Archive for the ‘Political Statements 2020’ Category

Feast of Daniel G. C. Wu (April 6)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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DANIEL GEE CHING WU (OCTOBER 19, 1883-APRIL 6, 1956)

Chinese-American Episcopal Priest and Missionary

Born Wu Gee Ching

Sometimes listed as Daniel G. Ng Ping in contemporary sources

Father Daniel G. C. Wu comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church.  His propers are present in Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010) and A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016).

Wu Gee Ching came to Christian faith via Episcopal deaconess Emma Drant, who went on to become his mentor in ministry.  Our saint, born in China on October 19, 1883, was working in Hawaii when he met Deaconess Drant.  She taught him English.  In return, he taught her Chinese.  Drant’s evangelism of Wu led him to baptism, as Daniel.

An especially nasty blend of racism, xenophobia, and nativism resulted in the Chinese becoming one of the most despised groups in the United States of America.  Many Chinese men had proven invaluable to the construction of the western portion of the first Transcontinental Railroad (completed in 1869).  Chinese immigrants did much to build the United States, literally.  Yet a series of Chinese Exclusion Acts severely curtailed Chinese immigration from 1882 to World War II.  Drant and Wu ministered to Chinese-Americans in the San Francisco Bay area in this cultural milieu.

Drant left for San Francisco, California, in 1905, to become a missionary to Chinese immigrants.  The Episcopal Church had been conducting missionary work among Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans for about a half-century by 1905.  Drant founded the True Sunshine Episcopal Mission (now Church) in 1905.  After the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, many Chinese Americans moved across the bay, to Oakland.  Drant founded a second mission, Our Saviour, in that city.  She asked Wu to join her in the San Francisco Bay area, to assist in the missions.

Wu arrived in 1907.  He stayed.  Our saint worked in the two missions as a layman, a seminarian (1909-1912), a deacon (1912-1913), and a priest (1913-1942).  Wu, a graduate of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California, spent 36 years tending faithfully to the two flocks.  He also met new arrivals at docks and at ports of entry then helped them to adjust to life in North America.  Our saint, who rejected the “melting pot,” affirmed Chinese culture.  He taught English to immigrants so they could adapt to life in the United States.  He also taught Chinese to U.S.-born Chinese-American children.  Wu helped to build up and maintain the communities in which he served.  He also understood that the destruction of one’s culture harmed one.

Wu retired in 1942.

Our saint, aged 72 years, died in Colma, California, on April 6, 1956.  His wife, King Yoak Won Wu (1890-1982), and his daughter, Mary L. Wu Yue (1914-2006), survived him.

I have only one regret related to this post.  I wish I could find enough information about Deaconess Emma Drant to add her to this Ecumenical Calendar, too.

May we, as a society, and each of us, individually, welcome our neighbors from near, far away, and places in-between.  They bear the image of God.  Furthermore, hospitality to strangers is a biblical mandate.  May we banish racism, xenophobia, and nativism from the political and cultural mainstream forever and go about the work of loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.  May we remember that all people are our neighbors, as Jesus, our Lord and Savior, taught.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 17, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF AUGUST CRULL, GERMAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, POET, PROFESSOR, HYMNODIST, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTONI LESZCZEWICZ, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS, 1943

THE FEAST OF JANINI LUWUM, UGANDAN ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP AND MARTYR, 1977

THE FEAST OF JOHANN HEERMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN MEYENDORFF, RUSSIAN-FRENCH-AMERICAN ORTHODOX PRIEST, SCHOLAR, AND ECUMENIST

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We give you thanks, loving God, for the ministry of Daniel Wu,

priest and pioneer church planter among Asian Americans,

and for the stable worshiping communities he established,

easing many immigrants’ passage into a confusing new world.

By the power of your Holy Spirit, raise up other inspired leaders,

that today’s newcomers may find leaders from their diverse communities faithful to our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7

Psalm 147:13-20

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

Mark 8:1-91

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 311

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Loving God, we give thanks for Daniel Wu and his work

among Chinese immigrants whose lives he touched in his day:

By the power of your Holy Spirit give to your Church compassion and respect for all people,

wherever they reside, that, inspired by your love,

every community might be filled with your wisdom

and call forth leaders to guide your flock in faithfulness to the Eternal Word, Jesus Christ;

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

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

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Feast of Alfred C. Marble, Jr. (April 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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ALFRED CLARK “CHIP” MARBLE, JR. (APRIL 4, 1936-MARCH 30, 2017)

Episcopal Bishop of Mississippi then Assisting Bishop of North Carolina

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If ever there was a saint who understood that the work of reconciliation is the work of evangelism, it was Chip Marble.

–Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple, Diocese of North Carolina

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The Episcopal Church has a rule of waiting for about half a century before adding someone to its calendar of saints.  The denomination also makes exceptions to that rule, but it does let a considerable amount of time pass, even in those cases (Jonathan Myrick Daniels and Martin Luther King, Jr., mainly).  I understand why such rules exist for denominational calendars of saints.  This, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, is a hobby, however.  I am ready, willing, and able to engage in nearly instantaneous canonization.

Alfred Clark “Chip” Marble, Jr., for whom civil rights and economic justice were essential elements of faith, became an Episcopal priest.  He, born in Oreonta, New York, on April 4, 1936, studied at the University of Mississippi, The School of Theology of the The University of the South, and the University of Edinburgh.  Our saint, ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons in 1967 then to the priesthood the following year, served in five congregations in the Diocese of Mississippi, as well as at the student chaplaincy at the University of Mississippi.  Marble also spent eight years as the Assistant to the Bishop of East Carolina, B. Sidney Sanders (in office 1983-1996).

Marble joined the ranks of bishops in 1991.  He served under Bishop Duncan Montgomery Gray, Jr. (1926-2016), as the Bishop Coadjutor of Mississippi from 1991 to 1993.  Then Marble succeeded Gray as the Bishop of Mississippi, serving for about a decade (1993-2003).  Our saint, after retiring, served as the Assisting Bishop of North Carolina from 2005 to 2013.  He served under Michael Curry, then the Bishop of North Carolina, and currently the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

Throughout his ministry Marble worked for justice for the poor as well as for racial reconciliation.  As the struggle for civil rights expanded to include legal equality (per the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America) for homosexuals, Marble opposed discrimination against them, too.  He also advocated for immigrants, a frequently despised and scapegoated population.

Marble conducted much of his work for reconciliation in Greensboro, North Carolina.  He worked with the Beloved Community Center and the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.).  Our saint also helped to found and lead the Greensboro Faith Leaders Council, an interfaith and interracial organization.  Furthermore, Marble helped to establish the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2004-2006), which sought the truth about and reconciliation regarding the “Greensboro Massacre” of November 3, 1979.  On that date members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi (or, as Donald Trump would say, as he did of violent white supremacists in 2017,

some very fine people),

killed some protesters and wounded others.  All-white juries acquitted the killers.

(Really, if one chooses not to resist describing white supremacists, especially criminally violent ones who use chants such as, “The Jews will not replace us,”, in such glowing terms, is one not far gone, morally?)

Marble, aged 80 years, died in Greensboro on March 30, 2017.  His wife (Diene), their two children, and other relatives survived him.  Our saint, surrounded by family, died at home.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 3, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANSKAR AND RIMBERT, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOPS OF HAMBURG-BREMEN

THE FEAST OF ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER, ENGLISH POET AND FEMINIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALFRED DELP, GERMAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1945

THE FEAST OF JEMIMA THOMPSON LUKE, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST HYMN WRITER; AND JAMES EDMESTON, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL DAVIES, AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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God of compassion, you have reconciled us in Jesus Christ, who is our peace:

Enable us to live as Jesus lived, breaking down walls of hostility and healing enmity.

Give us grace to make peace with those from whom we are divided,

that, forgiven and forgiving, we may be one in Christ;

who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever, one holy and undivided Trinity.  Amen.

Genesis 8:12-17, 20-22

Psalm 51:1-17

Hebrews 4:12-16

Luke 23:32-43

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 737

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Feast of Cordelia Cox (March 30)   Leave a comment

Above:  Refugee Camp, South Sudan, 2016

Image in the Public Domain

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CORDELIA COX (MARCH 30, 1901-MARCH 5, 1997)

U.S. Lutheran Social Worker, Educator, and Resettler of Refugees

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Circumsise your heart then and be obstinate no longer, for Yahweh your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, triumphant and terrible, free of favouritism, never to be bribed.  He it is who sees justice done for the orphan and the widow, who loves the stranger and gives him food and clothing.  (Love the stranger then, for you were once strangers in Egypt.)

–Deuteronomy 10:16-19, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

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Cordelia Cox‘s life constituted a faithful response to that moral standard.  She, daughter of a minister, devoted her life to serving God in vulnerable people.

