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George Augustus Selwyn was born on April 5, 1809, at Hampstead, London. He was prepared at Eton, and in 1831 was graduated from St. John’s College, Cambridge, of which he became a Fellow.
Ordained in 1833, Selwyn served as a curate at Windsor until his selection as ﬁrst Bishop of New Zealand in 1841. On the voyage to his new ﬁeld, he mastered the Maori language and was able to preach in it upon his arrival. In the tragic ten-year war between the English and the Maoris, Selwyn was able to minister to both sides, and to keep the affection and admiration of both natives and colonists. He began missionary work in the Paciﬁc islands in 1847.
Selwyn’s ﬁrst general synod in 1859 laid down a constitution, inﬂuenced by that of the American Church, which was important for all English colonial Churches.
After the ﬁrst Lambeth Conference in 1867, Selwyn was reluctantly persuaded to accept the See of Lichﬁeld in England. He died on April 11, 1878, and his grave in the cathedral close has been a place of pilgrimage for the Maoris to whom he ﬁrst brought the light of the Gospel.
Bishop Selwyn twice visited the Church in America, and was the preacher at the 1874 General Convention.
I Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant George Augustus Selwyn, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the people of New Zealand and Melanesia, and to lay a ﬁrm foundation for the growth of thy Church in many nations. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land evangelists and heralds of thy kingdom, that thy Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
II Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant George Augustus Selwyn, whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of New Zealand and Melanesia, and to lay a ﬁrm foundation for the growth of your Church in many nations. Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom, that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Preface of Apostles
From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.
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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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