Archive for the ‘Saints of 1980-1989’ Category

Feast of Frank von Christierson (April 24)   Leave a comment

Above:  Calvary Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, California

Image Source = Google Earth

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FRANK VON CHRISTIERSON (DECEMBER 25, 1900-APRIL 24, 1996)

Finnish-American Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

Born Friedrich von Christierson

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In gratitude and humble trust,

We bring our best today,

To serve your cause and share your love

With all along life’s way.

O God, who gave yourself to us

In Christ, your only Son,

Teach us to give ourselves each day

Until life’s work is done.

–Frank von Christierson, from As Men of Old Their Firstfruits Brought (1960, 1972); quoted in The Worshipbook:  Services and Hymns (1972)

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Frank von Christierson comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via various denominational hymnals, mainly The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966).  (The United Methodist Hymnal of 1989 lacks any texts by our saint.)

Friedrich von Christierson was originally a subject of the Russian Empire.  He, born at Lovisa, near Helsinki, Finland, on December 25, 1900, left for the United States with his parents and five brothers in 1905.

Christierson (B.A., psychology, Stanford University, 1923), went into church work.  He spent a few years as the youth director at First Presbyterian Church, San Luis Obispo, California.  During this time, Christierson married Frances May Lockhart in 1925.  The couple had two children.  Our saint matriculated at San Francisco Theological Seminary (B.D., 1929; M.A., 1930).  Christierson, ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1929, continued his clergy status in the PCUSA’s successors, The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  He served in the following congregations from 1929 to 1966:

  1. Calvary Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, California (1929-1944);
  2. Trinity Community Presbyterian Church, North Hollywood, California, a church plant (1944-1961); and
  3. Celtic Cross United Presbyterian Church (now Celtic Cross Presbyterian Church), Citrus Heights, California, a church plant (1961-1966).

Christierson was also active beyond the congregational level.  He served as the Moderator of the San Francisco Presbytery and the Los Angeles Presbytery.  For three years in the early 1960s, he served as the chairman of the radio and television ministries of the Sacramento Area Council of Churches.  In this capacity, our saint created a television program, Capital and Clergy, in 1962.

Christierson remained active in retirement.  He filled various pulpits, as an interim pastor, in California and Nevada through 1970.  Then, from 1970 to 1982, our saint was a part-time associate minister at First Presbyterian Church (now Centerpoint Community Church), Roseville, California.  He focused on the elderly and the ill.

Our saint, a fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada since 1983, published Make a Joyful Noise (1987), a volume of his hymns.

Christierson, aged 95 years, died in Roseville, California, on April 24, 1996.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 21, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHEW THE EVANGELIST, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Frank von Christierson and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

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

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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

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Feast of Ruth Youngdahl Nelson (April 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Logo of the Augustana Synod

Image in the Public Domain

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RUTH YOUNGDAHL NELSON (1904-APRIL 6, 1984)

U.S. Lutheran Renewer of Society

Ruth Youngdahl Nelson 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).  A remembrance by daughter Mary Nelson rounds out the available information significantly.  A YouTube video of our saint addressing students at Augsburg College (now University), Minneapolis, Minnesota, on January 28, 1969, is worth your attention, O reader.  And a few other websites fill in other corners with information.

Ruth Youngdahl, born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1904, was a child of John Carl Youngdahl and Elizabeth (Johnson) Youngdahl.  One brother, Luther Youngdahl (1896-1978), served as the Governor of Minnesota (1947-1951).

Our saint spent her life obeying her conscience, following Jesus, and challenging social conventions.  As a student at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota, the athletic Youngdahl helped to organize then led the college’s chapter of the National Women’s Athletic Association.  She also made national headlines in 1923 by playing on a co-educational football team.

Our saint married Clarence T. Nelson, a minister in the old Augustana Synod.  The couple had four children and fostered three others.  The Nelsons served in churches in Minnesota, Illinois, and the District of Columbia.  In addition, they served in Switzerland and Saudi Arabia.  (Clarence spent four years in the kingdom as a chaplain to oil workers.)

Nelson spoke out and wrote boldly about a variety of issues.

  1. The arms race during the Cold War alarmed our saint.  She advocated making peace.
  2. Racial and economic justice were also priorities for Nelson.
  3. She and her husband welcomed former inmates into their home.
  4. Our saint led a weekly Bible study in a women’s prison and lobbied for halfway homes for women emerging from prison.
  5. In 1982, Nelson and son Jonathan participated in an armada that attempted to block a nuclear Trident submarine headed for a naval base in Bangor, Washington.  The protesters, arrested for this act of civil disobedience, never went to trial; the court dismissed the charges.
  6. During her final months, the wheelchair-bound saint, 80 years old and recovering from cancer surgery, participated in a demonstration against weapons of mass destruction in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Nelson wrote ten books, including the following:

  1. The Christian Woman (1951),
  2. The Woman Beautiful (1954),
  3. God’s Song in My Heart (1957),
  4. Where Jesus Walks (1966),
  5. You Can Make a Difference (1974),
  6. Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters (1976),
  7. God’s Joy in My Heart (1980), and
  8. A Grandmother’s Letters to God (1983).

Daughter Mary Nelson wrote:

My mother lived out her faith:  that we are all loved by God, created in the image of God, and a part of God’s family–no matter what word we use for God.

Our saint said of herself:

I am no theologian.  I can only speak and write about what Christ can do in my everyday life.

