Archive for the ‘Saints of 2000-2019’ Category

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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Feast of Bruce M. Metzger (February 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Part of the Title Page of The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Revised Standard Version (1977)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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BRUCE MANNING METZGER (FEBRUARY 9, 1914-FEBRUARY 13, 2007)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Biblical Translator

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This urn contains the ashes of a Revised Standard Version bible.  Isn’t it a tragedy what some people do to the word of God?  I’m so glad to be a translator in the twentieth century.  They only burn bibles now, not translators!

–Bruce M. Metzger, speaking of the remains of a copy of the Revised Standard Version that a fundamentalist preacher burned in church during a service, after having called the RSV the work of Satan

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Bruce M. Metzger comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interprepter’s Bible, for which he wrote a General Article, “The Language of the New Testament,” for Volume I (1952).  He also comes to my Ecumenical Calendar via various editions of The New Oxford Annotated Bible (Revised Standard Version and New Revised Standard Version), which he co-edited.

Metzger was one of the preeminent Biblical translators and scholars of the twentieth century.  He was a scholar’s scholar.  Not only did our saint’s admirers come from a broad theological spectrum, but so did his detractors; he was a moderate and a cautious scholar.  Metzger was one of the translators of the Revised Standard Version (1946, 1952. 1957, 1971) and the main editor of the New Revised Standard Version (1989).  He also helped to prepare definitive editions of the Greek New Testament.  Metzger was (and remains) a target of criticism and damnation from many fundamentalists, though.  Nevertheless, admirers included many self-identified Evangelical scholars.  Furthermore, our saint was to the right of the John Shelby Spong-Marcus Borg-John Dominic Crossan-Bart Ehrman school.  Many fundamentalists have never forgiven him for not being a fundamentalist, though.

Nobody can please everybody.

Metzger was a Presbyterian.  He born in Middletown, Pennsylvania, on February 9, 1914, graduated from Lebanon Valley College, Annville, Pennsylvania, in 1935.  Next he matriculated at Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating in 1938.  Our saint, ordained into the old Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1938, joined the faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary that year.  He remained for 46 years, retiring in 1984.  Metzger earned his doctorate in 1942 and became the George L. Collard Professor of New Testament Language and Literature in 1964.  He continued as a minister through denominational mergers, passing into The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1958 then into the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1983.

Metzger married Isobel Elizabeth Mackay (d. 2016, at the age of 98 years) in 1944.  They prepared a concordance of the Revised Standard Version in 1962.

Metzger, author of more than 30 books, was a gentleman who made his mark on Biblical scholarship.  This faithful scholar, aged 93 years, died in Princeton, New Jersey, on February 13, 2007.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 COMMON ERA

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

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCISCUS CH’OE KYONG-HWAN, KOREAN ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR, 1839; SAINTS LAWRENCE MARY JOSEPH IMBERT, PIERRE PHILIBERT MAUBANT, AND JACQUES HONORÉ CHASTÁN, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS, MISSIONARIES TO KOREA, AND MARTYRS, 1839; SAINT PAUL CHONG HASANG, KOREAN ROMAN CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN, AND MARTYR, 1839; AND SAINTS CECILIA YU SOSA AND JUNG HYE, KOREAN ROMAN CATHOLIC MARYTRS, 1839

THE FEAST OF KASPAR BIENEMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JOSIAH IRONS, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; AND HIS DAUGHTER, GENEVIEVE MARY IRONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Bruce M. Metzger 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 Daniel J. Harrington (February 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Image in the Public Domain

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DANIEL “DAN” J. HARRINGTON (JULY 1, 1940-FEBRUARY 7, 2014)

U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Biblical Scholar

Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The New Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote an article, “Introduction to the Canon,” for Volume I (1994).

Harrington seemed born to be a scholar.  He, born in Arlington, Massachusetts, on July 19, 1940, graduated from high school in 1958 then joined the Society of Jesus before the end of the year.  He graduated from Weston College, Cambridge, Massachusetts (B.A. in Classics, 1964; M.A. in Philosophy, 1965), and from Harvard University (Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages, 1970).  Then Harrington earned his M.Div. from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology (1971).  Our saint taught at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois, in 1971-1972.  Then he joined the faculty of Weston Jesuit School of Theology in 1972, as Professor of the New Testament.  Harrington, ordained a priest in 1971, remained on faculty there for the rest of this life.  (The seminary became part of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in 2008.)

