Archive for the ‘September 20’ Category

Feast of John Coleridge Patteson and His Companions (September 20)   1 comment

Above:  Map of New Zealand and Melanesia, 1958

Image Scanned and Cropped from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1958)



Anglican Bishop of Melanesia, and Martyr, 1871

worked with


Anglican Priest, and Martyr, 1871

worked with


Anglican Missionary and Martyr, 1871

John Coleridge Patteson, born into a wealthy family in London on April 1, 1827, could have led a comfortable life.  He, educated at Eton and at Oxford University, mastered the Hebrew and Arabic languages.  Our saint, ordained to the Anglican diaconate in 1853 and priesthood the following year,chose to become a missionary to Melanesia.

George Augustus Selwyn (1809-1878) was the Anglican Bishop of New Zealand (1841-1858) then Primate of New Zealand (1858-1868).  He was one of the great missionary bishops in the Anglican Communion.  Patteson arrived in New Zealand and began to work under Selwyn’s jurisdiction in 1855.  Two years later he became the leader of the Melanesian Mission.  Then, on February 24, 1861, Selwyn consecrated Patteson the first Bishop of Melanesia.

Selwyn had created a particular missionary system, which Patteson inherited.  Young men and women from Pacific islands studied at St. John’s School, the Melanesian Mission’s institution in Auckland, New Zealand, for the summer then returned home.  The hope was that they would provide Christian influence in their communities.  Experience proved that it was an ineffective strategy.  As Patteson insisted, missionary work in indigenous languages was necessary.

Above:  Map Showing the Solomon Islands

Stephen Taroniara, born circa 1845, was a native of Makira/San Cristobal, in the Solomon Islands.  In the middle 1850s Selwyn had taken him to St. John’s School, Auckland, numerous summers, encountering Patteson.  Back home on Makira/San Cristobal, Taroniara had married one Sumarua, with whom he had a child, Paraiteku.  When our saint retured to Auckland in 1864, he had to do so without his family, for his wife’s relatives refused to permit her to travel to Auckland.

Above:  Map Showing Norfolk Island

Meanwhile, Patterson was establishing new schools, to share the Gospel with Melanesians.  One of these institutions was on Norfolk Island, starting in 1867.  He sought to educate Melanesian men as priests, with the ultimate goal of having Melanesian bishops.  Taroniara, baptized on July 19, 1868, and confirmed on Easter Day 1869, became the first native of the Solomon Islands to receive the Anglican Eucharist.  He, having lost both his child and first wife, due to his in-laws giving his first wife in marriage to another man, had relocated to Norfolk Island with his second wife, Tori (from Sa’a) and her daughter, Rosa.  At Norfolk Island Taroniara studied for the priesthood, and was due for ordination in late 1871.

Missionaries have frequently defended indigenous people from those with powerful economic incentives to exploit their fellow human beings.  In the middle 1700s, for example, Jesuits in South America risked their lives to protect Indians from slavers.  Many Jesuits died while doing so.  In Melanesia, in the middle and late 1800s, many missionaries put their lives at risk to protect natives from entrepreneurs in Fiji and Australia seeking indentured servants to exploit.  Some of these unscrupulous businessmen used the names of missionaries to lure victims.

On August 25, 1871, Patterson, Taroniara, and a priest, Joseph Atkin, left for a missionary tour.  Atkin, from New Zealand, had been a member of the Melanesian Mission since 1863 and both a priest and a missionary to Makira/San Cristobal since 1869.  The traveling companions were visiting the island of Nakapu (in the Santa Cruz group in the Solomon Islands, when natives attacked them, apparently in retribution for actions of those seeking indentured servants.  Patteson and Taroniara died on September 20, 1871; Atkin died a week later.

The deaths of these missionaries led to constructive actions.  The British Government cracked down on the indentured servant trade.  Also, support for missionary work increased in England.

Also, the Melanesian Mission renamed its headquarters after Taroniara.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia became a province of the Anglican Communion in 1975.