Ruth Youngdahl Nelson, who died on April 5, 1984, lived her generous Christian faith.  She, therefore, set an example–a formidable one, and a high bar.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 13, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PETER OF CHELCIC, BOHEMIAN MORAVIAN REFORMER; AND GREGORY THE PATRIARCH, FOUNDER OF THE MORAVIAN CHURCH

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK J. MURPHY, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF GODFREY THRING, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JANE CREWDSON, ENGLISH QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF NARAYAN SESHADRI OF JALNA, INDIAN PRESBYTERIAN EVANGELIST AND “APOSTLE TO THE MANGS”

THE FEAST OF ROBERT GUY MCCUTCHAN, U.S. METHODIST HYMNAL EDITOR AND HYMN TUNE COMPOSER

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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 Ruth Youngdahl Nelson]

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 Austin C. Lovelace (March 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, Denver, Colorado

Image Source = Google Earth

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AUSTIN COLE LOVELACE (MARCH 26, 1919-APRIL 25, 2010)

United Methodist Organist, Composer, Hymn Writer, and Liturgist

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I prefer music.  I do not think that entertainment music is appropriate for church.  The music should be the servant of the text.  And the text has to be of spiritual value.

–Austin C. Lovelace’s critique of contemporary Christian music and worship, in The Denver Post, October 2, 2009

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Austin C. Lovelace comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via three hymnals and their companion volumes.  The hymnals are, in chronological order, The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966), the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), and The United Methodist Hymnal (1989).

Lovelace became one of the most influential figures in church music in the United States of America in the twentieth century.  His influence touched the hymnals of major Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church.  Our saint also lectured and made presentations.  The title of one lecture was, “Hymns that Jesus Would Not Have Liked.”  One such hymn that Lovelace reviewed was, “When the Bells of Hell Go Ting-a-Ling for You and Not for Me.”  And our saint, a fan of jazz, hosted Dave Brubeck (and his band) and Duke Ellington (and his orchestra) at services (on separate occasions) at services at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, Denver, Colorado, while he served as the Minister of Music there (1964-1970).

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Lovelace entered the world at Rutherfordton, North Carolina, on March 26, 1919.  Our saint’s parents were Arsola Crawford Lovelace (1889-1956) and Maude Lee White Lovelace (1891-1974).  His brother was Marc Hoyle Lovelace (1920-2008).  The family was Southern Baptist.  Musical training started in childhood; our saint and his brother performed piano duets as boys.

Lovelace made his life in church music, starting in his youth.  He graduated with his A.B. degree from High Point College, High Point, North Carolina, in 1939.

The Big Apple beckoned next.  Lovelace studied at Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York (M.S.M., 1941).  There he fell in love with his page turner, Pauline Palmer (1918-2015).  The couple married on May 21, 1941.

Lovelace, who served as a chaplain’s assistant during World War II, resumed academic life.  He taught at The University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska; Queens College, Charlotte, North Carolina; and Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina; through 1952.  He also earned his D.S.M. degree from Union Theological Seminary in 1950.  Furthermore, our saint served in congregations in Lincoln, Nebraska; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Greensboro, North Carolina.

Lovelace spent 1952-1962 in Evanston, Illinois.  He served as the Minister of Music at First Methodist Church and taught at Garrett Theological Seminary.  During this time, our saint was the organist at the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Evanston (1954).  Lovelace also served as the first President of the National Fellowship of Methodist Musicians (1955-1957).  He also wrote Music and Worship in the Church (1960) with William C. Rice.

The Organist and Hymn Playing (First Edition, 1962; Second Edition, 1981) followed.

Above:  Christ Church, United Methodist, New York, New York

Image Source = Google Earth

Lovelace returned to New York City in 1962.  He served as the Minister of Music at Christ Church, Methodist, from 1962 to 1964.  Our saint also wrote The Youth Choir (1964) and received his Mus.D. degree from High Point College (1963).

Lovelace moved to Denver, Colorado, in 1964.  Through 1970 he served as the Minister of Music at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church.  Our saint also taught at Iliff School of Theology (-1969) then at Temple Buell College (1969-1970).  Lovelace also wrote The Anatomy of Hymnody (1965).

During the 1960s, Lovelace was active in the preparation of The Methodist Hymnal/The Book of Hymns (1966).  He served on the committee and as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Tunes.  Our saint also composed one tune (HINMAN), wrote three pieces of service music (#783, 786, and 797), adapted one tune, altered two tunes, versified one text, and harmonized twenty-six hymn tunes for the hymnal.  Furthermore, Lovelace wrote for Companion to the Hymnal (1970).

Above:  Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas

Image Source = Google Earth

Lovelace remained a full-time church musician through 1986.  He served as the Minister of Music at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas (1970-1977); then at Wellshire Presbyterian Church, Denver, Colorado (1977-1986).  He retired in 1986.

Above:  Wellshire Presbyterian Church, Denver, Colorado

Image Source = Google Earth

Lovelace remained active in retirement.  He composed through 2010, bringing his catalog to more than 1000 works:  hymn tunes, works for organ, works for choirs, works for soloists, arrangements, harmonizations, et cetera.  Our saint ceased to work as a substitute organist when 87 years old.  Lovelace also contributed to The United Methodist Hymnal (1989), for which he prepared the Metrical Index.  That volume included an original hymn tune (MUSTARD SEED), five hymn tune harmonizations, and one hymn versification by our saint.  And he wrote a book, Hymn Notes for Church Bulletins (1987).

