Archive for the ‘Saints of Georgia (U.S.A.)’ Category

Feast of James Woodrow (January 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  James Woodrow

Image Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JAMES WOODROW (MAY 30, 1828-JANUARY 17, 1907)

Southern Presbyterian Minister, Naturalist, and Alleged Heretic

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Let the Church show herself the patroness of learning in everything…and let her never be subjected by mistaken friends, to the charge that she fears the light.

–James Woodrow, November 22, 1861; quoted in Ernest Trice Thompson, Presbyterians in the South, Vol. 1, 1607-1861 (1963), 508

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Above:  Logo of the Presbyterian Church in the United States

Image Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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James Woodrow, brother-in-law of Joseph Ruggles Wilson (1822-1903) and uncle of President (first of Princeton University then of the United States of America) Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via two authors.  For this post I draw from Clayton H. Ramsey’s article about Bethany Presbyterian Church, Greene County, Georgia, in the Autumn 2018 issue of Georgia Backroads magazine.  I also derive information from the first two volumes of Ernest Trice Thompson‘s magisterial three-volume work, Presbyterians in the South (1963-1973).  I also derive information from Journals of Southern Presbyterian General Assemblies.

James Woodrow, a native of England, spent most of his life in the United States.  He, born in Carlisle on May 30, 1828, emigrated with his family as a youth.  He graduated from Jefferson College, Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1849.  Then he studied under naturalist Louis Agassiz at the Lawrence Scientific School, Harvard.  After teaching in Alabama, Woodrow was a professor at Oglethorpe University, Midway, Georgia, from 1853 to 1861.  He taught geology, botany, chemistry, and natural philosophy.  Our saint also took a few years off to earn graduate degrees at the University of Heidelberg.  When he graduated in 1856, he could have become the Chair of Natural Sciences at Heidelberg, had he accepted the offer.  Woodrow studied theology after returning to Oglethorpe University.  He became a minister in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (Old School) on October 15, 1859; the ordination occurred at Bethany Presbyterian Church, Greene County, Georgia.

Columbia Theological Seminary, Columbia, South Carolina, created an endowed professorship, Woodrow’s next job, in 1861.  Judge John Perkins, of Mississippi, provided the funding for the position, with the intention that the Perkins Professor of Natural Science refute Evolution and prepare seminarians to do the same.  Woodrow, who started the job in late 1861, insisted on academic freedom, though.  He also carried into the professorship his conviction that God could not contradict himself in the Bible and in science, and that any seeming contradiction between the Bible and science must result from the misinterpretation of scripture.  This position left Woodrow, who refused to dismiss rock layers and fossil records, open to accepting Evolution, which he did by 1884.

The Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America (PCCSA) formed at First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Georgia, on December 4, 1861.   Wilson became a charter member of the new denomination.

The Civil War disrupted elements of church life in the South.  Columbia Theological Seminary closed for most of the conflict.  Furthermore, The Southern Presbyterian did not always go to the presses.  Woodrow remained busy, though.

  1. He edited The Southern Presbyterian.
  2. He became the Treasurer of the PCCSA’s Foreign Mission Committee in 1861.
  3. He became the Treasurer of the PCCSA’s Home Mission Committee in 1863.
  4. He taught chemistry at the College of South Carolina.
  5. He managed the Medical and Chemical Confederate Laboratory, which made silver nitrate for wound care.

In December 1865, after Confederate defeat, the PCCSA renamed itself the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS).

When Columbia Theological Seminary reopened and The Southern Presbyterian resumed publication, Woodrow’s roles at them resumed, also.  He was one of the more progressive members of his denomination; he favored friendly relations with the “Northern” (actually national) Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.  As Woodrow became more accepting of Evolution, he moved in a direction opposite of that of the PCUS.  By 1884 his alleged heresy had become so controversial that the seminary closed for two years, reopening in 1886.  The seminary board requested in 1884 that Woodrow resign; he refused.  The heresy trial, held at Bethany Presbyterian Church, Greene County, Georgia, in 1886, ended in an acquittal.  Nevertheless, the seminary board fired our saint on December 8, 1886.

The PCUS General Assemblies of 1886, 1888, 1889, and 1924 passed resolutions taking the position opposite of Professor Woodrow.

Life went on for James Woodrow, who remained prominent in the PCUS.  He, the editor of The Southern Presbyterian consistently since 1866, continued in that role until 1893.  On the side, he continued to teach at the University of South Carolina, where he had been on faculty since 1869.  The seminary board forbade Columbia students to attend his lectures, though.  Woodrow went on to serve as the President of the University of South Carolina from 1891 to 1897.  Furthermore, he was, for a time, the President of the Central National Bank, Columbia.  In 1896, when the Presbytery of Charleston sought to prevent African-American men from becoming ordained ministers, Woodrow sided against the presbytery and with the Synod of South Carolina.  The General Assembly supported the position of the synod.

Woodrow retained the ability to create controversy at the end of his life.  The General Assembly of 1901 elected him the Moderator for a year.  The following year, at the General Assembly, our saint offended many in his sermon; he recognized the Roman Catholic Church as a Christian organization.  The General Assembly of 1902 passed a resolution NOT to print his sermon.

Woodrow, ailing in 1906, had surrendered his leadership roles in the church.  That year, as he neared death, the Board of Directors of Columbia Theological Seminary passed resolutions praising him for his piety and orthodoxy.

