Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1970s’ Category

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 Theodore P. Ferris (November 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  Trinity Episcopal Church, Boston, Massachusetts

Image Source = Library of Congress

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THEODORE PARKER FERRIS (DECEMBER 23, 1908-NOVEMBER 26, 1972)

Episcopal Priest and Author

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Preaching on the Ascension encounters certain obstacles which may in turn be used as opportunities.  The first obstacle is the resistance of the average layman to Christian doctrine.  In spite of the rising tide of “neo-orthodoxy” among the clergy, there are still a great many laymen who are interested in Christianity as a way of life, but are not at all interested in its framework of faith.  They believe that they can keep the Christian standards of moral conduct and give up the Christian articles of faith.  The Ascension, being one of those articles, does not concern them.  They want to know the things Jesus said, not the the things that were said about him….

A doctrine begins with a significant event from which people draw a general conclusion.  Just as people cannot escape the impact of events, so they cannot escape drawing conclusions  which attempt to explain the experience, relate it to the rest of experience, and communicate it to future generations by expressing it in an intelligible form.

–Theodore P. Ferris, in The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 9 (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1954), 24-25

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Theodore P. Ferris comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the ninth volume (1954) of The Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the exposition on the Acts of the Apostles.

Ferris, a priest, taught preaching in seminaries.  He, born to Walter Andrew Ferris and Eva Parker (Ferris) in Port Chester, New York, on December 23, 1908, graduated from Harvard University in 1929 then from the General Theological Seminary in 1933.  He became a deacon in 1933 then a priest the following year.  Our saint served in three congregations in thirty-nine years.  He was:

  1. Assistant Rector, Grace Episcopal Church, New York, New York (1933-1937), doubling as a tutor a the General Theological Seminary;
  2. Rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Baltimore, Maryland (1937-1942); and
  3. Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Boston, Massachusetts (1942-1972), doubling as adjunct instructor of homiletics at the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1943-1964).

Ferris, a bachelor, also found time to write.  Aside from his work for The Interpreter’s Bible, his published works included:

  1. This Created World (1944),
  2. When I Became a Man (1957),
  3. The New Life (1961),
  4. Book of Prayer for Every Man (1962),
  5. What Jesus Did (1963), and
  6. The Image of God (1965).

Ferris, a trustee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, left a fine legacy in other ways.  He, a recipient of at least six honorary doctorates, served as a delegate to the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches in 1948.  He also composed the hymn tune “Weymouth” (1941) for The Hymnal 1940 (1943).

Ferris, aged 63 years, died in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 26, 1972.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2019 COMMON ERA

HOLY SATURDAY

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN, MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND “PASTOR OF THE REFORMATION”

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 CHRISTIAN X, KING OF DENMARK; AND HIS BROTHER, HAAKON VII, KING OF NORWAY

THE FEAST OF MARION MACDONALD KELLERAN, EPISCOPAL SEMINARY PROFESSOR AND LAY LEADER

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Theodore Parker Ferris and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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

Above:  Christ Church, Savannah, Georgia

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

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

Episcopal Priest and Hymnodist

“The Dean of American Hymn Writers”

Feast Day in the Diocese of Georgia = November 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 11, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DIONYSIUS OF CORINTH, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Ignacio Ellacuria and His Companions (November 16)   5 comments

Above:  The Flag of El Salvador

Image in the Public Domain

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FATHER IGNACIO ELLACURÍA (NOVEMBER 9, 1930-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

FATHER IGANCIO MARTÍN-BARÓ (NOVEMBER 7, 1942-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

FATHER JUAN RAMON MORENO PARDO (AUGUST 29, 1933-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

FATHER AMANDO LÓPEZ QUINTANA (1936-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

FATHER SEGUNDO MONTES MOZO (MAY 13, 1933-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

FATHER JOAQUIN LÓPEZ Y LÓPEZ (AUGUST 16, 1918-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

JULIA ELBA RAMOS (DIED NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

CELINA MARICET RAMOS (1973-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

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ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS IN SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR, NOVEMBER 16, 1989

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This is my country and these are my people….The people need to have the church stay with them in these terrible times–the rich as well as the poor.  The rich need to hear from us, just as do the poor.  God’s grace does not leave, so neither can we.

