Archive for the ‘Brick Presbyterian Church New York City’ Tag

Feast of Clarence Dickinson (May 6)   Leave a comment

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Above:  Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York, Circa 1910

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-74646

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CLARENCE DICKINSON (MAY 7, 1873-AUGUST 2, 1969)

U.S. Presbyterian Organist and Composer

Clarence Dickinson (1873-1969), church organist, choirmaster, and (with his wife, Adell) composer was born into a New School Presbyterian family.  Grandfather Baxter Dickinson, a professor at Auburn Seminary then Lane Theological Seminary, wrote the Auburn Declaration in 1837.  That document, in Clarence’s words,

separated the church into the old school and the new school, the conservative and the advanced.

Father William Cowper Dickinson, a Presbyterian minister, played with Harriet Beecher Stowe when he was young.  William, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, Lafayette, Indiana, in 1873, welcomed his son, Clarence, into the world.  Clarence, impressed with church organs since very young age, had only one destiny, for which he was well-suited.  He studied piano and organ as a youth and had become sufficiently advanced by age fifteen to assume the post of university organist at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.  Later he attended Northwestern University, where he chose organ over classical languages.

Clarence’s life from 1892 to 1909 was eventful.  For five years he played the organ at the Church of the Messiah, Chicago, Illinois.  Then, in 1897-1898, he did the same at St. James Episcopal Church in the city.  From 1898 to 1901 our saint studied organ in Berlin (1898-1899) then in Paris (1899-1901).  In Europe he met his future wife, Adell, who earned her doctorate in philosophy from Heidelberg.  They married in 1904 and she collaborated with him creatively, including on his nearly 500 choir anthems.  Clarence led the Aurora Musical Club, Aurora, Illinois, from 1901 to 1906, then organized the fifty-member Musical Arts Society, devoted to performing classic works of church music, in Chicago.

In 1909, after three years with the Musical Arts Society, our saint became the organist and choirmaster at Brick Presbyterian Church, New York, New York, a post he held for more than fifty years.  The Reverend Henry Van Dyke, pastor, once told Clarence,

It hardly seems necessary to preach; the music has said it all.

Our saint also contributed to the larger church.  He founded the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in 1928.  And he served as the Music Editor for The Hymnal (1933), which the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. used for over twenty years.  Dickinson as served as the Music Editor of The Hymnal (1941) for the Evangelical and Reformed Church, a forerunner of the United Church of Christ.

Clarence Dickinson devoted his life to glorifying God via music.  His was a noble legacy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Amended on December 9, 2013 Common Era

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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 Clarence Dickinson and all those who

with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

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

lives and reigns, 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

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

Feast of Julia Bulkley Cady Cory (May 2)   Leave a comment

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Above:  Church of the Covenant, New York, New York

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = HABS NY,31-NEYO,97–1

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JULIA BULKLEY CADY CORY (NOVEMBER 9, 1882-MAY 1, 1963)

U.S. Presbyterian Hymn Writer

Most of the legacy of Julia Bulkley Cady Cory, as I have been able to discover it, rests upon one hymn.  Yet, even with just that text and some information focused mostly on our saint’s early life, we know more about her than we do about many Roman Catholic saints.  She is not on that calendar, of course, for she was a Presbyterian.  But she has earned a space on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Julia was a daughter of J. Cleveland Cory, a leading architect in New York, New York.  He designed the Museum of Natural History, the old Metropolitan Opera House, and the 1871 structure of the Church of the Covenant, which became part of Brick Presbyterian Church in 1893.  The great architect served as Superintendent of Sunday School at Church of the Covenant.

Our saint, educated at the prominent Brearley and Reynolds Schools, grew up in church.  In 1902 J. Archer Gibson, organist at Brick Presbyterian Church, found the words of “We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing,” based on an European text, distasteful.  The standard English-language text, speaking of God smiting the wicked and delivering the oppressed righteous, prompted the organist to ask Julia to write new words to fit the tune, Kremser.  She wrote a new hymn, which debuted at Thanksgiving services at Brick Church and Church of the Covenant that year:

We praise Thee, O God, our Redeemer, Creator,

In grateful devotion our tribute we bring.

We lay it before Thee, we kneel and adore Thee,

We bless Thy holy Name, glad praises we sing.

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We worship Thee, God of our fathers, we bless Thee;

Through life’s storm and tempest our Guide hast Thou been.

When perils o’ertake us, escape Thou wilt make us,

And with Thy help, O Lord, our battles we win.

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With voices united our praises we offer,

To Thee, great Jehovah, glad anthems we raise.

Thy strong arm will guide us, our God is beside us,

To Thee, our great Redeemer, forever be praise.

This hymn’s first publication occurred in Hymns of the Living Church (1910).

Our saint married business man Robert Haskell Cory in 1911.  She raised three sons, was active in the New York Hymn Society, and attended First Presbyterian Church, Englewood, New Jersey.  She, active in community affairs, led a good life devoted to loving God, her family, and her neighbors.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Julia Bulkley Cady Cory 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