Archive for the ‘Armin Haeussler’ Tag

Feast of William Cowper (April 26)   2 comments

Above:  William Cowper

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM COWPER (NOVEMBER 15, 1731-APRIL 25, 1800)

Anglican Hymn Writer

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Of all the men that I ever heard pray, no one equaled Mr. Cowper.

–Andrew Fuller of Olney, England, 1776

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Wiliam Cowper, great English poet and hymn writer, struggled with depression throughout his life.  Our saint, born at Hertfordshire, on November 15, 1731, was the son of John C. Cowper, the Anglican rector there and a chaplain to King George III.  Our saint, attached to his mother, lost her to death when he was six years old.  Young William, a shy boy, suffered due to bullies as he grew up.

Cowper honored his family’s wishes and went into the legal profession.  He became an apprentice at age 18 and studied law at Westminster.  Cowper gained admission to the bar in 1754.  He proposed marriage to cousin Theodora Cowper, but her father prevented the union.  From 1759 to 1763 our saint served as the Commissioner of Bankrupts.  In 1763 Cowper served briefly as the Clerk of Journals for the House of Lords, but could not bear to speak in public.  Our saint’s first attempted suicide ended that job and led to about a year at the asylum at St. Albans.

At this point I step aside from the narrative of Cowper’s life to make some comments.  Sources I have consulted indicate that he, citing his at least two suicide attempts, considered himself damned.  At least, according to my sources, had long periods of time during which he thought he was bound for Hell.  I know that the reason tor this was the traditional heresy that suicide leads to damnation.  Suicide and attempted suicide are difficult topics.  Those acts result from hopelessness.  I do not suffer, as Cowper did, but I do know what it is to be suicidal and to think that going on with life is not a feasible option.  I am grateful that I was able to push through those circumstances.  I also sympathize with Cowper.

Cowper rebuilt his life after his release from the asylum.  The Reverend Morely Unwin and his family took our saint into their household at Huntingdon.  Cowper met John Newton (1725-1807), the Curate of Olney, in 1767 when the famous priest came to express his condolences after Morely had died.  Afterward Mary Unwin (Morely’s widow) and Cowper moved to Olney.  Our saint became Newton’s lay assistant and visited parishioners.  Cowper also contributed 67 texts to Olney Hymns (1779), which he and Newton edited.

Cowper, a skilled writer, created great art out of his distress.  For example, the great hymn “O For a Closer Walk With God” (December 9, 1769), originally six stanzas, came from a time when Mary Unwin, his friend, was critically ill.  At that time Cowper wrote a friend:

Oh for no will but the will of my heavenly Father!…She is the chief of blessings I have met with in my journeys since the Lord was pleased to call me…Her illness has been a sharp trial to me.  Oh, that it may have a sanctified effect, that I may rejoice to surrender up to the Lord my dearest comforts, the moment He may require them….I began to compose the verses yesterday morning before daybreak, but fell asleep at the end of the first two lines; when I waked again, the third and fourth were whispered to my heart in a way which I have often experienced.

–Quoted in Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (St. Louis, MO:  Eden Publishing House, 1952), page 356

Mary recovered and went on to live for many more years.  In 1773 they planned to become husband and wife, but his mental distress ended the engagement.  This prompted Cowper’s second attempt at suicide.  He recovered, took up gardening as a hobby, and began to keep pets.  In 1795 Mary became an invalid.  Cowper served as her caregiver until she died the following year.

Cowper wrote hymns (at least 67 of them), translated works of Homer, and wrote several original volumes.  In 1791 he began to collect an annual pension of 300 pounds.  He remained a withdrawn man, one who required hours of preparation before praying in public.  Perhaps being so withdrawn helped with his writing.

One text, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” (1774), which he wrote a few months after a suicide attempt, has earned a reputation as the greatest hymn on the topic of providence.

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea

And rides upon the storm.

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Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never-failing skill

He treasures up His bright designs,

And works His sovereign will.

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Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy, and shall break

In blessings on your head.

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Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust Him for His grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

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His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour;

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower.

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Blind unbelief is sure to err,

And scan His work in vain;

God is His own interpreter,

And He will make it plain.

