Archive for the ‘Lutheran Service Book (2006)’ Tag

Feast of Reginald Heber (April 3)   1 comment

(c) British Library; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) British Library; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Above:  Reginald Heber

Image in the Public Domain

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REGINALD HEBER (APRIL 21, 1783-APRIL 3, 1826)

Anglican Bishop of Calcutta and Hymn Writer

The feast day of Reginald Heber in the Church of North India is April 3.  The Book of Worship of the Church of North India (1995) lists his citation as “Reginald Heber (1826):  Bishop, Evangelist.”

Reginald Heber came from an old and prominent Yorkshire family and became a great poet.  He, born at Malpas, Cheshire, England, on April 21, 1783, was a son of Reginald Heber (Sr., I guess), the Anglican Rector of Hodnet.  (Aside:  Would using suffixes, such as “Sr.,” “Jr.,” and “III” have been so difficult?)  Young Reginald Heber received a fine education, which he used.  At the age of seven years he translated Phaedrus, a Socratic dialogue, into English.  Later, at Brasenose College, Oxford, our saint won the prize for the best Latin poem and won the Newdigate Prize for the poem Palestine.  Heber, a Fellow of All Souls College, toured Europe with a friend in 1806.

Then Heber became an Anglican priest.  In 1807 he took Holy Orders.  From 1807 to 1823 served as the Rector of Hodnet.  Along the way he did the following:

  1. He married Amelia Shipley (in 1809) and had to children with her.
  2. He began to publish hymns keyed to the church year in the Christian Observer (in 1811 forward) and worked on Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Church Service of the Year, completed by Amelia and published in 1827.  Heber contributed 57 of the 98 hymns.
  3. He became the Prebendary of St. Asaph (1812).
  4. He delivered the Bampton Lectures in 1815.  His topic was The Personality and Office of the Comforter.
  5. He became the Preacher at Lincoln’s Inn, London (1822).

Heber was a liturgical pioneer.  At the time proper Anglicans sang metrical Psalms and dissenters from the Established Church sang hymns.  Our saint, however, embraced the singing of hymns and set out to write texts that would stand the test of time.  Three ideas guided him as he composed hymn texts:

  1. The hymn must be part of the liturgy of the Church and must therefore adapt itself to the Church calendar.
  2. The hymn should come after the Nicene Creed and complement the message of the sermon.
  3. It should be a literary masterpiece.

–Quoted in Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952), page 713

I have added 12 of Heber’s texts addressed to God at my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  One might already know “Holy, Holy, Holy!  Lord God Almighty!,” a hymn for Trinity Sunday, but one might not be familiar with the splendid “When Spring Unlocks the Flowers.”  Unfortunately, many of Heber’s hymns have fallen out of use; I had to find most of those 12 hymns in old hymnals, some of them about a century old.

Heber’s final title was Bishop of Calcutta (1823-1826).  He had a challenging task, for he was the missionary bishop of all of British India.  Our saint worked hard until he died of apoplexy on April 3, 1826, 18 days short of his forty-third birthday.

Heber has not failed to attract criticism post-mortem.  Many of those negative words have been due to a particular hymn, dated 1819:

From Greenland’s icy mountains,

From India’s coral strand,

Where Afric’s sunny fountains

Roll down their golden sand,

From many an ancient river,

From many a palmy plain,

They call us to deliver

Their land from error’s chain.

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What though the spicy breezes

Blow soft o’er Ceylon’s isle;

Though every prospect pleases,

And only man is vile:

In vain with lavish kindness

The gifts of God are strown;

The heathen in his blindness

Bows down to wood and stone.

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Can we, whose souls are lighted

With wisdom from on high,

Can we to men benighted

The lamp of life deny?

Salvation! O salvation!

The joyful sound proclaim,

Till each remotest nation

Has learned Messiah’s Name.

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Waft, waft, ye winds, his story,

And you, ye waters, roll,

Till like a sea of glory

It spreads from pole to pole;

Till o’er our ransomed nature

The Lamb for sinners slain,

Redeemer, King, Creator,

In bliss returns to reign.

This hymn has long been a lightning rod for a variety of constituencies.  “And only man is vile” (from the second stanza), a reference to Original Sin, has offended non-Christians and some Christians alike.  Also, the end of the second stanza, with its imagery of heathens bowing down to wood and stone has offended many.  These criticisms have really been about allegations of imperialism and ethnocentrism.  As I learned in Anthropology 101 many moons ago, both cultural relativism and ethnocentrism are fallacies.  I would be surprised if Heber were free of any degree of ethnocentrism, but I have also detected cultural relativism in criticisms of the hymn.

