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Feast of Samuel Simon Schmucker (February 29)   Leave a comment

Above:  Samuel Simon Schmucker

Image in the Public Domain

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SAMUEL SIMON SCHMUCKER (FEBRUARY 28, 1799-JULY 26, 1873)

U.S. Lutheran Minister, Theologian, and Social Reformer

Samuel Simon Schumucker comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

I recall, while growing up as a good United Methodist boy in rural southern Georgia, hearing people say,

There are Baptists then there are Baptists.

That principle applies to Lutherans, too; degrees of Lutheran confessionalism exist.  If one, for example, labels The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, despite its strong confessionalism and social and theological conservatism, as being too liberal, one has a selection of Lutheran denominations from which to select a church home.

Samuel Simon Schumucker changed throughout his life; he was human, after all.  Lutheranism within the United States of America also changed during his lifetime.  Schmucker effected much of that change, but other change made him, once a prominent leader, an increasingly marginal figure in many quarters.  Yet Schmucker’s legacy has remained relevant within and beyond Lutheranism in North America.

Schmucker came from a devout and large Lutheran family.  He, born in Hagerstown, Maryland, entered the world on February 28, 1779.  Our saint’s mother was Elizabeth Catherine Gross (1771-1820).  His father was the Reverend John George Schmucker (1771-1854), the President of the German Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States (the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, for short) in 1820 and 1821.  Our saint was one of the best-educated young Lutheran ministers in the United States.  He had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton Theological Seminary.  In 1820, when young Schmucker was preparing to assume pastoral duties in New Market, Virginia, he and his father helped to found the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States of America (the General Synod, in short).  The General Synod was the first national confederation of Lutheran synods in the United States.  Schmucker, who grew quickly into a leader of the General Synod, attended every convention through 1870.  At its founding, the General Synod encompassed almost all of the U.S. Lutheran Synods and the vast majority of U.S. Lutherans.  Within a few years, however, doctrinal disputes reduced the membership of the General Synod; the Ministerium of Pennsylvania defected in 1823.  (Then it rejoined in 1853 and departed again in 1867.)  Proposed union with the German Reformed Church caused another controversy in 1830.  Our saint saved the General Synod in 1823 and 1830.  Although some synods left the General Synod, others formed and affiliated with it over the years.

The General Synod was too liberal for many Lutherans in the United States in the 1800s.  This was especially ironic in the 1820s.  Our saint was relatively conservative; he advocated for an increased prominence of the Augsburg Confession (1530) in U.S. Lutheranism.  He also sought to purge all traces of Deism from U.S. Lutheranism.  Schmucker, like many Christians of his time, held an overly strict position on “worldly amusements;” the following entertainments (a few of them actually sinful), among others, were forbidden:

  1. Playing games of chance,
  2. Playing checkers,
  3. Playing chess,
  4. Casting dice,
  5. Playing cards,
  6. Listening to opera,
  7. Attending vocal performances in concert halls,
  8. Using tobacco,
  9. Consuming liquor, and
  10. Wearing fashionable clothing.

If Schmucker was too liberal, what was the standard of conservatism?  Perhaps his position that intellectual rigor was no threat to Christianity marked him as a liberal and an alleged heretic.  As time passed, so did his abolitionism, opposition to the U.S.-Mexican War (1846-1848), and acceptance of Evolution.

Schmucker and his father recognized the need for a Lutheran seminary in the United States.  They helped to found Gettysburg Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in.  Schmucker, Sr., served as a trustee.  Our saint served on the faculty and as the President for nearly four decades.  The seminary gave rise to another institution, Pennsylvania College (now Gettysburg College) in 1832.

Schmucker wrote a textbook, Elements of Popular Theology, with Special Reference to the Doctrines of the Reformation, as Avowed Before the Diet at Augsburg, in MDXXX (1834).  This volume indicated our saint’s concept of orthodox Christianity.  He defined orthodox Christianity according to a common creedal core, which he defined as

fundamental doctrines of Scripture,

while eschewing overly specific creeds and allowing for disagreement in secondary matters.  Parts of some creeds were optional, Schmucker argued.  Orthodox Christianity, according to our saint, was Protestant yet did not include all Protestants.  Roman Catholics, Unitarians, Campbellites, Baptists, and Deists were not orthodox Christians, according to Schmucker.

