Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1850s’ Category

Feast of Arthur Tappan, Lewis Tappan, Samuel Eli Cornish, and Theodore S. Wright (November 5)   2 comments

Above:  Emancipation, 1865

Image in the Public Domain

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ARTHUR TAPPAN (MAY 22, 1786-JULY 23, 1865)

U.S. Congregationalist Businessman and Abolitionist

brother of

LEWIS TAPPAN (1788-1873)

U.S. Congregationalist Businessman and Abolitionist

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SAMUEL ELI CORNISH (1795-NOVEMBER 6, 1858)

African-American Presbyterian Minister, Abolitionist, and Journalist

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THEODORE SEDGWICK WRIGHT (1797-MARCH 25, 1847)

African-American Presbyterian Minister and Abolitionist

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One of my purposes in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.  That is a goal I can accomplish in more than one way.  I can, for example, write posts that link into each other.  Sometimes doing so is the option that provides the most clarity in the presentation of material.  I can also write about more than one person in one post.  This post uses both methods.

The Tappan brothers–Arthur and Lewis–were a remarkable team from a remarkable family.  They were sons of Benjamin Tappan (Sr.) and Sarah Homes, and brothers of Benjamin Tappan (Jr.) (1773-1857), a United States Senator from Ohio (1839-1845).  David Tappan (1752-1803), theologian and Hollis Chair at Harvard Divinity School, was an uncle.  Arthur (born in Northampton, Massachusetts, on May 22, 1786) and Lewis (born in Northampton in 1788) worked in the family business (a dry goods store) before blazing their own paths, mostly together.  The family was Congregationalist.  Lewis, as a young man, converted to Unitarianism, but Arthur persuaded him to return to Trinitarian faith in 1827.

Arthur and Lewis were longtime business partners.  In 1826, in New York City, they opened a silk importing business that became a victim of the Panic of 1837.  In 1827 the brothers founded The Journal of Commerce with Samuel Morse (1791-1872), the inventor of the Morse Code.  The Journal of Commerce functioned as a platform for frequently controversial social advocacy, such as appeals on behalf of the Amistad slaves in 1839-1841.  After the demise of the silk importing firm, the Tappan brothers opened the Mercantile Agency, the first commercial credit rating service, in 1840.

The Tappan brothers understood that the true value of money was what one did with it.  They used money to work for social reform and to sponsor African-American divinity students, for example.  In 1833 the brothers helped to found the American Anti-Slavery Society with William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Weld, et al.  Lewis had formerly favored emancipating the slaves then shipping all of them to overseas colonies, but had decided that the colonization movement was deficient.  Also in 1833, Arthur and Lewis helped to found Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, a school open to students regardless of race and gender.  In some ways the Tappan brothers were radical, according to the standards of their time; they favored racial mixing as a solution to racism.

Although the Tappan brothers were somewhat progressive, according to the standards of their time, regarding gender roles, they were conservative, according to the standards of their time, on the issue of women in leadership roles.  Arthur, President of the American Anti-Slavery Society from 1833 to 1840, left that organization in part over the insistence of William Lloyd Garrison, who linked the rights of African Americans to the rights of women, that women fill leadership roles.  The schism of 1840 resulted from a set of issues, including gender roles.  Other issues were institutional hostility to religion, as well as the desire of many abolitionists to focus narrowly on the abolition of slavery.  The Tappan brothers were two of the founders of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1840.

Samuel Eli Cornish and Theodore Sedgwick Wright also helped to found the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833 and the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society seven years later.

