Archive for the ‘Saints of 2000-2009’ Category

Feast of Godfrey Diekmann (April 12)   Leave a comment

Above:  Saint John’s Abbey Church, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota

Image Source = Library of Congress

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GODFREY LEO DIEKMANN, O.S.B. (APRIL 7, 1908-FEBRUARY 22, 2002)

U.S. Roman Catholic Monk, Priest, Ecumenist, Theologian, and Liturgical Scholar

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Heaven is eternal, supreme life–not just eternal rest.

–Father Godfrey Diekmann, O.S.B.

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Father Godfrey Diekmann 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).

Diekmann, a life-long Roman Catholic, helped to pull his Church forward while remaining ahead of it.

Leo Diekmann grew up a Roman Catholic.  He, born in Roscoe (near Collegeville), Minnesota, on April 7, 1908, was one of eight children of Rosalie Loxtercamp (Diekmann) and John Conrad Diekmann, a teacher.  Our saint’s juvenile faith, which extended into his novitiate, emphasized being afraid of God.  Diekmann studied at Saint John’s Preparatory School and University, Collegeville, Minnestota.  He joined the Order of Saint Benedict as a novice at age 17, at Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville.  Diekmann’s novice master taught him a healthy Christian faith rooted in the peace of God and in the Church as the mystical body of Christ.

In 1829, the Order of Saint Benedict sent Diekmann to Rome, to study for the priesthood and to work on his doctorate.  Our saint, renamed Godfrey (“the peace of God”), made his final wows at the monastery of Monte Cassino on July 11, 1929.  Our saint, ordained a priest on June 28, 1931, earned his doctorate then returned to Collegeville in 1933.

There he lived for the rest of his life.  From 1933 to 1938, Diekmann served as the assistant editor (under Virgil Michel) of Orate Fratres (later Worship).  Then, in 1938, our saint became the editor.  Diekmann also began to teach, a profession he pursued until he retired in 1995.  At first, he taught religion and German literature at the Preparatory School.  The following year, our saint began to teach at the theological seminary.  The professor of theology was a talented classroom instructor whose exuberance made his classes

explosive intellectual adventures.

Diekmann’s influence extended far beyond Collegeville, Minnesota.  He, a pioneer of liturgical reform, along with his mentor, Virgil Michel (1890-1938), advocated for vernacular language in liturgy.  Our saint also favored inclusive language in liturgy.  Diekmann helped to draft the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy for the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).  He also founded the International Committee on English in the Liturgy, served on the Consilium for Implementing the Liturgical Reforms of Vatican II, and was a consultant to the American Bishops Committee on the Liturgy.

Diekmann was also an ecumenist.  He, active in the National Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue, helped to found the Ecumenical Institute of Spirituality.  Our saint also founded the Ecumenical Institute for Advanced Theological Studies, Tantur, Israel.

Diekmann’s spirituality included social justice.  For example, he marched with the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., at Selma, Alabama, in 1965.  The monk-priest carried a banner that read,

SELMA IS IN MINNESOTA, TOO.

Diekmann was too progressive for some elements in his Church sometimes.  The Catholic University of America temporarily barred him from teaching summer courses in 1962.  Year later, however, the same institution gave him an honorary doctorate.  He responded to this reversal by saying,

I believe in the Holy Spirit.

Diekmann’s support for married clergy in the Latin Rite has remained mostly ahead of its time.  He also favored the ordination of women.

Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary opened the Godfrey Diekmann, O.S.B., Center for Patristics and Liturgical Studies in 1997.

Diekmann, ill for years, died at Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville, on February 22, 2002.  He was 93 years old.

