Archive for the ‘F. Bland Tucker’ Tag

Feast of F. Bland Tucker (November 20)   2 comments

Above:  Christ Church, Savannah, Georgia

Image Scanned from Henry T. Malone, The Episcopal Church in Georgia (1960)

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FRANCIS BLAND TUCKER (NOVEMBER 6, 1895-JANUARY 1, 1984)

Episcopal Priest and Hymnodist

“The Dean of American Hymn Writers”

Feast Day in the Diocese of Georgia = November 19

Father F. Bland Tucker comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via two Episcopal hymnals and the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.

Tucker came from a family tree full of Episcopal priests, bishops, and missionaries.  He was the youngest of thirteen children of Anna Maria Washington (1851-1927) and Father Beverley Dandridge Tucker (Sr.) (1846-1930), a priest in Norfolk, Virginia, where our saint entered the world on January 6, 1895.  Tucker, Sr., went on to become the Bishop Coadjutor of Southern Virginia (1906-1911) then the Bishop of Southern Virginia (1918-1930).  One of our saint’s elder brothers was Beverley Dandridge Tucker (Jr.) (1882-1969), the Bishop of Ohio (1938-1969).  Another elder brother was Henry St. George Tucker (1874-1959), the Bishop Coadjutor of Virginia (1926-1927), the Bishop of Virginia (1927-1943), and the Presiding Bishop of the denomination (1938-1946), preceding the great Henry Knox Sherrill (1890-1980).

Our saint, descended from old Virginia families and raised in The Episcopal Church, became a courageous and reconciling figure in church and society.  He, raised on The Book of Common Prayer (1892), his favorite version of the Prayer Book, graduated from the University of Virginia (1914) then Virginia Theological Seminary (1920).  Military service during World War I interrupted his theological education.  Tucker, ordained to the diaconate in 1918 and the priesthood two years later, married Mary (Polly) Goldsborough Laird (1890-1972).  The couple had no children.

Tucker served as the rector of three parishes during forty-seven years of active ministry:

  1. St. Andrew’s Church, Lawrenceville, Virginia (1920-1925);
  2. St. John’s Church, Georgetown, District of Columbia (1925-1945); and
  3. Christ Church, Savannah, Georgia (1945-1967).

During this time our saint helped to prepare The Hymnal 1940 (1943).  His contributions to it were two original hymns and four translations.  Tucker also received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1944.  When The Episcopal Church replaced the The Book of Common Prayer (1892) with The Book of Common Prayer (1928), our saint and his father accepted the change while not renouncing their fondness for the older Prayer Book.

Tucker spent 1945-1984 in Savannah, Georgia.  He, from 1945 to 1967 the Rector of historic Christ Church, Savannah, declined an opportunity to become the Bishop of Western North Carolina just a few months after arriving in Savannah.  He led the effort to integrate the Diocese of Georgia in 1947.  Tucker was also active in child welfare efforts in Savannah.  Furthermore, our saint openly supported civil rights in the staunchly segregated city.  In the 1960s, when many other congregations turned away those seeking to “pray in,” Tucker welcomed all who wanted to pray at Christ Church.  Also, Martin Luther King, Jr. (1939-1968), when in Savannah, spoke at Christ Church.

Tucker remained active during his retirement.  He helped to create The Book of Common Prayer (1979) and The Hymnal 1982 (1985).  When our saint heard complaints from supporters of The Book of Common Prayer (1928), he told them that he still preferred The Book of Common Prayer (1892).  He also contributed 17 hymns or parts thereof (original and translated) to the new hymnal.  (The listings for Tucker in the hymnal are 25, 26, 121, 135, 139, 164, 220, 221, 268, 269, 302, 303, 322, 356, 366, 421, 428, 443, 477, 478, 489, 530, 547, 587, 663, and 668.)

Tucker, aged 88 years, died in Savannah on January 1, 1984.  Three days later, the Savannah Morning News eulogized the great man:

…he was ahead of his time as a humanitarian.  Long before desegregation, he was on record in favor of it and a leader in accomplishing it.

Tucker was also a skilled poet who shared his literary gifts for the glory of God.

