed Church.

Our saint grew up in the old Evangelical Synod of North America (ESNA).  In this context, “Evangelical” meant “Protestant”–Lutheran-Reformed, specifically.  Prussian immigrants–members of the merged Lutheran-Reformed church there–created a counterpart in the United States of America.  Our saint’s father was the Reverend Rudolph A. John (Sr.), who served at St. Peter’s Evangelical Church, Washington, Missouri.  Later, John (Sr.) taught at Eden Theological Seminary.  Our saint, born at Washington, Missouri, on March 26, 1859, was also a son of Christine (Kopf) John.  Our saint had a brother, Samuel A. John, who grew up to become a prominent minister and an expert in Sunday School work in the ESNA.

John (Jr.) joined the ranks of ESNA ministers, too.  He studied at Washington University then at Eden Theological Seminary.  Our saint, ordained on June 26, 1878, embarked on his life’s work, first at a cluster of mission churches in southern Illinois.  Next, he served at Immanuel Evangelical Church (now United Church of Christ), Sedalia, Missouri.  During this time, John was the Secretary of the ESNA’s West Missouri District.  A tenure at St. John’s Evangelical Church (now United Church of Christ), Richmond, Virginia (-1886) followed.  Prior to 1886, our saint edited Christliche Kinderzeitung, a Sunday School paper for intermediates and youth.  He also married Emilie (W.) John and started a family.  The couple had a daughter (who survived our saint) and a son (who predeceased our saint).

John spent four decades at St. Paul’s Evangelical Church (now United Church of Christ), Chicago, Illinois, starting in 1886.  After retiring, he held the title Pastor Emeritus.  Our saint, during his time in Chicago, served a term as the President of the ESNA’s North Illinois District.  He also founded St. Paul’s Church Home, for elderly people.  In retirement, John served as its superintendent.

John found time to compose poems, write hymns, and translate other hymns from German.  He wrote hymns in both English and German.  The Hymnal (1941), of the old Evangelical and Reformed Church, a successor to the ESNA, included three of our saint’s translations:

  1. I Will Sing the Praise of Love Unbounded,
  2. I Will Ever Sing Thy Praises, and
  3. Take Thou My Hand and Lead Me.

John, aged 79 years, died in Richmond, Virginia, on July 17, 1938.  Survivors included his widow and daughter.

The final verse of our saint’s translation (1912) of a hymn (form 1757) by Gerhard Tersteegen constitues a fitting epitaph for John:

While life shall last, I’ll sing the glory

Of Christ the Saviour and His love;

With angel hosts I’ll tell the story

Of Christ, in Zion’s home above;

God’s love is mine, death cannot sever

Me from that heart that loves forever.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 28, 2022 COMMON ERA

PROPER 17:   THE TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT AMBROSE OF MILAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT MONICA OF HIPPO, MOTHER OF SAINT AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO; AND SAINT AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF HIPPO REGIUS

THE FEAST OF DENIS WORTMAN, U.S. DUTCH REFORMED MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GEORGE THOMAS COSTER, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF LAURA S. COPENHAVER, U.S. LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER AND MISSIONARY LEADER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MOSES THE BLACK, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, AND MARTYR

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Rudolph A. John and others, who have composed and translated 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

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One response to “Feast of Rudolph A. John (March 26)

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  1. Pingback: Rudolph A. John | GATHERED PRAYERS

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