Archive for the ‘December 12’ Category

Feast of William Louis Poteat, Hubert McNeill Poteat, Edwin McNeill Poteat Sr., Edwin McNeill Poteat Jr., and Gordon McNeill Poteat (December 12)   1 comment

Above:  A Partial Poteat Family Tree

Image Source = Library of Congress



President of Wake Forest College, and Biologist

brother of


Northern and Southern Baptist Minister, Scholar, and President of Furman University

father of


Southern Baptist Minister, Missionary, Musician, Hymn Writer, and Social Reformer

brother of


Northern Baptist, Southern Baptist, and Congregationalist Minister and Missionary

first cousin of


Southern Baptist Academic and Musician




One name–Edwin McNeill Poteat, Jr.–opened the portals for this post to encompass five saints.  I found his name in The Interpreter’s Bible.  The rest was history.

The family story began, for the purpose of this post, with James Poteat (1807-1889) and Julia Anice McNeill (Poteat) (1833-1910), of Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina.  Two of their sons were William Louis Poteat and Edwin McNeill Poteat, Sr.


William, born on October 26, 1856, grew up and became a pioneering educator and biologist.  He, having earned his B.A. degree from Wake Forest College, then located in Wake Forest, North Carolina, in 1877, followed up with an M.A,. degree from the same institution in 1889.  Between graduation ceremonies he taught biology at Wake Forest College, starting as a tutor then advancing in stages, to full professor.  He was the first person in the South to teach biology via the laboratory method instead of the recitation method.  William, always a devout Christian of the Southern Baptist variety, caused great controversy by accepting the Theory of Evolution.  This did not prevent him from serving as the President of that Southern Baptist college from 1905 to 1927.  In 1925, he helped to defeat the proposed state law to forbid the teaching of Evolution in public schools.

On a conventional front, William was also active in the temperance movement.

William married Emma James Purefoy on June 24, 1881.  The couple had three children–Louise, Helen, and Hubert.

William, aged 83 years, died on March 12, 1938.


Edwin, Sr., born on February 6, 1861, also reconciled faith and science.  He graduated from Wake Forest College (1881) then the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1885).  Poteat, ordained in 1884, served as pastor of the Wake Forest Baptist Church from 1884 to 1886.  He resigned to study psychology and philosophy at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, from 1886 to 1888.  While in Baltimore, Edwin, Sr., was the acting pastor of the Lee Street Baptist Church in that city.  Then he studied at the University of Berlin during the summer of 1888.  Studies at Yale University followed.  He was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, New Haven, Connecticut, from 1888 to 1898.  Then Edwin, Sr., was the pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1898 to 1903.  He returned to the South to accept the presidency of Furman University (1903-1918).

Subsequent work entailed living in, at different times, the North, the South, and China.  Edwin, Sr., worked as the Executive Secretary of the General Board of Promotion of the Northern Baptist Convention.  After spending six years teaching philosophy and ethics at the University of Shanghai, our saint served as the Interim Minister of the First Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia, from 1927 to 1929.  Then he was the pastor of the Second Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, for two years, followed by a stint (1931-1934) teaching ethics and comparative religion at Mercer University, Macon, Georgia.  Finally, in 1934, Edwin, Sr., returned to Furman University to teach ethics.

Edwin, Sr., married twice.  On October 24, 1889, he married Harriet Hale Gordon.  The couple had seven children:  Edwin McNeill Jr., Gordon McNeill, John Robinson, Priscilla Isabella, James Douglass, Clarissa Hale, and Arthur Barron.  Harriet Gordon died in 1919.  Edwin, Sr., married Harriet Helen Brittingham, a Northern Baptist missionary to China, in that country in 1925.

Edwin, Sr., aged 76 years, died on June 25, 1937.


Hubert, son of William and Emma, was a scholar, athlete, and musician.  He, born in Wake Forest, North Carolina, on December 12, 1886, earned his Bachelor’s (1906) and Master’s (1908) degrees from Wake Forest College.  Between graduation ceremonies he taught Latin at the college.  Hubert had been musical from a young age, learning the violin and the organ.  He was sufficiently accomplished to perform at his father’s inauguration as college president in 1905.  Hubert also played sports (such as tennis and eventually golf) at different stages of his life.

Hubert was also a Freemason and a Shriner.  He, inducted as a Freemason in 1908, rose to high ranks in both organizations.

