Archive for the ‘G. Scott Cady’ Tag

Feast of Thomas Baldwin (December 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  Thomas Baldwin

Image in the Public Domain

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THOMAS BALDWIN (DECEMBER 23, 1753-AUGUST 29, 1825)

U.S. Baptist Minister and Hymn Writer

Thomas Baldwin 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).

Baldwin was a native and resident of New England.  He, born in Bozrah, Connecticut, on December 23, 1753, moved to Canaan, New Hampshire, when sixteen years old.  He married his first wife, Rebecca Huntington (1755-1812) in 1775.  The couple had one daughter, Rebecca Baldwin (Goble) (1778-1800), who married in 1796.  She gave birth to two children, Andrew (1799-1880) and Anna (1800-1854).  Our saint, a member of the New Hampshire legislature, was also a law student in 1881, when he had a conversion experience and joined a Baptist church.

Baldwin, ordained in 1783, spent seven years as an itinerant evangelist.  Then he spent 1790-1825 as the pastor of Second Baptist Church, Boston, Massachusetts.  He wrote at least seven hymns, helped to organize the Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Society (1802), edited The Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Magazine (1803f; available at archive.org), promoted foreign missions, wrote defenses of Baptist principles, and served as the chaplain to the General Court of Massachusetts.  Our saint also understood the importance of education.  He served as a trustee of Waterville College, Waterville, Maine (founded in 1813; now Colby College).  Furthermore, Baldwin helped to found Newton Theological Institute, Newton, Massachusetts (1825).  It was the first Baptist theological seminary in the United States of America.  The legacy of this institution has passed to Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut.

Baldwin, widowed in 1812, married Margaret Duncan (1769-1858) that year.

Our saint died in Waterville, Maine, on August 29, 1825.  He, 71 years old, was as in town, in his capacity as a trustee, for commencement at Waterville College.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 22, 2021 COMMON ERA

PROPER 16:  THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF JACK LAYTON, CANADIAN ACTIVIST AND FEDERAL LEADER OF THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY

THE FEAST OF JOHN DAVID CHAMBERS, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS HRYHORII KHOMYSHYN, SYMEON LUKACH, AND IVAN SLEZYUK, UKRAINIAN GREEK CATHOLIC BISHOPS AND MARTYRS, 1947, 1964, AND 1973

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN KEMBLE AND JOHN WALL, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS, 1679

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THOMAS PERCY, RICHARD KIRKMAN, AND WILLIAM LACEY, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, 1572 AND 1582

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O God, our Heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant Thomas Baldwin,

to be a pastor in your Church and to feed your flock:

Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit,

that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ

and stewards of your divine mysteries;

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

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84 or 84:7-11

Ephesians 3:14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 719

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Feast of Demetrius A. Gallitzin (December 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin

Image Source = Baroness Pauline von Hügel, A Royal Son and Mother (1902)

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DEMETRIUS AUGUSTINE GALLITZIN (DECEMBER 22, 1770-MAY 6, 1840)

Russian-American Roman Catholic Priest

“The Apostle of the Alleghenies”

Born Dmitri Dmitrievich Galitzin

Also known as Augustine Smith

Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin 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).

Prince Dmitri Dmitrievich Gallitzin, born in The Hague, the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, was the son of Prussian Countess Adelheid von Schmettau (1748-1806) and Prince Dmitri Alexeivich Galitzin (1728-1803), at the time, the Russian Imperial Ambassador to the Dutch Republic.  The ambassador was a nominal member of the Russian Orthodox Church.  The Countess was a nominal Roman Catholic.  Both parents were friends of François-Marie Arouet, ak.a. Voltaire (1694-1778) and followers of Denis Diderot (1713-1784).  Our saint grew up a nominal, baptized member of the Russian Orthodox Church, with no religious training.

Our saint, a member of the aristocracy, grew up among political and intellectual elites.  As a young child, he sat on the lap of Czarina Catherine II “the Great” (reigned 1762-1796), in The Hague.  His first language–the tongue of his home–was French.  One childhood friend was the future William I, King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg (reigned 1815-1840).

The Countess returned to the Roman Catholic Church in 1786.  She and those around her influenced her son, confirmed in Holy Mother Church (as Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin) on August 28, 1787.  This development greatly displeased the ambassador, who had planned a military career in Russia for our saint.  The father nearly sent the son back to Russia.  Gallitzin remained in Western Europe and briefly served as an aide-de-camp to the commander of Austrian forces in Brabant in 1792.  Later that year, for political reasons, the Austrian Army dismissed all foreigners from its ranks.

Gallitzin’s parents sent him to the New World; they intended for him to travel in the Western Hemisphere for two years.  Our saint departed Rotterdam on August 18, 1792, and arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 28.  He disappointed his father again my matriculating at the Seminary of Saint Sulpice, Baltimore, on November 5, 1792.  The ambassador arranged for the son to receive a commission as a member of the palace guard in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  Gallitzin went AWOL from the Russian Imperial Army and remained in seminary.