Schmucker’s critics, starting in the 1830s, in particular, found more and more theological ammunition to use against him.  The General Synod permitted much theological latitude.  Our saint’s Eucharistic and Baptismal theology was closer to that of Calvinism than to that of Lutheranism.  (He did graduate from a Presbyterian seminary.)  He, influenced by the Second Great Awakening, was also a revivalist, to a point.  Puritanism and Pietism were prominent in his theology.  (Pietism had been part of a segment of Lutheran theology for some time by the 1800s.)  Schmucker’s “American Lutheranism” made him open to ecumenical relations with non-Lutherans he defined as orthodox.

This became evident by 1838, when Schmucker proposed church union–confederation, really–on what he called

the apostolic basis.

This plan offered six points of union:

  1. Variety in liturgy, polity, and discipline;
  2. Toleration of theological diversity within the ecclesiastical confederation;
  3. A common creed;
  4. Full communion and open communion within the ecumenical confederation;
  5. Cooperation in matters pertaining to “the common cause of Christianity;” and
  6. The Bible as the main textbook for religious and theological instruction.

Schmucker manifested other evidence of his liberalism as he aged and the General Synod became increasingly confessional and conservative, yet never sufficiently conservative, according to many U.S. Lutherans.  In 1855 our saint worked on the proposed American Rescension of the Augsburg Confession.  The controversial proposal, which most synods of the General Synod refused to accept, deleted the condemnations of non-Lutheran groups, removed mentions of baptismal regeneration, denied Consubstantiation, and argued that the Augsburg Confession (1530) contained errors.

Schmucker was also a liturgist.  He, as the head of the General Synod’s Committee on Liturgy of 1866, in lieu of the Liturgy of 1856.  The Provisional Liturgy of 1866 influenced the Washington Service (1876), which, in turn, presaged the Common Service (1888).  The Liturgy of 1856 was noteworthy for reintroducing The Apostles’ Creed (complete with “the holy Catholic Church”) to corporate worship.  A greater influence on the Common Service was the Reverend Beale Melanchton Schmucker (1827-1888), the more conservative, formalistic, and confessional son of our saint.  Beale, whose liturgical sensibilities were evident in the Ministerium of Pennsylvania’s Liturgy for Use in the Evangelical Lutheran Church (1860) and the General Council’s Church Book for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Congregations (1868), was one of the greatest experts on liturgy and liturgical development.  He was, according to accounts, a walking encyclopedia on the subjects.  He was one of the main reasons the General Council had a stronger liturgical  tradition than the General Synod.

Schmucker lived long enough to witness the General Synod divide twice.  The General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Confederate States of America organized in 1863.  This organization became the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America in 1866 then the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the South in 1876.  Ten years later, with the addition of the Tennessee Synod, the Southern General Synod became the United Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the South.  The General Synod (1820) suffered another schism in 1867, when the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America came into existence.  The merger that created The United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA) in 1918 repaired the schisms of 1863 and 1867.  The General Synod (1820) moved to the right as the General Council moved to the left.  The two confederations moved toward each other.

Schmucker married three times and outlived his first two wives.  He married Eleanora Geiger (1799-1823) in 1821.  Wife number two was Mary Catharine Steenbergen (1808-1848).  Our saint’s third wife was Heisther (Esther), who died in 1882.  Schmucker fathered at least four children.

Schmucker, aged 84 years, died in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 26, 1873.

I, as an Episcopalian, am creedal, not confessional.  I also accept science and oppose all forms of slavery.  Anglican collegiality is one of the defining characteristics of my faith.  Therefore, I find much to admire about Schmucker.  I also recognize points of strong disagreement with him.  Yet, whenever I ponder denominational full communion agreements, such as the one the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Episcopal Church share, I think Schmucker would approve.