The province, with indigenous leaders, spans Vanuatu (the former New Hebrides), the Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia.  The denomination as nine dioceses.








God of the southern isles and seas, we remember with thanksgiving your servant John Patteson,

whose life was taken by those for whom he would freely have given it;

grant us the same courage in extending your gospel and readiness to share our life with others,

for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.  Amen.


God of the resurrection, blessed are you in John, first bishop to the Melanesians;

for by his willing sacrifice you revealed the people’s cruel suffering,

and their right to hear the Gospel.  Amen.

Hosea 11:1-4

Psalm 16 or 116:1-9

2 Corinthians 4:5-12

Mark 8:31-35

–The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia


Almighty God, you called your faithful servant John Coleridge Patteson

and his companions to be witnesses and martyrs in the islands of Melanesia,

and by their labors and sufferings raised up a people for your own possession:

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon your Church in every land,

that by the service and sacrifice of many,

your holy Name may be glorified and your kingdom enlarged;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Jeremiah 22:1-4

Psalm 118:49-56

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 595



Feast of Henri Nouwen (September 20)   1 comment

Above:  Icon of Henri Nouwen

Image in the Public Domain



Dutch Roman Catholic Priest and Spiritual Writer


We have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God.

–Henri Nouwen


Robert Ellsberg lists Henri Nouwen as the saint for September 20 in All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997).  The date of September 20 works well for Nouwen on this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, for I reserve September 21 for St. Matthew the Apostle.

Much of contemporary spiritual writing has a reputation for shallowness.  This is fair because it is frequently accurate.  This generalization does not apply to the 39 books by Henri Nouwen, however.  I think in particular of The Way of the Heart, with its interpretation of the temptations of Jesus and application of those temptations to contemporary ministry.

Nouwen, born in Nijkerk, The Netherlands, on January 24, 1932, became one of the most influential and popular spiritual writers of the twentieth century.  He discerned his priestly vocation at an early age.  Our saint, ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Utrecht in 1957, studied psychology at the Catholic University of Nijmegan from 1957 to 1964.  Next he studied at the Menninger Clinic, in the United States, in 1964-1966, and became involved in the Civil Rights Movement.

Nouwen was an academic.  He taught at the University of Notre Dame (1966-1968), the Catholic Theological University of Utrecht (1968-1970), and Yale University School (1971-1981).  After spending six months in Bolivia and Peru in 1982-1983, our saint taught at Harvard Divinity School (1983-1985).  Nouwen was spiritually restless, seeking his proper place.  His moves from one teaching position to another indicated this restlessness.

Nouwen also experienced great stress.  He was, by all accounts, a priest who lived according to his wows, including celibacy.  He also had the needs for physical and emotional intimacy all people have.  Our saint struggled with those issues as well as his homosexuality, which he kept secret.  One biographer has suggested that Nouwen made peace with himself toward the end of his life.

Nouwen made a truly disturbing discovery about himself:  In the Parable of the Prodigal Son (perhaps not the best name for the parable, but the traditional one), he was most like the resentful older brother.  This was a spiritual condition he could change, and did address.

Nouwen spent 1986-1996 as the pastor at the Daybreak Community in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The community specialized in serving severely handicapped people.  In addition to his pastoral duties Nouwen was caregiver to Adam, a young man who could do nothing for himself–not even speak or feed himself.  In taking care of Adam our saint learned the meaning of being beloved by God.

Nouwen died of a heart attack on September 21, 1996, when he was in Hilversum, The Netherlands.  He was 64 years old.  He left a fine published legacy, which continues to benefit many people spiritually.





