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Feast of John Hines (July 19)   1 comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor



Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and Witness for Civil Rights


Justice is the corporate face of love.

John Hines, 1981


John Elbridge Hines will probably receive his pledge on The Episcopal Church’s calendar eventually.  The appendix to A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016) lists him as one of those

people worthy of commemoration who do not qualify under the “reasonable passage of time” guideline.

–Page A3

That makes sense as a denominational policy.  Nevertheless, more than a reasonable amount of time has passed for inclusion on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

John Elbridge Hines was a prophet, in the highest sense of that word.  He, born in Seneca, South Carolina, on October 10, 1910, graduated from The University of the South then from Virginia Theological Seminary.  Our saint, ordained during the Great Depression, served in the Diocese of Missouri for a few years, during which he imbibed deeply of Social Christianity.  He also married Helen Orwig (1910-1996).  The couple had five children.  As the Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Augusta, Georgia, from 1937 to 1941, Hines was an outspoken critic of racial segregation.  Our saint’s final parish (from 1941 to 1945) was Christ Church, Houston, Texas.

Hines was a bishop most of his life.  From 1945 to 1955 he was the Bishop Coadjutor of Texas; then he was the Bishop of Texas for another nine years.  In Texas Hines helped to found the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the West, in Austin, in 1953.  He also integrated schools.  Then, in 1965, at the age of 54 years, Hines became the Presiding Bishop of the denomination.

Change was in the air, and much of that change was morally correct yet no less jarring and offensive to many.  Civil rights for African Americans were difficult for many white Americans to accept, for racism ran deeply.  Likewise, feminism was challenging patriarchy, which also ran deeply.  The Episcopal Church, long known as “the Republican Party at prayer,” was engaging the winds of change.  Many of the leaders were liberal–pro-civil rights, pro-equal rights for women.  Elements of the church resisted these changes, however.  Hines, with his social conscience fully engaged with regard to race, gender, and economics, had to contend with much strong opposition within The Episcopal Church.  He built on the legacies of his two immediate predecessors–Henry Knox Sherrill (1947-1958) and Arthur Carl Lichtenberger (1958-1964).

Much of what was revolutionary in 1965-1974 became mainstream subsequently.  The new Presiding Bishop marched at Selma, Alabama, in 1965; that was a controversial decision.  In 1971 Hines led a campaign to divest from South Africa, a proposition that aroused much opposition in much of U.S. Right Wing as late as the early 1990s.  In the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan, who told Archbishop Desmond Tutu that the dark-skinned majority of South Africa would have to wait for their rights, Reagan opposed divestment.  Yet, according to Tutu, divestment was crucial to ending Apartheid.  Hines also favored expanding roles for women in the church–including as lectors, as delegates to the General Convention, and as deacons, priests, and bishops.  He retired in 1974, just as the dispute over the ordination of women as priests became more of an issue.  Also, there were no female bishops in The Episcopal Church or the wider Anglican Communion until 1989.  for a few years after that the election and consecration of a female bishop was a major story in the ecclesiastical press.  As of 2018, however, it has become routine.  Hines also presided over the early stages of liturgical revision, early steps toward The Book of Common Prayer (1979), a volume objectionable to many conservatives at the time, as now.  Some of them found all or much of this change so offensive that they committed schism from The Episcopal Church.  Then many of them committed schism from each other, hence the confusing organizational mess that is Continuing Anglicanism in the United States.  Many of the allegedly theologically pure were apparently purer than others of their number.  Donatism ran amok and became cannibalistic.  (I, an ecclesiastical geek, have a long attention span and a tendency to pay attention to minor details, but even I find divisions in Continuing Anglicanism confusing.  Most of the divisions are over minor theological points, actually.  Collegiality, one of the great traditions of Anglicanism, is in short supply.)

Hines, invoking hindsight, was honest about the lofty goals and mixed legacy of the General Convention Special Program (GCSP), created in 1967.  The GCSP awarded grants, with the purpose of fostering racial justice, economic justice, and self-determination.  One of the conditions for a grant was not to advocate for violence.  The initial lack (in 1967-1970) of veto power by the local bishop was an especially controversial point.  In 1970 the establishment of that veto power, with a mechanism for overriding it, meant that no grants led to embarrassing headlines, as during the first three years of the program.  The GCSP, cut back in 1973, did not survive the 1970s.  After 1973, however, funding for work among Hispanics and Native Americans increased.  Nevertheless, the damage from 1967-1970 was done.  Many people had left The Episcopal Church in protest, and many parishes and some dioceses had, for a few years, withheld funding from the national church.