Harrington, a scholar and a gentleman, wrote much.  He, while carrying full course loads, chaired the Biblical Studies Department at Weston, and somehow found time to sleep.  He edited New Testament Abstracts (to which he had contributed from 1962 to 1971 and of which he had been the Assistant Editor from 1971 to 1972) from 1972 to late 2013.  Our saint also wrote about 60 books, about 225 articles and essays, more than 250 book reviews, and more than 150 essays for America magazine.  Furthermore, Harrington edited the 18 volumes of the Sacra Pagina commentaries on the New Testament (1988-2007).

Harrington also had parish responsibilities.  He was an associate priest at St. Agnes Church, Arlington, Massachusetts (1971-2013); and at St. Peter’s Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1991-2013).

Our saint fought cancer during his final years.  He, aged 73 years, died on February 7, 2014, during what he had announced would be his final academic year at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.  He had spent his life serving God and doing what he loved to do.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 COMMON ERA

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

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCISCUS CH’OE KYONG-HWAN, KOREAN ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR, 1839; SAINTS LAWRENCE MARY JOSEPH IMBERT, PIERRE PHILIBERT MAUBANT, AND JACQUES HONORÉ CHASTÁN, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS, MISSIONARIES TO KOREA, AND MARTYRS, 1839; SAINT PAUL CHONG HASANG, KOREAN ROMAN CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN, AND MARTYR, 1839; AND SAINTS CECILIA YU SOSA AND JUNG HYE, KOREAN ROMAN CATHOLIC MARYTRS, 1839

THE FEAST OF KASPAR BIENEMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JOSIAH IRONS, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; AND HIS DAUGHTER, GENEVIEVE MARY IRONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Daniel J. Harrington 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 Daniel J. Simundson (January 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  Logo of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Fair Use

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DANIEL J. SIMUNDSON (FEBRUARY 14, 1933-JANUARY 28, 2013)

U.S. Lutheran Minister and Biblical Scholar

Daniel J. Simundson comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The New Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the introduction to and the commentary and reflections on Micah in Volume VII (1996).

Simundson, of Icelandic background, was a native of Seattle, Washington.  He, born on February 14, 1933, grew up in that city.  Our saint studied at Stanford University (B.A., 1955) and the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary, Maywood, Illinois (B.D., 1959).  He, ordained (presumably by the United Lutheran Church in America) in 1959, served as a pastor in Mendon, Illinois (presumably at Salem Lutheran Church), in 1959-1961.

Simundson usually worked beyond the parish level.  He was a hospital chaplain at the Washington University Medical School, St. Louis, Missouri (1961-1967).  After earning a doctorate from Harvard University in 1971, Simundson joined the faculty of Luther Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1972.  He retired in 2003, after serving as Professor of Old Testament (1981-2003) and filling various deanships, as well as witnessing two institutional name changes (to Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary in 1982 then to Luther Seminary in 1994).

Simundson was the husband of Sally for 38 years, until she died.  The couple had two daughters, Susan and Ann-Marie.

Our saint’s books included the following:

  1. Chosen:  The Story of God and His People (1976), with David L. Tiede;
  2. Where is God in My Suffering?  Biblical Responses to Seven Searching Questions (1984);
  3. Where is God in My Praying?  Biblical Responses to Eight Searching Questions (1986);
  4. Hope for All Seasons:  Biblical Expressions of Confidence in the Promises of God (1989);
  5. Faith Under Fire:  How the Bible Speaks to Us in Times of Suffering (1991);
  6. Faith Under Fire:  Leader’s Guide (1991);
  7. God, Evil, and Suffering:  Essays in Honor of Paul R. Sponheim (2000)–author of an essay;
  8. Renewing Hope:  Is There Room for Hope in a World Like This? (2001);
  9. The Message of Job:  A Theological Commentary (2001); and
  10. Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries:  Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah (2005).

