Archive for the ‘October 8’ Category

Feast of Erik Routley (October 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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ERIK REGINALD ROUTLEY (OCTOBER 31, 1917-OCTOBER 8, 1982)

English Congregationalist Hymnodist

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…”pop” is normally utterly uncritical of musical statements which are pretentious, unbalanced, and foolish.  It exaggerates, sometimes cretinously.  It permits, and encourages, fantasies of grandeur.  It associates only too easily with extravagance and infantilism.

–Erik Routley, Twentieth Century Church Music (London:  Herbert Jenkins, 1964), 206

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That accurate statement gets to the point.

Erik Routley comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via hymnody.

Routley, born in Sussex, England, on October 31, 1917, became a master hymnodist.  His parents were John Routley and Eleanor Routley.  Our saint graduated from Magdalen College, Oxford (B.A., 1940 M.A., 1943), with an emphasis in classics.  Routley, ordained a minister in the Congregational Union of England and Wales in 1943, married Margaret Scott the following year.  They had three children, born in 1947, 1949, and 1953.  Routley graduated from Oxford with his B.D. in 1946; his thesis became The Church and Music.  Six years later he earned his doctorate at Oxford; his dissertation became the basis of The Music of Christian Hymnody (1957).  Meanwhile, Routley was a parish minister in Wednesbury and Dantford (1943-1948) and at Edinburgh (1959-1974).  During the interim he served as Lecturer in Church History, Librarian, Chaplain, and Director of Music at Mansfield College, Oxford.  Our saint also edited The Bulletin of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland from 1948 to 1974.  If that were not enough, he founded the Guild of Congregational Organists in 1951 and served as President from 1951 to 1959 and from 1970 to 1972.  Our saint became a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music in 1965, too.  Furthermore, Routley chaired the Doctrine and Worship Committee of the newly-merged United Reformed Church, starting in 1972.

Routley, who spoke at U.S. seminaries from 1962 to 1975, moved to the United States in 1975.  He became Professor of Church Music at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey.  He also traveled across the country, lecturing, preaching, and leading workshops and hymn festivals.  Our saint, a master of hymnody, composed 34 hymns and wrote 37 books.  He understood the link between hymnody and theology, recognized changes to old harmonies, and knew the lyrics of hymns well.

Routley was not shy about expressing his opinions regarding hymnody.  In 1964, for example, he excoriated the music at Billy Graham crusades:

In secular life the natural pressure of the new “pop” drives out old “pop”.  The fittest survives–and what is the fittest of this week’s “pop” to survive into the next generation nobody can possibly tell by examination.  But a church has a disastrous squirrel-like propensity for hoarding.  Everything that has been put to sacred use must be preserved:  to throw it away seems to be sacrilege.  So music whose proper office is to be here today and gone tomorrow (and this is not to call it bad music) is hoarded and subjected to constant use for which its strength is simply unequal.

This is why “pop” there is a legitimate exaggeration, even caricature, of colour and emotion.  It is vulgar.  Of course it is vulgar!  It is as vulgar as the exaggerated colours of an advertisement for detergent.  It is designed to make an immediate impact and then go its way.  To repeat it, go on wallowing in it, is like putting up that advertisement for detergent in your drawing room and keeping it there thirty years.

Twentieth Century Church Music, 201

Routley, aged 66 years, died in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 8, 1982.  His great unfinished project was Rejoice in the Lord:  A Hymn Companion to the Scriptures (1985), the next official hymnal of the Reformed Church in America.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 9, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DENIS, BISHOP OF PARIS, AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN LEONARDI, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD OF LUCCA; AND SAINT JOSEPH CALASANCTIUS, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

THE FEAST OF ROBERT GROSSETESTE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOLAR, PHILOSOPHER, AND BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF WILFRED THOMASON GRENFELL, MEDICAL MISSIONARY TO NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Erik Routley)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Abraham Ritter (October 8)   Leave a comment

Philadelphia

Above:  No. 46 to No. 52, Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 17, 1843

A Daguerreotype by William Mason

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZC4-9389

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ABRAHAM RITTER (SEPTEMBER 20, 1792-OCTOBER 8, 1860)

U.S. Moravian Merchant, Historian, Musician, and Composer

Abraham Ritter was one of many fine musicians and composers.  of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum).  The lifelong resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and member of the Moravian congregation in that city came from a family of the Moravian Church.  He played the organ at his home church for forty-nine years (1811-1860).  Ritter was a merchant by profession, a fact which influenced a book, Philadelphia and Her Merchants:  As Constituted Fifty and Seven Years Ago:  Illustrated by Diagrams of the River Front and Portraits of Some of the Prominent Occupants, Together with Sketches of Character and Incidents and Anecdotes of the Day (1860).

