Archive for the ‘Duncan Montgomery Gray Jr.’ Tag

Feast of Alfred C. Marble, Jr. (April 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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ALFRED CLARK “CHIP” MARBLE, JR. (APRIL 4, 1936-MARCH 30, 2017)

Episcopal Bishop of Mississippi then Assisting Bishop of North Carolina

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If ever there was a saint who understood that the work of reconciliation is the work of evangelism, it was Chip Marble.

–Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple, Diocese of North Carolina

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The Episcopal Church has a rule of waiting for about half a century before adding someone to its calendar of saints.  The denomination also makes exceptions to that rule, but it does let a considerable amount of time pass, even in those cases (Jonathan Myrick Daniels and Martin Luther King, Jr., mainly).  I understand why such rules exist for denominational calendars of saints.  This, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, is a hobby, however.  I am ready, willing, and able to engage in nearly instantaneous canonization.

Alfred Clark “Chip” Marble, Jr., for whom civil rights and economic justice were essential elements of faith, became an Episcopal priest.  He, born in Oreonta, New York, on April 4, 1936, studied at the University of Mississippi, The School of Theology of the The University of the South, and the University of Edinburgh.  Our saint, ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons in 1967 then to the priesthood the following year, served in five congregations in the Diocese of Mississippi, as well as at the student chaplaincy at the University of Mississippi.  Marble also spent eight years as the Assistant to the Bishop of East Carolina, B. Sidney Sanders (in office 1983-1996).

Marble joined the ranks of bishops in 1991.  He served under Bishop Duncan Montgomery Gray, Jr. (1926-2016), as the Bishop Coadjutor of Mississippi from 1991 to 1993.  Then Marble succeeded Gray as the Bishop of Mississippi, serving for about a decade (1993-2003).  Our saint, after retiring, served as the Assisting Bishop of North Carolina from 2005 to 2013.  He served under Michael Curry, then the Bishop of North Carolina, and currently the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

Throughout his ministry Marble worked for justice for the poor as well as for racial reconciliation.  As the struggle for civil rights expanded to include legal equality (per the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America) for homosexuals, Marble opposed discrimination against them, too.  He also advocated for immigrants, a frequently despised and scapegoated population.

Marble conducted much of his work for reconciliation in Greensboro, North Carolina.  He worked with the Beloved Community Center and the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.).  Our saint also helped to found and lead the Greensboro Faith Leaders Council, an interfaith and interracial organization.  Furthermore, Marble helped to establish the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2004-2006), which sought the truth about and reconciliation regarding the “Greensboro Massacre” of November 3, 1979.  On that date members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi (or, as Donald Trump would say, as he did of violent white supremacists in 2017,

some very fine people),

killed some protesters and wounded others.  All-white juries acquitted the killers.

(Really, if one chooses not to resist describing white supremacists, especially criminally violent ones who use chants such as, “The Jews will not replace us,”, in such glowing terms, is one not far gone, morally?)

Marble, aged 80 years, died in Greensboro on March 30, 2017.  His wife (Diene), their two children, and other relatives survived him.  Our saint, surrounded by family, died at home.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 3, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANSKAR AND RIMBERT, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOPS OF HAMBURG-BREMEN

THE FEAST OF ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER, ENGLISH POET AND FEMINIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALFRED DELP, GERMAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1945

THE FEAST OF JEMIMA THOMPSON LUKE, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST HYMN WRITER; AND JAMES EDMESTON, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL DAVIES, AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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God of compassion, you have reconciled us in Jesus Christ, who is our peace:

Enable us to live as Jesus lived, breaking down walls of hostility and healing enmity.

Give us grace to make peace with those from whom we are divided,

that, forgiven and forgiving, we may be one in Christ;

who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever, one holy and undivided Trinity.  Amen.

Genesis 8:12-17, 20-22

Psalm 51:1-17

Hebrews 4:12-16

Luke 23:32-43

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 737

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Feast of Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr. and Jr. (July 15)   1 comment

Above:  The Episcopal Flag

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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DUNCAN MONTGOMERY GRAY, SR. (MAY 5, 1898-JUNE 27, 1966)

father of

DUNCAN MONTGOMERY GRAY, JR. (SEPTEMBER 21, 1926-JULY 15, 2016)

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Episcopal Bishops of Mississippi and Advocates for Civil Rights

Case Studies in the Radicalism of Liturgy

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I have sworn to practice and maintain segregation in the Episcopal Church in Mississippi, and I am not alone….It should be the painful duty of the Right Rev. Duncan M. Gray to publicly rebuke his son, and all other priests in the Diocese of Mississippi preaching integration….Let’s get red-hot on the subject–if the race-mixers don’t resign and leave, I say, throw them out bodily, if necessary.

