Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1980s’ 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 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 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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Feast of Pierson Parker (December 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of The Episcopal Church

Image in the Public Domain

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PIERSON PARKER (MARCH 27, 1905-DECEMBER 13, 1995)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Episcopal Priest, and Biblical Scholar

Pierson Parker comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume II (1953), for which he co-wrote the exposition on Deuteronomy.

Parker, born to Alvin Pierson and Susie Estelle Williams (Pierson) in Shanghai, China, on March 27, 1905, became a Congregationalist minister then an Episcopal priest.  He, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (1921), and the Pacific School of Religion, Berkley (M.A., 1933; Th.D., 1934), served as the pastor of North Berkeley Congregational Church (now Grace North Church, United Church of Christ and National Association of Congregational Christian Churches), from 1936 to 1944.  He doubled as the President of the Northern California Congregational Conference in 1938 and 1939, and as a member of the faculty of the Pacific School of Religion, starting in 1940.  Pierson taught Biblical literature.

Pierson’s spiritual home was The Episcopal Church, though.  He, ordained a priest in 1944, served as the Rector of St. Andrew’s Church, Oakland (1944-1947), while working as an assistant professor at the Pacific School of Religion.  He was an associate professor from 1947 to 1949.  Then Pierson was Professor of New Testament Interpretation at the General Theological Seminary, New York, New York, from 1949 to 1974.  During this period he taught occasionally at the School of Theology of The University of the South (1951-1974, on and off), was a visiting professor at various universities and seminaries, and was briefly a parish priest in Nice, France (1962), and Istanbul, Turkey (1969).  Pierson also served at Trinity Cathedral, Newark, New Jersey (1953-1954).

Pierson married Mildred Ruth Sorg on June 12, 1933.  The couple had one son, Peter.

Pierson, author of books and scholarly articles, as well as a translator of Today’s English Version of the Bible (1976), offered the following conclusions, among others, regarding the New Testament:

  1. St. Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark.
  2. St. John the Apostle did not and could not have written the Gospel of John.
  3. Q (Quelle) was real.  It was one source for the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.
  4. A proto-Matthew was another source for the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.

Pierson was a priest in the Diocese of Los Angeles from 1974 to 1995.  He served as the chaplain to seminarians (1974-1983), the Canon of the Cathedral of St. Paul (1977-1981), and a priest at St. Ambrose’s Church in Claremont (1990-1995).

Pierson, aged 90 years, died on December 13, 1995.  He served God until the end.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 3, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN AND ANATOLIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE, PATRIARCHS; AND SAINTS AGATHO, LEO II, AND BENEDICT II, BISHOPS OF ROME; DEFENDERS OF CHRISTOLOGICAL ORTHODOXY

THE FEAST OF CHARLES ALBERT DICKINSON, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF IMMANUEL NITSCHMANN, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND MUSICIAN; HIS BROTHER-IN-LAW, JACOB VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP, MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, AND EDUCATOR; HIS SON, WILLIAM HENRY VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP; HIS BROTHER, CARL ANTON VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, AND EDUCATOR; HIS DAUGHTER, LISETTE (LIZETTE) MARIA VAN VLECK MEINUNG; AND HER SISTER, AMELIA ADELAIDE VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN CENNICK, BRITISH MORAVIAN EVANGELIST AND HYMN WRITER

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Parker Pierson 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 William Louis Poteat, Hubert McNeill Poteat, Edwin McNeill Poteat Sr., Edwin McNeill Poteat Jr., and Gordon McNeill Poteat (December 12)   1 comment

Above:  A Partial Poteat Family Tree

Image Source = Library of Congress

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WILLIAM LOUIS POTEAT (OCTOBER 20, 1856-MARCH 12, 1938)

President of Wake Forest College, and Biologist

brother of

EDWIN MCNEILL POTEAT, SR. (FEBRUARY 6, 1861-JUNE 25, 1937)

Northern and Southern Baptist Minister, Scholar, and President of Furman University

father of

EDWIN MCNEILL POTEAT, JR., (NOVEMBER 28, 1892-DECEMBER 17, 1955)

Southern Baptist Minister, Missionary, Musician, Hymn Writer, and Social Reformer

brother of

GORDON MCNEILL POTEAT (APRIL 11, 1891-NOVEMBER 1986)

Northern Baptist, Southern Baptist, and Congregationalist Minister and Missionary

first cousin of

HUBERT MCNEILL POTEAT, SR. (DECEMBER 12, 1886-JANUARY 29, 1958)

Southern Baptist Academic and Musician

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A FAMILY PROFILE

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One name–Edwin McNeill Poteat, Jr.–opened the portals for this post to encompass five saints.  I found his name in The Interpreter’s Bible.  The rest was history.

The family story began, for the purpose of this post, with James Poteat (1807-1889) and Julia Anice McNeill (Poteat) (1833-1910), of Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina.  Two of their sons were William Louis Poteat and Edwin McNeill Poteat, Sr.

