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About this commemoration:
William White was born in Philadelphia, March 24, 1747, and was educated at the college of that city, graduating in 1765. In 1770 he went to England, was ordained deacon on December 23, and priest on April 25, 1772. On his return home, he became assistant minister of Christ and St. Peter’s, 1772–1779, and rector from that year until his death, July 17, 1836. He also served as chaplain of the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1789, and then of the United States Senate until 1800. Chosen unanimously as first Bishop of Pennsylvania, September 14, 1786, he went to England again, with Samuel Provoost, Bishop-elect of New York; and the two men were consecrated in Lambeth Chapel on Septuagesima Sunday, February 4, 1787, by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of Bath and Wells and of Peterborough.
Bishop White was the chief architect of the Constitution of the American Episcopal Church and the wise overseer of its life during
the first generation of its history. He was the Presiding Bishop at its
organizing General Convention in 1789 and again from 1795 until his death. He was a theologian of no mean ability, and among his proteges, in whose formation he had a large hand, were such leaders of a new generation as John Henry Hobart, Jackson Kemper, and William Augustus Muhlenberg. White’s gifts of statesmanship and reconciling moderation steered the American Church through the first decades of its independent life. His influence in his native city made him its “first citizen.” To few men has the epithet “venerable” been more aptly applied.
I O Lord, who in a time of turmoil and confusion didst
raise up thy servant William White, and didst endow him
with wisdom, patience, and a reconciling temper, that he
might lead thy Church into ways of stability and peace:
Hear our prayer, we beseech thee, and give us wise and
faithful leaders, that through their ministry thy people
may be blessed and thy will be done; through Jesus Christ
our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy
Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
II O Lord, in a time of turmoil and confusion you raised
up your servant William White, and endowed him with
wisdom, patience, and a reconciling temper, that he might
lead your Church into ways of stability and peace: Hear
our prayer, and give us wise and faithful leaders, that
through their ministry your people may be blessed and
your will be done; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who
lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for
ever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 3:1–10
Preface of a Saint (1)
Text from Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.
We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?
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