Archive for the ‘Fellowship Baptist Church Americus Georgia’ Tag

Feast of Clarence Jordan (July 30)   6 comments

Above:  Part of Southwest Georgia, 1945

Scanned from Monarch Atlas of the World (1945), 41

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CLARENCE LEONARD JORDAN (JULY 29, 1912-OCTOBER 29, 1969)

Southern Baptist Minister and Witness for Civil Rights

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He took the Bible seriously.

–United Methodist Minister James Howell of Charlotte, North Carolina, on Clarence Jordan, 2012

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Deeds reveal creeds.  Orthodoxy is right doctrine.  Orthopraxy is correct practice.  The first necessarily leads to the second.  Such as one thinks, one is.

Clarence Jordan (pronounced JER-dun) came from rural western Georgia.  He, born in Talbotton, Georgia, on July 29, 1912, was a son of James Weaver Jordan and Maude Josey.  While growing up our saint wondered how church-going Christians could support Jim Crow laws.  He studied Agriculture at The University of Georgia, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 1933.  While at UGA, Jordan edited the Georgia Agriculturalist and served as the state president of the Baptist Student Union.  In 1933 our saint also matriculated at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky (Th.M., 1936; Ph.D., 1939).  He, ordained in 1934, served as a pastor of several rural congregations while pursuing degrees.  In July 1936 Jordan married Florence Kroeger (d. 1987) of Louisville; the couple had four children.

Jordan could have taught on the college level or been minister of a large church, but he chose instead to found (with Martin and Mabel England) the Koinonia Farm south of Americus, Georgia, in Sumter County, in 1942.  Southwestern Georgia has long been a reactionary place (I know; I used to live there.), so Koinonia Farm was especially radical in its setting.  The model for the farm came from the Acts of the Apostles; there was a common treasury.  Jordan and company practiced radical egalitarianism and lived in a racially integrated community.  They were also pacifistic.  Jordan considered racism, discrimination, and economic injustice sinful.  He was truly a counter-cultural figure.  The farm became a target for violence, ostracism, and economic boycotts.  Were they communists?  No.  Were they patriotic?  Yes.  They took the Bible seriously.

Fellowship Baptist Church, Americus, June 13, 2018.JPG

Above:  Fellowship Baptist Church, Americus, Georgia, June 13, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The presence of a mixed-race group at a church in Americus, Georgia, was controversial into at least the 1970s.  In 1973, for example, the deacons of First Baptist Church voted to bar African Americans from joining the congregation.  Fellowship Baptist Church formed in protest.  (It is still one of the more liberal congregations in town.)  One time in the 1960s the senior pastor of First Baptist Church visited Koinonia Farm and invited the people there to attend that night’s revival service.  They accepted the invitation.  Soon First Baptist Church was looking for a new senior minister.  Meanwhile, across the street, at First Methodist Church, men clad in their Sunday best kept African Americans from attending Sunday morning services.  They turned away Jordan and a group from Koinonia.

In 1968 Koinonia Farm reorganized as Koinonia Partners.

Jordan, a sought-after speaker on the liberal lecture circuit, as well as a friend of Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote the Cotton Patch Versions of New Testament books.  Thus Jerusalem became Atlanta, Nazareth became Valdosta, et cetera.  Jordan was writing another Cotton Patch Version on October 29, 1969, when he died of a heart attack at Koinonia Partners.  He was 57 years old.

Habitat for Humanity, founded by Millard Fuller (1935-2009) and Linda Fuller, is part of the continuing legacy of Clarence Jordan’s radical experiment in Christian community.  (The Fullers were two of the Koinonia Partners.)

Koinonia continues, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 11, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BARNABAS THE APOSTLE, COWORKER OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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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 Clarence Jordan,

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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My Easter Triduum 2016   1 comment

Marker March 26, 2016

Above:  My Father’s Grave Marker, Americus, Georgia, Saturday Morning, March 26, 2016

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Most of my Easter Triduums are meaningful yet similar to each other; they run together in my memory.  The Triduum of 2016 was an exception to that rule.

The Reverend John Dodson Taylor, III, my father, was a minister of The United Methodist Church.  Complications of Alzheimer’s Disease forced his retirement a few years ago.  He died, not quite 71 years old, on October 30, 2014, less than a year after entering a nursing home in Americus, Georgia.  For reasons I choose not to explain in this post the interment of his cremains did not occur until Holy Saturday, March 26, 2016.

I spent part of Maundy Thursday, all of Good Friday, and half of Holy Saturday in Americus.  The Maundy Thursday service at Calvary Episcopal Church was the Prayer Book liturgy with part of the rites for Good Friday tacked on the end.  It was Johannine, for, in the Gospel of John, Jesus died on Thursday, not Friday.  The community-wide service of the Stations of the Cross at Calvary Episcopal Church at Noon on Good Friday was also meaningful.  The lessons I took away from those liturgies were:

  1. Love is evident in the sacrifice, and
  2. We mortals stand at the foot of the cross, not in the position of judgment.

I knew both of those already, but hearing a priest remind me of them was helpful.

The most potent moment of my visit occurred on the morning of Holy Saturday.  My mother and I were among the small group which gathered for the interment of my father’s cremains in a garden spot on the grounds of Fellowship Baptist Church, a congregation of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.  The Reverend Wendy Peacock, the pastor there, used the Service for Committal from The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992), appropriately.  Covering the container for my father’s cremains with soil was an emotional moment.

I had to return to Athens-Clarke County, so I did.  That night I attended the Great Vigil of Easter at my parish, St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church.  The liturgy was mercifully brief, for there were just four readings, including the Gospel.  The day had already been long for me, so a marathon of a vigil would have been out of the question for me.  The vigil was glorious, as was the 10:30 Holy Eucharist on Easter Sunday, but I remained subdued.  I had, after all, just buried my father.

I have known of my mortality in a visceral way since my junior college days, when I almost died violently, with someone choking me.  Being dead has not terrified me, but thoughts of manners in which I might suffer and die have scared me.  Watching my father’s deterioration did nothing to calm those fears.  My father’s death made my sense of mortality even more real.  Burying him has made my mortality even more concrete in mind.  Burying him has given me much to contemplate solemnly.

Doing so will require as much time as will be necessary and proper.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

MONDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF SAINT TUTILO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GUNTRAM OF BURGUNDY, KING

THE FEAST OF KATHARINE LEE BATES, U.S. EDUCATOR, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

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A Related Post:

https://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/grave-marker-of-john-dodson-taylor-iii/

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