Archive for the ‘Frank Mason North’ Tag

Feast of Frank Mason North (December 17)   1 comment

Above:  Frank Mason North

Image in the Public Domain

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FRANK MASON NORTH (DECEMBER 3, 1850-DECEMBER 17, 1935)

U.S. Methodist Minister, Social Reformer, and Hymn Writer

The best of the liberal strain of Christianity has fought for humanitarian causes, including decent standards for low-income housing, workplace safety, and the abolition of slavery and child labor.  From that tradition came Frank Mason North, who understood that morality had to do with much more than personal peccadilloes, and that the Golden Rule applied to societies as well as to individuals.

North, who became a leading advocate of the Social Gospel and Christian Socialism, was a son of Charles Carter North and Elizabeth Mason (North).  Our saint, born in Madison, New Jersey, on December 3, 1850, graduated from Wesleyan University (B.A., 1872; M.A., 1875) and became a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939).  Through 1892 he served as a pastor, serving in Florida, New York, and Connecticut.

North worked beyond the parish level, starting in 1892.  He was an urban missionary headquartered in New York City, through whose harbor immigrants entered the country.  Social concerns, such as urban poverty, mattered much to our saint, also; he was active in the labor movement and the movement to end child labor.  As the Corresponding Secretary of the New York Church Extension and Missionary Society, he also edited the Christian City and helped to draft the Social Creed of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1908).  North was also a founder of the Methodist Federation for Social Service (1907).  Then, in 1912, North made the turn toward foreign missions.  He went to work for the denominational Board of Missions in 1912.  Later, starting in 1919, our saint served as the Secretary of the denominational Board of Foreign Missions.  This work led to him serving on the International Mission Council from 1921 to 1928.  Furthermore, North served on the Methodist Committee on Unification (1920-1928), ahead of the three-way reunion in 1939.

North was also an ecumenist.  He helped to found the Federal Council of Churches (1908) then served as its President (1916-1920).

North married twice.  His first wife was Frances L. “Fannie” Stewart (1848-1878).  The couple had two sons:  Adolphus Stewart (1875-1913) and Mason Longacre North (1877-1878).  North’s second wife was Louise J. McCoy, whom he married in 1885.

North, aged 85 years, died on December 17, 1935.

North’s reputation seems to rest primarily on one hymn, “Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life” (1903).  He wrote at least seven more hymns:

  1. O Master of the Waking World” (1928), a socially-conscious missionary hymn;
  2. Jesus, the Calm that Fills My Breast;”
  3. O Christ, My Lord, Whose Perfect Life;”
  4. The World’s Astir; the Clouds of Storm;”
  5. Thou Lord of Light, Across the Years;”
  6. Touch Thou, O Lord, the Century’s Crest;” and
  7. “Where Lies our Path, We Seek to Know.”

More of our saint’s hymns should become more popular.

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God of compassion and the Incarnation, we thank you for the life, work, and legacy of Frank Mason North,

who understood the importance of domestic and foreign missions, of ecumenism, and of social justice.

We also thank you for his enduring legacy of hymnody as we recognize the continued relevance of his texts.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Leviticus 19:1-16

Psalm 100

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

Matthew 28:16-28

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 4, 2019 COMMON ERA

INDEPENDENCE DAY (U.S.A.)

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ADALBERO AND ULRIC OF AUGSBURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN AND PEACEMAKER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC SERVANT OF THE POOR AND OPPONENT OF FASCISM

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