Woodrow, aged 78 years, died in Columbia, South Carolina, on January 17, 1907.

The General Assembly of 1969 affirmed:

Neither Scripture, nor our Confession of Faith, nor our catechisms, teach the creation of man by direct and immediate acts of God as to exclude the possibility of evolution as a scientific theory.

Woodrow would have approved.

Good science should always overrule bad theology.

The Christian Church has a mixed record regarding science, faith, and reason.  On the positive side are giants such as James Woodrow, Nicolaus Copernicus, and Galileo Galilei.  The Society of Jesus has a venerable tradition of astronomy.  One may reach back as far as St. Clement of Alexandria (d. 210/2015), the “Father of Christian Scholarship,” who affirmed the value of truth, whether or not of Christian origin.  One may also continue that line through his pupil, Origen.  When one skips a few centuries, one arrives at St. Albert the Great (d. 1280) and his student, St. Thomas Aquinas, who affirmed the compatibility of faith and reason.  On the negative side are figures such as St. Robert Bellarmine (who confronted Galileo and whom I will never add to my Ecumenical Calendar) and William Jennings Bryan (who, likewise, has less probability than  a snowball in Hell of joining the ranks at my Ecumenical Calendar).

All this is easy for me to write, for I am unapologetic product of the Northern Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and the best of Roman Catholic tradition.  My intellectualism and my acceptance of science inform my Christian faith.  God is not the author of confusion.  Furthermore, God does not deceive us with manufactured fossils and rock layers meant to test our faith.  God cannot lie, but human beings are capable of misunderstanding.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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God of grace and glory, you create and sustain the universe in majesty and beauty:

We thank you for James Woodrow and all in whom you have planted

the desire to know your creation and to explore your work and wisdom.

Lead us, like them, to understand better the wonder and mystery of creation;

through Jesus Christ your eternal Word, through whom all things were made.  Amen.

Genesis 2:9-20

Psalm 34:8-14

2 Corinthians 13:1-6

John 20:24-37

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 738

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Feast of Gene M. Tucker (January 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  Cannon Chapel, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

Image in the Public Domain

(I spent some quality time at Cannon Chapel during my youth.)

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GENE MILTON TUCKER (JANUARY 8, 1935-JANUARY 4, 2018)

United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

Gene M. Tucker 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 introduction, commentary, and reflections on Isaiah 1-39 for Volume VI (2001) of the set.  (Tucker accepted the scholarly consensus that there were three Isaiahs.)

Tucker, from Texas, became a minister and a scholar.   Our saint, a son of Raymond H. Tucker and Lorene Tucker, debuted in Albany, Texas, on January 8, 1935.  He grew up in West Texas and became an avid outdoorsman as a youth.  Throughout his youth, Tucker remained an outdoorsman, enjoying hunting and fishing.  Our saint, who graduated from McMurry College, Abilene, Texas, in 1957, was on course to become a minister and a Biblical scholar when he married Charlyne “Charky” Williams that year.  Tucker earned his B.D. (1960), M.A. (1961), and Ph.D. (1963) at Yale Divinity School.  He, ordained in The Methodist Church (The United Methodist Church since April 23, 1968), commenced on his academic career.  Tucker’s first position was at the Graduate School of Religion, the University of Southern California, from 1963 to 1966.  In 1966-1970 Tucker taught at Duke Divinity School.  While there, he served as the President of the Council on Human Relations, a civil rights organization, in Durham, North Carolina.

From 1970 to 1995, Tucker taught at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.  He edited scholarly works, cowrote a commentary on Joshua (1974), wrote Form Criticism of the Old Testament (1971), and contributed to Preaching the New Common Lectionary (1984-1987) and Preaching Through the Christian Year (1992).  Furthermore, our saint served on the translation committee of the New Revised Standard Version (1989) of the Bible.  Tucker also taught Sunday School at Briarwood United Methodist Church, Atlanta, for a quarter of a century.

The Tuckers retired to Denver, Colorado, in 1995, to be close to their children.  Our saint taught in Australia for a time, focused on theological-ecological concerns, continued to enjoy the outdoors, and wrote a commentary on Genesis (2001).  He donated his academic library to the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Puerto Rico in 1911.

Tucker, aged 82 years, died in Denver on January 4, 2018.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Gene M. Tucker 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 William Louis Poteat, Hubert McNeill Poteat, Edwin McNeill Poteat Sr., Edwin McNeill Poteat Jr., and Gordon McNeill Poteat (December 12)   1 comment

Above:  A Partial Poteat Family Tree

Image Source = Library of Congress

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WILLIAM LOUIS POTEAT (OCTOBER 20, 1856-MARCH 12, 1938)

President of Wake Forest College, and Biologist

brother of

EDWIN MCNEILL POTEAT, SR. (FEBRUARY 6, 1861-JUNE 25, 1937)

Northern and Southern Baptist Minister, Scholar, and President of Furman University

father of

EDWIN MCNEILL POTEAT, JR., (NOVEMBER 28, 1892-DECEMBER 17, 1955)

Southern Baptist Minister, Missionary, Musician, Hymn Writer, and Social Reformer

brother of

GORDON MCNEILL POTEAT (APRIL 11, 1891-NOVEMBER 1986)

Northern Baptist, Southern Baptist, and Congregationalist Minister and Missionary

first cousin of

HUBERT MCNEILL POTEAT, SR. (DECEMBER 12, 1886-JANUARY 29, 1958)

Southern Baptist Academic and Musician

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A FAMILY PROFILE

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One name–Edwin McNeill Poteat, Jr.–opened the portals for this post to encompass five saints.  I found his name in The Interpreter’s Bible.  The rest was history.

