Archive for the ‘Saints of the 2000s’ Category

Feast of Frederick J. Murphy (September 12)   Leave a comment

Above:  College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts, Circa 1906

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a12944

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FREDERICK JAMES MURPHY (AUGUST 16, 1949-SEPTEMBER 13, 2011)

U.S. Roman Catholic Biblical Scholar

Also known as Rick Murphy

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Rick Murphy represented, perhaps better than anyone else on campus, what it means to teach, to do research, and to offer oneself wholeheartedly to a community such as ours. He was an internationally renowned and prolific scholar and a significant, if always unassuming, presence on campus. But what motivated him was our students and his desire to give them the many tools they will need to make their own marks on the world.

Students loved Rick, and their experience in his classrooms hints at what made him so special to all of us. Nothing was better than simply to hang out with Rick. He knew and loved politics, opera, classical and contemporary music, literature and history, theology. In his fifties he learned to pilot a plane, and in that same period he assembled, by himself, from the ground up, a computer that was years ahead of its time.

But more than all of this, everyone wanted to be around Rick because he had an endless supply of himself to give. I came to Holy Cross 40 years into my life and considerably more than a decade into my academic career. But I learned anew from Rick how to be a colleague, what it means to be a friend, and, in the past five years, I learned from him how a person can confront a devastating illness with such dignity and lack of self-pity as to truly astound.

So we learned from Rick, from his approach to life, from his words, from his ideas and ideals, from his books and articles, but more than anything from the way he lived-an unparalleled life of dignity and integrity that changed us all and that leaves a cherished, everlasting legacy.

–Dr. Alan Avery-Peck, Kraft-Hiatt Professor in Judaic Studies, College of the Holy Cross, 2011

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Professor Frederick J. Murphy comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via The New Interpreter’s Bible (12 volumes, 1994-2002).

Murphy, a graduate of St. John’s High School, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, became an internationally renowned scholar.  After graduating with his B.A. from Harvard University in 1971, Murphy joined the Society of Jesus.  During his seven years as a Jesuit, he taught high school, earned his B.D. from the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and worked with poor people in South America.  Our saint married his wife, Leslie, in 1980; the couple had a son (Jeremy) and a daughter (Rebecca).  Murphy returned to Harvard, where he earned his M.A. then, in 1984, his Ph.D.

Murphy’s academic community, to which he contributed much, was the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit institution in Worcester, Massachusetts.  From 1983 to 2011 our saint was Professor of Religious Studies, specializing in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, Second Temple Judaism, the Historical Jesus, and apocalypticism.  Murphy, the recipient of the Distinguished Teacher of the Year award in 2001, became the first Class of 1956 Professor in New Testament Studies in 2007.  He was a respected colleague and professor.  Like all excellent teachers, our saint taught not only the subject matter, but also intangible and no less valuable lessons.  Caitlin LoCascio-King, Class of 2006, wrote the following tribute:

I was shocked and saddened to read about the passing of Prof. Murphy in my Holy Cross email earlier today. A 2006 graduate, I was a religious studies major and a member of the Student Advisory Committee for the Religious Studies Department. More importantly for this email, my fourth year I had the pleasure of creating a one-on-one course with Prof. Murphy regarding the synoptic gospels. My first year, he taught the religious studies courses for the FYP program. His students all raved, and I was determined to meet this man and take a class. My third year I took Introduction to the Old Testament with him and quickly learned what they were talking about. Based on that experience, I set my mind to creating a seminar with him and ultimately he agreed to help me form one on the gospels.

Each week, he and I would meet in his office for a couple of hours and discussed various topics on the three gospels, their applicability to ancient times, modern times, the Old Testament, the New Testament and, inevitably, our own personal lives. That seminar was more reading and more work than almost any other class I took in my four years on the Hill, but it was one of my most memorable. He taught me how to think, how to write, how to hone a critical eye. But what he really taught me was self-confidence, a new understanding of my view on academics and that sacred book and the ability to really delve into anything I work on. I can say with confidence that Prof. Murphy knew more about the gospels than I will ever forget. But I certainly will never forget him.

Murphy wrote books and articles.  He contributed an article, “Introduction to Apocalyptic Literature,” to Volume VII (1996) of The New Interpreter’s Bible.  His books were:

  1. The Religious World of Jesus:  An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism (1991), winner of the Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award in the Humanities;
  2. Pseudo-Philo:  Rewriting the Bible (1993);
  3. Fallen is Babylon:  The Revelation to John (1998), for the New Testament in Context series;
  4. Breviary Lives of the Saints:  February-May:  Latin Selections with Commentary and a Vocabulary (2003);
  5. Breviary Lives of the Saints:  September-January:  Latin Selections with Commentary and a Vocabulary (2003);
  6. An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels (2005);
  7. Early Judaism:  The Exile to the Time of Jesus (2006); and
  8. Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World:  A Comprehensive Introduction (2012), published posthumously.

Murphy died on September 13, 2011, after a long illness.  He was 62 years old.