Ritter, the son of Jacob Ritter and Elizabeth Myrtetus Ritter, married Mary Lockton Hardy (September 8, 1810-December 24, 1870), who came from a Lutheran family.  Our saint and his wife had one child, Mary Hendy Ritter (1839-1902), who married Edward Knight Stevenson.

Our saint composed anthems.  One source I consulted indicated that he wrote three anthems for Holy Week.  I found sheet music for one of those, “And Behold There Was a Great Earthquake,” at the website of the Library of Congress.  At that same website I found sheet music for two Christmas anthems, “For Unto Us” and “Glory to God in the Highest.”

Our saint, whose papers are in the collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, wrote a history of his congregation:  History of the Moravian Church in Philadelphia, from Its Foundation in 1742 to the Present Time, Comprising Notices, Defensive of Its Founder and Patron, Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, Together with an Appendix (1857).

Ritter died on October 8, 1860, after a long illness.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 27, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF NEW JERSEY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANTONY AND THEODOSIUS OF KIEV, FOUNDERS OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONASTICISM; SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT; AND SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT AND BISHOP

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God of grace and glory,

you have given a rich variety of interests and talents to us; thank you.

Thank you for those who have served you and helped their fellow human beings

in their daily lives habitually via their vocations yet most memorably their avocations,

and for those who do so.

May we, reminded of and encouraged in our responsibilities to you and each other by their examples,

continue faithfully in the endeavors you assign us.

In the name of Jesus, who came to serve, not to be served.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 38:24-34a

Psalm 33

Romans 14:7-8

Matthew 5:13-16

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 14, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CROFT, ANGLICAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS, EPISCOPAL SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILLIAN KOLBE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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Feast of Wilfred Thomason Grenfell (October 8)   Leave a comment

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Above:  Sir Wilfred Grenfell and Elizabeth Caldwell MacClanahan Grenfell, 1914

Photograph Created by Harris & Ewing

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-hec-03438

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SIR WILDRED THOMASON GRENFELL (FEBRUARY 28, 1865-OCTOBER 9, 1940)

Medical Missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador

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The purpose of this world is not to have and hold, but to serve.

–Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

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One day a few years ago I listened via my computer to a midday call-in program from the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  The topic that day was remote Labrador town which previously had had access to the outside world only via ferry service.    Yet recently the provincial government had built a gravel road to that town.  So residents called in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) program and commented on how nice it was to have the road and how odd it was to see license (in Canada, licence) plates from other parts of the country.  That hour taught me how remote some parts of Labrador are.

NFL_in_1912

Above:  Map of Newfoundland (and Labrador), 1912

(Image in the public domain)

Wilfred Thomason Grenfell (1865-1940), born in Cheshire, England, was the son of The Reverend Algernon Sidney Grenfell, an Anglican priest and the Headmaster of Mostyn House School, Parkgate, and Jane Georgina Hutchinson Grenfell.  Our saint studied medicine at the London Hospital Medical School.  While in London he came under the influence of evangelist Dwight L. Moody.  In 1889, Grenfell, already licensed to practice medicine, joined the Royal National Mission to Deep-Sea Fishermen, which took him to the Bay of Biscay and to Iceland.

In 1892 the Royal National Mission took our saint to his life’s great work.  A trip to Labrador revealed the poverty, bad health, and near starvation of British workers there to Grenfell.  The following year he founded he Labrador Medical Mission, which grew in time to operate a host of benevolent institutions, such as hospitals, hospital ships, boarding schools, and clothing distribution centers.  The Mission there who needed what it offered.  Grenfell traveled, spoke, and wrote to raise funds to support his good works.  Among his books were the following:

In 1909 Grenfell married Elizabeth Caldwell MacClanahan (1885-1938), a Chicago heiress who became involved in the medical mission.  He organized the International Grenfell Association, with branches in Newfoundland (not a part of Canada until 1949), Canada, and the United States, in 1912.  During World War I our saint served in a surgical unit in France.  Decades of dedication to saving human lives did compromise his own health, so Grenfell retired to Vermont in 1935.  There he died in 1940, twelve years after King George V had knighted him.

