Archive for the ‘John Raleigh Mott’ Tag

Feast of James Mills Thoburn, Isabella Thoburn, and Clara Swain (November 27)   2 comments

Above:  India Prior to Partition

Map scanned from Hammond’s New Era Atlas of the World (1945) and cropped by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Pay close attention to Lucknow and Bareilly, close to Nepal.

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JAMES MILLS THOBURN (MARCH 7, 1836-NOVEMBER 28, 1922)

U.S. Methodist Missionary and Bishop in Asia

brother of

ISABELLA THOBURN (MARCH 29, 1840-SEPTEMBER 1, 1901)

U.S. Methodist Educator, Deaconess, and Missionary to India

traveled with

CLARA A. SWAIN (JULY 18, 1834-DECEMBER 25, 1910)

U.S. Methodist Medical Missionary to India

These three saints come to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).  In that volume each person has a separate date.  One of the purposes of my renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar, however, is to emphasize relationships and influences.  The three saints, therefore, share a feast day here.

James Mills Thoburn and Isabella Thoburn, born in Saint Clairsville, Ohio, were children of Irish immigrants.  James debuted on March 7, 1836.  Isabella followed on March 29, 1840.  James, an 1857 graduate of Allegheny College, became a minister in the Pittsburgh Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church the following year.  After serving as a pastor, he became a missionary to India in 1859.

Thoburn spent most of 1859-1908 (except for furloughs, mainly) in Asia.  At first he worked with William Butler (1818-1899) and Clementine Rowe Butler (1820-1913) in North India.  The Butlers were the first U.S. Methodist missionaries to India; they had arrived in 1856.  Thoburn found the slow pace of missionary work with them frustrating, though.  Later our saint worked with William Taylor (1821-1902), a Methodist evangelist.  In 1874-1887 Thoburn served as pastor of a church Taylor had planted in Calcutta.

Thoburn, briefly (1861-1862) married to Sarah Minerva Rockwell, who died in childbirth in 1862, was working out of Lucknow in 1866.  That year he wrote to Isabella, his sister, a teacher in the United States.  He asked her to come to Lucknow, to operate a then-hypothetical school for girls.  Isabella accepted the offer, but her denomination did not dispatch unmarried women overseas as missionaries until 1869, when the newly-founded Women’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church sent her to India.  On November 3, 1869, Isabella Thoburn and Clara A. Swain, M.D., sailed from Boston, Massachusetts.  They arrived at Bombay on January 7, 1870.  Isabella went to Lucknow.  Swain headed for Bareilly.

Clara A. Swain, born in Elmira, New York, on July 18, 1834, became the first U.S. medical missionary overseas.  The youngest daughter of John Swain and Clarissa Seavey Swain joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1842.  She became a teacher then attended the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, from which she graduated in 1869, shortly before she sailed for India.  Swain, in India, initially worked out of an orphanage.  She identified women’s medical needs, met them, and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Swain founded the Women’s Hospital and Medical School, an institution unique in Asia, in 1870.

Isabella Thoburn, at Lucknow, started the new girls’ school with six pupils in 1870.  The school grew into a boarding school then a high school then, in 1886, Lucknow Woman’s College, the first Christian college for women in Asia.  In 1903, after Isabella’s death, the name of the institution became Isabella Thoburn College.

James Mills Thoburn, founder (in 1871) of the periodical the Lucknow Witness (later the Indian Witness), expanded Methodist missionary work in Asia for decades.  He began work in Rangoon in 1879.  In 1880, while on furlough in the United States, he met and married Anna Jones (d. 1902), a candidate to be a medical missionary.  He sailed for India two days after the wedding.  Anna spent the next two years completing her medical studies before sailing to India, where she served for decades.  In 1885 James started Methodist work in Singapore.  Three years later, he became the Bishop of India and Malaysia.  In that capacity he supervised much missionary work in Asia.  In 1898 he dispatched missionaries to the Philippines.

The Thoburns and Swain, on furlough in the United States in 1888, helped to revive the ancient order of deaconesses in the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Isabella became one of the earliest Methodist deaconesses.  While still in the United States, she helped to found both Christ Hospital and the Deaconess Home and Training School, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Isabella and James spoke separately at the Ecumenical Missionary Conference, New York City, in 1900.  Then Isabella returned to India, where she died of cholera the following year.

James and Clara retired in 1908.  She settled in Castille, New York, where she wrote A Glimpse of India (1909).  She died in Castille the  following year.  Bishop Thoburn retired to Meadville, Pennsylvania.  In 1910 he, at the invitation of John Raleigh Mott (1865-1955), attended the World Missionary Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland.  Thoburn died in Meadville in 1922.

