Archive for the ‘Reformed Church in the United States’ Tag

Feast of Alice Nevin (November 18)   1 comment

6a09234r

Above:  Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1921

Image Source = Library of Congress

Copyright Claimant = Darmstaetter’s, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

J247993 U.S. Copyright Office

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

ALICE NEVIN (AUGUST 1, 1837-NOVEMBER 19, 1925)

U.S. German Reformed Liturgist and Composer of Hymn Tunes

Alice Nevin, one of six children and three daughters of Martha Jenkins and John Williamson Nevin (1803-1886), a great Mercersburg theologian in the former Reformed Church in the United States (1793-1934), was an heiress to her father’s legacy.  She carried it well, with an emphasis on hymns.

Our saint, born at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 1, 1837, when her father taught at Western Theological Seminary, spent most of her life in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Professor Nevin transferred to Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, in 1840 then to Lancaster 11 years later.  Alice walked with a limp, albeit not a debilitating one, because a nurse dropped her when she was a baby.  Our saint, who never married, served as an organist and choir director at both Franklin and Marshall College and First Reformed Church, Lancaster, for many years.  She also helped to found St. Luke’s Reformed Church, Lancaster, in 1879.

[Aside:  First Reformed Church has become First Reformed United Church Christ.  St. Luke’s Reformed Church became St. Luke’s United Church of Christ.  St. Luke’s, like many urban congregations, lost most of its membership to suburban churches.  It closed on May 31, 2015, and remaining members transferred to Trinity United Church of Christ.]

Nevin cared deeply about the quality of hymns and songs for children.  She edited Hymns and Carols for Church and Sunday School (1879), a volume more formalistic congregations of the Reformed Church in the United States used.  In the preface our saint criticized many hymns and songs for children for being childish when they should be childlike.  She also condemned many of them for featuring

meaningless, jingling rhymes and melodies.

–page 3

The hymnal included five of her hymn tunes and three of her arrangements.  Two of these tunes were nameless, but the other three were RESURRECTION, CECIL, and ELSIE.  The arrangements were WILLIAMSON, COBLENTZ, and CORNISH MELODY.  The Hymnal of the Reformed Church in the United States (1890), The Hymnal of the Reformed Church (1920, with the Reformed Church in America, which barely used it), and The Hymnal (1941, Evangelical and Reformed Church, immediate successor to the Reformed Church in the United States) contained RESURRECTION and WILLIAMSON.  The committees for The Hymnal of the United Church of Christ (1974) and The New Century Hymnal (1995) omitted all tunes and arrangements by our saint.

Nevin was also active in the civil life of Lancaster.  She helped to found the Visiting Nurses’ Association.  Furthermore, she was one of the organizers of the Cliosophic Society, a literary society, in 1879.  And, in 1895, she founded the Iris Club, an organization for women, which she led for six years.

In 1922, toward the end of her life, Nevin published Poems, a slim volume she distributed only among her friends.  She died at home on November 19, 1925, aged 88 years.

Her insistence upon quality in hymns and songs for children remains relevant.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 4, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALFRED TENNYSON, ENGLISH POET

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM FOSTER, ENGLISH MORAVIAN BISHOP, LITURGIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN BROWNLIE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

thank you for those (especially Alice Nevin)

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Philip Schaff and John Williamson Nevin (October 20)   4 comments

6a09234r

Above:  Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1921

J247993–U.S. Copyright Office

Image Source = Library of Congress

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

PHILIP SCHAFF (JANUARY 1, 1819-OCTOBER 20, 1893)

and

JOHN WILLIAMSON NEVIN (FEBRUARY 20, 1803-JUNE 6, 1886)

U.S. German Reformed Historians, Theologians, and Liturgists

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Cardinal John Henry Newman, a famous convert from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, said that to understand church history is to cease to be a Protestant.  I understand why Cardinal Newman thought that, given his spiritual biography and the widespread neglect of Christian history among many Protestants during his lifetime, but that statement did not reflect the reality of Philip Schaff and John Williamson Nevin, who called the German Reformed Church in the U.S.A. (the Reformed Church in the United States from 1863 to 1934) away from its historical amnesia and indifference, Puritanism, Pietism, Revivalism, and Zwinglianism.  These men worked to take their denomination back to its roots in the Protestant Reformation, recovering its Reformed Eucharistic and liturgical heritage while renouncing anti-Roman Catholicism.