The family story began, for the purpose of this post, with James Poteat (1807-1889) and Julia Anice McNeill (Poteat) (1833-1910), of Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina.  Two of their sons were William Louis Poteat and Edwin McNeill Poteat, Sr.

WILLIAM LOUIS POTEAT (1856-1938)

William, born on October 26, 1856, grew up and became a pioneering educator and biologist.  He, having earned his B.A. degree from Wake Forest College, then located in Wake Forest, North Carolina, in 1877, followed up with an M.A,. degree from the same institution in 1889.  Between graduation ceremonies he taught biology at Wake Forest College, starting as a tutor then advancing in stages, to full professor.  He was the first person in the South to teach biology via the laboratory method instead of the recitation method.  William, always a devout Christian of the Southern Baptist variety, caused great controversy by accepting the Theory of Evolution.  This did not prevent him from serving as the President of that Southern Baptist college from 1905 to 1927.  In 1925, he helped to defeat the proposed state law to forbid the teaching of Evolution in public schools.

On a conventional front, William was also active in the temperance movement.

William married Emma James Purefoy on June 24, 1881.  The couple had three children–Louise, Helen, and Hubert.

William, aged 83 years, died on March 12, 1938.

EDWIN MCNEILL POTEAT, SR. (1861-1937)

Edwin, Sr., born on February 6, 1861, also reconciled faith and science.  He graduated from Wake Forest College (1881) then the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1885).  Poteat, ordained in 1884, served as pastor of the Wake Forest Baptist Church from 1884 to 1886.  He resigned to study psychology and philosophy at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, from 1886 to 1888.  While in Baltimore, Edwin, Sr., was the acting pastor of the Lee Street Baptist Church in that city.  Then he studied at the University of Berlin during the summer of 1888.  Studies at Yale University followed.  He was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, New Haven, Connecticut, from 1888 to 1898.  Then Edwin, Sr., was the pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1898 to 1903.  He returned to the South to accept the presidency of Furman University (1903-1918).

Subsequent work entailed living in, at different times, the North, the South, and China.  Edwin, Sr., worked as the Executive Secretary of the General Board of Promotion of the Northern Baptist Convention.  After spending six years teaching philosophy and ethics at the University of Shanghai, our saint served as the Interim Minister of the First Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia, from 1927 to 1929.  Then he was the pastor of the Second Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, for two years, followed by a stint (1931-1934) teaching ethics and comparative religion at Mercer University, Macon, Georgia.  Finally, in 1934, Edwin, Sr., returned to Furman University to teach ethics.

Edwin, Sr., married twice.  On October 24, 1889, he married Harriet Hale Gordon.  The couple had seven children:  Edwin McNeill Jr., Gordon McNeill, John Robinson, Priscilla Isabella, James Douglass, Clarissa Hale, and Arthur Barron.  Harriet Gordon died in 1919.  Edwin, Sr., married Harriet Helen Brittingham, a Northern Baptist missionary to China, in that country in 1925.

Edwin, Sr., aged 76 years, died on June 25, 1937.

HUBERT MCNEILL POTEAT, SR. (1886-1958)

Hubert, son of William and Emma, was a scholar, athlete, and musician.  He, born in Wake Forest, North Carolina, on December 12, 1886, earned his Bachelor’s (1906) and Master’s (1908) degrees from Wake Forest College.  Between graduation ceremonies he taught Latin at the college.  Hubert had been musical from a young age, learning the violin and the organ.  He was sufficiently accomplished to perform at his father’s inauguration as college president in 1905.  Hubert also played sports (such as tennis and eventually golf) at different stages of his life.

Hubert was also a Freemason and a Shriner.  He, inducted as a Freemason in 1908, rose to high ranks in both organizations.

Hubert worked on his doctorate at Columbia University, New York, New York, in 1908-1912.  He found time to attend plays and operas, as well as to sing in the choir of The Brick Presbyterian Church; William Pierson Merrill (1867-1954) was the pastor at the time.  Hubert also performed solos at the Episcopal Church of the Intercession.

Hubert married Essie Moore Morgan on June 26, 1912.  The couple had two children:  Hubert McNeill Jr. and William Morgan.

Hubert returned to Wake Forest College to stay, from 1912 to 1956.  He was Professor of Latin then the Chair of Latin.  He also directed the Glee Club from 1912 to 1923.  Hubert, the organist of the college for more than four decades, published in the fields of hymnology and Latin literature and philosophy.  Hubert also taught at Columbia University during the summers of 1924-1942.

Hubert valued the liberal arts educational model.  The humanities, he understood, were vital.  Hence he looked on with dismay as many public schools in the South began to de-emphasize the humanities and to emphasize vocational training.

Hubert also had high musical standards.  He, who included pieces by Wagner in his organ concerts, dismissed gospel music as

jig tunes.

Hubert insisted that only

consuming fire

could improve them.  This strong opinion was consistent with his perfectionism in many matters.  Hubert was, for example, a stickler, regrading proper English grammar and usage.

When Wake Forest College moved to Winston-Salem, in 1956, Hubert remained behind in Wake Forest, North Carolina.  There he retired, and there he died on January 29, 1958.  He was 71 years old.