Hubert worked on his doctorate at Columbia University, New York, New York, in 1908-1912.  He found time to attend plays and operas, as well as to sing in the choir of The Brick Presbyterian Church; William Pierson Merrill (1867-1954) was the pastor at the time.  Hubert also performed solos at the Episcopal Church of the Intercession.

Hubert married Essie Moore Morgan on June 26, 1912.  The couple had two children:  Hubert McNeill Jr. and William Morgan.

Hubert returned to Wake Forest College to stay, from 1912 to 1956.  He was Professor of Latin then the Chair of Latin.  He also directed the Glee Club from 1912 to 1923.  Hubert, the organist of the college for more than four decades, published in the fields of hymnology and Latin literature and philosophy.  Hubert also taught at Columbia University during the summers of 1924-1942.

Hubert valued the liberal arts educational model.  The humanities, he understood, were vital.  Hence he looked on with dismay as many public schools in the South began to de-emphasize the humanities and to emphasize vocational training.

Hubert also had high musical standards.  He, who included pieces by Wagner in his organ concerts, dismissed gospel music as

jig tunes.

Hubert insisted that only

consuming fire

could improve them.  This strong opinion was consistent with his perfectionism in many matters.  Hubert was, for example, a stickler, regrading proper English grammar and usage.

When Wake Forest College moved to Winston-Salem, in 1956, Hubert remained behind in Wake Forest, North Carolina.  There he retired, and there he died on January 29, 1958.  He was 71 years old.




Edwin, Jr., son of Edwin, Sr., and Harriet Gordon, continued in the family legacy of supporting progressive causes.  Some of his activities overlapped geographically with those of his older brother, Gordon.

Gordon, born in New Haven, Connecticut, on April 11, 1891, grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, where his father was the President of Furman University.  Gordon, who graduated from Furman in 1910, earned his M.A. degree from Wake Forest College, where his uncle, William, was the President.  Then Gordon attended and graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Next he spent 1915-1927 in China, first as a missionary in Kaifeng then (1921f) teaching ethics and the New Testament at the University of Shanghai.

Edwin, Jr., born in New Haven on November 20, 1892, became more prominent than his older brother.  Edwin, Jr., graduated from Furman (B.A., 1912; M.A., 1913) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1916).  He was a traveling secretary for the Student Volunteer Movement (1916-1917) then a missionary in Kaifeng (1917-1926) with Gordon (until 1921).  In 1921, Edwin, Sr., visited his sons in China.  He wound up accepting an offer to teach philosophy and ethics at the University of Shanghai, and remained until 1927.  He and Gordon–father and son–were faculty colleagues for six years.  Meanwhile, Edwin, Jr., remained at the compound in Kaifeng until revolution forced him to flee in 1926.  Then he joined the faculty of Shanghai from 1927 to 1929; he taught ethics and philosophy.

Gordon, back in the United States for a few years (1927-1930), worked as an Educational Secretary for the Student Volunteer Movement from 1927 to 1928.  Then he served as the pastor of the City Park Baptist Church, Denver, Colorado, from 1928 to 1930.  Next, from 1930 to 1937, Gordon was the representative of the Northern Baptist Convention to the University of Shanghai.

Gordon married Helen Anne Carruthers in 1915.  The couple had four children:  Anne Rose, Wallace Bagby, Nida, and Priscilla Hale.

Edwin, Jr., back in the United States, worked in churches, in a seminary, and on the public stage.  He was pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina, for the first time from 1929 to 1937.  Seven years as pastor of Euclid Avenue Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio, followed.  Then, in 1944, Edwin, Jr., became the President of the Rochester Divinity School, Rochester, New York.  Declining health forced him to resign in 1948.  Pullen Memorial Baptist Church had a vacancy at the time, and welcomed him back.  Our saint died in that job on December 17, 1955, as he prepared to conduct a wedding ceremony.

Edwin, Jr., was not afraid to take controversial positions.  He was a pacifist, a supporter of conscientious objectors, and an advocate for civil rights.  In 1946, he addressed the the American Association for the Advancement of Science; he was the first minister the organization had invited to speak to it.  Furthermore, in 1948, Edwin, Jr., helped to found and became the first President of Protestants and Other Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (now Americans United for the Separation of Church and State).  Separation of church and state has long been a Baptist issue, after all.