Gallitzin, ordained a priest on March 18, 1795, became the first Roman Catholic priest to conduct all of his theological studies in the United States of America.  He served as a missionary in Maryland, Virginia (including what is now West Virginia), and Pennsylvania–mostly in Pennsylvania.  Gallitzin founded Loretto, Pennsylvania, the first Roman Catholic community with resident clergy in that part of that state, in 1799.  The congregation he founded became the Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel.  Saint Michael’s was the only Roman Catholic church between Saint Louis, Missouri, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for a few years.  Furthermore, ministry left Gallitzin deeply in debt for much of his life.  He paid off his debts before dying, however.  Our saint, a naturalized citizen of the United States (as Augustine Smith) since 1802, damaged his health by traveling in the Allegheny Mountains for years.  In so doing, he helped to build up the Roman Catholic Church in western Pennsylvania.

Somehow, Gallitzin found time to write defenses of Roman Catholicism, in response to attacks from Protestant ministers:

  1. A Defence of Catholic Principles, in a Letter to a Protestant Minister (1816); and
  2. Letter to a Protestant Friend, on the Holy Scriptures, or the Written Word of God (1820).

Gallitzin nearly became a bishop four times:

  1. He was on the short list for Bishop Coadjutor of Bardstown, Kentucky, under Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget (1763-1850).  That job went to John Baptist Mary David (1761-1841), Bishop Coadjutor of Bardstown (1819-1832) then Bishop of Bardstown (1832-1833).
  2. Our saint declined an offer to become the first Bishop of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1821/1822.  The Church had carved the Diocese of Cincinnati from the Diocese of Bardstown in 1821.
  3. Gallitzin was also a candidate to become the first Bishop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1827.  The Church created the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1843, however.
  4. The Church created the Diocese of Detroit from the Diocese of Cincinnati in 1833.  Gallitzin declined the offer to become the first Bishop of Detroit.

Gallitzin, aged 69 years, died in Loretto, Pennsylvania, on May 6, 1840.

Our saint is on the road to eventual canonization, given that the Roman Catholic Church declared him a Servant of God in 2005.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 20, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACCHAEUS, PENITENT TAX COLLECTOR AND ROMAN COLLABORATOR

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of western Pennsylvania.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 716

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Feast of Benjamin Tucker Tanner (December 20)   3 comments

Above:  Bishop Benjamin Tucker Tanner

Image in the Public Domain

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BENJAMIN TUCKER TANNER (DECEMBER 25, 1835-JANUARY 14, 1923)

African Methodist Episcopal Bishop and Renewer of Society

Bishop Benjamin Tucker Tanner 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).

Tanner, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on December 25, 1835, was a son of Hugh Tanner and Isabella Tanner.  Our saint, a student at Avery College, Pittsburgh, paid his way by working as a barber.  Then he spent three years as a student at Western Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh.

Tanner, ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, served in A.M.E. and Presbyterian churches.  He organized a Presbyterian Sunday school for former slaves in Washington, D.C..  Then, in 1863, our saint, back in the embrace of the A.M.E. Church, began to serve a church in Georgetown.  He transferred to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1886.  Subsequent posts included:

  1. Pastor of an A.M.E. church, Fredericktown, Maryland;
  2. Organizer of a Freedmen’s Bureau school;
  3. Chief Secretary of the General Conference of the A.M.E. Church (1868f);
  4. Editor, The Christian Recorder (1872f);
  5. Editor, The A.M.E. Review (1884f); and
  6. Bishop (1888f).

Tanner, who, as an ecclesiastical journalist, strove to build up African-American families, wrote books, too.  These were:

  1. Paul Versus Paul Ninth (1865);
  2. An Apology for African Methodism (1867);
  3. The Negro’s Origin:  And Is the Negro Cursed? (1869);
  4. An Outline of Our History and Government for African Methodist Churchmen, Ministerial and Lay, in Catechetical Form (1884); and
  5. The Color of Solomon–What?  “My Beloved is White and Ruddy”:  A Monograph (1895).

Tanner, with Alexander Crummell (1819-1898) and W. E. B. DuBois (1868-1963), founded the American Negro Academy, in memory of Frederick Douglass (1817-1895).  The American Negro Academy refuted racist White academic claims.

Tanner was also a family man.  He married Sarah, an escaped slave who reached freedom via the Underground Railroad.  The couple had nine children, seven of whom lived to adulthood.  The most notable offspring were trailblazers.  Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) became an internationally acclaimed painter.  Halle Tanner Dillon Johnston, M.D. (1864-1901), became a pioneering physician in the Jim Crow Deep South.

Tanner, aged 87 years, died of chronic myocarditis in Washington, D.C,

Sadly, our saint’s legacy of refuting racism remains relevant.  Talk (from just a few years ago) of the “death of racism” has proven false.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ARTEMISIA BOWDEN, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATOR AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF ERDMANN NEUMEISTER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF FRANCIS JOHN MCCONNELL, U.S. METHODIST BISHOP AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF JONATHAN FRIEDRICH BAHNMAIER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PETTER DASS, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

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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 Benjamin Tucker Tanner]

to use our freedom to bring justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-14

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Althea Brown Edmiston (December 17)   2 comments

Above:  The Flag of the Congo Free State and Belgian Congo

Image in the Public Domain

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ALTHEA MARIA BROWN EDMISTON (DECEMBER 17, 1875-JUNE 10, 1937)

African-American Southern Presbyterian Missionary in the Congo Free State then Belgian Congo

Althea Maria Brown Edmiston come 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).

