Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1970s’ Category

Feast of W. Sibley Towner (January 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia

Image Source = Google Earth

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W. SIBLEY TOWNER (JANUARY 10, 1933-MAY 23, 2018)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

W. Sibley Towner comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The New Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the introduction, commentary, and reflections on Ecclesiastes in Volume V (2000).

Towner was a gentleman and a scholar.  He, born to Wayne A. and Frances S. Towner, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on January 10, 1933, studied at Yale University.  Our saint earned his B.A., B.D., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University.  He was also a Fulbright Scholar at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.  Our saint became a Presbyterian (Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., not the Presbyterian Church in the United States) missionary in Lebanon.  For three years he taught secondary school at the Gerard Institute, in 1954-1957.  While in Lebanon, Towner met Jane Ann Miller.  They married in Beirut in 1956.

Towner, ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1960, taught Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, and the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary through 1976.  In 1976 our saint became The Reverend Archibald McFayden Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, across the street from each other in Richmond, Virginia.  [Note:  The two institutions federated as Union-PSCE in 1997 and became Union Presbyterian Seminary in 2009.]  Towner, known as “Sib,” was a respected and admired member of the faculty.  His sense of humor, his penchant for writing limericks, and the twinkle in his eyes set people at ease.  Towner also wrote columns, articles, and Biblical commentaries.  Our saint, who retired in 2002, remained active in seminary life until Parkinson’s Disease forced him to stop.

One can acquire Towner’s book-length commentaries on Genesis and Daniel, Volume V of The New Interpreter’s Bible, and Prayers that Sing and Stir the Heart (2018).

Towner, aged 85 years, died in Kilmarnock, Virginia, on May 23, 2018.

He must have been a wonderful man to know, under whom to study, and with whom to work.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDER OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [W. Sibley Towner 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 Harold A. Bosley (January 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Harold A. Bosley, 1948

Image Source  = Internet Archive

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HAROLD AUGUSTUS BOSLEY (FEBRUARY 19, 1907-JANUARY 20, 1975)

United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

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It is impossible to believe that the rulers and spiritual leaders of Israel took Micah’s judgment seriously.  They were not bereft of the kind of evasions which men in similar situations had used before and have used since.

–Harold A. Bosley, on Micah 3:8-12, in The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. VI (1956), 920

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Harold A. Bosley comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. VI (1956), for which he wrote the exposition on Micah.

Bosley, who had an active faith, sought to leave the world better and less unjust than he found it.  Our saint, son of Merrill Bosley and Effie Sinclair, entered the world in Burchard, Nebraska, on February 19, 1907.  He studied at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln (B.A., 1930); and The Univesity of Chicago (B.D., 1932; Ph.D. in Christian Studies, 1933).  Next, Bosley worked as the Director of Religious Activity at Iowa State University, Ames (1933-1934); and at Iowa State Teachers College, Cedar Falls (1934-1938).  While at Cedar Falls, our saint became a popular preacher and lecturer.  He spent most of the rest of his life as one, traveling to preach and lecture, in addition to attending to his other duties.  While in college, our saint had married Margaret Marie Dahlston, on April 21, 1928.  The couple raised five children.

Bosley spent all but three years of 1938 to 1974 as an active parish minister.  The served in prominent congregations, first in the Methodist Episcopal Church (-1939) then in The Methodist Church (1939-1968) and The United Methodist Church (1968-).

Above:  Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, Baltimore, Maryland

Image Source = Google Earth

Bosley served at Mount Vernon Place Methodist Church from 1938 to 1947.  He left that position to become the Dean of Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina.

Above:  First United Methodist Church, Evanston, Illinois

Image Source = Google Earth

Bosley served in First Methodist Church, Evanston, Illinois, from 1950 to 1962.

Above:  Christ Church, United Methodist, New York, New York

Image Source = Google Earth

Finally, Bosley was the Senior Minister at Christ Church, (United) Methodist, New York City, from 1962 to 1974.  He succeeded Ralph W. Sockman (1889-1970).

Bosley, who wrote books, received many honorary degrees, and preached on radio and television, lived his faith.  Churches had become timid in the face of social injustice, he stated candidly.  He was not timid as he supported civil rights, human rights, and world peace.  Bosley joined a Fellowship of Reconciliation-sponsored delegation that visited South Vietnam in 1965.  He also joined teams that visited Spain in 1967 and the Soviet Union in 1966, 1967, and 1971.  In 1966 our saint attempted to ship 10,000 Jewish prayer books to the Soviet Union.  Also, he chaired the Committee on Christian Social Concerns at the United Methodist General Conferences of 1968 and 1970.

The Bosleys retired to Beach Haven Terrace, New Jersey, in June 1974.  Our saint’s retirement was brief.  He, aged 67 years, died on January 20, 1975.