This hymn has fallen out of favor in modern hymnody.  It has, of course, fallen into disuse in mainline churches, as measured by denominational hymnals.  The hymn has also fallen out of favor in more conservative denominations, as measured by their hymnals.  I, as a collector of hymnals, have consulted my library and found that, in the current generation of conservative Protestant denominational hymnals, the following volumes, successors to volumes that included this hymn, “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains” is absent:

  1. Baptist Hymnal (2008),
  2. The Covenant Hymnal:  A Worshipbook (1996),
  3. Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996),
  4. Lift Up Your Hearts:  Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (2013),
  5. Lutheran Service Book (2006), and
  6. Trinity Hymnal–Revised Edition (1990).

Furthermore, the official list of hymns for the Trinity Psalter Hymnal (scheduled for publication in late 2017), successor to the Trinity Hymnal–Revised Edition (1990), does not include “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains.”  Nevertheless, the Ambassador Hymnal for Lutheran Worship (1994) does.

More people should lighten up.

Heber could have led a life of relative ease at Hodnet, but he accepted the challenge to become a missionary bishop.  He spent his life glorifying God and left a legacy in souls and in theologically dense and well-composed hymn texts.  He was certainly worthy of recognition as a saint.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHIAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Reginald Heber and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Lars Olsen Skrefsrud, Hans Peter Boerresen, and Paul Olaf Bodding (December 11)   Leave a comment

skrefsrud-statue-lillehammer

Above:  Statue of Lars Olsen Skrefsrud, Lillehammer, Norway

Image in the Public Domain

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LARS OLSEN SKREFSRUD (FEBRUARY 4, 1840-DECEMBER 11, 1910)

Norwegian Lutheran Missionary to the Santals

colleague of

HANS PETER BOERRSEN (NOVEMBER 29, 1825-SEPTEMBER 23, 1901)

Danish Lutheran Missionary to the Santals

then

PAUL OLAF BODDING (NOVEMBER 2, 1865-SEPTEMBER 25, 1938)

Norwegian Lutheran Missionary to the Santals

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The name of Lars Olsen Skrefsrud came to my attention via the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), which lists December 11 as his feast day.  For reasons I do not understand this feast has not carried over into the calendar in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006).  Neither have any Lutheran Worship (1982) and the Lutheran Service Book (2006), both of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, included this feast.  I have also noticed that the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996), of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, a body with Norwegian immigrant roots, does not include this feast either.  The names of Hans Peter Boerresen and Paul Olaf Bodding came to my attention as I read and took notes regarding Skrefsrud.

These three saints were missionaries to the Santal tribe in northern India.  The Santals had been present on the Indian subcontinent prior to the arrival of the Aryans.  Skrefsrud, Boerresen, and Bodding worked among Santals, respected their culture, and helped to build a strong indigenous church.

Skrefsrud, born near Lillehammer, Norway, on February 4, 1840, took a winding path to his vocation.  He came from a poor family.  Although Skrefsrud dreamed of becoming a minister, circumstances pushed him into coppersmithing instead.  This did not satisfy him.  Skrefsrud reacted by drinking heavily.  He and some drinking buddies robbed a bank.  The 19-year-old Skrefsrud gave up drinking, delved into Christianity, mastered the German and English languages, and received a sentence of incarceration for four years; he served about half of it.  While in prison our saint received visits from one Anna Onsum, a young woman who believed in him and encouraged him in his spiritual journey.

Skrefsrud became a missionary.  He trained at the Gossmer Missionary Society, Berlin.  (Knowing German helped then.)  While in Berlin Skrefsrud lived austerely and attended services daily.  In 1863 the missionary society dispatched Skrefsrud to northern India.  Anna Onsum joined him there and married him the following year.  She arrived in the company of Catherine and Hans Peter Boerresen, the latter of whom the missionary society sent to work with Skrefsrud.  Boerresen, who was expert in raising funds, was also a minister and a civil engineer.

boerresen

Above:  Hans Peter Boerresen

Image in the Public Domain

For a few years Skrefsrud and Boerresen worked in conjunction with Baptist missionaries.  There were two sticking points:  (1) the theology of infant baptism and (2) the denial of permission for the two Lutheran missionaries to continue to work together.  So it was that, in 1867, Skrefsrud and Boerresen founded the Ebenezer Mission at Benegaria, from which they worked among indigenous peoples.  The following year they cofounded The Indian Home Mission to the Santals, the forerunner of today’s Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Boerresen returned to Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1877.  He died on September 23, 1901.

bodding

Above:  Paul Olaf Bodding

Image in the Public Domain

Another colleague of Skrefsrud was Paul Olaf Bodding (1865-1938), a scientist.  The native of Gjosik, Norway, was son of a bookseller.  The great missionary recruited the young Bodding in the family’s bookstore.  The rest was history.  He served in India from 1889 to 1933.  Although Skrefsrud had written A Grammar of the Santhal Language (1873), Bodding created an alphabet for the people, who lacked one previously.  Skrefsrud translated the Gospels into the new written language, but Bodding completed the process of translating the Bible into it.  Skrefsrud also wrote textbooks and a hymnal into the new written language.  Bodding preserved Santali folklore in writing via that script.  Folklore of the Santal Parganas (1909) depended upon his work.

