Archive for the ‘Christian Worship: A Hymnal (1941)’ Tag

Feast of Charles Stedman Newhall (April 11)   1 comment

Charles Stedman Newhall

Above:  Part of an Advertisement from The New York Times, Saturday, April 13, 1901, Page 29

Accessed via newspapers.com

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CHARLES STEDMAN NEWHALL (OCTOBER 4, 1842-APRIL 11, 1935)

U.S. Naturalist, Hymn Writer, and Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister

The name of Charles Stedman Newhall is not famous in 2016.  That is unfortunate, for he was a holy man, a knowledgeable naturalist, and a skilled writer.

Our saint was a native of Boston, Massachusetts.  He, born on October 4, 1842, was son of Henry A. Stedman and Sarah Luther Stedman.  He studied at Williston Seminary, Easthampton, Massachusetts.  During the Civil War Newhall served in Company K of the 45th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteers, enlisting on September 30, 1862, and mustering out as a Corporal on July 7, 1863.

Newhall studied at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.  He joined the Psi Upsilon fraternity, won the Athene Prize in 1866 and the Minerology Prize in 1869, served as his class president in 1868 and 1869, and spoke at his commencement (with his A.B. degree) in 1869.

Our saint’s first career was in the ordained ministry.  He studied at Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York, from 1869 to 1872, graduating with his B.D. degree.  Ordination followed at Oriskany Falls, New York, on December 11, 1872.  There he served as pastor of the Congregational Church until 1874.  From 1874 to 1879 Newhall was the pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Oceanic, New Jersey.  Our saint traveled in the Middle East in 1879 and 1880.  Then he returned to the United States and became pastor of the Congregational Church at Postville, Iowa, serving until 1882.  Congregational pastorates at Tipton, Iowa (1882-1884), and Plainfield, New Jersey (1884-1885), followed.  From 1885 to 1898 Newhall was a Presbyterian minister, starting at Keeseville, New York.

[Aside:  I located Newhall’s ministerial record from December 1872 to March 1888 in The Tenth General Catalogue of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity (1888), available via Google Books.  I also found Newhall’s name in records of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. into the early twentieth century.  I have not, however, been able to reconstruct his ministerial record from 1888 to 1898.]

From 1898 to 1905 our saint worked for the United States Forestry Service in California.  This made sense, for he had, during his time as a pastor, established himself as an expert on plant life in the Northeast.  He published works in that area of study were:

  1. The Trees of Northeastern America (1890);
  2. The Leaf Collector’s Handbook and Herbarium:  An Aid in the Preservation and in the Classification of Specimen Leaves of the Trees of Northeastern America (1891);
  3. The Shrubs of Northeastern America (1893); and
  4. The Vines of Northeastern America; Fully Illustrated from Original Sketches (1897).

Newhall retired from the Forestry Service in 1905 and spent his final decades in Berkeley, California, where he died on April 11, 1935, aged 92 years.

Our saint also wrote for young people.  Those volumes were:

  1. Joe and the Howards, Armed with Eyes (1869);
  2. Boy in Palestine (year unknown);
  3. Harry’s Trip to the Orient (1885, American Tract Society); and
  4. Ruthie’s Story (1888, Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.), the story of Jesus told by one child to other children.

Newhall was a family man.  In 1881 he married Catherine A. “Kittie” Harvey, about 20 years his junior, of Oceanic, New Jersey.  They remained married for about 54 years, until he died.  The couple had three children:

  1. Charles A. (born circa 1882),
  2. Luther N. (born in 1884 or 1885), and
  3. Katherine (born in 1886 or 1887).

Newhall came to my attention via a hymn, “O Jesus, Master, When Today,” which he wrote in 1913 and published in the January 3, 1914, issue of The Survey then in Social Hymns of Brotherhood and Aspiration (1914).  I found a three-stanza version in The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935), but located the complete four-stanza version in Christian Worship:  A Hymnal (1941) and Baptist Hymnal (1956).  Collecting old hymnals has proven to be a rewarding hobby.

The text of that hymn, which has, unfortunately fallen out of favor with hymnal committees in recent decades, indicates that Newhall had internalized the Biblical defense of human dependence upon God.  It is an ethos societies need to have in greater quantity.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BENEDICT BISCOP, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT OF WEARMOUTH

THE FEAST OF SAINT AELRED OF HEXHAM, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT OF RIEVAULX

THE FEAST OF HENRY ALFORD, DEAN OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL PREISWERK, SWISS REFORMED MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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God of grace and glory, you create and sustain the universe in majesty and beauty:

we thank you for Charles Stedman Newhall and all in whom you have planted

the desire to know your creation and to explore your work and wisdom.