Alex Haley advised,

Find the good and praise it.

I praise the good in the legacy of Samuel Simon Schmucker.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DENIS, BISHOP OF PARIS, AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, 250

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN LEONARDI, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD OF LUCCA; AND SAINT JOSEPH CALASANCTIUS, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

THE FEAST OF ROBERT GROSSETESTE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOLAR, PHILOSOPHER, AND BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF WILFRED THOMASON GRENFELL, MEDICAL MISSIONARY TO NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Samuel Simon Schmucker,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Mary Lyon (February 29)   1 comment

Above:  Mary Lyon

Image in the Public Domain

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MARY MASON LYON (FEBRUARY 28, 1797-MARCH 5, 1849)

U.S. Congregationalist Feminist and Educator

Mary Lyon comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Ideas that have become mainstream used to be revolutionary.  Consider, O reader, gender roles, especially those proscribed for women in the United States of America.  Astute students of women’s history know of Republican Motherhood and Separate Spheres.

Republican Motherhood was the idea that women were supposed to be mothers of the republic.  Their job was supposedly to raise good citizens, not to seek and hold public office or have careers, much less to vote.  Women could respectably lobby office holders, but not exercise power.  Men and women moved in Separate Spheres.  Education reinforced the subordinate roles of women; the curricula for male and female students differed.

Mary Lyon challenged this.  She, raised a Baptist, debuted in Buckland, Massachusetts, on February 28, 1797.  She, the sixth of eight children, grew up in a poor family on a farm.  Our saint’s father died when she was five years old.  Lyon mastered the essential skills of daily survival on a farm.  She was also inquisitive beyond the knowledge of social norms dictated for women; Lyon found geology fascinating.  She made time for studies.  Lyon found a mentor, Congregationalist minister Joseph Emerson, one of her teachers.  He, unlike many other men of the time and place, treated women as intelligent people.  Under his influence, she became a Congregationalist.

Lyon, a teacher at various schools, affirmed the right of girls and women to equal formal education (including college) with boys and men.  She linked this cause to the Great Commission, for she argued that well-educated women were better evangelists than poorly-educated women were.  Our saint proved instrumental in founding Wheaton Female Seminary (now College), Wheaton, Massachusetts, in 1835.  That school was the first one in the United States to offer female students a curriculum equal to that for male students.  Lyon founded Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now College), South Hadley, Massachusetts, which opened on November 9, 1837.  She, having raised funds for the institution, served as its first principal for more than a decade.

Lyon, aged 52 years, died of natural causes in South Hadley, on March 5, 1849.

Her influence has continued.

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Living God, whose image all people bear, we thank you for the life and legacy of your servant Mary Mason Lyon,

who rejected social norms that mandated a curriculum that reinforced the subordinate roles of women in the United States of America.

May we, as a society and as individuals, cease to hold back segments of our society

from achieving their potential, and therefore, from holding our society back.

May we do this for your glory and for the common good.

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

Genesis 1:26-27

Psalm 100

Galatians 3:23-29

Luke 10:38-42

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 8, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ERIK ROUTLEY, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST HYMNODIST

THE FEAST OF ABRAHAM RITTER, U.S. MORAVIAN MERCHANT, HISTORIAN, MUSICIAN, AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD WHATELY, ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP OF DUBLIN, IRELAND

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM DWIGHT PORTER BLISS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST; AND RICHARD THEODORE ELY; ECONOMISTS

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Feast of Marian Anderson (February 29)   3 comments

Above:  Marian Anderson Performing at the Lincoln Memorial, 1939

Image in the Public Domain

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MARIAN ANDERSON FISHER (FEBRUARY 27, 1897-APRIL 8, 1993)

African-American Singer and Civil Rights Activist

Marian Anderson comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Anderson grew up in a devout Christian home.  She, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 27, 1897, was one of three daughters of Annie Delilah Rucker (1874-1964) and John Berkeley Anderson (c. 1872-1910).  Annie, who did not have a college degree, had taught in Virginia.  She could not teach in Pennsylvania, however; a state law barred African Americans (yet not whites) without a college degree from teaching.  So Annie took care of children for a living.  John sold coal and ice at the Reading Terminal in Philadelphia.  Eventually, he added another source of revenue–selling liquor.  The Andersons were active in Union Baptist Church, South Philadelphia.  All three daughters sang.  Our saint joined the church’s junior choir when she was six years old.  She joined the People’s Chorus in the city four years later.  Marian performed solos in both choirs.