Hines, who understood that the institutional quest for justice was important than complacent, oblivious tranquility and internal reconciliation, retired three years early, in 1974.  He and Helen moved to North Carolina before relocating to Texas in 1993.  She, aged 85 years, died on May 17, 1996.  Our saint, aged 86 years, died in Austin on July 19, 1997.

The legacy of John Elbridge Hines should remind us of the moral necessity of applying Christian principles to pressing social issues, of creating justice, and of recognizing our individual, collective, and institutional complicity in injustice.  His legacy should also remind us that strong opposition to confronting injustice exists even within the church, and that doing the right thing will often come at a high cost.  We must still do the right thing, though.  The legacy of Bishop Hines should teach us these lessons.  Whether it does is up to us.









Almighty God, we praise you for your servant John Elbridge Hines,

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



Feast of Albert Rhett Stuart (July 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

An Episcopal flag hangs in my bedroom.  This is a rotated image.



Episcopal Bishop of Georgia and Advocate for Civil Rights


People are discovering that a life full of gadgets is no satisfactory substitute for a life lived in the power and presence of God.

–Bishop Albert Rhett Stuart, 1956; quoted in Henry Thompson Malone, The Episcopal Church in Georgia, 1733-1957 (Atlanta:  Diocese of Atlanta, 1960), 195


This feast comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Saints of Georgia (1998, 2004), by Henry Irving Louttit, Jr., Bishop of Georgia from 1995 to 2010.  Bishop Louttit set the feast day on July 8 and concluded his profile of Bishop Stuart with:

Pray that we may stand with integrity for justice in our world, but always with compassion for sinners, including perpetrators of injustice.

–Page 16

That is consistent with the spirit Bishop Stuart embodied.

Scanned from Malone, The Episcopal Church in Georgia, 1733-1957 (1960) by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Albert Rhett Stuart, born in Washington, D.C., in 1905, was a prophetic (in the best sense of that word) presence in the Church.  Prior to his tenure as the Sixth Bishop of Georgia (1954-1971) he was:

  1. Rector of the Church of the Redeemer, Greensboro, South Carolina (1931-1936);
  2. Rector of St. Michael’s Church, Charleston, South Carolina (1936-1947); and
  3. Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans, Louisiana (1947-1954).

He also served on the denominational National Council from 1939 to 1943.

The date of Stuart’s consecration as Bishop of Georgia was October 20, 1954.

Above:  Episcopal Dioceses in Georgia, 1960

Scanned from Malone, The Episcopal Church in Georgia, 1733-1957 (1960) by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Bishop Stuart presided over a mostly rural and deeply conservative diocese, the northern boundary of which was south of Columbus, to the south and east of Macon, and to the west and north of Augusta.  The Diocese of Atlanta (“the great northern diocese,” as Bishop Louttit called it in my presence once) filled out the rest of the state.  The Diocese of Florida was to the south, the Diocese of Alabama was to the west, and the Dioceses of South Carolina and Upper South Carolina were to the east.  Toward the end of Bishop Stuart’s tenure the Diocese of Alabama divided; the lower portion joined with the part of the Diocese of Florida in the Central Time Zone to form the Diocese of Central Gulf Coast.

Aside:  I grew up in southern and central Georgia–in the rural areas, to be precise.  My experiences taught me that these parts of the state have never been bastions of social, theological, and political progressivism, certainly not in the realms of race and gender.  Open racism was bad in the 1980s, when came of age.  Many of my neighbors and fellow parishioners could have walked off the screen at a screening of Blazing Saddles (1974).  The blatant racism was worse in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, when Stuart was the Bishop of Georgia.  Long have I had strong social, theological, and political differences with the majority in southern and central Georgia, a place where I felt like a resident heretic.  When I felt especially snarky, I called myself a Godless communist.  I have, of course, been a Christian as long as I can recall and have never been a communist.  Fabian Socialism has come to make much sense to me, however.

Bishop Stuart’s support for evangelism was vigorous.  He founded missions in growing communities and in towns lacking an Episcopal Church presence.  He also encouraged choirs and year-round Sunday school programs.  As he built up the Diocese of Georgia Bishop Stuart also oversaw the opening of the new camp and conference center, Honey Creek, in northern Camden County, in 1960.