Our saint, born on March 30, 1901, was a social worker.  She, educated at the College of William and Mary then at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, worked as a serial worker then, in 1941-1948, as Professor of Casework at the Richmond School for Social Work and Public Health (a forerunner of Virginia Commonwealth University).  From 1948 to 1957 Cox served as the Director of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services.  She, the first woman to lead a major Lutheran agency in the United States, presided over the resettlement of more than 57,000 refugees from Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries in the United States.  Then, in 1957-1961, Cox served as the Executive Secretary of the Lutheran Welfare Council of Metropolitan New York.  She, aged 60 years, retired from this position.

Cox spent much of her retirement in activities related to social work.  She, was a consultant to the Council on Social Work Education from 1961 to 1966.  Then, from 1966 to 1974, our saint consulted an undergraduate education for the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.  Finally, from 1974 to 1976, Cox volunteered with the Peace Corps in Western Samoa.

Cox, aged 95 years, died in Richmond, Virginia, on March 5, 1997.

The divine commandment to provide proper care for the vulnerable, including refugees, remains timeless, even if politically inconvenient for many people much of the time.

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Compassionate God, your commandment to care for the vulnerable,

including widows, orphans, and refugees, challenges us.

May we, collectively and individually, along with Cordelia Cox,

welcome in Christ’s name and in his love the strangers you send to us and to whom you send us.

May we remember that whatever we do for them, we do for you.

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

Deuteronomy 10:12-22

Psalm 41

James 2:22-25

Matthew 25:31-46

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 30, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF LESSLIE NEWBIGIN, ENGLISH REFORMED MISSIONARY AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT BATHILDAS, QUEEN OF FRANCE

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK OAKELEY, ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINTS GENESIUS I OF CLERMONT AND PRAEJECTUS OF CLERMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; AND SAINT AMARIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT JACQUES BUNOL, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1945

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Feast of Blessed Stanley Rother (March 27)   3 comments

Above:  Flag of Guatemala

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED STANLEY FRANCIS ROTHER (MARCH 27, 1935-JULY 28, 1981)

U.S. Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr in Guatemala, 1981

Roman Catholic feast day = July 28

Stanley Rother came to my attention in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).  When I began to take notes, I learned that Pope Francis beatified Rother in 2017.

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is one of my hobbies.  I, therefore, determine the feast days here.  Rother’s feast day, on my Ecumenical Calendar is March 27.

Rother overcame academic difficulties and low expectations to become a priest, a missionary, and a martyr.  Our saint, born in Okarche, Oklahoma, on March 27, 1935, was a son of farmers Franz Rother and Gertrude Smith (Rother).  He grew up with three siblings in a Roman Catholic family.  Stanley struggled at Assumption Seminary, San Antonio, Texas; he spent six years there and did not graduate.  He did, however, graduate from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, in 1963.  The 28-year-old joined the ranks of priests on May 25, 1963.  He served in parishes and missions in Oklahoma through 1968.

Rother became a missionary to Guatemala in 1968.  This was his request and his life’s greatest work.  The priest ministered to the Tz’utujil people; his base of operations was Santiago Atitlan.  Our saint mastered the Spanish and Tz’utujil languages, preached and celebrated Mass in Tz’utujil, founded a hospital, and taught mathematics and language via a local radio station.  Rother was a conscientious, dutiful, and dedicated shepherd of his flock.

The Cold War provided the context for Rother’s work and fate, and distorted U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.  In 1954 the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) manufactured a coup and overthrew the popular, democratically-elected left-wing government that sought to prevent the United Fruit Company from continuing to exploit impoverished Guatemalans.  The C.I.A. replaced that government with a brutal military dictatorship.  The Guatemalan Civil War lasted from 1960 to 1996.  Government death squads supposedly targeted left-wing rebels, but really targeted innocent civilians, often at random.  Roman Catholic priests who spoke out on behalf of their poor, oppressed parishioners often became targets of Guatemalan Army death squads, which frequently operated with the support of the U.S. Government, especially in the 1980s, during the Reagan Administration.  The army death squads were not communists, at least.

Guatemalan oppression became worse in 1980 and 1981.  Forces destroyed the radio station.  Death squads abducted and murdered catechists and parishioners.  After left-wing guerrillas attacked a unit of the Guatemalan Army in the area of Santiago Atitlan in 1980, death squads killed seventeen random civilians.  Rother also became a target for death squads.  He left Guatemala in January 1981 yet returned to his flock on April 11.  A death squad executed Rother in his rectory on July 28, 1981.  He was one of ten priests death squads murdered that year, with the backing of the Reagan Administration.