Church and family helped Anderson achieve her potential.  Her father died when she was 12 years old.  Annie and the three daughters moved in with John’s parents.  In 1912 our saint graduated from Stanton Grammar School, but her family could not afford to send her to high school and to take music lessons.  Anderson’s church eventually paid for her to take music lessons and to attend South Philadelphia High School.  Our saint graduated in 1921.

Racism proved to be a professional obstacle for Anderson in the United States.  She, rejected from the Philadelphia Music Academy because of her skin color, studied music privately.  In 1925 our saint won a contest in New York Philharmonic sponsored.  The prize was a concert, at which she performed with the orchestra.  The date of that concert was August 26, 1925.  Anderson continued to study music privately.  She performed at Carnegie Hall for the first time in 1928.  Our saint’s career outside her native country was more successful than in the United States.  In 1937 she was in Princeton, New Jersey, to perform in Princeton, New Jersey.  When a hotel turned Anderson away because of her race, Professor Albert Einstein invited her to be his guest.  This was not the last time Anderson spent time with the Einstein family.

Perhaps Anderson’s most famous concert was her performance at the Lincoln Memorial, in 1939.  The Daughters of the American Revolution had denied our saint the opportunity to sing at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C.  First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt arranged for a larger, better venue instead.  Anderson finally sang at Constitution Hall in 1943.

Anderson was a trailblazer.  She performed the role of Ulrica in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City.  In so doing, our saint became the first African American to perform for that opera company.  The intensely patriotic vocalist, who entertained military personnel during World War II and the Korean War, also performed at President Dwight Eisenhower’s second inauguration (1957) and President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration (1961).  Eisenhower appointed Anderson to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (1958f).  Furthermore, our saint, active in the Civil Rights Movement, received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963.

Anderson married architect Orpheus H. Fisher (1900-1986) on July 17, 1943.  She thereby became the stepmother of Fisher’s son, James.  Our saint, who lived on a farm near Danbury, Connecticut, from 1940 to 1992, retired on April 10, 1965, the date of her last performance at Carnegie Hall.

Anderson moved to Portland, Oregon, to reside with her nephew, James DePriest, a conductor in 1992.  She died in that city on April 8, 1993.  Our saint was 96 years old.

Anderson had a simple, non-judgmental faith she learned from her mother.  She trusted in God without condemning people whose theology differed from hers.  God, as our saint understood God, was loving and providential.

Marian Anderson’s life spanned decades of much cultural and legal change, especially regarding matters of race.  She helped to create some of that change; our saint did her part to leave the world and the United States of America better than they had been.  Events of the last few years have proven (as if anyone needed evidence) that any talk of the “death of racism” is ridiculous.

The work of fighting racism has fallen to those of us who still have pulses.  May we do our parts, so that those who follow us chronologically will have less work to do in this arena than they would otherwise.

I remember the casual racism around which I grew up.  My parents raised me to reject racism, but many people around me had a different attitude.  Seldom did any of these racists–classmates or some of my father’s parishioners, usually–bother to use code words in lieu of slurs.  I recall know that this language and the bias behind it were wrong.  Yet I also know that some of that racism rubbed off on me, as if by osmosis.  Some thoughts I know to be immoral occur sometimes.  Only God and I know when this happens, for I never express these thoughts.  No, I confess them to God and seek forgiveness.  I entertain the better angels of my nature.