Skrefsrud did much else to help the Santal people.  He also founded vocational and technical schools and appealed to British imperial officials to protect the Santals from other tribes.  He continued to labor in northern India for the rest of his life.

Bodding returned to Europe in 1933. The saint died at Odense, Denmark, on September 25, 1938.

The Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church continues to minister among indigenous people on the subcontinent.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 16, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES EDWARD OAKLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUDMILLA, DUCHESS OF BOHEMIA

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

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PHILIBERT AND AICARDUS OF JUMIEGES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

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

Lars Olsen Skrefsrud, Hans Peter Boerresen, and Paul Olaf Bodding,

to whom you gave gifts to make the good news known.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds and evangelists of your kingdom,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), page 37

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Feast of Luther D. Reed (April 3)   2 comments

Lutheran Books February 13, 2016

Above:  Some of Luther Reed’s Major Works and Immediate Successors Thereto

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor, February 13, 2016

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LUTHER DOTTERER REED (MARCH 21, 1873-APRIL 3, 1972)

U.S. Lutheran Minister and Liturgist

Luther Dotterer Reed was an influential Lutheran liturgist in the United States.  He was chiefly responsible for the creation of the Common Service Book (1917) and the Service Book and Hymnal (1958), two of the major Lutheran service-books of the twentieth century.

Reed was a son of the Church.  He entered the world at North Wales, Pennsylvania, on March 21, 1873.  His parents were Annie Linley Reed and Ezra L. Reed, a Lutheran minister of the old Ministerium of Pennsylvania and its umbrella organization, the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America (1867-1918).  From his father our saint learned much, including music and the Mercersburg Theology (high church Calvinism) of the Reformed Church in the United States (1793-1934).  Reed came under the direct influence of the Mercersburg Theology at his father’s alma mater, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1892.  Next our saint matriculated at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (hereafter LTS Mt. Airy), from which he graduated in 1895.

Reed was a parish minister for just a few years.  Upon graduating from LTS Mt. Airy he entered the liturgical boondocks of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania.  Western Pennsylvania was an unlikely place for a Lutheran minister with a strong liturgical bent.  In 1895 our saint became the pastor of Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Allegheny, across the river from Pittsburgh.  As Reed described the facility, it was a chapel with a central pulpit and a lunch table for an altar.  Traditionally the pastor wore street clothes to church on Sundays.  In 1903, when our saint left for his next posting, there was a choir (which he had directed), he wore a Geneva robe to church on Sundays, and the use of vestments and paraments had begun.  Reed studied at the University of Leipzig in 1902.  He served as pastor in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, briefly before returning to his alma mater, LTS Mt. Airy, in 1906.  There he remained in one capacity or another until 1950.

Luther D. Reed

Above:  An Item in the Lebanon Courier and Semi-Weekly Report, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, May 24, 1905, Page 2

Accessed via newspapers.com

Reed worked beyond the parish and seminary levels, frequently in the cause of liturgical renewal.  He understood worship as occupying the center of Christian life.  The beauty of worship matters, he insisted, for it can inspire one to commit good works–lead one into the world.  From 1898 to 1906 our saint led the Lutheran Liturgical Association, the goal of which was to convince U.S. Lutherans to accept the Common Service (1888) as something simple yet dignified and Lutheran yet catholic.  Reed edited the Memoirs of the Lutheran Liturgical Association (1906).  From 1907 to 1936 he served as the President of the Church Music and Liturgical Art Society.  And, from 1930 to 1940, he was the President of the Associated Bureaus of Church Architecture of the United States and Canada, devoted to encouraging architecture suitable for proper liturgy.

Reed married Catharine S. Ashbridge (1878-1942) in 1906.  They remained married until by her death they did part.

Book Dedication

Above:  The Dedication to The Lutheran Liturgy (1947)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

In 1906 Reed went to work at LTS Mt. Airy, where he would have preferred to remain since his graduation 11 years earlier.  Until 1950 he served as the Director of the Krauth Memorial Library.  From 1911 to 1945 our saint was Professor of Liturgics and Church Art.  He was the first such professor at any Protestant theological seminary in North America.  And, from 1938 to 1945 Reed was also the president of the seminary.  If that were not enough, the served as the Archivist of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania from 1909 to 1939, and, starting in 1919, of the new United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA), which he had helped to form via merger.

Reed served as the chairman of the joint commissions that created the Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church (1917) and its successor, the Service Book and Hymnal (1958).  He also wrote two editions (1947 and 1959) of The Lutheran Liturgy, both classic works of Christian liturgical history and commentary on the then-current Lutheran services.  [Aside:  The best way to enjoy Reed’s depth of knowledge in liturgy is to read these two books.]  Reed favored restoring the Eucharistic canon, or prayer of thanksgiving, which Martin Luther had excised in the 1500s.  He included a proposed text for one on pages 336 and 337 of the first edition (1947) of The Lutheran Liturgy.  Variations on that canon graced the Service Book and Hymnal (1958), the Worship Supplement (1969), the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), and the Lutheran Service Book (2006).  Reed’s restoration of the Eucharistic canon took hold in North American Lutheranism beyond the lineages of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), The Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC), and The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS).  In 2008, for example, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) added an original Eucharistic canon in Christian Worship:  Supplement.  Other conservative Lutheran denominations have not restored the canon, however.