–Quoted in The Hymnal (1895), Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

Cowper, who would have benefited from better therapy, had he lived during later times, died on April 25, 1800.  He was 68 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 19, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT POEMEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT JOHN THE DWARF AND ARSENIUS THE GREAT; ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

THE FEAST OF SAINT AMBROSE AUTPERT, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN PLESSINGTON, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

William Cowper and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Johann Cruger (April 8)   Leave a comment

 

Above:  Johann Cruger

Image in the Public Domain

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As a writer and editor of tunes this distinguished musician occupies a special niche in the hymnic hall of fame.

–Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952)

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Johann Cruger ranks among the greatest composers in the Lutheran Church.  He, born at Gross-Breesen, Brandenburg, on April 9, 1598, studied at Guben, Sorau, and Breslau before studying at the Jesuit school at Olmutz then the Poets’ School at Regensburg.  At Regensburg Cruer studied music under Paul Homberber, who had been a student of Giovanni Gabrieli.  Next our saint traveled in Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and Moravia before settling in Berlin in 1615.  Then he worked as a private tutor until 1620, when he began to study music and theology at the University of Wittenberg.

Cruger settled at Berlin again in 1622, when he became the cantor (organist and choirmaster) at St. Nicholas Church and a teacher at the Gray Cloister.  Our saint held both posts for the rest of his life–about 40 years.  Cruger composed at least 122 chorale tunes, 18 of which remained in widespread use at the times of the publication of The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) and Lutheran Worship (1982).  In 1657 Paul Gerhardt became the deacon at St. Nicholas Church.  They became friends and Cruger set 21 texts by Gerhardt to music.

Cruger edited and published five important volumes:

  1. Neues vollkommliches Gesangbuch (1640), with 161 hymns;
  2. Praxis Pietatis Melica (first edition, 1644; forty-fourth edition, 1736); the twenty-third edition (1688) included 1114 hymns; the forty-third edition had 1316 hymns;
  3. Geistliche Kirchenmelodien (1649), with 161 hymns;
  4. Geistliche Lieder und Psalmen (1653), with 92 tunes and no texts; and
  5. Psalmodia Sacra (1657), with 319 texts; intended for Huguenot immigrants.

Cruger died at Berlin on February 23, 1662.  He was 63 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 16, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADALBALD OF OSTEVANT, SAINT RICTRUDIS OF MARCHIENNES, AND THEIR RELATIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM KIDUNAIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT, AND SAINT MARY OF EDESSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ANCHORESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CACCIAFRONTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MEGINGAUD OF WURZGURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND ABBOT

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Johann Cruger)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Reginald Heber (April 3)   1 comment

(c) British Library; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) British Library; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Above:  Reginald Heber

Image in the Public Domain

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REGINALD HEBER (APRIL 21, 1783-APRIL 3, 1826)

Anglican Bishop of Calcutta and Hymn Writer

The feast day of Reginald Heber in the Church of North India is April 3.  The Book of Worship of the Church of North India (1995) lists his citation as “Reginald Heber (1826):  Bishop, Evangelist.”

Reginald Heber came from an old and prominent Yorkshire family and became a great poet.  He, born at Malpas, Cheshire, England, on April 21, 1783, was a son of Reginald Heber (Sr., I guess), the Anglican Rector of Hodnet.  (Aside:  Would using suffixes, such as “Sr.,” “Jr.,” and “III” have been so difficult?)  Young Reginald Heber received a fine education, which he used.  At the age of seven years he translated Phaedrus, a Socratic dialogue, into English.  Later, at Brasenose College, Oxford, our saint won the prize for the best Latin poem and won the Newdigate Prize for the poem Palestine.  Heber, a Fellow of All Souls College, toured Europe with a friend in 1806.

Then Heber became an Anglican priest.  In 1807 he took Holy Orders.  From 1807 to 1823 served as the Rector of Hodnet.  Along the way he did the following:

  1. He married Amelia Shipley (in 1809) and had to children with her.
  2. He began to publish hymns keyed to the church year in the Christian Observer (in 1811 forward) and worked on Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Church Service of the Year, completed by Amelia and published in 1827.  Heber contributed 57 of the 98 hymns.
  3. He became the Prebendary of St. Asaph (1812).
  4. He delivered the Bampton Lectures in 1815.  His topic was The Personality and Office of the Comforter.
  5. He became the Preacher at Lincoln’s Inn, London (1822).