Cornish was a minister and a journalist.  He, born free in Sussex County, Delaware, in 1795, studied at the Free African School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  His mentor was John Gloucester (1776-1822), the first African-American Presbyterian minister and the pastor of the First African Church, Presbyterian, Philadelphia.  Cornish, licensed to preach in 1819, assisted Gloucester and worked as a missionary to slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before he moved to New York City in 1821.  There he organized the New Demeter Presbyterian Church (later the First Colored Presbyterian Church), the first African-American Presbyterian congregation in the city and the second in the nation-state.  Cornish, ordained in 1822, led that congregation until 1828.  In 1827 he founded Freedom’s Journal, the first African-American newspaper.  Our saint used his editorial office to advocate for the abolition of slavery, as well as for the improvement of living conditions and educational opportunities for African Americans.  Cornish, editor in 1827 and 1829-1830, changed the name of the newspaper to Rights of All in 1829.  The publication ceased to exist in 1830.  Our saint returned to journalist in 1837, when he founded and began to edit Colored American (extant until 1839), which Arthur Tappan subsidized.

(Aside:  I have added John Gloucester to my list of people to consider for addition to this Ecumenical Calendar.)

Theodore Sedgwick Wright was a colleague of Cornish.  Wright, born free in New Jersey circa 1797, attended the African Free School in New York City.  He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary (Class of 1829); Arthur Tappan was one of his sponsors.  With Arthur Tappan’s help, Wright became the first African-American man to graduate from a theological seminary in the United States.  Wright followed in Cornish’s footsteps as the pastor of the First Colored Presbyterian Church, New York City, from 1833 to 1847.  Wright also worked as a conductor of the Underground Railroad, of which Cornish was a pioneer.  Both ministers were members of the New York Committee on Vigilance, associated with the Underground Railroad.  Wright, who also worked with James Pennington (1897-1870), an African-American Congregationalist then Presbyterian minister, and an abolitionist, once opposed the use of violence as an antislavery tactic.  In 1843, however, Wright called for slave insurrection.  The slaves were never going to gain by freedom by asking for it politely, after all.

Wright, who married Adeine Turpin in 1837, died in 1847.  He was about 50 years old.

Cornish married Jane Livingston in 1824.  The couple had three children.  Jane (the wife) died in 1844.  Two daughters died at the age of 22 years–Sarah in 1846 and Jane in 1855.  Perhaps William, the son, survived his father.

Cornish remained active until the end of his life.  He, a missionary in New York City, Philadelphia, and Newark, helped Lewis Tappan et al found the American Missionary Society in 1846.  Cornish also founded Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, New York City, that year.  Our saint, an opponent of both the colonization movement and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, moved to Brooklyn in 1855.  There he died, aged about 63 years, on November 6, 1858.

The Tappan brothers lived long enough to see the end of race-based slavery in the United States.  Arthur, aged 79 years, died on July 23, 1865.  Lewis, aged about 85 years, died in 1873.

Had the derogatory and socially and politically regressive term “Social Justice Warrior” existed during the lifetimes of these saints, many would have accused Arthur Tappan, Lewis Tappan, Samuel Eli Cornish, and Theodore Sedgwick Wright of being Social Justice Warriors.  Certainly many would have accused William Lloyd Garrison and members of the Weld-Grimké family of being Social Justice Warriors.  These saints were actually moral giants who got more right than they got wrong, and who left the United States and the world better than they found both.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 26, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND SILAS, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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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 servants

Arthur Tappan,

Lewis Tappan,

Samuel Eli Cornish, and

Theodore Sedgwick Wright,

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 Theodore Weld, Angelina Grimke Weld, Sarah Grimke, Francis J. Grimke, and Charlotte Grimke (November 4)   3 comments

Above:  A Partial Grimké-Weld Family Tree

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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THEODORE DWIGHT WELD (NOVEMBER 23, 1803-FEBRUARY 3, 1895)

U.S. Congregationalist then Quaker Abolitionist and Educator

husband of

ANGELINA EMILY GRIMKÉ WELD (FEBRUARY 20, 1805-OCTOBER 26, 1879)

U.S. Presbyterian then Quaker Abolitionist and Feminist

sister of

SARAH MOORE GRIMKÉ (NOVEMBER 26, 1792-DECEMBER 23, 1873)