Above:  Althea Brown Edmiston

Image in the Public Domain

Althea Maria Brown, born in Russelville, Alabama, on December 17, 1875, was a daughter of Robert Brown and Mary Suggs Brown, former slaves.  Our saint, after growing up on the family arm outside Rolling Fork, Mississippi (1876f), studied at Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee (1892-1901).  Then she studied at the Chicago Training School for City and Foreign Missions, which Lucy Jane Rider Meyer (1849-1922) and husband Josiah Shelly Rider operated.

The Executive Committee of Foreign Missions of the (Southern) Presbyterian Church in the United States commissioned Brown a missionary to the Congo Free State (Belgian Congo, 1908-1960; now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1901.  She departed for Africa in 1902.  Our saint began by working under missionary William Henry Sheppard (1865-1927) at the Ibanche mission station.  (Aside:  I have listed Sheppard for consideration for addition to this Ecumenical Calendar.)  Brown served as the matron of the Maria Carey Home for Girls and as a teacher and Sunday School educator.  The missionaries were stuck between rival Congolese factions.  Rather than endure violence and threats thereof, Sheppard and Brown moved the mission station to Luebo.

Above:  Map of the Congo Free State, 1905

Image in the Public Domain

The Reverend Alonzo L. Edmiston joined the mission in 1904.  The following year, he married Brown.  The couple had two children, Sherman Lucius Edmiston (b. 1906) and Alonzo Leaucourt Edmiston (b. 1913).  When not on furlough in the United States of America, the Edmistons worked at various mission stations.  They ministered among different peoples in Belgian Congo.  At Mutoto, Althea ran the Mutoto Girls’ Home for three years and the day school for four years.  Althea translated liturgical and educational materials into local languages.  She also wrote Grammar and Dictionary of the Bushonga or Bukuba Language as Spoken by the Bushonga or Bukuba Tribe Who Dwell in the Upper Kasai District, Belgian Congo, Central Africa (1932), the first work of its type in that tongue.

Althea, aged 61 years, died of malaria and sleeping sickness at Mutoto.

The (Southern) Presbyterian Church in the United States started the Althea Brown Edmiston Memorial Fund in 1939.

Our saint was so noteworthy that Ernest Trice Thompson (1895-1985) mentioned her in Presbyterians in the South, Volume Three:  1890-1972 (1973), 90.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 17, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL JOHNSON, CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, ANGLICAN PRIEST, PRESIDENT OF KING’S COLLEGE, “FATHER OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN CONNECTICUT,” AND “FATHER OF AMERICAN LIBRARY CLASSIFICATION;” TIMOTHY CUTLER, CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, ANGLICAN PRIEST, AND RECTOR OF YALE COLLEGE; DANIEL BROWNE, EDUCATOR, CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, AND ANGLICAN PRIEST; AND JAMES WETMORE, CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF THE BAPTISMS OF MANTEO AND VIRGINIA DARE, 1587

THE FEAST OF SAINT EUSEBIUS OF ROME, BISHOP OF ROME, AND MARTYR, 310

THE FEAST OF GEORGE CROLY, ANGLICAN PRIEST, POET, HISTORIAN, NOVELIST, DRAMATIST, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JAMES EARLY BENNETT, ANGLICAN PRIEST

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Almighty God, whose will it is to be glorified in your saints,

and who raised up your servant Althea Brown Edmiston to be a light in the world:

Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth your praise,

who called us out of darkness into your marvelous light;

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

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 98 or 98:1-6

Acts 17:22-31

Matthew 28:16-20

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 717

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Feast of Thomas Merton (December 9)   7 comments

Above:  Abbey of Gethsemani

Image Source = Google Earth

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THOMAS MERTON (JANUARY 31, 1915-DECEMBER 10, 1968)

U.S. Roman Catholic Priest, Monk, and Spiritual Writer

Also known as Father Louis Merton

His feast transferred from December 10

Thomas Merton comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via three sources:  Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997); G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year With American Saints (2006); and The Episcopal Church.

Instead of composing a brief biography of Merton, I refer you, O reader, to the biography available at the website of the Merton Center at Bellarmine University.  I choose to spend most of this post pondering one defining principle in our saint’s life.

One day, Merton, a monk, stood on the corner of South Fourth Street and East Walnut Street in Louisville, Kentucky.  He had an epiphany there.  Later, our saint wrote:

I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers.  It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness.

How much better would the world be if more people loved as Merton did?  He grasped mutuality, a principle embedded in the Law of Moses and the New Testament.  Our saint understood that all people bore the image of God, as he did.  So, he loved them.  This love compelled him to follow a radical path, one that entailed embracing interfaith dialogue and opposing the Vietnam War.

I do not pretend to be a spiritual giant.  Compared to Merton, I am a spiritual dust mite, actually.  I grasp certain high spiritual principles more in the intellectual sense than in the visceral sense.  I accept, for example, that all people bear the image of God.  I do not, however, love all people.  I know that I should love all people.  I struggle to approach Merton’s spiritual peak.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people–some of them professing Christians–reject responsible, morally defensible measures (such as wearing face masks and getting fully vaccinated), in violation of mutuality and love of neighbors.  They need a dose of Mertonian ethics.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 7, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF COLBERT S. CARTWRIGHT, U.S. DISCIPLES OF CHRIST MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF SAINT GUGLIELMO MASSAIA, ITALIAN CARDINAL, MISSIONARY, AND CAPUCHIN FRIAR

THE FEAST OF JOHN SCRIMGER, CANADIAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, ECUMENIST, AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIM SANDOVICH, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1914

THE FEAST OF SAINT VICTRICIUS OF ROUEN, ROMAN CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR AND ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Gracious God, you called your monk Thomas Merton to proclaim your justice out of silence,

and moved him in his contemplative writings

to perceive and value Christ at work in the faiths of others:

Keep us, like him, steadfast in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ,

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 57:14-19

Psalm 62

Colossians 2:2-10

John 12:27-36

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 113

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Feast of Benedict Joseph Flaget (November 7)   5 comments

Above:  Benedict Joseph Flaget

Image in the Public Domain

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BENEDICT JOSEPH FLAGET (NOVEMBER 7, 1763-FEBRUARY 11, 1850)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Bardstown then of Louisville, Kentucky

Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget 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).

