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

Feast of Clara Louise Maass (June 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  Stamp of Clara Louise Maass

Image in the Public Domain

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CLARA LOUISE MAASS (JUNE 28, 1876-AUGUST 24, 1901)

U.S. Lutheran Nurse and Martyr, 1901

A martyr is a person whose lived Christian faith led to death.  By this definition, Clara Louse Maass was a Christian martyr.

Maass comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saint’s Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Our saint’s work was an expression of her Christian faith.  She was the first of nine children of German Lutheran immigrants Robert and Hedwig Maass.  Clara, born in East Orange, New Jersey, on June 28, 1876, studied at the Christina Trefz Training School for Nurses, Newark German Hospital, Newark, New Jersey, from 1893 to 1895.  After graduating, she became a private-duty nurse at that hospital.  Our saint, the head nurse at the Newark German Hospital at the age of 21 years, volunteered for service in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War (1898).  The Army stationed our saint in Jacksonville, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; and Santiago, Cuba.  Then the Army discharged Maass in February 1899.

Later that year, Maass returned to Army service.  She arrived in the Philippines in November 1899.  The following October, our saint answered the request of Dr. Carlos Juan Finlay, sanitary officer in Havana, Cuba.  He posited that mosquito bites spread yellow fever.  (He was correct.)  Maass volunteered for mosquito bites.  The first mosquito bit her in June 1901.  Maass came down with a mild case of yellow fever.  After she recovered, our saint volunteered for a second bite on August 14, 1901.  She died ten years later.  Maass was 25 years old.

Our saint’s death was crucial.  The resulting outcry terminated human experimentation in that medical research project.  Her sacrifice was not in vain; it helped accelerate the pace of research that saved the lives of many people.

Medical professionals frequently risk their lives for the sake of saving lives.  I draft this post during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, a time during which news stories of dedicated doctors and nurses are plentiful.  Also, some people are volunteering to become test subjects for possible vaccines.  They are risking their lives, too.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 20, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALCUIN OF YORK, ABBOT OF TOURS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS COLUMBA OF RIETI AND OSANNA ANDREASI, DOMINICAN MYSTICS

THE FEAST OF JOHN ELIOT, “THE APOSTLE TO THE INDIANS”

THE FEAST OF MARIÁ ANGÉLICA PÉREZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROSE HAWTHORNE LATHROP, FOUNDRESS OF THE DOMINICAN SISTERS OF HAWTHORNE

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Gracious Lord, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives for the message of your love.

Inspire us with the memory of those martyrs for the Gospel

[like your servant Clara Louise Maass]

whose faithfulness led them in the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with

our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

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

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Feast of William Henry Heard (June 25)   1 comment

Above:  William Henry Heard

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM HENRY HEARD (CIRCA JUNE 25, 1850-SEPTEMBER 12, 1937)

African Methodist Episcopal Missionary and Bishop

Bishop William Henry Heard comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via a few sources.  The main source is Ray Chandler, “Up from Slave Row:  The Making of Bishop William Henry Heard” (Georgia Backroads, Autumn 2018), 44-49.  This post also depends directly on Bishop Heard’s autobiography, From Slavery to the Bishopric in the A.M.E. Church (1924), available at Documenting the American South.  I also rely on the website of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia.  Furthermore, I cite a one of my deceased fellow parishioners and a fine local historian in Athens, Georgia.  Al Hester’s Enduring Legacy:  Clarke County, Georgia’s Ex-Slave Legislators:  Madison Davis and Alfred Richardson (2010) provides a little information about Heard.  And measuringworth.com is an invaluable tool for adjusting monetary amounts for inflation.  This post also draws minor details from various historical works and congregations’ websites.

Our saint, born a slave, rose to become the senior bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (hereafter the A.M.E. Church).  He, born in Longstreet community, about ten miles from Elberton, Georgia, or or about June 25, 1850, was a son of slaves.  His mother was Parthenia, whose main duties were to bear and raise children.  The future bishop, originally called William Harrison Heard, was one of five children she bore.  Parthenia died of typhoid fever in 1859.  Our saint’s father was George Heard, a blacksmith and a wheelwright on a neighboring plantation.  George Heard was probably a son of planter (and his owner), Thomas Jefferson Heard, a son Stephen Heard (1740-1815), whose public offices in Georgia included a term (1780-1781) as governor.  The future bishop grew up in conditions one would generously describe as primitive.  In the slave cabin, waking up to find a snake in his bed was not unusual.  He also remembered the two times he and family members were on the auction block.  Our saint, a field hand on the plantation of John Trenchard, headmaster of Elberton Academy during the Civil War, received his freedom in May 1865.  He was nearly 15 years at the time.

William Harrison Heard went to live with his father, who had opened a blacksmith and wheelwright business near Elberton.  Not surprisingly, there were no schools for African Americans in the area in 1865 and 1866.  In 1867, the Reverend William Jefferson White, a Baptist minister from Augusta, Georgia, visited Elberton.  He, an agent of the Freedmen’s Bureau, came to encourage African-American education.  White, of Caucasian, Muskogee, and African ancestry, impressed the future bishop by speaking the King’s English.  White was the first African-American Heard had met who was so well educated and articulate.

Our saint had some education already.  During the Civil War, he had learned the Bible and the catechism at Elberton Methodist Episcopal Church, South (now First United Methodist Church).  He remained unable to read and write, though.  Through his father’s intervention, William Harrison Heard obtained tutoring using Noah Webster‘s Blue Back Speller.  Our saint took his new name from William Henry Heard, a farmer for whom he worked and who taught him at home from late 1865 to June 1866.  Then our saint returned to his father’s house.  After the African-American school opened, the future bishop attended it.  Then he passed the test to become a teacher in 1867.  Heard earned in excess of $300 (about $5,400 in 2020 currency) in three months of teaching in Elberton.  Meanwhile, our saint continued his studies and kept teaching.