Heber was a liturgical pioneer.  At the time proper Anglicans sang metrical Psalms and dissenters from the Established Church sang hymns.  Our saint, however, embraced the singing of hymns and set out to write texts that would stand the test of time.  Three ideas guided him as he composed hymn texts:

  1. The hymn must be part of the liturgy of the Church and must therefore adapt itself to the Church calendar.
  2. The hymn should come after the Nicene Creed and complement the message of the sermon.
  3. It should be a literary masterpiece.

–Quoted in Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952), page 713

I have added 12 of Heber’s texts addressed to God at my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  One might already know “Holy, Holy, Holy!  Lord God Almighty!,” a hymn for Trinity Sunday, but one might not be familiar with the splendid “When Spring Unlocks the Flowers.”  Unfortunately, many of Heber’s hymns have fallen out of use; I had to find most of those 12 hymns in old hymnals, some of them about a century old.

Heber’s final title was Bishop of Calcutta (1823-1826).  He had a challenging task, for he was the missionary bishop of all of British India.  Our saint worked hard until he died of apoplexy on April 3, 1826, 18 days short of his forty-third birthday.

Heber has not failed to attract criticism post-mortem.  Many of those negative words have been due to a particular hymn, dated 1819:

From Greenland’s icy mountains,

From India’s coral strand,

Where Afric’s sunny fountains

Roll down their golden sand,

From many an ancient river,

From many a palmy plain,

They call us to deliver

Their land from error’s chain.

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What though the spicy breezes

Blow soft o’er Ceylon’s isle;

Though every prospect pleases,

And only man is vile:

In vain with lavish kindness

The gifts of God are strown;

The heathen in his blindness

Bows down to wood and stone.

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Can we, whose souls are lighted

With wisdom from on high,

Can we to men benighted

The lamp of life deny?

Salvation! O salvation!

The joyful sound proclaim,

Till each remotest nation

Has learned Messiah’s Name.

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Waft, waft, ye winds, his story,

And you, ye waters, roll,

Till like a sea of glory

It spreads from pole to pole;

Till o’er our ransomed nature

The Lamb for sinners slain,

Redeemer, King, Creator,

In bliss returns to reign.

This hymn has long been a lightning rod for a variety of constituencies.  “And only man is vile” (from the second stanza), a reference to Original Sin, has offended non-Christians and some Christians alike.  Also, the end of the second stanza, with its imagery of heathens bowing down to wood and stone has offended many.  These criticisms have really been about allegations of imperialism and ethnocentrism.  As I learned in Anthropology 101 many moons ago, both cultural relativism and ethnocentrism are fallacies.  I would be surprised if Heber were free of any degree of ethnocentrism, but I have also detected cultural relativism in criticisms of the hymn.

This hymn has fallen out of favor in modern hymnody.  It has, of course, fallen into disuse in mainline churches, as measured by denominational hymnals.  The hymn has also fallen out of favor in more conservative denominations, as measured by their hymnals.  I, as a collector of hymnals, have consulted my library and found that, in the current generation of conservative Protestant denominational hymnals, the following volumes, successors to volumes that included this hymn, “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains” is absent:

  1. Baptist Hymnal (2008),
  2. The Covenant Hymnal:  A Worshipbook (1996),
  3. Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996),
  4. Lift Up Your Hearts:  Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (2013),
  5. Lutheran Service Book (2006), and
  6. Trinity Hymnal–Revised Edition (1990).

Furthermore, the official list of hymns for the Trinity Psalter Hymnal (scheduled for publication in late 2017), successor to the Trinity Hymnal–Revised Edition (1990), does not include “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains.”  Nevertheless, the Ambassador Hymnal for Lutheran Worship (1994) does.

More people should lighten up.