Simundson died in Roseville, Minnesota, on January 28, 2013.  He was 79 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 1, 2019 COMMON ERA

PROPER 17:  THE TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT DIONYSIUS EXIGUUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND REFORMER OF THE CALENDAR

THE FEAST OF DAVID PENDLETON OAKERHATER, CHEYENNE WARRIOR, CHIEF, AND HOLY MAN, AND EPISCOPAL DEACON AND MISSIONARY IN OKLAHOMA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIACRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

THE FEAST OF FRANÇOIS MAURIAC, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC NOVELIST, CHRISTIAN HUMANIST, AND SOCIAL CRITIC

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Daniel J. Simundson 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 George A. Buttrick and David G. Buttrick (January 24)   Leave a comment

Above:  Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Image in the Public Domain

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GEORGE ARTHUR BUTTRICK (MARCH 23, 1892-JANUARY 23, 1980)

Anglo-American Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

father of

DAVID GARDNER BUTTRICK (MAY 21, 1927-APRIL 22, 2017)

U.S. Presbyterian then United Church of Christ Minister, Theologian, and Liturgist

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Prayer is not a substitute for work, thinking, watching, suffering, or giving; prayer is a support for all other efforts.

–George Arthur Buttrick

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Preaching must accept the challenge to reach the hearts and minds of people and regain the luster it has lost in the last several decades.

–David Gardner Buttrick, 1996

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INTRODUCTION

The Buttricks come to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible and The New Interpreter’s Bible.

George Arthur Buttrick was deeply involved in The Interpreter’s Bible.  He served as the Commentary Editor for the twelve-volume set.  He also wrote one of the General Articles, “The Study of the Bible,” in Volume I (1952).  Furthermore, Buttrick wrote the exposition on Matthew (Volume VII, 1951), Luke 13-18 (Volume VIII, 1952), and Philemon (Volume XI, 1955).

David Gardner Buttrick wrote an article, “The Use of the Bible in Preaching,” for Volume I (1994) of The New Interpreter’s Bible.

George Arthur Buttrick and David Gardner Buttrick, father and son, were renowned preachers, professors, and theologians.

GEORGE ARTHUR BUTTRICK

George Arthur Buttrick, born in Seaham, England, on March 23, 1892, became one of the most influential preachers in the United States.  He studied at Victoria University of Manchester and married Agnes Gardner (1893-1990) before immigrating to the United States.  Buttrick became a minister in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.  He was a pastor in Quincy, Illinois; and Rutland, Vermont; before becoming pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Buffalo, New York.  He succeeded Henry Sloane Coffin (1877-1954) at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, New York, in 1927, and served until 1954.  In New York City, on May 21, 1927, the Buttricks welcomed their youngest son, David Gardner Buttrick.

George had a strong social compass and a good moral compass.  He, a pacifist and a supporter of civil rights, was the Preacher to the University and the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard University from 1954 to 1960.  He also taught at the following:

  1. Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York;
  2. Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois;
  3. Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina;
  4. Vanderbilt Divinity School, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee; and
  5. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

He died, aged 87 years, in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 23, 1980.

DAVID GARDNER BUTTRICK

David Gardner Buttrick was a chip off the old block.  He, a graduate of Haverford College (B.A., 1948), Union Theological Seminary (1951), Garrett Biblical Institute, and Northwestern University, earned degrees in theology, poetry, and contemporary literature.  He married Betty More Allaban (d. 2015) in 1950.

Buttrick was a Presbyterian minister from 1951 to 1993.  He was a clergyman of, in order, the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1951-1958), The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1958-1983), and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1983-1993).  Our saint, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Fredonia, New York (1951-1960), served on the denominational Board of Christian Education (1960-1961) then taught at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (1961-1975).  Buttrick resigned from the faculty in protest after the seminary, in financial difficulty, laid off much of the staff and gave raises to professors.  While at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, our saint contributed to The Book of Common Worship–Provisional Services and Lectionary for the Christian Year (1966).  He was also the main author of The Worshipbook–Services (1970), incorporated into The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972).