Almighty God, you gave to your servant Henri Nouwen

special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus:

Grant that by this teaching we may know you,

the one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent;

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

Proverbs 3:1-7

Psalm 119:89-96

1 Corinthians 3:5-11

Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 721


Saints’ Days and Holy Days for September   Leave a comment


Image Source = Wilder Kaiser

1 (Dionysius Exiguus, Roman Catholic Monk and Reformer of the Calendar)

  • David Pendleton Oakerhater, Cheyenne Warrior, Chief, and Holy Man, and Episcopal Deacon and Missionary in Oklahoma
  • Fiacre, Roman Catholic Hermit
  • François Mauriac, French Roman Catholic Novelist, Christian Humanist, and Social Critic

2 (F. Crawford Burkitt, Anglican Scholar, Theologian, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator)

  • David Charles, Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Martyrs of New Guinea, 1942 and 1943
  • William of Roskilde, English-Danish Roman Catholic Bishop

3 (Jedediah Weiss, U.S. Moravian Craftsman, Merchant, and Musician)

  • Arthur Carl Lichtenberger, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and Witness for Civil Rights
  • James Bolan Lawrence, Episcopal Priest and Missionary in Southwestern Georgia, U.S.A.
  • Sundar Singh, Indian Christian Evangelist

4 (Paul Jones, Episcopal Bishop of Utah, and Peace Activist; and his colleague, John Nevin Sayre, Episcopal Priest and Peace Activist)

  • E. F. Schumacher, German-British Economist and Social Critic
  • Joseph and Mary Gomer, U.S. United Brethren Missionaries in Sierra Leone
  • William McKane, Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

5 (Carl Johannes Sodergren, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Theologian; and his colleague, Claus August Wendell, Swedish-American Lutheran Minister and Theologian)

  • Athol Hill, Australian Baptist Biblical Scholar and Social Prophet
  • Teresa of Calcutta, Foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity
  • William Morton Reynolds, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Episcopal Priest, Educator, and Hymn Translator

6 (Charles Fox, Anglican Missionary in Melanesia)

  • Aaron Robarts Wolfe, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Allen Crite, Artist
  • William F. Albright and G. Ernest Wright, U.S. Biblical Scholars and Archaeologists

7 (Beyers Naudé, South African Dutch Reformed Minister and Anti-Apartheid Activist)

  • Elie Naud, Huguenot Witness to the Faith
  • Jane Laurie Borthwick and Sarah Borthwick Findlater, Scottish Presbyterian Translators of Hymns
  • John Duckett and Ralph Corby, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs in England, 1644

8 (Nikolai Grundtvig, Danish Lutheran Minister, Bishop, Historian, Philosopher, Poet, Educator, and Hymn Writer)

  • Gottfried Wilhelm Sacer, German Lutheran Attorney and Hymn Writer; and Frances Elizabeth Cox, English Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Shepherd Knapp, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Søren Kierkegaard, Danish Philosopher and Theologian, and Father of Existentialism

9 (Martyrs of Memphis, Tennessee, 1878)

  • Francis Borgia, “Second Founder of the Society of Jesus;” Peter Faber, Apostle of Germany, and Cofounder of the Society of Jesus; Alphonsus Rodriguez, Spanish Jesuit Lay Brother; and Peter Claver, “Apostle to the Negroes”
  • Lynn Harold Hough, U.S. Methodist Minister, Theologian, and Biblical Scholar
  • William Chatterton Dix, English Hymn Writer and Hymn Translator

10 (Alexander Crummell, U.S. African-American Episcopal Priest, Missionary, and Moral Philosopher)

  • Mordecai Johnson, Educator
  • Nemesian of Sigum and His Companions, Roman Catholic Bishops and Martyrs, 257
  • Salvius of Albi, Roman Catholic Bishop

11 (Paphnutius the Great, Roman Catholic Bishop of Upper Thebaid)

  • Anne Houlditch Shepherd, Anglican Novelist and Hymn Writer
  • John Stainer and Walter Galpin Alcock, Anglican Church Organists and Composers
  • Patiens of Lyons, Roman Catholic Archbishop

12 (Frederick J. Murphy, U.S. Roman Catholic Biblical Scholar)

  • Franciscus Ch’oe Kyong-Hwan, Korean Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr, 1839; Lawrence Mary Joseph Imbert, Pierre Philibert Maubant, and Jacques Honoré Chastán, French Roman Catholic Priests, Missionaries to Korea, and Martyrs, 1839; Paul Chong Hasang, Korean Roman Catholic Seminarian and Martyr, 1839; and Cecilia Yu Sosa and Jung Hye, Korean Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1839
  • Kaspar Bienemann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • William Josiah Irons, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator; and his daughter, Genevieve Mary Irons, Roman Catholic Hymn Writer