One wonders how many more students Murphy would have helped and how much more he might have contributed to Biblical scholarship had he lived longer.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 13, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN HENRY HOPKINS, JR., EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMNODIST; AND HIS NEPHEW, JOHN HENRY HOPKINS, III, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH PAYSON PRENTISS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JEREMY TAYLOR, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF DOWN, CONNOR, AND DROMORE

THE FEAST OF JOHN BAJUS, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Frederick J. Murphy 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 Beyers Naude (September 7)   Leave a comment

 

 

Above:  Flags of South Africa

Images in the Public Domain

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CHRISTIAN FREDERICK BEYERS NAUDÉ (MAY 10, 1915-SEPTEMBER 7, 2004)

South African Dutch Reformed Minister and Anti-Apartheid Activist

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Because of my experience, I’ve been able to tell other white Afrikaners, who despise me or have rejected me and feel that I’m a traitor to their cause, “I pity you, because I feel that you, in fact, have become the victims of your own imprisoned philosophy of life.  And therefore you cannot be free.  You cannot be free to love people of color deeply and sincerely.  You cannot be free to look at the future of South Africa outside the confines of your present political viewpoint.  You cannot be open to the concept of Christian community with Christians of all denominations around the world.  And therefore, as a result of those things that you have imposed on yourself, your vision is limited.”

–Beyers Naudé, interviewed for Sojourners magazine, 1987;  quoted in Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday, eds., Cloud of Witnesses, Revised Edition (2005), 152-153

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The Reverend Beyers Naudé comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Cloud of Witnesses (2005).

Of Orthodoxy and Heresy

What do we mean by orthodoxy and heresy?

Orthodoxy literally means “correct opinion.”  But who defines “correct”?  Ideally, all of us would recognize God as the definer of correctness and agree on the contents of orthodoxy.  Actually, though, competing orthodoxies exist within traditions, such as Christianity.  An orthodox Lutheran, for example, is a heretic by standards of an orthodox Calvinist or Roman Catholic or Methodist.  We who follow God or try to do so are attempting to read God’s mind partially.  Usually we adopt an institution’s definition of orthodoxy as the gold standard.  As I try to be a faithful Christian, I do not color outside the lines, so to speak.  I reject some strands of tradition and favor others, but I am generally fairly conventional, in the context of broader Christianity, but not the Bible  Belt of the United States.  I try, however, to be theologically humble, and to acknowledge that I am mistaken on certain points; I just do not know which ones.  I am therefore tolerant of a wide range of Christian orthodoxies, for I recall having changed my mind on major theological issues, such as, years ago, when I disposed of my Wesleyan-Arminian upbringing sufficiently to accept Single Predestination, an Anglican, Lutheran, and moderate Reformed doctrine.

“Heresy” comes from the Greek verb meaning “to choose.”  A heretic therefore a person who chooses what to believe, in opposition to orthodoxy, as at least one institution defines it.  The implication, therefore, is that the heretic chooses wrongly.

Understand me correctly, O reader; I am no postmodernist.  Orthodoxy and heresy are real, and we can know them partially.  I also affirm that, as much as each person is somebody’s schismatic, each person is also somebody’s heretic.

Beyers Naudé, raised a heretic, came to orthodoxy when he rejected the norms of his church, society, and nation-state.  Voltaire wrote that is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.  Our saint learned that lesson painfully.

Early Years

Damn you when everybody speaks well of you!  Recall that their ancestors treated the phony prophets the same way.

–Luke 6:26, Annotated Scholars Version (1992)

Christian Frederick Beyers Naudé, born in Roodeport, Transvaal, South Africa, on May 10, 1915, was a man baptized into a racist denomination. The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, hereafter the DRCSA, taught that the Bible justified racism and racial segregation.  In 1948 Apartheid became the continuation of various laws and customs.  The DRCSA quoted the Bible to justify that execrable system.  The architects of Apartheid and its antecedents came from the Broederbond, an Afrikaner organization our saint’s father, the Reverend Jozua Naudé, a hero of the late Boer War, had helped to found.  Naudé the elder named his son, our saint, after Christian Frederick Beyers, a Boer general from that war, and a friend.  Our saint moved in influential, devout, and unapologetically racist circles; he was on track to rise to the office of Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.  His background, South African Dutch Calvinism, included not only a toxic stew of racism, imperialism, and ethnocentrism, but the sense that Afrikaners were part of God’s elect.  Afrikaners understood and embraced what Rudyard Kipling gleefully called “White Man’s Burden” in 1899, to celebrate the debut of the United States of America as an imperial power:

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Until the 1950s Naudé the younger did not question the orthodoxy–the conventional wisdom–concerning Apartheid.  He graduated from the University of Stellenbosch and became a minister in the DRCSA in 1939.  He married Ilse Weder, daughter of a Moravian missionary, in 1940.  Also in 1940, at the age of 25 years, he became the youngest person to join the Broederbond.  Naudé rose through the ranks of the DRCSA.

The Road to Damascus

Consider this:  Treat people in was you want them to treat you.  This sums up the whole Law and the Prophets.

–Matthew 7:12, Annotated Scholars Version (1992)

The conversion of Beyers Naudé was gradual.

That process began in 1953, when he was part of a DRCSA delegation studying youth work in Europe, the United States of America, and Canada.  Some of what he witnesses outside his home culture and country affected him to the point of sowing the seeds of doubt regarding the morality of Apartheid.

