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About this commemoration
Born the youngest of fifteen children on December 14, 1775, in Cornish, New Hampshire, Philander Chase attended Dartmouth College, where he prepared to become a Congregationalist minister. While at Dartmouth, he happened upon a copy of the Book of Common Prayer. Next to the Bible, he thought it was the most excellent book he had ever studied, and believed that it was surely inspired by God. At the age of nineteen he was confirmed in the Episcopal Church.
Following graduation from Dartmouth, Chase worked as a schoolteacher in Albany, New York, and read for Holy Orders. Ordained a deacon in 1798, he began mission work on the northern and western frontiers among the pioneers and the Mohawk and Oneida peoples. The first of the many congregations he founded was at Lake George in New York State.
Ordained a priest in 1799, at the age of twenty-three, Chase served as rector of Christ Church, Poughkeepsie, New York, until 1805. He then moved to New Orleans, where he organized the first Protestant congregation in Louisiana. That parish now serves as the cathedral church for the Diocese of Louisiana. In 1810 he returned north to Hartford, Connecticut, where he served for six years as rector of Christ Church, now the cathedral church of the Diocese of
Connecticut. In 1817 he accepted a call to be the first rector of St. John’s Church in Worthington, Ohio. A year later he was elected the first Bishop of Ohio. He immediately began founding congregations and organizing the diocese. He also established Kenyon College and Bexley Hall Seminary.
In 1831 Chase resigned as Bishop of Ohio and began ministering to Episcopalians and the unchurched in southern Michigan. In 1835 he was elected the first Bishop of Illinois and served in this office until he died on September 20, 1852. During his time in Illinois he founded numerous congregations, together with Jubilee College, which included a seminary. As the senior bishop in the Episcopal Church, he served as the Presiding Bishop from 1843 until his death.
At a meeting of the House of Bishops in 1835, Bishop Doane of New Jersey said of him: “A veteran soldier, a Bishop of the Cross, whom hardships never have discouraged, whom no difficulties seem to daunt.”
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith: We give thee heartfelt thanks for the pioneering spirit of thy servant Philander Chase, and for his zeal in opening new frontiers for the ministry of thy Church. Grant us grace to minister in Christ’s name in every place, led by bold witnesses to the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, even Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith: We give you heartfelt thanks for the pioneering spirit of your servant Philander Chase, and for his zeal in opening new frontiers for the ministry of your Church. Grant us grace to minister in Christ’s name in every place, led by bold witnesses to the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, even Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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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