U.S. Episcopalian then Quaker Abolitionist and Feminist

aunt of

FRANCIS JAMES GRIMKÉ (NOVEMBER 4, 1852-OCTOBER 11, 1937)

African-American Presbyterian Minister and Civil Rights Activist

husband of

CHARLOTTE LOUISE BRIDGES FORTEN GRIMKÉ (AUGUST 17, 1837-JULY 23, 1914)

African-American Abolitionist and Educator

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Lawless ruffians may keep the Negro away from the polls by shotguns; and by unrighteous laws and intimidation may shut him out of first-class cars, but there is no power by which all the combined forces of evil in the South can keep him from approaching the throne of grace.  Here is one thing, thank God, that this Negro-hating spirit cannot do,–it cannot prevent him from praying.

–Francis James Grimké, quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (New York:  Church Publishing, 2006), 349

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The Weld-Grimkés, a remarkable family, did much for the cause of social justice.

MEET THEODORE WELD

Theodore Dwight Weld, born in Hampton, Connecticut, on November 23, 1803, was an abolitionist and an educator.  He, raised a Congregationalist, studied at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, from 1820 to 1822.  He had to leave the school because of bad eyesight, however.  Our saint, a son of Elizabeth Clark (Weld) and the Reverend Ludovicus Weld, came from a socially conscious family.  Brother Ezra Greenleaf Weld (1801-1874), a daguerreotype photographer by profession, was also an abolitionist.  Young Theodore traveled in the United States for several years after leaving Phillips Academy; he witnessed slavery in the South.  In 1825 he moved with his family to Pompey, in upstate New York.

Weld became an abolitionist.  This transformation occurred during his time as a student at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York.  Influential figures in our saint’s life included William Wilberforce (a British politician largely responsible for the abolition of slavery in that empire) and Charles Finney (1792-1875), a prominent American evangelist and abolitionist, who, unfortunately, considered the bulk of the classics of English literature, from William Shakespeare to Sir Walter Scott, blasphemous.  After Hamilton College young Theodore left for Oneida, New York, and for the Oneida Manual Labor Institute, specifically.  In 1831 brothers Arthur Tappan (1786-1865) and Lewis Tappan (1788-1873), businessmen, abolitionists, and socially conscious philanthropists, hired our saint as an agent for the Society for Promoting Manual Labor in Literary Institutions.  In that capacity he traveled widely and spoke regarding manual labor and moral reform.

Later, as a student at Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio, Weld continued his abolitionist activism.  He led the “Lane Rebels,” a group of pupils who openly discussed the abolition of slavery and helped to liberate 1,500 slaves in that city.  In 1834, when the trustees of the seminary imposed a gag rule regarding slavery, Weld and the bulk of the student body transferred to the Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.  Our saint left Oberlin College later that year, however, and became an agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, founded the previous year.  People he converted to the cause included Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) and Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887).  Weld lectured until 1836.  That year he shifted his focus to writing.  Weld edited The Emancipator until 1840.  In 1836 he also met Angelina Emily Grimké, whom he married two years later.

MEET SARAH AND ANGELINA GRIMKÉ

Sarah Moore Grimké and Angelina Emily Grimké were two of the most remarkable women of the nineteenth century.  They, born in Charleston, South Carolina, came from a large, prominent, and wealthy family.  The Grimkés, of Huguenot ancestry, belonged to the planter class; they owned slaves.  The father, John Grimké (1752-1819), held various statewide political offices.  The mother, Mary Smith (Grimké), guided the daughters’ educations according to gender norms, meaning a narrower curriculum for young women.  Sarah, born in 1792, manifested her revolutionary tendencies starting in childhood; she, in violation of state law, taught slaves to read.  Angelina, also rebellious, refused confirmation in The Episcopal Church when, at the age of 13 years, she refused to recite the creed.  She became a Presbyterian eight years later.