Later, when Naudé was the acting Moderator of the Transvaal Synod of the DRCSA, some of his ministers came to him with troubling questions.  Some white ministers were serving in Colored (to use the South African term) congregations.  Parishioners were confronting these ministers for supporting Apartheid.  Naudé’s subsequent visits to these congregations shook him as he witnessed the human toll of Apartheid.  Between 1955 and 1957 Naudé undertook a private study of the question of whether the Bible justified Apartheid; he concluded that scripture and Apartheid were opposed to each other.

The last straw for Naudé was the Sharpeville Massacre of May 21, 1960.  On that day agents of the national government shot and killed 69 peaceful, unarmed protesters, most of whom were running away when security forces shot them.  Naudé became an outspoken opponent of Apartheid.

Taking Up His Cross

Congratulations when people hate you, and when they ostracize and denounce you and scorn your name as evil, because of he son of Adam!  Rejoice on that day, and jump for joy!  Just remember, your compensation is great in heaven.  Recall that their ancestors treated the prophets the same way.

–Luke 6::22-23, Annotated Scholars Version (1992)

That was when trouble started for Naudé.  Yes, he continued in parish ministry until 1963 and became the Moderator of the Southern Transvaal Synod in 1961, but our saint was on a collision course with the DRCSA.  In 1963 Naudé became the Director of the Christian Institute of South Africa, an ecumenical and multiracial organization that challenged Apartheid and distributed humanitarian aid.  That year the DRCSA also gave our saint an ultimatum; he had to choose between the Christian Institute and his ministerial function in the denomination.  Naudé chose the former.  The title of his final sermon was “Obedience to God.”  Our saint was, for all intents and purposes, a defrocked man.

Naudé spent most of the next three decades in trouble with South African government.  Security forces raided the offices of the Christian Institute occasionally.  Our saint, allegedly a heretic, as well as a traitor to the Afrikaner cause, opposed violence as a method of political change.  That did not satisfy the hardline government, which, on one occasion, accused him of being a communist.  Naudé was not a communist, but he was a subversive, as he should have been.  He traveled in Europe, speaking against Apartheid and collecting honors.  In October 1977 the South African government banned our saint and the closed the Christian Institute.  Naudé, as a banned person, was under house arrest.  The law also forbade him from speaking to more than one person at a time.  Foreign honors continued.  In the early 1980s the government relaxed the ban somewhat, permitting Naudé to leave his house yet not the magisterial district of Johannesburg.  The ban ended in September 1984.

Naudé was a free man again.  In 1984 He succeeded Desmond Tutu (a man destined for addition to this Ecumenical Calendar eventually) as the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches.  In the early 1990s our saint, without joining the African National Congress (ANC), was the only white member of the ANC team that negotiated with the national government as Apartheid collapsed.

Naudé, marginalized within the DRCSA, had made the emotionally difficult decision to leave it in 1980.  He transferred to the majority-Black Dutch Reformed Church in Africa (DRCA).  The DRCA, by the way merged with the (Colored) Dutch Reformed Mission Church (DRMC) in 1994 to form the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA).

The Hero

Well done, you competent and reliable slave!

–Matthew 25:23a, Annotated Scholars Version (1992)

Naudé, once a pariah, was a hero at the end of his life.  President Nelson Mandela was one of his friends.  Our saint lived long enough to witness his vindication.  He even lived long enough to witness the DRCSA denounce Apartheid and issue a formal apology for having affirmed the execrable institution.

Naudé lived to the age of 89 years.  He, surrounded by his wife and children, died at a retirement home in Johannesburg on September 7, 2004.

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I also composed the collect and chose the passages of scripture.

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Loving God of all nations, races, ethnicities, and cultures,

your command that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves

is as ancient as the Bible and as contemporary as the news.

That command continues to challenge us as we confront our own prejudices

and contend with those of people in power, as well as those around us.

Negative pressure to consent to injustice actively or passively is frequently intimidating.

We thank you for your faithful servant Beyers Naudé, whom you converted,

and who took up his cross and followed Jesus in South Africa,

thereby becoming an agent of transformation of his church, society, and nation-state.

May we follow the divine path of love in our circumstances,

and thereby radiate the light of Christ when and where we are,

regardless of the consequences to ourselves.

We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our crucified and risen Lord and Savior,

in the name of the Father, and in the name of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Amos 1:21-24

Psalm 27

James 1:22-25

Luke 6:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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Feast of William McKane (September 4)   1 comment

Above:  My Copy of McKane’s Proverbs:  A New Approach (1970)

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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WILLIAM MCKANE (FEBRUARY 11, 1921-SEPTEMBER 4, 2004)

Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

William McKane comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Biblical Studies section of my library, which includes his seminal commentary (all 670 pages of it), Proverbs:  A New Approach (1970).