Above:  Lodge 1, Honey Creek, May 15-16, 1998

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

With regard to emotional and difficult issues Bishop Stuart led the way while calling for patience and grace.  The latter of Stuart’s episcopate overlapped with the beginnings of the revision of The Book of Common Prayer (1928).  Early stages of the road to The Book of Common Prayer (1979) included The Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper (1967) and Services for Trial Use (1971).  Mainly in reference to the former, due to the chronology, Bishop Stuart called for calm and encouraged people to do as The Episcopal Church requested–send feedback via official channels.  Bishop Stuart also supported the expansion of roles for women in ecclesiastical life.  During his time as the Bishop of Georgia that mainly meant permitting women to full more leadership roles on the parish and diocesan levels.  “Laymen,” he insisted, meant men and women.

The major storm with which Bishop Stuart had to struggle was institutionalized racism.  At the 1956 diocesan convention he called for

patience and charity in the midst of prejudice.

–Quoted in Malone, The Episcopal Church in Georgia, 1733-1957 (1960), 196

For most of the existence of the Diocese of Georgia the African-American minority had been, as Father Charles Lwanga Hoskins, author of Black Episcopalians in Georgia:  Strife, Struggle and Salvation (1980), wrote, a

troublesome presence,

from the perspective of many in the white majority.  Under Bishop Stuart, however, African Americans in the Diocese of Georgia became, as Hoskins wrote,

part of the family.

This did not meet with the approval of many lay people, who were more conservative than their bishop and most of the priests.  This did not meet with the approval of some the priests either.  And, when Bishop Stuart, in segregationist Savannah, was one of the few white leaders who dared to go on television to support racial integration, he created more controversy.  In 1964 Bishop Stuart was one of 39 Jewish and Christian clergymen who signed the following statement:

Let every citizen recognize that all human rights and freedoms are given by God Almighty to be shared equally among all men, to be preserved, guaranteed and protected by government, and to be upheld by all persons for their mutual benefit and employment.

Thomas J. McDonough, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Savannah, signed the statement.  So did John Owen Smith, the bishop with jurisdiction over the North and South Georgia Conferences of The Methodist Church (later The United Methodist Church).  Yet many evangelical and fundamentalist religious leaders refused to sign the statement.  So did Father Ernest Risley, the Rector of St. John’s Church, Savannah, and one of the sixteen unsuccessful nominees for Bishop of Georgia in 1954.

Risley, a segregationist, refused to permit African Americans to worship on a regular basis at St. John’s Church.  In 1965 to wrote Fathers Harry Woolston Shipps (later the Bishop of Georgia, as Louttit’s immediate predecessor) and Mark Becton, priests of the diocese,

I believe that integration is contrary to God’s will. I will resign as a minister before I’ll allow Negroes in St. John’s.

That year Risley renounced his Episcopal ministry and led the overwhelming majority of St. John’s Church (the vote to leave had been 785-75) out of the denomination.  Most of the secessionists reunited with The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Georgia at Pentecost 1969, minus Risley and those who with him had formed St. Andrew’s Independent Episcopal Church in 1968.  St. Andrew’s Church affiliated with the Reformed Episcopal Church in 2006.  For the last few years the congregation has called itself St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, due to its affiliation with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

Bishop Stuart retired in 1971.  He died in Savannah on April 21, 1973.  His wife, Isabella Alston Stuart (b. 1915) had predeceased him in 1964.  Their two children survived him.

Sometimes we in the church need bishops and other leaders who contradict our prejudices, to which we cling stubbornly.  We might recognize the greatness and moral courage of such leaders after they have left office or died.  But do we dare to recognize their greatness and moral courage in real time?








Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Albert Rhett Stuart,

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


Feast of Dora Greenwell (March 29)   Leave a comment

I Both Hold and am Held

Above:  I Both Hold And Am Held

Image in the Public Domain



Poet and Devotional Writer

These days, in most of the Western World, women have professional opportunities due to the successes of feminism.  But Dora Greenwell did not live during a time in which she could enjoy these advantages.  Her legacy, however, was–and is–quite impressive.

Dora Greenwell was a sister of two priests of The Church of England.  William, eventually Dean of Durham Cathedral, and Alan, Rector of Golborne then Clifton.  From 1848 to 1854 Dora lived with one brother then the other, helping in the work of each sibling’s parish.  Then, in 1854-1872, she lived with her widowed mother at Durham.  From 1872 to 1881 Dora resided at Tarquay then Clifton the  London, advocating for proper mental health care.  In 1881 an accident led to her death, which occurred at Alan’s home at Clifton, near Bristol.