Reed, who received honorary degrees (including a Doctor of Divinity degree from Thiel College, Greenville, Pennsylvania, in 1912), was a gentle, kind, unassuming, and gracious gentleman.  Although our saint was not physically imposing he was intellectually masterful.  He wrote and contributed to volumes, mostly related to liturgics:

  1. The Psalter and Canticles; Pointed for Chanting to the Gregorian Psalm Tunes; with a Plain Song Setting for the Order of Matins and Vespers, Accompanying Harmonies, and Tables of Proper Psalms; for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Congregations (1897);
  2. The Choral Service Book; Containing the Authentic Plain Song Intonations and Responses for the Order of Morning Service, the Order of Matins and Vespers, the Litany and the Suffrages of the Common Service for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Congregations; with Accompanying Harmonies for Organ (1901);
  3. The Responsories:  Musical Setting (1914);
  4. Luther and Congregational Song (1947);
  5. The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study of the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America (1947);
  6. The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study of the Common Liturgy of the Lutheran Church in America (1959);
  7. Worship:  A Corporate Devotion (1959); and
  8. The Mind of the Church (1962).

Reed wrote a hymn and at least two hymn tunes also.  The hymn was “O God of Wondrous Grace and Glory” and the accompanying original tune was MOUNT AIRY.  He also composed the tune SURSUM CORDA.

Reed pondered what might and should follow the Service Book and Hymnal (1958).  He favored the inclusion of a provision for the procession of the bread and wine to the altar at the end of the offering.  This development became reality in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978).

Our saint died at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 3, 1972.  He was 99 years old.  The  process of forging the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) was well underway.

Reed’s liturgical legacy thrives, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM OF CARRHAE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CYRIL AND METHODIUS, MISSIONARIES TO THE SLAVS

THE FEAST OF JOHANN MICHAEL ALTENBURG, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR, COMPOSER, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VICTOR OLOF PETERSEN, SWEDISH-AMERICAN LUTHERAN HYMN TRANSLATOR

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Luther Dotterer Reed)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Jiri Tranovsky (May 29)   1 comment

Religions in Central Europe 1618

Above:  Religions in Central Europe, 1618

Image in the Public Domain

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JIRI TRANOVSKY (APRIL 9, 1592-MAY 29, 1637)

Luther of the Slavs and Father of Slovak Hymnody

Also known as Juraj Tranovsky, Jerzy Trzanowski, Georgios Tranoscius, and George Tranoscius

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Jiri Tranovsky comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), the service book-hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

Tranovsky was ethnically Polish.  The native of Teschen, Silesia (now Cieszyn, Poland), entered the world on April 9, 1592.  He studied at Guben (now in Germany) and, from 1605 to 1607, at Kolberg (now Kolobrzeg, Poland) then, starting in 1607, at the University of Wittenberg, where he began to write poetry in Latin and Czech.  He traveled to Bohemia and Silesia in 1612.  Then our saint taught at St. Nicholas Gymnasium, Prague, before serving as rector of a school in Holesov, Moravia (now in the Czech Republic), from 1613 to 1615.  In 1615 and 1616 Tranovsky taught in the school at Mezirici (now in the Czech Republic), where he also led the local singing society.

Tranovsky was a Lutheran minister.  Following his ordination at Mezirici in 1616 he served in that town until 1621.  The turmoil of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) and the official religious intolerance of King Ferdinand II of Bohemia and Hungary (reigned 1617-1637; Holy Roman Emperor, 1619-1637), persecutor of Protestantism, forced Tranovsky and his congregation into exile in 1621.  1624 was a terrible year for the flock and its shepherd.  Wartime conditions contributed to a plague, so Tranovsky had to bury three of his children and half of his congregation.  Later that year authorities imprisoned our saint.  They exiled him to Silesia the following year.  There he became the court preacher to the castle in Bielitz (now Bielsko, Poland).  Wartime conditions forced Tranovsky to move again in 1628, so he became the court preacher to Orava Castle (now in Oravsky Podzamok, Slovakia).  Our saint’s health was failing.

Tranovsky translated and wrote texts.  In 1620 he translated the Augsburg Confession into Czech.  Eight years later he was hard at work on Odarum Sacrarum sive Hymnorum (1629), a hymnal containing 150 Latin texts for congregational singing.  Tranovsky included several original tunes.  From 1631 to his death in 1637 he was the senior pastor at Liptovsky Svaty Mikulas, Upper Hungary (now Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia), where he wrote his masterpieces.  Phiala Odoromentorum (A Vial of Sweet Incense, 1635), was a prayer book.  The Cithara Sanctorum (Harp of the Saints, 1636), also known as the Transocius, was a hymnal containing 414 hymns, 150 of which were his.  This volume became the basis of Czech and Slovak Lutheran hymnody.

