Archive for the ‘Fellowship of Reconciliation’ Tag

Feast of Harold A. Bosley (January 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Harold A. Bosley, 1948

Image Source  = Internet Archive

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HAROLD AUGUSTUS BOSLEY (FEBRUARY 19, 1907-JANUARY 20, 1975)

United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

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It is impossible to believe that the rulers and spiritual leaders of Israel took Micah’s judgment seriously.  They were not bereft of the kind of evasions which men in similar situations had used before and have used since.

–Harold A. Bosley, on Micah 3:8-12, in The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. VI (1956), 920

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Harold A. Bosley comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. VI (1956), for which he wrote the exposition on Micah.

Bosley, who had an active faith, sought to leave the world better and less unjust than he found it.  Our saint, son of Merrill Bosley and Effie Sinclair, entered the world in Burchard, Nebraska, on February 19, 1907.  He studied at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln (B.A., 1930); and The Univesity of Chicago (B.D., 1932; Ph.D. in Christian Studies, 1933).  Next, Bosley worked as the Director of Religious Activity at Iowa State University, Ames (1933-1934); and at Iowa State Teachers College, Cedar Falls (1934-1938).  While at Cedar Falls, our saint became a popular preacher and lecturer.  He spent most of the rest of his life as one, traveling to preach and lecture, in addition to attending to his other duties.  While in college, our saint had married Margaret Marie Dahlston, on April 21, 1928.  The couple raised five children.

Bosley spent all but three years of 1938 to 1974 as an active parish minister.  The served in prominent congregations, first in the Methodist Episcopal Church (-1939) then in The Methodist Church (1939-1968) and The United Methodist Church (1968-).

Above:  Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, Baltimore, Maryland

Image Source = Google Earth

Bosley served at Mount Vernon Place Methodist Church from 1938 to 1947.  He left that position to become the Dean of Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina.

Above:  First United Methodist Church, Evanston, Illinois

Image Source = Google Earth

Bosley served in First Methodist Church, Evanston, Illinois, from 1950 to 1962.

Above:  Christ Church, United Methodist, New York, New York

Image Source = Google Earth

Finally, Bosley was the Senior Minister at Christ Church, (United) Methodist, New York City, from 1962 to 1974.  He succeeded Ralph W. Sockman (1889-1970).

Bosley, who wrote books, received many honorary degrees, and preached on radio and television, lived his faith.  Churches had become timid in the face of social injustice, he stated candidly.  He was not timid as he supported civil rights, human rights, and world peace.  Bosley joined a Fellowship of Reconciliation-sponsored delegation that visited South Vietnam in 1965.  He also joined teams that visited Spain in 1967 and the Soviet Union in 1966, 1967, and 1971.  In 1966 our saint attempted to ship 10,000 Jewish prayer books to the Soviet Union.  Also, he chaired the Committee on Christian Social Concerns at the United Methodist General Conferences of 1968 and 1970.

The Bosleys retired to Beach Haven Terrace, New Jersey, in June 1974.  Our saint’s retirement was brief.  He, aged 67 years, died on January 20, 1975.

Given Bosley’s emphasis on social justice, writing an exposition on the Book of Micah was a fine assignment for him.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDER OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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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 Harold A. Bosley, 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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Feast of Emily Greene Balch (January 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Emily Greene Balch

Image in the Public Domain

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EMILY GREENE BALCH (JANUARY 8, 1867-JANUARY 9, 1961)

U.S. Quaker Sociologist, Economist, and Peace Activist

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If Messiah should arise bodily from death, it would mean there was more for us to learn in our efforts to understand than we had expected.  It would not overthrow any truth that we had eventually reached, whatever adjustment our thought might have to make.

–Emily Greene Balch, quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 90

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Emily Greene Balch, raised a Unitarian, spent her adult life working for social justice.  She, born in Boston, Massachusets, on January 8, 1867, came from a wealthy and prominent family.  Family wealth enabled our saint to receive a fine education.  Unitarianism, with its tradition of social justice activism, also contributed to Balch’s professional direction.  She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1889 then at the Sorbonne.  In 1892, in Boston, between graduate studies at the Sorbonne and at Harvard, Balch founded Denison House, modeled after Hull House, in Chicago, Illinois.  Our saint continued her graduate studies (focused on poverty, sociology, gender, and economics) at the Universities of Chicago and Berlin.

