Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1800s’ Category

Feast of Albert Barnes (December 1)   2 comments

Above:  Albert Barnes

Image in the Public Domain

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ALBERT BARNES (DECEMBER 1, 1798-DECEMBER 24, 1870)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Abolitionist, and Alleged Heretic

Public sentiment controls the land; public sentiment will ultimately control the world.  All that error, tyranny, and oppression demand is a strong public sentiment in their favor; all that is necessary to counteract their influence is that public sentiment be right.

Albert Barnes, The Church and Slavery (1857), 7

When that book rolled off the presses, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that African Americans were not citizens and therefore lacked all constitutional rights.  In 1857 vocal defenders of slavery who quoted the Bible made the authority of scripture one of the pillars of their arguments.  That year, the United States was moving toward the Civil War.

Barnes was humble yet not timid.  He, a man of this time and his Evangelical subculture in some ways, for better and worse, was also ahead of his time in other ways.  He expressed his opinions boldly and acted on them in the same manner.  Targets included dancing, saloons, slavery, and High Church Episcopalians.  Our saint counterbalanced that with a tolerant attitude regarding a range of theological opinions, however.

Barnes comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Our saint, born in Rome, New York, on December 1, 1798, was a skeptic who converted.  He became a Christian under the influence of the Second Great Awakening, while he was a student at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York.  Our saint’s original plans had been to become an attorney.  He matriculated at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1820 instead.  Barnes graduated in 1824 and became a minister the following year.

Barnes, ordained by the Presbytery of Elizabethtown in 1825, served in only two congregations.  While in Morristown, New Jersey (1825-1830), he helped to close all the taverns in town.  In 1829 our saint became both prominent and controversial in his denomination, the old Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1789-1838), with a sermon, “The Way to Salvation.”  In this sermon Barnes made a number of controversial statements, not the least of which was his rejection of Original Sin.  This position aligned him with Judaism and Eastern Orthodoxy, but separated him from most of Western Christianity.

Barnes served in the First Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1830 to 1870.  With greater prominence came more theological scrutiny.  Our saint, accused of heresy, won acquittal at the General Assemblies of 1831 and 1836, both times with votes from delegates belonging to the New School wing of the denomination.  Both acquittals caused much consternation in the Old School.  During the 1830s Barnes wrote and published an internationally best-selling series of Biblical commentaries marked by both erudition and accessibility.  Ministers and Sunday School teachers were the main audiences.   In Notes on the Epistle to the Romans (1835) Barnes wrote in opposition to Original Sin (without using that term) in the note on 5:9.   The presbytery suspended our saint from his pulpit and declared the volume dangerous.  The General Assembly of 1836 not only dismissed those charges but also restored him to his pulpit.  These two acquittals hastened the Old School-New School schism of 1838.

Barnes minced no words regarding slavery, although he changed his mind.  In An Inquiry into the Scriptural Views of Slavery (1846), our saint acknowledge a range of views regarding slavery in the Bible yet concluded that the principles of Christ vis-à-vis slavery led to abolition of slavery.  Therefore, according to Barnes, all pro-slavery Biblical principles were not applicable to chattel slavery in the 1800s.  In The Church and Slavery (1857), Barnes took a harder line; those pro-slavery Biblical principles never applied in any circumstances; slavery was wrong at all times and in all places.  The 1858 schism in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (New School), resulting in the formation of the (Southern) United Synod of the Presbyterian Church, resulted from an effort by Barnes et al. to discipline slaveholders in 1856.  The consensus of the delegates to the General Assembly of 1856 was merely to express official displeasure with slavery.  Even that mild measure was too much for some.

Historical Note:  The Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (Old School) divided in 1861, with the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America forming at First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Georgia, in December 1861.  The United Synod of the Presbyterian Church merged into the Confederate Church in 1864.  The Confederate Church renamed itself the Presbyterian Church in the United States in December 1865.  The remaining, national (“Northern”) bodies reunited as the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1870.  Ultimately, the Southern and national (“Northern”) bodies wound up together again, in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1983. 

One does need far more than a flow chart to keep track of Presbyterian schisms and mergers in the United States of America.