Philip Schaff, born on January 1, 1819, at Chur, Switzerland, attended the Universities of Tubingen, Halle, and Berlin.  He immigrated to the United States in 1843 to teach at the German Reformed Seminary at Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.  He, a church historian, championed the subject at a time when many U.S. Evangelicals had little use for it.  Nevertheless, Schaff argued that Protestantism stood in continuity with Medieval Roman Catholicism, not Pauline Christianity.  He advocated taking the German Reformed Church in the U.S.A. back to the liturgical and Eucharistic theology of John Calvin.  In contrast, the dominant influences in the denomination at the time were Puritanism, Pietism, Revivalism, and Zwinglianism, the latter with its memorial meal theology of the Lord’s Supper.  For his trouble Schaff faced a heresy trial in 1845.  The tribunal dismissed all charges unanimously.

Schaff’s theological partner in the Mercersburg Theology was John Williamson Nevin, born on February 20, 1803, in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.  Nevin, of Scotch-Irish ancestry, was originally a Presbyterian.  He, graduated from Union College in 1821 and Princeton Theological Seminary in 1828, received his license to preach in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. that year.  From 1830 to 1840 he taught Biblical literature at the former Western Theological Seminary, Allegheny, Pennsylvania.  Then Nevin, dissatisfied with the Puritanical influences in the Presbyterian Church, left for the German Reformed Church and became a Professor of Theology at the Mercersburg seminary (1840-1851) and President of the former Marshall College (1841-1853).

A mighty dragon Schaff and Nevin had to combat as part of their effort to recover historical awareness and renew liturgical life in the German Reformed Church in the U.S.A. was anti-Roman Catholicism.  As Frank C. Senn wrote:

In America, Protestant liturgical recovery in the nineteenth century not only went up against Puritanism, Pietism, and Revivalism, but also against that cultural-political expression of anti-Catholic bigotry known as “Know-Nothingism.”

Christian Liturgy:  Catholic and Evangelical (Minneapolis, MN:  Fortress Press, 1997), page 581

There was, in the middle of the 1800s, a political party known variously as the Native American Party, American Republican Party, or simply the American Party, but informally as the “Know-Nothing Party,” devoted to xenophobia and opposition to Roman Catholicism, notably Roman Catholic immigrants.  The list of people they liked consisted of other bigoted Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

Our saints sought to revive not only the Continental European Reformed liturgical tradition (that of service books) in the German Reformed Church in the U.S.A., but the Calvinistic Eucharistic theology of the non-localized mystical presence of Christ in the sacrament.  Toward that end Nevin wrote The Mystical Presence:  A Vindication of the Calvinistic Doctrine of the Eucharist (1846).  Nevin, who considered the Lord’s Supper to be “the very heart of the whole Christian worship,” was, like Schaff, more traditional than those who considered them heretics and innovators.  Nevin and Schaff were closer to the Reformed traditions than were Pietists, Revivalists, and Puritans.

Ironically, as late as 1861, Schaff, who was busy resisting anti-Roman Catholic bigotry, had yet to slay racism inside himself.  That year he wrote Slavery and the Bible, the contents of which were–and remain–indefensible.  He was ahead of his time in some ways yet sadly of it in others.  I include this detail for the sake of thoroughness and honesty.

Schaff and Nevin belonged to the committee which produced A Liturgy:  or, Order of Christian Worship (1857), for provisional use in the German Reformed Church in the U.S.A.  In 1866 it became official as An Order of Worship for the Reformed Church.  Nevin wrote the Vindication of of the Revised Liturgy, Historical and Theological (1867) to defend against charges of “Romanizing tendencies”  Such allegations prompted the (Dutch) Reformed Church in America to terminate (for a time) relations with the German Reformed Church/Reformed Church in the United States in the late 180os.

Schaff’s career from 1863 to 1893 was as follows:

  1. Chairman of the Sabbath Committee, New York City, 1863-1870;
  2. Chair of Christian Encyclopedia and Symbolism, Union Theological Seminary, New York City, 1870-1873;
  3. Professor of Sacred Literature, Union Theological Seminary, 1874-1887; and
  4. Professor of Church History, Union Theological Seminary, 1887-1893.