The beginning of resisting racism in society, an institution, a community, et cetera, is choosing not to cave into it as it manifests withing oneself, unless one is a rare person who lacks any trace of racism.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 7, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILHELM WEXELS, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; HIS NIECE, MARIE WEXELSEN, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN NOVELIST AND HYMN WRITER; LUDWIG LINDEMAN, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN ORGANIST AND MUSICOLOGIST; AND MAGNUS LANDSTAD, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, FOLKLORIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNAL EDITOR

THE FEAST OF BRADFORD TORREY, U.S. ORNITHOLOGIST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHANN GOTTFRIED WEBER, GERMAN MORAVIAN MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, AND MINISTER

THE FEAST OF JOHN WOOLMAN, QUAKER ABOLITIONIST

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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 servant Marian Anderson,

to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Chris, 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 Joseph Badger, Sr. (February 28)   1 comment

Above:  Joseph Badger, Sr.

Image in the Public Domain

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JOSEPH BADGER, SR. (FEBRUARY 28, 1757-APRIL 5, 1846)

U.S. Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister

First Missionary to the Western Reserve

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There are false teachers now, who hold and preach a doctrine of falling from grace; for a final apostasy, after the renewing of the Holy Spirit; and perish in their sins.  There are many who profess to be Christians, who fall away from their profession, but not from grace.  But to return to the subject.  Let anyone read with an honest, unprejudiced mind the seventh chapter of Romans from the ninth verse to the end; he will see that St. Paul did not teach the doctrine of perfectionism.  There must be a great deal of twisting and perverting from the most obvious meaning of words and phrases to make scriptures referred to above, speak subversive to their true meaning.

–Joseph Badger, Sr., A Memoir of Joseph Badger (1853); quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 331

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Joseph Badger, Sr., was, obviously, a Calvinist, not an Arminian.

The Western Reserve is in northeastern Ohio.  The Reserve’s nearly 3.3 million acres are south of Lake Erie and west of Pennsylvania.  The southern border is a line south of Youngstown, Akron, and Willard.  This area occupies land one part of the land claim of Connecticut.

Joseph Badger, Sr., once a weaver, became a minister and a missionary.  He, born Wilbraham, Massachusetts, on February 28, 1757, was a son of Henry Badger and Mary Langdon.  Our saint served in the Continental Army during the U.S. War for Independence.  In 1781 he matriculated at Yale College, to prepare for ordained ministry.  Badger graduated in 1785.  While at Yale, Badger married Lois Noble, in 1784.  The couple had six children:  Lucius, Joseph Jr., Henry, Sarah, Juliana, and Lucia.  Badger taught in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1785-1786.  Our saint, whom the (Congregationalist) New Haven Association licensed to preach in 1786, served as a pastor in Northbury (now Plymouth), Connecticut, for a few months in 1786-1787.  Badger, ordained in Blandford, Massachusetts, on October 24, 1787, was a pastor there until October 1800.

When the Badgers left New England, they went to the Western Reserve of Ohio; our saint was the first missionary to the region.  He labored for God for about 36 years.  In 1801, when the Congregationalist-Presbyterian (Presbygationalist, actually) Plan of Union to evangelize the frontier went into effect, Badger became a Presbyterian minister, despite retaining his preference for Congregationalism.  He and his family lived in frontier conditions as he founded churches, some Congregationalist and others Presbyterian.  Our saint also founded schools.  Furthermore, Badger served as a brigade chaplain and as a guide for General William Henry Harrison during the War of 1812.

Lois Noble died in 1818.  Badger remarried the following year; he wedded Abigail Ely.

Badger finally retired in 1836, at the age of 79 years; his heath was failing.  Our saint, aged 89 years, died in Perrysburg, Ohio, on April 5, 1846.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 4, 2019 COMMON ERA

 THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF FRIARS MINOR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM SCARLETT, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MISSOURI, AND ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Joseph Badger, Sr.,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of the Western Reserve.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 716

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Feast of Austin Carroll (February 21)   1 comment

Above:  Austin Carroll

Fair Use

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MARGARET ANNE CARROLL (FEBRUARY 23, 1835-NOVEMBER 29, 1909)