Balch served on the faculty of Wellesley College from 1896 to 1918.  She rose to Professor of Economics in 1913.  The college fired her in 1918; the cause of the termination was our saint’s pacifism during World War I.

Balch spent her professional life pursuing practical solutions to problems of poverty and gender.  The word “intersectionality” did not exist yet, but she tried to help people at intersections of categories, such as poor, child, female, immigrant, industrial worker, and conscientious objector.    She supported the labor union movement, was a suffragette, helped conscientious objectors, advocated to end child labor, and worked on industrial education.   Balch, Jane Addams (1860-1935), and others founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in 1915.  Our saint served as the Secretary General of that organization for a number of years.  She also joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation.  Balch, a convert to Quakerism in 1921, assisted refugees from the Third Reich while continuing to help conscientious objectors during World War II.  She also supported Allied victory in that war.  For our saint’s work with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946.

Balch, who never married, lived to the age of 94 years.  She died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 9, 1961.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 1, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA, DISCIPLE OF JESUS

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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 Emily Greene Balch,

to work for justice among people and nations, the 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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Feast of A. J. Muste (January 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  A. J. Muste

Image in the Public Domain

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ABRAHAM JOHANNES MUSTE (JANUARY 8, 1885-FEBRUARY 11, 1967)

Dutch-American Minister, Labor Activist, and Pacifist

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Only the nonviolent can apply therapy to the violent.

–A. J. Muste

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A. J. Muste 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).

Muste changed his mind on major points more than once, each time sending his life in a different direction.

Our saint, born in Zierkzee, The Netherlands, on January 8, 1885, to Martin and Adriana Muste, came from a Dutch Reformed family.  He, his parents, and his siblings, seeking economic opportunity, emigrated in 1891.  They settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan, joined the Dutch Reformed Church there, and naturalized in 1896.  The working-class congregation that shaped Muste was quite conservative–diehard Republican and puritanical.  Dancing, attending plays, and listening to secular music were allegedly sinful.

Muste, intelligent, was a fine student.  He, the valedictorian of Hope College in 1905, taught Greek and Latin at Northwestern Classical Academy (now called Northwestern College), Orange City, Iowa.  Then our saint studied at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, New Jersey, from 1906 to 1909.  After ordination into the ministry of the Reformed Church in America (1909), Muste married Anna Huizenga before the end of the year.  The couple raised three children.

Muste liberalized significantly during 1909-1914, his tenure as pastor of Fort Washington Collegiate Church, Washington Heights, New York, New York.  He questioned the religious strictness of his youth, accepted the Social Gospel, and earned a degree from Union Theological Seminary.  Muste had changed so much in 1912 that he cast his vote for Eugene Victor Debs, nominee of the Socialist Party, in the presidential election of 1912.

Muste was theologically honest.  By 1914 he no longer accepted the Westminster Confession of Faith, so he resigned his pastorate.  Our saint served as the pastor of Central Congregational Church, Newtonville, Massachusetts, for about three years.  (Muste succeeded Jay Thomas Stocking in that role.  Stocking’s immediate predecessor was Ozora Stearns Davis, who served in 1900-1904.)  Muste, a pacifist, founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation in 1915.  In 1917, after the United States entered World War I, Muste resigned his pastorate under pressure.  Our saint volunteered for the Civil Liberties Bureau (a precursor of the American Civil Liberties Union) in Boston, in 1918.  He defended draft resisters.  Later that year, in Providence, Rhode Island, our saint joined the Quakers.

Muste became a labor union activist in 1919 and remained active in the cause for the rest of his life.  For sixteen weeks that year, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, workers went on strike.  They had a just cause; they worked 54-hour-long work weeks for $0.20 an hour.  (That amount, adjusted to inflation and keyed to the Consumer Price Index for 2018, the most recent year I can adjust amounts for inflation, is $2.90.)  Police spies tried to goad workers into committing violence, but Muste encouraged striking workers not to resort to violence.  Police beat him and incarcerated our saint for a week, though.  Later that year, Muste helped to found the Amalgamated Textile Workers of America.  He served as the secretary until 1921.