Lovelace, aged 91 years, died in Denver, Colorado, on April 25, 2010.  His survivors included Pauline, his wife; Barbara Lovelace Williams, his daughter; and a grandson.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 20, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACCHAEUS, PENITENT TAX COLLECTOR AND ROMAN COLLABORATOR

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

thank you for those (especially Austin C. Lovelace)

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 Pedro Casaldaliga (February 16)   1 comment

äAbove:  The Flag of Brazil

Image in the Public Domain

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PERE CASALDÀLIGA I PLA (FEBRUARY 16, 1928-AUGUST 8, 2020)

Roman Catholic Bishop of São Félix, Brazil

“Bishop to then Poor”

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If in doubt, side with the poor.

–One of Bishop Casaldàliga’s favorite sayings

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Bishop Pedro Casaldàliga comes to this, A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES:  AN ECUMENICAL CALENDAR OF SAINTS’ DAYS AND HOLY DAYS, via Father João Bosco Burnier (1917-1976), one of his priests, and a martyr.

Our saint was a Catalan.  He, born in Balsareny, Catalonia, Spain, on February 16, 1928, grew up on the family’s cattle ranch.  He, ordained a priest in Barcelona on May 31, 1952, was also a Claretian.

The order sent Casaldàliga to Brazil in 1968.  There he remained, except for travels out of the country.  Our saint, appointed the Apostolic Administrator of the Territorial Prefecture of São Félix on April 27, 1970, became its bishop on August 27, 1971.  He served in this capacity until retiring on February 2, 2005.  Casaldàliga made powerful enemies.

  1. He opposed the Brazilian military dictatorship, which committed violations of human rights of civilians.  That government censored him.
  2. He confronted large agricultural corporations for cooperating with the military dictatorship and operating a modern form of the slaver trade.
  3. He advocated for the rights of the poor and indigenous people.  This advocacy incurred the wrath of logging corporations, mining corporations, agricultural corporations, and land-grabbers.  Casaldàliga received death threats and the attention of more than one hitman, even after he retired.
  4. In 1972, he founded the Conselho Indigenista Missionário within the Brazilian Roman Catholic Church, to support the rights of indigenous peoples.
  5. He favored liberation theology.  This position placed Casaldàliga on the bad side of Pope John Paul II and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI).  The bishop defied Rome when he refused to sign a prepared statement acknowledging his alleged errors.
  6. He criticized the Roman Catholic Church from within for, among other errors, marginalizing women, opposing liberation theology, and being overly centralized.
  7. He made other churchmen look bad by voluntarily living in poverty, in community.

Casaldàliga, in retirement, served as a priest.  He also had a favorable relationship with Pope Francis.  The bishop, who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, died in Batatais, São Paolo, on August 8, 2020.  He was 92 years old.

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Lord Christ, who pronounced the poor to be blessed heirs of the Kingdom of God,

thank you for the faithful life and legacy of your servant, Bishop Pedro Casaldàliga,

who lived the Gospel in his advocacy on behalf of the poor and indigenous peoples.

May the spirit of courageous defense of the marginalized and oppressed ever be strong within your Church.

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

Deuteronomy 24:10-15

Psalm 10

Revelation 18:9-24

Luke 6:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 15, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN AMOS COMENIUS, FATHER OF MODERN EDUCATION

THE FEAST OF GUSTAF AULEN AND HIS PROTÉGÉ AND COLLEAGUE, ANDERS NYGREN, SWEDISH LUTHERAN BISHOPS AND THEOLOGIANS

THE FEAST OF JANE MONTGOMERY CAMPBELL, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER AND MUSIC EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHANN GOTTLOB KLEMM, INSTRUMENT MAKER; DAVID TANNENBERG, SR., GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN ORGAN BUILDER; JOHANN PHILIP BACHMANN, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN INSTRUMENT MAKER; JOSEPH FERDINAND BULITSCHEK, BOHEMIAN-AMERICAN ORGAN BUILDER; AND TOBIAS FRIEDRICH, GERMAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES KEPLER, GERMAN LUTHERAN ASTRONOMER AND MATHEMATICIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH PIGNATELLI, RESTORER OF THE JESUITS

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Feast of Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (February 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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MARIA JOSEFA ALHAMA Y VALERA (SEPTEMBER 30, 1893-FEBRUARY 8, 1983)

Founder of the Handmaids of Merciful Love and the Sons of Merciful Love

Also known as Blessed Esperanza de Jesus

Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus comes to this, A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES:  AN ECUMENICAL CALENDAR OF SAINTS’ DAYS AND HOLY DAYS, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Maria Josefa, born in Santomera, Murcia, Spain, on September 30, 1893, came from a devout, peasant family.  She was the first of nine children.  Our saint’s father was an agricultural worker.  Her mother was a housewife.  Maria Josefa, educated by nuns, joined the Daughters of Calvary, as Sister Esperanza de Jesus (Hope of Jesus) when 21 years old.

Our saint, devoted to the Merciful Love of Jesus, founded two orders.  She founded the Handmaids of Merciful Love in Madrid, Spain, on December 24, 1930.  Their mission was to care for the sick, the elderly, orphans, and poor children, and to educate the latter two.  She, based in Rome from 1926 to 1951, then at Collevalenza, Perugia, Italy, starting in 1951, founded the corresponding male order, the Sons of Merciful Love, in Collevalenza in 1951.