Above:  Henry McNeal Turner

Image in the Public Domain

Henry McNeal Turner (1834-1915) influenced Heard’s life greatly.  Turner, a minister in the A.M.E. Church, was active in post-Civil War politics in Georgia.  He was an organizer of the state Republican Party (when the Republican Party was to the left of the Democratic Party, especially in the former Confederacy) in the state, eventually a member of the General Assembly, and an activist in the movement to encourage former slaves to immigrate to Liberia.  In 1867, Turner spoke in Augusta.  Heard attended the speech and went away inspired.  Turner became one of Heard’s mentors and patrons, in time.

Above:  Amos Tappan Akerman

Image in the Public Domain

Heard, back in Elberton, joined the local Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (perhaps Rock Springs C.M.E. Church, founded in 1868) and became involved in politics.  The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was in the process of spinning off the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (founded in 1870), called the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church since 1954.  Our saint became his congregation’s secretary.  He also collaborated with another mentor and patron, Amos Tappan Akerman (1821-1880).  Akerman, a former slaveholder and a Confederate veteran, had become a “scalawag,” as resentful neighbors called white Southerners, such as Akerman, who supported civil rights and joined the Republican Party.  Akerman, a staunch opponent of the first Ku Klux Klan (racially-motivated domestic terrorists), was so zealous in the prosecution of the Klan that, less than a year after becoming the Attorney General of the United States, President Ulysses S. Grant fired him in late 1871.  Heard, whom Akerman mentored in politics, ran for a seat in the General Assembly in 1872.  He lost, probably because of election-related fraud.

Heard, spent 1872-1877 in South Carolina.  He taught at Mount Carmel (in the county on the other side of the Savannah River), earning $40 (about $872 in 2020 currency) per month.  Meanwhile, our saint continued his education.  He taught at Mount Carmel for four years then studied classics at the University of South Carolina (1876-1877) on scholarship.  The end of Congressional Reconstruction terminated his education at that university.  The end of Congressional Reconstruction also terminated Heard’s political career in South Carolina.  He had won a seat in the state legislature in 1876.  However, our saint’s effort to guarantee the integrity of the electoral system nearly caused his death.  He also survived an abduction.

Heard, back in Georgia, settled in Athens in 1877.  The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in downtown Athens (now First United Methodist Church) spawned Pierce Chapel in 1866.  Henry McNeal Turner brought Pierce Chapel (now First A.M.E. Church) into the A.M.E. Church in 1867.  Our saint joined Pierce Chapel in 1877 and founded the school in the church’s basement.  He taught in that school for years.  Heard also took classes at Clark University (one term) and Atlanta University (one year) in Atlanta.  Furthermore, our saint became the editor and one of the publishers of the local African-American newspaper, the Athens Blade.  Henry McNeal Turner preached a revival at Pierce Chapel in 1879.  At that revival, Heard had a conversion experience.  In 1880, our saint became a federal employee; he was a railway postal clerk.  One route ran between Macon and Atlanta, Georgia.  The other route ran between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta.  The salary was $1150 (about $30,000 in 2020 currency) a year.  And, in 1882, he was a finalist for postmaster of Athens.

Heard turned to the ministry in 1879.  In June of that year, the A.M.E. Church licensed him as an exhorter.  He progressed to local preacher after three months then joined the North Georgia Annual Conference in January 1880.  Our saint became a deacon in 1881 then an elder the following year.  The A.M.E. Church transferred out saint frequently, according to Methodist custom.  He always left a congregation better off in terms of attendance, membership, and finances.

Heard’s first stage of ordained ministry spanned 1880-1895.

  1. He served in Johntown, Dawson County, Georgia, for two years (1880-1882), while continuing to work as a railway postal clerk.  When he arrived, the A.M.E. Church had a mission.  Two years later, the denomination had a circuit.
  2. Heard transferred to Markham Street Mission, Atlanta, where he served for about two months.
  3. He married his second wife, Josephine Henderson, in Athens, in 1882.  (His first wife had been Amanda.)
  4. Heard resigned his postal job to accept a post in Aiken, South Carolina.  His financial compensation was $650 (about $16, 930 in 2020 currency) the first year then about $930 (about $24, 223 in 2020 currency) the second year.
  5. Next, the future bishop served at Mount Zion Church, South Carolina (1885-1888), followed by a year (1888-1889) at Allen Chapel Church (now Allen Church), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  6. After a year as the Presiding Elder of the Lancaster District, Heard spent two years as pastor of Mother Bethel Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1890-1892.)
  7. While in Philadelphia, our saint studied at Reformed Episcopal Seminary.
  8. Heard was the pastor of Bethel Church, Wilmington, Delaware (1892-1894).
  9. Then he served at the A.M.E. congregation that, at the time, occupied a building on State Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Above:  Eliza Turner Memorial A.M.E. Church, Monrovia, Liberia

Image in the Public Domain

Heard went to Liberia next.  Henry McNeal Turner, a bishop since 1880, arranged for President Grover Cleveland to appoint our saint the U.S. Minister Resident and Consul General and doubled as a missionary.  He transferred to the A.M.E. Church’s Liberia Conference and doubled as a missionary.  He founded and led Eliza Turner Memorial Church, Monrovia.  (Eliza Turner had been Bishop Turner’s first wife.)

Heard’s third stage of ministry spanned 1899-1909.