Lead us, like them, to understand better the wonder and mystery of creation;

through Jesus your eternal Word, through whom all things were created.

Genesis 2:9-20

Psalm 34:8-14

2 Corinthians 13:1-6

John 20:24-27

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 738

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Feast of Anne Steele (November 11)   1 comment

Flag of England

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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ANNE STEELE (MAY 1716-NOVEMBER 11, 1778)

First Important English Female Hymn Writer

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A mother may forgetful be,

For human love is frail;

But thy Creator’s love to thee,

O Zion! cannot fail.

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No! thy dear name engraven stands,

In characters of love,

On thy almighty Father’s hands;

And never shall remove.

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Before His ever watchful eye

Thy mournful state appears,

And every groan, and every sigh,

Divine compassion hears.

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O Zion! learn to doubt no more,

Be every fear suppressed;

Unchanging truth, and love, and power,

Dwell in thy Saviour’s breast.

–Quoted in Henry Ward Beecher, Plymouth Collection of Hymns and Tunes for the Use of Christian Congregations (1855), #915

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Anne Steele (1716-1778) was the first important female hymn writer in England.  In 1808, when Trinity Episcopal Church, Boston, Massachusetts, published its hymnal, 59 of the 141 hymns came from the pen of our saint.  Although Steele was a Baptist, I have found some of her texts most often in hymnbooks of non-Baptist origin.  In fact, I found biographies of her in ten of the twenty-three hymnal companion volumes in my library.  Their affiliations were, in descending order:

  1. Lutheran–3;
  2. Methodist–2;
  3. Seventh-day Adventist–1;
  4. Presbyterian–1;
  5. Evangelical and Reformed–1;
  6. Episcopalian–1;
  7. Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and American Baptist Convention–1.

(The Hymnbook for Christian Worship, 1970, was the official hymnal of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the American Baptist Convention/American Baptist Churches U.S.A.).

Her texts and biography are absent from the Southern Baptist hymnbooks of 1956, 1975, 1991, and 2008.  Furthermore, the theologically more moderate and stylistically more traditional (compared to the Baptist Hymnal of 2008) Celebrating Grace Hymnal (2010) also lacks any texts by Anne Steele.  On the other hand, the New Baptist Hymnal (1926), a joint project of the Northern and Southern Baptist Conventions, contained some Steele hymns, as did its immediate Northern Baptist successor, Christian Worship:  A Hymnal (1941), a project with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  I cannot make any claim as to the presence of Steele hymns in The Broadman Hymnal (1940), the first hymnal to bring some uniformity of hymnody to the Southern Baptist Convention, for the volume lacks an index of authors.

Anne Steele (1716-1778) spent her life in Broughton, Hampshire, England.  Her great-uncle, Henry Steele, served the Baptist church there as a lay pastor.  Her father, William Steele (died in 1769), was a lumber merchant with a considerable financial inheritance who served as a deacon and an occasional preacher in that congregation for thirty years before serving as the unpaid lay pastor there for three decades.

Anne spent most of her life as a frequently bedridden invalid in constant pain.  A hip injury she suffered at age 19 created that reality.  She was engaged to marry at one point, but her intended drowned the day before the scheduled wedding.  Our saint, who never married, assisted her father in his ministry as she was able.  She also devoted herself to literary pursuits, writing 144 hymns, 34 metrical psalms, and 30 poems.  She disliked publicity, so she refused to submit any of her compositions for publication for a long time.  When The Spectator published some of her texts under the name “Steele,” many readers assumed erroneously that the author must have been Sir Richard Steele (1672-1729), a politician, essayist, and playwright.  Poems on Subjects, Chiefly Devotional (1760) rolled off the presses, identifying the author as “Theodosia.”

Our saint died on November 11, 1778.  Her epitaph declared:

Silent the lyre, and dumb the tuneful tongue,

That sung on earth her great Redeemer’s praise;

But now in heaven she joins the angels’ songs,

In more harmonious, more exalted lays.

Posthumous collections of her verse and works about her appeared in 1780, 1808, and 1863.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 22, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RICHARD BIGGS, ACTOR

THE FEAST OF GEORG GOTTFRIED MULLER, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JULIA BULKLEY CADY CORY, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Anne Steele 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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