TWO BROTHERS:

GORDON MCNEILL POTEAT (1891-1986)

EDWIN MCNEILL POTEAT, JR. (1892-1955)

Edwin, Jr., son of Edwin, Sr., and Harriet Gordon, continued in the family legacy of supporting progressive causes.  Some of his activities overlapped geographically with those of his older brother, Gordon.

Gordon, born in New Haven, Connecticut, on April 11, 1891, grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, where his father was the President of Furman University.  Gordon, who graduated from Furman in 1910, earned his M.A. degree from Wake Forest College, where his uncle, William, was the President.  Then Gordon attended and graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Next he spent 1915-1927 in China, first as a missionary in Kaifeng then (1921f) teaching ethics and the New Testament at the University of Shanghai.

Edwin, Jr., born in New Haven on November 20, 1892, became more prominent than his older brother.  Edwin, Jr., graduated from Furman (B.A., 1912; M.A., 1913) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1916).  He was a traveling secretary for the Student Volunteer Movement (1916-1917) then a missionary in Kaifeng (1917-1926) with Gordon (until 1921).  In 1921, Edwin, Sr., visited his sons in China.  He wound up accepting an offer to teach philosophy and ethics at the University of Shanghai, and remained until 1927.  He and Gordon–father and son–were faculty colleagues for six years.  Meanwhile, Edwin, Jr., remained at the compound in Kaifeng until revolution forced him to flee in 1926.  Then he joined the faculty of Shanghai from 1927 to 1929; he taught ethics and philosophy.

Gordon, back in the United States for a few years (1927-1930), worked as an Educational Secretary for the Student Volunteer Movement from 1927 to 1928.  Then he served as the pastor of the City Park Baptist Church, Denver, Colorado, from 1928 to 1930.  Next, from 1930 to 1937, Gordon was the representative of the Northern Baptist Convention to the University of Shanghai.

Gordon married Helen Anne Carruthers in 1915.  The couple had four children:  Anne Rose, Wallace Bagby, Nida, and Priscilla Hale.

Edwin, Jr., back in the United States, worked in churches, in a seminary, and on the public stage.  He was pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina, for the first time from 1929 to 1937.  Seven years as pastor of Euclid Avenue Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio, followed.  Then, in 1944, Edwin, Jr., became the President of the Rochester Divinity School, Rochester, New York.  Declining health forced him to resign in 1948.  Pullen Memorial Baptist Church had a vacancy at the time, and welcomed him back.  Our saint died in that job on December 17, 1955, as he prepared to conduct a wedding ceremony.

Edwin, Jr., was not afraid to take controversial positions.  He was a pacifist, a supporter of conscientious objectors, and an advocate for civil rights.  In 1946, he addressed the the American Association for the Advancement of Science; he was the first minister the organization had invited to speak to it.  Furthermore, in 1948, Edwin, Jr., helped to found and became the first President of Protestants and Other Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (now Americans United for the Separation of Church and State).  Separation of church and state has long been a Baptist issue, after all.

Edwin, Jr., had strong opinions regarding worship.  He made sure in 1950 that the new sanctuary of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church had a split chancel.  He also wore a ministerial robe.  Edwin, Jr., critical of both Evangelical informality and a fixed liturgy, maintained high standards for hymns and other service music.  He agreed with his cousin Hubert.  Edwin, Jr., complained about the

banality of the words of modern songs

sung in most Protestant churches in the United States.  The critic composed 23 pieces of service music, some of them included in the Northern Baptist/Disciples of Christ joint hymnal, Christian Worship (1941).  In 1948, he wrote a hymn, “Eternal God, Whose Reaching Eye,” for the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches.

Edwin, Jr., married Wilda Hardman on June 27, 1918.  The couple had four children:  William Hardman, Harriett Allen, Elizabeth McNeill, and Haley Gordon.

Gordon, author of books about Christian missions in China, became Professor of Social Ethics and Homiletics at Crozer Theological Seminary, Chester, Pennsylvania.  I have not been able to learn when he left that position.

Edwin, Jr., wrote 17 books.  The genres included sermons, original poetry, and theology.  Both he and Gordon wrote for The Interpreter’s Bible.  Gordon wrote the exposition on James in Volume XII (1957.)  Edwin, Jr., wrote the exposition on Psalms 42-89 in Volume IV (1955).

When Gordon wrote for The Interpreter’s Bible, he was the pastor of the Tourist Church (the First Congregational Church), Daytona Beach, Florida.  That congregation has become the Seabreeze United Church of Christ.

Gordon, aged 95 years, died in Ormond Beach, Florida, in November 1986.

CONCLUSION

Members of two generations of the Poteat family served God and did not fear controversy in doing so.  This post has summarized incompletely the faithfulness of some Poteats.  If, however, it has prompted you, O reader, to want to learn more, this post has accomplished my purpose.

Loving God, we thank you for the faithful service of

William Louis Poteat;

Hubert McNeill Poteat;

Edwin McNeill Poteat, Sr.;

Edwin McNeill Poteat, Jr.;

and Gordon McNeill Poteat

in a variety of disciplines, times, and places.