Edwin, Jr., had strong opinions regarding worship.  He made sure in 1950 that the new sanctuary of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church had a split chancel.  He also wore a ministerial robe.  Edwin, Jr., critical of both Evangelical informality and a fixed liturgy, maintained high standards for hymns and other service music.  He agreed with his cousin Hubert.  Edwin, Jr., complained about the

banality of the words of modern songs

sung in most Protestant churches in the United States.  The critic composed 23 pieces of service music, some of them included in the Northern Baptist/Disciples of Christ joint hymnal, Christian Worship (1941).  In 1948, he wrote a hymn, “Eternal God, Whose Reaching Eye,” for the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches.

Edwin, Jr., married Wilda Hardman on June 27, 1918.  The couple had four children:  William Hardman, Harriett Allen, Elizabeth McNeill, and Haley Gordon.

Gordon, author of books about Christian missions in China, became Professor of Social Ethics and Homiletics at Crozer Theological Seminary, Chester, Pennsylvania.  I have not been able to learn when he left that position.

Edwin, Jr., wrote 17 books.  The genres included sermons, original poetry, and theology.  Both he and Gordon wrote for The Interpreter’s Bible.  Gordon wrote the exposition on James in Volume XII (1957.)  Edwin, Jr., wrote the exposition on Psalms 42-89 in Volume IV (1955).

When Gordon wrote for The Interpreter’s Bible, he was the pastor of the Tourist Church (the First Congregational Church), Daytona Beach, Florida.  That congregation has become the Seabreeze United Church of Christ.

Gordon, aged 95 years, died in Ormond Beach, Florida, in November 1986.


Members of two generations of the Poteat family served God and did not fear controversy in doing so.  This post has summarized incompletely the faithfulness of some Poteats.  If, however, it has prompted you, O reader, to want to learn more, this post has accomplished my purpose.

Loving God, we thank you for the faithful service of

William Louis Poteat;

Hubert McNeill Poteat;

Edwin McNeill Poteat, Sr.;

Edwin McNeill Poteat, Jr.;

and Gordon McNeill Poteat

in a variety of disciplines, times, and places.

May their examples of fidelity to you inspire us to live boldly in your service.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 113

2 Timothy 1:3-7

Matthew 28:16-20








Holiday Busyness   2 comments

Above:  A Domestic Scene, December 8, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor


On my bed when I think of you,

I muse on you in the watches of the night,

for you have always been my help;

in the shadow of your wings I rejoice;

my heart clings to you,

your right hand supports me.

–Psalm 63:6-8, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)


In my U.S. culture, the time from Thanksgiving (late November) to New Year’s Day is quite busy.  Holidays populate the calendar.  Some of these holidays are, for lack of a better word, ecumenical.  Others are religiously and/or culturally specific, though.  Christmas, originally the Christ Mass, has become an occasion, for many, to worship the Almighty Dollar at the high altar of commercialism.  This is how many Evangelicals of the Victorian Era wanted matters to be.

On the relatively innocuous side, this is the time of the year to populate one’s calendar with holiday social events, such as parties, school plays, and seasonal concerts.  Parents often like to attend their children’s events, appropriately.  Holiday concerts by choral and/or instrumental ensembles can also be quite pleasant.

Yet, amid all this busyness (sometimes distinct from business), are we neglecting the innate human need for peace and quiet?  I like classical Advent and Christmas music, especially at this time of the year (all the way through January 5, the twelfth day of Christmas), but I have to turn it off eventually.  Silence also appeals to me.  Furthermore, being busy accomplishing a worthy goal is rewarding, but so is simply being.

The real question is one of balance.  Given the absence of an actual distinction between the spiritual and the physical, everything is spiritual.  If we are too busy for God, silence, and proper inactivity, we are too busy.  If we are too busy to listen to God, we are too busy.  If we are too busy or too idle, we are not our best selves.

May we, by grace, strike and maintain the proper balance.  May we, especially at peak periods of activity, such as the end of the year, not overextend ourselves, especially in time commitments.









Published originally at BLOGA THEOLOGICA


Feast of William Lloyd Garrison and Maria Stewart (December 12)   10 comments


Above:  The Old Slave Market, Louisville, Georgia, 1934

Image Source = Library of Congress

Call Number = HABS GA,82-LOUVI,1-



Abolitionist and Feminist



Abolitionist, Feminist, and Educator


The General Convention of The Episcopal Church added this commemoration to the calendar of saints, listing these two saints as “prophetic witnesses.”

William Lloyd Garrison and Maria Stewart were daring and prophetic figures who challenged firmly entrenched prejudices and societal sins.  They were radical figures in their day.