The name of Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell deserves more attention than it receives.  That name lives on in the Grenfell Regional Health Services Board (founded in 1981), which has taken over the former duties of the International Grenfell Association.  Grenfell Historical Properties (http://www.grenfell-properties.com/) would like for Grenfell to be more famous.  And The Episcopal Church has honored him by adding him to its calendar of saints, with a feast day of October 9.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 24, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

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Compassionate God, whose Son Jesus Christ taught that by ministering

to the least of our brothers and sisters, we minister to him:

Make us ever ready to respond to the needs of others,

that inspired by the ministry of Wilfred Grenfell

to the sick and to seafarers in Labrador and northern Newfoundland,

our actions may witness to the love of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

2 Kings 2:19-22

Psalm 107:23- 32

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Mark 6:45-56

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 631

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Feast of Richard Whately (October 8)   2 comments

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Above:  Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland, Between 1890 and 1900

Published by the Detroit Publishing Company, 1905

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-009878

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RICHARD WHATELY (FEBRUARY 1, 1787-OCTOBER 8, 1863)

Anglican Archbishop of Dublin

Of Richard Whately all the following statements are accurate:

  1. Many people opposed him vigorously.
  2. Many people respected him greatly.
  3. He was not creative.
  4. He was a great intellectual endowed with well-developed logic.
  5. He cared deeply for others and sought practical solutions to many of their problems.
  6. His bluntness regarding some with whom he disagreed offended them.
  7. He sought to serve Christ in those around him.

The London-born logician and theologian was a natural academic.  He emphasized the intellectual side of faith (a natural course for an Anglican), pairing it with careful study of the Bible and culminating in personal discipleship–following Jesus.  Our saint, a radical moderate–a Broad Churchman–with a direct tongue and pen, advocated for such then-controversial causes as religious toleration (Catholic emancipation, Jewish emancipation, and toleration of Atheists).  Some of his quirks, such as wearing white at Oxford while walking his white dog, inspired name-calling.  Yet our saint’s mind was one of his greatest assets in serving God:

[He] had no ear for music, and no sense of natural beauty, had little speculative faculty;….

James Moffatt, Handbook to The Church Hymnary (London, UK:  Oxford University Press, 1927, page 540)

yet exercised his powerful intellect effectively.

Whately had been a Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford University (1811 forward), become a tutor at Oxford, taken Holy Orders in 1814, served as Principal of St. Alban’s Hall (1825-1829), then been Professor of Political Economy (1829-1831).  His last appointment was as the Anglican Archbishop of Dublin (1831-1863).  This was a controversial appointment:

Whately had from the beginning stood aloof from political parties, and ecclesiastically his position was that of an Ishmaelite fighting for his own hand.  The Evangelicals regarded him as a dangerous latitudinarian on the ground of his views on Catholic emancipation, the Sabbath question, the doctrine of election, and certain quasi-Sabellian opinions he was supposed to hold about the character and attributes of Christ, while his view of the church was diametrically opposed to the High Church party.

Encyclopedia Britannica (1955), Volume 23, page 558

Yet John Henry Newman, in his autobiography, Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1864), credited Whately for teaching him how to reason at Oxford.

Whately wrote much, including:

  • The Elements of Logic;
  • Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Bonaparte, a satire on historical skepticism regarding the canonical Gospels;
  • On the Use and Abuse of Party Spirit in Matters of Religion (1822);
  • Peculiarities of the Christian Religion (1825);
  • Difficulties of the Writings of the Apostle Paul (1828);
  • On the Errors of Romanism Traced to Their Origin in Human Nature (1830);
  • Thoughts on the Sabbath (1832);
  • Easy Lessons on Reasoning (1836);
  • Easy Lessons on Morals (1836);
  • Easy Lessons on the Mind (1836);
  • Easy Lessons on the British Constitution (1836);
  • Christian Evidences (1837); and
  • The Kingdom of Christ Delineated (1841).

Archbishop Whately tried his best to do the best job possible.  He was a skilled administrator.  In 1832, out of his own funds, he endowed the Chair of Political Economy at Trinity College, Dublin.  He chaired the Royal Commission on the Condition of the Irish Poor.  He and his wife, Elizabeth Pope Whately (married in 1821; died in 1860), herself a religious writer, worked to alleviate the devastating effects of the Irish Potato Famine.  And Archbishop Whately favored a national system of non-sectarian education.  The attempt to create such a system failed when the Roman Catholic Archbishop of London vetoed the proposal.

