Archive for the ‘Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.’ Tag

Feast of Hugh Thomson Kerr, Sr., and Hugh Thomson Kerr, Jr. (June 27)   1 comment

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Above:  Interior View, Facing the Altar and Pulpit, Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 1963

Image Creator = Historic American Buildings Survey

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = HABS PA,2-PITBU,22–10

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HUGH THOMSON KERR, SR. (FEBRUARY 11, 1872-JUNE 27, 1950)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Liturgist

father of 

HUGH THOMSON KERR, JR. (JULY 1, 1909-MARCH 27, 1992)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Scholar, and Theologian

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With this post I add a father-son combination to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Hugh Thomson Kerr, Sr., was born at Elora, Ontario, Canada, in 1872.  He attended Knox College of the University of Toronto and the Theological School of the Presbyterian Church of Canada before coming to the United States and studying at Western Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Presbytery of Pittsburgh ordained him in 1897.  Hugh Sr. served a church in Hutchinson, Kansas, then at Fullerton Avenue Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Illinois, before becoming pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1913.  He retired from that congregation thirty-three years later.  For the fiftieth anniversary of Shadyside Church Hugh Sr. wrote a hymn, “God of Our Life” (1916).

Hugh Sr. served on the denominational level with distinction.  He, the 1930-1931 Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., helped to shepherd the denomination through the Modernist-Fundamentalist controversy of the 1920s and 1930s, the one which ended with the Presbyterian Church of America (renamed “Orthodox Presbyterian Church” after a few years and its own schism in the late 1930s, after the death of its founder, J. Gresham Machen), breaking way in 1936.  (Some of the theologically self-identified “pure” are purer than others.)

Presbyterian Church of America Article

Above:  Part of an Article about the New Presbyterian Church of America (later the Orthodox Presbyterian Church), July 8, 1936

Photograph Dated December 31, 2013

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Hugh Sr. also helped to create The Book of Common Worship (Revised) (1932) and The Book of Common Worship (1946).  The latter volume, according to some Presbyterian critics, was too Episcopalian.

BCW 1946

Above:  My Grandmother’s Handwriting Inside the Front of a Copy of The Book of Common Worship (1946)

Photograph Dated December 31, 2013

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Hugh Sr. was an ecclesiastical pioneer.  In the 1920s and 1930s he preached via radio.  And he, an ecumenist, helped to bring about World Communion Sunday, celebrating the first one at Shadyside Church in 1933.

A partial list of Hugh Sr.’s publications’ follows:

  1. Port to Listening Post (1910);
  2. Children’s Story-Sermons (1911);
  3. Children’s Missionary Story Sermons (1915);
  4. The Highway of Life, and Other Sermons (1917);
  5. The Supreme Gospel:  A Study of the Epistle to the Hebrews (1918);
  6. My First Communion (1920); and
  7. Children’s Gospel Story-Sermons (1921).

Hugh Thomson Kerr, Jr., was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1909.  He graduated from Princeton University in 1931 then began his M.A. studies at the University of Pittsburgh.  He graduated in 1934 and became a Presbyterian minister.  Hugh Jr., after studying for his doctorate at the University of Edinburgh (1934-1936), joined the faculty of Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.  He returned to Princeton in 1940, joining the faculty of the Theological Seminary.  In 1950 Hugh Jr. became the Benjamin B. Warfield Professor of Systematic Theology, holding that position until he retired twenty-four years later.

Hugh Jr., a scholar, maintained an association with Theology Today from 1944 to 1992, first as Associate Editor (through 1951) then as Editor (starting in 1951).  His published works included many articles and some books, such as:

  1. A Compend of The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin (1939), as editor;
  2. A Compend of Luther’s Theology (1943), as editor;
  3. Positive Protestantism:  An Interpretation of the Gospel (1950);
  4. By John Calvin:  A Reflection Book Introduction to the Writings of John Calvin (1960);
  5. Our Life in God’s Light (1979), collected essays; and
  6. A Year With the Bible, an annual devotional guide.