Heber could have led a life of relative ease at Hodnet, but he accepted the challenge to become a missionary bishop.  He spent his life glorifying God and left a legacy in souls and in theologically dense and well-composed hymn texts.  He was certainly worthy of recognition as a saint.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHIAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Reginald Heber and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of James Drummond Burns (February 19)   1 comment

burns_jd2

Above:  James Drummond Burns

Image Source = hymntime.com

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JAMES DRUMMOND BURNS (FEBRUARY 18, 1823-NOVEMBER 17, 1864)

Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

James Drummond Burns lived for fewer than 42 years, but he made them count for God.  Our saint, born at Edinburgh, Scotland, on February 18, 1823, studied at Edinburgh.  He was a theology student in 1843, the year of the Disruption in The Church of Scotland. Burns left The Church of Scotland for the new Free Church of Scotland.  Two years later he became the Free Church minister at Dunblane.  In 1847, however, bad health (specifically, pulmonary problems) forced him to leave.  Our saint began to serve at Funchal, Madera.  His health improved to the point that, in 1855, he was able to transfer to the new Presbyterian Church of England congregation in Hampstead, in the metropolitan London area.  This was his final pastorate.  In 1863 our saint’s health took a last turn for the worse; he contracted a cold that caused more lung-related problems for him.  Burns died at Mentone, France, where he was attempting to recover his health.  He was 41 years old.

Burns, known for

his fine personality, attractive voice, and big heart

–Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952), page 574,

left a written legacy, which included original hymns and 39 translations of hymns from German.  He also published sermons, wrote the article of hymns for the eighth edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica, as well as two volumes of poetry (The Vision of Prophecy and Other Poems, 1854; and The Heavenly Jerusalem, or Glimpses Within the Gates, 1856).

Certainly Burns deserves a place on an official calendar of saints.  That is a matter for others, those in positions of influence in the lives of various denominations, to pursue.  As for me, I do what I can; I add him to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 4, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN OF DAMASCUS AND COSMAS OF MAIUMA, THEOLOGIANS AND HYMNODISTS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CALABRIA, FOUNDER OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE POOR SERVANTS AND THE POOR WOMEN SERVANTS OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH MOHR, AUSTRIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF THOMAS COTTERILL, ENGLISH PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND LITURGIST

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

James Drummond Burns and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Harry Webb Farrington (October 27)   1 comment

farrington_signature

Above:  The Signature of Harry Webb Farrington

Image Source = Ghpierson

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HARRY WEBB FARRINGTON (JULY 14, 1879-OCTOBER 27, 1930)

U.S. Methodist Minister and Hymn Writer

Before I write about Farrington’s life and legacy I choose to focus on a technical matter germane to the preparation of this post.  I have a collection of hymnals and their companion volumes.  I also consult certain hymn websites as well as government records (available online) and newspapers.com, the only website I pay to use.  Some of these sources contradict each other regarding the dates (even the year) and locations of both Farrington’s fateful accident as well as his death.  As a matter of principle I am tolerant of a range of opinions yet insist that objective reality is fixed.  In other words, Farrington died at a place on a given date; this is not a subjective matter.  Information regarding that question is either accurate or inaccurate.  Some say he died on October 25; others on October 27.  Certain sources indicate that Farrington died in 1930, but others place his death in 1931.  I tell you, O reader, that I have researched this matter, weighed sources against each other, and endeavored to write accurately of our saint’s life and legacy.  If I have not succeeded fully, that fact has not resulted from a lack of effort.

Harry Webb Farrington devoted his life to the glory of God and the benefit of others, especially children.  He, born at Nassau, the Bahamas, to William Farrington and Emma Russell Farrington on July 14, 1879, became an orphan while an infant.  Our saint grew up a Methodist in Maryland (starting in Baltimore).  He studied at Darlington Academy, Darlington, and had a conversion experience at the Darlington Methodist Episcopal Church.  Our saint became a Methodist minister, serving in New England starting in 1903.  He continued his studies at Dickinson Seminary, Syracuse University (B.A., 1907).  While there he played basketball and football.  Farrington went on to study at the Boston University School of Theology (S.T.B., 1910) before entering a M.A. program in philosophy and education at Harvard University in 1910.