WILLIAM LOUIS POTEAT (1856-1938)

William, born on October 26, 1856, grew up and became a pioneering educator and biologist.  He, having earned his B.A. degree from Wake Forest College, then located in Wake Forest, North Carolina, in 1877, followed up with an M.A,. degree from the same institution in 1889.  Between graduation ceremonies he taught biology at Wake Forest College, starting as a tutor then advancing in stages, to full professor.  He was the first person in the South to teach biology via the laboratory method instead of the recitation method.  William, always a devout Christian of the Southern Baptist variety, caused great controversy by accepting the Theory of Evolution.  This did not prevent him from serving as the President of that Southern Baptist college from 1905 to 1927.  In 1925, he helped to defeat the proposed state law to forbid the teaching of Evolution in public schools.

On a conventional front, William was also active in the temperance movement.

William married Emma James Purefoy on June 24, 1881.  The couple had three children–Louise, Helen, and Hubert.

William, aged 83 years, died on March 12, 1938.

EDWIN MCNEILL POTEAT, SR. (1861-1937)

Edwin, Sr., born on February 6, 1861, also reconciled faith and science.  He graduated from Wake Forest College (1881) then the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1885).  Poteat, ordained in 1884, served as pastor of the Wake Forest Baptist Church from 1884 to 1886.  He resigned to study psychology and philosophy at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, from 1886 to 1888.  While in Baltimore, Edwin, Sr., was the acting pastor of the Lee Street Baptist Church in that city.  Then he studied at the University of Berlin during the summer of 1888.  Studies at Yale University followed.  He was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, New Haven, Connecticut, from 1888 to 1898.  Then Edwin, Sr., was the pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1898 to 1903.  He returned to the South to accept the presidency of Furman University (1903-1918).

Subsequent work entailed living in, at different times, the North, the South, and China.  Edwin, Sr., worked as the Executive Secretary of the General Board of Promotion of the Northern Baptist Convention.  After spending six years teaching philosophy and ethics at the University of Shanghai, our saint served as the Interim Minister of the First Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia, from 1927 to 1929.  Then he was the pastor of the Second Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, for two years, followed by a stint (1931-1934) teaching ethics and comparative religion at Mercer University, Macon, Georgia.  Finally, in 1934, Edwin, Sr., returned to Furman University to teach ethics.

Edwin, Sr., married twice.  On October 24, 1889, he married Harriet Hale Gordon.  The couple had seven children:  Edwin McNeill Jr., Gordon McNeill, John Robinson, Priscilla Isabella, James Douglass, Clarissa Hale, and Arthur Barron.  Harriet Gordon died in 1919.  Edwin, Sr., married Harriet Helen Brittingham, a Northern Baptist missionary to China, in that country in 1925.

Edwin, Sr., aged 76 years, died on June 25, 1937.

HUBERT MCNEILL POTEAT, SR. (1886-1958)

Hubert, son of William and Emma, was a scholar, athlete, and musician.  He, born in Wake Forest, North Carolina, on December 12, 1886, earned his Bachelor’s (1906) and Master’s (1908) degrees from Wake Forest College.  Between graduation ceremonies he taught Latin at the college.  Hubert had been musical from a young age, learning the violin and the organ.  He was sufficiently accomplished to perform at his father’s inauguration as college president in 1905.  Hubert also played sports (such as tennis and eventually golf) at different stages of his life.

Hubert was also a Freemason and a Shriner.  He, inducted as a Freemason in 1908, rose to high ranks in both organizations.

Hubert worked on his doctorate at Columbia University, New York, New York, in 1908-1912.  He found time to attend plays and operas, as well as to sing in the choir of The Brick Presbyterian Church; William Pierson Merrill (1867-1954) was the pastor at the time.  Hubert also performed solos at the Episcopal Church of the Intercession.

Hubert married Essie Moore Morgan on June 26, 1912.  The couple had two children:  Hubert McNeill Jr. and William Morgan.

Hubert returned to Wake Forest College to stay, from 1912 to 1956.  He was Professor of Latin then the Chair of Latin.  He also directed the Glee Club from 1912 to 1923.  Hubert, the organist of the college for more than four decades, published in the fields of hymnology and Latin literature and philosophy.  Hubert also taught at Columbia University during the summers of 1924-1942.

Hubert valued the liberal arts educational model.  The humanities, he understood, were vital.  Hence he looked on with dismay as many public schools in the South began to de-emphasize the humanities and to emphasize vocational training.

Hubert also had high musical standards.  He, who included pieces by Wagner in his organ concerts, dismissed gospel music as

jig tunes.

Hubert insisted that only

consuming fire

could improve them.  This strong opinion was consistent with his perfectionism in many matters.  Hubert was, for example, a stickler, regrading proper English grammar and usage.

When Wake Forest College moved to Winston-Salem, in 1956, Hubert remained behind in Wake Forest, North Carolina.  There he retired, and there he died on January 29, 1958.  He was 71 years old.

TWO BROTHERS:

GORDON MCNEILL POTEAT (1891-1986)

EDWIN MCNEILL POTEAT, JR. (1892-1955)

Edwin, Jr., son of Edwin, Sr., and Harriet Gordon, continued in the family legacy of supporting progressive causes.  Some of his activities overlapped geographically with those of his older brother, Gordon.