Given Bosley’s emphasis on social justice, writing an exposition on the Book of Micah was a fine assignment for him.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDER OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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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 Harold A. Bosley, 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 Elmer G. Homrighausen (January 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey

Image Source = Library of Congress

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ELMER GEORGE HOMRIGHAUSEN (APRIL 14, 1900-JANUARY 3, 1982)

U.S. German Reformed and Presbyterian Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Professor of Christian Education

Elmer G. Homrighausen comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume XII (1957), for which he wrote the exposition of 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude.

Homrighausen came from the Reformed tradition.  He, son of Henry and Sophia, entered the world in Wheatland, Iowa, on April 14, 1900.  The family was German Reformed, members of the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS), which merged into the Evangelical and Reformed Church (ERC) in 1934, which merged into the United Church of Christ (UCC) in 1957.  The religion of Homrighausen’s youth and early adulthood was stern; fear of divine judgment was always present.  After nearly dying as a child, he was thankful for every day of the rest of his long life.

Homrighausen became a scholar and a German Reformed minister.  He studied at Mission House College, Plymouth, Wisconsin, from 1921 to 1923.  Mercersburg Theology, or relatively High Church Reformed theology with an emphasis on sacraments and liturgy, began to influence our saint there.  In 1923, before transferring to Princeton Theological Seminary as a senior, married Ruth W, Strassburger.  The Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy divided the faculty.  Our saint identified as a Modernist.  (The couple went on to raise six children.)  He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and became an ordained minister in 1924.

Above:  The Former First English Reformed Church, Freeport, Illinois

Image Source = Google Earth

Homrighausen’s first pastorate was the First English Reformed Church (now Bethany United Church of Christ), Freeport, Illinois, where he served from 1924 to 1929.  Our saint applied Mercersburg Theology to help resolve a difficult situation.  Some of the leaders of the congregation were members of the Ku Klux Klan.  This appalled Homrighausen and many of his parishioners.  Our saint understood that the honor, integrity, and unity of the congregation were at stake.  He practiced reconciliation, followed by a communion service.  Then Homrighausen initiated outreach to African Americans in the community.

Above:  The Former Carrollton Avenue Reformed Church, Indianapolis, Indiana

Image Source = Google Earth

Homrighausen served as pastor of the Carrollton Avenue Reformed Church, Indianapolis, Indiana (now St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, Carmel, Indiana), from 1929 to 1938.  While there, he earned his Ph.D. (1929) and Th.D. (1930) from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, as well as his M.A. from Butler University, Indianapolis (1931).  Homrighausen also worked as a lecturer in church history at Butler University from 1931 to 1938.

Homrighausen liberalized in academia and became a Barthian.  Our saint stood in the theological center and criticized positions to his left and his right.  The relationship between church and culture interested him.  Homrighausen read the writings of St. Justin Martyr (d. 166/167) during the process of loyalty to empire versus loyalty to the Kingdom of God.  Our saint found in St. Justin Martyr openness to the truth, regardless of its source, while affirming Christ as the Savior.  Doctrinal rigidity was not a virtue, according to Homrighausen.  Neither was setting social progress in opposition to perceived orthodoxy.  And, in the theology of Karl Barth, our saint found a Christocentric theology.

NOTE:  I identify as a Modernist, for I accept science.  I, as a generally liberal person, think of myself as occupying a center-left position on the spectrum.  I tend to be more conservative in liturgical matters–traditional worship please, preferably Rite II from The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  And, if if I see so much as a guitar or a tambourine, I will kvetch inwardly.  I like the Roman Catholic Church’s “Seamless Garment” theology of life, with some caveats regarding tactics, never ideals.  I understand church history well enough to be able to rattle off instances of ecclesiastical leaders, from antiquity to the present day, deploying “orthodoxy” against necessary and proper social progress.  I make no excuses for that.  I also know of examples of the predictable, reflexive tendency in much of the Christian Left to focus on social progress in reaction against false, reactionary orthodoxy.  Social progress is a principle firmly entrenched in the Law of Moses, the Hebrew Prophetic tradition, and the Gospels, therefore in actual Jewish and Christian orthodoxy.  Actual orthodoxy, with the Golden Rule, facilitates social justice. 

Homrighausen worked full-time at Princeton Theological Seminary from 1938 to 1970.  He was, in order, the:

  1. Thomas Synnott Professor of Christian Education (1938-1954),
  2. Chairman of the Department of Practical Theology (1953-1960),
  3. Charles R. Erdman Professor of Pastoral Theology (1954-1970) and
  4. Dean (1955-1965).