Barnes, who served as the Moderator of the New School General Assembly in 1851 and as the President of the Pennsylvania Bible Society from 1858 to 1870, did not reject science out of hand.  Early during the controversy over Evolution our saint made a distinction between the Bible and the interpretation thereof.  He insisted that science may contradict an interpretation of scripture without running afoul of the Bible.

Our saint, open to dialogue and cooperation with others (especially Congregationalists and other Calvinists) of whom Old School Presbyterians disapproved, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on December 24, 1870.  He was 71 years old.

One may, of course, disagree with Barnes on more than one issue; I, an Episcopalian fond of “smells and bells,” do.  That is fine, as our saint would agree.  One ought to recognize the moral courage Barnes showed as he fought the good fight against slavery while one differs with him on other matters.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 19, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAMES ARTHUR MACKINNON, CANADIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

THE FEAST OF ALFRED RAMSEY, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHARITIE LEES SMITH BANCROFT DE CHENEZ, HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM PIERSON MERRILL, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, SOCIAL REFORMER, AND HYMN WRITER

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant to us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant Albert Barnes, to work for justice among people and nations,

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

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of James Mills Thoburn, Isabella Thoburn, and Clara Swain (November 27)   2 comments

Above:  India Prior to Partition

Map scanned from Hammond’s New Era Atlas of the World (1945) and cropped by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Pay close attention to Lucknow and Bareilly, close to Nepal.

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JAMES MILLS THOBURN (MARCH 7, 1836-NOVEMBER 28, 1922)

U.S. Methodist Missionary and Bishop in Asia

brother of

ISABELLA THOBURN (MARCH 29, 1840-SEPTEMBER 1, 1901)

U.S. Methodist Educator, Deaconess, and Missionary to India

traveled with

CLARA A. SWAIN (JULY 18, 1834-DECEMBER 25, 1910)

U.S. Methodist Medical Missionary to India

These three saints come to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).  In that volume each person has a separate date.  One of the purposes of my renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar, however, is to emphasize relationships and influences.  The three saints, therefore, share a feast day here.

James Mills Thoburn and Isabella Thoburn, born in Saint Clairsville, Ohio, were children of Irish immigrants.  James debuted on March 7, 1836.  Isabella followed on March 29, 1840.  James, an 1857 graduate of Allegheny College, became a minister in the Pittsburgh Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church the following year.  After serving as a pastor, he became a missionary to India in 1859.

Thoburn spent most of 1859-1908 (except for furloughs, mainly) in Asia.  At first he worked with William Butler (1818-1899) and Clementine Rowe Butler (1820-1913) in North India.  The Butlers were the first U.S. Methodist missionaries to India; they had arrived in 1856.  Thoburn found the slow pace of missionary work with them frustrating, though.  Later our saint worked with William Taylor (1821-1902), a Methodist evangelist.  In 1874-1887 Thoburn served as pastor of a church Taylor had planted in Calcutta.

Thoburn, briefly (1861-1862) married to Sarah Minerva Rockwell, who died in childbirth in 1862, was working out of Lucknow in 1866.  That year he wrote to Isabella, his sister, a teacher in the United States.  He asked her to come to Lucknow, to operate a then-hypothetical school for girls.  Isabella accepted the offer, but her denomination did not dispatch unmarried women overseas as missionaries until 1869, when the newly-founded Women’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church sent her to India.  On November 3, 1869, Isabella Thoburn and Clara A. Swain, M.D., sailed from Boston, Massachusetts.  They arrived at Bombay on January 7, 1870.  Isabella went to Lucknow.  Swain headed for Bareilly.

Clara A. Swain, born in Elmira, New York, on July 18, 1834, became the first U.S. medical missionary overseas.  The youngest daughter of John Swain and Clarissa Seavey Swain joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1842.  She became a teacher then attended the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, from which she graduated in 1869, shortly before she sailed for India.  Swain, in India, initially worked out of an orphanage.  She identified women’s medical needs, met them, and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Swain founded the Women’s Hospital and Medical School, an institution unique in Asia, in 1870.