May their examples of fidelity to you inspire us to live boldly in your service.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 113

2 Timothy 1:3-7

Matthew 28:16-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 2, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WASHINGTON GLADDEN, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF FERDINAND QUINCY BLANCHARD, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HENRY MONTAGU BUTLER, EDUCATOR, SCHOLAR, AND ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JACQUES FERMIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIEST

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Feast of F. Bland Tucker (November 20)   2 comments

Above:  Christ Church, Savannah, Georgia

Image Scanned from Henry T. Malone, The Episcopal Church in Georgia (1960)

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FRANCIS BLAND TUCKER (NOVEMBER 6, 1895-JANUARY 1, 1984)

Episcopal Priest and Hymnodist

“The Dean of American Hymn Writers”

Feast Day in the Diocese of Georgia = November 19

Father F. Bland Tucker comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via two Episcopal hymnals and the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.

Tucker came from a family tree full of Episcopal priests, bishops, and missionaries.  He was the youngest of thirteen children of Anna Maria Washington (1851-1927) and Father Beverley Dandridge Tucker (Sr.) (1846-1930), a priest in Norfolk, Virginia, where our saint entered the world on January 6, 1895.  Tucker, Sr., went on to become the Bishop Coadjutor of Southern Virginia (1906-1911) then the Bishop of Southern Virginia (1918-1930).  One of our saint’s elder brothers was Beverley Dandridge Tucker (Jr.) (1882-1969), the Bishop of Ohio (1938-1969).  Another elder brother was Henry St. George Tucker (1874-1959), the Bishop Coadjutor of Virginia (1926-1927), the Bishop of Virginia (1927-1943), and the Presiding Bishop of the denomination (1938-1946), preceding the great Henry Knox Sherrill (1890-1980).

Our saint, descended from old Virginia families and raised in The Episcopal Church, became a courageous and reconciling figure in church and society.  He, raised on The Book of Common Prayer (1892), his favorite version of the Prayer Book, graduated from the University of Virginia (1914) then Virginia Theological Seminary (1920).  Military service during World War I interrupted his theological education.  Tucker, ordained to the diaconate in 1918 and the priesthood two years later, married Mary (Polly) Goldsborough Laird (1890-1972).  The couple had no children.

Tucker served as the rector of three parishes during forty-seven years of active ministry:

  1. St. Andrew’s Church, Lawrenceville, Virginia (1920-1925);
  2. St. John’s Church, Georgetown, District of Columbia (1925-1945); and
  3. Christ Church, Savannah, Georgia (1945-1967).

During this time our saint helped to prepare The Hymnal 1940 (1943).  His contributions to it were two original hymns and four translations.  Tucker also received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1944.  When The Episcopal Church replaced the The Book of Common Prayer (1892) with The Book of Common Prayer (1928), our saint and his father accepted the change while not renouncing their fondness for the older Prayer Book.

Tucker spent 1945-1984 in Savannah, Georgia.  He, from 1945 to 1967 the Rector of historic Christ Church, Savannah, declined an opportunity to become the Bishop of Western North Carolina just a few months after arriving in Savannah.  He led the effort to integrate the Diocese of Georgia in 1947.  Tucker was also active in child welfare efforts in Savannah.  Furthermore, our saint openly supported civil rights in the staunchly segregated city.  In the 1960s, when many other congregations turned away those seeking to “pray in,” Tucker welcomed all who wanted to pray at Christ Church.  Also, Martin Luther King, Jr. (1939-1968), when in Savannah, spoke at Christ Church.

Tucker remained active during his retirement.  He helped to create The Book of Common Prayer (1979) and The Hymnal 1982 (1985).  When our saint heard complaints from supporters of The Book of Common Prayer (1928), he told them that he still preferred The Book of Common Prayer (1892).  He also contributed 17 hymns or parts thereof (original and translated) to the new hymnal.  (The listings for Tucker in the hymnal are 25, 26, 121, 135, 139, 164, 220, 221, 268, 269, 302, 303, 322, 356, 366, 421, 428, 443, 477, 478, 489, 530, 547, 587, 663, and 668.)

Tucker, aged 88 years, died in Savannah on January 1, 1984.  Three days later, the Savannah Morning News eulogized the great man:

…he was ahead of his time as a humanitarian.  Long before desegregation, he was on record in favor of it and a leader in accomplishing it.

Tucker was also a skilled poet who shared his literary gifts for the glory of God.

May the church never be bereft of people with such talents and moral courage.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 11, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DIONYSIUS OF CORINTH, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF CHARLES STEDMAN NEWHALL, U.S. NATURALIST, HYMN WRITER, AND CONGREGATIONALIST AND PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER

THE FEAST OF HEINRICH THEOBALD SCHENCK, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HENRY HALLAM TWEEDY, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant F. Bland Tucker,

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 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 Anna Ellison Butler Alexander (September 24)   Leave a comment

Above:  Deaconess Anna Ellison Butler Alexander

Image in the Public Domain

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ANNA ELLISON BUTLER ALEXANDER (1865?-SEPTEMBER 24, 1947)

African-American Episcopal Deaconess in Georgia, and Educator

Deaconess Anna Ellison Butler Alexander comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church.

The history of this feast exemplifies how many commemorations rise to the denominational level in The Episcopal Church.

The feast rose from the diocesan level.  In 1998 Henry Irving Louttit, Jr., the Bishop of Georgia, declared Deaconess Anna Alexander a saint of Georgia, with the feast day of September 24.  The feast rose to the national level at the General Convention of 2015, which added the commemoration to A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2016), the expanded version of the official calendar of saints contained in Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006 (2007).  The General Convention of 2018 approved the greatly expanded official calendar of saints, Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 (as of the writing of this post, available as a PDF, pending the final, published version next year), with the deaconess included.