Muste became a radical–a Marxist-Leninist, even, for a time.  He, the president (1921-1933) of Brookwood Labor College, Katonah, New York, left the American Federation of Labor in 1929.  Our saint helped to found the Conference for Progressive Labor Action.  He also worked to build a labor third party, culminating in the Workers Party of the United States (1934-1936).

Muste changed direction again in 1936.  He left Marxism-Leninism behind and became a minister in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A..  Our saint’s writings, starting in 1936, were clear; the proper revolutionary force was Christianity.  From 1937 to 1940, he was the director of the (Presbyterian) Labor Temple, a mission of the Presbytery of New York to working men of New York City.  Our saint, the Executive Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation from 1940 to 1953), mentored Bayard Rustin (1912-1987), who taught nonviolent resistance tactics to Martin Luther King, Jr. (1939-1968).  Muste’s obvious opposition to Marxism-Leninism, starting in 1936, did not spare him from allegations during the 1950s of being a communist.  He was certainly a consistent pacifist, opposing wars, whether declared or “police actions.”  Muste also spoke out against racism at home and abroad.  Furthermore, he insisted that good housing and proper, affordable health care were human rights.  Those views were sufficient to prompt much criticism of him.

Muste died in New York, New York, on February 11, 1967.  He was 82 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 1, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA, DISCIPLE OF JESUS

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

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

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Rufus Jones (June 16)   1 comment

Above:  Rufus Jones

Image in the Public Domain

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RUFUS MATTHEW JONES (JANUARY 25, 1863-JUNE 16, 1948)

U.S. Quaker Theologian and Cofounder of the American Friends Service Committee

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This child will one day bear the message of the gospel to distant lands and to people across the sea.

–Peace Jones, aunt of Rufus Jones, speaking of her newborn nephew

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Rufus Matthew Jones did just that.  He, born in South China, Maine, on January 25, 1863, was a son of Edwin Jones and Mary Gifford Hoxie Jones.  Our saint grew up in a Quaker family.  He was a diligent scholar from an early age, studying first in a one-room village school, eventually transferring to Oak Grove Seminary (in nearby Vassalboro, Maine), then attending Providence Friends School (in Rhode Island).  After graduating from Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania, in 1885, Jones taught at Oakwood Seminary, Union Springs, New York.  In 1886-1887 our saint studied at Heidelberg University, in Germany.  Next, in 1887, Jones became a teacher at Providence Friends School.  Two years later he began to serve as the principal of Oak Grove Seminary, Vassalboro.  Then, from 1893 to 1934, our saint taught psychology and philosophy at Haverford College.  Howard Thurman was one of his pupils.

Jones was a philosopher, historian, mystic, prolific writer, and agent of social reform.  In 1915 he helped to found the Fellowship of Reconciliation.  Two years later he and Henry founded the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).  The AFSC’s initial purpose was to help conscientious objectors serve in non-combat roles, such as driving ambulances, during World War I.  The AFSC, of which Jones served as chair until 1928 and again in 1935-1936, became a relief and humanitarian agency after the Great War.  Its good works included feeding many Germans after the alleged war to end all wars and helping Jewish refugees in the 1930s.

Jones, husband first of Sarah Coutant (from 1888 to 1899), who died of tuberculosis, then of Elizabeth Cadbury (1902f), was an advocate of Quaker unity.  He used his position as the Editor of the Friends Review (1893-1894)/The American Friend (1894-1912) to work toward this goal.  The AFSC, with its inter-Quaker cooperation, also served this ecumenical purpose.  The organic union of Yearly Meetings across Orthodox, Conservative, and Hicksite lines, or combinations of two of the three, started after Jones died, however.  The various New York, Ohio, and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings merged into composite New York, Ohio, and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings in 1955.  The consolidation of the Baltimore Yearly Meetings followed in 1968.