“Fear of God” is an unfortunate Biblical translation.  The correct rendering is “awe of God,” in the full sense of “awe.”  Such awe properly inspires humility before God and a sense of wonder at the divine.  This description fits the faith to which Diekmann came and in which he spent most of his life.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HANS SCHOLL, AND CHRISTOPH PROBST, ANTI-NAZI MARTYRS AT MUNICH, GERMANY, 1943

THE FEAST OF BERNHARDT SEVERIN INGEMANN, DANISH LUTHERAN AUTHOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD HOPPER, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGARET OF CORONA, PENITENT AND FOUNDRESS OF THE POOR ONES

THE FEAST OF SAINT PRAETEXTATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ROUEN

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

thank you for those (especially Godfrey Diekmann)

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 Timothy Lull (April 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  Brandmark of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Fair Use

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TIMOTHY FRANK LULL (APRIL 8, 1943-MAY 20, 2003)

U.S. Lutheran Minister, Scholar, Theologian, and Ecumenist

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May you go forth to heal the broken places of our world and to help take down the walls that still divide us from each other.

You go into a church and a society full of conflict, with men and women who hold quite different visions about what God’s will is for us on many burning issues.  We pray that you have courage and wisdom in discerning what we are to do, and boldness and mutuality in bringing divided people together to promote the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.

–President Timothy Lull, addressing the 2003 graduating class of the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 498-499

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Consolidation has been one of the themes in North American Lutheranism.  Many synods have merged, creating new denominations, most of which have united with others.  A series of mergers in the United States of America and in Canada culminated in the formation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC, 1986) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA, 1988).  The ELCA formed via the merger of The American Lutheran Church (1960-1987), the Lutheran Church in America (1962-1987), and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (1976-1987).

Timothy Frank Lull belonged to four denominations.  He, born in Fremont, Ohio, on April 8, 1943, was a son of Raymond Robert Lull and Ruth Cole (Lull).  He grew up in the American Lutheran Church (extant 1930-1960), which merged into The American Lutheran Church (extant 1960-1987).  Our saint graduated from Williams College, Williamstown, Pennsylvania, in 1965.  He went on to study at Yale Divinity School (B.D.) then at Yale Graduate School (Ph.M. and Ph.D.).  Along the way, Lull transferred into the Lutheran Church in America (extant 1962-1987).

Lull married Mary Carlton in 1969.  The couple had two sons.

Lull was a minister in the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) from 1972 to 1987.  He served as the pastor of one congregation, Grace Lutheran Church, Needham, Massachusetts, from 1972 to 1977.  In 1977-1989 our saint was Professor of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He wrote Called to Confess Christ (1980), a resource for adult Christian education.  Lull also became a world-renowned scholar of Martin Luther.  His close reading and careful study resulted in My Conversations with Martin Luther (1988) and Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings (1989).

Lull was a minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) from 1988 to 2003.  He was also a Professor of Systematic Theology (1989-2003), the Academic Dean (1989-1996), and the President (1997-2003) of the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, California.  Furthermore, starting in 1989, Lull became a core doctoral faculty member of the ecumenical [American Baptist, Episcopal, Roman Catholic–Dominican, Roman Catholic–Jesuit, ELCA, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and Unitarian Universalist Association] Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley.

Lull helped his newly formed denomination find itself and its identity.  He, as one of its leaders, understood that the ELCA brought together diverse traditions within U.S. Lutheranism.  The new denomination was a big tent containing degrees of confessionalism, for example.  Practical matters of ministry needed resolution.  Our saint advocated for engagement with society, not retreat for it.  He expressed himself in a more than forty columns under the heading “Our Faith” The Lutheran, a denominational magazine, for fifteen years.

Lull was also an ecumenist.  In 1988-1992 he served as a co-chair of the Lutheran-Reformed Committee for Theological Conversations, the report of which was A Common Calling (1993).  Our saint also engaged in theological discussions with the Roman Catholic Church and had an audience with Pope John Paul II.  Furthermore, Lull was in the middle of the processes by which the ELCA entered into full communion agreements with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ, the Reformed Church in America, The Episcopal Church, and the Moravian Church in America (Northern and Southern Provinces).

Lull died unexpectedly after surgery in Berkeley, California, on May 20, 2003.  He was 60 years old.

Lull’s name appears on two posthumously published books.  On Being Lutheran:  Reflections on Church, Theology, and Faith (2006) comes from his papers.  Resilient Reformer:  The Life and Thought of Martin Luther (2015) is the book our saint never completed, due to death.  The work is complete due to Derek R. Nelson.