Buttrick, author of 19 books and many articles, continued teaching after leaving Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  He was the Marten Professor of Homiletics at the St. Meinrad School of Theology (1975-1982), St. Meinrad, Indiana.  Our saint moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1982.  There he led an interdisciplinary initiative of the Vanderbilt Divinity School and the Graduate School of Religion.  The program combined liturgy, preaching, and other disciplines.

Buttrick, who did not shy away from a moral confrontation, resigned from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1993.  The PC(USA), he said, needed to be bolder.  It needed to be more welcoming and affirming of diversity and to support civil rights for all people, he insisted.  Our saint joined the United Church of Christ.

Buttrick, aged 89 years, died in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 22, 2017.

EARLY CONTEMPORARY LITURGY

My only critical comments come from an Episcopalian perspective on liturgy.

The late 1960s and early 1970s were an awkward time for Christian liturgy in the United States.  Modern English was taking over from archaic English in many denominations.  Nearly all of the volumes from the first wave of modern English-language liturgy became dated quickly.

The Worshipbook (1970 and 1972) is a product of its time, much like its contemporary, Leonard Bernstein‘s MASS (1971).  The Worshipbook (1970) is an advance in Presbyterian liturgy, but it pales in comparison to its immediate successor, The Book of Common Worship (1993).  The placement of Holy Communion as the central act of worship is proper, but the rites for daily Morning Prayer and Morning Prayer in The Worshipbook are inadequate, especially compared to their counterparts from The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  The passage of time is unkind to The Worshipbook.

CONCLUSION

Both Buttricks were men of great faith and profound moral courage.

That is their primary legacy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 1, 2019 COMMON ERA

PROPER 17:  THE TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT DIONYSIUS EXIGUUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND REFORMER OF THE CALENDAR

THE FEAST OF DAVID PENDLETON OAKERHATER, CHEYENNE WARRIOR, CHIEF, AND HOLY MAN, AND EPISCOPAL DEACON AND MISSIONARY IN OKLAHOMA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIACRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

THE FEAST OF FRANÇOIS MAURIAC, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC NOVELIST, CHRISTIAN HUMANIST, AND SOCIAL CRITIC

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servants George Arthur Buttrick and David Gardner Buttrick,

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, 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), 600

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Feast of W. Sibley Towner (January 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia

Image Source = Google Earth

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W. SIBLEY TOWNER (JANUARY 10, 1933-MAY 23, 2018)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

W. Sibley Towner comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The New Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the introduction, commentary, and reflections on Ecclesiastes in Volume V (2000).

Towner was a gentleman and a scholar.  He, born to Wayne A. and Frances S. Towner, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on January 10, 1933, studied at Yale University.  Our saint earned his B.A., B.D., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University.  He was also a Fulbright Scholar at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.  Our saint became a Presbyterian (Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., not the Presbyterian Church in the United States) missionary in Lebanon.  For three years he taught secondary school at the Gerard Institute, in 1954-1957.  While in Lebanon, Towner met Jane Ann Miller.  They married in Beirut in 1956.

Towner, ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1960, taught Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, and the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary through 1976.  In 1976 our saint became The Reverend Archibald McFayden Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, across the street from each other in Richmond, Virginia.  [Note:  The two institutions federated as Union-PSCE in 1997 and became Union Presbyterian Seminary in 2009.]  Towner, known as “Sib,” was a respected and admired member of the faculty.  His sense of humor, his penchant for writing limericks, and the twinkle in his eyes set people at ease.  Towner also wrote columns, articles, and Biblical commentaries.  Our saint, who retired in 2002, remained active in seminary life until Parkinson’s Disease forced him to stop.

One can acquire Towner’s book-length commentaries on Genesis and Daniel, Volume V of The New Interpreter’s Bible, and Prayers that Sing and Stir the Heart (2018).

Towner, aged 85 years, died in Kilmarnock, Virginia, on May 23, 2018.

He must have been a wonderful man to know, under whom to study, and with whom to work.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDER OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [W. Sibley Towner 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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