  1. He spent a year (1899-1900) at Zion Mission, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, followed by another year (1900-1901) as the Presiding Elder of the Long Island District.  Then he spent several months at Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
  2. Bishop Turner arranged for the appointment of Heard to the pulpit of Allen Temple Church, Atlanta, Georgia, in August 1901, after the death of the previous pastor.  Heard left that pulpit in 1904.
  3. His next position was Secretary-Treasurer of the A.M.E. Church’s Connectional Preacher’s Aid and Mutual Relief Society.  Then, in 1908, he became a bishop.

Heard had three assignments as a bishop.  He returned to West Africa (Liberia, especially) in 1909.  From 1917 to 1920, our saint presided over the Eighth Episcopal District (Mississippi and Louisiana).  His final assignment (1920-death) was the First Episcopal District (Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and New England).

Heard, aged 87 years, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 12, 1937.

Heard found his niche, excelled in it, and glorified God in doing so.  May we, by grace, live so that others, speaking and writing about us, may truthfully and accurately describe our lives in those words or in words to that effect.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JUNIA AND ANDRONICUS, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant William Henry Heard,

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

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

we may by your grace grow into the full stature of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  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 Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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Feast of Ruth Byllesby (April 26)   2 comments

Above:  Christ Church, Augusta, Georgia

Image Source = Google Earth

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RUTH ELLIS BYLLESBY (1865-APRIL 25, 1959)

Episcopal Deaconess in Georgia

The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia declared Deaconess Ruth Byllesby a saint and established her feast day as April 25, the anniversary of her death, in 2012.

Her feast day here, on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, is April 26.  April 25 is the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist.  Per my policy regarding feast days of Biblical saints, I reserve April 25 for St. Mark.

The Episcopal Church used to have an order of deaconesses.  In the 1970s, when the denomination approved the ordination of women to all three orders of ordained ministry (diaconate, priesthood, and episcopate), it folded the order of deaconesses into the Sacred Order of Deacons.

Byllesby, born in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1865, was a deaconess for most of her life.  She, a daughter of an Episcopal priest, trained at St. Faith’s School for Deaconesses, New York.  She worked as a deaconess in the North from 1902 to 1927.  Over the years, she and relatives wintered in Augusta.  Our saint spent much time at Christ Church, Augusta, and in the adjacent Harrisburg mill village.  (Textile mills paid low wages.)  Two cousins, interested in outreach, endowed a fund for such ecclesiastical work.  Byllesby, in charge of outreach in the community, made Christ Church her base of operations in 1927.

There she remained until 1943.  Harrisburg, long poor, became more impoverished during the Great Depression.  Deaconess Byllesby moved into the rectory (next to the church building), and transformed the rectory into Neighborhood House.  From Neighborhood House Byllesby dispensed assistance.  She provided necessities for many families, started a club for young mothers, advocated for child labor laws, and insisted that girls receive good educations.  Her sole requirement to receive aid was to be or to become active in a church of one’s choosing.

Byllesby left Augusta in 1943.  She, aged 94 years, died in Connecticut on April 25, 1959.

Christ Church, Augusta, remains active in community outreach.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 10, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARIE-JOSEPH LAGRANGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF SAINT AGRIPINNUS OF AUTUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT GERMANUS OF PARIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; AND SAINT DROCTOVEUS OF AUTUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF FOLLIOT SANDFORD PIERPOINT, ANGLICAN EDUCATOR, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN OGLIVIE, SCOTTISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1615

THE FEAST OF SAINT MACARIUS OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Almighty God, you chose your servant Ruth Ellis Byllesby

to serve the poor, feed the hungry, and clothe your children:

give us grace to pattern our lives after the shining example of Blessed Ruth,

that we may spread the Gospel by helping those in need,

with humility and the heart of a servant,

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

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Philippians 2:1-7 (8-10)

Psalm 112

Matthew 25:31-46

–The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia

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Feast of Lucy Craft Laney (April 15)   1 comment

Above:  Kindergarten, Haines Normal and Industrial Institute, Augusta, Georgia, 1899

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-132449 (b&w film copy neg.)

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LUCY CRAFT LANEY (APRIL 13, 1854-OCTOBER 24, 1933)

African-American Presbyterian Educator and Civil Rights Activist

Lucy Craft Laney comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Our saint was a daughter of former slaves.  David Laney, a carpenter, was a Presbyterian minister.  In 1838, slaves who had been members of First Presbyterian Church, Macon, Georgia, became part of the African chapel, the origin of Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church.  Laney was a “leader,” functioning as a minister, of this congregation.  His ordination in 1866 made his ministerial status official.  He, having purchased his freedom in the 1830s, married Louisa, whose freedom he also purchased.  The couple had ten children.  Number seven was Lucy Craft Laney, born in Macon on April 13, 1854.

Presbyterian denominational history can be very confusing, even for those initiated into the mysteries of mergers and schisms.  I, having studied these matters closely, write authoritatively about them.  In the case of Lucy Craft Laney, I conclude that she belonged to the following denominations, in order:

  1. the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (Old School), until December 1861; then
  2. the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America (December 1861-December 1865), which changed its name to the Presbyterian Church in the United States in December 1865.

Our saint’s family taught her the value of education.  She learned to read and write by the age of four years.  When she was twelve years old, Laney translated difficult passages of Julius Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic Wars from Latin.  Her formal education came courtesy of the American Missionary Association, which founded schools for African Americans in the former Confederacy.  She attended Lewis High School, Macon, from 1865 to 1869.  After graduating, she matriculated at Atlanta University.  Ironically, she could not formally study the classics there because of her gender; Laney objected.  Our saint, who graduated in 1873, had her credentials as a teacher.

Laney spent a decade teaching in other people’s schools.  She taught in Macon, Savannah, Milledgeville, and Augusta.  Then, in 1883, she founded what became Haines Normal and Industrial Institute in Augusta.  The first “campus” was the basement of Christ Presbyterian Church, Augusta.  This African-American congregation, formed in October 1882, had separated from First Presbyterian Church, Augusta.

