Archive for the ‘Saints of 2010-2019’ 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 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 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 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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