Archbishop Whately also wrote hymns, including the following verses:

Guard us waking, guard us sleeping,

And, when we die,

May we, in Thy mighty keeping,

All peaceful lie.

When the last dread trumps shall wake us,

Do not Thou, our Lord, forsake us,

But to reign in glory take us

With Thee on high.

There is a footnote, one I wish I could develop further.  One of the Archbishop’s daughters, Blanche Whately Wale, his youngest, wrote poems and hymns.  She published a book of them, Songs in the Night, in 1858.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 24, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

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For Further Reading:

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book//lookupname?key=Whately%2c%20Richard%2c%201787-1863

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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 help all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

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

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for October   1 comment

Calendula

Image Source = Alvesgaspar

1 (Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, British Humanitarian and Social Reformer)

  • Marie-Joseph Aubert, Foundress of the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion
  • Romanus the Melodist, Deacon and Hymnodist
  • Thérèse of Lisieux, Roman Catholic Nun and Mystic

2 (Ralph W. Sockman, U.S. United Methodist Minister)

  • Carl Doving, Norwegian-American Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator
  • James Allen, English Inghamite then Glasite/Sandemanian Hymn Writer; and his great-nephew, Oswald Allen, English Glasite/Sandemanian Hymn Writer
  • Petrus Herbert, German Moravian Bishop and Hymnodist

3 (George Kennedy Allen Bell, Anglican Bishop of Chichester)

  • Alberto Ramento, Prime Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church
  • Gerard of Brogne, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • John Raleigh Mott, U.S. Methodist Lay Evangelist, and Ecumenical Pioneer

4 (Francis of Assisi, Founder of the Order of Friars Minor)

  • William Scarlett, Episcopal Bishop of Missouri, and Advocate for Social Justice

5 (David Nitschmann, Sr., “Father Nitschmann,” Moravian Missionary; Melchior Nitschmann, Moravian Missionary and Martyr; Johann Nitschmann, Jr., Moravian Missionary and Bishop; Anna Nitschman, Moravian Eldress; and David Nitschmann, Missionary and First Bishop of the Renewed Moravian Church)

  • Cyriacus Schneegass, German Lutheran Minister, Musician, and Hymn Writer
  • Francis Xavier Seelos, German-American Roman Catholic Priest
  • Harry Emerson Fosdick, U. S. Northern Baptist Minister and Opponent of Fundamentalism

6 (George Edward Lynch Cotton, Anglican Bishop of Calcutta)

  • Heinrich Albert, German Lutheran Composer and Poet
  • John Ernest Bode, Anglican Priest, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • William Tyndale, English Reformer, Bible Translator, and Martyr; and Miles Coverdale, English Reformer, Bible Translator, and Bishop of Exeter

7 (Wilhelm Wexels, Norwegian Lutheran Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator; his niece, Marie Wexelsen, Norwegian Lutheran Novelist and Hymn Writer; Ludwig Lindeman, Norwegian Lutheran Organist and Musicologist; and Magnus Landstad, Norwegian Lutheran Minister, Folklorist, Hymn Writer, and Hymnal Editor)

  • Bradford Torrey, U.S. Ornithologist and Hymn Writer
  • Johann Gottfried Weber, German Moravian Musician, Composer, and Minister
  • John Woolman, Quaker Abolitionist

8 (Erik Routley, English Congregationalist Hymnodist)

  • Abraham Ritter, U.S. Moravian Merchant, Historian, Musician, and Composer
  • Richard Whately, Anglican Archbishop of Dublin, Ireland
  • William Dwight Porter Bliss, Episcopal Priest; and Richard Theodore Ely, Economists

9 (Denis, Bishop of Paris, and His Companions, Roman Catholic Martyrs)

  • John Leonardi, Founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca; and Joseph Calasanctius, Founder of the Clerks Regular of Religious Schools
  • Robert Grosseteste, English Roman Catholic Scholar, Philosopher, and Bishop of Lincoln
  • Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, Medical Missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador

10 (Johann Nitschmann, Sr., Moravian Missionary and Bishop; David Nitschmann, Jr., the Syndic, Moravian Missionary and Bishop; and David Nitschmann, the Martyr, Moravian Missionary and Martyr)

  • Christian Ludwig Brau, Norwegian Moravian Teacher and Poet
  • Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Louis FitzGerald Benson, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymnodist

11 (PHILIP THE EVANGELIST, DEACON)

12 (Martin Dober, Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer; Johann Leonhard Dober, Moravian Missionary and Bishop; and Anna Schindler Dober, Moravian Missionary and Hymn Writer)