In 1910, at Harvard, Farrington entered a poem into a Christmas hymn contest at the university.  His submission, “I Know Not How that Bethlehem’s Babe,” was the prize-winning text.  It became a staple of many denominational hymnals in the early and middle twentieth century and was, by 1966, the only one of his 29 hymns still in common use.  The Methodist Hymnal (1935) contained two of Farrington’s hymns, including the text from 1910.  That number decreased to one in The Methodist Hymnal (1966) and none in The United Methodist Hymnal (1989).

I know not how that Bethlehem’s Babe

Could in the Godhead be;

I only know the manger Child

Has brought God’s life to me.

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I know not how that Calvary’s cross

A world from sin could free;

I only know its matchless love

Has brought God’s love to me.

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I know not that Joseph’s tomb

Could solve death’s mystery;

I only know a living Christ,

Our immortality.

Farrington’s other prize-winning hymn was “Dear Lord, Who Sought at Dawn of Day” (1925), for which the Homilietical Review honored him in 1927.

After our saint received his degree from Harvard he taught there for a year then, in 1914, went to work for the Methodist Episcopal Church as a field secretary for the Board of Sunday Schools.  He pioneered weekday religious education for young people in Gary, Indiana, in 1914 and in the City of New York two years later.

Farrington participated in World War I.  He was, in fact, the first American citizen to receive a commission in the French army, in 1918.  For his work, which was directing athletics for the French army, he received a lifelong commission in the 7th and 10th Cuirassiers and the title Marechal des Logis Adjutant au Colonel, equivalent to the rank of major in the U.S. Army.  At the time the only non-Frenchman to hold that rank was the King of Italy.

Farrington, back in the United States in 1919, began the next phase of his life.  He became assistant minister of Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, New York City.  On June 24, 1920, he married Dora Wilhemina Davis, daughter of Methodist missionaries to India.  Both the husband and the wife were 39 years old.  From 1920 to 1923 our saint served as the Director of Education of the Methodist Church Welfare League.  Farrington lectured in New York City schools through 1928 and traveled to lecture in other places about religious education and social ethics also.  Over the years he spoke to more than 2,500,000 young people.

Farrington also published books, including seven volumes of poetry, an autobiography, and profiles of great Americans.  His published works included the following;

  1. Poems from France (1920);
  2. Rough and Brown (1921);
  3. Walls of America; or, The House of Uncle Sam (1925);
  4. Cher Ami (1926); and
  5. Kilts to Togs (1930).

Farrington died in 1930.  On July 2, at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, he fell from a second-story porch and fell 15 feet to a concrete sidewalk when a railing gave way.  This accident paralyzed the 49-year-old minister.  He did, aged 50 years, at the Methodist Episcopal Hospital in Brooklyn on October 27.  His widow published two posthumous volumes (Valleys and Visions and Land of Only If) of his poetry in 1932.

I have found titles of seven of Farrington’s hymns.  Of those I have located the texts of four.  Of those four I have incorporated the text of one into this post and added the texts of three to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  I have yet to find the texts of twenty-five of Farrington’s hymns, including the following:

  1. “Our Father Made the Lovely Earth,”
  2. “The Storm God of Stern Sinai’s Hill,” and
  3. “The World Came to My Home Today.”

Those three hymns were available in hymnals for children, appropriately.

Armin Haeussler described Farrington as

a man of keen intellect, brave heart, high purpose, and profound faith in Christ.

The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952), page 651

That was an accurate assessment.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 15, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONAVENTURE, THEOLOGIAN

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Harry Webb Farrington and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Paul Gerhardt (May 27)   4 comments

Paul Gerhardt

Above:  Paul Gerhardt

Image in the Public Domain

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PAUL GERHARDT (MARCH 12, 1607-MAY 27, 1676)

German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

Paul Gerhardt was a giant among German Lutheran hymn writers.  The author of the article about our saint in the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1968 described him as the greatest German hymn writer.  Armin Haeussler, author of The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952), had a different opinion.  He wrote that Martin Luther was the greatest hymn writer and that Gerhardt was the second best person in the category of German hymn writers.  Haeussler, in so many words, agreed with the evaluation from the Encyclopedia Britannica (1968):

His hymns have deservedly held their place in Protestant worship.