Their legacies challenge us to recognize and correct institutionalized and widely accepted societal sins and evils.



Above:  William Lloyd Garrison

Image in the Public Domain

William Lloyd Garrison affirmed human equality before God, whether one be male or female, of one racial or ethnicity or another, or enslaved or free.  One tool he used to influence society was the printing press.  Our saint took a circuitous route to that vocation, however.  Garrison, born on December 12, 1805, at Newburyport, Massachusetts, was a son of parents originally from New Brunswick.  Ahijah Garrison, his father, was a drunk and a ship captain who abandoned the family in 1808.  Garrison grew up impoverished and under the spiritual tutelage of his devout mother, Frances Maria Lloyd (Garrison).  Our saint, as a young man, was an apprentice in several trades:  making shoes, building cabinets, and finally, in 1818, newspaper writing and editing.  From 1818 to 1826 Garrison, starting at the tender age of 12 years, was an apprentice to Ephraim A. Allen, proprietor of the Newburyport Herald.  The young Garrison even wrote for the newspaper anonymously and avoided any suspicion that he was the author.

Garrison’s career as an activist newspaperman had a rocky start.  In 1826 he began to publish the Free Press at Newburyport; the radical (by the standards of the town) publication failed.  Next, in Boston, our saint worked as a printer before become the editor of the National Philanthropist, dedicated to complete abstinence from alcohol.  In 1828 he founded the Journal of the Times at Bennington, Vermont, to promote the re-election campaign of President John Quincy Adams.  The newspaper met the same fate the Adams campaign did.

Thus it came to pass that Garrison left for Baltimore, Maryland, in 1829.  There he and Benjamin Lundy edited the Genius of Universal Emancipation, a monthly publication.  Lundy favored the gradual emancipation of slaves, followed by colonization.  Garrison agreed with him for a time, but changed his mind.  Our saint came to support the immediate emancipation of slaves by peaceful means and the granting of equal rights to them in the United States.  Garrison used the printing press to name evil.  For his trouble he went to jail in 1830 for libeling the captain of a slave ship, or so a court of law concluded.  Garrison spent seven weeks in prison before Arthur Tappan, a merchant and philanthropist from New York City, paid the $50 fine (worth $1330 in 2016) and court costs.  Also in 1830, Garrison and Lundy arrived at an understanding and parted ways amicably.  The newspaper closed.

The Liberator was an influential newspaper  The publication, based in Boston, debuted on January 1, 1831.  The justly famous statement on the front page read:

To the Public

In the month of August, I issued proposals for publishing “THE LIBERATOR” in Washington city; but the enterprise, though hailed in different sections of the country, was palsied by public indifference. Since that time, the removal of the Genius of Universal Emancipation [Benjamin Lundy’s anti-slavery newspaper] to the Seat of Government has rendered less imperious the establishment of a similar periodical in that quarter.

During my recent tour for the purpose of exciting the minds of the people by a series of discourses on the subject of slavery, every place that I visited gave fresh evidence of the fact, that a greater revolution in public sentiment was to be effected in the free states — and particularly in New-England –– than at the south. I found contempt more bitter, opposition more active, detraction more relentless, prejudice more stubborn, and apathy more frozen, than among slave owners themselves. Of course, there were individual exceptions to the contrary. This state of things afflicted, but did not dishearten me. I determined, at every hazard, to lift up the standard of emancipation in the eyes of the nation, within sight of Bunker Hill and in the birth place of liberty. That standard is now unfurled; and long may it float, unhurt by the spoliations of time or the missiles of a desperate foe — yea, till every chain be broken, and every bondman set free! Let southern oppressors tremble — let their secret abettors tremble — let their northern apologists tremble — let all the enemies of the persecuted blacks tremble.

I deem the publication of my original Prospectus unnecessary, as it has obtained a wide circulation. The principles therein inculcated will be steadily pursued in this paper, excepting that I shall not array myself as the political partisan of any man. In defending the great cause of human rights, I wish to derive the assistance of all religions and of all parties.

Assenting to the “self-evident truth” maintained in the American Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights — among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” I shall strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population. In Park-street Church, on the Fourth of July, 1829, in an address on slavery, I unreflectingly assented to the popular but pernicious doctrine of gradual abolition. I seize this opportunity to make a full and unequivocal recantation, and thus publicly to ask pardon of my God, of my country, and of my brethren the poor slaves, for having uttered a sentiment so full of timidity, injustice and absurdity. A similar recantation, from my pen, was published in the Genius of Universal Emancipation at Baltimore, in September, 1829. My consicence in now satisfied.

