Archive for the ‘Fred Rogers’ Tag

Feast of Fred Rogers (February 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  Fred Rogers, July 9, 2002

Image in the Public Domain

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FRED MCFEELY ROGERS (MARCH 20, 1928-FEBRUARY 27, 2003)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

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…but kindness is like a garden of blessings….

–Sirach 40:17a, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

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Fred Rogers comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via his deep Christian piety and great decency.

For years, off and on, hosts of FOX and Friends have taken Rogers behind the woodshed verbally, as clips easily available on YouTube prove.  These television personalities have asked if he was

RUINING KIDS

for telling young people,

You’re special because you’re you.

These hosts have also accused Rogers of being

This evil, evil man….

As any historian knows, consider the source.  That source’s foolishness is obvious to anyone who knows what evil is.  When I think of evil people, my mind turns immediately to genocidal dictators:  Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot.  Personalities at FOX and Friends think of kindly hosts of children’s shows, apparently.

But kindness is a paradise in its blessings….

–Ecclesiasticus 40:17a, The Revised English Bible (1989)

Fred Rogers was a  paragon of gentleness and mere goodness.  Fred McNeely Rogers knew about childhood struggles firsthand.  He, son of Nancy Rogers and businessman James Rogers, debuted in LaTrobe, Pennsylvania, on March 20, 1928.  Our saint, as a youth, was overweight, shy, and a frequent target for bullies.  The introvert, played with puppets and stuffed animals at home.  He came out of his shell and slimmed down eventually.

Our saint made a career in television, mostly for children.  After graduating from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, with a degree in music composition, in 1951, Rogers worked for NBC in New York, New York, for two years.  He worked behind the cameras on positive programming.  In 1952 Rogers married Sara Joanne Byrd, a former classmate at Rollins College, and a fine pianist.  The couple raised two children and remained married until our saint died, in 2003.

But goodness, like eternity, will never be cut off….

–Wisdom of Ben Sira 40:17a, The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011)

Rogers made the transition to children’s programming in 1953, when he went to work behind the cameras at WQED, a public television station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He developed The Children’s Corner.  Our saint also studied child psychology and development at the University of Pittsburgh, where he met Margaret McFarland, a psychologist.  They collaborated professionally for decades.  Furthermore, Rogers studied at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  He became an ordained minister in The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1963.  Rogers served as a pastor in a congregation; television was his main ministry.  Writing books for children was another ministry.

Rogers worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in Toronto from 1963 to 1967.  He made his debut as a host on MisteRogers (1963-1967).  Our saint also worked on Butternut Square from 1964 to 1967.  Many characters on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood started during this period.

You made this day special just by being yourself.

–Fred Rogers

Rogers, back in Pittsburgh, produced and starred in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-1975, 1979-2001), for which he also composed most of the music.  He created 895 episodes rerun frequently.  The series focused on the moral, psychological, and emotional development of children.  Themes included tolerance and self-worth.  Topics included assassination (in 1968), divorce, civil rights, the death of a pet, and starting school.  Rogers affirmed that life is not cheap, that is a great wonder and something to affirm and celebrate.  He also said that television programs should make that point.

You know, you don’t have to look like everybody else to be acceptable and to feel acceptable.

–Fred Rogers

Rogers also made other television appearances, usually as himself.  In 1978, on hiatus from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, our saint hosted the 20 episodes of Old Friend…New Friends, an interview series for adults.  He also portrayed the Reverend Thomas in an episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman in 1996.

Rogers produced the final episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in December 2000.  Then he retired.  That retirement was brief, due to our saint’s failing health.  Rogers, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 27, 2003.  In less than a month, he would have been 75 years old.

Fred Rogers was a good neighbor to everyone.

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Loving God, in whom all goodness dwells and in whom is Heaven,

we thank you for the life, legacy, and faith of your servant, Fred Rogers,

a vehicle and conduit of your love for all people.

May your love define our lives and inform our work,

for the benefit of others and for your glory;

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

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-13a

Psalm 15

1 Corinthians 13

Matthew 18:1-5

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

PROPER 22:  THE SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF GEORGE EDWARD LYNCH COTTON, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CALCUTTA

THE FEAST OF HEINRICH ALBERT, GERMAN LUTHERAN COMPOSER AND POET

THE FEAST OF JOHN ERNEST BODE, ANGLICAN PRIEST, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM TYNDALE, ENGLISH REFORMER, BIBLE TRANSLATOR, AND MARTYR, 1536; AND MILES COVERDALE, ENGLISH REFORMER, BIBLE TRANSLATOR, AND BISHOP OF EXETER

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