As with many other Southern African-Americans of the time, the date–the year, even–of Anna’s birth remained uncertain, due to the lack of written records.  Records of the Diocese of Georgia listed her year of birth as 1878.  In 1947 her death certificate listed 1881 as her year of birth.  Anna’s birth actually occurred shortly after the end of the Civil War.  Most recent sources have given 1865 as her year of birth.

Above:  Coastal Georgia, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

Our saint was the youngest of eleven children of former slaves James and Daphne Alexander (married in 1841), of the Pierce Butler Plantation on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia.  Daphne was a child of plantation rape; her biological father was Roswell King, Jr.  James, or “Aleck,” was a skilled carpenter and builder, as well as Butler’s personal assistant.  The Alexanders instilled the value of education into their children, and modeled it.  James, for example, taught himself to read and write.  The couple, when slaves, violated the law against educating slaves; they taught their children.

Above:  Glynn and McIntosh Counties, Georgia, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

Anna, raised in The Episcopal Church, found the public education available to her in Glynn County, Georgia, substandard.  (The inadequate education of African Americans in the Postbellum South was often a matter of policy.)  It was fortunate, then, that the Alexanders provided informal education for their children.  Our saint, seeking to help others less fortunate than herself, became a teacher at the parochial school (attached to St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, Darien, Georgia) her sister, Mary Alexander Mann, had founded.  (Mary’s husband, Ferdinand M. Mann, was the Vicar of St. Cyprian’s Church from 1892 to 1914.)  Many also taught at the parochial school, as did another sister, Dora.  The school was, for a time, a vital to the education of African Americans in Darien.

Anna’s base of operations for most of her life was the poor, rural community of Pennick, in Glynn County.  In 1894 she prompted the founding of a mission, Church of the Good Shepherd.  She spent 1894-1897 studying at St. Paul’s Normal School (later College), Lawrenceville, Virginia.  Episcopal priest James Solomon Russell (1857-1935) had founded the school in 1888.  (St. Paul’s College closed in 2013).  Our saint, back in Pennick, rebuilt the congregation and, in 1901, founded the parochial school, which grew from one room to two rooms, with an apartment for the deaconess.

The Diocese of Georgia, founded in 1823, divided in 1907; the Diocese of Atlanta formed to the northwest of the rump Diocese of Georgia.  Bishop Cleland Kinloch Nelson, based in Atlanta when he was the Bishop of Georgia (1892-1907), remained in the capital city and became the first Bishop of Atlanta (1907-1917).  Nelson was a relatively liberal white Georgian of the time.  He disapproved of Jim Crow, but knew he could not change the system alone, so he at least tried to keep his diocese integrated.  Nelson also encouraged African-American missions.  The bishop was not all-powerful, however; he could not override the collective will of the majority of lay people.  So, in 1907, after the as the Diocese of Atlanta was forming, the Diocese of Georgia was segregating.  Nevertheless, one of Nelson’s final acts as the Bishop of Georgia was to consecrate Anna Alexander as a deaconess–the only African-American deaconess in the denomination.  He did this on Friday, May 13, 1907, at the second annual meeting of the Council of Colored Churchmen.

The rump Diocese of Georgia was officially segregated for four decades.  During most of that time policy was to discourage African-American missions.  In 1907-1946 there were no African-American delegates to the annual diocesan conventions.  The Council of Colored Churchmen, formed in 1906, barely had any representation on diocesan committees.  Bishop Frederick Focke Reese (in office 1908-1936), a racist who delivered paternalistic addresses to African-American clergymen, neglected African-American congregations and schools financially.  Therefore, much financial assistance had to come from other sources, official (such as the denomination) and individual.  Anna was an effective fund raiser in this context.  The deaconess provided an education to many African-American youth and shepherded them into further education–some at colleges and others at technical schools.  She also worked as a cook at Camp Reese, the diocesan, whites-only summer camp on St. Simon’s Island, for a number of years.  The racially segregated Diocese of Georgia named a cabin after her in 1938.  The deaconess, while working as a cook for white campers at Camp Reese, brought groups of African-American youth to St. Simon’s Island and provided a sort of summer camp for them.

Bishop Middleton Stuart Barnwell (in office 1936-1954), unlike Bishop Reese, took an interest in African-American missions.  He spent diocesan funds to replace or repair buildings.  And, in 1947, he welcomed African Americans to the first racially integrated diocesan convention in four decades.

During the Great Depression Good Shepherd, Pennick, was a distribution center for federal and private aid in Glynn County.  Anna, who ministered to her neighbors without regard to race, was in charge of distribution.  She wrote:

I am to see everyone gets what they need….some folk don’t need help now and I know who they are.  The old people and the children, they need the most….When I tell some people they can’t get help just now…that others come first, they get mad, a little, but I don’t pay no mind and soon they forget to be mad.

The deaconess earned respect in her community and vicinity; many white men removed their hats in deference when she walked past them.