I am aware, that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hand of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.

It is pretended, that I am retarding the cause of emancipation by the coarseness of my invective, and the precipitancy of my measures. The charge is not true. On this question my influence, — humble as it is, — is felt at this moment to a considerable extent, and shall be felt in coming years — not perniciously, but beneficially — not as a curse, but as a blessing; and posterity will bear testimony that I was right. I desire to thank God, that he enables me to disregard “the fear of man which bringeth a snare,” and to speak his truth in its simplicity and power. And here I close with this fresh dedication:

Oppression! I have seen thee, face to face,
And met thy cruel eye and cloudy brow;
But thy soul-withering glance I fear not now —
For dread to prouder feelings doth give place
Of deep abhorrence! Scorning the disgrace
Of slavish knees that at thy footstool bow,
I also kneel — but with far other vow
Do hail thee and thy hord of hirelings base: —
I swear, while life-blood warms my throbbing veins,
Still to oppose and thwart, with heart and hand,
Thy brutalising sway — till Afric’s chains
Are burst, and Freedom rules the rescued land, —
Trampling Oppression and his iron rod:
Such is the vow I take — SO HELP ME GOD!

In the pages of The Liberator Garrison condemned slavery, tobacco, alcohol, capital punishment, war, freemasonry, and imprisonment for debt.  The newspaper was controversial nationwide.  The State of Georgia issued a warrant for Garrison’s arrest and posted a large cash prize for his capture.  And, in 1835, a mob nearly killed our saint in Boston.  The police had to place him in protective custody.

Garrison’s activism extended to other issues.  He also argued for free trade the equality of men and women.  His proposal that antislavery groups treat men and women equally divided that movement.  Garrison also supported voting rights for women before, during, and after the Civil War.  And, in 1869, he became the President of the Free Trade League.

Garrison, a Unitarian, thought that Christian institutions should work for social justice, such as the abolition of slavery.  Toward that end he worked with Congregationalists and Unitarians.  Nevertheless, he became disenchanted with many Christian institutions, due to their support for slavery or the colonization movement.  His disappointment was justified.

Garrison, the abolitionist who perhaps more than any other abolitionist struggled for human equality across the board, wrote the declaration of principles for the new American Anti-Slavery Society (1833-1870).  He also, citing the enshrinement of slavery in the Constitution of the United States, burned a copy of that document on July 4, 1854, calling the Constitution a “covenant with death.”  (Frederick Douglass, a former slaver, disagreed with Garrison on this point.  A former slave was less radical than an idealistic white man.)  Garrison, a pacifist, also struggled with the questions of war and violence in general.  He came to accept the Civil War as necessary to end race-based slavery in the United States and approved of the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and the Thirteenth Amendment (1865).  The work of abolition done, Garrison closed The Liberator at the end of 1865.

Garrison married Helen Eliza Benson (1811-1876) on September 4, 1834.  The couple had seven children, including William Lloyd Garrison (Jr.) (1838-1909), like his father, a champion of women’s suffrage and free trade.  The younger Garrison also advocated for the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), which Congress did not repeal until 1943, due to the politics of World War II.

Our saint died at New York, New York, on May 24, 1879.  He was 73 years old.



Above:  Maria Stewart

Image in the Public Domain

Maria Stewart, born to the Millers, free blacks, at Hartford, Connecticut, in 1803, advocated for the rights of women and African Americans.  She, orphaned at the age of five years, grew up in the home of a white minister.  She also served as an indentured servant for a few years, until the age of fifteen years.  Maria Miller also taught herself to read.  For three years (1826-1829) our saint was the wife of James W. Stewart, a veteran of the War of 1812 and a shipping outfitter.  After he died, the white executors of his will seized the widow’s inheritance.

Our saint became a public speaker, advocating for the rights of slaves, women, and free blacks, as well as speaking to both men and women at a time when that was not socially acceptable.  Stewart called for slaves to rise up against their masters and for free blacks to resist segregation.  She also cited her faith and the Bible as justifications for her actions.  Our saint, who had converted to Christianity in 1830 and made a public profession of faith the following year, had essays published in The Liberator.  Fortunately, Garrison also violated taboos, such as seeking material from women and African Americans for his newspaper.