During his career Schaff added many other impressive accomplishments to this already mostly auspicious list.  A partial enumeration follows:

  1. He edited the twenty-five volumes of the English-language translation of Johann Peter Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (1865-1880), available at archive.org.
  2. Schaff published a hymnal, Christ in Song:  Songs of Immanuel (1869) and co-edited a second hymnal, Hymns and Songs of Praise for Public and Social Worship (1874).
  3. He edited German and Latin hymns into English.  Among these was “O Bread of Life from Heaven.”
  4. Schaff edited Volumes I, II, and III of The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (1882-1884).
  5. He wrote the eight-volume History of the Christian Church (1882-1892).  His son, Presbyterian minister and scholar David Schley Schaff (1852-1941), revised those volumes and added two more.
  6. Schaff published Volumes I, II, and III of The Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical Notes (1877).
  7. He published the fourteen volumes of A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church (1886-1890), available at archive.org.
  8. Schaff founded the American Society of Church History in 1884.
  9. He served as President of the American Revision Committee, thereby contributing to the American Standard Version of the Bible (1901), from which other translations have sprung directly and indirectly.  These include the Revised Standard Version (1946/1952), its 1971 revision, its two Catholic editions (1965 and 2002), the New Revised Standard Version (1989), its Roman Catholic edition (1993), the New American Standard Bible (1971/1977) and its updated edition (1995), the Living Bible (1969/1971), its Roman Catholic edition (1972), the New Living Translation (1996/2004), and the English Standard Version (2001).

Schaff, who died at New York City on October 20, 1893, worked for church unity.  His Reformed theology of ecumenism led him to oppose both Papal Infallibility and the Anglican/Episcopalian Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.  The inclusion of Apostolic Succession in the latter troubled him.  He was correct, however, that Papal Infallibility functions as an obstacle to Christian unity.

Schaff left an impressive literary and scholarly legacy.  Among its other components were:

  1. The Principle of Protestantism as Related to the Present State of the Church (1845);
  2. The Life and Labors of St. Augustine:  A Historical Sketch (1854);
  3. The Oldest Manual Called the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles:  The Didache and Kindred Documents in the Original (1855);
  4. The Moral Character of Christ; or the Perfection of Christ’s Humanity, a Proof of His Divinity (1861);
  5. A Catechism for Sunday Schools and Families in Fifty-Two Lessons, with Proof-Texts and Notes (1862; revised in 1880);
  6. The Harmony of the Reformed Confessions as Related to the Present State of Evangelical Theology (1877);
  7. Through Bible Lands:  Notes on Travel in Egypt, the Desert, and Palestine (1878);
  8. A Dictionary of the Bible (First Edition, 1880; Second Edition, 1881; Third Edition, 1885, Fourth Edition, 1887);
  9. A Library of Religious Poetry (1881);
  10. A Companion to the Greek New Testament and the English Version (1883);
  11. Church and State in the United States, or the American Idea of Religious Liberty and Its Practical Effects, with Official Documents (1888);
  12. The Progress of Religion as Shown in the History of Toleration Acts (1889); and
  13. The Renaissance:  The Revival of Learning and Art in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries (1891).

Nevin taught history at the merged Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from 1861 to 1866 then served as the President for a decade.  He died at Lancaster on June 6, 1886.  He also left a written legacy, which included, apart from The Mystical Presence (1846), the 1857/1866 German Reformed Liturgy, and the Vindication (1867) thereof, the following:

  1. A Summary of Biblical Antiquities:  Compiled for the Use of Sunday-School Teachers, and for the Benefit of Families, Volumes I and II (1829);
  2. The Scourge of God (1832);
  3. The Anxious Bench (First Edition, 1843; Second Edition, 1844); in German here;
  4. History and Genius of the Heidelberg Catechism (1847);
  5. A Summary of Biblical Antiquities; for the Use of Schools, Bible-Classes, and Families (1849);
  6. Man’s True Destiny (1853); and
  7. Christian Hymnology (1856);
  8. Life and Character of Frederick Augustus Rauch, First President of Marshall College (1859).

Philip Schaff and John Williamson Nevin were giants in the Church.  Those of us who pursue interests in ecclesiastical history and/or liturgy stand on their shoulders.  Certainly those from the Reformed tradition who encourage proper Eucharistic practice and better liturgy stand on their broad shoulders.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 23, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEASTS OF PHILIP EVANS AND JOHN LLOYD, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF ADELAIDE TEAGUE CASE, PROFESSOR OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

THE FEAST OF SAINT OLAF II OF SWEDEN, KING AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SUSANNA WESLEY, MOTHER OF METHODISM

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Philip SchaffJohn Williamson Nevin, and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++