Laney served as principal from 1883 to 1933.  The school became Haines Normal and Industrial Institute because one Francine Haines donated $10,000 ($282,862.94, adjusted for inflation, as of the day I am typing this sentence) in 1886.  The State of Georgia chartered the school that year.  The Haines Institute, which moved to its new campus on Gwinnett Street (now Laney-Walker Boulevard) grew to 34 teachers and 900 students by 1912.  The school offered sewing classes, the first African-American kindergarten in Augusta, the first African-American nursing school in Augusta, orchestral concerts and other cultural events, and a college preparatory program.  Laney taught Latin.  Many graduates matriculated at respected Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  Novelist Frank Yerby (1916-1991), a native of Augusta, was an alumnus of the Haines Institute; he attended the school toward the end of Laney’s life.  Another famous person connected to the Haines Institute was Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), who taught there for a year then moved on to make her mark elsewhere.

Laney was active in the struggle for civil rights.  She, a friend of luminaries such as W. E. B. DuBois (1868-1963), Langston Hughes (1902-1967), and Madam C. J. Walker/Sarah Breedlove (1867-1919), was active in the National Association of Colored Women and the Interracial Commission.  She also helped to organize the Augusta Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) in 1918.  Furthermore, Laney helped to integrate the work of the Augusta branches of the Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.) and the Young Women’s Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.).

Laney died in Augusta on October 24, 1933.  “Miss Lucy” was 79 years old.

Haines Normal and Industrial Institute closed in 1949.  Laney High School replaced it.  Sadly, not one of the buildings of the Haines Institute has survived the ravages of time and political decisions.

Gwinnett Street, which borders the campus of Christ Presbyterian Church and the site of the former Haines Institute, has become Laney-Walker Boulevard.  Dr. Charles T. Walker was one of the founders of Atlanta University.

In 1974, Governor Jimmy Carter unveiled the first three portraits of African Americans in the state capitol.  The three honorees were Bishop Henry McNeal Turner (1834-1915); Martin Luther King, Jr. (1939-1968), and Lucy Craft Laney.

The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center, Augusta, opened in 1991.

Fortunately, the indirect and intergenerational influence of Lucy Craft Laney has continued to grow.

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Everlasting God, you teach us that your ways frequently conflict with many of our societal norms.

We thank you for the life and legacy of your servant, Lucy Craft Laney.

May we, inspired by her example, resist social injustice and

testify with our lives to the image of God present in all people.

May we, empowered by the Holy Spirit, transform our societies,

changing our societal norms so that they will more closely resemble your ways,

for your glory and the benefit of all people.

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

Proverbs 2:1-5

Psalm 25:1-10

Galatians 3:23-29

Matthew 5:13-16

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 28, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THOMAS BINNEY, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND “ARCHBISHOP OF NONCONFORMITY”

THE FEAST OF ANNA JULIA HAYWOOD COOPER AND ELIZABETH EVELYN WRIGHT, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATORS

THE FEAST OF FRED ROGERS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HOST OF MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BADGER, SR., U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST AND PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER; FIRST MISSIONARY TO THE WESTERN RESERVE

THE FEAST OF PEDRO ARRUPE, ADVOCATE FOR THE POOR AND MARGINALIZED, AND SUPERIOR GENERAL OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS

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Feast of Flannery O’Connor (March 26)   3 comments

Above:  Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Milledgeville, Georgia

Image Source = Google Earth

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MARY FLANNERY O’CONNOR (MARCH 25, 1925-AUGUST 2, 1964)

U.S. Roman Catholic Writer

Flannery O’Connor comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

O’Connor was a writer whose Roman Catholicism infused her work.  Our saint, born in Savannah, Georgia, on March 25, 1925, was daughter of Regina Cline (O’Connor) and Edward Francis O’Connor, a real estate agent.  In 1940 the family moved to Andalusia Farm, Milledgeville, Georgia.  Our saint’s father died of lupus the following year.  Young Flannery, a graduate of Peabody High School (1942) and Georgia State College for Women (1945), worked on student newspapers at both institutions.  Then she worked on her M.A. in journalism (1946-1947) at the University of Iowa.

O’Connor was ill for much of her life.  She, after having lived in New York and Connecticut for years, received her diagnosis of lupus in 1952.  Then our saint returned to Andalusia Farm that year.  She, aged 39 years, died in Milledgeville on August 2, 1964.

O’Connor found much time to write.  She attended Mass daily then read, wrote, and recuperated for the rest of the day.  Our saint wrote two novels and many short stories.  She also wrote essays and reviews for the Diocese of Savannah-Atlanta (until 1956), the Diocese of Atlanta (1956-1962), and the Archdiocese of Atlanta (1962f).  She, as a Roman Catholic in the Bible Belt, was something of an outcast in much of her society.

O’Connor, a Thomist, infused her fiction with the sense of God being present in the world, which seldom reflects divine love and goodness.  Many of her characters were horrifying and grotesque, mired in spiritual darkness.  Yet, our saint wrote, the promises of God remained relevant.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 27, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JEROME, PAULA OF ROME, EUSTOCHIUM, BLAESILLA, MARCELLA, AND LEA OF ROME

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANGELA MERICI, FOUNDRESS OF THE COMPANY OF SAINT URSULA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CAROLINA SANTOCANALE, FOUNDRESS OF THE CAPUCHIN SISTERS OF THE IMMUACULATE CONCEPTION OF LOURDES

THE FEAST OF CASPAR NEUMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PIERRE BATIFFOL, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, HISTORIAN, AND THEOLOGIAN

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring [Flannery O’Connor]

and all who with words have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

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

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinithians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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Feast of John H. Caldwell (March 12)   2 comments

Above:  First United Methodist Church, Newnan, Georgia

Image Source = Google Earth

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JOHN HOLLIS CALDWELL (JUNE 4, 1820-MARCH 11, 1899)

U.S. Methodist Minister and Social Reformer

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We have sinned, and God has smitten us.