Gordon, born in New Haven, Connecticut, on April 11, 1891, grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, where his father was the President of Furman University.  Gordon, who graduated from Furman in 1910, earned his M.A. degree from Wake Forest College, where his uncle, William, was the President.  Then Gordon attended and graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Next he spent 1915-1927 in China, first as a missionary in Kaifeng then (1921f) teaching ethics and the New Testament at the University of Shanghai.

Edwin, Jr., born in New Haven on November 20, 1892, became more prominent than his older brother.  Edwin, Jr., graduated from Furman (B.A., 1912; M.A., 1913) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1916).  He was a traveling secretary for the Student Volunteer Movement (1916-1917) then a missionary in Kaifeng (1917-1926) with Gordon (until 1921).  In 1921, Edwin, Sr., visited his sons in China.  He wound up accepting an offer to teach philosophy and ethics at the University of Shanghai, and remained until 1927.  He and Gordon–father and son–were faculty colleagues for six years.  Meanwhile, Edwin, Jr., remained at the compound in Kaifeng until revolution forced him to flee in 1926.  Then he joined the faculty of Shanghai from 1927 to 1929; he taught ethics and philosophy.

Gordon, back in the United States for a few years (1927-1930), worked as an Educational Secretary for the Student Volunteer Movement from 1927 to 1928.  Then he served as the pastor of the City Park Baptist Church, Denver, Colorado, from 1928 to 1930.  Next, from 1930 to 1937, Gordon was the representative of the Northern Baptist Convention to the University of Shanghai.

Gordon married Helen Anne Carruthers in 1915.  The couple had four children:  Anne Rose, Wallace Bagby, Nida, and Priscilla Hale.

Edwin, Jr., back in the United States, worked in churches, in a seminary, and on the public stage.  He was pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina, for the first time from 1929 to 1937.  Seven years as pastor of Euclid Avenue Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio, followed.  Then, in 1944, Edwin, Jr., became the President of the Rochester Divinity School, Rochester, New York.  Declining health forced him to resign in 1948.  Pullen Memorial Baptist Church had a vacancy at the time, and welcomed him back.  Our saint died in that job on December 17, 1955, as he prepared to conduct a wedding ceremony.

Edwin, Jr., was not afraid to take controversial positions.  He was a pacifist, a supporter of conscientious objectors, and an advocate for civil rights.  In 1946, he addressed the the American Association for the Advancement of Science; he was the first minister the organization had invited to speak to it.  Furthermore, in 1948, Edwin, Jr., helped to found and became the first President of Protestants and Other Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (now Americans United for the Separation of Church and State).  Separation of church and state has long been a Baptist issue, after all.

Edwin, Jr., had strong opinions regarding worship.  He made sure in 1950 that the new sanctuary of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church had a split chancel.  He also wore a ministerial robe.  Edwin, Jr., critical of both Evangelical informality and a fixed liturgy, maintained high standards for hymns and other service music.  He agreed with his cousin Hubert.  Edwin, Jr., complained about the

banality of the words of modern songs

sung in most Protestant churches in the United States.  The critic composed 23 pieces of service music, some of them included in the Northern Baptist/Disciples of Christ joint hymnal, Christian Worship (1941).  In 1948, he wrote a hymn, “Eternal God, Whose Reaching Eye,” for the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches.

Edwin, Jr., married Wilda Hardman on June 27, 1918.  The couple had four children:  William Hardman, Harriett Allen, Elizabeth McNeill, and Haley Gordon.

Gordon, author of books about Christian missions in China, became Professor of Social Ethics and Homiletics at Crozer Theological Seminary, Chester, Pennsylvania.  I have not been able to learn when he left that position.

Edwin, Jr., wrote 17 books.  The genres included sermons, original poetry, and theology.  Both he and Gordon wrote for The Interpreter’s Bible.  Gordon wrote the exposition on James in Volume XII (1957.)  Edwin, Jr., wrote the exposition on Psalms 42-89 in Volume IV (1955).

When Gordon wrote for The Interpreter’s Bible, he was the pastor of the Tourist Church (the First Congregational Church), Daytona Beach, Florida.  That congregation has become the Seabreeze United Church of Christ.

Gordon, aged 95 years, died in Ormond Beach, Florida, in November 1986.

CONCLUSION

Members of two generations of the Poteat family served God and did not fear controversy in doing so.  This post has summarized incompletely the faithfulness of some Poteats.  If, however, it has prompted you, O reader, to want to learn more, this post has accomplished my purpose.

Loving God, we thank you for the faithful service of

William Louis Poteat;

Hubert McNeill Poteat;

Edwin McNeill Poteat, Sr.;

Edwin McNeill Poteat, Jr.;

and Gordon McNeill Poteat

in a variety of disciplines, times, and places.

May their examples of fidelity to you inspire us to live boldly in your service.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 113

2 Timothy 1:3-7

Matthew 28:16-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 2, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WASHINGTON GLADDEN, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF FERDINAND QUINCY BLANCHARD, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HENRY MONTAGU BUTLER, EDUCATOR, SCHOLAR, AND ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JACQUES FERMIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIEST

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