Isabella Thoburn, at Lucknow, started the new girls’ school with six pupils in 1870.  The school grew into a boarding school then a high school then, in 1886, Lucknow Woman’s College, the first Christian college for women in Asia.  In 1903, after Isabella’s death, the name of the institution became Isabella Thoburn College.

James Mills Thoburn, founder (in 1871) of the periodical the Lucknow Witness (later the Indian Witness), expanded Methodist missionary work in Asia for decades.  He began work in Rangoon in 1879.  In 1880, while on furlough in the United States, he met and married Anna Jones (d. 1902), a candidate to be a medical missionary.  He sailed for India two days after the wedding.  Anna spent the next two years completing her medical studies before sailing to India, where she served for decades.  In 1885 James started Methodist work in Singapore.  Three years later, he became the Bishop of India and Malaysia.  In that capacity he supervised much missionary work in Asia.  In 1898 he dispatched missionaries to the Philippines.

The Thoburns and Swain, on furlough in the United States in 1888, helped to revive the ancient order of deaconesses in the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Isabella became one of the earliest Methodist deaconesses.  While still in the United States, she helped to found both Christ Hospital and the Deaconess Home and Training School, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Isabella and James spoke separately at the Ecumenical Missionary Conference, New York City, in 1900.  Then Isabella returned to India, where she died of cholera the following year.

James and Clara retired in 1908.  She settled in Castille, New York, where she wrote A Glimpse of India (1909).  She died in Castille the  following year.  Bishop Thoburn retired to Meadville, Pennsylvania.  In 1910 he, at the invitation of John Raleigh Mott (1865-1955), attended the World Missionary Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland.  Thoburn died in Meadville in 1922.

The legacies of these three saints continue, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 7, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMITIAN OF HUY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

THE FEAST OF HARRIET STARR CANNON, FOUNDRESS OF THE COMMUNITY OF SAINT MARY

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH ARMITAGE ROBINSON, ANGLICAN DEAN, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROSA VENERINI, FOUNDRESS OF THE VENERINI SISTERS; MENTOR OF SAINT LUCIA FILIPPINI, FOUNDRESS OF THE RELIGIOUS TEACHERS FILIPPINI

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God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servants

James Mills Thoburn, Isabella Thoburn, and Clara Swain,

who made the good news known in Asia.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love,

and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 59

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Feast of Sojourner Truth (November 26)   2 comments

Above:  Sojourner Truth

Image in the Public Domain

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SOJOURNER TRUTH (1797-NOVEMBER 26, 1883)

U.S. Abolitionist, Mystic, and Feminist

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If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

–Sojourner Truth, 1851

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Sojourner Truth comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, mainly via The Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.  She also comes to my Ecumenical Calendar via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), and G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).  Truth’s Lutheran feast day, shared with Harriet Tubman, is March 10.  The feast day situation in The Episcopal Church is complicated, though.

The Episcopal calendar of saints used to be a simple matter.  From 1963 or so to 2009, the then-current edition of Lesser Feasts and Fasts defined the church calendar.  From 1988 to 2006, the triennial General Convention approved the new edition of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, with “new” saints added.  The General Convention of 2009 left Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006 (published in 2007) unaltered yet authorized a greatly expanded side calendar, the first guide to which which was Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010).  The General Convention of 2012 left Holy Women, Holy Men (2010) alone, but the General Convention of 2015 authorized a successor, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016).  The General Convention of 2018 authorized the expanded Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, which, as of the date I write this post, is available only as a PDF document.

Truth, therefore, has two feast days in The Episcopal Church.  Her feast day from Holy Women, Holy Men (2010) and A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2016) is July 20.  She shares that feast day with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, and Harriet Tubman.  However, her feast day (by herself) in Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 is November 26.

Isabella Baumfree, born in Rifton, New York, in 1797, was a slave.  She, a daughter of James and Elizabeth Baumfree, grew up speaking Dutch, not English.  After our saint learned English, she spoke it with a Dutch accent.  Young Isabella suffered greatly.  She, sold more than once, never knew her siblings; slavery broke her family apart.  She endured beatings, the scars of which her body bore throughout her long life.  When Isabella was 13 years old, her master mated her with Thomas, an older slave.  She and Thomas had five children.  As the government of New York prepared to free all the remaining slaves in that state on July 4, 1827, Isabella’s master reneged on promises to free her prior to that date.  In 1826 she liberated herself and her youngest child, Sophia.