–John H. Caldwell, Newnan, Georgia, June 1865

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INTRODUCTION

The great Galileo Galilei warned many who were conventionally orthodox and sat in judgment on him for making shocking and revolutionary statements (such as that the Earth revolves around the Sun), that they may actually be heretics.  John H. Caldwell, in the middle of his life, concluded that he had been a heretic regarding slavery.  He chose actual orthodoxy.

Caldwell came to my attention years ago, when I was a graduate student at Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia.  I was researching Methodist history regarding slavery; my focus in graduate school was the intersection of race and religion in the U.S. South.  Slavery was the rock upon which the Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939) split in 1844-1845.  I knew that already, but I wanted to know more details.

I was a United Methodist from 1980 to 1991.  Then I became an Episcopalian.  I have never looked back, for I have concluded that I am on this planet to be an Episcopalian.  Besides, my theological development subsequent to my confirmation (St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton, Georgia, December 22, 1991) has led me to become a Single Predestinarian Anglican-Lutheran, contrary to Methodist theology.  My increasingly liberal and inclusive social views have placed me substantially to the left of where many of the more conservative elements of society are.  So be it.  I affirm that all human beings with both a pulse and brain waves possess unalienable natural rights, including civil rights and civil liberties.  Call me a radical, if you wish, O reader, but there I stand.  I will do no other.

I write this so that you, O reader, will understand that (1) I know whereof I write, and (2) I have no animosity toward The United Methodist Church.

I recall, as early as the middle 1980s, talk of The United Methodist Church being two denominations in one.  If the General Conference 2020 plays out the way I predict it will, 2020 may echo 1844.  Even if the General Conference of 2020 does not play out the way I predict it will, The United Methodist Church will continue to live into the typographical error and Freudian slip “Untied Methodist Church.”  This is an objective statement.  To quote William Butler Yeats in The Second Coming,

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.

The big tent encompasses only those who choose to live within it.  Donatism did not die in norther Africa long ago.  No, it is alive and well, unfortunately.

As The United Methodist Church comes asunder and as the United States of America observes the Martin Luther King, Jr., federal holiday, pondering another schism–that of 1844-1845–as well as the cause of it, should lead us to sober-minded contemplation of orthodoxy and heresy, actual and alleged.

JOHN H. CALDWELL, DEFENDER OF SLAVERY

John Hollis Caldwell as a white Southerner.  He, born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on June 4, 1820, was a son of James Caldwell (1768-1825) and Jane Wardlaw (1772-1822).  His family moved to Georgia when our saint was an infant.  He converted to Christianity and to Methodism, in particular, at the age of 16 years.  Six years later, the Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) licensed Caldwell as an exhorter.  Our saint joined the Georgia Conference as a full minister in 1844.

The Methodist Episcopal Church concluded its General Conference of 1844 with a divorce agreement.  The cause of the divorce was slavery.  In particular, the question was whether James Osgood Andrew, the bishop assigned to the Georgia Conference, should continue as a bishop, despite owning slaves, in violation of church law.  He had not owned slaves in 1832, when he had become a bishop.  Yet Andrew had received slaves as inheritances over the years.  State law forbade him from freeing his slaves during his lifetime.  Slavery was still morally wrong, of course.  The MEC had been backing away from this moral truth since just a few years after its founding, as slaveholders joined.  The denomination finally issued a firm antislavery message again in 1864, shortly before the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution went to Congress.

One week apart, in May 1845, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS) and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) formed, for the same reason:  slavery.  The SBC formed because Northern-controlled missions boards of the Triennial Convention did not permit slaveholders to become missionaries.  Andrew became one of the founding bishops of the MECS, and continued to preach to slaves that they should obey their masters.

Caldwell joined the MECS and rose through the ranks to become a prominent member of the Georgia Conference thereof.  He accepted the conventional wisdom of his culture and the dominant theology thereof.  Caldwell believed that God supported and ordained slavery.  He quoted the Bible chapter-and-verse to defend this position.  He preached to slaves, telling them to obey their masters.  Opponents of slavery were heretics, fanatics, and radicals, according to Caldwell.  He insisted that they sought to destroy not just slavery, but the freedoms of press, speech, religion, and thought, too.  As Mark A. Noll has written in The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (2006), support for slavery became caught up with the authority of scripture.  Many, if not most, of those who argued for slavery theologically believed they were morally correct.

Above:  Old Main Building, Andrew College, Cuthbert, Georgia

Image Source = Google Earth

Caldwell also helped to found Andrew Female College (now Andrew College), Cuthbert, Georgia, which opened in 1854.  He taught moral and mental science there.  He, a slaveholder (via inheritances), sold one of his slaves to pay the college’s debts.  Caldwell’s father-in-law, a wealthy planter, insisted that a Methodist minister should not own slaves.  Our saint owned up to four slaves at a time, though.

Caldwell, by 1860 the pastor of Trinity Church, Savannah, had moved to Newnan to by 1864.  During the Civil War he supported slavery and the Confederacy.  He assumed that God was pro-Confederate States of America.