Homrighausen, a recipient of many honorary degrees, was also active beyond the seminary.  He traveled the world, preaching, from 1941 to 1971.  Starting in the 1930s, our saint was active in the movement to found the World Council of Churches, formed in 1948.  Then he became a leader of that organization.  Likewise, Homrighausen filled leadership roles in the Federal Council of Churches and its successor, the National Council of Churches.  Our saint also served as the Vice Moderator of The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

Homrighausen, aged 81 years, died in Princeton, New Jersey, on January 3, 1982.

Princeton Theological Seminary has created the position of Elmer G. Homrighausen Professor of Christian Social Ethics.  While preparing this post, I read the list of faculty members of the seminary.  I noticed that this position was vacant.  I found names of previous Homrighausen Professors in Internet searches, however.

Homrighausen left a fine and faithful legacy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 8, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MACKILLOP, FOUNDRESS OF THE SISTERS OF SAINT JOSEPH OF THE SACRED HEART

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALTMAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PASSAU

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMINIC, FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF PREACHERS

THE FEAST OF RAYMOND BROWN, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Elmer G. Homrighausen 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 Gene M. Tucker (January 15)   Leave a comment

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

Image in the Public Domain

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

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

United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

Gene M. Tucker comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The New Interpreter’s Bible.  He wrote the introduction, commentary, and reflections on Isaiah 1-39 for Volume VI (2001) of the set.  (Tucker accepted the scholarly consensus that there were three Isaiahs.)

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

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

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

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

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Gene M. Tucker and all others]

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

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

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Bertha Paulssen (January 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Image in the Public Domain

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BERTHA TONI AGNES CAROLA PAULSSEN (JANUARY 15, 1891-APRIL 2, 1973)

German-American Seminary Professor, Psychologist, and Sociologist

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Modern men and women suffer most deeply from their inability to love their neighbors.  How can they love their neighbors if they know nothing of God?

–Bertha Paulssen; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 38

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Bertha Paulssen devoted most of her life to helping “the least of these” in the name of Christ.  She, born in Leipzig, German Empire, on January 15, 1891, grew up in a wealthy, cultured, and Lutheran family.  She internalized the Christian faith and concluded that the church of her youth was too dogmatic and insufficiently addressing human needs.  Our saint, educated at a Moravian school then at the Universities of Leipzig and Göttingen, earned her doctorate at Leipzig in 1917.  Next, Paulssen worked as a librarian and a teaching assistant.  She moved to Frankfurt in 1919, to manage a home for girls who had dropped out of school.  After a few years, our saint worked with children, with prostitutes, and with prisoners in Kiel and Stettin.  Starting in 1923, Paulssen assumed a supervisory role in Hamburg.  She, a state employee, supervised 800 social workers.  Our saint replaced top-down management with tactics that emphasized individual solutions.  The rise of the Third Reich ended Paulssen’s career in Germany in 1933.

Paulssen, who fled Germany, spent most of her life after 1935 in the United States.  She headed first for England, before departing for New York City.  Our saint worked with youth in the “Big Apple” before teaching at Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Next, she taught at the (Lutheran) Deaconess Motherhouse, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before teaching at Wagner College, Staten Island, New York City.  Paulssen, legally an “enemy alien” after early December 1941, had to leave the United States.  She settled in Cuba, naturalized as an American citizen in 1944, and returned to the United States.

From 1945 to 1963, Paulssen was a professor jointly at Muhlenberg College, Gettysburg College, and Gettysburg Theological Seminary.  She became the first woman and lay person to hold a tenured professorship at a Lutheran theological seminary in the United States.  Our saint’s social ethic informed her presentation of the Christian faith and brought sociology and psychology to bear on theology.

Paulssen, aged 82 years, died in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on April 2, 1973.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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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, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of John Main (December 30)   Leave a comment

Above:  John Main, O.S.B.

Fair Use Image

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DOUGLAS WILLIAM VICTOR MAIN (JANUARY 21, 1926-DECEMBER 30, 1982)

Anglo-Canadian Roman Catholic Priest and Monk

John Main comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997).

Douglas Main struggled with identifying his vocation for a time yet found and embraced it.  Our saint, born in London, England, on January 21, 1926, was a son of David and Eileen.  In his twenties, Main, intent on becoming a priest, joined the Canons Regular of Lateran and commenced theological studies.  He eventually left the order because of strong doubts, though.

For a time Main was a civil servant, specifically, a member of the British Colonial Service.  He joined the Service in 1954, after having studied law at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and graduating.  While stationed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, Main met a Hindu swami, who gave him a Christian mantra to use while meditating.  Our saint taught law at Trinity College from 1956 to 1959.  Then he resumed religious life.

Main joined the Order of Saint Benedict at Ealing Abbey, London, as John, in 1959.  Ordained to the priesthood in 1963, our saint served as the headmaster of St. Anselm’s Abbey School, Washington, D.C., from 1970 to 1974.  During this time, he studied prayer, according to writings of Desert Fathers, including St. John Cassian (c.360-c.435).  Main noticed compatibility between Christian and Eastern styles of meditation during these studies.  Our saint, back at Ealing Abbey, starting in 1974, started Christian meditation groups.  He continued this work at the new monastery in Montreal, beginning in 1977.