Isabella spent 1826-1843 in New York City and the immediate area.  Elizabeth Baumfree had taught her daughter to trust in God.  Isabella became a Christian under the influence of her new employers (1826-1829), Isaac and Maria Van Wagener, Quakers.  Our saint, their housekeeper, adopted their surname.  In 1828 she successfully sued for the freedom of her son Peter, sold illegally into slavery in Alabama.  He joined her in New York and became Peter Van Wagener.  About that time, Isabella joined a Methodist congregation.

Isabella, who claimed to have conversations with God, was not, unfortunately, the shrewdest of mystics at all times.  From 1829 to 1832 she was housekeeper to Elijah Pierson (1786-1834), a dodgy evangelist who billed himself as “Elijah the Tishbite.”  He was also a friend of her next employer, Robert Matthews (1788-circa 1841), who billed himself as “Matthias the Prophet,” operated a commune from 1832 to 1835, and also turned out to be untrustworthy.

Our saint’s life changed in 1843.  Peter, a crewman aboard a whaling vessel, died.  Isabella, discerning a call from God to become an itinerant evangelist and political activist, renamed herself Sojourner Truth.  She was a feminist, a suffragette, a pacifist, an educator (despite being illiterate), a pacifist, and an advocate of temperance.  Truth also worked with Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison.  The latter man published her dictated autobiography, Narrative of Sojourner Truth, in 1847.

Truth, based at Northampton, Massachusetts, from 1844 to 1857, was usually a Methodist.  She had an association with the Millerites, however.  After William Miller’s predictions of 1843-1844 proved false, she chose to remain separate from that movement, which spawned the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Truth, unlike other abolitionists, understood the principle summarized in intersectionality, a word that did not exist during her lifetime.  Her life played out at the intersection of race, slavery, and gender.  Perhaps Truth’s best, most succinct summary of why freedom for slaves and the equality of men and women must go hand-in-hand was the “Ain’t I a Woman” speech, which she delivered at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1851.

Truth, who moved to Battle Creek, Michigan, where some of her daughters resided, in 1857, supported the U.S. military during the Civil War and worked for justice for former slaves after that conflict.  She helped to recruit African-American soldiers during the war.  She also met with President Abraham Lincoln in 1864 then remained in the District of Columbia, to minister to slaves in refugee camps.  Then Truth spent seven years unsuccessfully lobbying for federal land grants for former slaves.

Truth remained a radical in her final years.  In 1872 she tried to vote in the presidential election;  she would have voted for President Ulysses Grant, with whom she had met.

Our saint, aged about 86 years, died in Battle Creek, Michigan, on November 26, 1883.  The truths for which she worked and advocated have never died, though.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 7, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMITIAN OF HUY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

THE FEAST OF HARRIET STARR CANNON, FOUNDRESS OF THE COMMUNITY OF SAINT MARY

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH ARMITAGE ROBINSON, ANGLICAN DEAN, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROSA VENERINI, FOUNDRESS OF THE VENERINI SISTERS; MENTOR OF SAINT LUCIA FILIPPINI, FOUNDRESS OF THE RELIGIOUS TEACHERS FILIPPINI

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Almighty God, who has made the Church to be one body with many members and many gifts:

we thank you for the witness of your daughter, Sojourner Truth,

and for her courage to preach the truth of your liberating love in the face of injustice.

Grant that we, like her, may use our time, talents, and energy to proclaim the coming of your Kingdom,

which is good news to the poor, and in which all the oppressed shall be made free;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Wisdom of Solomon 5:15-20

Psalm 126

Mark 4:21-29

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018

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Feast of H. Baxter Liebler (November 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  Episcopal Flag

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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HAROLD BAXTER LIEBER (NOVEMBER 26, 1889-NOVEMBER 21, 1982)

Episcopal Priest and Missionary to the Navajo Nation

H. Baxter Liebler comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

The Brooklyn-born Liebler spent nearly half of his long life ministering to members of the Navajo nation in Utah.