–Father Segundo Montes Mozo, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 500

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These saints come to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints (1989).  Perhaps Holy Mother Church will formally recognize these martyrs eventually, but I do so today.

In this post I choose to focus on making a few comments and to leave the biographies to a source that provides ample information.  Follow this link for that invaluable information, O reader.

During the El Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992), the U.S.-supported government of El Salvador, as a policy, murdered 75,000 civilians.  The list of martyrs of El Salvador is, of course, lengthy, including Father Rutilio Grande Garcia (1928-1977) and Archbishop Óscar Romero (1917-1980), who died before the civil war, and these eight martyrs, from late in that conflict.  The U.S. government supported that violent government in the context of the Cold War, for the El Salvadoran regime was fighting communist rebels.  However, far-right wing elements within the El Salvadoran military defined “communist” to mean anyone to their left who criticized them.

Six Jesuit priests, living on the campus of the (Jesuit) José Simeon Cañas Central American University, San Salvador, El Salvador, had made themselves thorns in the side of the government, with its policy of murdering civilians.  The priests’ faith required that they speak out against such violence.  In the early hours of November 16, 1989, military personnel murdered the six priests, their housekeeper (Elba Ramos), and her 16-year-old daughter (Celina Ramos).  Ironically, the Ramoses had sought safety from bombings and from violence in the streets; they had hoped to find security with the priests.

These murders backfired on the El Salvadoran government, which initially blamed communist rebels.  International disgust and pressure, including from the U.S. government, led to the negotiated end of the civil war in 1992.

These priests lived their faith.  They lived the incarnation during a civil war.  Their faith led them to martyrdom.  They could have said (and probably did) with Archbishop Helder Camara (1909-1999),

When I feed the poor, they call me saint.  When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.

These Jesuit priests and the Ramoses stood in line with Hebrew prophets, Jesus, two millennia of martyrs, Father Grande, Archbishop Romero, Archbishop Camara, and radical Australian Baptist minister Athol Hill (1937-1992).  All of the above stood with God on the side of justice.

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Loving God, why do the just and innocent suffer?

We read and hear ancient theological answers to that question.

Regardless of the truth of any of those answers, they fail to satisfy.

Hasten the age of your justice, we pray, so that

the meek will inherit the earth,

we will beat our swords into plowshares and learn war no more,

artificial scarcity will cease, and

nobody else will have to suffer or die for the love of one’s neighbors.

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.  Amen.

Joel 3:9-16

Psalm 70

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 6:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 15, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACHARY OF ROME, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JAN ADALBERT BALICKI AND LADISLAUS FINDYSZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN POLAND

THE FEAST OF OZORA STEARNS DAVIS, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VETHAPPAN SOLOMON, APOSTLE TO THE NICOBAR ISLANDS

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This is post #1700 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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https://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/proper-for-christian-martyrs/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/proper-for-christian-martyrs/

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Feast of Gustaf Aulen and Anders Nygren (November 15)   1 comment

Above:  Flag of Sweden

Image in the Public Domain

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GUSTAF EMMANUEL HILDEBRAND AULÉN (MAY 15, 1879-1977)

teacher and colleague of

ANDERS THEODOR SAMUEL NYGREN (NOVEMBER 15, 1890-OCTOBER 20, 1978)

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SWEDISH LUTHERAN BISHOPS AND THEOLOGIANS

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After World War I, Neo-orthodoxy became a major theological movement in English-speaking Christianity.  A similar movement in Swedish-speaking Christianity at the same time was Lundensian theologyGustaf Aulén and Anders Nygren were architects of that theology.