Sarah left The Episcopal Church and converted to Quakerism.  In 1819 she accompanied her dying father to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to consult Dr. Philip Syng Physick (1768-1837), “the Father of American Surgery.”  She remained in the City of Brotherly Love for several months after the father died.  During that sojourn Sarah became a Quaker.  She returned to Charleston briefly before going back to Philadelphia.

Angelina was a devout Presbyterian for a few years.  She taught Sunday School at her church and offered worship services for the family’s slaves.  Our saint also opposed the Peculiar Institution of the South.  Chattel slavery was, she insisted, contrary to Biblical ethics and human rights.  Angelina’s open abolitionism led to her expulsion from her congregation in 1829.  She, already under the influence to join Sarah in Philadelphia and become a Quaker, did so.

The Grimké sisters were radical, even relative to the standards of other radicals of their time.  The sisters, suffragettes who sought gender equality in the Religious Society of Friends, where they should have found it, given the doctrine of the Inner Light, were too revolutionary for the leaders of the Orthodox Quakers in Philadelphia.  When the sisters addressed audiences of men and women, Angelina and Sarah violated deeply held social mores and gender norms.  When the sisters criticized Northern allies of Southern slaveholders and of slavery in general, Angelina and Sarah offended many.  When the sisters addressed the Massachusetts State Legislature in 1838, they linked the rights to women to the rights of African Americans.  In so doing, the sisters contributed to a controversy that divided the abolitionist movement.

Angelina and Sarah wrote against slavery, too.  Angelina wrote for The Liberator, founded and edited by fellow abolitionist and feminist William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879).  One of her major works was “An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South” (1836.  Another important work was Letters to Catharine Beecher (1838).  Catharine Esther Beecher (1800-1878), sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe (1812-1896), was an educator who pioneered kindergarten in the United States.  Catharine Beecher. despite her progressiveness vis-à-vis early childhood education, was conservative in other ways.  She, for example, opposed the participation of women in the abolitionist movement, for she accepted female subordination to males.  Angelina disagreed strongly.  Sarah’s works included the Epistle to the Clergy of the Southern States (1836) and Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women (1838).

WELD-GRIMKÉ FAMILY ACTIVITIES

The Grimké sisters met Theodore Weld in 1836.  Sarah and Angelina were in New York City for a training conference for antislavery agents.  Weld married Angelina and converted to Quakerism in 1838.  The couple and Sarah moved to a farm in Bellville, New Jersey, and became a team.  All three published American Slavery As It Is:  Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses (1839), a work that influenced Harriet Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852).

Angelina and Theodore had three children:  Charles Stuart Weld, Theodore Grimké Weld, and Sarah Grimké Weld.

Theodore continued his abolitionist activities until about 1844.  He helped to found the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1840, became active with the Liberty Party, and advised the antislavery wing of the Whig Party.  He also helped Representative (and former President of the United States) John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) resist the antislavery gag rule (1836-1844) in effect in Congress.

Theodore, Angelina, and Sarah devoted much of their lives to education.  Theodore and Angelina opened to schools–one in Eagleswood, Perth Amboy, New York (1854), and the other in their new home, Hyde Park, Boston, Massachusetts (1864).  These schools were open to students regardless of race or gender.

When ill health forced Angelina into domestic life, Sarah served as her primary caregiver.

THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN BRANCH OF THE HENRY GRIMKÉ FAMILY

Henry Grimké (1801-1852), a brother of Angelina and Sarah, had two families.  After his wife, Selina Simmons (Grimké) died in 1843, Henry started a second family with slave Nancy Weston (1810-1895), who was, in all ways except the legal one, his second wife.  They had three children:  Archibald Henry Grimké (1849-1930), John Grimké (1852-1918), and Francis James Grimké (1852-1937).  Henry’s dying instruction to his son and heir, E. Montague Grimké (1832-1896), was to treat Nancy, Archibald, John, and Francis like family.  Montague did the opposite.  In 1860 he claimed them as slaves–his property.  He never provided sufficient financial support for them, but he did sell Francis.  Archibald had to hide from his half-brother during the Civil War.  After the war, the three brothers studied in schools the Freedmen’s Bureau operated.