Hugh Jr., like his father, was an ecumenist.  The son, a supporter of the rights of women, participated in the World Council of Churches’ Commission on Women.  He was also active in the National Council of Churches’ Committee on Church Architecture as well as in the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

Hugh Jr. died at Princeton, New Jersey in 1992.

Father and son left the church and the world better than they found them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 17, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTONY OF EGYPT, DESERT FATHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT BERARD AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS IN MOROCCO

THE FEAST OF EDMUND HAMILTON SEARS, UNITARIAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servants

Hugh Thomson Kerr, Sr.; and Hugh Thomson Kerr, Jr.;

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

Feast of William Hiram Foulkes (June 14)   1 comment

PCUSA 1937

Above:  Part of The Christian Century‘s Report on the 1937 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

Photograph Dated December 31, 2013

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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WILLIAM HIRAM FOULKES (JUNE 16, 1877-DECEMBER 9, 1961)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

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Science and religion no more contradict each other than light and electricity.

–William Hiram Foulkes

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William Hiram Foulkes, born in Qunicy, Michigan, in 1877, was a Presbyterian minister, a denominational statesman, and a writer of hymns.

The progress of our saint’s career was as follows:

  1. Foulkes graduated from the College of Emporia, Emporia, Kansas, in 1897.  Next he attended McCormick Theological Seminary, where he received the Bernardine Orme Smith Fellowship for general excellence.  He also studied on the graduate level at New College, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  2. Foulkes ministered at churches in Elmira, Illinois; Portland, Oregon; New York, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; and Newark, New Jersey; in that order.
  3. Foulkes served as the General Secretary of the Board of Ministerial Relief and Sustenation of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. from 1913 to 1918.
  4. Foulkes served as the Chairman of the New Era Movement (in full, the New Era Expansion Program) of the denomination.  The purpose of the New Era Movement (1919-1933) was to encourage cooperation among congregations, presbyteries, synods, and denominational boards and agencies to promote stewardship, ecumenism, and missionary education.
  5. Foulkes sat on the General Council of the denomination.
  6. Foulkes contributed to the 1935 Handbook to the 1933 Hymnal.
  7. Foulkes served as the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1937-1938.
  8. Foulkes retired in 1941.
  9. Foulkes died at Smithtown, New York, in 1961.

Our saint wrote at least three books:

  1. Living Bread from the Fourth Gospel (1914), a devotional volume;
  2. Sunset by the Wayside (1917), a volume of poems; and
  3. Homespun:  Along Friendly Roads (1936), a volume of Christian essays.

He also wrote hymns, including “Take Thou Our Minds, Dear Lord” (1918), which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  It is a hymn about consecration to God–having the mind of Christ, yielding to God, et cetera.  He wrote it as a devotional text for young people.  Dr. Calvin Weiss Laufer had asked Foulkes to compose words

that will challenge their hearts and minds.

–Quoted in William Chalmers Covert and Calvin Weiss Laufer, eds., Handbook to The Hymnal (Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, 1935), page 266

Perhaps the best way to conclude my remarks is to affirm a simple prayer from that hymn:

Guide Thou our ordered lives as Thou dost please.

Amen.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 16, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE VICTIMS OF THE HAITI EARTHQUAKE

THE FEAST OF GEORGE AND LILLIAN WILLOUGHBY, QUAKER PEACE ACTIVISTS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PACHOMIUS, FATHER OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNAL MONASTIC LIFE

THE FEAST OF RICHARD MEUX BENSON, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless you for inspiring William Hiram Foulkes

and all who with words have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

Feast of Louis FitzGerald Benson (October 10)   5 comments

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Above:  Interior, Rear of the Church with the Organ Loft from the Altar, First Presbyterian Church, Binghamton, New York

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = HABS NY,4-BING,18–9

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LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON (JULY 22, 1855-OCTOBER 10, 1930)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Liturgist

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Louis FitzGerald Benson was the son of a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, businessman and elder at the Tenth Presbyterian Church.  Our saint earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania then practiced law. After a few years, however, he perceived and followed a different vocation.  So he enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary.  Benson, ordained the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1869-1958) in 1888, pastored one congregation, the Church of the Redeemer, Germantown, Pennsylvania, for six years.  Then he embarked upon his true calling.

