Archive for the ‘Saints of 2000-2009’ Category

Feast of Unita Blackwell (May 13)   Leave a comment

Above:   Mayersville, Mississippi

Image Source = Google Earth

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UNITA ZELMA BROWN BLACKWELL (MARCH 18, 1933-MAY 13, 2019)

African-American Civil Rights Activist, Rural Community Development Specialist, and Mayor of Mayersville, Mississippi

Born U. Z. Brown

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Politics is not just about voting one day every four years.  Politics is the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the road we walk on.

–Unita Blackwell

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Unita Blackwell‘s Christian faith compelled her to resist systems of oppression and leave communities better than she found them.  Her faith led her to seek intercultural understanding on the local, national, and international levels.

U. Z, Brown, born in Lula, Mississippi, on March 18, 1933, grew up in the Jim Crow U.S. South.  Laws kept African Americans “in their place,” or subordinate to white people.  Our saint, the daughter of sharecroppers Willie Brown and Virda Mae Brown, was originally just U. Z,–initials, no name that abbreviated to them.  The Browns believed on a plantation and in fear of the estate’s owner.  In 1936, Willie fled the plantation.  His family joined him in Memphis, Tennessee, shortly thereafter.  The couple separated in 1938.  Virda Mae and her mother moved to West Helena, Arkansas.

Jim Crow laws restricted the educational opportunities of African Americans in West Helena.  The agricultural economy took precedence over schooling.  Furthermore, African Americans could not attend high school; their public education terminated at the eighth grade.  U. Z. chose her new name, Unita Zelma, in the sixth grade.  She also completed the eighth grade.  Her formal education did not progress until the 1980s.

Our saint met and married Jeremiah Blackwell, a cook for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The site of the wedding was Clarksdale, Mississippi.  The couple had one child, Jeremiah, Jr., born on July 2, 1957.  The Blackwells moved to Mayersville, Mississippi, a small town and the seat of Issaquena County.  Mayersville remained our saint’s home for most of the remainder of her life.  She active in her Baptist church, taught Sunday School.

Blackwell became a civil rights activist in the summer of 1964.  That June, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) conducted a voter registration drive in Issaquena County.  Jeremiah and Unita tried to register to vote, but initially failed the the registration test, designed to cause people to fail.  Both of them lost their jobs for their trouble.  Unita eventually passed the registration test a few months later.  I have found no information about when Jeremiah successfully registered to vote.

That summer, with the aid and encouragement of Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977), Blackwell embarked upon activism.  She became a project manager with SNCC, directing voter registration drives in the state.  That summer, she also attended the Democratic National Convention as a delegate from the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

Blackwell paid a stiff price for her activism; police arrested her more than 70 times.  Yet she remained undeterred.  Our saint helped to introduce Head Start for African-American children in Mississippi in 1965.  Our saint and her husband successfully sued the Issaquena County Board of Education in 1965.  The local elementary school principal had expelled more than 300 African-American children for a range of alleged offenses, including wearing SNCC pins.  The federal district court agreed with the Blackwells.  It also ordered the integration of Issaquena County public schools by fall 1965.  The federal court of appeals upheld the district court’s ruling.  The public schools did not integrate until 1970, though.  Freedom schools for African-American chilldren operated through the summer of 1970.

Blackwell became an expert in rural community development, in the context of rural poverty.  In the late 1960s and the 1970s, she worked with the National Council of Negro Women on the issue of low-income housing.  Our saint encouraged poor people across the United States to construct their own housing.  She served as the Mayor of Mayersville from 1977 to 2001.  In that capacity, in the poor, rural Mississippi Delta, Blackwell expanded the range of basic services the local government provided to citizens.  The quality of life for all residents, especially poor and the vulnerable, improved.  Mayor Blackwell’s formal education leapfrogged from the eighth grade to a graduate degree in 1983.  In 1982 and 1983, she studied for her Master of Regional Planning degree from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst.