McKane had a passion for excellence in his academic work, on which he labored until one day before his death.  He did not seem destined for that career, though.  Our saint, born in Dundee, Scotland, on February 11, 1921, dropped out of school at the age of 15 years to become a clerk in the firm of H and A Scott, Dundee.  Soon McKane discerned a vocation for ordained ministry, so he attended night school while keeping his day job.  From 1941 to 1945 he served in the Royal Air Force.  Then, in 1946, our saint matriculated at St. Andrews University, St. Andrews.  He, graduating in 1949, became a minister in the Original Secession Church (extant 1822-1956), which merged into The Church of Scotland.  He was, therefore, from 1956, a minister in The Church of Scotland.  McKane, from 1949 to 1953 the pastor at Kilwinning, married Agnes Howie, his wife for the rest of his life, in 1952.  The couple had three sons and two daughters.  He earned his doctorate from Glasgow University in 1956.  The title of the dissertation was “The Old Israelite Community and the Rise of the Monarchy.”

McKane, who had a distinguished academic career, received many honors, none of which I list here, for the sake of brevity.  His career started at Glasgow University, where he was Assistant in Hebrew (1953-1956), Lecturer in Hebrew (1956-1965), and Senior Lecturer in Hebrew (1965-1968).  During those years McKane translated Book 33 of the Revival of the Religious Sciences, by the Medieval Islamic mystic al-Ghazali; Al-Ghazali’s Book of Fear and Hope debuted in 1962.  In the realm of Hebrew Biblical studies our saint published his commentary on I & II Samuel:  Introduction and Commentary (1963), followed by Tracts for the Times:  Ruth, Esther, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (1965).  Also in 1965, McKane published his first major work, Prophets and Wise Men (1965), in which he distinguished between the empiricism of the sages and the intuition of the prophets.

From 1968 to 1990 McKane was Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Languages at St. Andrews University.  He also doubled as the Dean of the Faculty of Divinity (1973-1977) and the Principal of St. Mary’s College (1982-1986).  With Proverbs:  A New Approach (1970) our saint cemented his international academic reputation by helping to restore the study of Biblical wisdom, previously overshadowed by the “salvation history” approach to the theology of the Hebrew Bible.  Other important works were Studies in the Patriarchal Narratives (1979), A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Jeremiah (two tomes, 1986 and 1996), and Selected Christian Hebraists (1988).  McKane also served as a translator of The Revised English Bible (1989), one of my favorite versions.

McKane retired in 1990; he was 69 years old.  Our saint remained active during his final years.  He published A Late Harvest:  Reflections on the Old Testament (1995), a collection of essays.  Micah:  Introduction and Commentary followed three years later.  McKane’s final project was a commentary on the Book of Job; he had written though Chapter 33 on the day before he died. McKane died in St. Andrews on September 4, 2004.  He was 83 years old.

McKane is a worthy addition to my Ecumenical Calendar.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 3, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOANNA, MARY, AND SALOME, WITNESSES TO THE RESURRECTION

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [William McKane 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 Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr. and Jr. (July 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Episcopal Flag

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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DUNCAN MONTGOMERY GRAY, SR. (MAY 5, 1898-JUNE 27, 1966)

father of

DUNCAN MONTGOMERY GRAY, JR. (SEPTEMBER 21, 1926-JULY 15, 2016)

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Episcopal Bishops of Mississippi and Advocates for Civil Rights

Case Studies in the Radicalism of Liturgy

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I have sworn to practice and maintain segregation in the Episcopal Church in Mississippi, and I am not alone….It should be the painful duty of the Right Rev. Duncan M. Gray to publicly rebuke his son, and all other priests in the Diocese of Mississippi preaching integration….Let’s get red-hot on the subject–if the race-mixers don’t resign and leave, I say, throw them out bodily, if necessary.

–White supremacist and (from 1963) murderer Byron de la Beckwith (1920-2001), writing in the Jackson Daily News, 1956; quoted in Taylor Branch, Pillar of Fire:  America in the King Years, 1963-65 (New York:  Simon & Schuster, 1998), 113

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INTRODUCTION

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The Fifth, Seventh, and Ninth Bishops of Mississippi were Duncan Montgomery Gray–Senior, Junior, and III.  Duncan Montgomery Gray, III (Coadjutor, 2000-2003; diocesan, 2003-2015), has gone into retirement.  His grandfather and father have joined the Choir Eternal.  These three bishops’ progressive theologies and social consciences contradicted political and social norms in a state so reactionary that it operated the notorious State Sovereignty Commission (1956-1977) and, for a time, banned broadcasts of Sesame Street (1969-), due to the racially integrated cast.

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TWO DUNCANS

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Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr., born on May 5, 1898, in Meridian, Mississippi, was an integrationist.  He, a deacon in 1925 and a priest the following year, served in Canton, Lexington, Columbus, Macon, and Greenwood before becoming the Bishop of Mississippi in 1943.  He, elected on January 19, 1943, served from May 12 of that year to June 27, 1966, when he died.

His eventual successor was a son, Duncan Montgomery Gray, Jr., born in Canton, Mississippi, on September 21, 1926, to Isabel McCrady Gray (1902-1966).  After graduating from high school in 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy.  The Navy sent Gray, Jr., to Tulane University, where, in 1948, he graduated with his Bachelor of Electronic Engineering degree.  Also in 1948, he married Ruth Spivey (d. 2011), of Canton; they had four children.  Gray, Jr., worked for the Westinghouse Corporation for a few years.  He did well there, but discerned a call to the priesthood.  After graduating from the School of Theology at the The University of the South in 1953 Gray, Jr., joined the ranks of priests; his father ordained him.  For the next 21 years Gray, Jr., served as a parish priest.  He was, for example, the Rector of St. Peter’s Church, Oxford, from 1957 to 1965, and for a time chaplain to Episcopal students at The University of Mississippi (“Ole Miss”).