Dora published volumes of poetry:

  • Carmina Crucis (1869);
  • Songs of Salvation (1873);
  • The Soul’s Legend (1873); and
  • Camera Obsucra (1876).

She also published volumes of devotional prose:

  • A Present Heaven;
  • The Covenant of Life and Peace;
  • Two Friends;
  • Essays;
  • Liber Humanitatis;
  • The Life of John Woolman;
  • The Life of Lacordaire;
  • Colloquia Crucis; and
  • The Patience of Hope, which John Greenleaf Whittier classed with devotional classics.

She wrote extensively on the Atonement.  Dora’s chosen symbol was Luther’s heart set against a black cross amid white roses–thereby signifying the joy, peace, and consolation found in Christ’s cross.  The poet, referring to her position relative to the cross, said,

I both hold and am held.

One of the texts in Songs of Salvation (1873) was “I Am Not Skilled to Understand,” the text of which follows:

I am not skilled to understand

What God hath willed, what God hath planned;

I only know at His right hand

Stands One who is my Saviour.


I take God at His word and deed:

“Christ died to save me”–this I read;

And in my heart I find a need

Of Him to be my Saviour.


And was there no other way

For God to take?–I cannot say;

I only  bless Him, day by day,

Who saved me through my Saviour.


That He should leave His place on high

And come for sinful man to die,

You count it strange?–so do not I,

Since I have known my Saviour.


And O that He fulfilled may see

The travail of His soul in me,

And with His work contented be,

As I with my dear Saviour!


Yea, living, dying, let me bring,

My strength, my solace, from this spring,

That He who lives to be my King

Once died to be my Saviour.







Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servant Dora Greenwell.

Teach us to drive from this world all chaos and disorder,

that our eyes may behold your glory,

and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation

in Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61


Revised on December 24, 2016


Feast of Pauli Murray (July 1)   1 comment

Source = Carolina Digital Library and Archives



Attorney, Civil Rights Advocate, and Episcopal Priest

The Episcopal Church greatly expanded and revised its calendar of saints at the 2009 General Convention.  Lesser Feasts and Fasts, revised every three years, went by the wayside as Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints took its place in 2010.  This thick volume contains a one-page appendix containing names of “people worthy of commemoration who do not qualify under the ‘fifty-year rule.'”  Among those names on this list is that of Pauli Murray.

The “fifty-year rule” is not a hard and fast one, for, in the 1990s, the calendar included Martin Luther King, Jr. (d. 1968) and Jonathan Myrick Daniels (d. 1965).  For reasons nobody has explained to me, the church did not add Murray to the calendar in 2009, but I will wait no longer.  I hereby enroll her in my calendar of saints.

Anna Pauline Murray was born in Baltimore, Maryland.  Orphaned at a young age, she grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where three aunts raised her.  Her “three mothers,” as she called them, taught her “above all honor and courage in all things.”  Pauli excelled in her studies, graduating with honors from high school then from Hunter College in New York City and, after that, Howard University Law School (1944).  The University of North Carolina Law School had denied her admission because of her race.  Post-Howard, Harvard University declined to permit her to attend because she was a she.  Murray furthered her education at the University of California at Berkeley, where she earned a Masters of Law degree before joining the California Bar in 1946.

Murray devoted her life to fighting racial and sexual discrimination.  This was a difficult struggle, due to the reactionary nature of much of society in the 1940s and 1950s.  When Murray applied for a position at Cornell University in 1952, her good friends and allies in the struggle for equality recommended her highly.  Certain individuals at Cornell considered these people too radical, so Murray did not get the job.  And who were these allegedly Un-American radicals?  They were none other than former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, labor leader A. Philip Randolph, and N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund attorney Thurgood Marshall.  Marshall, you might or might not recall, went on to argue for the Brown side of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Murray, aside from her work in civil rights law, helped to form the Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.) and the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.), was arrested and imprisoned once for refusing to sit at the back of a bus, and helped to integrate lunch counters.  Murray’s final act involved entering seminary at age sixty-two and becoming the first African-American female Episcopal priest in 1977.

(Historical note:  The church had opened up the priesthood to women at the 1976 General Convention, after it had nearly done so in 1973.  And, in 1974 and 1975, there were “irregular” ordinations of women to the priesthood.)

So it was that Pauli Murray, granddaughter of a slave, celebrated Holy Eucharist at Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where her slave grandmother had been baptized.





Do you want to know more?  Follow these links:


I have chosen to use the collect and readings for a Prophetic Witness in Society, from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010):

Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness in the care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit,

grant that we may do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer,

who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29