Jones, a man committed to Christian missions, was not hostile to other religions.  In 1927, while traveling in Asia, he met with Mohandas Gandhi.  Later during that trip our saint spoke to the World Missionary Conference at Jerusalem.  He encouraged delegates, while supporting evangelism, to recognize the positive elements in other religions.

Jones advocated for German Jews in the 1930s.  In 1938, after the Kristallnacht, our saint was one-third of a Quaker delegation that visited the headquarters of the Gestapo.  The humanitarian Quakers, using the AFSC’s track record of feeding many otherwise-starving Germans after World War I, negotiated with Reinhard Heydrich, later an architect of, as the Third Reich put it creepily, “the final solution to the Jewish problem,” the “Jewish problem” being that Jews were alive.  The Quaker visitors received permission to send relief aid for Jews and to aid and abet the emigration of many Jews, thereby saving lives.

Jones, who was on the Modernist side of Quaker theology, spent his final years as he had spent his previous ones–living out Quaker values.  He represented the AFSC at the Nobel Prize ceremony in 1947, when the organization won the Peace Prize.  (A Quaker organization winning the Nobel Peace Prize is logical.)  He died, aged 85 years, at Haverford, Pennsylvania, on June 16, 1948.

The American Friends Service Committee and the Fellowship of Reconciliation continue in work of which Jones would approve–creating peace, advocating for immigrants and refugees, opposing discrimination, working for economic justice, et cetera–in other words, loving one’s neighbors as one loves oneself.  That sounds Christian to me.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE ALMSGIVER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIACH OF ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF CASPAR NEUMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PHILLIPS BROOKS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MASSACHUSETTS

THE FEAST OF THOMAS A. DOOLEY, PHYSICIAN AND HUMANITARIAN

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

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

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Paul Jones and John Nevin Sayre (September 4)   Leave a comment

Apotheosis of War

Above:  The Apotheosis of War, by Vasily Vereschchagin

Image in the Public Domain

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PAUL JONES (NOVEMBER 25, 1880-SEPTEMBER 4, 1941)

Episcopal Bishop of Utah and Peace Activist

colleague of 

JOHN NEVIN SAYRE (FEBRUARY 4, 1884-SEPTEMBER 13, 1977)

Episcopal Priest and Peace Activist

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INTRODUCTION

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The Episcopal Church commemorates the life of Bishop Paul Jones on September 4.  On this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, I do the same and add to the feast his colleague and fellow Episcopalian, John Nevin Sayre.

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PAUL JONES (I)

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Jones, born on November 25, 1880, at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was a cradle Episcopalian and a son of a priest.  After graduating from Yale University he attended the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  There, in 1906, Jones heard the Bishop Franklin S. Spalding, of the Missionary District of Utah, speak of the challenges of evangelizing in the Mormon-dominated state.  Our saint volunteered to serve in Utah.  And he did, at St. John’s, Logan.  In 1914 Jones became the archdeacon in the missionary district.  Later that year he succeeded Spalding as bishop.  Our saint built up the diocese well during his tenure (1914-1918).

Jones got into deep trouble for speaking out based on his conscience.  He was a pacifist, for he was convinced that Jesus disapproved of settling conflicts violently.  Jones also argued for recognizing the moral validity of conscientious objection to war.  Both church and society, he insisted, should respect the choice not to engage in violence.  All of this was politically dangerous to advocate for in the United States in 1917 and 1918, a time when much of the population contracted war fever.  In the realm of the ridiculous, Dachshunds became Liberty Hounds, German Shepherds became Alsacian Shepherds, and frankfurters became hot dogs, among other examples of renaming dog breeds and food products.  The city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, banned the performance of the music of Ludwig von Beethoven, who had been dead for 90 years.  Besides, given the composer’s political position regarding Emperor Napoleon I (he considered Bonaparte’s self-promotion a betrayal of principles), would Beethoven have supported German imperialism in 1914-1918, had he been alive?  Reason be damned, this was wartime panic and intolerance.  States and the federal government passed laws suspending the freedom of speech and redress of the government.  Certain opponents of U.S. involvement in World War I went to prison for their nonviolent activities, such as giving speeches and distributing leaflets.  (The First Amendment to the United States Constitution be damned also, apparently.)  Jones had to contend with false allegations of being pro-German and anti-American.  He got off relatively lightly, though; the Episcopal House of Bishops forced him to resign from both the Missionary District of Utah and the House of Bishops.  Years later he got to rejoin the House of Bishops yet without a vote therein.