Liebler, born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 26, 1889, was a son of Mildred Walther Liebler and theater producer Theodore Liebler.  Our saint became a businessman then a second-career priest.  He married his first wife, Frances F. Marks (d. 1978) in 1913.  Liebler, ordained to the priesthood in 1978, served first as Curate of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, New York, New York.  In 1918 he founded St. Saviour’s Church, Old Greenwich, Connecticut.  In 1942 Liebler was the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Riverside, Connecticut, when he was on vacation in southwestern Utah.  He noticed the poverty of the Navajo there; they lacked even schools and clinics.  He had had a fascination with Native Americans since childhood.  The combination of factors led to Liebler becoming a missionary.

Liebler did something about that poverty; he returned the following year and remained for the rest of his life.  Our saint founded St. Christopher’s Mission, Bluff, Utah, as well as a school and a clinic.  He respected the Navajo culture, mastered the language, and integrated Navajo prayers and tunes into the liturgy.  He rejected culturally destructive assimilation, by which many folkways and languages have gone extinct, and many indigenous people have fallen into a host of severe woes and ills.  Liebler was glad when the State of Utah assumed responsibility for the school and the clinic, for he preferred to focus on evangelism.  He excelled in that; he baptized about 2,000 Navajos.

Liebler remained active in retirement (1962-1982).  He moved to Oljato and founded the St. Mary-of-the-Moonlight Mission, as well as the Hat Creek Retreat Center.  Our saint, a widower, also remarried.  His second wife was Joan Warburton Eskell (1915-2009).  He died in Oljato on November 21, 1982, five days prior to what would have been his ninety-third birthday.

One legacy of Liebler’s work is The Episcopal Church’s Navajoland Area Mission (a.k.a. the Episcopal Church in Navajoland), carved out of the Dioceses of Arizona, Utah, and the Rio Grande (encompassing New Mexico and much of western Texas) in 1977.  Navajoland has three regions and nine congregations in 2019.  Bishop David Bailey emphasizes ordaining indigenous priests and deacons as the mission area nears the presumptive election of its fourth indigenous bishop.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 23, 2019 COMMON ERA

TUESDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF TOYOHIKO KAGAWA, RENEWER OF SOCIETY AND PROPHETIC WITNESS IN JAPAN

THE FEAST OF JOHANN WALTER, “FIRST CANTOR OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF WALTER RUSSELL BOWIE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, SEMINARY PROFESSOR, AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant H. Baxter Liebler,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the Navajo people.

Raise up in this and every 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 for ever.  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 James Otis Sargent Huntington (November 25)   Leave a comment

Above:  James Otis Sargent Huntington

Image in the Public Domain

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JAMES OTIS SARGENT HUNTINGTON (JULY 23, 1854-JUNE 28, 1935)

Founder of the Order of the Holy Cross

James Otis Sargent Huntington comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church.

Huntington, born a Unitarian and raised an Episcopalian, worked among “the least of these.”  His mother was Hannah Diane Sargent (Huntington).  Our saint’s father was Frederick Dan Huntington (1819-1904), who taught moral ethics at Harvard.  By July 23, 1854, the date of our saint’s birth, the Reverend Huntington was the pastor of a Unitarian church in Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts.  The elder Huntington converted to The Episcopal Church in 1855.  He rose through the ranks of Episcopal clergy quickly; he served as the first Bishop of Central New York from 1859 to 1904.  Our saint graduated from Harvard then from St. Andrew’s Divinity School, Syracuse, New York.  His father ordained him to the diaconate (1878) then the priesthood (1880).

Huntington’s ministry entailed working with marginalized people.  He, assistant at Calvary Mission, Syracuse (1875-1881), served at Holy Cross Mission, New York, New York from 1881 to 1889.  In New York City he ministered to working class immigrants on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  When our saint discerned his vocation to monastic life, he began to consider how to fulfill that call.  On November 25, 1884, in the Chapel of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist, New York, New York, Huntington made his vows as a monk of the new Order of the Holy Cross.  The vow of celibacy was especially controversial in some quarters of The Episcopal Church.  He led that order in 1884-1888, 1897-1907, 1915-1918, and 1921-1930.