JOHN H. CALDWELL, RELIGIOUS SCALAWAG

Then the proverbial scales fell away from Caldwell’s eyes in early 1865.  Confederate defeat threw many white Christian Southerners into a theological crisis.  They reasoned that surely God had supported slavery and the Confederacy, so how could they make sense of their reality?  Caldwell took a different position.  Over a few Sundays in June 1865 he alienated his congregation and most of the other people in Newnan by condemning slavery, secession, the Confederacy, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.  He acknowledged, as he had in 1861, that the cause of the Confederacy had been slavery.  President Jefferson Davis had said as much in his Inaugural Address.  Vice President Alexander Hamilton Stephens, speaking in Savannah in March 1861, had called slavery the cornerstone of the Confederacy.   He was proud of this cornerstone.  Caldwell surveyed the destruction of the Civil War and pronounced the judgment of God.  He also stated that the end of slavery was just.  The Confederacy had been sinful, too, the minister preached, and slavery tainted the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Caldwell’s time left at Newnan was brief.  The Presiding Elder (District Superintendent, in contemporary Methodist terms) removed our saint from the pulpit, at the request of the leaders of the congregation.  U.S. Army General George H. Thomas, who had authority in Georgia, reinstated him in September.  Thomas also ordered local U.S. Army personnel to to protect Caldwell.  Our saint left the Georgia Conference of the MECS in November 1865, after that annual conference voted to condemn the contents of his sermons.

Then Caldwell rejoined the Methodist Episcopal Church and helped to begin rebuilding it in the former Confederacy.  He became a charter member of the new Georgia Conference of the MEC in January 1866.  He ministered to former slaves, helping them build churches, not telling them they should have obeyed their masters.  Predictably, the new Georgia Conference of the MEC was mostly African-American; it was politically and theologically suspect, according to most Southern Methodist neighbors.  Caldwell remained in Georgia until 1871, shortly after “redemption,” of the return of the antebellum ruling class to power.  He helped to found schools for former slaves.  Our saint, a religious scalawag, favored the Radical Republicans’ ambitious civil rights platform and worked with the Freedmen’s Bureau to help his flock.  Caldwell attended the state constitutional convention (December 1867-March 1868) and served in the state legislature.  He opposed the expulsion of all his African-American colleagues from that body.  Caldwell and his fellow religious scalawags were, according to Edward H. Myers, the editor of the Southern Christian Advocate,

miserable traitors to their brethren, their church, and their country.

–Quoted in Daniel W. Stowell, Rebuilding Zion:  The Religious Reconstruction of the South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 133

JOHN H. CALDWELL OF DELAWARE

Caldwell and his family to Delaware in 1871.  He had married Elizabeth Thurston Hodnett (1826-1902) on January 2, 1849.  The couple had had five sons and four daughters from 1849 to 1869.  Our saint joined the local conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church and served as a pastor, a presiding elder, and a college president.

From 1885 to 1888 Caldwell served as the President of Delaware College (now the University of Delaware), then a men’s institution.  His time as a college president was unhappy for everybody involved.  Personality clashes abounded, and his inexperience created more problems.  Our saint perceived that people were conspiring around him.  They may have been, perhaps justifiably.  Caldwell was simultaneously of his time and ahead of it.  His antiquated moral disapproval of dancing led to some conflicts; he forbade it on campus.  Yet he favored admitting women to the student body; that was progressive.

Caldwell returned to parish ministry in 1888.

He, aged 78 years, died in Dover, Delaware, on Mach 11, 1899.

EVALUATING JOHN H. CALDWELL

Caldwell may have been, as one of his adversaries at Delaware College claimed, “cranky,” but he possessed courage, too.  Our saint had enough courage to change his mind on a central issue of his time and to contradict conventional wisdom, as well as to speak up at great risk to himself and his livelihood.  He had the courage of his convictions.  History has rendered its verdict in Caldwell’s case; it has ruled in his favor.

As one should know, presenting evidence is frequently the least successful method of changing a person’s mind, especially in matters that pertain to one’s self-image.  Facts should matter, but ego protection often overrules objective reality.  Human beings are usually more irrational than rational, sadly.

By grace, Caldwell found the moral courage, starting in June 1865, to admit that he had been wrong–horribly, sinfully wrong.  Then he repented, paid the price, and made the world a better place for many of the “least of these.”

That is sufficient reason to honor him.

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God of justice, we thank you for the example of your servant, John H. Caldwell,

who turned his back on the sins of slavery and, in the face of hostility,

labored for the civil rights of former slaves, his neighbors.

May we, by grace, confront our prejudices and, when necessary and proper to do so,

expose the foolishness of “received wisdom” and other ubiquitous assumptions,

for your glory and for the benefit of all people.

May the Church be on the vanguard of the struggle for social justice,

never on the side of the oppressors,

regardless of the price she will pay for standing with the “least of these.”

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

Amos 2:6-8

Psalm 71:1-6

Galatians 3:23-29

Luke 6:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 20, 2020 COMMON ERA 

THE FEAST OF SAINT FABIAN, BISHOP OF ROME, AND MARTYR, 250

THE FEAST OF SAINTS EUTHYMIUS THE GREAT AND THEOCRISTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF GREVILLE PHILLIMORE, ENGLISH PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF HARRIET AUBER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD ROLLE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL WRITER

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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 Charles Todd Quintard (February 16)   4 comments

Above:  Charles Todd Quintard

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-cwpbh-01430

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CHARLES TODD QUINTARD (DECEMBER 22, 1824-FEBRUARY 16, 1898)

Episcopal Bishop of Tennessee

Bishop Charles Todd Quintard comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church.  Quintard is one of many saints listed in the side calendar (Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints, 2010; and A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations, 2016), but not the main calendar (Lesser Feasts and Fasts, most recently revised in 2018, and in 2006, immediately prior to that).  Likewise, many saints listed in Lesser Feasts and Fasts are not in the side calendar.  Episcopal hagiography is not a simple matter.