Benson became an Editor at the Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work in 1894.  He wrote and translated hymns, edited hymnals, and wrote about hymnody, becoming the foremost hymnodist in the United States during this lifetime and perhaps remaining unsurpassed after this death.  He produced the following volumes:

Our saint, a scholar of hymnody, had a 9,000-volume library.

Our saint shared the first draft of the following hymn, written on November 21, 1924, with his good friend, Henry Sloane Coffin.  Coffin provided praise and constructive criticism, which influenced the final draft.

For the bread, which Thou has broken;

For the wine, which Thou hast poured;

For the words, which Thou hast spoken;

Now we give Thee thanks, O Lord.

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By this pledge that Thou dost love us,

By Thy gift of peace restored,

By Thy call to heaven above us,

Hallow all our lives, O Lord.

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With our sainted ones in glory

Seated at our Father’s board,

May the Church that waiteth for Thee

Keep love’s tie unbroken, Lord.

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In Thy service, Lord, defend us;

In our hearts keep watch and ward;

In the world where Thou dost send us

Let Thy Kingdom come, O Lord.

As I researched our saint I found the following description of him at the Tenth Presbyterian website:

…the foremost hymnodist that America has produced.

I detect irony, for Benson was to the left of that congregation’s current theological position.  He associated with the likes of Henry Sloane Coffin and Henry Van Dyke, liberals in their denomination.  In 1981 Tenth Presbyterian Church affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America (1973-), which is far to the right of Coffin, Van Dyke, and Benson.

Benson died at Philadelphia, his hometown, in 1930.  On November 2 that year Dr. Henry Van Dyke, speaking at a memorial service for our saint, advised churches to cultivate the following, which were Benson’s ideals for hymns:  cheerfulness, beauty, reverence, and spirituality.  Van Dyke said that

When singing in all our churches has these marks, the joy of worship will revive and the churches will fill up.

–Quoted in Robert Guy McCutchan, Our Hymnody:  A Manual of The Methodist Hymnal, 2d. Ed. (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1937, page 437)

Indeed, beauty and reverence in hymnody, combined with great substance thereof, is proper.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 24, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

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

thank you for those (especially Louis FitzGerald Benson)

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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For Further Reference:

http://manuscripts.ptsem.edu/collection/25

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A Related Post:

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-revised-1932/

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Feast of Samuel Hanson Cox and Arthur Cleveland Coxe (July 20)   2 comments

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Above:  Library, New York University, 1904

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a11791

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SAMUEL HANSON COX (SR.) (AUGUST 25, 1793-OCTOBER 2, 1880)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Abolitionist

father of

ARTHUR CLEVELAND COXE (MAY 10, 1818-JULY 20, 1896)

Episcopal Bishop of Western New York, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns

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Today I add a father and a son to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Samuel Hanson Cox (1793-1880), born in Rahway, New Jesey, grew up a Quaker.  He renounced that denomination to serve in the United States armed forces during the War of 1812.  After that conflict Cox became a Presbyterian minister, serving at Mendham, New Jersey (1817-1821) then at the City of New York (1821-1834).  In 1932 he cofounded the University of the City of New York, now New York University, where he taught theology.  Cox’s opposition to slavery offended a sufficient number of people that a mob sacked his home and church building during the anti-abolitionist riots in 1834, forcing him to leave the city for safety.  So Cox became the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, not yet part of the City of New York.  He also began to teach Ecclesiastical History at the Union Theological Seminary in time.  Cox, a prominent New School Presbyterian, served as the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (New School) in 1849-1850.

[Historical Note:  The organizational roots of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1789-1838) went back to 1706, when The Church of Scotland founded the Presbytery of Philadelphia.  The PCUSA (1789-1838) divided over, among other things, the Second Great Awakening.  The Old School opposed it while the New School accommodated itself to the movement.  Just to confuse people, I suppose, each body which formed from the 1838 schism called itself simply the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.  The New School divided over slavery 1858, with the United Synod of the South forming.  The Old School split likewise in 1861, spawning the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America.  The PCCSA absorbed the United Synod of the South in 1864 and renamed itself the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) in 1865, after the Confederacy had ceased to exist.  The two PCUSAs reunited in 1869-1870 as the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (what else?).  This body merged with the United Presbyterian Church of North America in 1958 to create The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., which reunited with the almost entirely Southern PCUS in 1983 to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).]