Irish-American Roman Catholic Nun, Author, and Educator

Also known as Sister Mary Teresa Austin

Austin Carroll comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Carroll served God in vulnerable, poor, and marginalized people.  Margaret Anne Carroll, born in Clonmel, Ireland, on February 23, 1835, grew up in a Roman Catholic family.  She, a daughter of William Carroll and Margaret Strahan, joined the Sisters of Mercy, in Cork, in 1853.  She became Sister Mary Teresa Austin, and made her vows in 1856.  That year the order dispatched our saint to the United States, where she founded about 20 convents and various schools and charitable institutions.  She also founded a convent in British Honduras (now Belize).  Carroll worked in Hartford, Connecticut; Buffalo, New York; Rochester, New York; Omaha, Nebraska; and St. Louis, Missouri; before establishing a new base of operations in New Orleans, Louisiana, as the Superior of the New Orleans Province of the Sisters of Mercy.

Wherever Carroll was, she left her positive influence.  She and her sister nuns visited U.S. Army field hospitals daily during much of the Civil War.  The nuns also visited prisoners.  Furthermore, they ministered to victims of successive epidemics of yellow fever in New Orleans.  Carroll founded schools and presided over the education of white and African-American children alike during an age of enforced racial segregation.  Somehow, our saint found time to write articles and more than 20 books.  Those volumes included hagiographies, works of church history, devotions, and books for young readers.

Carroll’s main disappointment at the end of her life was that she had not founded a college for women.  Given the difficulty in raising funds for the order’s schools, she certainly had accomplished more than a lesser person would have done, though.

Carroll, aged 74 years, died on November 29, 1909.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 29, 2019 COMMON ERA

PROPER 21:  THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF MARY RAMABAI, PROPHETIC WITNESS AND EVANGELIST IN INDIA

THE FEAST OF FRANCIS TURNER PALGRAVE, ANGLICAN POET, ART CRITIC, AND HYMN WRITER

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O God, whose grace your servant Austin Carroll,

kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before your as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 723

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Feast of Charles Sheldon (February 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  Charles Sheldon

Image in the Public Domain

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CHARLES MONROE SHELDON (FEBRUARY 26, 1857-FEBRUARY 24, 1946)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Author, Christian Socialist, and Social Gospel Theologian

The Reverend Charles Monroe Sheldon comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Sheldon took to heart Christ’s command to be salt and light in the world.  Some efforts were more successful than others, but all of them shared one point of origin:  Christian faith.

Sheldon grew up in a Congregationalist family.  His father was a minister.  Our saint moved with his family from church to church.  Sheldon, born in Wellsville, New York, on February 26, 1857, grew up mostly in the Dakotas.  The family was not wealthy; it struggled financially.  That background and the socially and theologically background of nineteenth-century Congregationalism influenced Sheldon.

Sheldon became a socially-conscious minister.  After graduating from Brown University and Andover Theological Seminary, he served as a pastor, uin Waterbury, Vermont (1887-1889).  Typhoid was a frequent problem in town.  Our saint suggested that the proximity of the water supply to pig pens was the cause of the unsafe water.  The town corrected the issue and solved the problem.

Sheldon served in one other church; he was pastor of Central Congregational Church, Topeka, Kansas,, from 1889 to his retirement in 1920.  Our saint left the congregation better off in every way after three decades of leadership.  Attendance and membership increased.  So did outreach in the community.  Sheldon, author of more than 30 Social Gospel novels, including In His Steps (1896), asked a crucial question:

What would Jesus do?

In 1893 the pastor, a Christian Socialist and a theologian of the Social Gospel, concluded that Jesus would approve of the Central Congregational Church sponsoring the first kindergarten for African Americans west of the Mississippi River.  The congregation did that.  Sheldon, who encouraged middle-class and upper-class Christians to sympathize and identify with the poor and the marginalized paired evangelism with faith-based activism.

Much less successful were Sheldon’s campaigns for the prohibition of alcohol (throughout his life) and for world peace (after the retired).  Prohibition proved to be a movement that perhaps only mobsters loved more than moralistic idealists did.  World peace has been elusive, of course.  In the aftermath of World War I, however, that quest was of its time, as well as admirable.