  • Cecil Frances Alexander, Irish Anglican Hymn Writer
  • Edith Cavell, English Nurse and Martyr, 1915
  • Nectarius of Constantinople, Archbishop

13 (Christian David, Moravian Missionary)

  • Claus Westermann, German Lutheran Minister and Biblical Translator
  • Herbert G. May, U.S. Biblical Scholar and Translator
  • Vincent Taylor, British Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

14 (Callixtus I, Anterus, and Pontian, Bishops of Rome; and Hippolytus, Antipope)

  • Roman Lysko, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1949
  • Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky, Episcopal Bishop of Shanghai, and Biblical Translator
  • Thomas Hansen Kingo, Danish Lutheran Bishop, Hymn Writer, and “Poet of Eastertide”

15 (Teresa of Avila, Spanish Roman Catholic Nun, Mystic, and Reformer)

16 (Albert E. R. Brauer, Australian Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator)

  • Augustine Thevarparampil, Indian Roman Catholic Priest and “Good Shepherd of the Dalits”
  • Gaspar Contarini, Italian Roman Catholic Cardinal and Agent of Reconciliation
  • Hedwig of Andechs, Roman Catholic Princess and Nun; and her daughter, Gertrude of Trzebnica, Roman Catholic Abbess

17 (Charles Gounod, French Roman Catholic Composer)

  • Birgitte Katerine Boye, Danish Lutheran Poet, Playwright, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer
  • John Bowring, English Unitarian Hymn Writer, Social Reformer, and Philanthropist

18 (LUKE THE EVANGELIST, PHYSICIAN)

19 (Jerzy Popieluszko, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1984)

  • Claudia Frances Ibotson Hernaman, Anglican Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Congregation of Discaled Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion

20 (Philip Schaff and John Williamson Nevin, U.S. German Reformed Historians, Theologians, and Liturgists)

  • Friedrich Funcke, German Lutheran Minister, Composer, and Hymn Writer
  • Mary A. Lathbury, U.S. Methodist Hymn Writer
  • Pavel Chesnokov, Russian Orthodox Composer

21 (George McGovern, U.S. Senator and Stateman; and his wife, Eleanor McGovern, Humanitarian)

  • David Moritz Michael, German-American Moravian Musician and Composer
  • James W. C. Pennington, African-American Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister, Educator, and Abolitionist
  • Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena, Foundress of the Works of the Indians and the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary and of Saint Catherine of Siena

22 (Frederick Pratt Green, British Methodist Minister, Poet, and Hymn Writer)

  • Emily Huntington Miller, U.S. Methodist Author and Hymn Writer
  • Katharina von Schlegal, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Paul Tillich, German-American Lutheran Theologian

23 (JAMES OF JERUSALEM, BROTHER OF JESUS)

24 (Rosa Parks, African-American Civil Rights Activist)

  • Fritz Eichenberg, German-American Quaker Wood Engraver
  • Henry Clay Shuttleworth, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

25 (Philipp Nicolai, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer)

  • Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople; and Rusticus, Bishop of Narbonne

26 (Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons)

  • Arthur Campbell Ainger, English Educator, Scholar, and Hymn Writer
  • Francis Pott, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Henry Stanley Oakeley, Composer

27 (James A. Walsh and Thomas Price, Cofounders of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers; and Mary Josephine Rogers, Foundress of the Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic)

  • Aedesius, Priest and Missionary; and Frumentius, First Bishop of Axum and Abuna of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
  • Dmitry Bortniansky, Russian Orthodox Composer
  • Harry Webb Farrington, U.S. Methodist Minister and Hymn Writer

28 (SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS)

29 (James Hannington, Anglican Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa; and His Companions, Martyrs)

  • Bartholomaus Helder, German Lutheran Minister, Composer, and Hymn Writer
  • Joseph Grigg, English Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Paul Manz, Dean of Lutheran Church Music

30 (Hugh O’Flaherty, “Scarlet Pimperel of the Vatican”)

  • Marcellus the Centurion and Cassian of Tangiers, Roman Catholic Martyrs, 298
  • Oleksa Zarytsky, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1963
  • Walter John Mathams, British Baptist then Presbyterian Minister, Author, and Hymn Writer

31 (Reformation Day)

