Archive for the ‘Methodist Episcopal Church South’ Tag

Feast of Alexander Clark (March 6)   Leave a comment

Above:  Alexander Clark

Image Source = Matthew Simpson, Cyclopedia of Methodism, 5th.ed. (1882), 222

Digital Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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ALEXANDER CLARK (MARCH 10, 1834-JULY 6, 1879)

U.S. Methodist Protestant Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymnal Editor

Alexander Clark comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via several sources.  These include The Methodist Hymnal (1966), the companion volume to The Methodist Hymnal (1935), and the fifth edition (1882) of Bishop Matthew Simpson’s Cyclopedia of Methodism.  Internet sleuthing rounds out most of the remainder of research.

Clark was a journalist and a minister.  He, born in Jefferson County, Ohio, on March 10, 1834, was a son of Samuel Clark (1797-1880) and Christine McKenzie (Clark) (1805-1886).  Samuel, of Scots-Irish ancestry, was a teacher and a classical scholar.  Christine was a Scottish immigrant.  Our saint worked as a teacher from 19 to 23 years of age.  During that time, he founded a newspaper, The Student Visitor.  It became The School Day Magazine, which, in the late 1870s, merged into St. Nicholas (extant 1873-1940).  He married Anne Marie Daughaday (1834-1923).  They had to children (born 1856-1879).

Clark, ordained a minister in the Methodist Protestant Church (extant 1830-1939), served as a pastoral capacity in four congregations.

  1. He was pastor of Fifth Avenue Methodist Protestant Church, New Brighton, Pennsylvania, from 1861 to 1863.  This congregation became Fifth Avenue Methodist Church via the merger of 1939 then Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church via the merger of 1968.  The congregation has amalgamated into New Brighton United Methodist Church.
  2. Clark was assistant pastor (under Thomas H. Stockton, 1808-1868) of the Church of the New Testament, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1863-1864.  Stockton had been pastor of First Methodist Protestant Church, Philadelphia, from 1838 to 1847.  The Church of the New Testament was an independent congregation he led from 1856 to 1868.
  3. Clark was pastor of Union Chapel (Independent Methodist), Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1864 to 1866.  Union Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church, formed in 1853, split in 1861, during a controversy over the newly-appointed pastor.  A congregation continued as Union Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church, which disbanded in the 1870s.  Union Chapel (Independent Methodist) joined The Methodist Church (extant 1858-1877) in 1867.  (Much of the West and the North of the Methodist Protestant Church had, in the name of opposing slavery, withdrawn in 1858 and formed the Methodist Protestant Association.  They adopted the name “The Methodist Church” in 1862 then retained that name five years later, during a merger with other Methodists who also opposed the episcopacy.  The Methodist Church (1858-1877) reunited with its parent denomination, the Methodist Protestant Church, in 1877.
  4. Clark was pastor of First Methodist Protestant Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 1866 to 1870.  This congregation outgrew its building on Fifth Avenue in 1892.  The congregation eventually amalgamated into First United Methodist Church.

Clark left parish ministry in 1870.  He became the editor of The Methodist Recorder and Our Morning Guide, denominational periodicals.  Our saint also visited the General Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1874), and the Methodist Episcopal Church (1876), as a fraternal delegate.  In 1871, he edited The Voice of Praise, the new hymnal of The Methodist Church (1858-1877).  The Voice of Praise (1871) had a brief life as an official resource; The Tribute of Praise replaced it as the hymnal of the reunited Methodist Protestant Church in 1882.  Clark wrote at least 12 hymns.  His most popular text was “Heavenly Father, Bless Me Now.”

Clark’s duties entailed some traveling across the United States.  He was in Atlanta, Georgia, on a lecture tour when he became severely ill in June 1879.  Governor Alfred H. Colquitt (in office 1877-1882), a Methodist minister, had Clark moved from the hotel to the Governor’s Mansion.  Our saint, 45 years old, died there on July 6, 1879.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 3, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN XXIII, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEISLER AND JOHANN CHRISTIAN GEISLER, SILESIAN MORAVIAN ORGANISTS AND COMPOSERS; AND JOHANNES HERBST, GERMAN-AMERICAN ORGANIST, COMPOSER, AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF OLE T. (SANDEN) ARNESON, U.S. NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF WILL CAMPBELL, AGENT OF RECONCILIATION

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Alexander Clark 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 William Henry Heard (June 25)   1 comment

Above:  William Henry Heard

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM HENRY HEARD (CIRCA JUNE 25, 1850-SEPTEMBER 12, 1937)