Aulén, born in Sjungsby on May 15, 1879, became a minister, bishop, theologian, and liturgist.  He, an assistant professor at the University of Uppsala (1907-1913) then Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Lund (1913-1933), founded the Swedish Theological Quarterly in 1925.  He remained on the editorial staff into his retirement.  While at Lund, he wrote influential works (later translated into English):  The Christian Conception of God (1927), Christus Victor (1930), and The Faith of the Christian Church (1932).  Aulén, a student of Nathan Söderblom (1866-1931) at Uppsala, favored the Classic Theory of the Atonement over Penal Substitutionary Atonement, which St. Anselm of Canterbury favored, and the Moral Exemplar Theory, which Peter Abelard favored.  Aulén also taught Nygren at Lund then served with him on the faculty.

Nygren, born in Gothenburg on November 15, 1890, had a lifelong fascination with philosophy that influenced his scholarly and theological work.  He, ordained in The Church of Sweden in 1912, left parish ministry nine years later.  In 1921 he received his doctorate from the University of Lund and became a lecturer there.  Three years later, he became Professor of Systematic Theology, serving until 1948.  Lundensian theology incorporated philosophical methods and perspectives for the purpose of seeking to engage in theology in a scientifically responsible manner.  Lundensian theology was also moderate, avoiding anti-intellectualism on the right and disregard for tradition on the left.  That philosophical background was evident in Nygren’s Agape and Eros (two volumes, 1930 and 1936), which argued that agape and eros are polar opposites.

Both Aulén and Nygren became bishops.  Aulén became the Bishop of Strängäs, serving from 1933 to 1952.  He, as a bishop, contributed tunes to the new hymnal (1927) and helped to shape the new service book (1942).  Aulén also helped to form the World Council of Churches (1948), as did Nygren, the first President of the Lutheran World Federation (1947-1952).  Nygren served as the Bishop of Lund from 1948 to 1958.

Both Aulén and Nygren also continued to write after they retired.  Aulén wrote, for example, Eucharist and Sacrifice (1956) and Reformation and Catholicity (1959).  Nygren, in retirement, wrote Meaning and Method:  Prolegomena to a Scientific Philosophy of Religion and a Scientific Theology (1972).

Above:  The Title Page to Commentary on Romans

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Both men argued for continuity from Jesus to St. Paul the Apostle.  Nygren made that point in his influential Commentary on Romans (1944), a volume other exegetes of that epistle quote.  According to the Carl C. Rasmussen translation (1944),

Until quite recently it was customary for theology to draw a sharp line between Jesus and Paul.  Jesus preached the coming of the kingdom of God; but Paul, it was said, changed this to the doctrine of justification by faith.  Now there is room for no doubt that this view is false, and that the continuity between Jesus and Paul is essentially unbroken.  When, therefore, we seek to fix the basic thought in Paul’s view of the gospel, it is quite proper to point out how it has both its origin and its anchor in Jesus’ proclamation about the kingdom of God.

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Above:  The Spine of Commentary on Romans

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The bishops died within a year of each other.  Aulén, aged 98 years, died on December 16, 1977.  Nygren, aged 87 years, died in Lund on October 20, 1978.

Their contributions to theology have never died, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 28, 2019 COMMON ERA

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

THE FEAST OF ANDREW REED, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

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

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH C. CLEPHANE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom,

and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servants Gustaf Aulén and Anders Nygren,

and we pray that by their teaching we may be led to a fuller understanding

of the truth we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord,

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

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 61

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Feast of John Tavener (November 12)   2 comments

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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SIR JOHN KENNETH TAVENER (JANUARY 28, 1944-NOVEMBER 12, 2013)

English Presbyterian then Orthodox Composer

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Suffering is a kind of ecstasy in a way.  Having pain all the time makes me grateful for every moment I’ve got.

–Sir John Tavener

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John Tavener composed beautiful music that still enriches the lives of many people.