Blackwell’s efforts extended to the national level, too.  She was a member of the Democratic National Committee.  Our saint also attended the national Energy Summit at Camp David in 1979.  President Jimmy Carter invited her.  That year our saint also began to sit on the U.S. National Commission on the International Year of the Child.  Furthermore, Blackwell was a Fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, in 1991-1992.  She also ran in the primary election for U.S. House of Representatives in 1993, the year after she won one of the MacArthur Fellowships, or “genius grants.”

Blackwell also worked on the international front.  She, interested in U.S.-Chinese cultural exchanges, made sixteen trips to the People’s Republic of China, starting in 1973.  Furthermore, she served as the President of the U.S.-China Peoples Friendship Association (founded in 1974) for six years.  And, in 1995, our saint was a delegate to the Non-Government Organizations Forum, related to the International Conference on Women, in Beijing.

Sadly, dementia afflicted Blackwell during her final years.  It set in by 2007/2008.  Our saint, 86 years old, died in a nursing home in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, on May 13, 2019.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 30, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT INNOCENT OF ALASKA, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES AND ENLIGHTENER OF NORTH AMERICA

THE FEAST OF CORDELIA COX, U.S. LUTHERAN SOCIAL WORKER, EDUCATOR, AND RESETTLER OF REFUGEES

THE FEAST OF JOHN MARRIOTT, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN WRIGHT BUCKHAM, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JULIA ALVAREZ MENDOZA, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1927

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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 Unita Blackwell, to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Diet Eman, Hein Sietsma, and Henk Sietsma (April 30)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of The Netherlands

Image in the Public Domain

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BERNANDINA ROELOFINA HENDRIKA “DIET” EMAN (APRIL 30, 1920-SEPTEMBER 3, 2019)

fiancée of

HEIN SIETSMA (OCTOBER 15, 1919-JANUARY 21, 1945)

Martyr, 1945

brother of

HENDRIK “HENK” SIETSMA (OCTOBER 18, 1921-MAY 10, 2002)

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RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS

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…we wanted to obey God to help the Jewish people.

–Diet Eman

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Diet (pronounced “deet”) Eman comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via news accounts of her death in September 2019.  Her fiancé and his brother join her her via their work with her.  All three saints are Yad Vashem, or Righteous Among the Nations–the brothers since 1977 and Diet since 1998.

These saints were Dutch Reformed Christians.  Bernandina Roelofina Hendrika Eman, born in The Hague, The Netherlands, on April 30, 1920, was a daughter of Gerrit Eman (1883-1975) and Johanna Maria Brouwer Eman (1884-1978).  She met Hein Sietsma, born in Marum, The Netherlands, on October 15, 1919, in 1937.  The two of them eventually fell in love.  Almost immediately after the Nazi invasion of The Netherlands, Diet, Hein, and his brother Hendrik “Henk” (born on October 18, 1921) joined the resistance to the occupation.

The three were founders and members of Group Hein, also known as Help Elkander in Nood, or “Helping Each Other in Need.”  Group Hein/Help Elkander in Nood sheltered Jews, as well as British and American airmen behind the lines.  The group saved the lives of nine Jewish families plus eleven Jewish individuals.  Supplying and hiding these Jews and airmen was risky; the Third Reich and its agents disapproved of saving these lives and producing fake IDs.

Nazi authorities arrested all three saints.  They arrested Hein in Friesland on April 28, 1944.  He died at Dachau concentration camp on January 21, 1945.  In his last letter (written on toilet paper) to Diet, he acknowledged that the couple would never meet again in this life, and wrote,

Love conquers all.

Henk survived Dachau concentration camp, though.  Diet, eventually arrested, went to Vught concentration camp.  Her assigned task was to wash the bloody clothes of executed prisoners.  At her trial she successfully played dumb.  The court released her, and she resumed her work with the resistance.

Henk, aged 80 years, died on May 10, 2002.