African Methodist Episcopal Missionary and Bishop

Bishop William Henry Heard comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via a few sources.  The main source is Ray Chandler, “Up from Slave Row:  The Making of Bishop William Henry Heard” (Georgia Backroads, Autumn 2018), 44-49.  This post also depends directly on Bishop Heard’s autobiography, From Slavery to the Bishopric in the A.M.E. Church (1924), available at Documenting the American South.  I also rely on the website of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia.  Furthermore, I cite a one of my deceased fellow parishioners and a fine local historian in Athens, Georgia.  Al Hester’s Enduring Legacy:  Clarke County, Georgia’s Ex-Slave Legislators:  Madison Davis and Alfred Richardson (2010) provides a little information about Heard.  And measuringworth.com is an invaluable tool for adjusting monetary amounts for inflation.  This post also draws minor details from various historical works and congregations’ websites.

Our saint, born a slave, rose to become the senior bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (hereafter the A.M.E. Church).  He, born in Longstreet community, about ten miles from Elberton, Georgia, or or about June 25, 1850, was a son of slaves.  His mother was Parthenia, whose main duties were to bear and raise children.  The future bishop, originally called William Harrison Heard, was one of five children she bore.  Parthenia died of typhoid fever in 1859.  Our saint’s father was George Heard, a blacksmith and a wheelwright on a neighboring plantation.  George Heard was probably a son of planter (and his owner), Thomas Jefferson Heard, a son Stephen Heard (1740-1815), whose public offices in Georgia included a term (1780-1781) as governor.  The future bishop grew up in conditions one would generously describe as primitive.  In the slave cabin, waking up to find a snake in his bed was not unusual.  He also remembered the two times he and family members were on the auction block.  Our saint, a field hand on the plantation of John Trenchard, headmaster of Elberton Academy during the Civil War, received his freedom in May 1865.  He was nearly 15 years at the time.

William Harrison Heard went to live with his father, who had opened a blacksmith and wheelwright business near Elberton.  Not surprisingly, there were no schools for African Americans in the area in 1865 and 1866.  In 1867, the Reverend William Jefferson White, a Baptist minister from Augusta, Georgia, visited Elberton.  He, an agent of the Freedmen’s Bureau, came to encourage African-American education.  White, of Caucasian, Muskogee, and African ancestry, impressed the future bishop by speaking the King’s English.  White was the first African-American Heard had met who was so well educated and articulate.

Our saint had some education already.  During the Civil War, he had learned the Bible and the catechism at Elberton Methodist Episcopal Church, South (now First United Methodist Church).  He remained unable to read and write, though.  Through his father’s intervention, William Harrison Heard obtained tutoring using Noah Webster‘s Blue Back Speller.  Our saint took his new name from William Henry Heard, a farmer for whom he worked and who taught him at home from late 1865 to June 1866.  Then our saint returned to his father’s house.  After the African-American school opened, the future bishop attended it.  Then he passed the test to become a teacher in 1867.  Heard earned in excess of $300 (about $5,400 in 2020 currency) in three months of teaching in Elberton.  Meanwhile, our saint continued his studies and kept teaching.

Above:  Henry McNeal Turner

Image in the Public Domain

Henry McNeal Turner (1834-1915) influenced Heard’s life greatly.  Turner, a minister in the A.M.E. Church, was active in post-Civil War politics in Georgia.  He was an organizer of the state Republican Party (when the Republican Party was to the left of the Democratic Party, especially in the former Confederacy) in the state, eventually a member of the General Assembly, and an activist in the movement to encourage former slaves to immigrate to Liberia.  In 1867, Turner spoke in Augusta.  Heard attended the speech and went away inspired.  Turner became one of Heard’s mentors and patrons, in time.

Above:  Amos Tappan Akerman

Image in the Public Domain

Heard, back in Elberton, joined the local Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (perhaps Rock Springs C.M.E. Church, founded in 1868) and became involved in politics.  The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was in the process of spinning off the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (founded in 1870), called the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church since 1954.  Our saint became his congregation’s secretary.  He also collaborated with another mentor and patron, Amos Tappan Akerman (1821-1880).  Akerman, a former slaveholder and a Confederate veteran, had become a “scalawag,” as resentful neighbors called white Southerners, such as Akerman, who supported civil rights and joined the Republican Party.  Akerman, a staunch opponent of the first Ku Klux Klan (racially-motivated domestic terrorists), was so zealous in the prosecution of the Klan that, less than a year after becoming the Attorney General of the United States, President Ulysses S. Grant fired him in late 1871.  Heard, whom Akerman mentored in politics, ran for a seat in the General Assembly in 1872.  He lost, probably because of election-related fraud.