Theodore, Angelina, and Sarah learned of the existence of the African-American cousins in the late 1860s.  The Weld-Grimkés recognized their newly found relatives and offered education to the three sons, their nephews.  Archibald and Francis accepted; they graduated from Lincoln University in 1870 then continued their educations.  John, however, remained in Charleston with his mother.

Archibald eventually became an attorney, diplomat, journalist, and intellectual.  In 1909 he and brother Francis helped to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.).  Archibald’s daughter, Angelina Weld Grimké (1880-1958), became an educator, a playwright, a journalist, and a figure of the Harlem Renaissance.

EXUENT

Sarah died on December 23, 1873.  She was 81 years old.

Angelina died on October 26, 1879.  She was 74 years old.

Theodore died on February 3, 1895.  He was 91 years old.

FRANCIS JAMES GRIMKÉ AND CHARLOTTE LOUISE BRIDGES FORTEN GRIMKÉ

Francis James Grimké graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1878 and became a Presbyterian minister.  That year he also married Charlotte Louise Bridges Forten.

Charlotte Forten was one of the great women of history.  She, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 17, 1837, came from a prominent African-American family involved in the abolitionist movement.  Her parents were Robert Forten and Virginia Wood (Forten).  Our saint, educated in Salem, Massachusetts, joined the female Anti-Slavery Society there.  She spoke in public and met famous abolitionists, such as William Lloyd Garrison.  Charlotte made history in 1856; she became the first African-American hired to teach white pupils in Salem’s public schools.  She returned to Philadelphia two years later.  While there, Garrison published some of her poetry in The Liberator.  Charlotte taught freedmen on St. Helena’s Island, South Carolina, as part of the Port Royal Experiment, during the Civil War.  After the war she worked for the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C.  After 1873, she was a clerk, until she married Francis.  Their only child, Theodora Cornelia Grimké, lived for about five months in 1880.

Francis was the pastor of two congregations.  He spent 1886-1889 at Laura Street Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, Florida, a tenure preceded and succeeded at Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.  He, minister there for more than half a century, retired in 1928.  Charlotte worked in her husband’s churches.

Francis was also active beyond the parish level.  He worked with Alexander Crummell (1819-1898), with whom he helped to found the American Negro Academy in 1897.  Francis also opposed Booker T. Washington‘s gradualist approach to ending segregation, sought to end lynching, advocated for African Americans’ full suffrage, and worked for educational equality of access for African Americans.

Charlotte died on July 23, 1914.  She was 78 years old.

Francis brought his widowed brother, Archibald, and his niece, Angelina, into his household.  Angelina and her uncle were caregivers to Archibald, who died in 1930.

Francis died in Washington, D.C., on October 11, 1937.  He was 85 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 24, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE ORDINATION OF FLORENCE LI-TIM-OI, FIRST FEMALE PRIEST IN THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION

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

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF PODLASIE, 1874

THE FEAST OF SAINT SURANUS OF SORA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MARTYR

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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 servants

Theodore Dwight Weld,

Angelina Grimké Weld,

Sarah Moore Grimké,

Francis James Grimké, and

Charlotte Louise Bridges Forten Grimké,

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 St. Pierre-Francois Neron (November 3)   1 comment

Above:  St. Pierre-François Néron

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT PIERRE-FRANÇOIS NÉRON (SEPTEMBER 21, 1818-NOVEMBER 3, 1860)

French Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr in Vietnam, 1860

St. Pierre-François Néron gave everything for Jesus.  Néron, the fifth of nine children born to a family in Bornay, Jura, France, entered the world on September 21, 1818.  He studied in Nozeroy and Vaux-sur-Poligny.  Our saint, a member of the Paris Foreign Missions Society, became a priest in 1848.  The Society dispatched Néron to Vietnam, where he headed the Society’s seminary in that realm, taught philosophy, and translated textbooks.