Huntington, like many other Anglo-Catholics, combined social progressiveness with liturgical conservatism.  The high church liturgy added much beauty to the otherwise bleak lives of many to whom he and his fellow monks ministered.  Our saint, active in the Knights of Labor (founded in 1869), founded a mission in Liberia, the Kent School (in Kent, Connecticut, in 1906), and St. Andrew’s School (in Sewanee, Tennessee, in 1905).

Huntington died at the mother house in West Park, New York, on June 28, 1935.  He was 80 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 19, 2019 COMMON ERA

GOOD FRIDAY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MURIN OF FAHAN, LASERIAN OF LEIGHLIN, GOBAN OF PICARDIE, FOILLAN OF FOSSES, AND ULTAN OF PERONNE, ABBOTS; AND FURSEY OF PERONNE AND BLITHARIUS OF SEGANNE, MONKS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALPHEGE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT EMMA OF LESUM, BENEFACTOR

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS PETRI SWEDISH LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN, HISTORIAN, LITURGIST, MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, HYMN TRANSLATOR, AND “FATHER OF SWEDISH LITERATURE;” AND HIS BROTHER, LAURENTIUS PETRI, SWEDISH LUTHERAN ARCHBISHOP OF UPPSALA, BIBLE TRANSLATOR, AND “FATHER OF SWEDISH HYMNODY”

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O loving God, by your grace your servant James Huntington gathered a community

dedicated to love and discipline and devotion to the holy Cross of our Savior Jesus Christ:

Send your blessing on all who proclaim Christ crucified,

and move the hearts of many to look upon him and be saved;

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

Nehemiah 5:1-12

Psalm 119:161-168

Galatians 6:14-18

John 6:34-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 703

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Feast of John LaFarge, Jr. (November 24)   3 comments

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN LAFARGE, JR. (DECEMBER 13, 1880-NOVEMBER 25, 1963)

U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Renewer of Society

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The Negro brings to the Church something that is in danger of disappearing from its life in this country, and thereby putting American Catholicism out of touch with the rest of the great universal suffering world–a keen sense of social justice.

–Father John LaFarge, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 512

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Father John LaFarge, Jr., comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Ellsberg’s All Saints and G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

LaFarge, from a background of privilege, dedicated most of his adult life to resisting bigotry.  His mother was Margaret Mason Perry (1839-1925).  She, a convert to Roman Catholicism, had Isaiah Hecker (1819-1888) for a spiritual mentor.  Our saint’s father was John LaFarge, Sr. (1835-1910), a prominent painter and stained glass window maker.  Our saint, the youngest of eight children, entered the world at Newport, Rhode Island, on February 13, 1880.  John, Jr., a member of the Harvard University Class of 1901, studied for the priesthood in Europe.  There he joined the Society of Jesus (much to his mother’s dismay) and became a priest (ordained at Innsbruck, Austria) on July 26, 1905.

LaFarge understood the relationship between the gospel of Jesus Christ and social justice.  Early assignments included teaching at Jesuit colleges and assisting in parishes.  One assignment was as chaplain at the prison and hospital on Blackwell Island, New York, New York.  Later, our saint served in a mostly African-American parish in Leonardville, Maryland.  In 1924 he founded an industrial school for African Americans at Ridge, Maryland.  From 1926 to 1963 LaFarge worked at America magazine, a Jesuit publication.  In 1963, he, Dorothy Day, and others founded the Catholic Layman’s Union, which became the first Catholic Interracial Council of New York.  He traveled across the United States, speaking about social justice and encouraging the formation of similar organizations.  In 1938, Pope Pius XI asked LaFarge to draft an encyclical on racism.  Our saint completed the draft document, but Pius XI died in 1939, and Pope Pius XII shelved it, just in time for the Holocaust and World War II.

LaFarge, a pioneer for racial justice and opposition to anti-Semitism in U.S. Roman Catholicism prior to the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), understood that one one divine purpose for the human race was unity.  He, therefore, condemned anti-Semitism and racial segregation laws.  That concern for unity also led LaFarge to become a pioneer in the ecumenical movement.  Related to his concern for unity was support for constitutional government; our saint criticized his Church for hostility to constitutional governments and support for dictatorships and therefore for a dubious record on human rights.  He, an advocate for freedom of religion as a human right, lived long enough to learn of the introduction of the draft Declaration on Religious Freedom at Vatican II.