Flaget was French.  He, born at Contournat, near Billom, Auvergne, on November 7, 1763, became an orphan when two years old.  Our saint and his two brothers grew up in the household of an uncle (Canon Benoît Flaget) and an aunt at Billom.  At the age of seventeen years, our saint matriculated at the Sulpician seminary in Clermont.

Flaget became a priest.  He, ordained on All Saints’ Day, 1783, at Issy, taught for years.  Our saint taught theology at Nantes for two years then did the same at Angers.  The anti-clericalism of the French Revolution led to the closing of the seminary at Angers.  Flaget, after returning briefly to Billom in 1791, sailed for the United States of America in January 1792.  He sailed with Étienne (Stephen) Theodore Badin (1768-1853), then a subdeacon, but destined to become the first Roman Catholic priest ordained in the United States of America, on May 25, 1793.  Flaget also sailed with Jean-Baptiste-Marie (John Baptist Mary) David (1761-1841), whom he had recruited to the seminary.

The three future missionaries landed in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 29, 1792.  They proceeded to study English and prepare for their tasks in the New World.  John Carroll (1735-1815), the Bishop of Baltimore (1789-1808) then the Archbishop of Baltimore (1808-1815), assigned Flaget to minister to indigenous people at Fort Vincennes, Northwest Territory (now Indiana).  Our saint arrived on December 21, 1792.  Recalled after two years, he taught at Georgetown College (now University) until 1798.  Then, transferred to Havana, Cuba, in 1798, Flaget eventually returned to Baltimore, in the company of twenty-three students.

Pope Pius VII created the Diocese of Bardstown, Kentucky (out of the Archdiocese of Baltimore), and appointed Flaget the first bishop thereof on April 8, 1808.  Flaget, back in France, initially refused.  Yet he accepted the appointment.  Our saint returned to the United States of America in 1810.  He sailed with friend and colleague Father Simon William Bruté (1779-1839), later the first Bishop of Vincennes.  Another passenger on that vessel was Subdeacon Guy Ignatius Chabrat (1787-1868).  Flaget, consecrated by Archbishop John Carroll in Baltimore on November 4, 1810, arrived in Bardstown on June 9, 1811.

The Diocese of Bardstown was initially vast.  However, as time passed, the Church carved other dioceses out of it.  In 1811, the Diocese of Bardstown included the original Northwest Territory (1787), Kentucky, and Tennessee.  The new diocese was a daunting mission field.  In 1811, after a long and difficult overland journey, Flaget and his entourage arrived in Bardstown.  Shortly after arriving, the new bishop wrote in his journal:

In entering the town, I devoted myself to to all the guardian angels who reside therein, and I prayed to God, with all my heart, to make me an instrument of His glory in this new Diocese.  O my dear brother, have compassion on me, overloaded with so heavy a burden, and pray fervently to God that he would vouchsafe to lighten it.

–Quoted in Cady and Webber. A Year with American Saints (2006), 574

Above:  The Basilica of St. Joseph, Bardstown, Kentucky

Image Source = Google Earth

Flaget was an effective and energetic missionary bishop.  He founded a seminary and parishes.  Construction of his first cathedral, the Basilica of St. Joseph, Bardstown, finished in 1823.  Chabrat became one of Flaget’s missionary priests.  Flaget ordained him, the first Roman Catholic priest ordained west of the Allegheny Mountains, on Christmas Day, 1811.  Flaget also helped to select most of the Roman Catholic bishops consecrated in the United States of America in the 1810-1830s.  John Baptist Mary David (1761-1841), the Bishop Coadjutor of Bardstown (1819-1832), succeeded as the Bishop of Bardstown when Flaget retired, in 1832.  Our saint’s age and health were catching up with him.

David served as the Bishop of Bardstown for less than a year (1832-1833).  Whatever and however great his virtues were, the majority of priests and lay people wanted Flaget back.  Therefore, David resigned and Flaget returned.  Our saint’s second tenure lasted from 1833 to 1850.  His next Bishop Coadjutor was Chabrat, consecrated on July 20, 1834.  By then, the diocese spanned only Kentucky and Tennessee.  Flaget and Chabrat continued to found institutions, build up the diocese, and lay the foundations for future dioceses.  And Flaget traveled in France and Italy (1835-1839).  In his absence, the Diocese of Bardstown became the Diocese of Louisville in 1837.  Chabrat, who had taken over most of the administrative work of the diocese, was going blind.  Therefore, he resigned in 1847 and returned to France.  Flaget needed a new Bishop Coadjutor.