Anna died on September 24, 1947.  She was either in her late seventies or early eighties.  She remained mostly forgotten for many years.  The Episcopal Church in Georgia, 1733-1957 (1960), by Henry Thompson Malone, never mentioned the deaconess’s name.  Even the otherwise excellent Black Episcopalians in Georgia:  Strife, Struggle and Salvation (1980), by Charles Lwanga Hoskins, frequently misidentified her as Dora.  (Father Hoskins was a wonderful man, a charming priest, and a fine homilist.  When I was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church, Statesboro, Georgia, he was a supply priest, filling in when the Rector was away.  Memories of some of his sermons have never ceased to edify me spiritually.  Hoskins did, however, often mistake Anna for her sister, Dora, in his book, still an invaluable source for this post.)  In recent years, however, Anna’s legacy has become more prominent, fortunately.  It has become sufficiently prominent that, in January 2018, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, an African American, visited Good Shepherd, Pennick.

May that legacy become more prominent.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 4, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PAUL JONES, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF UTAH, AND PEACE ACTIVIST; AND HIS COLLEAGUE, JOHN NEVIN SAYRE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND PEACE ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF E. F. SCHUMACHER, GERMAN-BRITISH ECONOMIST AND SOCIAL CRITIC

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

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM MCKANE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

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O God, you called Anna Alexander as a deaconess in your Church

and sent her as teacher and evangelist to the people of Georgia:

Grant us the humility to go wherever you send

and the wisdom to teach the word of Christ to whomever we meet,

that all may come to the enlightenment which you intend for your people;

through Jesus Christ, our Teacher and Savior.  Amen.

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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O God, who called Anna Alexander as a deaconess in your Church:

Grant us the humility to go wherever you send

and the wisdom to teach the word of Christ to whomever we meet,

that all may come to the enlightenment you intend for your people;

through Jesus Christ, our Teacher and Savior.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-25

Psalm 78

Matthew 11:25-30

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018

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Feast of James Bolan Lawrence (September 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Calvary Episcopal Church, Americus, Georgia

Scanned from a Business Card

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JAMES BOLAN LAWRENCE (JANUARY 2, 1878-JULY 28, 1947)

Episcopal Priest and Missionary in Southwestern Georgia, U.S.A.

Also known as Brother Jimmy Lawrence

“The Bishop of Buckwheat”

In The Episcopal Church the commemoration of saints has become complicated during the last decade or so.  Editions of The Book of Common Prayer have, since the first one in 1549, included major feasts, the number of which has increased as Prayer Book revision has taken place from time to time.  The first edition of Lesser Feasts and Fasts debuted in 1963 as the calendar expanded.  Subsequent editions of Lesser Feasts and Fasts (through 2006) have become thicker as the General Convention has added more saints.  The most recent General Convention approved Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, with more saints than Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006Lesser Feasts and Fasts has remained the official denominational calendar of commemorations despite the even more expanded calendar defined first by Holy Women, Holy Men (2010) then by A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2016).  Many dioceses have long observed their local saints also.  Some of these local commemorations have filtered up to the denominational level.  The Diocese of Georgia has, since 1999, recognized James Bolan Lawrence as a saint, with September 3 as his feast day.  His feast has remained particular to the Diocese of Georgia, except, as far as I know, at this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

James Bolan Lawrence was a dedicated missionary.  He born, in Marietta, Georgia, on January 2, 1878, was the fifth of six children of Robert de Treville Lawrence (b. 1841) and Anna E. Atkinson.  Lawrence, baptized in St. James Episcopal Church, Marietta, Georgia (then in the Diocese of Georgia; in the Diocese of Atlanta since 1907), graduated from General Theological Seminary, New York City.  He, a bachelor, collected silver cups, entertained at home, was a wonderful conversationalist, and maintained a rigorous schedule as he ministered to his parish and missions.

For 42 years (1905-1947) Lawrence served as the Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, Americus, Georgia.  Most of those years he was also the Archdeacon of Albany; in that capacity he had administrative authority over missions.  As the Rector of Calvary Church Lawrence oversaw construction (completed in 1921) of the new building, designed by Ralph Adams Cram (1863-1942), the architect who designed the Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York City.  Lawrence also founded the following rural congregations:

  1. Holy Trinity Church, Blakely;
  2. Epiphany Church, Cuthbert;
  3. St. James Church, Pennington;
  4. Calvary Church, Dawson; and
  5. the unorganized mission at Benevolence.

Lawrence also served at Prince of Peace Church, Vienna; and Christ Church, Cordele.

Above:  Locations of Churches Lawrence Served

Map Source = Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951), 171

[Correction:  I marked the wrong Benevolence on the map above.  Father Lawrence established a mission in the Sumter County community of Benevolence, on Highway 19.–KRT, December 23, 2018]

If that were not enough, Lawrence did more.  In 1929 he became a trustee of the Fort Valley High and Industrial School, an institution of The Episcopal Church.  (Now it is Fort Valley State University, a public institution.)  And, in 1934-1935, Lawrence was a candidate for Bishop Coadjutor of Georgia.  Middleton Stuart Barnwell (1884-1957) won that election and succeeded to the post of Bishop of Georgia in 1936.  He served until 1954.

Lawrence, the rector of one parish and the vicar of several missions, began to anticipate his retirement in the 1940s.  His intention was to retire to Pennington and spend his final years as the Vicar of St. James Church.  None of that happened, though.  He suffered his first heart attack in December 1945, when he was 67 years old.  Lawrence eventually resumed priestly duties, but had a second heart attack on Sunday, May 25, 1947.  He died on St. Simon’s Island on July 28, 1947.  Lawrence was 69 years old.  He could not spend retirement as the Vicar of St. James Church, Pennington, but he found his final resting place there.  Other priests continued the work he had begun and continued.