–White supremacist and (from 1963) murderer Byron de la Beckwith (1920-2001), writing in the Jackson Daily News, 1956; quoted in Taylor Branch, Pillar of Fire:  America in the King Years, 1963-65 (New York:  Simon & Schuster, 1998), 113

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INTRODUCTION

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The Fifth, Seventh, and Ninth Bishops of Mississippi were Duncan Montgomery Gray–Senior, Junior, and III.  Duncan Montgomery Gray, III (Coadjutor, 2000-2003; diocesan, 2003-2015), has gone into retirement.  His grandfather and father have joined the Choir Eternal.  These three bishops’ progressive theologies and social consciences contradicted political and social norms in a state so reactionary that it operated the notorious State Sovereignty Commission (1956-1977) and, for a time, banned broadcasts of Sesame Street (1969-), due to the racially integrated cast.

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TWO DUNCANS

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Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr., born on May 5, 1898, in Meridian, Mississippi, was an integrationist.  He, a deacon in 1925 and a priest the following year, served in Canton, Lexington, Columbus, Macon, and Greenwood before becoming the Bishop of Mississippi in 1943.  He, elected on January 19, 1943, served from May 12 of that year to June 27, 1966, when he died.

His eventual successor was a son, Duncan Montgomery Gray, Jr., born in Canton, Mississippi, on September 21, 1926, to Isabel McCrady Gray (1902-1966).  After graduating from high school in 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy.  The Navy sent Gray, Jr., to Tulane University, where, in 1948, he graduated with his Bachelor of Electronic Engineering degree.  Also in 1948, he married Ruth Spivey (d. 2011), of Canton; they had four children.  Gray, Jr., worked for the Westinghouse Corporation for a few years.  He did well there, but discerned a call to the priesthood.  After graduating from the School of Theology at the The University of the South in 1953 Gray, Jr., joined the ranks of priests; his father ordained him.  For the next 21 years Gray, Jr., served as a parish priest.  He was, for example, the Rector of St. Peter’s Church, Oxford, from 1957 to 1965, and for a time chaplain to Episcopal students at The University of Mississippi (“Ole Miss”).

The apples did not fall far from the trees.  Fortunately, the Grays were good trees.  Bishop Gray, Sr., built up diocesan institutions, founding Rose Hill, the camp and conference center.  (Rose Hill has become the Duncan M. Gray Center.)  In 1954, after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, Gray, Jr., with his father’s support, helped to prepare a diocesan report that condemned racism as sinful.  In 1959 Gray, Sr., made history by integrating St. Andrew’s School, Jackson.  This was the first voluntary school integration in the state.

The integration (1962) of The University of Mississippi was, by necessity, forced.  In September 1962, as violence erupted in Oxford, Gray, Jr., tried in vain to persuade segregationist protesters to choose nonviolence; some of them beat him instead.  On September 30 he reflected:

For these are times which not only try men’s souls, but also infect and poison them.  The seeds of anger and hatred, bitterness and prejudice, are already widely sown, and as Christians, we need to do our utmost to uproot and cast them out.

That work of reconciliation defined the ministry of Gray, Jr.  As the Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Meridian (1965-1974), he helped to rebuild African-American churches Klansmen had firebombed.  Gray, Jr., also served on several civil rights boards, such as the Mississippi Council on Human Relations (1963-1967) and the Mississippi Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1967-1973).

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BISHOP GRAY, JR.

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When 1974 dawned Gray, Jr., was the Vice President of the Executive Committee and the Chairman of the Commission on Ministry of the Diocese of Mississippi.  Before the year ended he was the Bishop of Mississippi.  For 19 years Gray, Jr., shepherded the diocese faithfully.  He also supported the revision of The Book of Common Prayer and the ordination of women as priests and bishops.  Will Campbell (1924-2013), the bishop’s biographer, explained our saint’s support for civil rights and other forms of social justice by citing “the radicalism of liturgy.”  Gray, Jr., from 1991 to 1997 the Chancellor of The University of the South, retired as Bishop of Mississippi in 1993.  Later he served as the Interim Dean of the School of Theology.

Gray, Jr., aged 89 years, on July 15, 2016, in Jackson, Mississippi.

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CONCLUSION

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I have little doubt that, in time, The Episcopal Church will add one or both of these bishops to its calendar of saints.  The institutional church must take its time; I respect that.  However, I need to take no more time than I have taken already.  I, having previously created a stand-alone Feast of Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr., years ago, then having scrapped it recently as part of the renovation of this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, transfer that feast to July 15 and add his now-deceased son to it.

I also wish Bishop Duncan Montgomery Gray, III, longevity and excellent health as I announce my (hopefully long-term) plans to add him to this commemoration one day.

On a personal note, I have long taken the naming of cats, noble creatures, seriously.  One of the cats who enriched my life for a few years was a gray tabby with some Maine Coon contributions to his DNA.  This pacific vehicle of grace bore the name Duncan Gray, named in honor of the three Bishops Gray.  Never have I given a feline a more honorable and noble name.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MALTBIE DAVENPORT BABCOCK, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN I, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATOR AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT STANISLAW KUBSKI, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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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 servants Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr., and Duncan Montgomery Gray, Jr.,

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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