Heard, spent 1872-1877 in South Carolina.  He taught at Mount Carmel (in the county on the other side of the Savannah River), earning $40 (about $872 in 2020 currency) per month.  Meanwhile, our saint continued his education.  He taught at Mount Carmel for four years then studied classics at the University of South Carolina (1876-1877) on scholarship.  The end of Congressional Reconstruction terminated his education at that university.  The end of Congressional Reconstruction also terminated Heard’s political career in South Carolina.  He had won a seat in the state legislature in 1876.  However, our saint’s effort to guarantee the integrity of the electoral system nearly caused his death.  He also survived an abduction.

Heard, back in Georgia, settled in Athens in 1877.  The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in downtown Athens (now First United Methodist Church) spawned Pierce Chapel in 1866.  Henry McNeal Turner brought Pierce Chapel (now First A.M.E. Church) into the A.M.E. Church in 1867.  Our saint joined Pierce Chapel in 1877 and founded the school in the church’s basement.  He taught in that school for years.  Heard also took classes at Clark University (one term) and Atlanta University (one year) in Atlanta.  Furthermore, our saint became the editor and one of the publishers of the local African-American newspaper, the Athens Blade.  Henry McNeal Turner preached a revival at Pierce Chapel in 1879.  At that revival, Heard had a conversion experience.  In 1880, our saint became a federal employee; he was a railway postal clerk.  One route ran between Macon and Atlanta, Georgia.  The other route ran between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta.  The salary was $1150 (about $30,000 in 2020 currency) a year.  And, in 1882, he was a finalist for postmaster of Athens.

Heard turned to the ministry in 1879.  In June of that year, the A.M.E. Church licensed him as an exhorter.  He progressed to local preacher after three months then joined the North Georgia Annual Conference in January 1880.  Our saint became a deacon in 1881 then an elder the following year.  The A.M.E. Church transferred out saint frequently, according to Methodist custom.  He always left a congregation better off in terms of attendance, membership, and finances.

Heard’s first stage of ordained ministry spanned 1880-1895.

  1. He served in Johntown, Dawson County, Georgia, for two years (1880-1882), while continuing to work as a railway postal clerk.  When he arrived, the A.M.E. Church had a mission.  Two years later, the denomination had a circuit.
  2. Heard transferred to Markham Street Mission, Atlanta, where he served for about two months.
  3. He married his second wife, Josephine Henderson, in Athens, in 1882.  (His first wife had been Amanda.)
  4. Heard resigned his postal job to accept a post in Aiken, South Carolina.  His financial compensation was $650 (about $16, 930 in 2020 currency) the first year then about $930 (about $24, 223 in 2020 currency) the second year.
  5. Next, the future bishop served at Mount Zion Church, South Carolina (1885-1888), followed by a year (1888-1889) at Allen Chapel Church (now Allen Church), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  6. After a year as the Presiding Elder of the Lancaster District, Heard spent two years as pastor of Mother Bethel Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1890-1892.)
  7. While in Philadelphia, our saint studied at Reformed Episcopal Seminary.
  8. Heard was the pastor of Bethel Church, Wilmington, Delaware (1892-1894).
  9. Then he served at the A.M.E. congregation that, at the time, occupied a building on State Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Above:  Eliza Turner Memorial A.M.E. Church, Monrovia, Liberia

Image in the Public Domain

Heard went to Liberia next.  Henry McNeal Turner, a bishop since 1880, arranged for President Grover Cleveland to appoint our saint the U.S. Minister Resident and Consul General and doubled as a missionary.  He transferred to the A.M.E. Church’s Liberia Conference and doubled as a missionary.  He founded and led Eliza Turner Memorial Church, Monrovia.  (Eliza Turner had been Bishop Turner’s first wife.)

Heard’s third stage of ministry spanned 1899-1909.

  1. He spent a year (1899-1900) at Zion Mission, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, followed by another year (1900-1901) as the Presiding Elder of the Long Island District.  Then he spent several months at Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
  2. Bishop Turner arranged for the appointment of Heard to the pulpit of Allen Temple Church, Atlanta, Georgia, in August 1901, after the death of the previous pastor.  Heard left that pulpit in 1904.
  3. His next position was Secretary-Treasurer of the A.M.E. Church’s Connectional Preacher’s Aid and Mutual Relief Society.  Then, in 1908, he became a bishop.