Lull’s examples of piety, scholarship, and reconciliation were consistent with the finest ideals of the Church.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 18, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS COLMAN OF LINDISFARNE, AGILBERT, AND WILFRID, BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS BARBASYMAS, SADOTH OF SELEUCIA, AND THEIR COMPANIONS, MARTYRS, 342

THE FEAST OF BLESSED GUIDO DI PIETRO, A.K.A. FRA ANGELICO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND ARTIST

THE FEAST OF HENRY B. WHIPPLE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MINNESOTA

THE FEAST OF JAMES DRUMMOND BURNS, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Timothy Lull,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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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 John Gray (April 1)   Leave a comment

Above:  My Copy of I & II Kings:  A Commentary (1970)

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JOHN GRAY (JUNE 9, 1913-APRIL 1, 2000)

Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Mythologist, Biblical Scholar, and Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages

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To

The late Rev. Professor H. H. Rowley

in token of gratitude

for his continued help and encouragement as a colleague

and friend

for the stimulus of his many publications

for his loyal support of our present project

in his failing health

and as a parting tribute

this book is inscribed

–The dedication, I & II Kings:  A Commentary (Second Edition, 1970)

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John Gray comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Second Edition (1970) of I & II Kings:  A Commentary.  I own a copy.

Gray was a minister, a missionary, a linguist, and a scholar.  Our saint, born in Kelso, Scotland, on June 9, 1913, was a son of a master tailor.  Gray, who grew up learning self-sufficiency in nature, knew how to fish well, kept bees, and gardened.  He also excelled at Edinburgh University, where he studied classics and the Old Testament.  Our saint, furthermore, studied Arabic under the renowned Richard Bell (1876-1952), an influential scholar of the Koran.  Gray, as a Blackie Scholar, traveled in Palestine and Greece for a year.  During that year he visited the École Biblique, Jerusalem, and held the recently discovered Ras Sharma text.  Furthermore, our saint was a divinity student at Greifswald under the tutelage of Gustav Dalman (1855-1941).

The Church of Scotland ordained Gray in 1939.  He, assigned as a missionary in Haifa, went on to spend two and a half years as a chaplain to the Palestinian Police.  As a chaplain our saint traveled throughout Palestine.  He became acquainted with the people, the culture, and the topography.  Sometimes Gray disappeared into the desert with Bedouins for days.  He was gaining experience that informed his later work in Biblical scholarship.

Gray had a gift for learning languages.  In 1941, while returning to Scotland on a Norwegian ship, our saint learned Norwegian.  He retained mastery of that language years later, when he visited Oslo, to deliver two lectures in Norwegian.  One Norwegian linguist’s review of the manuscripts was that Gray had an excellent grasp of the language, but that he used nautical terms too frequently.

Gray was a parish minister in Scotland from 1942 to 1947.  He served on the island of Arran, in the Parish of Kilmory.  While in that remote setting our saint studied the Ugaritic texts he had encountered at the École Biblique, Jerusalem, years prior.  Gray also continued to study Arabic, which he found invaluable to interpreting the Ugaritic texts.

Gray became a professional academic in 1947.  H. H. Rowley (1890-1969), to whom he dedicated I & II Kings:  A Commentary (Second Edition, 1970), offered our saint a position on the faculty of Semitic Languages at Manchester University.   Gray taught at King’s College, Aberdeen, Scotland, from 1953 to 1980, when he retired.  He was a Lecturer (1953-1962) then Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages.  Gray, a dedicated researcher and writer, published, among other volumes:

  1. The Keret Text in the Literature of Ras Sharma:  A Social Myth of Ancient Canaan (1955);
  2. The Legacy of Canaan (1957);
  3. Archaeology and the Old Testament World (1962);
  4. The Canaanites (1964);
  5. I & II Kings:  A Commentary (First Edition, 1964; Second Edition, 1970);
  6. A History of Jerusalem (1969);
  7. Near Eastern Mythology:  Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine (1969);
  8. What About the Children? (1970); and
  9. The Biblical Doctrine of the Reign of God (1979).