Time has marched on.  Of the churches Lawrence founded, only Holy Trinity, Blakely, has survived.  (I have visited there.  The buildings have long been near the courthouse square.)  Calvary Church, Dawson, closed; Holy Spirit Church, Dawson, succeeded it.  Calvary Church, Americus, suffered a schism in 2012; the congregation has struggled much of the time since then.  If that were not enough, the physical structure has become endangered, in the name of economic progress.

Yet I have discerned reasons for optimism.  Christ Church, Cordele, was struggling when I was a member there, in 1998-2001.  I recall vocalized questions about whether the congregation would continue to exist.  The church, long a perpetual mission, except for a few years in the 1970s, when it was a parish, has been thriving again for some years now.

I predict that the best years of Calvary Episcopal Church, Americus, await it.

May the legacy of James Bolan Lawrence and the call of the Great Commission continue to inspire people–especially in The Episcopal Church–in southwestern Georgia.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BARTHOLOMÉ DE LAS CASAS, “APOSTLE TO THE INDIANS”

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, ANGLICAN DEAN OF WESTMINSTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WILLIAM LEINBACH, U.S. MORAVIAN MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FERARD, FIRST DEACONESS IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant James Bolan Lawrence,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of southwestern Georgia.

Raise up in this and very land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 716

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Feast of Artemisia Bowden (August 18)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Historical Marker for the Original Site of St. Philip’s College, San Antonio, Texas

Image Source = Darrylpearson

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ARTEMISIA BOWDEN (JANUARY 1, 1879-AUGUST 18, 1969)

African-American Educator and Civil Rights Activist

The Episcopal Church added Artemisia Bowden to its calendar of saints at the General Convention of 2015.

Above:  St. Athanasius Episcopal Church, Brunswick, Georgia, Late 1950s

Scanned from Henry Thompson Malone, The Episcopal Church in Georgia, 1733-1957 (1960)

Bowden was a native of Georgia.  She, born in Albany on January 1, 1879, was a child of former slaves Mary Molette Bowden and Miles Bowden.  She grew up in Brunswick.  The family was active in St. Athanasius Episcopal Church.  Our saint and her siblings attended the parochial school.

Above:  St. Athanasius Episcopal Church, Brunswick, Georgia

Image Source = Ebyabe

Then Bowden left Georgia.  She attended St. Augustine’s Normal School, Raleigh, North Carolina, graduating in 1900.  Our saint taught at a parochial school in North Carolina then at High Point Normal and Industrial School, High Point, before departing for Texas in 1902.  James Steptoe Johnston, the Episcopal Bishop of West Texas, recruited Bowden to take charge of the St. Philip’s Day School, San Antonio, founded in 1898.  The institution, which changed its name and expanded its mission over time, was at the time a school for African-American girls.  Bowden transformed the day school into St. Philip’s Normal, Grammar, and Industrial School, added dormitories, and, in 1926, became the president of the new junior college.

Bowden led the school in all its incarnations from 1902 to 1954, when she retired.  The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of West Texas could not support the college financially during the Great Depression, but our saint kept the school operating.  In 1942, after years of effort, she succeeded in persuading the San Antonio Independent School District to take over the college, with our saint assuming the title of Dean.  She had argued that the district already operated a white junior college, therefore had an obligation to provide the same opportunity for African Americans.  The college, integrated in 1955, has become a racially and ethnically diverse institution with majority Hispanic enrollment.

While our saint presided over an educational institution she continued her education.  Bowden graduated from St. Augustine’s College (her alma mater, renamed) in 1935, and did graduate work in education in social work at several universities.  She also received honorary degrees, which she deserved.

Bowden, who never married, also found time for civil engagement.  She served as the President of the San Antonio Metropolitan Council of Negro Women, founded and led the Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club, and sat on the executive committee of the Coordination Council on Juvenile Delinquency of the Texas Social Welfare Association, as well as (from 1947) the Texas Commission on Interracial Relations.  She also made the African-American nursing unit of Robert B. Green Hospital possible, secured Lindbergh Park for African-American residents of San Antonio, founded the East End Settlement House in the city, and helped to found the State Training School for Delinquent Negro Girls (later the Crockett State School) in 1950.  The State of Texas, citing the state budget, closed the school in 2011.

Bowden received a variety of honors.  The Zeta Phi Beta sorority named her its woman of the year in 1955.  The school district named an elementary school after her.  And the National Council of Negro Women listed Bowden as one of the ten most outstanding female educators in the United States.

Bowden, a member of the Southern Conference of Christians and Jews, as well as St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, San Antonio, died in that city on August 18, 1969.  She was 90 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 21, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, JESUIT

THE FEAST OF BERNARD ADAM GRUBE, GERMAN-AMERICAN MINISTER, MISSIONARY, COMPOSER, AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF CARL BERNHARD GARVE, GERMAN MORAVIAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN JONES AND JOHN RIGBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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O God, by your Holy Spirit, you give gifts to people so that

they might faithfully serve your Church and the world:

We give you praise for the gifts of perseverance, teaching, and wisdom

made manifest in your servant Artemisia Bowden,

whom you called far from home for the sake of educating

the daughters and granddaughters of former slaves in Texas.

We thank you for blessing and prospering her life’s work,

and pray that, following her example,

we may be ever mindful of the call to serve where you send us;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-25

Psalm 78:1-7

2 Timothy 3:14-4:5

Matthew 11:25-30

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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