Jones served as the executive secretary of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, devoted to the nonviolent resolution of conflicts, from 1919 to 1929.  A colleague there was John Nevin Sayre.

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JOHN NEVIN SAYRE (I)

With Paul Jones

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Sayre came from a distinguished family.  He, born on February 4, 1884, at South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was a grandson of John Williamson Nevin (1803-1886), the great German Reformed minister and Mercersburg theologian.  Our saint’s aunt was Alice Nevin (1837-1925), who contributed much to the life of the Reformed Church in the United States and to the civil life of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Sayre’s mother was Martha Finley Nevin (1824-1917), daughter of John Williamson Nevin and sister of Alice.  Our saint’s father was Robert Heysham Sayre (1844-1917), the manager of the Bethlehem Iron Works and the founder of the Sayre Mining and Manufacturing Company.  Sayre’s brother was Francis Bowes Sayre, Sr. (1885-1972), an attorney and diplomat.  Francis Sr. was a professor at Harvard Law School (1917-1923), the Advisor in Foreign Affairs to the King of Siam (1923-1925), the U.S. Ambassador to Siam (1925-1932), the Director of the Harvard Institute of Criminal Law (1932-1933), the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (1933-1939), the High Commissioner of the Philippines (1939-1942), and the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Leadership Council (1947-1952).  In 1913 he married Jessie Woodrow Wilson (died in 1933), daughter of President (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson (in office 1913-1921).  Through Francis Sr. our saint was able to gain access to prominent people, such as President Wilson, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (in office 1933-1945), General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), and Emperor Hirohito (reigned 1926-1989).

Our saint was a well-educated man.  He graduated from Princeton University (B.A., 1907) and the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts (B.D., 1911).  He also studied at the Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York (1908-1910) and the University of Marburg, Germany (1913-1914).  Sayre also taught at Princeton University (1911-1912) and at Boone University, Wuchang, China (1913).

Sayre became a pacifist in 1914.  He agreed with Jones that warfare was incompatible with the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.  Sayre, Assistant Rector (1915-1916) then Rector (1916-1919) of Christ Church, Suffern, New York, found his congregation to be less than fully supportive of his pacifism.  He resigned and helped to found Brookwood School (1919-1921), where he taught nonviolence for two years.  In 1921, when Brookwood School became Brookwood Labor College, an experimental residential two-year institution for workers, he transferred to the U.S. branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.  (He had helped to found that branch six years earlier.)  Sayre edited The World Tomorrow from 1922 to 1924 and served as the organization’s associate secretary from 1924 to 1935, serving under Jones during part of that time.  Sayre traveled the world as he sought to resolve conflicts nonviolently.  In 1927, for example, he, via Francis Sr., gained access to U.S. senators and State Department officials and thereby succeeded in halting the planned U.S. bombing of innocent civilians during a conflict in Nicaragua.

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PAUL JONES (II)

With John Nevin Sayre

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Jones spent his final years as the chaplain of Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio.  He also functioned as a spiritual advisor to students and a member of the faculty, as a well as a traveling speaker.  Other causes for which our saint advocated were economic justice (from a Christian Socialist perspective) and civil rights for African Americans.  In 1939 he and Sayre helped to found the Episcopal Pacifist Fellowship (now the Episcopal Peace Fellowship).  Toward the end of his life Jones helped to resettle European Jews fleeing the Nazis.  He died of multiple myeloma at Yellow Springs on September 4, 1941.  He was 60 years old.

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JOHN NEVIN SAYRE (II)

With Francis Bowes Sayre, Jr.