Our saint oversaw the construction of the Sanctuary of Merciful Love, at Collevalenza, completed in 1959.  Pope John Paul II visited the church and our saint in 1982.  He recognized the church as a minor basilica.

Our saint, aged 89 years, died in Collevalenza on February 8, 1983.

The Church has formally recognized Valera.  Pope John Paul II declared her a Venerable in 2002.  Pope Frances beatified her in 2014.

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Many non-Christians–especially non-believers–think of Christianity as a judgmental, legalistic faith.  This is a misunderstanding of Christianity, as it is, at its best.  However, many professing Christians are judgmental and legalistic.  They are what they falsely accuse Jews of being–legalistic, with works-based righteousness.

Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus correctly focused on divine merciful love–that which loves unconditionally and seeks to attract all people.  Grace is free, not cheap; ask the Hebrew prophets, Jesus, and the martyrs.  Grace calls for faithful response.

Legalism is a misguided attempt to respond faithfully to God.  Legalism is a sibling of the quest for certainty.  That quest is idolatrous; it replaces faith in God with certainty.

May we–you, O reader, and I–lean all the way into God’s merciful love and trust in it.  May we be neither legalistic nor judgmental. May we respond faithfully to God.

God of merciful love, thank you for the faithful life and legacy

of your servant, Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus.

May our lives also be beacons of your merciful love,

for your glory and the benefit of others.

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

Leviticus 19:1-4, 9-18, 32-37

Psalm 23

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Luke 10:25-37

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 10, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT LEO I “THE GREAT,” BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF LOTT CARY, AFRICAN-AMERICAN BAPTIST MINISTER AND MISSIONARY TO LIBERIA; AND MELVILLE B. COX, U.S. METHODIST MINISTER AND MISSIONARY TO LIBERIA

THE FEAST OF ODETTE PRÉVOST, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN, AND MARTYR IN ALGERIA, 1995

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Feast of Bob Keeshan (January 24)   2 comments

Above:  Bob Keeshan as Captain Kangaroo

Image in the Public Domain

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ROBERT JAMES KEESHAN (JUNE 27, 1927-JANUARY 23, 2004)

Captain Kangaroo

Bob Keeshan comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via historical accounts and my childhood.

Keeshan came from an Irish-American Roman Catholic family.  He, born in Lynbrook, New York, on June 27, 1927, was a son of Margaret Frances Conroy Keeshan (d. 1943) and grocery store manager Joseph Keeshan.  Our saint, who graduated from high school in June 1945, served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve (1945-1946).  Afterward, he worked at the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and commenced prelaw studies at Cornell University.  After a few years, Keeshan switched his major to education.  He graduated in 1951.  The previous year, he married Anne Jeanne Laurie (d. 1996), a receptionist at the American Broadcasting Company (ABC),  The couple raised three children.

Keeshan worked on children’s shows before Captain Kangaroo.  He made his broadcasting debut on the Triple B Ranch, a radio program, in 1947.  The following year, our saint originated the role of Clarabell the Clown on The Howdy Doody Show.  He left that role in 1952.  Our saint portrayed Corny the Clown on Time for Fun (1953-1955), a morning television program in New York City.  He also selected the cartoons to broadcast.  Violent and racially-insensitive cartoons did not make the cut.  Our saint also created Tinker’s Workshop (1954-1955), a program for preschoolers.  He played the Tinker, a grandfather figure.

Keeshan portrayed Captain Kangaroo from October 1955 to December 1984.  He wore a coat with large pockets, hence the character’s name.  Our saint aimed the show at children six to eight years old.  He presented a gentle program that introduced children, as well as many adults, to music, literature, and science.  Characters included Mr. Moose, Bunny Rabbit, Grandfather Clock, and Mr. Green Jeans.

Keeshan advocated for issues affecting children.  He opposed tobacco companies sponsoring children’s activities.  Our saint, like his peer and friend Fred Rogers (1928-2003), understood human development, especially the importance of the first few years.  Therefore, Keeshan worked to provide daycare programs to businesses (1987f), criticized violence in video games, and condemned cartoons that were advertisements for toys in the 1980s.

Our saint, who received awards for his work in children’s broadcasting, died at home in Windsor, Vermont, on January 23, 2004.  He was 76 years old.

When Bob Keeshan spoke out regarding values, his life backed up his words.

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Living God, whose image each human being bears,

we thank you for the faith, life, and legacy of Bob Keeshan, Captain Kangaroo.

May the gentleness he embodied thrive in societies,

and may education enrich children culturally and intellectually.

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

Proverbs 4:1-9

Psalm 78:1-4

Ephesians 6:1-4

Matthew 19:13-15

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 6, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES FOX, ANGLICAN MISSIONARY IN MELANESIA

THE FEAST OF AARON ROBARTS WOLFE, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ALLEN CRITE, ARTIST

THE FEAST OF HANNAH MORE, ANGLICAN POET, PLAYWRIGHT, RELIGIOUS WRITER, AND PHILANTHROPIST

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH GOMER AND MARY GOMER, U.S. UNITED BRETHREN MISSIONARIES IN SIERRA LEONE

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Feast of Henry Irving Louttit, Jr. (December 31)   10 comments

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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HENRY IRVING LOUTTIT, JR. (JUNE 13, 1938-DECEMBER 31, 2020)

Episcopal Bishop of Georgia

Bishop Henry Irving Loutttit, Jr., comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via my ecclesiastical past.  Within Anglicanism, history makes saints.  I, having known Bishop Louttit, attest that he was a saint.