Tavener, born in Wembley, England, on January 28, 1944, grew up a Presbyterian and studied music from an early age.  His father was an organist at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Frognal, Hampstead.  Our saint studied music and began to compose at Highgate School, London, where he also sang in the choir at classical concerts.  Tavener became a fine pianist.  He began to study at the Royal Academy of Music in 1962.  There our saint decided to focus on composition.  Tavener also served as the organist and choirmaster at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Kensington, from 1961 to 1975.

Tavener was a prominent composer, starting in 1968.  That year he debuted a cantata, The Whale, based on the Book of Jonah.  He composed A Celtic Requiem the following year.  Tavener, who began to teach at the Trinity College of Music, London, in 1971, composed an opera, Thérèse (1973), about St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and a chamber opera, A Gentle Spirit (1977).

Tavener was no stranger to health problems and spiritual crises.  His brief marriage to dancer Victoria Maragopoulou in 1974 haunted him.  Health problems included a stroke in 1979, Marfan Syndrome (diagnosed in 1990), and a heart attack in 2007.  Tavener was acutely aware of his mortality.  In 1977 he converted to Russian Orthodoxy, the faith he practiced for the rest of his life.

The Russian Orthodox Church and literary works were the primary influences in Tavener’s music, starting in 1977.  Major compositions included The Lamb (1982; a setting of a poem by William Blake), Ikon of Light (1984), The Protecting Veil (1989), We Shall See Him as He Is (1990), Song for Athene (1993), Eternity’s Sunrise (1997), and Prayer of the Heart (2000; for Icelandic singer Bjork).  When Tavener began to set texts from non-Christian traditions to music, many people suspected he had become an apostate.  Tavener, who remained an Orthodox Christian, was expanding his artistic range.

Tavener, knighted in 2000, died in Child Okeford, England, on November 12, 2013.  He was 69 years old.  Maryanne Schaeffer (his wife since 1991) and three children survived him.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 27, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF NICHOLAS FERRAR, ANGLICAN DEACON AND FOUNDER OF LITTLE GIDDING; GEORGE HERBERT, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND METAPHYSICAL POET; AND ALL SAINTLY PARISH PRIESTS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANNE LINE AND ROGER FILCOCK, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT GABRIEL POSSENTI, PENITENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUIS DE LEON, SPANISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST 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 John Tavener and all those

who with music 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 Corinthians 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 Blessed Odette Prevost (November 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of Algeria

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ODETTE PRÉVOST (JULY 17, 1932-NOVEMBER 10, 1995)

French Roman Catholic Nun, and Martyr in Algeria, 1995

Alternative feast day (as one of the 19 Martyrs of Algeria) = May 8

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Find the good and praise it.

–Alex Haley

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Many people had led objectively good lives.  Unfortunately, a host of them have died violently.

Blessed Odette Prévost, born in Oger, Marne, France, on July 17, 1932, became a teacher.  She, as a laywoman, taught from 1950 to 1953.  Then, in 1953, Prévost joined the Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart; she made her final vows six years later.  The order transferred our saint first to Morocco then back to France then, finally, to Algiers, Algeria, in 1968.  In the capital city Prévost taught the poorest of the poor.  Her kitchen bustled with children’s activities as she tutored pupils and made yogurt for them.  Prévost also encouraged cross-cultural understanding and interfaith dialogue as she witnessed to Jesus with her life.

The early and middle 1990s were a turbulent time in Algeria.  From 1994 to 1996 the 19 Martyrs of Algeria met their fates.  Foreigners were one classification of people frequently targeted for murder.  On November 10, 1995, a gunman murdered Prévost while she walked to Mass.  She was 63 years old.

Pope Francis declared her a Venerable then a Blessed in 2018.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 20, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN HEERMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HENRI DE LUBAC, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, CARDINAL, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF KARL FRIEDRICH LOCHNER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT WULFRIC OF HASELBURY, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

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

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of Blessed Odette Prévost,

whose faithfulness led to 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,

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

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 59

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