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Sayre, active in pacifist activism for most of his life, spent most of that life with Kathleen Whitaker, also his partner in activism.  She and her mother, pacifists, had emigrated from England in 1916.  Kathleen became the second Mrs. Sayre in 1922; the marriage ended when Sayre died in 1977.  (Sayre had married his first wife, Helen Augusta Bangs, on June 28, 1910.  She died two years and two days later.)  Other organizations through which the Sayres worked for peace and reconciliation included, of course, the Episcopal Pacifist/Peace Fellowship, the National Peace Conference and the International Fellowship of Witness.  Their pacifism translated, not surprisingly, into opposition to the Vietnam War.

Other favored causes included helping conscientious objectors in Europe and the United States during World War II, sparing the lives and facilitating the release and repatriation of Japanese prisoners of war after that conflict, advocating for civil liberties, and working for civil rights for African Americans.  Sayre died at South Hyack, New York, on September 13, 1977.  He was 93 years old.

A nephew, Francis Bowes Sayre, Jr. (1915-2008), a grandson of Woodrow Wilson, became an Episcopal priest, and from 1951 to 1978, the Dean of Washington National Cathedral.  True to his family heritage, he opposed Jim Crow, McCarthyism, and the Vietnam War.

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CONCLUSION

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As time moved on, so did ecclesiastical institutions.  The Lambeth Conference of 1958 approved the following resolutions:

Resolution 101 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations 

The Church’s Work of Reconciliation The Conference urges all members of the Anglican Communion to further the ministry of reconciliation by: (a) developing deeper understanding and fellowship with churchmen of every land; (b) extending the use of clergy and lay workers in lands other than their own, the exchange of teachers and seminarians, and the participation by lay visitors in the Church life of the countries they visit; (c) the general use of the Anglican Cycle of Prayer to undergird this wider sense of community; (d) participation everywhere in the wider community of all Christian people in the ecumenical opportunities open to them.

Resolution 102 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Christian Citizenship

The Conference calls upon all Christian people to recognise their duty of exercising to the full their responsibility as citizens in the national and international policies of their governments.

Resolution 103 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Christian Citizenship

The Conference calls upon all Christian people to strive by the exercise of mutual understanding, calm reason, and constant prayer, to reconcile all those who are involved in racial, political, economic, or other conflicts.

Resolution 104 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The Rights of Men and Nations

The Conference declares that the Church is not to be identified with any particular political or social system, and calls upon all Christians to encourage their governments to respect the dignity and freedom of people within their own nations and the right of people of other nations to govern themselves.

Resolution 105 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Sharing Material Resources

The Conference draws attention to the widespread poverty in many parts of the world; it notes with thankfulness the measures taken to help under-developed countries to become self-supporting, and calls upon Christians in more favoured lands to use their influence to encourage their governments in the task of relieving poverty by a generous sharing of their material and technical resources with those in need.

Resolution 106 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Modern Warfare and Christian Responsibility

The Conference reaffirms that war as a method of settling international disputes is incompatible with the teaching and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and declares that nothing less than the abolition of war itself should be the goal of the nations, their leaders, and all citizens. As an essential step towards achieving this goal the Conference calls upon Christians to press through their governments, as a matter of the utmost urgency, for the abolition by international agreement of nuclear bombs and other weapons of similar indiscriminate destructive power, the use of which is repugnant to the Christian conscience. To this end governments should accept such limitations of their own sovereignty as effective control demands. The Conference further urges the governments of the leading nations of the world to devote their utmost efforts at once to framing a comprehensive international disarmament treaty, which shall also provide for the progressive reduction of armed forces and conventional armaments to the minimum necessary for the maintenance of internal security and the fulfilment of the obligations of states to maintain peace and security in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

Resolution 107 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Modern Warfare and Christian Responsibility

The Conference calls Christians to subject to intense prayer and study their attitudes to the issues involved in modern warfare, and urges the Church to continue to consult regularly with scientists and political leaders about the many problems of ethics and conscience which arise from advances in nuclear research.