Main, aged 56 years, died in Montreal on December 30, 1982.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 5, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTONIO MARY ZACCARIA, FOUNDER OF THE BARNABITES AND THE ANGELIC SISTERS OF SAINT PAUL

THE FEAST OF GEORGES BERNANOS, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC NOVELIST

THE FEAST OF HULDA NIEBUHR, CHRISTIAN EDUCATOR; HER BROTHERS, H. RICHARD NIEBUHR AND REINHOLD NIEBUHR, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST THEOLOGIANS; AND URSULA NIEBUHR, EPISCOPAL THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH BOISSEL, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIEST AND MARTYR IN LAOS, 1969

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O God, by whose grace your servant John Main,

kindled with the flame of your love,

became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

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

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 723

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Feast of D. Elton Trueblood (December 20)   2 comments

Above:  Sign, Earlham School of Religion

Image in the Public Domain

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DAVID ELTON TRUEBLOOD (DECEMBER 12, 1900-DECEMBER 20, 1994)

U.S. Quaker Theologian

D. Elton Trueblood, U.S. theologian and academic, 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 words “liberal,” “moderate,” and “conservative” are inherently relative; they have no fixed meaning for all circumstances, times, and places.  The record of Trueblood’s life reveals that all three applied to him.  Sui generis describes him well.

Trueblood came from Midwestern Quaker stock.  He, born on a farm near Indianola, Iowa, on December 12, 1900, was a son of Effie and Samuel Trueblood.  Our saint studied at William Penn College, Oskaloosa, Iowa (Class of 1922), then at Brown University and Hartford Theological Seminary before graduating from Harvard University with his Bachelor of Systematic Theology degree in 1926.  Eight years later, he graduated from The Johns Hopkins University, with his doctorate in philosophy.

Trueblood spent most of his life on college and university campuses, mainly Quaker ones.  He taught at Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina, before joining the faculty of Haverford College, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  During the summer of 1935, Trueblood served as the acting chaplain at Harvard University.  This experience led him to become chaplain at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, in 1936.  Trueblood was chaplain there for nine years.  While living in Palo Alto, he worshiped with former President Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) and former First Lady Lou Henry Hoover (1874-1944).  His friendship with them deepened, and he presided at their funerals.

Trueblood, preferring smaller professor-to-student ratios, moved to Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, in 1945.  There he remained for most of the rest of his life.  Our saint helped to open the seminary, the Earlham School of Religion, in 1960.  After he retired in 1966, Trueblood became Professor-at-Large.  He remained active in college life.

Trueblood married twice.  He married Pauline Goodenow in 1924.  The couple had four children–three sons and one daughter–from 1925 5o 1941.  Pauline died of a brain tumor in 1955.  Our saint married Virginia Hodgin, a widow with two children, in September 1956.  She became his partner in life and in publishing.  (He wrote 33 books.)  Virginia died in 1984.

Trueblood, who emphatically never identified with the Religious Right, made his objections to that variety of Christianity plain.  He was also critical of much of the Religious Left.  Trueblood opposed both “churchianity” and “vague religiosity.”  He, who helped to form the World Council of Churches in 1948, was an internationalist.  He was not, however, a strict pacifist; he concluded that some wars were necessary, especially in the context of the Cold War.  The sole foundation of a humane social order, Trueblood argued, was a reinvigorated faith.  He also supported civil rights for African Americans and members of other minorities.  Our saint, who drafted Thanksgiving Day proclamations for several presidents of both major parties, served as the Chief of Religious Policy at the United States Information Agency during the Eisenhower Administration and advised the Eisenhower Administration regarding religious matters.  Trueblood also founded the Yokefellow movement, which engaged in prison ministry and established halfway houses.

In 1988 Trueblood moved to Meadowood, a retirement community in Norristown, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to be closer to his family.  He died in Worcester Township, Pennsylvania, on December 20, 1994.  He was 94 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 5, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTONIO MARY ZACCARIA, FOUNDER OF THE BARNABITES AND THE ANGELIC SISTERS OF SAINT PAUL

THE FEAST OF GEORGES BERNANOS, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC NOVELIST

THE FEAST OF HULDA NIEBUHR, CHRISTIAN EDUCATOR; HER BROTHERS, H. RICHARD NIEBUHR AND REINHOLD NIEBUHR, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST THEOLOGIANS; AND URSULA NIEBUHR, EPISCOPAL THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH BOISSEL, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIEST AND MARTYR IN LAOS, 1969

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O God, you 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,

peace to the troubled,

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.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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