Tranovsky suspected that he would die before the age of 50 years.  He was correct, for he died on May 29, 1637, aged 45 years.

Most of Tranovsky’s hymns do not exist in any English-language translation.  I have found a few, however, and added two–“Come, Rejoicing, Praises Voicing” and “Christ the Lord to Us is Born, Hallelujah“–to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  I have found several others in translations by Jaroslav Jan Vajda (1919-2008) in current Lutheran hymnals:

  1. “Let Our Gladness Banish Sadness” (1960), in the Lutheran Service Book (2006);
  2. “Your Heart, O God, is Grieved” (1970), in Hymnal Supplement 98 (1998), Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), and the Lutheran Service Book (2006); and
  3. “Make Songs of Joy to Christ, Our Head” (1978), in the Lutheran Service Book (2006).

I have also found a Vajda translation of an anonymous text from the Tranoscius (1636) in slightly older Lutheran hymnals.  The Worship Supplement (1969) and the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) contain “God, My Lord, My Strength, My Place of Hiding” (1969).

I wonder what treasures among Tranovsky’s hymnody remain untranslated into English.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 25, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Jiri Tranovsky and others, who have translated hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Mikael Agricola (April 10)   Leave a comment

Sweden 1550

Above:  Map of Sweden and Its Environs, 1550

Image in the Public Domain

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MIKAEL AGRICOLA (CIRCA 1507-APRIL 9, 1557)

Finnish Lutheran Liturgist, Bishop of Turku, and “Father of the Finnish Literary Language”

Also known as Mikael Olavinpoika

Mikael Agricola was a prominent figure in Finnish religion and culture.

Our saint entered the world at Torsby, Pernaja, Finland, Sweden, circa 1507, as Mikael Olavinpoika.  His father, Olof Simonsson, was a farmer.  Our saint studied at the Latin school at Vyborg, where he took the surname Agricola, meaning “farmer.”  At Vyborg Agricola encountered ideas of Christian Humanism and the Protestant Reformation.

For a time Agricola was a Roman Catholic priest, although not the most orthodox one, by the standards of the time.  He, ordained to the priesthood in 1528, became the secretary to Martinus Skyette, the Bishop of Turku.  In 1536 Skyette sent Agricola to study in Wittenberg, the headquarters of Martin Luther.  Like his contemporary Olavus Petri before him, Agricola lived in Luther’s home for a few years.  Agricola also learned from Luther as well as Philipp Melancthon and Johannes Bugenhagen.  In 1539 our saint returned to Turku, where he began to serve as the canon of the cathedral chapter and the head of the Latin school.  Between 1537 and 1548 he translated the New Testament into Finnish.  He also wrote the ABC-Kiria, based on the catechism by Luther and Melancthon, between 1537 and 1543.  This signal volume was the first work published in the Finnish language.

In 1540 King Gustav I Vasa of Sweden (reigned 1523-1560), who had favored Lutheranism for years, made that version of Christianity mandatory.  Even before then there seemed to have been some fluidity on the Lutheran-Roman Catholic spectrum in the Kingdom of Sweden, which included Finland.  Furthermore, that fluidity seemed to continue after the royal decree of 1540, for my sources noted that Agricola became the first Lutheran Bishop of Turku in 1550 (a decade after the royal decree) without Papal consent.

Agricola worked in the Finnish language in Swedish-controlled Finland.  He published a prayer book in 1540.  Aside from that volume and the others I have mentioned already, Agricola’s catalogue of published works included the Psalter and other portions of the Old Testament, the order of the Mass (minus the Eucharistic canon), translations of other liturgies, and translations of foreign hymns.

Agricola was a family man.  Prior to his elevation to the episcopate he had married Birgitta Olofsdotter.  The couple had one child, a son, Kristian Agricola, born on December 11, 1550.  He died in 1586.

Our saint died at Nkyrka, Finland, Sweden, on April 19, 1557, after returning from a diplomatic mission to Russia.

Agricola had a Christ-centered theology.  He understood the Christian pilgrimage as a journey of humility, temptation, and trial.  Sin, he said, meant that people have become turned in on themselves and fundamentally opposed to God.  The main idea in Agricola’s theology was the union of human humility in sinfulness and a living hope for divine grace in Christ.