Heard had three assignments as a bishop.  He returned to West Africa (Liberia, especially) in 1909.  From 1917 to 1920, our saint presided over the Eighth Episcopal District (Mississippi and Louisiana).  His final assignment (1920-death) was the First Episcopal District (Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and New England).

Heard, aged 87 years, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 12, 1937.

Heard found his niche, excelled in it, and glorified God in doing so.  May we, by grace, live so that others, speaking and writing about us, may truthfully and accurately describe our lives in those words or in words to that effect.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JUNIA AND ANDRONICUS, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant William Henry Heard,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the full stature of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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Feast of John H. Caldwell (March 12)   2 comments

Above:  First United Methodist Church, Newnan, Georgia

Image Source = Google Earth

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JOHN HOLLIS CALDWELL (JUNE 4, 1820-MARCH 11, 1899)

U.S. Methodist Minister and Social Reformer

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We have sinned, and God has smitten us.

–John H. Caldwell, Newnan, Georgia, June 1865

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INTRODUCTION

The great Galileo Galilei warned many who were conventionally orthodox and sat in judgment on him for making shocking and revolutionary statements (such as that the Earth revolves around the Sun), that they may actually be heretics.  John H. Caldwell, in the middle of his life, concluded that he had been a heretic regarding slavery.  He chose actual orthodoxy.

Caldwell came to my attention years ago, when I was a graduate student at Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia.  I was researching Methodist history regarding slavery; my focus in graduate school was the intersection of race and religion in the U.S. South.  Slavery was the rock upon which the Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939) split in 1844-1845.  I knew that already, but I wanted to know more details.

I was a United Methodist from 1980 to 1991.  Then I became an Episcopalian.  I have never looked back, for I have concluded that I am on this planet to be an Episcopalian.  Besides, my theological development subsequent to my confirmation (St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton, Georgia, December 22, 1991) has led me to become a Single Predestinarian Anglican-Lutheran, contrary to Methodist theology.  My increasingly liberal and inclusive social views have placed me substantially to the left of where many of the more conservative elements of society are.  So be it.  I affirm that all human beings with both a pulse and brain waves possess unalienable natural rights, including civil rights and civil liberties.  Call me a radical, if you wish, O reader, but there I stand.  I will do no other.

I write this so that you, O reader, will understand that (1) I know whereof I write, and (2) I have no animosity toward The United Methodist Church.

I recall, as early as the middle 1980s, talk of The United Methodist Church being two denominations in one.  If the General Conference 2020 plays out the way I predict it will, 2020 may echo 1844.  Even if the General Conference of 2020 does not play out the way I predict it will, The United Methodist Church will continue to live into the typographical error and Freudian slip “Untied Methodist Church.”  This is an objective statement.  To quote William Butler Yeats in The Second Coming,

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.

The big tent encompasses only those who choose to live within it.  Donatism did not die in norther Africa long ago.  No, it is alive and well, unfortunately.

As The United Methodist Church comes asunder and as the United States of America observes the Martin Luther King, Jr., federal holiday, pondering another schism–that of 1844-1845–as well as the cause of it, should lead us to sober-minded contemplation of orthodoxy and heresy, actual and alleged.

JOHN H. CALDWELL, DEFENDER OF SLAVERY

John Hollis Caldwell as a white Southerner.  He, born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on June 4, 1820, was a son of James Caldwell (1768-1825) and Jane Wardlaw (1772-1822).  His family moved to Georgia when our saint was an infant.  He converted to Christianity and to Methodism, in particular, at the age of 16 years.  Six years later, the Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) licensed Caldwell as an exhorter.  Our saint joined the Georgia Conference as a full minister in 1844.

The Methodist Episcopal Church concluded its General Conference of 1844 with a divorce agreement.  The cause of the divorce was slavery.  In particular, the question was whether James Osgood Andrew, the bishop assigned to the Georgia Conference, should continue as a bishop, despite owning slaves, in violation of church law.  He had not owned slaves in 1832, when he had become a bishop.  Yet Andrew had received slaves as inheritances over the years.  State law forbade him from freeing his slaves during his lifetime.  Slavery was still morally wrong, of course.  The MEC had been backing away from this moral truth since just a few years after its founding, as slaveholders joined.  The denomination finally issued a firm antislavery message again in 1864, shortly before the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution went to Congress.