A Guatemalan appellate court bowed to pressure from the Reagan Administration to overturn the convictions of the murderers.  They were not communists, at least.

What happened to ideals?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 28, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALBERT THE GREAT AND HIS PUPIL, SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANS

THE FEAST OF DANIEL J. SIMUNDSON, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF HENRY AUGUSTUS COLLINS, ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARNBY, ANGLICAN CHURCH MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SOMERSET CORRY LOWRY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Stanley Rother

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ

before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

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

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713

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This is post #1900 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of William Leddra (March 24)   2 comments

Above:  The Seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM LEDDRA (DIED MARCH 14 OR 24, 1661)

British Quaker Martyr in Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1661

For bearing my testimony for the Lord against deceivers and the deceived, I am brought here to suffer.

–William Leddra, on the day he died

People who execute pacifists do not impress me.

William Leddra comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).  Their source lists March 24, 1661, as the date of Leddra’s judicial murder.  Nevertheless, most other sources I consulted list the date as March 14, 1661.

Those who claim that most Puritans who settled in what became the United States sought religious freedom either lie or labor under a misconception.

The majority of Puritans, whether in the old country or on this side of the Pond, created and maintained theocracies when they had the opportunity.  Religious toleration was not a dominant Puritan value; religious persecution was.

Quakers, with their pacifism, egalitarianism, and mysticism, threatened the hierarchical Puritan social order by merely existing.  Being a Quaker in Puritan colonies in New England was illegal, therefore.  In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, prior to 1659, penalties included:

  1. Expulsion,
  2. Lashing behind a cart,
  3. Abandonment deep in a forest,
  4. Branding with an “H” for “heretic,”
  5. Branding of the tongue, and
  6. Cutting off of the ears.

Some Quakers, convinced that their Inner Light told them to preach the Friends gospel despite the risks, returned anyway.  From 1659 to 1661, in the Massachusetts Bay colony, the list of penalties expanded to include death by hanging.  Four Quakers became martyrs.  Marmaduke Stephenson and William Robinson died on October 27, 1659.  Mary Dyer received the crown of martyrdom on June 1, 1660.   [I intend to add these three martyrs to this Ecumenical Calendar.]

Leddra, who was married, was a native of Cornwall, England, who had moved to Barbados then to New England.  He converted to the Religious Society of Friends.  Our saint, a clothier, arrived in Rhode Island in 1658.  He would have been safe there, with the greatest risk being Roger Williams arguing with him and accusing him of heresy.  Leddra, however, went to Connecticut, the government of which banished him.  Then our saint traveled to Salem, Massachusetts Bay.  Authorities arrested Leddra and transported him to Boston.  Our saint, banished from the colony, returned to it.  Authorities arrested him again in April 1659.  Our saint, incarcerated again in October 1659, went on trial before Governor John Endecott in March 1661.  The sentence was death by hanging.

In May 1661 Puritan authorities received new orders from King Charles II forbidding any more executions for alleged heresy.  This order arrived in time to prevent a fifth execution for being a Quaker in the Massachusetts Bay colony.

I use absolute terms, such as “never,” sparingly, so take note, O reader.

Freedom is never absolute; life in society requires the surrender of some individual freedom from everyone for the common good.  Consider a practical, generally non-controversial example, O reader; we must, for the sake of all, obey traffic laws.  Freedom of religion should be as broad as possible, with sensible restrictions.  One should never, for example, get away with child abuse or endangering public health on the grounds of freedom of religion.  And, if one’s religion mandates an honor killing, a court should define that act as murder.  Law is easy at the extremes.  On the opposite extreme, the mere refusal to conform to theocracy or a dominant form of faith should never constitute a crime, and law should bend over backward, so to speak, to allow for a wide variety of peaceful expressions of religion, within reasonable limits.  Life in a free society requires much mutual toleration.

Quakers, with their theology of the Inner Light, affirmed that God spoke to everyone.  The most germane question, from that perspective, was if one was listening.  This doctrine called into question the Puritan spiritual hierarchy, with the ministers at its heart.  Quakerism constituted an existential threat to the Puritan social order.

Authorities tend to go to great and frequently morally unjustifiable lengths to protect the social order.  If morally unjustifiable lengths prove necessary to preserve that social order, perhaps it should fall, so that a just society may emerge.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 25, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Gracious Lord, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives for the message of your love.