This post is personal.  Know, therefore, O reader, that I have chosen to refer to this saint on a first-name basis–as Henry.

Henry was a model of Anglican collegiality.  In the last two decades, “Anglican,” in the United States of America, has assumed a Donatistic connotation in my mind.  Henry’s Anglicanism was a big tent, however.  He, to my right in many respects, offered an ecclesiastical setting that made room for heretics such as me.

Henry Irving Louttit, Jr., born in West Palm Beach, Florida, on June 13, 1938, was a scion of The Episcopal Church.  Henry’s mother was Amy Cleckler Louttit.  His father was Henry Irving Louttit, Sr. (1903-1984), then a priest in the Diocese of South Florida.  Henry, Sr., went on to serve as the Suffragan Bishop of South Florida (1945-1948), the Bishop Coadjutor of South Florida (1948-1951), and the Bishop of South Florida (1951-1969).  In 1969, the Diocese of South Florida broke up into the Dioceses of Southeast Florida, Southwest Florida, and Central Florida.  Henry, Sr., served as the first Bishop of Central Florida (1969-1970) before retiring.

The Louttit family belonged to the Anglo-Catholic wing of The Episcopal Church.  In 2005, Henry recalled:

…we knew that we were right, even though we were not the majority in the Episcopal Church.  There was a fortress mentality that caused us to suspect that everything the national Episcopal Church did was intended to undercut the truths that we held dear.  Most of the young priests who influenced me as a teenager believed that the greater part of the Episcopal Church was heretical–were outside of God’s communion.

The family was progressive on racial justice issues.  The Ku Klux Klan once burned a cross on the front lawn of the family home in Winter Park, Florida.

Henry had a fine Episcopal education.  He studied at Christ School, a boarding school in Arden, North Carolina.  He graduated with honors from The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, too.  Our saint made an unusual choice of seminary, given his Anglo-Catholic heritage; he matriculated at Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia.  In 2005, Henry recalled:

For them anything that Roman Catholics did or said was wrong….In my world, if Rome did it, it was right.  In their world, if Rome did it, it must be wrong.

Henry married Jayne “Jan” Northway Arledge on June 14, 1962.  The couple eventually had three daughters.

While a seminarian, Henry served at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C.  It had become the first racially-integrated Episcopal church in the District of Columbia in the 1950s.

Henry, having graduated from VTS in June 1963, embarked on his ministerial career.  His father ordained him a deacon that month.  Our saint became a priest on June 25, 1964.  He served in three congregations in the Diocese of Georgia:

  1. Trinity Episcopal Church, Statesboro (-1967);
  2. Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta (1967-1994); and
  3. St. James’ Episcopal Church, Quitman (1970-1974).

Henry nearly became a bishop at least twice before winning election as Bishop of Georgia.

  1. Henry was a candidate for Bishop Coadjutor of Georgia in 1983.  Henry was a relatively liberal candidate; he favored the ordination of women.  Harry Woolston Shipps (1926-1916) won that election on a pledge not to ordain women.  Shipps went on to serve as the Bishop Coadjutor (1984-1985) then the Bishop of Georgia (1985-1994).  Before Shipps retired, he ordained women.
  2. Henry was also a candidate for Suffragan Bishop of Ohio in 1994.  Kenneth Lester Price, Jr., won that election and served, starting that year.

Henry won election as Bishop of Georgia in late 1994.  His consecration occurred in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah, on January 21, 1995.

Henry was my priest (1993-1994) then my bishop (1995-2005).  Many people knew him longer and better than I did.  I wish I had known him better than I did.

Henry was, among other descriptions:

  1. Beloved,
  2. Pastoral,
  3. Down-to-earth, and
  4. Realistic.

Henry had a healthy sense of humor about himself.  On his last Sunday at Christ Christ, Valdosta (October 30, 1994), Henry noted the proximity of that day to Halloween.  He also recalled that his installation as rector had occurred on April Fool’s Day, 1967.

In the early 2000s, I was a member of another parish in another town in the Diocese of Georgia.  One Sunday, when Henry made his episcopal visit, he diplomatically broke bad news:  He had spoken to recent former rectors of that parish.  Not one missed the parish.  This was an evaluation the congregation needed to hear.

Henry was, like most people, I suppose, a mix of progressivism and conservatism.

  1. Henry was a relative liberal in the Diocese of Georgia, especially with regard to The Book of Common Prayer (1979) and the ordination of women.  His metaphorical fingerprints were all over the “new Prayer Book;” he was part of its creation.  And one daughter became a priest.  In the House of Bishops, Henry voted to insist on the ordination of women in all dioceses.
  2. Henry, however, was relatively conservative regarding homosexuality.  His voting record on this issue in the House of Bishops moderated the longer he served as a bishop, however.  That relative conservatism helped in his effort to maintain diocesan unity in the early 2000s.  He was not entirely successful, though; no Bishop of Georgia could have been.  Henry strove to maintain the big tent.  Some, however, chose to leave that tent and form breakaway congregations.

Henry, as Bishop of Georgia, presided over a rural, far-flung diocese.  He worked on solutions regarding ministry in that context.  Henry also encouraged the vocational diaconate, founded missions and revitalized congregations.