Being a Christian in Vietnam was a risky proposition.  Emperor Tu-Ðúc (reigned 1847-1883) was a reactionary and a nativist.  He attempted to insulate Vietnam from the outside world and refused to modernize the country.  He also singled out foreigners, especially Christians, for persecution.  Tu-Ðúc was, so to speak, a chip off the old block; his father had also persecuted Christians, some of whom had attempted to depose the old man.

Néron, forced to go underground, became a martyr.  He, betrayed and captured, spent three months in a cage, endured starvation for several weeks, and suffered torture.  He died via beheading at Son Tay, Ha Tay, on November 3, 1860.  Our saint was 42 years old.

Holy Mother Church recognized Néron.  Pope Pius X declared him a Venerable in 1908 then a Blessed the following year.  Pope John Paul II canonized our saint in 1988.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SYNCLETIA OF ALEXANDRIA, DESERT MOTHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABELARD OF CORBIE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHN JULIAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE PALLOTINES

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O Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr

Saint Pierre-François Néron triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

Feast of James W. C. Pennington (October 21)   1 comment

Above:  James William Charles Pennington

Image in the Public Domain

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JAMES WILLIAM CHARLES PENNINGTON (1807-OCTOBER 20, 1870)

African-American Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister, Educator, and Abolitionist

Born James Pembroke

James W. C. Pennington 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 (New York:  Church Publishing, 2006), the most recent addition to my library.

James Pembroke was a slave in Maryland.  Initially his father (Brazil Pembroke) and mother belonged to different masters.  Then the family became the property of just one of the two masters, until another slave owner purchased our saint’s brother.  Young James, trained as a stone mason then as a blacksmith, received many beatings as he grew up.  At the age of 20 years our saint escaped to freedom in Pennsylvania.

Quakers–namely William Wright–helped our saint for six months in Pennsylvania.  Wright took the fugitive slave into his home.  Quakers educated our saint, influenced him to convert to Christianity, and helped him to move farther north, first to the Brooklyn-Long Island area, via the Underground Railroad.

Our saint, who assumed the name “James William Charles Pennington,” taught school on Long Island before moving to New Haven, Connecticut.   He worked toward becoming a minister while auditing courses at Yale College, which, due to a racist admission policy, never admitted him as a student.  Pennington, ordained a minister, accepted a call in 1838; he became the pastor of a Congregational church in New Town, on Long Island.  That year he also presided at the wedding ceremony of Frederick Douglass and Anna Murray.

From 1840 to 1848 Pennington served as the pastor of the Talcott Street Congregational Church, Hartford, Connecticut.  It was a congregation of African Americans, most of whom were active in the community.  Our saint opened a parochial school, for local public schools did not admit African Americans.  Pennington, active in efforts to help the slaves aboard the Amistad, also worked against racism domestically.  He advocated for opportunities for African Americans to improve their economic opportunities.  Our saint also spoke out for the right of African-American men to vote in Connecticut.  Furthermore, he condemned racism within the abolitionist movement, to which he belonged.  That criticism changed the minds of some white people for, starting, in the 1840s, Pennington received and accepted invitations to preach in white churches.  Our saint also wrote the Textbook of the Origin and History, Etc., Etc. of the Colored People (1841), which countered racist claims and justifications for chattel slavery.  The friend of William Lloyd Garrison served as the President of the Connecticut Anti-Slavery Convention (1840f) and as a delegate to the global anti-slavery convention in 1843.  Our saint, who wrote for abolitionist newspapers and edited and published two such newspapers, also advocated for moral character and conduct, especially as part of the temperance movement.