Diet spent the next thirty-plus years not discussing her wartime experiences.  She, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) left The Netherlands after World War II.  She, having obtained her nursing degree, worked as a nurse for the Shell Oil Company in South America for a decade.  There she met and married Egon Erlich (1928-2017), an American.  The couple had children and moved to New York state.  The marriage ended in divorce.  Diet and her children relocated to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Diet, who told her story publicly in 1978 then many times afterward, remained active in health care.  After our saint retired from nursing, she volunteered with the American Red Cross and served as a medical missionary with the Luke Society, from her seventies to her nineties.  At age 97, Diet was a volunteer in the Dominican Republic.  She also told her story in writing and in person.  Our saint’s book was Things We Couldn’t Say (1999).  During the early 2000s, she traveled, telling her story to contradict Holocaust deniers.

Diet became an American citizen in 2007.

She, aged 99 years, died at Samaritas Senior Living of Grand Rapids on September 3, 2019.  Our saint was a member of Seymour Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, the site of the funeral.

The divine commandment to love others as one loves oneself is an order that can place one at great risk.  It is a commandment Diet Eman, Hein Sietsma, and Henk Sietsma followed, for the glory of God and the benefit of many people.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 16, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ADALBALD OF OSTREVANT, RICTRUDIS OF MARCHIENNES, AND THEIR RELATIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM KIDUNAIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT MARY OF EDESSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ANCHORESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CACCIAFRONTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND MARTYR, 1183

THE FEAST OF SAINT MEGINGAUD OF WURZBURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF THOMAS WYATT TURNER, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC SCIENTIST, EDUCATOR, AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST; FOUNDER OF FEDERATED COLORED CATHOLICS

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Lord God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Psalm 94:1-14

Hosea 2:18-23

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Simon B. Parker (April 29)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Seal of Boston University

Image in the Public Domain

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SIMON BRUCE PARKER (FEBRUARY 23, 1940-APRIL 29, 2006)

United Methodist Biblical Scholar

Simon B. Parker comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The New Interpreter’s Bible.  He wrote the article, “The Ancient Near Eastern Literary Background of the Old Testament,” for Volume I (1994).

Parker was a fine Biblical scholar. He, born in Manchester, England, on February 23, 1940, was a son of Harold William Parker and Irene Smith (Parker).  Our saint graduated from the University of Manchester (B.A., 1960).  The following year, he came to the United States of America.  Parker married Sonia Margarita Palmer on August 26, 1961.  The couple had two sons Jeremy Edmund Parker and Jonathan Aldwin Parker.

Parker built a career in academia.  He graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky (B.D., 1963); and The Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D., 1967).  Our saint was, in order:

  1. Assistant Professor, Reed College, Portland, Oregon (1967-1975);
  2. Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon (1976-1977);
  3. Assistant to the President, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (1978-1981);
  4. Associate Dean, The School of Theology, Boston University (1981-1988); and
  5. Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Harrell F. Beck Scholar in Hebrew Scholar, The School of Theology, Boston University (1988-2006).

Parker was an expert in Hebrew inscriptions and Ugaritic literature.  His research focus was Canaanite cultural influences on Israel.  He, the author of many articles and book reviews, and edited the Society of Biblical Literature’s Writings from the Ancient World series of books for eight years.  Our saint also wrote The Pre-Biblical Narrative Tradition (1988) and Stories in Scripture and Inscriptions (1997).

Furthermore, Parker enjoyed hiking and played classical piano well.

Parker served as the moderator of the United Parish of Auburndale, Auburndale, Newton, Massachusetts, from 1992 to 1994.  I have noticed with delight that the federated United Church of Christ-United Methodist congregation is substantially to the left of the administration of Asbury Theological Seminary.

Parker died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Auburndale, Newton, Massachusetts, on April 29, 2006.  He was 66 years old.

One may legitimately wonder what other contributions to Biblical scholarship Parker may have made, had he lived longer.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACHARY OF ROME, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JAN ADALBERT BALICKI AND LADISLAUS FINDYSZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN POLAND

THE FEAST OF OZORA STEARNS DAVIS, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VETHAPPAN SOLOMON, APOSTLE TO THE NICOBAR ISLANDS

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Simon B. Parker 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 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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