Resolution 108 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The United Nations

The Conference affirms the need for strengthening the United Nations and to this end: (a) urges that serious consideration be given to the revision of its Charter, the more effective use of, and respect for, the existing processes of international justice, and to the creation of adequate means for enforcing its decisions; (b) commends wholeheartedly the work done under the aegis of the United Nations, whereby the skills and resources of member nations are made available for the benefit of the whole of humanity; (c) recommends that all Church people be asked to pray for God’s blessing upon the officers and declared purposes of the United Nations; (d) urges that all Church people be asked to encourage community study regarding the constitution, the plans, and the needs of the United Nations.

Resolution 109 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The United Nations

The Conference draws attention to the work of the Committee of the Churches on International Affairs (within the World Council of Churches) and urges Anglicans to support its efforts to bring an informed Christian opinion to bear on international issues.

Resolution 110 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – Condemnation of Racial Discrimination

The Conference affirms its belief in the natural dignity and value of every man, of whatever colour or race, as created in the image of God. In the light of this belief the Conference affirms that neither race nor colour is in itself a barrier to any aspect of that life in family and community for which God created all men. It therefore condemns discrimination of any kind on the grounds of race or colour alone. The Conference would urge that in multi-racial societies members of all races shall be allowed: (a) a fair and just share in the government of their country; (b) a fair and just share in the control, development, and rewards of the natural resources of their country, including advancement to the highest level of attainment; (c) the right to associate freely in worship, in education, in industry, in recreation, and in all other departments of the common life.

Resolution 111 The Reconciling of Conflicts Between and Within Nations – The Church in an Industrial Age

The Conference urges the provinces of the Anglican Communion to give special study to the task, strategy, and ministry of the Church within industrial society, and by the use of bold and imaginative experiments to strengthen the impact of the Christian faith upon the whole life and pattern of industry.

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I am not a pacifist.  I have tried to become one, but I have not been able to, pardon the term, reconcile certain uncomfortable realities with idealism.  Sometimes the best choice is a bad one, albeit the least or lesser bad choice.  I write this post on the anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb in 1945.  As much as I deplore the human costs (including to innocent civilians) inherent in that act, I also know that the human costs (including to innocent civilians) would have been far worse had an invasion of the Japanese home islands occurred.  Forcing Japanese surrender also kept Soviet troops out of Japan.  President Harry Truman made the decision he had to make; he chose the lesser of two evils when no good option was available.  I also recognize the fact that reconciling with, not antagonizing, Japan after World War II made the world a better place for Allies and Japanese alike.  I wonder world history would have been different had the victorious Allies been kind to Germany and nicer to Japan at Versailles Palace in 1919.

Although I am not a pacifist, I refuse to condemn those who are.  They remind the rest of us of the importance of seeking peace–not just the absence of conflict, but the reality of reconciliation.  “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” may have been originally a moral step forward, insofar as its purpose was to curtail violence, but reconciliation is superior.  As Delenn, the Minbari Ambassador to Babylon 5, said in Passing Through Gethsemane (1995), one of my favorite episodes of Babylon 5 (1994-1998), “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” leaves many people blind and toothless.  Is it not better for all of us to retain our eyes and teeth and to strive for peace, or at least the absence of conflict?  Some violence is necessary, sadly, but most of it is morally unjustifiable.  Frequently the motivation for violence is revenge or pride, not self-defense.  Even when violence is in self-defense, it might damage the one who commits it.  Wildred Owen (who died a week before the armistice in 1918, wrote a poem in the voice of two soldiers.  One soldiers tells the other:

I am the enemy you killed, my friend.

I knew you in the dark; for so you frowned

Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.

Let us sleep now….

Also, given the long tradition of people from various religions (including, unfortunately, Christianity, named after the executed Prince of Peace) engaging in violence at the proverbial drop of a hat, from antiquity to the present day, I derive comfort from the fact many faithful people seek to incite nonviolence in the name of God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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Merciful God, you sent your beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near:

Raise up in this and every land witnesses who, after the examples of your servants

Paul Jones and John Nevin Sayre,

will stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel of the Prince of Peace,

our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you

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

Malachi 2:17-3:5

Psalm 76

1 Peter 3:8-14a

John 8:31-32

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 561

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