  • Daniel C. Roberts, Episcopal Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Gerhard Von Rad, German Lutheran Biblical Scholar
  • Paul Shinji Sasaki, Anglican Bishop of Mid-Japan, Bishop of Tokyo, and Primate of Nippon Sei Ko Kei; and Philip Lendel Tsen, Anglican Bishop of Honan and Presiding Bishop of Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui

 

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

Feast of William Dwight Porter Bliss and Richard Theodore Ely (October 8)   Leave a comment

RICHARD THEODORE ELY (APRIL 13, 1854-OCTOBER 4, 1943)

Economist

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WILLIAM DWIGHT PORTER BLISS (AUGUST 20, 1856-OCTOBER 8, 1926)

Episcopal Priest

The Episcopal Church added the commemoration of these two proponents of economic justice to its calendar of saints in 2009.  There is never a bad time to advocate for economic justice.  Indeed, Biblical prophets and authors did this millennia ago.  And today, when one Glenn Beck, who denounces social justice Christianity, hosts popular radio and cable and television shows, the message remains relevant.

I begin with an excerpt from The Social Conscience of the Evangelical (1968), by the Reverend Sherwood Eliot Wirt (d. 2008), who worked closely with the Reverend Billy Graham, the noted U.S. evangelist.  From page 154:

James was not wrong when he demanded that Christians show their faith by their works.  Jesus Christ was not wrong when he told his listeners in effect to stop sitting on their hands and to get to work doing God’s will.  He did not come to earth to split theological hairs, but to minister to a world of need and to save men out of it for eternity.  It is time the air was cleared.  To pit social action against evangelism is to raise a phony issue, one that Jesus would have spiked in a sentence.  He commanded his disciples to spread the Good News, and to let their social concern be made manifest through the changed lives of persons of ultimate worth.

Bliss and Ely understood the connection between evangelism and social justice well.

The Reverend William Dwight Porter Bliss, born to Christian missionaries, debuted in Constantinople (now Istanbul), then the seat of the Ottoman Empire, in 1856.  He grew up to become a Congregationalist pastor (1882-1886) before converting to The Episcopal Church in 1886.  Ordained Deacon in 1886 and Priest the following year, he served parishes in several states.  Most notably, however, Bliss organized the first Christian Socialist Society in the United States in 1899.  According to Bliss, all Christians were responsible for economic justice, which was “rooted and grounded in Christ, the liberator, the head of humanity.”  Bliss saw the social problems associated with industrialization and urbanization, and sought to address them based on his Christian faith.  He died on October 26, 1926.

Richard Theodore Ely was an Episcopal layman and a Professor of Economics.  Raised a Presbyterian, he converted to The Episcopal Church as an undergraduate at Columbia University.  Ely went on to teach at the University of Heidelberg (in Germany), Johns Hopkins University, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Northwestern University.  He rejected the extremes of pure socialism and unregulated capitalism, yet nearly lost his professorship in 1894 (at Wisconsin) for “teaching socialist principles.”  The professor favored a balance between capitalistic individualism and a socialist focus on collective efforts.  Human dignity–indeed, the dignity of workers in an industrial nation–demanded no less, he argued.  Ely influenced a good friend, the Reverend Walter Rauschenbusch, prophet of the Social Gospel (July 2 on this Ecumenical Calendar of Saints).

Lest you think that only reactionaries with no regard for academic freedom targeted Dr. Ely, know that some Socialists criticized him in strong terms, as well.  For them, he was too conservative.  This allegedly too conservative man, by the way, also supported labor unions, compulsory education laws, safe work places, the abolition of child labor, and other progressive causes of the early Twentieth Century in the United States. (Does not Glenn Beck also use the world “progressive” in a negative way, also?)

Professor Ely retired from Northwestern University in 1933 and died on October 4, 1933.

Jesus is our liberator.  Yahweh is the God of social justice, including economic justice.  The Bible says more about economic justice (or the lack thereof) than many other topics (such as sex and sexuality) about which people obsess.  If the relative amount of ink spilled on subjects is a reliable measure of importance, economic justice is vital to the Christian faith.  It is vital to the Christian faith.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 7, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JANE LAURIE BORTHWICK

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Blessed God, whose Son Jesus came as servant to all:  We thank you for William Bliss and Richard Ely, whose dedication to the commonweal through economic justice led to be bold reformers of the world and of the Church; and we pray that we, with them, may find our true happiness through self-sacrifice in service of your reign, where all the hungry are fed and the downtrodden are raised up through Jesus Christ our Liberator; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 61:1-4

Psalm 18:21-31

Acts 2:41-47

Luke 16:19-31