Flaget’s third Bishop Coadjutor was Martin John Spalding, a priest in the diocese.  Spalding was a fine choice, for he was already one of the main administrators of the Diocese of Louisville.  Spalding was the effectively the Bishop of Louisville, starting in 1848, for the aged Flaget all-but officially retired while retaining the title “Bishop of Louisville.”

Flaget, aged 86 years, died in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 11, 1850.

His tomb is in the basement of the Cathedral of the Assumption, Louisville.

Spalding served (officially) as the Bishop of Louisville from 1850 to 1864.  He, appointed the Archbishop of Baltimore (1864-1872), was an uncle of John Lancaster Spalding (1840-1816), the Bishop of Peoria (1877-1908).

Flaget, by the grace of God, functioned as an instrument of divine glory.

May you, O reader, do the same in your context.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 28, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAROSLAV VAJDA, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, HYMN TRANSLATOR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOZEF CEBULA, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1941

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAMPHILIUS OF SULMONA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ALMSGIVER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER CHANEL, PROTOMARTYR OF OCEANIA, 1841

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM STRINGFELLOW, EPISCOPAL ATTORNEY, THEOLOGIAN, AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST

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Almighty God, whose will it is to be glorified in your saints,

and who raised up your servant Benedict Joseph Flaget to be a light in the world:

Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth your praise,

who called us out of darkness into your marvelous light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 98 or 98:1-4

Acts 17:22-31

Matthew 28:16-20

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 717

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Feast of Eugene Carson Blake (November 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  My Copies of the Presbyterian Books of Confessions, from 1967, 1985, and 2007

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The Book of Confessions (1967), of The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

The Book of Confessions (1985, 2007), of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

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EUGENE CARSON BLAKE (NOVEMBER 7, 1906-JULY 31, 1985)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Ecumenist, and Moral Critic

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Boasting about our heritage of freedom, we allied ourselves with some of the worst dictators all over the world, as long as they were, in our judgment, anti-communist.  We have justified all sorts of immoral political acts either because we thought they would weaken communism or (even a more immoral excuse) that since the communists were doing them, so must we….These, and other such actions, have been occasioned far more by fear of communism than by concern for justice.

–Eugene Carson Blake, quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 554

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Eugene Carson Blake comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Cady and Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Blake came from Midwestern Presbyterian stock.  He, born in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 7, 1906, was a son of Lulu Blake and Orville Prescott Blake.  Our saint graduated from Princeton University with a degree in philosophy in 1928.  Then he taught the Bible, English, and philosophy at Forman Christian College, Lahore (then in India; now in Pakistan), for a year (1928-1929).  Next, Blake studied theology at New College, Edinburgh (1929-1930).  He matriculated at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1930 and graduated two years later.

Our saint, ordained in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA) in 1932, embarked upon his ministerial career.  He was, in order:

  1. the assistant pastor (1932) then the senior pastor (1932-1935) of the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas (Reformed Church in America), New York, New York;
  2. the senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Albany, New York (1935-1940); and
  3. the senior pastor of the Pasadena Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Pasadena, California (1940-1951).

Blake left parish ministry in 1951.  He served as the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1951-1958).  As such, he helped to execute the merger of the PCUSA with The United Presbyterian Church of North America (UPCNA) to form The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA) in 1958.  Then he served as the President of the Stated Clerk of the UPCUSA (1958-1966).

Above:  The Logo of the UPCUSA

Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

On the ecumenical front, Blake also served as the President of the National Council of Churches (1954-1957) then as the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (1966-1972).

Blake’s ecumenism led to the founding of the Consultation on Church Union (1962-2002), the predecessor of Churches Uniting in Christ (2002-).  In 1960, at Grace Episcopal Cathedral, San Francisco, California, he preached a famous sermon.  Our saint advocated for the merger of The UPCUSA (1958-1983), The Methodist Church (1939-1968), The Episcopal Church (1789-), and the United Church of Christ (1957-) into one denomination truly both Catholic and Reformed.

The Consultation on Church Union included ten denominations in 1967:

  1. the African Methodist Episcopal Church,
  2. the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church,
  3. the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),
  4. the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church,
  5. The Episcopal Church,
  6. the Evangelical United Brethren Church (merged into The United Methodist Church, 1968),
  7. The Methodist Church (merged into The United Methodist Church, 1968),
  8. the Presbyterian Church in the United States (merged into the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 1983),
  9. the United Church of Christ, and
  10. The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (merged into the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 1983).

The successor organization, Churches Uniting in Christ, consciously confronts racism.  The members are:

  1. the African Methodist Episcopal Church,
  2. the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church,
  3. the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),
  4. the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church,
  5. The Episcopal Church,
  6. the International Council of Community Churches,
  7. the Moravian Church in America,
  8. the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),
  9. the United Church of Christ, and
  10. The United Methodist Church.

That anti-racism is consistent with our saint’s legacy.

Blake was active in the Civil Rights Movement.  On July 4, 1963, he went to jail for trying to integrate the Gwynn Oak Amusement Park, Baltimore, Maryland.  The following month, he was prominent at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which he had helped to organize.  Our saint was one of speakers at that great event.  And, at the World Council of Churches (1966-1972), Blake led a global anti-racism program.