One week apart, in May 1845, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS) and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) formed, for the same reason:  slavery.  The SBC formed because Northern-controlled missions boards of the Triennial Convention did not permit slaveholders to become missionaries.  Andrew became one of the founding bishops of the MECS, and continued to preach to slaves that they should obey their masters.

Caldwell joined the MECS and rose through the ranks to become a prominent member of the Georgia Conference thereof.  He accepted the conventional wisdom of his culture and the dominant theology thereof.  Caldwell believed that God supported and ordained slavery.  He quoted the Bible chapter-and-verse to defend this position.  He preached to slaves, telling them to obey their masters.  Opponents of slavery were heretics, fanatics, and radicals, according to Caldwell.  He insisted that they sought to destroy not just slavery, but the freedoms of press, speech, religion, and thought, too.  As Mark A. Noll has written in The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (2006), support for slavery became caught up with the authority of scripture.  Many, if not most, of those who argued for slavery theologically believed they were morally correct.

Above:  Old Main Building, Andrew College, Cuthbert, Georgia

Image Source = Google Earth

Caldwell also helped to found Andrew Female College (now Andrew College), Cuthbert, Georgia, which opened in 1854.  He taught moral and mental science there.  He, a slaveholder (via inheritances), sold one of his slaves to pay the college’s debts.  Caldwell’s father-in-law, a wealthy planter, insisted that a Methodist minister should not own slaves.  Our saint owned up to four slaves at a time, though.

Caldwell, by 1860 the pastor of Trinity Church, Savannah, had moved to Newnan to by 1864.  During the Civil War he supported slavery and the Confederacy.  He assumed that God was pro-Confederate States of America.

JOHN H. CALDWELL, RELIGIOUS SCALAWAG

Then the proverbial scales fell away from Caldwell’s eyes in early 1865.  Confederate defeat threw many white Christian Southerners into a theological crisis.  They reasoned that surely God had supported slavery and the Confederacy, so how could they make sense of their reality?  Caldwell took a different position.  Over a few Sundays in June 1865 he alienated his congregation and most of the other people in Newnan by condemning slavery, secession, the Confederacy, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.  He acknowledged, as he had in 1861, that the cause of the Confederacy had been slavery.  President Jefferson Davis had said as much in his Inaugural Address.  Vice President Alexander Hamilton Stephens, speaking in Savannah in March 1861, had called slavery the cornerstone of the Confederacy.   He was proud of this cornerstone.  Caldwell surveyed the destruction of the Civil War and pronounced the judgment of God.  He also stated that the end of slavery was just.  The Confederacy had been sinful, too, the minister preached, and slavery tainted the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Caldwell’s time left at Newnan was brief.  The Presiding Elder (District Superintendent, in contemporary Methodist terms) removed our saint from the pulpit, at the request of the leaders of the congregation.  U.S. Army General George H. Thomas, who had authority in Georgia, reinstated him in September.  Thomas also ordered local U.S. Army personnel to to protect Caldwell.  Our saint left the Georgia Conference of the MECS in November 1865, after that annual conference voted to condemn the contents of his sermons.

Then Caldwell rejoined the Methodist Episcopal Church and helped to begin rebuilding it in the former Confederacy.  He became a charter member of the new Georgia Conference of the MEC in January 1866.  He ministered to former slaves, helping them build churches, not telling them they should have obeyed their masters.  Predictably, the new Georgia Conference of the MEC was mostly African-American; it was politically and theologically suspect, according to most Southern Methodist neighbors.  Caldwell remained in Georgia until 1871, shortly after “redemption,” of the return of the antebellum ruling class to power.  He helped to found schools for former slaves.  Our saint, a religious scalawag, favored the Radical Republicans’ ambitious civil rights platform and worked with the Freedmen’s Bureau to help his flock.  Caldwell attended the state constitutional convention (December 1867-March 1868) and served in the state legislature.  He opposed the expulsion of all his African-American colleagues from that body.  Caldwell and his fellow religious scalawags were, according to Edward H. Myers, the editor of the Southern Christian Advocate,

miserable traitors to their brethren, their church, and their country.

–Quoted in Daniel W. Stowell, Rebuilding Zion:  The Religious Reconstruction of the South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 133

JOHN H. CALDWELL OF DELAWARE

Caldwell and his family to Delaware in 1871.  He had married Elizabeth Thurston Hodnett (1826-1902) on January 2, 1849.  The couple had had five sons and four daughters from 1849 to 1869.  Our saint joined the local conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church and served as a pastor, a presiding elder, and a college president.