LaFarge, aged 83 years, died in his sleep in New York, New York, early in the morning of November 25, 1963.

Theological orthodoxy and social justice need not be at odds with each other.  Despite the long and shameful record of self-proclaimed orthodox Christians propping up sins such as Jim Crow laws, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, nativism, and the subordination of women, actual orthodoxy, with the Golden Rule as a constituent part, facilitates social justice and confronts institutions and proponents of oppression and hatred.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 18, 2019 COMMON ERA

MAUNDY THURSDAY

THE FEAST OF ROGER WILLIAMS, FOUNDER OF RHODE ISLAND; AND ANNE HUTCHINSON, REBELLIOUS PURITAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT CORNELIA CONNELLY, FOUNDRESS OF THE SOCIETY OF THE HOLY CHILD JESUS

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA ANNA BLONDIN, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF SAINT ANNE

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROMAN ARCHUTOWSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1943

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant John LaFarge, Jr.,

through whom you called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.

Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant John LaFarge, Jr., to work for justice among people and nations,

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

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Isabelle Alice Hartley Crawford (November 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Kiowa County, Oklahoma, 1951

Image Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas

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ISABEL ALICE HARTLEY CRAWFORD (MAY 26, 1865-NOVEMBER 18, 1961)

Baptist Missionary to the Kiowa Nation

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I Dwell Among Mine Own People.

–Epitaph of Isabel Alice Hartley Crawford

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Isabel Alice Hartley Crawford comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year With American Saints (2006).

Crawford took the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Kiowa tribe of Oklahoma.  She, like many missionaries in various places and at a range of times, tended to the tangible and intangible needs of those among whom she ministered, and defended their rights.

Crawford, born in Cheltenham, Ontario, on May 26, 1865, seemed like an unlikely missionary to the Kiowa nation.  Her mother was Sarah Louise Hackett (Crawford).  Our saint’s father was the Reverend John Crawford, a minster and a professor of theology who served in North Dakota and Canada.  She wanted to become a missionary overseas.  After Crawford graduated from the Baptist Missionary Training School, Chicago, Illinois, in 1893, went to work for the Board of Women’s American Baptist Home Mission Society (WABHMS).  The Mission Society sent our saint to Oklahoma, to be a missionary to those she initially regarded as “dirty Indians.”

Crawford ministered among the Kiowa people from 1893 to 1906.   After spending three years at the Elk Creek Mission, she transferred thirty miles away to Saddle Mountain, near Mountain View, Oklahoma.  Our saint had to overcome great challenges.  She, nearly deaf, had to read lips and communicate via sign language and interpreters.  Conditions were primitive.  Furthermore, Crawford had to contend with widespread apathy.  She taught subjects ranging from sewing to baking to the Bible, cared for the ill, and sang hymns.  She also defended the interests of the Kiowa people, besieged by white settlers using the Natives’ natural resources and hunting their game.  Finally, on Easter Sunday 1903, the Saddle Mountain Baptist Church held its first worship service.  She resigned under pressure in 1906, during a controversy related to her practice of permitting lay presidency (by Lucius Aitsan) at the Lord’s Supper.

Crawford continued to work for the Mission Society until she retired in 1929.  That organization never permitted her to return to Oklahoma, but our saint labored faithfully, as her employers allowed.

Crawford, who retired to Grimsby, Ontario, Canada, in 1929, died there, aged 96 years, on November 18, 1961.  The resting place of her physical remains, consistent with her request, was the cemetery of Saddle Mountain Baptist Church.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 10, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PIERRE TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, SCIENTIST, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF HENRY VAN DYKE, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF HOWARD THURMAN, PROTESTANT THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF MIKAEL AGRICOLA, FINNISH LUTHERAN LITURGIST, BISHOP OF TURKU, AND “FATHER OF FINNISH LITERARY LANGUAGE”

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God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servant Isabel Alice Hartley Crawford,

who made the good news known to the Kiowa nation.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love,

and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 59

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