Archive for the ‘Ritualism’ Tag

Feast of James De Koven (March 22)   Leave a comment

james-de-koven

Above:  James De Koven

Image in the Public Domain

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JAMES DE KOVEN (SEPTEMBER 19, 1831-MARCH 19, 1879)

Episcopal Priest

The feast day for James De Koven is March 22.  Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010) and A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016) spell his name with a space separating “De” and “Koven.”  Nevertheless, some of the histories of The Episcopal Church in my library omit the space, spelling his name “DeKoven.”  “De Koven” is consistent with my research at newspapers.com, where I have found articles from the 1870s using the space.

The native of Middletown, Connecticut, graduated from Columbia College (1851) and the General Theological Seminary (1854).  He, ordained a deacon in 1854, went westward.  The following year the great missionary bishop Jackson Kemper (1789-1870) ordained De Koven to the priesthood.  Our saint taught church history at Nashotah House, administered a preparatory school, and worked as assistant priest at the Church of St. John Chrysostom, Delafield, Wisconsin.  In 1859 he became the Warden of Racine College, Racine, Wisconsin.  He remained in that post for the rest of his life.

De Koven was a ritualist at a time when the Oxford Movement was controversial in The Episcopal Church.  Candles on altars caused major theological arguments, oddly enough.  The issue of ritualism reached the General Conventions of 1871 and 1874.  De Koven came to prominence in The Episcopal Church as a defender of ritualism.  The broadness of the denomination, he argued, should allow for ritualism and transubstantiation.

The General Convention of 1874 amended Canon 20 (Of the Use of the Book of Common Prayer“) as follows:

If any Bishop have reason to believe, or if complaint be made to him in writing by two or more of his Presbyters, that within his jurisdiction ceremonies or practices not ordained or authorized in the Book of Common Prayer, and setting forth or symbolizing erroneous or doubtful doctrines, have been introduced by any Minister during the celebration of the Holy Communion (such as

a.)  The elevation of the Elements in the Holy Communion in such a matter as to expose them to the view of the people as objects toward which adoration is to be made.

b.)  Any act of adoration of or toward the Elements in the Holy Communion, such as bowings, prostrations, or genuflections; and

c.)  All other like acts not authorized by the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer):

It shall be the duty of such Bishop to summon the Standing Committee as his Council of Advice, and with them to investigate the matter.

If, after investigation, it shall appear to the Bishop and Standing Committee that ceremonies or practices not ordained or authorized as aforesaid,…have in fact have been introduced as aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the Bishop, by instrument of writing under his hand, to admonish the Minister so offending to discontinue such practices or ceremonies; and if the Minister shall disregard such admonition, it shall be the duty of the Standing Committee to cause him to be tried for a breach of his ordination vow.

–Quoted in James Thayer Addison, The Episcopal Church in the United States, 1789-1931 (New York, NY:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1951), page 210

Only one trial resulted from the amendment.  The trial of Oliver S. Prescott of St. Clement’s Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ended in an admonition, which did not change the ritual practices in that parish.  The General Convention of 1904 repealed the amendment of 1874 unanimously.

De Koven’s ritualism prevented him from becoming a bishop.  In the 1870s he was a candidate for bishop in several dioceses and came closer to being a bishop of two more dioceses.  He was not alone in experiencing difficulty in becoming a bishop due to the politics of ritualism.  At the General Convention of 1874, for example, George F. Seymour did not receive consent to become the Bishop of Illinois.  Four years later, however, he did become the first Bishop of Springfield.

De Koven turned down non-episcopal opportunities to leave Racine College and to go to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Cincinnati, Ohio; Boston, Massachusetts; and New York, New York.  He died at Racine on March 19, 1879.  He was 47 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE ORDINATION OF FLORENCE LI TIM-OI, FIRST FEMALE PRIEST IN THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANGELA MERICI, FOUNDER OF THE COMPANY OF SAINT URSULA

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF PODLASIE, 1874

THE FEAST OF SAINT SURANUS OF SORA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MARTYR

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Almighty and everlasting God, the source and perfection of all virtues,

you inspired your servant James De Koven to do what is right and to preach what is true:

Grant that all ministers and stewards of your mysteries may impart to your faithful people,

by word and example, the knowledge of your grace;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Exodus 24:1-8

Psalm 132:1-7

2 Timothy 2:10-15, 19

Matthew 13:47-52

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 283

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Proper 14, Year C   Leave a comment

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Above:  The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964

Photograph by Dick DeMarsico, World Telegraph and Sun

Image Source = Library of Congress

Active, Abrahamic Faith

The Sunday Closest to August 10

Ninth Sunday After Pentecost

AUGUST 11, 2019

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 and Psalm 50:1-8, 23-24

or 

Genesis 15:1-6 and Psalm 33:12-22

then 

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

Luke 12:32-40

The Collect:

Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Proper 14, Year A:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/proper-14-year-a/

Proper 14, Year B:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/proper-14-year-b/

Prayer of Praise and Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/prayer-of-praise-and-adoration-for-the-twelfth-sunday-after-pentecost/

Prayer of Confession:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/prayer-of-confession-for-the-twelfth-sunday-after-pentecost/

Prayer of Dedication:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/prayer-of-dedication-for-the-twelfth-sunday-after-pentecost/

Isaiah 1:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/devotion-for-november-27-in-advent-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/twelfth-day-of-lent/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/week-of-proper-10-monday-year-2/

Genesis 15:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/devotion-for-the-tenth-day-of-lent-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/second-sunday-in-lent-year-c/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/week-of-proper-7-wednesday-year-1/

Hebrews 11:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/week-of-3-epiphany-saturday-year-1/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/devotion-for-the-fifth-day-of-easter-thursday-in-easter-week-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/week-of-proper-1-saturday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/independence-day-u-s-a-july-4/

Luke 12:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/devotion-for-the-twenty-ninth-thirtieth-and-thirty-first-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/devotion-for-the-thirty-second-day-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/week-of-proper-24-tuesday-year-1/

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We human beings use the same word in different ways, with a variety of meanings.  Consider, O reader, the word “day,” for example.  People say,

In my day…

and

Back in the day…,

as well as

There is a new day coming.

Or “day” might apply literally, as in when today separates yesterday from tomorrow.

The same principle applies to “faith” in the New Testament.  The Apostle Paul, in Romans, used it to mean something inherently active, which leads to works.  A Pauline formula is that as a person thinks, so he or she is.  The Letter of James contains a different definition, that of intellectual assent to a proposition or set of propositions.  So, according to that definition, faith without works is dead.  Both epistles agree on the imperative of active faith, so one need not imagine a discrepancy between their conclusions.

And there is the definition of faith from Hebrews 11:1-3:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  Indeed, by faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is was made from things that are not visible.

New Revised Standard Version

In other words, faith applies in circumstances in which one can neither prove nor disprove a proposition according to scientific methods or documentary evidence.  That is an anachronistic definition, I know, but it works well.  Science can tell us much; I respect it and reject all anti-scientific sentiments and statements.  God gave us brains; may we use them as fully and critically as possible.  And documents form the basis of the study of history as I practice it.  Objective historical accuracy and the best scientific data available ought to override dogma, superstition, and bad theology.  So, no matter what the Gospels say, demon possession does not cause epilepsy, for example.  Yet there does exist truth which these twin standards of modernism (as opposed to postmodernism) cannot measure.  Such truth is good theology, which one can grasp by faith.

We read in Hebrews of the faithful example of Abram/Abraham (and by implication, of Sarai/Sarah), which harkens back to Genesis.  Theirs is a fantastical story, one which challenges understandings of biology.  But that is not the point.  The point is that God does unexpected things, and that the people of God should accept this reality.  And whether a certain unexpected thing is good news or bad news depends upon one’s spiritual state, as in Luke 12.

The reading from Isaiah 1 caught and held my attention most of all.  I, as an observant Episcopalian, am an unrepentant ritualist.  The text does not condemn ritualism itself.  No, the text damns insincere ritualism mixed with the neglect of vulnerable members of society:

Wash yourselves clean;

Put your evil things

Away from my sight.

Cease to do evil;

Learn to do good.

Devote yourselves to justice;

Aid the wronged.

Uphold the rights of the orphan;

Defend the cause of the widow.

–Isaiah 1:16-17, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

Do it 0r else, the text says.  This is a call t0 society; Enlightenment notions of individualism do not apply here.  The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, called for

…a true revolution of values

from a society focused on things to one which places the priority on people.  In the same speech, the one in which he opposed the Vietnam War without equivocation, he said:

A nation that continues to spend year after year more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

A Testament of Hope:  The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.  (Edited by James M. Washington, 1986), page 241

The Prophet Isaiah would  have agreed.

Eternal God, heavenly Father,

you have graciously accepted us as living members

of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ,

and you have fed us with spiritual food

in the sacrament of his Body and Blood.

Send us now into the world in peace,

and grant us strength and courage

to love and serve you

with gladness and singleness of heart;

through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 365

Do we have the Abrahamic faith to do that?  And how much better will our societies be for all their members if we do?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 16, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALL CHRISTIAN MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

THE FEAST OF HUGH LATIMER, NICHOLAS RIDLEY, AND THOMAS CRANMER, ANGLICAN MARTYRS

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