Cox retired in 1854.  He died at Broxville, New York, in 1880.

Cox had two sons, both of whom became Episcopal clergymen and added “e” to the last name.  One son, Samuel Hanson Coxe, Jr., served parishes in the State of New York.  The other son, Arthur Cleveland Coxe, rose to the office of bishop.

Arthur Cleveland Coxe was born at Mendham, New Jersey, in 1818, during his father’s tenure as the Presbyterian minister there.  Coxe attended the University of the City of New York, which his father had cofounded.  Coxe published throughout his life, beginning with poetry during his freshman year of college.  He graduated in 1838 then matriculated at General Theological Seminary.  Coxe, ordained to the Diaconate in 1841 and the Priesthood the next year, served at St. John’s Church, Hartford, Connecticut, from 1842 to 1854; Grace Church, Baltimore, Maryland, from 1854 to 1863; and Calvary Episcopal Church, New York, New York, from 1863 to 1865.  In 1865 Coxe became the Bishop Coadjutor of Western New York, having already declined an opportunity to become the Bishop of Texas.  His tenure as Bishop Coadjutor lasted for just a few months, for the bishop died, making Coxe the next bishop, a post he held for the rest of his life.

Coxe published prose and poetry, including hymns.  He wrote the following text in 1850:

Saviour, sprinkle many nations,

Fruitful let Thy sorrows be;

By Thy pains and consolations

Draw the Gentiles unto Thee.

Of Thy cross, the wondrous story,

Be it to the nations told;

Let them see Thee in Thy glory

And Thy mercy manifold.

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Far and wide, though all unknowing,

Pants for Thee each mortal breast;

Human tears for Thee are flowing,

Human hearts in Thee would rest.

Thirsting, as for dews of even,

As the new-mown grass for rain,

Thee they seek as God of heaven,

Thee as man for sinners slain.

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Saviour, lo!  the isles are waiting,

Stretched the hand and stained the sight,

For Thy Spirit, new-creating,

Love’s pure flame and wisdom’s light;

Give the word, and of the preacher

Speed the foot and tough the tongue,

Till on earth by every creature

Glory to the Lamb be sung.

Coxe was a humble man, one who, until the last four years of his life, refused to let any of his hymns appear in official Episcopal hymnals, even though he served on the denominational Hymnal Commission.  Of Coxe Robert Guy McCutchan wrote the following:

Bishop Coxe was a man of unusual gifts:  great personal charm, wonderful eloquence, a scholar of distinction, and a poet whose master-motive was his love of Christ, his love of souls.

Our Hymnody:  A Manual of The Methodist Hymnal, 2d. ed.  (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1937, pages 149-150)

Bishop Coxe spoke out on a variety of issues.  He opposed any translation of the Bible other than the Authorized (King James) Version. (I disagree with him on that point.  That translation is, for me, properly a museum piece.)  He also opposed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and defended the Apostolic nature of Anglican orders.  (I agree with him on both of those counts.)  But, regardless of how much I agree or disagree with Bishop Coxe, I honor him for his work for God.  And I honor his father’s efforts for God and the enslaved.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALCUIN OF YORK, DEACON AND ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT HELENA, MOTHER OF EMPEROR CONSTANTINE I

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For Further Reading:

Samuel Hanson Cox:

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/browse?type=lcsubc&key=Cox%2C%20Samuel%20H.%20(Samuel%20Hanson)%2C%201793-1880&c=x

Arthur Cleveland Coxe:

http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/accoxe/

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Coxe%2C%20A.%20Cleveland%20(Arthur%20Cleveland)%2C%201818-1896

http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/wcdoane/coxe1896.html

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servants

Samuel Hanson Cox and Arthur Cleveland Coxe,

who were faithful in the care and nurture of your flock.

We pray that, following their examples and the teachings of their holy lives,

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  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

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60