Henry (Doctor of Divinity, Virginia Theological Seminary, 1993) was also a hagiographer.  He wrote Saints of Georgia (1998, 1999, 2004), a mix of national and diocesan saints.  One of these saints–Deaconess Anna Ellison Butler Alexander (1865?-1947)–eventually received denominational recognition.  The Episcopal Church added her to A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016) then to Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018.  Presiding Bishop Michael Curry visited her old church, Good Shepherd, Pennick, in January 2018.

I departed for the Diocese of Atlanta in August 2005.  Before I did, however, I asked Henry to recommend a parish to attend in Athens.  He advised me to join St. Gregory the Great Church.  He was correct.

Henry retired on January 23, 2010.  He remained in Savannah for years.  Eventually, though, he and Jan moved to Tallahassee, Florida, to be close to a daughter.

Henry, aged 82 years, died in Tallahassee on December 23, 2020.  He was a gentleman, a scholar, and a prince of the church.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 24, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BARTHOLOMEW THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Henry Irving Louttit, Jr.,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the stature and fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 718

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Feast of Ambrose Reeves (December 8)   2 comments

Above:  An Apartheid Sign

Image in the Public Domain

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RICHARD AMBROSE REEVES (DECEMBER 6, 1899-DECEMBER 23, 1980)

Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg, and Opponent of Apartheid

Bishop (Richard) Ambrose Reeves comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via historical accounts.  A standard rule (with exceptions) in provinces of the Anglican Communion is to wait about half a century after someone’s death before adding that person to an official calendar of saints.  I understand why this is a wise policy for ecclesiastical authorities to follow.  Given this policy, Bishop Reeves’s time for addition to some Anglican calendars of saints may arrive within a few years.  My Ecumenical Calendar, however, does not come with the fifty-year-rule.  So, I add Bishop Reeves to my Ecumenical Calendar today.

Ambrose Reeves, born in Norwich, England, on December 6, 1899, spent most of his life in ministry.  He, a veteran of World War I, studied at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University (B.A., 1924); the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, England; General Theological Seminary, New York, New York; and Cambridge University (M.A., 1943).  After completing seminary in the middle 1920s, our saint became a deacon in The Church of England (May 30, 1926), then a priest therein (June 12, 1927).  Reeves served first as the Curate of St. Albans, Golders Green (1926-1931).  During that time, he doubled as the secretary of the Christian Social Movement.

Reeves married Ada van Ryssan in 1931.  The couple raised four children.

Reeves continued to serve on the parish level and beyond from 1931 to 1949.  He was the Rector of St. Margaret’s, Leven (1931-1935).  Next, our saint served in the Diocese of Gibraltar and as the secretary of the World Student Christian Federation (1935-1937).  Reeves returned to England in 1937.  He served as the Vicar of St. James, Haydock (1937-1942); the Rector of the Church of Our Lady and St. Nicholas, Liverpool (1942-1949); and the Canon of Liverpool Cathedral (1942-1949).

Reeves spent 1949-1960 in South Africa, as the Bishop of Johannesburg.  He was outspoken in his opposition to Apartheid and condemnation of the repressive, unjust, national government.  Our saint’s uncompromising moral position led to his deportation on September 12, 1960.  Bishop Reeves, back in England, resigned, effective March 31, 1961.  His anti-Apartheid activism continued; our saint served as the President of the Anti-Apartheid Movement from 1970 to 1980.

Bishop Reeves hoped to serve as a bishop ordinary in England, yet did not.  He did, however, serve as the Assistant Bishop of London (1962-1966) then the Assistant Bishop of Chichester (1966-1980).  Our saint, the General Secretary of the Student Christian Movement (1962-1965), served also as the Priest-in-Charge (1966-1968) then the Rector (1968-1972) of St. Michael’s Church, East Sussex.

Bishop Reeves, aged 81 years, died at Shoreham-by-Sea on December 23, 1980.  He had lived well and courageously.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 4, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN BROWNLIE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CARROLL O’CONNOR, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC ACTOR AND SCREEN WRITER

THE FEAST OF FRÉDÉRIC JANSOONE, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND FRIAR

THE FEAST OF LAMBERT BEAUDUIN, BELGIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND PIONEER OF LITURGICAL RENEWAL

THE FEAST OF SARAH PLATT DOREMUS, FOUNDER OF THE WOMEN’S UNION MISSIONARY SOCIETY

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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 Ambrose Reeves]

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 Eugene Carson Blake (November 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  My Copies of the Presbyterian Books of Confessions, from 1967, 1985, and 2007

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The Book of Confessions (1967), of The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

The Book of Confessions (1985, 2007), of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

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EUGENE CARSON BLAKE (NOVEMBER 7, 1906-JULY 31, 1985)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Ecumenist, and Moral Critic

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Boasting about our heritage of freedom, we allied ourselves with some of the worst dictators all over the world, as long as they were, in our judgment, anti-communist.  We have justified all sorts of immoral political acts either because we thought they would weaken communism or (even a more immoral excuse) that since the communists were doing them, so must we….These, and other such actions, have been occasioned far more by fear of communism than by concern for justice.