Stewart spent many years as an educator.  In 1835 she moved to New York City, where she began to teach.  Eventually she transferred to Brooklyn and became the assistant principal of the Williamsburg School there.   Our saint moved to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1852/1853, to teach privately.  Finally, in 1861, she relocated to Washington, D.C.  She taught there for nine years.  Furthermore, Stewart began to teach Sabbath School for the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany (in the mornings) and the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation (in the afternoons).

Stewart’s final professional position was Matron of the Freedmen’s Hospital, Washington, D.C.  She worked in that capacity from 1870 until her death, nine years later.  On the side our saint started a Sabbath School near the hospital in 1871.

Stewart died at Washington, D.C., on December 17, 1879.  She was 76 years old.


The lives of William Lloyd Garrison and Maria Stewart challenge we who look back upon them to recognize the image of God in others–especially the socially marginalized–and to flout social conventions for the sake of the glory of God and the benefit of our fellow human beings.





God, in whose service alone is perfect freedom:

We thank you for William Lloyd Garrison and Maria Stewart,

who witnessed that all are made in your image and likeness.

Fill us, like them, with the perseverance to break every chain of enslavement,

that, by your Holy Spirit, your people may overcome bondage and ignorance;

through the merits of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who with you

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

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


God, in whose service alone is perfect freedom:

We thank you for your prophets William Lloyd Garrison and Maria Stewart,

who testified that we are not made by the color of our skin but by principle formed in our soul.

Fill us, like them, with the hope and determination to break every chain of enslavement,

that bondage and ignorance may melt like wax before flames,

and we may build that community of justice and love which is founded on Jesus Christ our cornerstone;

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

Wisdom 10:9-14

Psalm 82

1 John 2:28-3:3

Mark 5:25-34

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 125


Feast of Blesseds Bartholomew Buonpedoni and Vivaldus (December 12)   Leave a comment


Above:  Blessed Bartholomew Buonpedoni

Image in the Public Domain



Roman Catholic Priest

friend of


Assistant of Blessed Bartholomew Buonpedoni

Also known as Blessed Ubaldo or Gualdo

His feast transferred from May 11


Blessed Bartholomew Buonpedoni, a native of San Gemainino, Italy, worked as a lay servant to the Benedictines at Pisa before becoming a priest at the age of 30 years.  He served at a parish in Peccioli.  There Buonpedoni converted Blessed Vivaldus and took him into his home.  Eventually Buonpedoni contracted leprosy.  He, assisted by Vivaldus, ministered to lepers for 20 years.  Vivaldus also tended to his friend and mentor in particular.

The love of Christ was evident in the actions of these two saints.






Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servants

Blessed Bartholomew Buonpedoni and Blessed Vivaldus,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724


Feast of Blessed Ludwik Bartosik (December 12)   Leave a comment


Above:  Blessed Ludwik Bartosik

Image in the Public Domain



Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1941

Blessed Ludwik Bartosik was a confessor and a martyr.

Our saint, a native of Kokanin, Poland, came from an impoverished family.  His parents were Wiktoria Tomczyk and Wojciech Bartosik, a shoemaker.  The parish priest helped Ludwik obtain a good education, fortunately.  Our saint joined the Order of Friars Minor Conventual and took the name “Pius” in 1926.  He studied at Franciscan seminaries in Poland.  Bartosik, ordained to the priesthood and became a confessor at the abbey at Krosno, Poland, in 1935.  The following year, at the request of St. Maximilian Kolbe, he transferred to the abbey at Niepokalanow, Poland, in late 1936.  He wrote a volume of Mariology, edited church magazines, and served as a confessor to his fellow friars.

Bartosik’s life changed on September 19, 1939, after the invasion of Poland.  Eventually he wound up at Auschwitz, where he heard the confessions of many of his fellow prisoners.  During the night of December 12 and 13, 1941, guards tortured him to death.

Pope John Paul II beatified Bartosik in 1999.