Blake’s opposition to the Vietnam War earned the ire of two Presidents of the United States of America.  He became persona non grata with Lyndon Baines Johnson (in office 1963-1969).  Richard Nixon (in office 1969-1974) had a list of 576 enemies, subject to official harassment, such as tax audits and F.B.I. investigations.  “Enemies” included actor Paul Newman (1925-2008), journalists Daniel Schorr (1916-2010) and Mary McGrory (1918-2019), and U.S. Representatives John Conyers (1929-2019) and Ron Dellums (1935-2018).  That list also included Blake.  Newman described being on Nixon’s enemies list as a great honor.  Schorr, whom the F.B.I. investigated, spoke to Nixon at a social occasion years after Nixon left office.  The journalist referred to that investigation.  The former President, apparently not apologetic and repentant, replied:

I damn near hired you once.

Blake was in very good company on Nixon’s list of enemies.

Blake also helped to make the United Presbyterian Book of Confessions and Confession of 1967 possible.  The first edition of The Book of Confessions debuted in 1967.  The emphasis on reconciliation in Christ in the Confession of 1967 was consistent with our saint’s work.

In Jesus Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.  He is the eternal Son of the Father, who became man and lived among us to fulfill the work of reconciliation.  He is present in the church by the power of the Holy Spirit to continue and complete his mission.  This work of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the foundation of all confessional statements about God, man, and the world.  Therefore the church calls men to be reconciled to God and to one another.

–From the Confession of 1967, quoted in The Book of Confessions (1967), 9.07

In retirement, Blake worked for Bread for the World.  Feeding starving people was consistent with decreasing poverty, another social justice issue and long-time cause of our saint.  He had worked on economic and social development at the World Council of Churches, too.

Blake, aged 78 yeas, died in Stamford, Connecticut, on July 31, 1985.  By then The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church in the United States had merged to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in 1983.

Blake got more right than wrong–a daunting task and a great accomplishment.

I am an ecumenist.  Denominational structures exist because of human nature.  We in the Universal Church should, of course, strive to reduce the number of denominations via well-reasoned and feasible mergers.  And, when organic union is not feasible, perhaps cooperation is.  So be it.

I am also an Episcopalian.  I have definite Roman Catholic tendencies.  What passes for corporate worship in most of Protestantism leaves me uninspired.  I want to ask:

Do you call this a proper liturgy?

My denominational Plan B is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), in full communion with The Episcopal Church.  This is a good fit, given the historical relations between Anglicanism and Lutheranism.

Blake’s proposed United Presbyterian Church-United Church of Christ-Methodist Church-Episcopal Church union was not feasible.  For example, in 1993, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) published its most recent Book of Common Worship.  It was a vast improvement over The Worshipbook–Services (1970), incorporated into The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972).  Many Presbyterians objected to the new Book of Common Worship.  It was too Episcopalian, they said.

A denomination has a character.  Some denominations are better fits with other denominations than with others.

Blake issued his proposal at a different time.  Most Christian denominations in the United States of America were growing in membership, for example.  Also, The Episcopal Church had yet to bear the full fruits of liturgical renewal in 1960.  Nevertheless, his vision for a more united institutional church has become more relevant when, in the United States of America and the rest of the Western world, “none” has become the fastest-growing religious affiliation.

Sadly, Blake’s foci on reducing poverty and racism are more germane than ever.  Related to them is another one of his favorite themes.  We need reconciliation with each other and God more than ever.  Reconciliation is difficult to achieve when mutually hostile camps cannot even agree on what constitutes objective reality.

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Loving and righteous God, who transcends all religious denominations,

we thank you for the faithful ministry, social witness, and legacy of your servant, Eugene Carson Blake.

May we also seek to bring the world closer to the high calling of the fully-realized Kingdom of God,

and embrace our brother and sister Christians in other denominations;

for your glory and for the common good.

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

Leviticus 19:9-18

Psalm 133

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

John 17:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 24, 2021 COMMON ERA

GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE

THE FEAST OF SAINT EGBERT OF LINDISFARNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK; AND SAINT ADALBERT OF EGMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN, CAPUCHIN FRIAR AND MARTYR, 1622

THE FEAST OF JOHANN WALTER, “FIRST CANTOR OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF SAINT MELLITUS, BISHOP OF LONDON, AND ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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Feast of Eric Norelius (October 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Logo of the Augustana Synod

Image in the Public Domain

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ERIC NORELIUS (OCTOBER 26, 1833-MARCH 15, 1916)

Swedish-American Lutheran Minister

Eric Norelius 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).

Norelius grew up in The Church of Sweden.  He, born in Hassela, Sweden, on October 26, 1833, was steeped in Lutheranism.  When our saint arrived in New York Harbor on October 31, 1850, he found other Swedish immigrants, mostly Methodists.  When Norelius arrived in Chicago, Illinois, he found a Swedish Episcopalian congregation.  After graduating from Capital University, Columbus, Ohio (1855), Norelius began his Lutheran ministerial career.

In September 1855, Eric Norelius and Inga Peterson Norelius, newlyweds, arrived in Red Wing, Minnesota.  Our saint became the pastor of two churches, one in Red Wing and the other one in Vasa.  The Swedish Lutheran congregations were poor, so the Noreliuses had to leave, for financial reasons, in 1858.   Before they did, however, our saint had founded twelve congregations.

Norelius remained active in ecclesiastical affairs.  Our saint became a journalist.  He had founded a Swedish-language newspaper, the Minnesota Posten, in November 1857.  He assumed the editorship of the Hemlandet, a Swedish-language newspaper which absorbed the Minnesota Posten, in January 1859.  Norelius helped to found the Augustana Synod (originally for Norwegian and Swedish immigrants) in June 1860.  He served as a traveling missionary to Swedes living west of Minneapolis, starting in October 1860.