–Eugene Carson Blake, quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 554

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Eugene Carson Blake comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Cady and Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Blake came from Midwestern Presbyterian stock.  He, born in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 7, 1906, was a son of Lulu Blake and Orville Prescott Blake.  Our saint graduated from Princeton University with a degree in philosophy in 1928.  Then he taught the Bible, English, and philosophy at Forman Christian College, Lahore (then in India; now in Pakistan), for a year (1928-1929).  Next, Blake studied theology at New College, Edinburgh (1929-1930).  He matriculated at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1930 and graduated two years later.

Our saint, ordained in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA) in 1932, embarked upon his ministerial career.  He was, in order:

  1. the assistant pastor (1932) then the senior pastor (1932-1935) of the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas (Reformed Church in America), New York, New York;
  2. the senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Albany, New York (1935-1940); and
  3. the senior pastor of the Pasadena Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Pasadena, California (1940-1951).

Blake left parish ministry in 1951.  He served as the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1951-1958).  As such, he helped to execute the merger of the PCUSA with The United Presbyterian Church of North America (UPCNA) to form The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA) in 1958.  Then he served as the President of the Stated Clerk of the UPCUSA (1958-1966).

Above:  The Logo of the UPCUSA

Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

On the ecumenical front, Blake also served as the President of the National Council of Churches (1954-1957) then as the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (1966-1972).

Blake’s ecumenism led to the founding of the Consultation on Church Union (1962-2002), the predecessor of Churches Uniting in Christ (2002-).  In 1960, at Grace Episcopal Cathedral, San Francisco, California, he preached a famous sermon.  Our saint advocated for the merger of The UPCUSA (1958-1983), The Methodist Church (1939-1968), The Episcopal Church (1789-), and the United Church of Christ (1957-) into one denomination truly both Catholic and Reformed.

The Consultation on Church Union included ten denominations in 1967:

  1. the African Methodist Episcopal Church,
  2. the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church,
  3. the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),
  4. the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church,
  5. The Episcopal Church,
  6. the Evangelical United Brethren Church (merged into The United Methodist Church, 1968),
  7. The Methodist Church (merged into The United Methodist Church, 1968),
  8. the Presbyterian Church in the United States (merged into the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 1983),
  9. the United Church of Christ, and
  10. The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (merged into the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 1983).

The successor organization, Churches Uniting in Christ, consciously confronts racism.  The members are:

  1. the African Methodist Episcopal Church,
  2. the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church,
  3. the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),
  4. the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church,
  5. The Episcopal Church,
  6. the International Council of Community Churches,
  7. the Moravian Church in America,
  8. the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),
  9. the United Church of Christ, and
  10. The United Methodist Church.

That anti-racism is consistent with our saint’s legacy.

Blake was active in the Civil Rights Movement.  On July 4, 1963, he went to jail for trying to integrate the Gwynn Oak Amusement Park, Baltimore, Maryland.  The following month, he was prominent at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which he had helped to organize.  Our saint was one of speakers at that great event.  And, at the World Council of Churches (1966-1972), Blake led a global anti-racism program.

Blake’s opposition to the Vietnam War earned the ire of two Presidents of the United States of America.  He became persona non grata with Lyndon Baines Johnson (in office 1963-1969).  Richard Nixon (in office 1969-1974) had a list of 576 enemies, subject to official harassment, such as tax audits and F.B.I. investigations.  “Enemies” included actor Paul Newman (1925-2008), journalists Daniel Schorr (1916-2010) and Mary McGrory (1918-2019), and U.S. Representatives John Conyers (1929-2019) and Ron Dellums (1935-2018).  That list also included Blake.  Newman described being on Nixon’s enemies list as a great honor.  Schorr, whom the F.B.I. investigated, spoke to Nixon at a social occasion years after Nixon left office.  The journalist referred to that investigation.  The former President, apparently not apologetic and repentant, replied:

I damn near hired you once.

Blake was in very good company on Nixon’s list of enemies.

Blake also helped to make the United Presbyterian Book of Confessions and Confession of 1967 possible.  The first edition of The Book of Confessions debuted in 1967.  The emphasis on reconciliation in Christ in the Confession of 1967 was consistent with our saint’s work.

In Jesus Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.  He is the eternal Son of the Father, who became man and lived among us to fulfill the work of reconciliation.  He is present in the church by the power of the Holy Spirit to continue and complete his mission.  This work of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the foundation of all confessional statements about God, man, and the world.  Therefore the church calls men to be reconciled to God and to one another.

–From the Confession of 1967, quoted in The Book of Confessions (1967), 9.07

In retirement, Blake worked for Bread for the World.  Feeding starving people was consistent with decreasing poverty, another social justice issue and long-time cause of our saint.  He had worked on economic and social development at the World Council of Churches, too.

Blake, aged 78 yeas, died in Stamford, Connecticut, on July 31, 1985.  By then The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church in the United States had merged to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in 1983.

Blake got more right than wrong–a daunting task and a great accomplishment.

I am an ecumenist.  Denominational structures exist because of human nature.  We in the Universal Church should, of course, strive to reduce the number of denominations via well-reasoned and feasible mergers.  And, when organic union is not feasible, perhaps cooperation is.  So be it.

I am also an Episcopalian.  I have definite Roman Catholic tendencies.  What passes for corporate worship in most of Protestantism leaves me uninspired.  I want to ask:

Do you call this a proper liturgy?

My denominational Plan B is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), in full communion with The Episcopal Church.  This is a good fit, given the historical relations between Anglicanism and Lutheranism.