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 Ludwik Bartosik,

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), page 59


Saints’ Days and Holy Days for December   Leave a comment


Image Source = Andre Karwath

1 (Charles de Foucauld, Roman Catholic Hermit and Martyr)

  • Albert Barnes, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Abolitionist, and Alleged Heretic
  • Brioc, Roman Catholic Abbot; and Tudwal, Roman Catholic Abbot and Bishop
  • Douglas LeTell Rights, U.S. Moravian Minister, Scholar, and Hymn Writer
  • Edward Timothy Mickey, Jr., U.S. Moravian Bishop and Liturgist

2 (Maura Clarke and Her Companions, U.S. Roman Catholic Martyrs in El Salvador, December 2, 1980)

  • Channing Moore Williams, Episcopal Missionary Bishop in China and Japan
  • Gerald Thomas Noel, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer; brother of Baptist Wriothesley Noel, Anglican Priest, English Baptist Evangelist, and Hymn Writer; and his niece, Caroline Maria Noel, Anglican Hymn Writer
  • Hormisdas, Bishop of Rome; and his son, Silverius, Bishop of Rome, and Martyr, 537
  • Rafal Chylinski, Polish Franciscan Roman Catholic Priest

3 (Maruthas, Roman Catholic Bishop of Maypherkat and Missionary to Persia)

  • Amilie Juliane, Countess of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Francis Xavier, Roman Catholic Missionary to the Far East
  • Sophie Koulomzin, Russian-American Christian Educator

4 (John of Damascus and Cosmas of Maiuma, Theologians and Hymnodists)

  • Alexander Hotovitzky, Russian Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1937
  • Bernard of Parma, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Joseph Mohr, Austrian Roman Catholic Priest; and Franz Gruber, Austrian Roman Catholic Teacher, Musician, and Composer
  • Osmund of Salisbury, Roman Catholic Bishop

5 (Clement of Alexandria, Father of Christian Scholarship)

  • Cyran, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, and Renewer of Society
  • Nicetius of Trier, Roman Catholic Monk, Abbot, and Bishop; and Aredius of Limoges, Roman Catholic Monk
  • Peter Mortimer, Anglo-German Moravian Educator, Musician, and Scholar; and Gottfried Theodor Erxleben, German Moravian Minister and Musicologist

6 (Nicholas of Myra, Bishop)

  • Abraham of Kratia, Roman Catholic Monk, Abbot, Bishop, and Hermit
  • Alice Freeman Palmer, U.S. Educator and Hymn Writer
  • Henry Ustick Onderdonk, Episcopal Bishop, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer
  • Philip and Daniel Berrigan, Roman Catholic Priests and Social Activists

7 (Maria Josepha Rossello, Cofounder of the Daughters of Our Lady of Pity)

  • Anne Ross Cousin, Scottish Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • Emma Francis, Lutheran Deaconess in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Harlem
  • Georg Friedrich Hellstrom, Dutch-German Moravian Musician, Composer, and Educator
  • William Gustave Polack, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer and Translator

8 (Walter Ciszek, Roman Catholic Missionary Priest and Political Prisoner)

  • Amatus of Luxeuil and Romaric of Luxeuil, Roman Catholic Monks and Abbots
  • Erik Christian Hoff, Norwegian Lutheran Composer and Organist
  • John Greenleaf Whittier, U.S. Quaker Abolitionist, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • Marin Shkurti, Albanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1969

9 (Liborius Wagner, German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1631)

  • Olivier Messiaen, Claire Delbos, and Yvonne Loriod, French Roman Catholic Musicians and Composers
  • Peter Fourier, “The Good Priest of Mattaincourt;” and Alix Le Clerc, Foundress of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Canonesses Regular of Saint Augustine

10 (Karl Barth, Swiss Reformed Minister, Theologian, and Biblical Scholar; father of Markus Barth, Swiss Lutheran Minister and Biblical Scholar)

  • Howell Elvet Lewis, Welsh Congregationalist Clergyman and Poet
  • John Roberts, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr
  • Paul Eber, German Lutheran Theologian and Hymn Writer
  • Robert Murray, Canadian Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

11 (Luke of Prague and John Augusta, Moravian Bishops and Hymn Writers)

  • Kazimierz Tomas Sykulski, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr
  • Lars Olsen Skrefsrud, Hans Peter Boerresen, and Paul Olaf Bodding, Lutheran Missionaries in India
  • Martyrs of El Mozote, El Salvador, December 11-12, 1981
  • Severin Ott, Roman Catholic Monk

12 (William Lloyd Garrison, Abolitionist and Feminist; and Maria Stewart, Abolitionist, Feminist, and Educator)