The apples did not fall far from the trees.  Fortunately, the Grays were good trees.  Bishop Gray, Sr., built up diocesan institutions, founding Rose Hill, the camp and conference center.  (Rose Hill has become the Duncan M. Gray Center.)  In 1954, after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, Gray, Jr., with his father’s support, helped to prepare a diocesan report that condemned racism as sinful.  In 1959 Gray, Sr., made history by integrating St. Andrew’s School, Jackson.  This was the first voluntary school integration in the state.

The integration (1962) of The University of Mississippi was, by necessity, forced.  In September 1962, as violence erupted in Oxford, Gray, Jr., tried in vain to persuade segregationist protesters to choose nonviolence; some of them beat him instead.  On September 30 he reflected:

For these are times which not only try men’s souls, but also infect and poison them.  The seeds of anger and hatred, bitterness and prejudice, are already widely sown, and as Christians, we need to do our utmost to uproot and cast them out.

That work of reconciliation defined the ministry of Gray, Jr.  As the Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Meridian (1965-1974), he helped to rebuild African-American churches Klansmen had firebombed.  Gray, Jr., also served on several civil rights boards, such as the Mississippi Council on Human Relations (1963-1967) and the Mississippi Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1967-1973).

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BISHOP GRAY, JR.

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When 1974 dawned Gray, Jr., was the Vice President of the Executive Committee and the Chairman of the Commission on Ministry of the Diocese of Mississippi.  Before the year ended he was the Bishop of Mississippi.  For 19 years Gray, Jr., shepherded the diocese faithfully.  He also supported the revision of The Book of Common Prayer and the ordination of women as priests and bishops.  Will Campbell (1924-2013), the bishop’s biographer, explained our saint’s support for civil rights and other forms of social justice by citing “the radicalism of liturgy.”  Gray, Jr., from 1991 to 1997 the Chancellor of The University of the South, retired as Bishop of Mississippi in 1993.  Later he served as the Interim Dean of the School of Theology.

Gray, Jr., aged 89 years, on July 15, 2016, in Jackson, Mississippi.

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CONCLUSION

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I have little doubt that, in time, The Episcopal Church will add one or both of these bishops to its calendar of saints.  The institutional church must take its time; I respect that.  However, I need to take no more time than I have taken already.  I, having previously created a stand-alone Feast of Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr., years ago, then having scrapped it recently as part of the renovation of this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, transfer that feast to July 15 and add his now-deceased son to it.

I also wish Bishop Duncan Montgomery Gray, III, longevity and excellent health as I announce my (hopefully long-term) plans to add him to this commemoration one day.

On a personal note, I have long taken the naming of cats, noble creatures, seriously.  One of the cats who enriched my life for a few years was a gray tabby with some Maine Coon contributions to his DNA.  This pacific vehicle of grace bore the name Duncan Gray, named in honor of the three Bishops Gray.  Never have I given a feline a more honorable and noble name.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MALTBIE DAVENPORT BABCOCK, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN I, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATOR AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT STANISLAW KUBSKI, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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

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

Help us, like your servants Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr., and Duncan Montgomery Gray, Jr.,

to work for justice among people and nations,

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

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Gerald and Betty Ford (July 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford at the Republican National Convention, 1976

Photographer = John T. Bledsoe

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-08487

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GERALD RUDOLPH FORD, JR. (JULY 14, 1913-DECEMBER 26, 2006)

President of the United States of America and Agent of National Healing

husband of

ELIZABETH ANN BLOOMER WARREN FORD (APRIL 8, 1918-JULY 8, 2011)

First Lady of the United States of America and Advocate for Social Justice

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The long national nightmare is over.  Our Constitution works.

–President Gerald Ford, August 9, 1974

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INTRODUCTION

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With this post I merge two feasts.  Doing so is consistent with one of my purposes in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  That goal is to emphasize relationships and influences.

The Fords were decent people who did much to leave the United States of America better than they found the country.  They were what the U.S.A. needed immediately after the presidency of Richard Nixon.

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GERALD, NÉ LESLIE

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Leslie Lynch King, Jr., entered the world at Omaha, Nebraska, on July 14, 1913, as his parents’ marriage was crumbling.  When Leslie, Jr., was two weeks old his mother and father separated; they divorced before the end of the calendar year.  Dorothy Ayer Gardner King and her young son moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to be close to her parents.  On February 1, 1916, Dorothy married paint salesman Gerald R. Ford.  Leslie, Jr., informally Gerald, Jr., for a long time, legally became Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr., on December 3, 1935.  In the meantime he had worked in the paint store, become an Eagle Scout, and been a fine student and athlete in public schools then at the University of Michigan (1931-1935).

Ford rejected opportunities to become a professional football player, opting instead to coach boxing and varsity football.  His busy work schedule delayed his admission to Yale Law School until 1938.  While at Yale Ford found time to work on the presidential campaign of Republican nominee Wendell Willkie in 1940.  Our saint, who graduated from Yale Law School in 1941, practiced law in Grand Rapids, where he also taught business law and worked as a football line coach at the University of Michigan.