Blake’s proposed United Presbyterian Church-United Church of Christ-Methodist Church-Episcopal Church union was not feasible.  For example, in 1993, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) published its most recent Book of Common Worship.  It was a vast improvement over The Worshipbook–Services (1970), incorporated into The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972).  Many Presbyterians objected to the new Book of Common Worship.  It was too Episcopalian, they said.

A denomination has a character.  Some denominations are better fits with other denominations than with others.

Blake issued his proposal at a different time.  Most Christian denominations in the United States of America were growing in membership, for example.  Also, The Episcopal Church had yet to bear the full fruits of liturgical renewal in 1960.  Nevertheless, his vision for a more united institutional church has become more relevant when, in the United States of America and the rest of the Western world, “none” has become the fastest-growing religious affiliation.

Sadly, Blake’s foci on reducing poverty and racism are more germane than ever.  Related to them is another one of his favorite themes.  We need reconciliation with each other and God more than ever.  Reconciliation is difficult to achieve when mutually hostile camps cannot even agree on what constitutes objective reality.

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Loving and righteous God, who transcends all religious denominations,

we thank you for the faithful ministry, social witness, and legacy of your servant, Eugene Carson Blake.

May we also seek to bring the world closer to the high calling of the fully-realized Kingdom of God,

and embrace our brother and sister Christians in other denominations;

for your glory and for the common good.

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

Leviticus 19:9-18

Psalm 133

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

John 17:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 24, 2021 COMMON ERA

GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE

THE FEAST OF SAINT EGBERT OF LINDISFARNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK; AND SAINT ADALBERT OF EGMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN, CAPUCHIN FRIAR AND MARTYR, 1622

THE FEAST OF JOHANN WALTER, “FIRST CANTOR OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF SAINT MELLITUS, BISHOP OF LONDON, AND ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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Feast of John Harris Burt (October 20)   1 comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JOHN HARRIS BURT (APRIL 11, 1918-OCTOBER 20, 2009)

Episcopal Bishop of Ohio, and Civil Rights Activist

Bishop John Harris Burt comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via his connection to his father, Bates Gilbert Burt (1878-1948), already here.

John Harris Burt was a native of Michigan.  He, born in Marquette on April 11, 1918, was a son of Father Bates Gilbert Burt and Abigail Gilbert Bates Burt.  Burt, Sr., was the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Marquette (1904-1922).  Burt, Sr., was later the Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Pontiac, Michigan (1922-1947).  Our saint, after graduating from high school in Pontiac, matriculated at Amherst College (B.A., 1940).  Then he studied social work for a year at Columbia University, followed by further studies at Virginia Theological Seminary (Class of 1943).

Then Burt began ordained ministry.  He, ordained to the diaconate (1943) then the priesthood (1944), was the canon of the Cathedral chapter of Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral, St. Louis, Missouri, as well as the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, St. Louis (1943-1944).   He met Martha May Miller at St. Paul’s Church.  Next, Burt served as a chaplain in the United States Navy (1944-1946).  He married Martha on February 16, 1946.  Our saint was also the Episcopal chaplain at The University of Michigan (1946-1950).  He left that post to become the Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Youngstown, Ohio (1950-1957).  As the Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Pasadena, California (1957-1967), Burt made that parish a leader in social activism.  He was, for example, a prominent ally of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez.

Above:  The Flag of Ohio

Image in the Public Domain

Burt became a bishop.  He, elected in 1966, became the Bishop Coadjutor of Ohio on February 4, 1967.  He succeeded to become the Bishop of Ohio by the end of the year.  Burt served until he retired in 1983.  Our saint was outspoken and active.  He opposed the Vietnam War.  In 1967, Burt spoke at the International Inter-Religious Symposium of Peace in New Delhi, India.  Following the collapse of the steel industry in Youngstown, Ohio, our saint co-founded the Ecumenical Coalition of the Mahoning Valley.  This earned him the Thomas Merton Award, previously given to luminaries, such as Dorothy Day and Daniel Berrigan.  Burt, an early advocate for the ordination to women to the priesthood, promised to resign if the General Convention of 1976 did not approve such ordinations.  It did, much to the consternation of many a traditionalist Anglican.

Burt was active in Christian ecumenism and interfaith relations.  He was, for a time, the President of the Southern California Council of Churches, as well as a representative to the National Council of Churches at another time.  Our saint chaired the denominational Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations (1974-1979).  He worked on Jewish-Christian relations at The Episcopal Church, the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, the United States Holocaust Museum, and the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel.

Burt understood that loving one’s neighbors had practical applications.  Therefore, for example, he worked on energy independence, as well as solutions to economic problems in Ohio and seven nearby states.

Our saint, aged 91 years, died in Marquette, Michigan, on October 20, 2009.  Martha, their four daughters, six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren survived him.

Burt said:

The world alters us as we walk in it.

He worked to alter the world for the better as he walked through it.

May each of us do likewise.

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God of Shalom, we thank you for the ministry, international work,

and community development work of your servant, John Harris Burt.

May we also, in the Name of Jesus, pursue peace with our neighbors near and far away,

and build up each other spiritually, economically, and concretely.

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

Amos 8:1-10

Psalm 1

James 2:14-26

Luke 6:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 22, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GENE BRITTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF DONALD S. ARMENTROUT, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF HADEWIJCH OF BRABERT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF KATHE KOLLWITZ, GERMAN LUTHERAN ARTIST AND PACIFIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT VITALIS OF GAZA, MONK, HERMIT, AND MARTYR, CIRCA 625

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