Inspire us with the memory of those martyrs for the Gospel

[like your servant William Leddra] whose faithfulness led them in 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; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Ellen Gates Starr (March 20)   1 comment

Above:  Ellen Gates Starr, Between 1915 and 1917

Image Creator = Bain News Service

Image Source = Library of Congress

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ELLEN GATES STARR (MARCH 19, 1859-FEBRUARY 10, 1940)

U.S. Episcopalian then Roman Catholic Activist and Social Reformer

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I became a Socialist because I was a Christian.  The Christian religion teaches that all men are to be regarded as brothers, that no one should wish to profit by the loss or disadvantage of others; as all winners must do under a competitive system; that none should enjoy “two coats” while others are coatless; that, in effect, “none should have cake til all have bread.”  “Civilized” life is in grotesque contrast to all this.  All the individual, acting individualistically, is helpless to modify it very much….”Society” or “the state” must see to it that strangers are entertained; that the hungry are fed and the destitute provided for.  Does it?

–Ellen Gates Starr, quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 470

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Ellen Gates Starr was more than a social reformer, although she was that.  She was a social revolutionary.  Perhaps her Unitarian upbringing contributed to her social conscience.  American Unitarianism did have a reputation for being on the vanguard of social justice efforts.  Throughout her life, whether Starr was in her Unitarian, Episcopalian, or Roman Catholic phase, social justice was an integral part of her faith.  Our saint, born in Laona, Illinois, on March 19, 1859, was a daughter of Allen Starr and Susan Gates Child (Starr).  Ellen was a classmate of Jane Addams (1860-1935) at Rockford Female Seminary in 1877-1878.  Their collaboration began.

Starr, who joined The Episcopal Church in 1883, worked with Addams to help the poor, especially immigrants.  The two women toured Europe, studying efforts to help the poor, in 1888.  Upon returning to Chicago, they founded Hull House in 1889.  The model for Hull House was Toynbee Hall, a settlement house in London.  Hull House began by offering educational opportunities, as well as concerts and other cultural enrichment programs.

Starr objected to the ills of industrialization and worked for a better society.  She worked to improve the working conditions in factories.  She advocated to end child labor.  Starr organized labor strikes and went to jail for doing so at least once.  She embraced Christian Socialism.  Our saint also developed an interest in the arts and crafts movement, going as far as to found the Chicago Society of Arts and Crafts in 1897.

Starr had a long-term interest in Roman Catholicism.  Her faith wedded doctrines, prayer, and sacraments to social activism.  In 1894 our saint joined the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, founded by Emily Malbone Morgan (1862-1937) in 1884.  Starr finally converted to Roman Catholicism in 1920.  Starr, in failing health during her final years, moved to a convent of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus in Suffern, New York, in 1931.  The sisters took care of our saint for the rest of her life.  She, aged 80 years, died on February 10, 1940.

My Western culture (especially the conservative portion of it) overemphasizes individualism.  Biblical ethics contain both individual and collective elements; moral responsibility is both individual and collective.  Many instances of “you” and “your” in the Bible are plural.  This is more obvious in languages with different words for singular and plural second-person pronouns.

Starr understood the collective aspects of Biblical ethics.  She grasped both collective and individual responsibility.  Our saint was correct; how much one person can do is minor compared to what we can do together.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN JULIAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF ALEXANDER MEN, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1990

THE FEAST OF LADISLAO BATTHÁNY-STRATTMANN, AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PHYSICIAN AND PHILANTHROPIST

THE FEAST OF LOUISE CECILIA FLEMING, AFRICAN-AMERICAN BAPTIST MISSIONARY AND PHYSICIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, THE UNION OF CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, AND THE SISTERS OF THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us [like your servant Ellen Gates Starr] to use our freedom to bring justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-14

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Thomas Wyatt Turner (March 16)   1 comment

Above:  Thomas Wyatt Turner, 1901

Image in the Public Domain

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THOMAS WYATT TURNER (MARCH 16, 1877-APRIL 21, 1978)

U.S. Roman Catholic Scientist, Educator, and Civil Rights Activist

Founder of Federated Colored Catholics

Thomas Wyatt Turner comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Turner, an African-American, became a fine and a pioneering scientist, a great educator, and a civil rights activist.  Our saint, born in Hughesville, Maryland, on March 16, 1877, was a son of sharecroppers and former slaves, Eli Turner and Linnie Gross (Turner).  The family was Roman Catholic.  At an early age our saint encountered racism in the Church.  Given that local Roman Catholic parochial schools did not admit African Americans, Turner attended an Episcopal school, St. Mary’s Parochial and Industrial School, from which he graduated in 1894.