Norelius returned to the Red Wing-Vasa area, as pastor, in 1861.  He founded a school, the origin of Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota, in 1862.  Our saint also founded the Vasa Children’s Home in 1865.  This was the genesis of Lutheran Social Services  of Minnesota.

Norelius led above the parish level, too.  He served as the President of the Augustana Synod’s Minnesota Conference (1870f).  Then our saint was the President of the Augustana Synod (1874-1881, 1899-1911).  Norelius also wrote and edited.  His published works included The History of the Swedish Lutheran Congregations and the Swedish Americans (two volumes, 1890).  Norelius edited ecclesiastical publications (1870-1882, 1899-1909), too.

Norelius, aged 82 years, died in Vasa, Minnesota, on March 15, 1916.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 23, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF TOYOHIKO KAGAWA, RENEWER OF SOCIETY AND PROPHETIC WITNESS IN JAPAN

THE FEAST OF JAKOB BÖHME, GERMAN LUTHERAN MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF MARTIN RINCKART, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT TERESA MARIA OF THE CROSS, FOUNDRESS OF THE CARMELITE SISTERS OF SAINT TERESA OF FLORENCE

THE FEAST OF WALTER RUSSELL BOWIE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, SEMINARY PROFESSOR, AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, we praise you for the men and women you have sent

to call the Church to its tasks and renew its life [such as your servant Eric Norelius].

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 kingdom;  through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of John Clarke (October 8)   2 comments

Above:  United Baptist Church, John Clarke Memorial, Newport, Rhode Island

Image Source = Google Earth

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JOHN CLARKE (BAPTIZED OCTOBER 8, 1609-DIED APRIL 20, 1676)

English Baptist Minister and Champion of Religious Liberty in New England

The Reverend John Clarke 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), as well as his association with Obadiah Holmes, Sr. (1609-1682).

Many people accept a host of falsehoods about the history of the United States of America.  One of these lies is that most Puritans came to this country (when it was still a collection of British colonies) to practice religious freedom.  Shall I point to the numerous examples that prove the existence of Puritan theocracies in New England?  How about the four executed Quakers (link and link) in the Massachusetts Bay colony?  I point also to the cases of Roger Williams (1603?-1683) and Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643) and company, exiled for dissenting.  To that list I add the case of John Clarke.

Clarke arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in November 1637 yet left soon thereafter.  The church in Boston was embroiled in the Antinomian Controversy.  Proponents of the Covenant of Grace argued against supporters of the Covenant of Works.  (I understand the three Calvinist covenants objectively and intellectually yet cannot muster enough theological interest to become either excited or offended by this dispute.)  The Antinomian Controversy did lead to expulsions from the colony and to voluntary relocation.  Many people in the Massachusetts Bay Colony cared deeply about this matter.

Clarke and his first wife, Elizabeth Harris Clarke, joined other dissidents (including Williams and the Hutchinsons) who had moved to Rhode Island.  He had left England to get away from religious restrictions.  Then he had found the Massachusetts Bay Colony to be a Puritan theocracy and not to his liking, either.  Rhode Island was not a theocracy, though.  The Clarkes settled at Pocasset, Aquidneck Island, in 1638.  By the end of the year, however, our saint had helped to establish a new settlement, Newport, and the First Baptist Church there.  This was the second Baptist congregation in America.

Clarke, who had legal training, too, helped to secure the charter for Rhode Island.  In 1641, he and Roger Williams traveled to England for this purpose in 1643.  Clarke remained in England for a few years, to function as colonial agent.  Our saint, back in Rhode Island, resumed his role as pastor of First Baptist Church.  In 1647, he was the main author of the colony’s new legal code.

Clarke’s life intersected with that of Obadiah Holmes in 1649.  Holmes and eight other members, excommunicated from the church in Reheboth, Massachusetts Bay Colony, had argued with the pastor over infant baptism.  The Reverend Samuel Newman was for it; Holmes and company were against it.  The excommunicated church members formed a house church, with Holmes as the pastor.  Clarke rebaptized the members of the house church in 1649.  With the local court declaring the house church illegal, the dissidents of Reheboth moved to Newport and joined First Baptist Church.

John Clarke and John Crandall (1618-1676) of First Baptist Church, Newport, visited William Witten, an old blind man, in Lynn, Massachusetts Bay Colony, in July 1651.  Obadiah traveled with Clarke and Crandall to visit Witten.  The three visitors conducted a church service.  They celebrated communion and baptized converts.  Authorities arrested the three visitors.  The court convicted and fined them:

  1. John Crandall–five pounds, or about $984.15 (2021);
  2. John Clarke–twenty pounds, or about $3,939.37 (2021); and
  3. Obadiah Holmes–thirty pounds, or about $4,270.15 (2021).

The alternative was a severe whipping.  Nevertheless, Governor John Endecott considered that punishment lax; he claimed that the three men deserved to die.

Allies offered to pay the fines of all three men.  Crandall and Clarke accepted and returned to Newport.  Our saint, however, refused.  Therefore, he endured 30 strokes on his back.  For weeks, he had to sleep on his knees and elbows.  For the rest of his life, he called his scars “the marks of the Lord Jesus.”