Charles Todd Quintard, son of Dr. Isaac Quintard, M.D., was a physician prior to entering ordained ministry.  He, born in Stamfort, Connecticut, on December 22, 1824, descended from Huguenots.  Quintard studied at University Medical Center, New York University, and Bellevue Hospital prior to becoming an M.D. in 1847.  Our saint, a physician in Athens, Georgia, and a parishioner at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, from 1848 to 1851, moved to Memphis, Tennessee, to each at Memphis Medical College.  Our saint, with the support of James Hervey Otey, the Bishop of Tennessee, began to study for Holy Orders in 1854.  Otey ordained Quintard in 1856.

Quintard was a priest for about nine years before joining the ranks of bishops.  He was briefly the Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, Memphis (1856-1857), then the Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Advent, Nashville (1857f).  Our saint, a High Churchman, served as a surgeon and a chaplain in the Confederate Army.  He compiled the Confederate Soldiers’ Pocket Manual of Devotions (1863) and Balm for the Weary and the Wounded (1864).

Quintard became the Bishop of Tennessee, succeeding the deceased James Hervey Otey, serving from October 1865 to February 1898.  He built up the Diocese of Tennessee and The University of the South, founding its School of Theology, as well.  The Diocese of Tennessee, Quintard insisted, had to be open to all who came, so he opposed any barriers.  Our saint, therefore, opposed pew rentals.  Although race-based chattel slavery had been the cornerstone of the Confederacy, as Vice President Alexander Hamilton Stephens had said openly in Savannah, Georgia, in March 1861, the bishop, a former Confederate Army chaplain, opposed racially-segregated congregations.  He also established programs to help poor people.  Furthermore, Quintard helped to found Hoffman Hall, Fisk University, Nashville, as a seminary for African Americans.

Quintard was in Meridian, Georgia, in McIntosh County and near Darien, for health reasons, when he died on February 16, 1898.  He was 73 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 19, 2918 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT THEODORE OF TARSUS, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF SAINT EMILY DE RODAT, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE HOLY FAMILY OF VILLEFRANCHE

THE FEAST OF WALTER CHALMERS SMITH, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WALTER DALRYMPLE MACLAGAN, ARCHBISHOP OF YORK AND HYMN WRITER

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Mighty God, we bless your Name for the example of your bishop Charles Todd Quintard,

who opposed the segregation of African Americans in separate congregations and condemned the exclusion of the poor;

and we pray that your Church may be a refuge for all, for the honor of your Name;

through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 34:14-19

Psalm 94:2-15

Romans 14:10-13

Luke 14:15-24

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 227

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Feast of Julia Williams Garnet, Henry Highland Garnet, Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet, Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, and Theophilus Gould Steward (February 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Partial Family Tree

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JULIA WILLIAMS GARNET (JULY 1, 1811-JANUARY 7, 1870)

African-American Abolitionist and Educator

first wife of

HENRY HIGHLAND GARNET (DECEMBER 23, 1815-FEBRUARY 13, 1882)

African-American Presbyterian Minister and Abolitionist

second husband of

SARAH J. SMITH TOMPKINS GARNET (JULY 31, 1831-SEPTEMBER 17, 1911)

African-American Suffragette and Educator

sister of

SUSAN MARIA SMITH MCKINNEY STEWARD (MARCH 1847-MARCH 17, 1918)

African-American Physician

second wife of

THEOPHILUS GOULD STEWARD (APRIL 17, 1843-JANUARY 11, 1924)

U.S. African Methodist Episcopal Minister, U.S. Army Chaplain, and Professor

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The nation has begun its exodus from worse than Egyptian bondage; and I beseech you that say to the people, “that they go forward.”  With the assurance of God’s favor in all things done in obedience to his righteous will, and guided by day and night by the pillars of cloud and fire, let us not pause until we have reached the other and safe side of the stormy and crimson sea.  Let freemen and patriots mete out complete and equal justice to all men, and thus prove to mankind the superiority of our Democratic, Republican government.

–Henry Highland Garnet, addressing the United States House of Representatives, February 12, 1865; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 604

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This post began with one name, that of Henry Highland Garnet, which I found in A Year with American Saints (2006).  As I took notes, however, I added two wives, a sister-in-law, and her second husband to the post.  I have, after all, established emphasizing relationships and influences as a goal of this project, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Julia Williams came from a free African-American family.  She, born in Charleston, South Carolina, on July 1, 1811, moved with her family to Boston, Massachusetts, when she was a child.  At the age of 21 years, Williams began to study at Prudence Crandall‘s Female Boarding School (for African Americans), which opened in 1831.  After hostility in Canterbury, New Hampshire, forced the school to close, Williams continued her studies at Noyes Academy, Canaan, New Hampshire (extant 1835).  There she met Henry Highland Garnet.

Henry Highland Garnet, born a slave, became an abolitionist.  He, born in New Market, Maryland, on December 23, 1815, fled with his family in 1824, first to Delaware, then to Pennsylvania.  The family had to keep moving, to evade slave-catchers.  Eventually, Garnet wound up in New York City, where, from 1826 to 1833, he studied at the African Free School then at Phoenix High School for Colored Youth.  Our saint helped to found the abolitionist Garrison Literary and Benevolent Association in 1835.  He and Julia Williams were students at Noyes Academy, Canaan, New Hampshire, in 1835.  Local racists forced the school to close then destroyed the building.  Next, they founded a whites-only school.

Williams and Garnet studied at the Oneida Institute (1827-1843), Whitesboro, New York.  Garnet, who graduated in 1839, became a teacher in Troy, New York.  He also began to study theology.  Williams, having joined the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society in the 1830s, was a delegate to the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, New York City, in 1837.  Garnet suffered a severe sports-related injury in 1840; he lost one leg, amputated at the hip.  He and Williams married in 1841.  The couple had three children.  Only one child, a daughter, survived to adulthood.