Penningon continued to serve God and work for social improvement during his final years.  He, pastor of the First Colored Presbyterian Church, New York, New York (1848-1856), returned to Hartford (1856-1857) before spending years as a traveling minister.  The Civil War compelled him to abandon his pacifism and recruit African-American soldiers for the United States Army.  After the Civil War our saint ministered among former slaves in the Presbytery of Florida.  He, aged about 63 years, died in Jacksonville, Florida, on October 20, 1870.

Pennington spent most of his life serving God, challenging social injustice, and attempting (with some success) to change the minds of racists.  The main obstacle with which he had to contend was the truth of the punchline from an anachronistic joke about the number of psychiatrists necessary to change a light bulb:  only one person is necessary, but the light bulb must want to change.  Those who did not desire to abandon their racism remained entrenched in it.  Pennington, however, presented the counter-argument effectively.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 13, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE TWELFTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL JOHNSON, “THE GREAT MORALIST”

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN FURCHTEGOTT GELLERT, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, EDUCATOR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ELLA J. BAKER, WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF PAUL SPERATUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN BISHOP, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

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

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

Help us, like your servant James William Charles Pennington,

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 6:20-26

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Charles Gounod (October 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Charles Gounod

Image in the Public Domain

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CHARLES FRANÇOIS GOUNOD (JUNE 17, 1818-OCTOBER 18, 1893)

French Roman Catholic Composer

Charles Gounod glorified God via music.

Our saint, born in Paris, France, on June 17, 1818, grew up in an artistic and devout family.  His father, François Gounod, was a painter.  Charles’s mother, Lemachois Victoire, was a pianist.  Gounod studied philosophy before matriculating at the Paris Conservatory in 1836.  He continued his musical studies in Rome and Vienna.  Early compositions included Ferdinand, an oratorio that won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1839; a Mass (1842); and the Requiem (1843).

Gounod, back in Paris, continued to work as a musician and a composer.  He served as the organist and choirmaster at the Church of Foreign Missions.  Our saint studied for the priesthood in 1846-1847, but decided to focus on music instead.  From 1852 to 1860 he was the conductor of the Orphéon Choral Society in Paris.

Gounod left the country during the Franco-Prussian War.  He, in London during 1870-1875, founded the Royal Choir Society.  Our saint, back in France, became an officer of the Legion of Honor in 1880.

Gounod, aged 75 years, died in St. Cloud, France, on October 18, 1893.

He left a fine musical legacy consisting of operas, cantatas, masses, incidental music, songs, works for pianoforte, and other secular and sacred works.  In the realm of sacred music our saint’s masterworks included the St. Cecilia Mass (1855), his setting of the Ave Maria (1859), and the Requiem in C (1893).

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 12, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE ELEVENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT JANE FRANCES DE CHANTAL, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE VISITATION

THE FEAST OF ALICIA DOMON AND HER COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS IN ARGENTINA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS BARTHOLOMEW BUONPEDONI AND VIVALDUS, MINISTERS AMONG LEPERS

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUDWIK BARTOSIK, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servant Charles Gounod.

Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder, that our eyes may behold your glory,

and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord,

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

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 61

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Feast of Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky (October 14)   2 comments

Above:  Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky

Image in the Public Domain

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SAMUEL ISAAC JOSEPH SCHERESCHEWSKY (MAY 31, 1831-OCTOBER 15, 1906)

Episcopal Bishop of Shanghai, and Biblical Translator

Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky was on of the great missionaries.

Schereschewsky, born in Tauroggen, Lithuania, the Russian Empire, on May 31, 1831, grew up in a devout Jewish family.  He began to study for the rabbinate in 1846.  In Breslau (1852-1854), to continue those studies, our saint encountered missionaries from the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews.  He also read the New Testament in Hebrew.  Schereschewsky converted to Christianity in 1854.