The legacies of these three saints continue, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 7, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMITIAN OF HUY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

THE FEAST OF HARRIET STARR CANNON, FOUNDRESS OF THE COMMUNITY OF SAINT MARY

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH ARMITAGE ROBINSON, ANGLICAN DEAN, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROSA VENERINI, FOUNDRESS OF THE VENERINI SISTERS; MENTOR OF SAINT LUCIA FILIPPINI, FOUNDRESS OF THE RELIGIOUS TEACHERS FILIPPINI

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God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servants

James Mills Thoburn, Isabella Thoburn, and Clara Swain,

who made the good news known in Asia.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love,

and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 59

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Feast of John Raleigh Mott (October 3)   1 comment

Above:  John Raleigh Mott

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ggbain-22746

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JOHN RALEIGH MOTT (MAY 25, 1865-JANUARY 31, 1955)

U.S. Methodist Lay Evangelist, and Ecumenical Pioneer

It is a startling and solemnizing fact that even as late as the twentieth century, the Great Command of Jesus Christ to carry the Gospel to all mankind is still so largely unfulfilled….The church is confronted today, as in no preceding generation, to make Christ known.

–John Raleigh Mott, at the International Missionary Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1910

John Raleigh Mott comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church, which has set his feast day as October 3.

The Episcopal Church added Mot to the then-new Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (published in 2010) at the General Convention of 2009.  His feast transferred to the successor volume, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016).  The General Convention of 2018 approved the addition of Mott’s feast to the Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, the first revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts since 2006.

Mott, born in Livingston Manor, New York, on May 25, 1865, devoted most of his adult life to missions.  Our saint, the third of four children, was the only son of Elmira Dodge and John Mott.  The family moved to Pottsville, Iowa, in September 1865.  There our saint’s father, a lumber merchant, served as mayor.  At the age of 16 years Mott matriculated at Upper Iowa University, Fayette, Iowa.  He transferred from the Methodist preparatory school and college to Cornell University in 1885.  In the summer of 1886 Mott represented the Cornell chapter of the Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.) at the first international conference of the Y.M.C.A.  Our saint, chapter president in 1886-1888, graduated in 1888, having majored in philosophy and history.  In 1891 he married Leila Ada White of Worster, Ohio.  The couple had four children–two daughters and two sons.

Meanwhile, Mott had commenced his career with the Y.M.C.A.  In September 1888 he began to serve as the National Secretary of the Intercollegiate Y.M.C.A. of the U.S.A. and Canada; he held that post for 27 years.  Concurrent portfolios included the following:

  1. General Secretary of the World Student Christian Federation (1895f);
  2. Assistant General Secretary, Y.M.C.A. (1901f);
  3. Presiding officer, International Missionary Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland (1910);
  4. General Secretary of the International Committee, Y.M.C.A. (1915-1928); and
  5. President of the World Committee, Y.M.C.A. (1926-1937).

Mott was an ecumenical pioneer.  The International Missionary Conference, held at Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1910, began the modern ecumenical movement, in which Mott remained active.  He also attended the Faith and Order Conference (Lausanne, Switzerland, 1927), served as the Vice President of the Second World Conference on Faith and Order (Edinburgh, Scotland, 1937), and was the Chairman of the Life and Work Conference (Oxford, England, 1937).  In 1948 our saint became the honorary lifelong Honorary President (1948f) of the new World Council of Churches.

Mott also engaged in civil services.  After he declined President Woodrow Wilson’s offer to become the Ambassador to China, our saint joined the Mexican Commission in 1916 and the Special Diplomatic Mission to Russia the following year.  During World War I Mott served as the General Secretary of the National War Work Council.  After the war our saint received the Distinguished Service Medal.

Mott, author of 16 books about missions, traveled widely on missions tours.  He received honors in foreign nations as well as the United States, and earned the trust of many people, including St Tikhon of Moscow (1865-1925), the Patriarch of Moscow.

Late in life, Mott received more honors.  He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946.  He eventually became an honorary canon of Washington National Cathedral, also.

Mott, aged 89 years, died at home, in Orlando, Florida, on January 31, 1955.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 2, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RALPH W. SOCKMAN, U.S. UNITED METHODIST MINISTER

THE FEAST OF CARL DOVING, NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JAMES ALLEN, ENGLISH INGHAMITE THEN GLASITE/SANDEMANIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HIS GREAT-NEPHEW, OSWALD ALLEN, ENGLISH GLASITE/SANDEMANIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PETRUS HERBERT, GERMAN MORAVIAN BISHOP AND HYMNODIST

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O God, the shepherd of all, we give you thanks for the lifelong commitment of your servant

John Raleigh Mott to the Christian nurture of students in many parts of the world;

and we pray that, after his example, we may strive for the weaving together of all peoples

in friendship, fellowship and cooperation, and while life lasts be evangelists for Jesus Christ,

in whom alone is our peace; and who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 60:1-5

Psalm 71:17-24

1 John 2:12-14

Luke 7:11-17

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 621

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Give us grace, O merciful God, to seek and serve you in all nations and peoples,

following the example of your servant John Raleigh Mott,

that all the peoples of the earth, who divided and enslaved by sin,

might be led into that glorious liberty that you desire for all your children;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit

be all honor and glory, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 60:1-5

Psalm 71:17-24

Luke 7:11-17

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018

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