Agricola’s name came to my attention via Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), the service book-hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), part of whose heritage includes Finnish Lutheranism in the form of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Suomi Synod) (1890-1962).  Their main counterparts, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) and The Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC), also have some Finnish Lutheran heritage in the form of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran National Church/National Evangelical Lutheran Church (1898-1963), but the Lutheran Service Book (2006), lacks any commemoration of Agricola’s life.  I wonder why that is so, for Agricola seems like a person a denomination with Finnish Lutheran ancestry should commemorate.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 13, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS, FOUNDER OF THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN KEIMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENTIGERN (MUNGO), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GLASGOW

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Mikael Agricola)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Johann(es) Matthaus Meyfart (November 9)   Leave a comment

Fort, Coburg

Above:  The Fort, Coburg, Thuringia, Germany, 1890

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-01086

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JOHANN(ES) MATTHAUS MEYFART (NOVEMBER 9, 1590-JANUARY 26, 1642)

German Lutheran Educator and Devotional Writer

I grew up in rural United Methodist congregations in southern Georgia, U.S.A., in the 1980s and early 1990s.   The dominant form of piety in those churches was akin to that one found in neighboring Southern Baptist churches.  It was like that old joke that Methodists are Baptists who can read.  Then, in late 1991, I became an Episcopalian, for my inherent piety was closer to Roman Catholicism yet somewhat Protestant.  Five years later, shortly before the presidential election, I watched a dual biography of President Bill Clinton and Senator Robert Dole on public television.  The narrator described the nature of United Methodism in Kansas, prompting me to think that I preferred that to the character of United Methodism in rural southern Georgia.  A few years ago I started exploring Lutheranism via books, such as the Book of Concord and various service books-hymnals.  I have enjoyed this ongoing process, which has convinced me that German and Scandinavian hymnody is superior to the one inflicted upon me as a child.  Unfortunately, that inferior hymnody has been pursuing me even into The Episcopal Church during the last few years, prompting me sometimes to resort to speaking in two languages within one conversation, using French strategically.  On other occasions I have maintained a passive-aggressive silence instead.  But I digress, as much as I remain an unrepentant European classicist.

Johann(es) Matthaus Meyfart (1590-1642) contributed to the treasures of Lutheran hymnody.  His father was a Lutheran pastor at Wahlwinkel, near Gotha, in the Holy Roman Empire.  Our saint’s mother was visiting her parents at Jena when she gave birth on November 9, 1590.  Meyfart studied at the Universities of Wittenberg and Jena (M.A., 1611; D.D. 1624).  His career was mainly an academic one.  He taught philosophy at Jena for a few years before moving to Coburg in 1616.  There he served as a professor at the gymnasium until becoming director in 1623.  At that school, as The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal (1942) informs me,

he had great moral power.

–Page 546

To state that differently, in the words of The Hymnal 1940 Companion (1949),

he exerted a remarkable influence on all his pupils.

–Page 504

Our saint’s tenure at Coburg ended due to his dissertation on church discipline, De Disciplina Ecclesiastica (1633).  Many of his colleagues complained to the government because they disagreed with the dissertation’s contents.

The future Duke Ernst I of Gotha came to Meyfart’s rescue, offering him a new position.  Our saint became a professor of theology at the University of Erfurt.  In 1634 he became the Rector of the University.  And, starting in 1636, Meyfart served as the pastor of the Prediger Church in town.  Controversy followed our saint, for another writing on the subject of church discipline caused problems for him at Erfurt.  These controversies affected Meyfart adversely.

Meyfart seemed drawn to controversies.  He wrote a text, Anti-Becanus, in the context of a debate with Martin Becanus (1563-1624), a Jesuit, regarding Socinianism.  Becanus condemned not only Socinianism but all Protestant theology.  He and Meyfart, therefore, had the denunciation of Socinianism in common.  Our saint, however, was a Lutheran, therefore in a position to argue against Becanus.

Socinianism is multi-faceted; here is a partial explanation:

  1. The Roman Catholic Church condemns Socinianism as a heresy.
  2. Socinianism teaches that Jesus was purely human nature, that God adopted him as the Son of God, that Jesus embodied the Word or will of God, that Jesus is nevertheless worthy of adoration, and that God bestowed the government of the world on him after the Ascension.
  3. Therefore Socinianism denies the Holy Trinity.  In fact, Socinianism influenced the development of Unitarian theology, especially with regard to the nature of Jesus.

Meyfart wrote devotional works, from which hymns came.  These books indicated great literary skill and a firm grasp of theology.  Eduard Emil Koch (1809-1871) wrote of Meyfart in 1871.  Our saint was

a German Dante, full of learning and fantasy, an individual that one would seldom encounter anywhere.

The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal (1941) indicated that these devotional books were

noted for their vivid portrayals and their earnest calls to repentance and amendment of life.