That year our saint emigrated to the United States, to matriculate at Western Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to prepare for the Presbyterian ministry.  In 1857, however, Schereschewsky converted to The Episcopal Church and transferred to the General Theological Seminary, New York, New York.  He graduated in 1859, became a deacon that year, and left for Shanghai, China, as a missionary.  Our saint learned Chinese during the journey.  He, ordained to the priesthood in 1860, worked out of Beijing from 1862 to 1875.  He translated the Bible and much of The Book of Common Prayer into Mandarin during that time.

Schereschewsky served as the Bishop of Shanghai from 1877 to 1883.  He, paralyzed in 1881, spent 1882-1895 (1882-1886 in Switzerland) for medical treatment.  Our saint, who resigned in 1883, had helped to found St. John’s College, Shanghai, and begun to translate the Bible into Wenli.

Asia beckoned.  Schereschewsky and his loving wife, Susan Mary Waring (1836-1909), returned to Shanghai in 1895.  They relocated to Tokyo, Japan, two years later.  She helped him continue to translate the Bible into Wenli.  Our saint typed 2000 pages with just one finger, as well as Susan’s assistance.

Schereschewsky died in Tokyo on October 15, 1831.  He was 75 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 1, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHARLES DE FOUCAULD, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF DOUGLAS LETELL RIGHTS, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD TIMOTHY MICKEY, JR., U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF PETER MORTIMER, ANGLO-GERMAN MORAVIAN EDUCATOR, MUSICIAN, AND SCHOLAR; AND GOTTFRIED THEODOR ERXLEBEN, GERMAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND MUSICOLOGIST

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O God, in your providence you called Joseph Schereschewsky from his home in Eastern Europe

to the ministry of this Church, and sent him as a missionary to China,

that he might translate the Holy Scriptures into languages of that land.

Lead us, we pray, to commit our lives and talents to you,

in the confidence that when you give your servants any work to do,

you also supply the strength to do it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

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

Isaiah 12:1-6

Psalm 84:1-6

2 Corinthians 4:11-18

Luke 24:44-48

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 637

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Feast of Cecil Frances Alexander (October 12)   Leave a comment

Above:  Cecil Frances Alexander

Image in the Public Domain

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CECIL FRANCES HUMPHREYS ALEXANDER (1818/1823-OCTOBER 12, 1895)

Irish Anglican Hymn Writer

Cecil Frances Alexander comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via hymnody, to which she contributed greatly.  She wrote more than 400 hymns and poems (mostly for children), including “There is a Green Hill Far Away,” “Jesus Calls Us,” “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” “Once in Royal David’s City,” and “I Bind Unto Myself Today,” my favorite hymn.

Cecil Frances Humphreys, born in Miltown House, County Tyrone, Ireland, in 1818 or 1823, depending on the source one believes, was daughter of Major John Humphreys, of the Royal Marines.  She demonstrated her literary abilities at a young age, and, in 1848, published her first volume of poetry.  Two years later our saint married William Alexander (1824-1911), then the Anglican Rector of Termonamongan.  He became the Bishop of Derby and Raphoe in 1867 then the Archbishop of Armagh (the primate of The Church of Ireland) in 1896, as a widower.

Our saint was a woman of her Victorian times.  She pursued a literary career, for which she won acclaim.  Her finest poem, according to reputation, was “The Burial of Moses,” which Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), said he wished he had written.  Our saint’s hymns and other poems, volumes of which she published, graced various Anglican hymnals of her time.  She also devoted herself to the tasks of a parson’s wife.  Furthermore, she was a philanthropist, caring actively for the poor and for “fallen women,” as well as supporting a school for deaf children in Londonderry financially.

Alexander died in Londonderry on October 12, 1895.  Her legacy of hymnody has survived her, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN NITSCHMANN, SR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; DAVID NITSCHMANN, JR., THE SYNDIC, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, THE MARTYR, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN LUDWIG BRAU, NORWEGIAN MORAVIAN TEACHER AND POET

THE FEAST OF EDWARD BENSON WHITE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Cecil Frances Alexander and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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