Clarke returned to England again in 1651, to serve as colonial agent.  He remained there until 1664.  While in England, our saint wrote against religious persecution in New England and ruffled the feathers of New England Puritan authorities.  He also secured a royal charter for Rhode Island in 1663.  That charter guaranteed freedom of religion except when a person’s actions

disturb the civil peace of our said colony.

The Clarkes–John and Elizabeth–returned to Newport, Rhode Island, in early 1664.  Our saint returned to First Baptist Church, as co-pastor, with Obadiah Holmes.  Clarke continued to be active in colonial governance.  From 1664 to 1672, not all at once, he did he following:

  1. Clarke represented Newport in the General Assembly.
  2. Clarke served as the Deputy Governor.
  3. Clarke made a digest of the laws of Rhode Island.
  4. Clarke returned to England briefly as colonial agent in 1670.

First Baptist Church, Newport, experienced one major and two minor schisms while Clarke was alive.

  1. Second Baptist Church (somewhat Arminian) formed in 1656.  This congregation reunited with First Baptist Church in 1946.  The merged congregation took the name United Baptist Church, John Clarke Memorial.
  2. A few members broke away and organized the first Seventh Day Baptist church in America in late 1671.  This congregation closed in the middle of the nineteenth century.
  3. Some excommunicated members and their extended family became Quakers in 1673.

Clarke married three times and buried two wives.  Elizabeth Harris Clarke having died, our saint married a widow, Jane Fletcher, on February 1, 1671.  The couple had a daughter (February 14, 1672-May 18, 1673).  Jane died on April 19, 1672.  Clarke’s third wife was another widow, Sarah David (d. circa 1692).

Clarke, aged 66 years, died in Newport on April 20, 1676.  His will established the oldest educational trust in what became the United States of America.  That will specified

relief of the poor or bringing up of children unto learning from time to time forever.

Clarke was a pioneer of religious freedom in what became the United States of America.  That part of his legacy has benefited more people than perhaps he could have imagined.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 22, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GENE BRITTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF DONALD S. ARMENTROUT, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF HADEWIJCH OF BRABERT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF KATHE KOLLWITZ, GERMAN LUTHERAN ARTIST AND PACIFIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT VITALIS OF GAZA, MONK, HERMIT, AND MARTYR, CIRCA 625

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O God, our light and salvation, who makes all free to worship you:

May we ever strive to be faithful to your call, following the example of John Clarke,

that we may faithfully set our hands to the Gospel plow,

confident in the truth proclaimed by your Son Jesus Christ;

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, for ever and ever.  Amen.

–Adapted from A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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O God our light and salvation, we thank you for John Clarke,

whose visions of the liberty of the soul illumined by the light of Christ

made him a brave prophet of religious tolerance in the American colonies;

and we pray that we may follow paths of holiness and good conscience,

guided by the radiance of Jesus Christ;

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Kings 17:1-16

Psalm 133

1 Peter 1:13-16

Luke 9:51-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 211

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This is post #2250 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of Elizabeth Comstock (October 30)   Leave a comment

Above:  Elizabeth Comstock

Image in the Public Domain

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ELIZABETH LESLIE ROUS WRIGHT COMSTOCK (OCTOBER 30, 1815-AUGUST 3, 1891)

Anglo-American Quaker Educator, Abolitionist, and Social Reformer

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It is a blessed mission to visit the poor prisoners, and to know “That mercy to the bondman shown.  It is a mercy unto Him.”

–Elizabeth Comstock, quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 320

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Elizabeth Comstock comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Cady and Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Elizabeth Leslie Rous was a native of England.  She, born in Maidenhead on October 30, 1815, was a daughter of William and Mary Rous.  The Rouses were a Quaker family, and our saint studied at a Friends school in Croyden.  She became a teacher, wife, and mother.  Our saint taught at Ackworth then at Croyden.  In 1847, Rous married Leslie Wright.  The couple had a daughter, Caroline.  Leslie died in 1849.

Elizabeth Leslie Rous Wright and Caroline Wright immigrated to British North America in 1854.  She settled in Belleville, in what is now Ontario.  Our saint, influenced by Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845), became active in meeting the needs of vulnerable people in her community.

Wright married John T. Comstock.  The blended family moved to Rollin, Michigan, in 1858.  Our saint grew into a figure worthy of Fry.  Elizabeth Leslie Rous Wright Comstock became a great orator, a conductor of the Underground Railroad, and an activist on behalf of prison reform, temperance, and the rights of women.  She visited many jails and prisons, Civil War-era hospitals and prison camps, and, in 1864, President Abraham Lincoln.  After the Civil War, our saint worked with the government of the State of Kansas to organize temporary relief to African-American migrants (in 1879-1880).

Our saint moved to Union Springs, New York, in 1885.  She, aged 75 years, died there on August 3, 1891.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 16, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BERNADETTE OF LOURDES, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC VISIONARY

THE FEAST OF CALVIN WEISS LAUFER, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

THE FEAST OF ISABELLA GILMORE, ANGLICAN DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT MIKEL SUMA, ALBANIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, FRIAR, AND MARTYR, 1950

THE FEAST OF PETER WILLIAMS CASSEY, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EPISCOPAL DEACON; AND HIS WIFE, ANNIE BESANT CASSEY, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EPISCOPAL EDUCATOR

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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

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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