Garnet, the first African-American graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, became a Presbyterian minister.  He served at Liberty Street Presbyterian Church, Troy, New York, from 1842 to 1848.  He had already become simultaneously revolutionary and conservative, by abolitionist standards.  Our saint had, in 1840, helped to found the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (AFASS), which broke away from the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS).  The AASS, with William Lloyd Garrison as a prominent member, opened leadership positions to women and made the connection between the rights of slaves and the rights of women.  The AFASS, however, focused narrowly on slavery and reserved all leadership positions for men.  Yet Garnet, an abolitionist journalist since 1842, proved too radical for William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass in one way in 1843.  That year, addressing the National Negro Convention, Buffalon, New York, Garnet called for a slave insurrection:

Brethren, arise, arise!  Strike for your lives and liberties.  Now is the day and the hour.  Let every slave throughout the land do this, and the days of slavery are numbered.  You cannot be more oppressed than you have been–you cannot suffer greater cruelties than you have already.  Rather die freemen than live to be slaves.

Garrison and Douglass persuaded Garnet to to moderate his position.

Garnet’s activism continued.  By 1849, he openly supported African-American immigration to Mexico, Liberia, or the West Indies.  This position led him to found the African Civilization Society in 1858.  He, associated with the free produce movement, which favored an economic boycott of slavery, traveled and lectured in the British Isles in 1850-1852.  The Garnets were missionaries of The Church of Scotland to Jamaica in 1852-1855; Julia led a female industrial school there.  Henry’s health required him to leave Jamaica after three years.  The couple returned to the United States.  Henry worked with Frederick Douglass to recruit African-American soldiers during the Civil War.  Garnet, pastor of Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C., from 1864 to 1866, addressed the U.S. House of Representatives on February 12, 1865, after it passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution.  He became the President of Avery College, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (extant 1849-1873), in 1868.  Garnet also served as pastor of Shiloh Presbyterian Church, New York City, and favored Cuban independence from Spain.

Julia, who worked with former slaves in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War, died on January 7, 1870.  She was 58 years old.

Henry remarried, to Sarah J. Smith Tompkins, in 1879.

Sarah J. Smith and her sister, Susan Maria Smith, made history.  Their parents were prosperous farmers, Sylvanus Smith and Ann Eliza Springsteel, of Brooklyn, New York.  Sarah debuted on July 31, 1831.  Susan followed in March 1847.  Sarah’s first husband was Samuel Tompkins, who died in 1852.  The couple had two children, who died young.

Sarah J. Smith Tompkins became an educator.  She taught at the African Free School before becoming the first female, African-American principal in New York City; she led Grammar School Number 4, starting on April 30, 1863.

Susan, a musician and a music educator in the District of Columbia, pursued a career in medicine after one of her brothers died of cholera during an outbreak in Brooklyn.  She studied at the New York Medical College for Women in 1867-1869, and graduated as the valedictorian.  She became the first African-American female physician in the State of New York and the third in the United States.  Our saint practiced medicine in Brooklyn from 1870 to 1895, cofounded the Brooklyn Women’s Homeopathic Hospital and Dispensary, and practiced medicine at the Brooklyn Home for Aged Colored People.  In 1871, Susan married the Reverend William G. McKinney (d. 1894), a Methodist minister.

Sarah, owner of a seamstress shop in Brooklyn from 1883 to 1911, was also a suffragette.  She founded the Equal Suffrage League in Brooklyn in the late 1880s.  Starting in 1896, she served as the Superintendent of the National Association of Colored Women.

Henry Highland Garnet, briefly the U.S. Minister to Liberia, received his appointment in late 1881.  He, aged 58 years, died in Monrovia, on February 13, 1882.

Theophilus Gould Steward was a minister, an academic, and an activist.  He, from free African-American stock, was a child of James Steward and Rebecca Gould.  Our saint, born in Gouldtown, New Jersey, on April 17, 1843, became a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1863.  He planted churches in Georgia and South Carolina after the Civil War.  Our saint, from 1868 a pastor in Macon, Georgia, presided over the construction of a new edifice after the suspicious burning of the first one.  He, a graduate of the Episcopal Divinity School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was active in Haiti, and the eastern United States from 1872 to 1891.  Our saint, recipient of a Doctor of Divinity degree from Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio, in 1881, joined the United States Army as a chaplain in 1891.  He served in the 25th U.S. Colored Cavalry until 1907.  Steward spent time in the U.S. West, in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, and in the Philippines after that war.  His first wife, Elizabeth Gladden, died ini 1893.  The couple had eight children, from 1872 to 1883.

Susan Maria Smith McKinney married Theophilus Gould Steward in 1896.  They went to work at Wilberforce University in 1907.  Theophilus was a professor of French, history, and logic.  Susan was a physician.  In 1911, she and her sister, Sarah, attended the Universal Race Congress, New York City.  Susan presented a paper, “Colored American Women.”

Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet, aged 80 years, died on September 17, 1911.

Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, aged 71 years, died on March 17, 1918.

Theophilus Gould Steward, a cofounder (with Alexander Crummell) of the American Negro Academy (1897-1928), died on January 11, 1924.  He was 80 years old.

The United States of America is better than it would have been otherwise because these five saints made their contributions to society.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 17, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BLESSED JUTTA OF DISIBODENBERG, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND HER STUDENT, SAINT HILDEGARD OF BINGEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF GERARD MOULTRIE, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZYGMUNT SZCESNY FELINSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF WARSAW, TITULAR BISHOP OF TARSUS, AND FOUNDER OF RECOVERY OF THE POOR AND THE CONGREGATION OF THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS OF THE FAMILY OF MARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZYGMUNT SAJNA, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1940

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness and care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may

do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer, who lives and reigns

with you and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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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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