In his retirement Gray worked on the Book of Job.  He brought Arabic and Ugraritic to bear on obscure passages of that composite text.

Gray, aged 86 years, died on April 1, 2000.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 31, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES FREDERICK MACKENZIE, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF NYASALAND, AND MARTYR, 1862

THE FEAST OF ANTHONY BÉNÉZET, FRENCH-AMERICAN QUAKER ABOLITIONIST

THE FEAST OF LANZA DEL VASTO, FOUNDER OF THE COMMUNITY OF THE ARK

THE FEAST OF MENNO SIMONS, MENNONITE LEADER

THE FEAST OF MARY EVELYN “MEV” PULEO, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PHOTOJOURNALIST AND ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [John Gray and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Fred B. Craddock (March 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  Cherry Log Christian Church, Cherry Log, Georgia

Image Source = Google Earth

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FRED BRENNING CRADDOCK, JR. (APRIL 30, 1928-MARCH 6, 2015)

U.S. Disciples of Christ Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Renowned Preacher

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The question is not whether the church is dying, but whether it is giving its life for the world.

–Fred B. Craddock

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Fred B. Craddock was one of the most influential preachers in the United States of America.  He, the author of volumes of sermons as well as books about preaching (including Preaching, 1985), was a popular preacher at conferences of his denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and a much sought-after lecturer at theological seminaries of various denominations.  In 1996 Baylor University named Craddock one of the twelve most influential preachers in the country.  In 2010 Preaching magazine, founded in 1985, ranked the twenty-five most influential preachers in the United States from 1985 to 2010.  Craddock occupied the sixteenth ranking.

Fred Brenning Craddock, Jr., was a native of Appalachia.  He, born in Humbolt, Tennessee, on April 30, 1928, was one of the offspring of Fred Brenning Craddock, Sr., and Ethel Craddock. After graduating from Johnson Bible College, Kimberlin Heights, Tennessee, in 1950, our saint maried Nettie Dungan in the middle of that year.  The couple, whom our saint’s death did part, had two children, John and Laura.  Craddock, who graduated from Phillips Theological Seminary, Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1953, became a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  He served in congregations in Tennessee and Oklahoma, earned his doctorate from Vanderbilt University (1964), studied at Tübingen and Yale, and, starting in 1964, taught at Phillips Theological Seminary.  Then, from 1979 to 1992, he was a professor of homiletics at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Decatur, Georgia.  The Craddocks, in retirement, returned to Appalachia.  In 1996, in Cherry Log (down the road from Blue Ridge, Georgia), our saint began to preach at what became Cherry Log Christian Church the following year.  He served as that congregation’s founding pastor from 1997 to 2003.

Craddock wrote commentaries on the Bible. He wrote the volumes on Luke (1990) and Philippians (2011) for the Interpretation series of books.  He also wrote the volume on 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude (1995) for the Westminster Bible Companion series.  Our saint, who contributed to expository commentaries on the Common Lectionary and the Revised Common Lectionary, also cowrote The New Interpreter’s Bible New Testament Survey (2006) and wrote the introduction to and the commentary and reflections on Hebrews for Volume XII (1998) of The New Interpreter’s Bible.

Fred and Nettie Craddock, seeking to contribute to their corner of the world in yet another way, founded the Craddock Center, Cherry Log, in 2001.  Children, our saint and his wife insisted, needed books and music as well as food and shelter.  The Craddock Center has offered educational and cultural programs for children and families in nine counties in Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina for 19 years.

Our saint, who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease during his final years, died in Blue Ridge, Georgia, on March 6, 2015.  He was 86 years old.

In one of the songs from Cotton Patch Gospel (1982) Harry Chapin wrote:

Now if a man tried

to take his time on Earth

and prove before he died

what one man’s life could be worth,

well, I wonder what would happen to this world?