–Page 546

One of Meyfart’s hymns, drawn from Tuba Novissima (1626), exists in English in various translations and altered forms thereof.  Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878) published her translation in the second volume of her Lyra Germanica (1858).  (Consult pages 237-239, O reader.)  The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) contains an altered version of the Winkworth translation as “Jerusalem, Thou City Fair and High.”  The Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) calls the hymn “Jerusalem, Whose Towers Touch the Skies.”  Lutheran Worship (1982) and the Lutheran Service Book (2006) list the hymn as “Jerusalem, O City Fair and High.”  William Rollinson Whittingham (1805-1879), Episcopal Bishop of Maryland from 1840 to 1879, prepared his own translation, which debuted in Hymns for Church and Home, Compiled by Members of the Protestant Episcopal Church, as a Contribution to Any Addition That May Be Made to the Hymns Now Attached to the Prayer-Book (1860):

Jerusalem! high tower thy glorious walls,

Would God I were in thee!

Desire of thee my longing heart enthralls,

Desire at home to be;

Wide from the world outleaping,

O’er hill and vale and plain,

My soul’s strong wing is sweeping

Thy portals to attain.

+++++

O gladsome day and yet more gladsome hour!

When shall that hour have come

When my rejoicing soul its own free power

May use in going home,

Itself to Jesus giving

In trust to his own hand,

To dwell among the living

In that blest fatherland?

+++++

A moment’s time, the twinkling of an eye

Shall be enough, to soar

In buoyant exultation, through the sky

And reach the heavenly shore.

Elijah’s chariot bringing

The homeward traveller there;

Glad troops of angels winging

It onward through the air.

+++++

Great fastness thou of honor! thee I greet!

Throw wide thy gracious gate,

An entrance free to give these longing feet;

At last released, though late,

From wretchedness and sinning,

And life’s long weary way;

And now, of God’s gift, winning

Eternity’s bright day.

+++++

What throng is this, what noble troop, that pours,

Arrayed in beauteous guise,

Out through the glorious city’s open doors,

To greet my wondering eyes?

The host of Christ’s elected,

The jewels that he bears

In his own crown, selected

To wipe away my tears.

+++++

Of prophets great, and patriarchs high, a band

That once has borne the cross,

With all the company that won that land,

By counting gain for loss,

Now float in freedom’s lightness,

From tyrant’s chains set free;

And shine like suns in brightness,

Arrayed to welcome me.

+++++

Once more at last arrived they welcome there,

To beauteous Paradise;

Where sense can scarce its full fruition bear

Or tongue for praise suffice;

Glad hallelujahs ringing

With rapturous rebound,

And rich hosannahs singing

Eternity’s long round.

+++++

Unnumbered choirs before the Lamb’s high throne

There shout the jubilee,

With loud resounding peal and sweetest tone,

In blissful ecstasy:

A hundred thousand voices

Take up the wondrous song;

Eternity rejoices

God’s praises to prolong.

Meyfart died at Erfurt on January 26, 1642.

Reading about Meyfart reminds me of the fact that many gems of German Lutheran hymnody do not exist in any English-language translation.  That fact makes me with that the opposite were true.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 22, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RICHARD BIGGS, ACTOR

THE FEAST OF GEORG GOTTFRIED MULLER, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JULIA BULKLEY CADY CORY, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Johann(es) Matthaus Meyfart and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Carl Doving (October 2)   2 comments

Decorah, Iowa 1908

Above:  Panoramic View of Decorah, Iowa, Circa 1908

Copyright Claimant = Brunt & Parman

H116196–U.S. Copyright Office

Image Source = Library of Congress

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CARL DOVING (MARCH 21, 1867-OCTOBER 2, 1937)

Norwegian-American Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator

I collect hymnals from different denominations for several reasons, including the fact that variety in hymnody interests me.  Variety is the spice of life with regard to hymns, for it guards against a generic, vanilla sensibility in church music and texts thereto.  Hymns which Carl Doving (1867-1937), or, as The Service Hymnal:  A Lutheran Homecoming (2001) misspells his last name, “Dovig,” translated are most likely to appear in hymnals of denominations with a Scandinavian or German heritage, for he rendered texts from Scandinavian and German sources into English.  These English-language texts are products of a finely honed mind, the intellect of a skilled linguist, and a deep trust in God.

Doving, a native of Norddalen, Norway, lived in Norway, South Africa, and the United States of America.  In 1883, ag age 16, he moved to the Natal, South Africa.  There Bishop Nils Astrup, a missionary of the Synod of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (SNELCA), educated him.  Our saint taught at Astrup’s Schreuder Mission, Untunjambili, for a few years before emigrating to the United States at age 23 in 1890.  He studied at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, for three years, graduating in 1893 then commencing studies at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, from which he graduated in 1896.  Along the way to becoming an ordained minister of the SNELCA then its immediate successor, the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (1917-1946)/The Evangelical Lutheran Church (1946-1960), wrote three books from his experiences in South Africa:

  1. Billeder fra Syd-Afrika (1892),
  2. Blandt Zuluerne i Syd-Afrika (1894), and
  3. Izihabelelo (1896).

The last book was a volume of Zulu hymns;  the first two were apparently about missionary efforts among the Zulus, according to the scant information I found online.