Sheldon, from 1920 to 1924 the editor of a periodical, Christian Herald, died in Topeka on February 24, 1946.  In two more days he would have celebrated his eighty-ninth birthday.

The question of what Jesus would do is always relevant in public and private life.  That issue, like the Law of Moses, requires one to consider the timeless principles and variable factors.  The Golden Rule is a constant factor, a timeless principle.  The proper application of it depends on variables, tough.  For example, who one is, how old one is, where one is, when one is, and other particulars of one’s context vary from person to person.  Variables add a degree of relativism to the mix.  We (individually and collectively) have a mandate to live according to the Golden Rule when and where we are.  May we succeed, by grace.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JEHU JONES, JR., AFRICAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH HOSKINS, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LORENZO RUIZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, 1637

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

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

Help us, like your servant Charles Sheldon,

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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This is post #1800 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of Henry B. Whipple (February 18)   2 comments

Above:  A Former Flag of Minnesota

Image in the Public Domain

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HENRY BENJAMIN WHIPPLE (FEBRUARY 15, 1822-SEPTEMBER 16, 1901)

Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota

Bishop Henry B. Whipple comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Whipple was simultaneously a man of his time and ahead of it.  His paternalistic attitude toward Native Americans was indefensible.  However, our saint was a vocal critic of abuses indigenous people suffered at the hands of civilians and the federal government.  This made him politically unpopular and out of step with many of his fellow whites, especially in Minnesota.

Whipple was a priest and missionary prior to becoming a bishop.  He, born in Adams, New York, on February 15, 1822, was a child of John Hall Whipple (1795-1859) and Elizabeth Wager (1798-1870).  Our saint married Cornelia Wright (1816-1870) on October 5, 1842.  The couple had six children.  Whipple, raised a Presbyterian, became an Episcopal priest in 1848.  He served as the Rector of Zion Episcopal Church, Rome, New York, before transferring to the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, Chicago, Illinois, in 1857.  Then, in 1859, at the age of 37 years, Whipple became the first Bishop of Minnesota and the youngest member of the House of Bishops.

During his long episcopate (1859-1901), Whipple accomplished much.  He transformed the fledgling Diocese of Minnesota into a stable see.  Our saint also worked to improve the lives of indigenous people, who suffered from poverty and whom the federal government exploited.  Federal management of Indian Affairs was, in the bishop’s words,

a stupendous piece of wickedness.

Whipple, while presiding over missionary outreach to tribes, stuck his neck out to speak out on their behalf.  In August 1862, white-Native tensions erupted into the U.S.-Dakota War.  The United States Army, having tried and convicted 303 Dakota men, prepared to hang them.  Whipple argued publicly on the condemned men’s behalf and interceded on their behalf with President Abraham Lincoln.  The bishop cast blame onto the federal government for violating treaties and treating indigenous people badly.  He also questioned the legality of the trials and condemned the lack of a proper defense in court.  His appeal to Lincoln was mostly successful; 38 Dakota men hanged and 265 received pardons.

Whipple, simultaneously praised and condemned for his relatively liberal attitude toward Natives, served on various commissions and boards.  These included the Sioux Commission (1876), the Northwest Indian Commission (1887), and the U.S. Board of Indian Commissioners (1895-1901).

Whipple, a widower, remarried on October 22, 1896.  His second wife was Evangeline Marrs (d. 1830).

Whipple, aged 79 years, died in Faribault, Minnesota, his home since 1860, on September 16, 1901.  “Straight Tongue,” as Natives had called him because of his honesty and outspokenness, fell into the silence of death.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 22, 2019 COMMON ERA

PROPER 20:  THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF PHILANDER CHASE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF OHIO, AND OF ILLINOIS; AND PRESIDING BISHOP

THE FEAST OF C. H. DODD, WELSH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF CHARLOTTE WEBB, JULIA ANNE ELLIOTT, AND EMILY ELLIOTT, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF JUSTUS FAULKNER, LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

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Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Henry B. Whipple,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock:

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the stature of fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 718

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