From 1885 to 1888 Caldwell served as the President of Delaware College (now the University of Delaware), then a men’s institution.  His time as a college president was unhappy for everybody involved.  Personality clashes abounded, and his inexperience created more problems.  Our saint perceived that people were conspiring around him.  They may have been, perhaps justifiably.  Caldwell was simultaneously of his time and ahead of it.  His antiquated moral disapproval of dancing led to some conflicts; he forbade it on campus.  Yet he favored admitting women to the student body; that was progressive.

Caldwell returned to parish ministry in 1888.

He, aged 78 years, died in Dover, Delaware, on Mach 11, 1899.

EVALUATING JOHN H. CALDWELL

Caldwell may have been, as one of his adversaries at Delaware College claimed, “cranky,” but he possessed courage, too.  Our saint had enough courage to change his mind on a central issue of his time and to contradict conventional wisdom, as well as to speak up at great risk to himself and his livelihood.  He had the courage of his convictions.  History has rendered its verdict in Caldwell’s case; it has ruled in his favor.

As one should know, presenting evidence is frequently the least successful method of changing a person’s mind, especially in matters that pertain to one’s self-image.  Facts should matter, but ego protection often overrules objective reality.  Human beings are usually more irrational than rational, sadly.

By grace, Caldwell found the moral courage, starting in June 1865, to admit that he had been wrong–horribly, sinfully wrong.  Then he repented, paid the price, and made the world a better place for many of the “least of these.”

That is sufficient reason to honor him.

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God of justice, we thank you for the example of your servant, John H. Caldwell,

who turned his back on the sins of slavery and, in the face of hostility,

labored for the civil rights of former slaves, his neighbors.

May we, by grace, confront our prejudices and, when necessary and proper to do so,

expose the foolishness of “received wisdom” and other ubiquitous assumptions,

for your glory and for the benefit of all people.

May the Church be on the vanguard of the struggle for social justice,

never on the side of the oppressors,

regardless of the price she will pay for standing with the “least of these.”

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

Amos 2:6-8

Psalm 71:1-6

Galatians 3:23-29

Luke 6:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 20, 2020 COMMON ERA 

THE FEAST OF SAINT FABIAN, BISHOP OF ROME, AND MARTYR, 250

THE FEAST OF SAINTS EUTHYMIUS THE GREAT AND THEOCRISTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF GREVILLE PHILLIMORE, ENGLISH PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF HARRIET AUBER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD ROLLE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL WRITER

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Old Methodist Episcopal Church, South (Now the Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit), Winder, Georgia   1 comment

My great-grandfather, George Washington Barrett, was a pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (to 1939) and The Methodist Church (from 1939).  He spent part of his career as pastor in Winder, Georgia, a short drive from my home in Athens.  To be precise, he served as pastor of the Winder Methodist Episcopal Church, South, from November 1925 to November 1926.

The present-day First United Methodist Church of Winder moved to another set of buildings at a different address and larger plot n 1964.   The new facilities seem attractive from the street, and probably are closer up too.  Yet, as one who likes old buildings, and old things in general, I find the 1904 brick structure more appealing and charming.

An independent congregation, the Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, has moved into the old building and begun architectural restoration.  Based on their website, I am relatively too heretical and ritualistic to be welcome there, so I restrict my admiration to the physical structure.  That building reminds me of an old saying: “They don’t build them like this anymore.”

Church

Scan of a photograph reproduced in C. Fred Ingram, ed., Beadland to Barrow:  A History of Barrow County, Georgia, from the Earliest Times to the Present (Atlanta, GA:  Cherokee Publishing Company, 1983), page 279

On April 6, 2011, I visited the public library in Winder and consulted the local history published in 1978.  That book contains an old image of the 1904 structure.  Apparently the front porch and large steps were not original.  At first, according to the photographic records in two local history volumes I consulted, the original front facade of the building had a door, for windows to its right, then two doors on the corner to their right.  There was also an impressive spire on the right front corner.  As the recent photographs indicate, however, the original two front doors are gone, replaced by windows.  And two newer front doors have replaced two of the four front windows.

And the handicapped access ramp is recent, of course.  I know that not all people in olden times were able-bodied, so why was access not a high priority for architects?

All color mages are from the website of the Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit.

KRT

Updated April 7, 2011

Updated July 28, 2012

Updated April 22, 2015

July 28, 2012, Update:  http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2012-07-27/fire-destroys-century-old-church-building-winder

http://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/former-home-of-first-methodist-church-winder-georgia/

Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit: http://shswinder.org/

First United Methodist Church of Winder: http://www.winderfumc.com/