Fred B. Craddock lived that question.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 18, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE

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God of grace and might, we praise you for your saint Fred B. Craddock,

to whom you gave gifts to make the good news known.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds and evangelists of your kingdom,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

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

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Feast of Fred Rogers (February 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  Fred Rogers, July 9, 2002

Image in the Public Domain

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FRED MCFEELY ROGERS (MARCH 20, 1928-FEBRUARY 27, 2003)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

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…but kindness is like a garden of blessings….

–Sirach 40:17a, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

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Fred Rogers comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via his deep Christian piety and great decency.

For years, off and on, hosts of FOX and Friends have taken Rogers behind the woodshed verbally, as clips easily available on YouTube prove.  These television personalities have asked if he was

RUINING KIDS

for telling young people,

You’re special because you’re you.

These hosts have also accused Rogers of being

This evil, evil man….

As any historian knows, consider the source.  That source’s foolishness is obvious to anyone who knows what evil is.  When I think of evil people, my mind turns immediately to genocidal dictators:  Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot.  Personalities at FOX and Friends think of kindly hosts of children’s shows, apparently.

But kindness is a paradise in its blessings….

–Ecclesiasticus 40:17a, The Revised English Bible (1989)

Fred Rogers was a  paragon of gentleness and mere goodness.  Fred McNeely Rogers knew about childhood struggles firsthand.  He, son of Nancy Rogers and businessman James Rogers, debuted in LaTrobe, Pennsylvania, on March 20, 1928.  Our saint, as a youth, was overweight, shy, and a frequent target for bullies.  The introvert, played with puppets and stuffed animals at home.  He came out of his shell and slimmed down eventually.

Our saint made a career in television, mostly for children.  After graduating from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, with a degree in music composition, in 1951, Rogers worked for NBC in New York, New York, for two years.  He worked behind the cameras on positive programming.  In 1952 Rogers married Sara Joanne Byrd, a former classmate at Rollins College, and a fine pianist.  The couple raised two children and remained married until our saint died, in 2003.

But goodness, like eternity, will never be cut off….

–Wisdom of Ben Sira 40:17a, The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011)

Rogers made the transition to children’s programming in 1953, when he went to work behind the cameras at WQED, a public television station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He developed The Children’s Corner.  Our saint also studied child psychology and development at the University of Pittsburgh, where he met Margaret McFarland, a psychologist.  They collaborated professionally for decades.  Furthermore, Rogers studied at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  He became an ordained minister in The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1963.  Rogers served as a pastor in a congregation; television was his main ministry.  Writing books for children was another ministry.

Rogers worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in Toronto from 1963 to 1967.  He made his debut as a host on MisteRogers (1963-1967).  Our saint also worked on Butternut Square from 1964 to 1967.  Many characters on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood started during this period.

You made this day special just by being yourself.

–Fred Rogers

Rogers, back in Pittsburgh, produced and starred in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-1975, 1979-2001), for which he also composed most of the music.  He created 895 episodes rerun frequently.  The series focused on the moral, psychological, and emotional development of children.  Themes included tolerance and self-worth.  Topics included assassination (in 1968), divorce, civil rights, the death of a pet, and starting school.  Rogers affirmed that life is not cheap, that is a great wonder and something to affirm and celebrate.  He also said that television programs should make that point.

You know, you don’t have to look like everybody else to be acceptable and to feel acceptable.

–Fred Rogers

Rogers also made other television appearances, usually as himself.  In 1978, on hiatus from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, our saint hosted the 20 episodes of Old Friend…New Friends, an interview series for adults.  He also portrayed the Reverend Thomas in an episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman in 1996.

Rogers produced the final episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in December 2000.  Then he retired.  That retirement was brief, due to our saint’s failing health.  Rogers, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 27, 2003.  In less than a month, he would have been 75 years old.

Fred Rogers was a good neighbor to everyone.

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Loving God, in whom all goodness dwells and in whom is Heaven,

we thank you for the life, legacy, and faith of your servant, Fred Rogers,

a vehicle and conduit of your love for all people.