–Volume 10, Page 235

Gerhardt was a native of Grefenhainichen, Saxony, a village between Halle and Wittenberg and near to the latter.  Our saint, born on March 13, 1607, was a son of Christian Gerhardt, mayor of the village.  Christian died while our saint was a minor.  Gerhardt, who studied at Grimma (1622-1627), continued his studies at the University of Wittenberg (1628-1642), where he specialized in theology.  During this time our saint had to contend with negative consequences of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1642).  In April 1642 Gerhardt became tutor to the family of Andreas Berthold, an attorney in Berlin, Prussia.  While in Berlin our saint published his first 18 hymns in the Praxis Pietatis Melica (1648) of Johann Cruger (1582-1662).

In 1651, at the age of 44, Gerhardt became a Lutheran clergyman.  The first congregation he served was at Mittenwald.  Our saint married Anna Maria Berthold, daughter of Andreas Berthold, in 1655.  The couple had 13 children, only one of which (Paul Frederick Gerhardt) survived both parents.  Our saint’s wife died in March 1668.

In 1557 Gerhardt became an assistant minister of St. Nicholas Church, Berlin.  Relations between the Lutheran and Reformed Churches in Prussia were tense and replete with invective.  Frederick William (in office 1640-1688), the “Great Elector,” issued an edict meant to create religious peace in his realm.  He forbade ministers from attacking each other’s doctrines.  The Elector of Prussia, himself of the Reformed camp, required ministers to sign the edict.  Gerhardt, whom certain prominent Reformed Prussians respected, refused to sign, citing freedom of speech.  Thus, early in 1666, Frederick William deposed our saint, who was ill, whose wife was in poor health also, and most of whose remaining children were approaching death’s door.  Petitions prompted the Elector to reinstate Gerhardt in 1667.  He did so, however, on the condition that our saint act as if he had signed the edict.  Gerhardt refused the offer on principle.  Kindly parishioners supported the Gerhardts financially until, in late 1668, our saint was able to return to his post and collect back wages.

Gerhardt became the archdeacon of Lubben in May 1669.  He remained in that post until May 27, 1676, when he died.  Some older sources mistakenly listed his date of death as June 7.  Some online sources, citing and even duplicating them, have repeated that error.

Gerhardt wrote 132 hymns, most of which exist in English-language translations.  (I have added some of them to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.)  His hymns, most of which he based on Biblical texts, marked the transition from objective to subjective language.  Gerhardt wrote hymns for all the major Lutheran feasts, and justification by faith was among his favorite themes.  Among our saint’s most famous hymns was “O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded,” for Good Friday.  He translated it from a Latin text.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 7, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE LAST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT MOSES, APOSTLE TO THE SARACENS

THE FEAST OF SAINT BLAISE OF SEBASTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Paul Gerhardt and others, who have composed and translated hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of William Arthur Dunkerley (November 12)   3 comments

Flag of England

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM ARTHUR DUNKERLEY (NOVEMBER 12, 1852-JANUARY 23, 1941)

British Novelist, Poet, and Hymn Writer

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The name of William Arthur Dunkerley might not be familiar, but his primary nom de plume, John Oxenham, and some of his writings remain famous.  Consider this text, for example, O reader:

In Christ there is no East or West,

In Him no South or North;

But one great fellowship of love

Throughout the whole wide earth.

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In Him shall true hearts everywhere

Their high communion find;

His service is the golden cord

Close binding all mankind.

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Join hands, then, brothers of the faith,

Whate’er your race may be.

Who serves my Father as a son

Is surely kin to me.

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In Christ now meet both East and West,

In Him meet South and North;

All Christly souls are one in Him

Throughout the whole wide earth.

Our saint composed those words as part of the libretto for the Pageant of Darkness and Light, depicting successes in foreign missions, at an exhibit, The Orient in London, in 1908.

Dunkerley, the author for more than sixty books, including novels, religious non-fiction, and collections of verse, entered this world at Manchester, England, on November 22, 1852.  His father operated the family business, a firm specializing in wholesale provisions.  Our saint’s father also served as a deacon and as the Sunday School Superintendent at Charlton Road Congregational Church, Manchester.  Thus Dunkerley learned religion from an early age.