13 (Peter of Chelcic, Bohemian Hussite Reformer; and Gregory the Patriach, Founder of the Moravian Church)

  • Godfrey Thring, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Jane Crewdson, English Quaker Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Narayan Seshadri of Jalna, Indian Presbyterian Evangelist and “Apostle to the Mangs”


15 (Martyrs of Birmingham, Alabama, September 15, 1963)

  • Charles Edward Oakley, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • James Chisholm, Episcopal Priest
  • Philibert and Aicardus of Jumieges, Roman Catholic Abbots

16 (Cyprian of Carthage, Bishop and Martyr, 258; and Cornelius, Lucius I, and Stephen I, Bishops of Rome)

  • George Henry Trabert, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Missionary, and Hymn Translator and Author
  • James Francis Carney, U.S.-Honduran Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, Revolutionary, and Martyr, 1983
  • Martin Behm, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

17 (Jutta of Disibodenberg, Roman Catholic Abbess; and her student, Hildegard of Bingen, Roman Catholic Abbess and Composer)

  • Gerard Moultrie, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns
  • Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Warsaw, Titutlar Bishop of Tarsus, and Founder of Recovery for the Poor and the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary
  • Zygmunt Sajna, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1940

18 (Dag Hammarskjöld, Secretary-General of the United Nations)

  • Edward Bouverie Pusey, Anglican Priest
  • Henry Lascelles Jenner, Anglican Bishop of Dunedin, New Zealand
  • John Campbell Shairp, Scottish Poet and Educator

19 (Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury)

  • Emily de Rodat, Founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Villefranche
  • Walter Chalmers Smith, Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • William Dalrymple Maclagan, Archbishop of York and Hymn Writer

20 (Henri Nouwen, Dutch Roman Catholic Priest and Spiritual Writer)

  • John Coleridge Patteson, Anglican Bishop of Melanesia, and His Companions, Martyrs, 1871
  • Marie Therese of Saint Joseph, Foundress of the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus
  • Nelson Wesley Trout, First African-American U.S. Lutheran Bishop


22 (Philander Chase, Episcopal Bishop of Ohio, and of Illinois; and Presiding Bishop)

  • C. H. Dodd, Welsh Congregationalist Minister, Theologian, and Biblical Scholar
  • Charlotte Elliott, Julia Anne Elliott, and Emily Elliott, Anglican Hymn Writers
  • Justus Falckner, Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer

23 (Amos Niven Wilder, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Poet, Literary Critic, and Biblical Scholar)

  • Bernhard W. Anderson, U.S. United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Elizabeth Kenny, Australian Nurse and Medical Pioneer
  • Francisco de Paula Victor, Brazilian Roman Catholic Priest

24 (Anna Ellison Butler Alexander, African-American Episcopal Deaconess in Georgia, and Educator)

  • Henry Hart Milman, Anglican Dean, Translator, Historian, Theologian, and Hymn Writer
  • Juvenal of Alaska, Russian Orthodox Martyr in Alaska, and First Orthodox Martyr in the Americas, 1796
  • Peter the Aleut, Russian Orthodox Martyr in San Francisco, 1815

25 (Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany, African-American Educator; her sister, Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany, African-American Dentist; and their brother, Hubert Thomas Delany, African-American Attorney, Judge, and Civil Rights Activist)

  • Euphrosyne and her father, Paphnutius of Alexandria, Monks
  • Herman of Reichenau, Roman Catholic Monk, Liturgist, Poet, and Scholar
  • Sergius of Radonezh, Abbot of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Sergiyev Posad, Russia

26 (Paul VI, Bishop of Rome)

  • Frederick William Faber, English Roman Catholic Hymn Writer
  • John Bright, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • John Byrom, Anglican then Quaker Poet and Hymn Writer