Turner earned degrees through his doctorate, and began to teach.  He graduated from Howard University (A.B., 1901) then spent a brief stint as a graduate student at the Catholic University of America in 1901.  In 1901 and 1902 our saint taught science and mathematics at the Tuskegee Institute.  Then, from 1902 to 1910, Turner taught biology at Colored High and Training School, Baltimore, Maryland.  Meanwhile, he earned his A.M. degree from Howard University (1905).  Our saint taught high school in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1910 and 1911.  Then he taught biology again at Colored High and Training School, Baltimore, in 1911 and 1912.  From 1913 to 1924 Turner was Professor of Applied Biology and Nature Study at Teachers’ College, Howard University.  During his sabbatical (1920-1921) he completed work on his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology, Plant Pathology, and Pomology from Cornell University (1921).  He was the first African American to earn and receive a doctorate from Cornell University, and in botany from any institution in the the United States.  The title of his dissertation was “Studies of the Mechanism of the Physiological Effects of Certain Mineral Salts in Altering the Ratio of Top Growth to Root Growth in Seed Plants.”  At the time the Catholic University of America refused to admit African Americans to doctoral programs.  Otherwise, he would have worked on his Ph.D. there.

Turner was active in scientific and academic life.  He worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture off-and-on, on the side.  Our saint served as the Acting Dean of Teachers’ College, Howard University.  From 1924 to 1945 Turner was Professor and Head of the Unit of Natural Sciences at Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia.  He also founded the Virginia Conference of Science Teachers in 1931 and served as its first president.  Furthermore, our saint studied science education in historically African-American colleges and universities in 1943.  Turner, in retirement, was a visiting professor at Texas State University for Negroes, Houston, Texas, in 1949 and 1950.  He was active in the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for Horticultural Science for many years.

Turner married twice.  In 1907 he wed Laura Miller (d. 1934).  His second wife, whom he married in 1936, was Louise Wright.  Our saint had no children.

Turner confronted racism in the Church and in society.  In 1909 he he became a charter member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.).  He founded the Committee Against the Extension of Race Prejudice in the Church in 1917.  This organization was a forerunner of Federated Colored Catholics in 1925.  Our saint served as its president until his ouster by the board in 1932.  He had objected to the organization’s transformation into the National Catholic Federation for the Promotion of Better Race Relations.  The renamed organization divided, resulting in the formation of the second Federated Colored Catholics.  Turned resigned as its president in 1934.  This organization existed until 1958.

Turner reported various examples and patterns of racism in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States of America.  They included:

  1. Having to sit at the back of a church building during Mass;
  2. Priests’ hesitation to recommend African-American men to bishops for consideration for holy orders;
  3. Bishops’ hesitation to send African-American men to seminary;
  4. Racism in parochial schools and Catholic colleges and universities;
  5. The insistence that African Americans use side entrances of church buildings;
  6. Priests hearing the confessions of white parishioners first; and
  7. Priests administering communion to white parishioners first.

Turner ran unsuccessfully for the city council of Hampton, Virginia, in 1948.

The Catholic University of America awarded an honorary doctorate to Turner in 1976, when he was 99 years old.

Turner, aged 101 years, died in Washington, D.C., on April 21, 1978.

To condemn those who, out of racism, erected and/or maintained barriers in the way of Turner and other African Americans is easy and correct.  To stop there is insufficient, however.  We, individually and collectively, in our minds and in our institutions, may not be as morally superior as we may imagine ourselves to be.  We, individually, also harbor discriminatory prejudices and function as cogs in institutions that segregate and exclude unjustly.  We, individually and collectively, have a moral obligation to confront these examples and patterns of injustice.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN JULIAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF ALEXANDER MEN, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1990

THE FEAST OF LADISLAO BATTHÁNY-STRATTMANN, AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PHYSICIAN AND PHILANTHROPIST

THE FEAST OF LOUISE CECILIA FLEMING, AFRICAN-AMERICAN BAPTIST MISSIONARY AND PHYSICIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, THE UNION OF CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, AND THE SISTERS OF THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us [like your servant Thomas Wyatt Turner] to use our freedom

to bring justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-14

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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