Ford served in the military during World War II.  In April 1942 he became an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve.  After teaching physical fitness at the pre-flight school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Ford transferred to the U.S.S. Monterey in 1943.  He served in the Pacific Theater and nearly died.  Lieutenant Commander Ford received an Honorable Discharge in February 1946.

Ford returned to Grand Rapids, where he resumed the practice of law.  Politics beckoned, however.  So did love.

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GERALD AND BETTY

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Elizabeth Ann Bloomer, born at Chicago, Illinois, on April 8, 1918, was also contributing to society.  She grew up in Grand Rapids, where her father, Stephenson Bloomer, had died when she was 16 years old.  Betty graduated from high school, taught dancing to children, worked with troubled children, studied dancing under Martha Graham, and worked as a fashion consultant in a department store.  Betty also married William C. Warren, an insurance agent, in 1942.  Unfortunately, he was also an alcoholic and a cruel man.  That marriage ended in divorce in 1947.

Gerald and Betty married at Grace Episcopal Church, Grand Rapids, in 1948.  They remained husband and wife until Gerald’s death in 2006.  The couple had four children from 1950 to 1957.

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CONGRESSMAN FORD

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Isolationism in foreign policy was a Republican tradition, one Senators Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr., and Robert A. Taft practiced.  There was also an internationalist wing of the Republican Party, however.  In 1948 the U.S. Representative for the district containing Grand Rapids was Bartel Jonkman, an isolationist Republican.  Ford, whom World War II had transformed into an internationalist, successfully challenged Jonkman and won the general election in the fall.

Ford, whose ambition was to become the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, remained in the U.S. House until December 1973–for a total of twenty-four years, eleven months, and three days.  He, a member of the Appropriations Committee for most of that time, was a much-respected and well-liked member of that chamber.  Ford described himself as

a moderate in domestic affairs, an internationalist in foreign affairs, and a conservative in fiscal policy.

Perhaps Ford went overboard with his fiscal conservatism.  (A good idea, taken too far, becomes a bad idea.)  One biographer, looking back on Ford’s presidency, described him as the kind of man who would help a poor child individually then veto a school lunch bill.  Nevertheless, Ford was always a decent, compassionate man.  Our saint, who served on the Warren Commission, became the Minority Leader in 1965, opposed much of the domestic program of the Johnson Administration, and was skeptical of President Lyndon Baines Johnson‘s military escalation in Vietnam.

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VICE PRESIDENT FORD

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In October 1973 Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, guilty of illegal perfidy, resigned as part of a deal with Attorney General Elliot Richardson.  Meanwhile, the Watergate scandal, of President Richard Nixon‘s creation, was rapidly consuming his administration.  Nixon, under the terms of Amendment XXV (1967) of the Constitution, nominated the respected and popular Ford to fill the vacancy Agnew had created.  Many of those in Congress who voted to confirm Ford as Vice President knew they were also selecting the next President of the United States.

Ford was Vice President of the United States from December 6, 1973, to August 9, 1974–nine months and three days.  At first Ford was skeptical of the allegations against Nixon, his old friend.  Yet, as evidence piled high, Ford became skeptical of Nixon then turned against him.  On August 6, 1974, at a Cabinet meeting, Nixon said he would not resign, despite the certainty of imminent impeachment in the House of Representatives and the long odds of avoiding conviction and removal from office in the trial in the Senate.  After that meeting Ford told Nixon,

I can no longer defend you.

Two days later, when Nixon, for his own reasons, announced his resignation, he regretted having appointed Ford to the Vice Presidency.

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PRESIDENT FORD

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On the morning of August 9, 1974, Nixon said farewell to the White House staff and left Washington, D.C.  If he had not resigned, his fate would have been conviction and removal from office in the Senate trial; the margin would have exceeded the Constitutional minimum of two-thirds.  At Noon, at the White House, Chief Justice Warren Burger administered the oath of office to Ford.

Ford was the President of the United States from August 9, 1974, to January 20, 1977–two years, four months, and eleven days.  Perhaps he was in an impossible predicament, given the widespread distrust of the presidency and of Washington officialdom due to the combination of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal.  Two successive Presidents from different parties had self-destructed politically.  Both had lied to the public.  One had committed criminal acts.  Meanwhile, a Vice President had also committed criminal deeds and had to resign.  The country needed a decent, honest man as the President of the United States more than ever.

Ford and his appointed Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller, were Republicans of a sort that was becoming endangered; they were fighting an uphill battle against the more conservative Goldwater wing of the party.  (For that matter, Senator Barry Goldwater, a libertarian, Western Republican, found himself outflanked by social conservatives in the party during the Reagan Administration (1981-1989).  Some of his libertarian views made him too liberal for certain social conservatives in the mold of the Moral Majority.)  Ford was too liberal for many Republicans and too conservative for many Democrats.  He, with the help of Rockefeller, survived a challenge by Reagan for the Republican presidential nomination in 1976.  At the end of the year Ford narrowly lost the general election to the Democratic nominee, Jimmy Carter, the former Governor of Georgia.  Ford and Carter actually had much in common, in terms of policies.