27 (Francis de Sales, Roman Catholic Bishop of Geneva; Vincent de Paul, “The Apostle of Charity;’ Louise de Marillac, Cofounder of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul; and Charles Fuge Lowder, Founder of the Society of the Holy Cross)

  • Eliza Scudder, U.S. Unitarian then Episcopalian Hymn Writer
  • Martyrs of Melanesia, 1864-2003

28 (Jehu Jones, Jr., African-American Lutheran Minister)

  • Joseph Hoskins, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Lorenzo Ruiz, Roman Catholic Martyr

29 (Mary Ramabai, Prophetic Witness and Evangelist in India)

  • Francis Turner Palgrave, Anglican Poet, Art Critic, and Hymn Writer

30 (Honorius, Archbishop of Canterbury)


  • Labor Day


Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.

Feast of Nelson Wesley Trout (September 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  Logo of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America



First African-American U.S. Lutheran Bishop

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America celebrates the life of Bishop Nelson Wesley Trout on September 20.

Trout was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1921.  He attended and graduated from Capital University and Trinity Lutheran Seminary, both in Columbus.  Also, Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa, bestowed upon Trout the Doctor of Divinity degree.  Trout pastored congregations in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Montgomery, Alabama, and Los Angeles, California.

Taylor Branch wrote of Trout in Parting the Waters:  America in the King Years, 1954-1963 (1988), the first volume in his America in the King Years trilogy.  (Volumes Two and Three are Pillar of Fire and At Canaan’s Edge, completing the exodus metaphor.)  Trout left Montgomery in 1955, but not before he befriended Martin Luther King, Jr.  Trinity Lutheran Church, Montgomery, was a small congregation with an attached private school funded as a mission by the World Lutheran Council.  This school provided a fine and much sought-after education for Montgomery African-American children, even though many of their parents disliked the high Lutheran liturgy.  Trout and King kidded each other.  Trout asked King how he got the name “Martin Luther.”  King replied by asking Trout how he had become a Lutheran.  Trout joked that competition among Baptist preachers was rough, and that the Lutherans were begging for Negroes (to use the word common at the time).

Trout served on the staff of the American Lutheran Church (ALC) in the 1960s.  (Two denominations carried the name “American Lutheran Church.”  The first resulted from a 1930 merger and existed for three decades before combining with other Lutheran bodies to create the second American Lutheran Church.  This second organization merged into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1987.)  From 1960 to 1967 Trout was the ALC’s Associate Youth Director, a post he left to become Director of Urban Evangelism (1968-1970).  Trout also served as Executive Director of Lutheran Social Services in Dayton, Ohio, then as a professor and Director of Minority Ministry Studies at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio.  He held that position on June 17, 1983, when the South Pacific District elected him their bishop, making him the first African-American bishop in U.S. Lutheranism.  Trout was 62 years old.

From 1983 to 1987 the Rev. Dr. Nelson Wesley Trout oversaw the South Pacific District, which in 1983 had 144,000 members in 310 congregations in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii, and some Texas counties.  The three-way merger, which formed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1987, entailed the creation of 65 synods, so Trout’s jurisdiction ceased to exist.

(Note:  The practice among those U.S. Lutheran bodies who have the episcopate is to elect bishops to specified terms, with the possibility of re-election.  Yet once a bishop leaves office he or she ceases to be a bishop.)

Trout became the Bishop Emeritus of the new Southwest California Synod, as well as the Director for Mission Theology and Evangelism Training within ELCA’s Division of Outreach.  In 1991 his alma mater, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, established the Nelson W. Trout Lectureship in Preaching.  Trout died at Inglewood, California, on September 20, 1996, survived by his wife and three children.  He was 75 years old.

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

May 16, 2010

(The Seventh Sunday of Easter)


Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church, including your servant Nelson Wesley Trout.  May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith, so that we may serve and confess your name before the world, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

The First Reading:

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

The Response:

Psalm 84

The Second Reading:

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

The Gospel:

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

(The Proper for a Bishop from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 2006, hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)