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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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