My sources–books, secondary websites, and primary sources I accessed via Internet searches–helped me to establish some dates in Doving’s career, but not as many as I would have preferred.  I do know the following, however:

  1. Doving served a churches in Red Wing and Montevideo, Minnesota.  He was serving at the congregation in Montevideo in 1902.
  2. In 1903 the SNELCA asked Doving to undertake missionary work among the Zulus.  I have found no indication of his reply.
  3. By 1905 Doving was serving as pastor of the First Scandinavian Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, New York, New York.  He remained there through at least 1911, perhaps 1912.
  4. Doving served as a visiting pastor in Freeborn County, Minnesota, in October and November 1912, overlapping with the long-term tenure of Olof Hanson Smeby (1851-1929) there.  By then Smeby and Doving had concluded their service on the committee for The Lutheran Hymnary (1913).
  5. Doving’s final assignment was as city missionary in Chicago.  This work was well underway by 1916.  One of our saint’s duties was visiting people in hospitals.  Many of them were immigrants not fluent in English.  Fortunately, Doving was fluent in German, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and Greek.

Preface

Above:  The Conclusion of the Preface to The Lutheran Hymnary (1913)

Scanned from the 1935 edition of The Lutheran Hymnary by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Doving applied his linguistic abilities to translating German and Scandinavian hymns also.  Some sources I consulted indicated that The Lutheran Hymnary contains 32 of his translations.  I counted hymns and wrote down titles, however, and arrived at a different number–37.

Mason City Globe-Citizen, March 6, 1934, page 16 01

Mason City Globe-Citizen, March 6, 1934, page 16 02

Above:  An Article from the Mason City Globe-Citizen, Mason City, Iowa, March 6, 1934, Page 16

Obtained via newspapers.com

The Lutheran Hymnary and users thereof benefited from our saint’s large hymnological library and extensive knowledge of hymnology.  Doving donated that library to Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, in 1934.  Since 1997 the custodian of said library has been Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota.  That library contains thousands of hymnals and books about hymns in more than 300 languages and from six continents.  The oldest book in the collection dates to the middle 1600s; the most recent volume comes from the early 1900s.  It is a collection which a recognized expert in the field of hymnology assembled.

Carl Doving (D.D., Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, 1931), died at Chicago, Illinois, on October 2, 1937.  His hymn translations survive, and not only in out-of-print hymnbooks.  My survey of germane, current hymnals reveals the following count of Doving texts, in descending order:

  1. Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (The Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 1996)–16;
  2. Ambassador Hymnal for Lutheran Worship (The Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, 1994)–11;
  3. Christian Worship:  A Lutheran Hymnal (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 1993)–5;
  4. Lutheran Service Book (The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, 2006)–3;
  5. The Covenant Hymnal:  A Worshipbook (The Evangelical Covenant Church of America, 1996)–2;
  6. The Service Book:  A Lutheran Homecoming (unofficial, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2001)–2;
  7. Celebrating Grace Hymnal (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, 2010)–1;
  8. Chalice Hymnal (Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 1995)–1;
  9. Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2006)–1;
  10. Moravian Book of Worship (Moravian Church in America, 1995)–1;
  11. The New Century Hymnal (United Church of Christ, 1995)–1;
  12. The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal (Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1985)–1;
  13. Trinity Hymnal–Baptist Edition (Reformed Baptist, 1995)–1; and
  14. Trinity Hymnal–Revised Edition (Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Presbyterian Church in America, 1990)–1.

I checked many other current hymnals in my collection and found no Carl Doving texts in them.

The top two hymnals on the list come from denominations with a dominant Norwegian heritage.  The Evangelical Lutheran Synod formed in opposition to the merger which created the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (1917-1946)/The Evangelical Lutheran Church (1946-1960), which merged into The American Lutheran Church (1960-1987).  The Association of Free Lutheran Congregations is the remnant of The Lutheran Free Church, which merged into The American Lutheran Church (1960-1987) in 1963.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America also has a strong Norwegian heritage.

Denominations with strong German roots include the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church in America, and the United Church of Christ.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has strong Swedish and Danish roots, as well as Icelandic and Finnish heritages.  Hymnals of Swedish and Danish immigrant denominations had a stronger Scandinavian hymnody than non-ethnic U.S. Lutheran hymnbooks have had, beginning with the Service Book and Hymnal (1958).  The Evangelical Covenant Church of America has Swedish immigrant roots.

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has an ethnic Finnish constituency also.

Our saint left a fine legacy, one which continues to benefit people.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 29, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS BOSA OF YORK, JOHN OF BEVERLEY, WILFRID THE YOUNGER, AND ACCA OF HEXHAM, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENNA, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN

THE FEAST OF TIMOTHY REES, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LLANDAFF

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Carl Doving)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Posted April 29, 2015 by neatnik2009 in October 2, Saints of 1870-1879, Saints of 1880-1889, Saints of 1890-1899, Saints of 1900-1909, Saints of 1910-1919, Saints of 1920-1929, Saints of 1930-1939

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