  • Bartholomew Buonpedoni and Vivaldus, Ministers among Lepers
  • William Louis Poteat, President of Wake Forest College, and Biologist; his brother, Edwin McNeill Poteat, Sr., Southern and Northern Baptist Minister, Scholar, and President of Furman University; his son, Edwin McNeill Poteat, Jr., Southern Baptist Minister, Missionary, Musician, Hymn Writer, and Social Reformer;  his brother, Gordon McNeill Poteat, Southern and Northern Baptist and Congregationalist Minister and Missionary; and his cousin, Hubert McNeill Poteat, Southern Baptist Academic and Musician
  • Ludwik Bartosik, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1941

13 (Samuel Johnson, “The Great Moralist”)

  • Christian Furchtegott Gellert, German Lutheran Minister, Educator, and Hymn Writer
  • Ella J. Baker, Witness for Civil Rights
  • Paul Speratus, German Lutheran Bishop, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer
  • Pierson Parker, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Episcopal Priest, and Biblical Scholar

14 (Radegunda, Thuringian Roman Catholic Princess, Deaconess, and Nun; and Venantius Honorius Clementius Fortunatus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Poitiers)

  • Dorothy Ann Thrupp, English Hymn Writer
  • Fred D. Gealy, U.S. Methodist Minister, Missionary, Musician, and Biblical Scholar
  • John of the Cross, Roman Catholic Mystic and Carmelite Friar

15 (Thomas Benson Pollock, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer)

  • Henry Fothergill Chorley, English Novelist, Playwright, and Literary and Music Critic
  • John Horden, Anglican Bishop of Moosenee
  • Ralph Wardlaw, Scottish Congregationalist Minister, Hymn Writer, and Liturgist
  • Robert McDonald, Anglican Priest and Missionary

16 (Ralph Adams Cram and Richard Upjohn, Architects; and John LaFarge, Sr., Painter and Stained Glass Window Maker)

  • Filip Siphong Onphithakt, Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr in Thailand, 1940
  • Maude Dominica Petre, Roman Catholic Modernist Theologian

17 (Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton, Founders of Save the Children)

  • Dorothy Sayers, Anglican Poet, Novelist, Playwright, Translator, Apologist, and Theologian
  • Frank Mason North, U.S. Methodist Minister, Social Reformer, and Hymn Writer
  • Mary Cornelia Bishop Gates, U.S. Dutch Reformed Hymn Writer
  • Olympias of Constantinople, Widow and Deaconess

18 (Marc Boegner, French Reformed Minister and Ecumenist)

  • Alicia Domon and Her Companions, Martyrs in Argentina, 1977
  • Giulia Valle, Roman Catholic Nun

19 (Raoul Wallenberg, Righteous Gentile)

  • Francesco Antonio Bonporti, Italian Roman Catholic Priest and Composer
  • Kazimiera Wolowska, Polish Roman Catholic Nun and Martyr, 1942
  • Robert Campbell, Scottish Episcopalian then Roman Catholic Social Advocate and Hymn Writer
  • William Howard Bishop, Founder of the Glenmary Home Missioners

20 (Dominic of Silos, Roman Catholic Abbot)

  • D. Elton Trueblood, U.S. Quaker Theologian
  • Michal Piasczynski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1940


22 (Frederick and William Temple, Archbishops of Canterbury)

  • Chaeremon and Ischyrion, Roman Catholic Martyrs, Circa 250
  • Chico Mendes, “Gandhi of the Amazon”
  • Henry Budd, First Anglican Native Priest in North America; Missionary to the Cree Nation
  • Isaac Hecker, Founder of the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle

23 (John of Kanty, Roman Catholic Theologian)

  • Antonio Caldara, Roman Catholic Composer and Musician
  • Charbel, Roman Catholic Priest and Monk
  • James Prince Lee, Bishop of Manchester
  • William John Blew, English Priest and Hymn Writer










  • John Burnett Morris, Sr., Episcopal Priest and Witness for Civil Rights
  • Philipp Heinrich Molther, German Moravian Minister, Bishop, Composer, and Hymn Translator
  • Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Martyr, 1170
  • Thomas Cotterill, English Priest, Hymn Writer, and Liturgist


  • Allen Eastman Cross, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • John Main, Anglo-Canadian Roman Catholic Priest and Monk
  • Frances Joseph-Gaudet, African-American Educator, Prison Reformer, and Social Worker
  • William Adams Brown, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Theologian, and Social Reformer


  • Giuseppina Nicoli, Italian Roman Catholic Nun and Minister to the Poor
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Rossiter Worthington Raymond, U.S. Novelist, Poet, Hymn Writer, and Mining Engineer
  • Zoticus of Constantinople, Priest and Martyr, Circa 351


Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.