Our saint started writing and learned to love literature at a tender age.  One Sunday School teacher gave a copy to Charles Kingsley’s Westward Ho! (Volume I, 1855, and Volume II) to each student, including Dunkerley.  In Kingsley’s fiction our saint found his main nom de plume, John Oxenham.  Dunkerley, who began to write poetry at age fourteen, attended Trafford School and Victoria University, both at Manchester, before entering the family business, for which he worked from 1871 to 1882.

Dunkerley worked overseas for the family firm for nine years.  First he lived in Rennes, Brittany, France, where he purchased then shipped butter, eggs, and fruit to England.  After a few years our saint married Margery “Madgie” Anderson (died 1925), his pastor’s sister-in-law, in 1877.  The couple, which went on to have six children, relocated to the vicinity of New York City, where he opened a new office for the family firm.  That branch of the business failed, however, due to an employee’s crime of embezzlement.

Dunkerley returned to England and became involved in the press.  He opened the London branch (1882-1890) of the Detroit Free Press and helped to launch periodicals, such as The Idler and Today.  Our saint left Fleet Street in 1897 and focused on writing novels for sixteen years.  From 1913 forward he focused on religious subjects, not that they had been absent from his earlier writing.  As one clergyman wrote Dunkerley,

Forgive me if I say I feel drawn to a man who writes poems and novels that have the fresh air of God blowing all about them–a none too common quality in 20th-century literature.

–Quoted in Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (St. Louis, MO:  Eden Publishing House, 1952), page 834

A partial list of Dunkerley’s books follows:

  1. Rising Fortunes (1899);
  2. God’s Prisoner (1899);
  3. Barbe of Grand Bayou (1903);
  4. Hearts in Exile (1904);
  5. Under the Iron Flail (1905);
  6. A Man of Sark (1907);
  7. The Long Road (1907);
  8. The Song of Hyacinth (1908);
  9. Pearl of Pearl Island (1908);
  10. The Coil of Carne (1911);
  11. Queen of the Guarded Mounts (1912);
  12. Bees in Amber (1913);
  13. Broken Shackles (1915);
  14. “All’s Well!” (1916);
  15. 1914 (1916);
  16. The King’s High Way (1916);
  17. The Vision Splendid (1917);
  18. Inasmuch:  Some Thoughts Concerning the Wreckage of the War (1918);
  19. The Fiery Cross (1918);
  20. Hearts Courageous (1918);
  21. “All Clear!”  A Book of Verse Commemorative of the Great Peace (1919);
  22. Winds of the Dawn (1919);
  23. Gentleman–the King! (1920);
  24. The Wonder of Lourdes; What It Is and What It Means (1924);
  25. Selected Poems (1925);
  26. The Hidden Years (1925);
  27. The Man Who Would Save the World (1927);
  28. God’s Candle (1929);
  29. The Pageant of the King’s Children (with his son Roderick, 1930); and
  30. Christ and the Third Wise Man (1934).

Dunkerley wrote at least nineteen hymns.  Links to three of them follow:

  1. “O God, Within Whose Sight;”
  2. “All Labor Gained New Dignity;” and
  3. “‘Mid the Traffic of All the Ways.”

Dunkerley, moved from Ealing London, to Worthing, Sussex, in 1922.  He served as mayor of Worthing, where he died on January 23, 1941.

Our saint kept his identity a secret from most of his friends.  Some people keep dark and incriminating secrets.  Dunkerley, however, kept a positive one.  He provided a fine justification for that practice with the following words from 1925:

[Christ’s] service is life’s highest joy,

It yields fair fruit a hundred fold,

Be this our prayer–“Not fame, nor gold,

But Thine employ.”

Thus I add William Arthur Dunkerley–Sunday School Teacher, hymn writer, novelist, poet, journalist, father, husband, mayor, supporter of socially progressive causes, and advocate for foreign missions–to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN CAMPBELL SHAIRP, SCOTTISH POET AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF PHILANDER CHASE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS OF VILLANOVA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF VILLANOVA

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring William Arthur Dunkerley

and all who with words have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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