Ford, as President, struggled with major global issues that affected other world leaders also.  During the Ford Administration South Vietnam collapsed faster than even North Vietnamese generals expected.  Ford was instrumental in the admission of 130,000 South Vietnamese refugees into the United States.  They and their descendants have contributed to American society.  Financial troubles, such as those related to inflation and energy crises, also occurred before and after the Ford Administration and affected the world, from Australia to England.  The Helsinki Accords (1975), which attracted criticism from both Reagan and Carter, proved to be historically important, for they held the Soviet Bloc accountable for violations of human rights.

There was also consistency with the Carter Administration.  Carter, for example, took Ford’s negotiations regarding the Panama Canal to the treaty stage.  Carter also made human rights an emphasis in foreign policy.  Carter Administration diplomacy in the Middle East, culminating in the Camp David Accords (1979), built on diplomacy from the Nixon and Ford Administrations.  Also, Nixon and Ford had done much for diplomacy with the Peoples’ Republic of China.  The Carter Administration opened full diplomatic relations with that country.  Furthermore, Ford had issued an amnesty for Vietnam War-era military deserters and draft dodgers; Carter issued a pardon.

Ford’s pardon of Nixon (September 8, 1974) ensured defeat in the election of 1976.  Ford insisted that the pardon, which carried with its acceptance an admission of guilt, was in the best interests of the country–to help with the healing process.  Vindication of this position came in 2001, when he won the Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

In December 2006, shortly after Ford’s death, biographer Lou Cannon, speaking on National Public Radio, said that our saint

had a practical mind and a noble heart.

Ford applied both of those during his years of public service.  The Nixon Administration had been an imperial presidency.  Ford, in contrast, was an unpretentious, humble man known for his innate decency.

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FIRST LADY

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Betty Ford was controversial.  She, a feminist, supported the Equal Rights Amendment, a position her husband shared.  Unfortunately, that proposed amendment failed to become part of the Constitution.  Betty also held a libertarian (pro-choice) position on abortion and a non-libertarian position on gun control.  Two of her greatest contributions to the country as First Lady pertained to the cancer and mental illness, both of which came with stigmas attached at the time.  (There is still a stigma attached to mental illness.)  Betty shared her diagnosis of breast cancer.  She, like Rosalynn Carter, the next First Lady, spoke out in favor of psychiatric treatment and discouraged stigma related to it.  May we recall that, in 1972, Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern had to drop his first running mate, Senator Thomas Eagleton, from the ticket because Eagleton had once undergone psychiatric treatment.  Furthermore, with regard to cancer, the stigma related to varieties of cancer was a topic in medical dramas of the 1970s.

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AFTER THE WHITE HOUSE YEARS

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The Fords left the White House on the morning of January 20, 1977.  Gerald, nearly Reagan’s running mate in 1980, had not become wealthy in elected and appointed offices.  As a former President of the United States he made real money, giving speeches, writing books, and sitting on corporate boards.  He and Betty also befriended the Carters after the Carter Administration ended.  Ford had both agreed with and criticized Carter from 1976 to 1981, but they found much common ground during the 1981 flight to Egypt, to attend the funeral of Anwar el-Sadat, the assassinated President of Egypt.

Betty, as a former First Lady, continued to help others.  She admitted her alcoholism and entered a treatment program.  Then, in 1982, she founded the Betty Ford Center at Rancho Mirage, California.

Today we know that addiction is a matter of altered brain chemistry.  It is not merely a matter of bad morality and a weak will.  Science argues against old attitudes and stigma in this case.  Nevertheless, old attitudes that disregard the scientific evidence (such as brain scans) persist, so stigmas remain.

Former President Ford remained an honorable man to the end.  He, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999, was a class act.  He advised Bill Clinton to confess during the Lewinsky scandal.  Clinton sought the counsel then declined to heed it, at least when Ford offered it.  In 2001 Ford announced his support for marriage equality for homosexuals, thereby arguing against homophobia.  A few years later he quietly opposed the Second Iraq War during the George W. Bush Administration.  The Republican Party moved past Ford.

The former President died at Rancho Mirage, California, on December 26, 2006.  He was 93 years old.

Betty, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991, lived until the age of 93 years also.  She died at Rancho Mirage on July 8, 2011.

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CONCLUSION

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Mere decency and political civility are virtues that seem to be in short supply in the United States of America in 2018.  The examples of Gerald and Betty Ford remind one of a contentious time when those virtues were more plentiful.  One might legitimately disagree with one or both of them on certain policy issues, but one should acknowledge their great decency and respect their service to the country.  One should join with Jimmy Carter, who at the inauguration in 1977, thanked Gerald Ford for doing much to heal the country.  The wound of Watergate have never healed; they have run that deeply.  The shadow of Watergate, as Bob Woodward has called it, has fallen across all Presidents after Nixon.  The wounds of Watergate have proven too deep for any President or combination of Presidents to heal completely, one should admit.  Yet one should also acknowledge that Ford did his part honestly, humbly, and honorable.