May your love define our lives and inform our work,

for the benefit of others and for your glory;

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

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-13a

Psalm 15

1 Corinthians 13

Matthew 18:1-5

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

PROPER 22:  THE SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF GEORGE EDWARD LYNCH COTTON, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CALCUTTA

THE FEAST OF HEINRICH ALBERT, GERMAN LUTHERAN COMPOSER AND POET

THE FEAST OF JOHN ERNEST BODE, ANGLICAN PRIEST, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM TYNDALE, ENGLISH REFORMER, BIBLE TRANSLATOR, AND MARTYR, 1536; AND MILES COVERDALE, ENGLISH REFORMER, BIBLE TRANSLATOR, AND BISHOP OF EXETER

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Feast of John Tietjen (February 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Logo of Christ Seminary-Seminex

Fair Use

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JOHN TIETJEN (JUNE 18, 1928-FEBRUARY 15, 2004)

U.S. Lutheran Minister, Ecumenist, and Bishop

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Jesus makes all the difference in how we see God and God’s relation to us, what we do with our lives, and what we can expect God to do for us.

–John Tietjen; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 139-140

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John Tietjen, a child of German immigrants, served as a minister in three denominations, two of whom he helped to form.  He, an ecumenist, had to commit schism in order to participate in a merger.

Our saint was originally a member of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS).  He, born in New York, New York, on June 18, 1928, graduated from Concordia Collegiate Institute, Bronxville, New York.  After earning a Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, Tietjen earned a Master of Sacred Theology and a doctorate from Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York.  He, ordained in Teaneck, New Jersey, in September 1953, served as the assistant pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Teaneck, until 1956.  Then, from 1956 to 1966, our saint served as pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church, Leonia, New Jersey.  Tietjen married Ernestine Catherine Damits (1925-2015) in 1953.  The couple had four children.

Tietjen was prominent in the LCMS until he left during the denominational controversy (1969-1976).  He served as the Executive Secretary of the Division of Public Relations, Lutheran Council in the U.S.A., from 1966 to 1969.  Then our saint became the President of Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, in 1969.  He was allegedly too liberal, to the point of heresy (as in higher Biblical scholarship), hence his suspension in early 1974.  The following year, Tietjen became the President of Christ Seminary-Seminex (Seminary in Exile), which merged into the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, Illinois, in 1987.  Our saint helped to form the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC), which broke away from the LCMS in 1976,

The LCMS earned its reputation for not being on the vanguard of ecumenism.  That portion of the left wing of the LCMS that broke away almost immediately engaged with other Lutheran denominations, though.  By the late 1970s, the process of negotiating the merger of the AELC, The American Lutheran Church (TALC), and the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) was underway.  Tietjen, as a member of the Commission for a New Lutheran Church, helped to create the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which became operational on January 1, 1988.

Tietjen continued as a leader in the merged denomination.  He served as the first Bishop of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod in 1988 and 1989.  Then our saint became the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Fort Worth, Texas, in 1989.  He retired in 2000, but continued in ministry afterward, as long as he was able.

Tietjen wrote three books:

  1. Which Way to Lutheran Unity:  A History of Efforts to Unite the Lutherans of America (1966),
  2. Memories in Exile:  Confessional Hope and Institutional Conflict (1990), and
  3. The Gospel According to Jesus (2006), his final project, published posthumously.

Tietjen, aged 77 years, died at home, in Fort Worth, on February 15, 2004.  He had suffered from cancer and a brain tumor.  His wife, children, and grandchildren survived him.

Tietjen lived in the hope of resurrection.  Preaching on the Confession of St. Peter, our saint said:

I have placed my life in God’s hands.  Therefore I know all will be well, including what happens at death.  No, death is not the end of it all.  Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.  God raised Jesus from the dead.  God raised Jesus from the dead.  Because He lives, I too will live.  The Messiah said so.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 15, 2019 COMMON ERA

PROPER 19:  THE FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, SEPTEMBER 15, 1963

THE FEAST OF CHARLES EDWARD OAKLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JAMES CHISHOLM, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PHILIBERT AND AICARDUS OF JUMIEGES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant John Tietjen,

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

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

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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