May the church never be bereft of people with such talents and moral courage.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 11, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DIONYSIUS OF CORINTH, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF CHARLES STEDMAN NEWHALL, U.S. NATURALIST, HYMN WRITER, AND CONGREGATIONALIST AND PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER

THE FEAST OF HEINRICH THEOBALD SCHENCK, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HENRY HALLAM TWEEDY, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant F. Bland Tucker,

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 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 Alexander Crummell (September 10)   2 comments

Above:  Alexander Crummell

Image in the Public Domain

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ALEXANDER CRUMMELL (MARCH 3, 1819-SEPTEMBER 10, 1898)

U.S. African-American Episcopal Priest, Missionary, and Moral Philosopher

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The hand of God is on the black man, in all the lands of his distant sojourn, for the good of Africa.

–Alexander Crummell

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September 10 is the Feast of Alexander Crummell in The Episcopal Church.

Crummell, who lived during a time of slavery then de jure segregation, contended with racism throughout his life.  He, born in New York, New York, on March 3, 1819, was a child of abolitionists Charity Hicks (born free) and Boston Crummell (a former slave).  Our saint, a well-educated person and a recognized intellectual by 1840, when he was 21 years old, could not matriculate at The General Theological Seminary, Manhattan, because of the color of his skin.  Nevertheless, he successfully prepared for the priesthood and, in 1844, became a priest in the Diocese of Massachusetts.  Yet, due to official racism, Crummell could not participate in diocesan conventions.

Crummell spent 1848-1853 in England, studying moral philosophy at Queen’s College, Cambridge, and earning a B.A. degree.  Our saint, well grounded in Western philosophy, incorporated the concepts of natural rights and intergenerational responsibility into his moral philosophy.  Stephen Thompson has written a summary of that moral philosophy at The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Except for visits to the United States of America, mainly to encourage African-American immigration to Africa, Crummell lived and worked in Liberia from 1853 to 1872.  There he was Professor of Moral Philosophy at Liberia College.  He hoped to build a Christian republic, with The Episcopal Church as the national church.  Liberian politics dashed Crummell’s hopes, though, and he returned to the United States.

Crummell, back in the United States, had much work to do.  He became the Rector of St. Mary’s Chapel for Colored People, Washington, D.C.  In 1875 he founded St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C., the oldest African-American Episcopal parish in the national capital city.  Our saint retired in 1894.

Crummell founded the Convocation of Colored Clergy, a predecessor of the Union of Black Episcopalians, to oppose the proposed “Sewanee Canon” at the General Convention of 1883.  Some Southern bishops and other churchmen wanted to segregate the Church further by creating a non-geographical diocese for African Americans.  This was not a unique idea; other denominations took similar actions.  The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, spun off the Colored (now Christian) Methodist Episcopal Church in 1870.  The Methodist Church (1939-1968) had its non-geographical Central Jurisdiction, as well as five geographical jurisdictions.  The (Southern) Presbyterian Church in the United States (1861-1983) spun off the African-American Presbyterian Church in 1898 then reabsorbed it as the Snedecor Memorial Synod, separate from the other synods, usually defined by state boundaries, in 1917.  Although the General Convention defeated the “Sewanee Canon,” many Southern dioceses acted on their own, subsequently curtailing African-American involvement in diocesan conventions.  The usual practice was to create a racially defined convocation, which sent a handful of delegates to the diocesan convention.  In other dioceses, there were no African-American delegates at the diocesan convention.  The Diocese of Georgia, for example, was segregated at the convention level from 1907 to 1947.  The priest and hymn writer F. Bland Tucker (1895-1984), Rector of Christ Church, Savannah, proposed the canon that readmitted African-American delegates to the diocesan convention.

Crummell remained active in retirement.  He taught at Howard University, Washington, D.C., in 1895-1897.  In 1897 he founded and became the first president of the American Negro Academy, Washington, D.C., with W. E. B. DuBois (1868-1963) as one of the vice presidents.  The American Negro Academy disbanded in 1924.

Crummell married twice.  His first wife, whom he wed in 1841, was Sarah Mabitt Elston, who died in 1878.  Our saint married Jennie Simpson in 1880.

Crummell, aged 77 years, died in Red Bank, New Jersey, on September 10, 1898.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 13, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN HENRY HOPKINS, JR., EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMNODIST; AND HIS NEPHEW, JOHN HENRY HOPKINS, III, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH PAYSON PRENTISS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JEREMY TAYLOR, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF DOWN, CONNOR, AND DROMORE

THE FEAST OF JOHN BAJUS, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Alexander Crummell,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to those who were far off and to those who were near.

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.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 2:7-11, 17-18

Psalm 19:7-11

James 1:2-5

Mark 4:1-10, 13-20

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 573

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