One should also give all due credit to Betty Ford, especially for calling on people to put away harmful stigmas.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 9, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS STEFAN AND KAZIMIERZ GRELEWSKI, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS,  1941 AND 1942

THE FEAST OF DIETRICH BUXTEHUDE, LUTHERAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY DAY AND PETER LAURIN, COFOUNDERS OF THE CATHOLIC WORKER MOVEMENT

THE FEAST OF THOMAS TOKE LYNCH, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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

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

Help us, like your servants Gerald and Betty Ford,

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 Donald Coggan (May 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Canterbury Cathedral, 1910

Image Source = Library of Congress

Publisher and Copyright Holder = Detroit Publishing Company

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a24699

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FREDERICK DONALD COGGAN (OCTOBER 9, 1909-MAY 17, 2000)

Archbishop of Canterbury

Donald Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury and author of more than 20 books, left his mark on The Church of England, his country, and the global church.

Coggan was a priest and an academic.  He, a child of Highgate businessman Cornish Arthur Coggan, entered the world on October 9, 1909.  Our saint, a graduate of St. John’s College, Cambridge, was Assistant Lecturer at Manchester University from 1931 to 1934.  He, ordained to the diaconate in 1934 then the priesthood the following year, served as the Curate of St. Mary’s, Islington, from 1934 to 1937.

Academia beckoned, however.  From 1937 to 1944 Coggan was Professor of New Testament at Wycliffe College, Ontario, Canada.  After that he worked at the London College of Divinity as Principal (1944-1956) and Macneil Professor of Biblical Exegesis (1952-1956).  Coggan also served as the Examining Chaplain to the Bishops of Lincoln (1946-1956), Manchester (1951-1956), Southwark (1954-1956), and Chester (1955-1956), and as Proctor in Convocation of the Diocese of London (1950-1956).

Then Coggan joined the ranks of the bishops.  He, the Bishop of Bradford (1956-1961) then the Archbishop of York (1961-1974), joined other capacities simultaneously.  He was, for example, the following;

  • Select Preacher at Oxford University (1960-1961),
  • Chairman of the Liturgical Commission of The Church of England (1960-1964),
  • Chairman of the College of Preachers (1960-1980),
  • Pro-Chancellor of York University (1962-1974),
  • Pro-Chancellor of Hull University (1968-1974),
  • President of the Society for Old Testament Studies (1967-1968),
  • Prelate of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (1967-1990), and
  • Shaftesbury Lecturer (1973).

In 1974 Coggan became one of the oldest men appointed to the office of Archbishop of Canterbury.  As such he served briefly–not quite six years–the second shortest tenure in modern times.  (William Temple served for the briefest period of time.)  Coggan, an ardent evangelist, was an early supporter of the ordination of women in The Church of England.  He was also an ecumenist.  Our saint made history by attending the consecration of Pope John Paul II in 1978, thereby becoming the first Archbishop of Canterbury to attend a papal consecration in centuries.  Coggan also supported the Council of Christians and Jews.

Coggan remained active after retiring at the age of 70 years, consistent with canons.  In 1980 he became the Baron Coggan of Canterbury and Sissinghurst.  Our saint continued to write.  He also became Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Canterbury, serving until 1988.  Coggan also played a role in the translation of The Revised English Bible (1989), successor of The New English Bible (1961-1970), which he had also helped to translate.

Coggan, aged 90 years, died of natural causes at Winchester, where he had been an assistant bishop, on May 17, 2000.  His wife, Jean Braithwaite Strain Coffin (1909-2005), whom he had married in 1935, and two daughters survived him.

The legacy Coggan left the larger church also survives him, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Donald Coggan 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 the Martyrs of the Sudan (May 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  Map Showing Sudan and South Sudan

Image Source = The World Fact Book, Central Intelligence Agency

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The Episcopal Church added this feast to its calendar at the General Convention of 2009.

The political history of the Sudan has been difficult since independence from the British Empire in 1956.  The vast country with a diverse population was majority Muslim in the north and majority Christian in the south.  Civil War fueled by a number of factors, including authoritarianism and religion, led to the deaths of more than 2,000,000 people from 1983 to 2005.  The conflict also displaced as many as 4,000,000 Christians within the country and made more than another million refugees in neighboring countries.  South Sudan seceded in 2011.  It has not found stability for a set of reasons including its underdeveloped economy (despite its oil wealth) and the civil war of 2013-2015, which formed 2,200,000 people to relocate.

Anglican work in the Sudan started in 1889.  Until 1974 Anglican churches were part of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.  Jurisdiction passed to the Archbishop of Canterbury until 1976, when the Episcopal Church of the Sudan formed.  That province of the Anglican Communion divided in 2017, creating the Episcopal Church of Sudan (in the north) and the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, consistent with the Anglican practice of having national churches.  The new Anglican provinces in the Sudan and South Sudan are actively engaged in the work of peacemaking and of witnessing to Christ in difficult circumstances.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DANIEL C. ROBERTS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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O God, steadfast in the midst of persecution, by your providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church:

As the martyrs of the Sudan refused to abandon Christ even in the face of torture and death,

and so by their sacrifice brought forth a plentiful harvest, may we, too, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ;

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

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9

Psalm 116:10-17

Hebrews 10:32-39

Matthew 24:9-14

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 371

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