January 23: Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, 1893

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About this Commemoration

Writing about Phillips Brooks in 1930, William Lawrence, who as a young man had known him, began, “Phillips Brooks was a leader of youth …. His was the spirit of adventure, in thought, life, and faith. ”To many who know him only as the author of “O little town of Bethlehem,” this part of Brooks’ life and influence is little known.

Born in Boston in 1835, Phillips Brooks began his ministry in Philadelphia. His impressive personality and his eloquence immediately attracted attention. After ten years in Philadelphia, here turned to Boston as rector of Trinity Church, which was destroyed in the Boston fire three years later. It is a tribute to Brooks’ preaching, character, and leadership that in four years of worshiping in temporary and bare surroundings, the congregation grew and flourished. The new Trinity Church was a daring architectural enterprise for its day,with its altar placed in the center of the chancel, “a symbol of unity; God and man and all God’s creation,” and was a symbol of Brooks’ vision—a fitting setting for the greatest preacher of the century.

This reputation has never been challenged. His sermons have passages that still grasp the reader, though they do not convey the warmth and vitality which so impressed his hearers.  James Bryce wrote, “There was no sign of art about his preaching, no touch of self-consciousness.  He spoke to his audience as a man might speak to his friend, pouring forth with swift, yet quiet and seldom impassioned earnestness, the thoughts of his singularly pure and lofty spirit.”

Brooks ministered with tenderness, understanding, and warm friendliness. He inspired men to enter the ministry, and taught many of them the art of preaching. He was conservative and orthodox in his theology; but his generosity of heart led him to be regarded as the leader of the liberal circles of the Church.

In 1891, he was elected Bishop of Massachusetts. The force of his personality and preaching, together with his deep devotion and loyalty, provided the spiritual leadership needed for the time. His constant concern was to turn his hearers’ thoughts to the revelations of God. “Whatever happens,” he wrote, “always remember the mysterious richness of human nature and the nearness of God to each one of us.”

Collects

i O everlasting God, who didst reveal truth to thy servant Phillips Brooks, and didst so form and mold his mind and heart that he was able to mediate that truth with grace and power: Grant, we pray, that all whom thou dost call to preach the Gospel may steep themselves in thy Word, and conform their lives to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

ii O everlasting God, you revealed truth to your servant Phillips Brooks, and so formed and molded his mind and heart that he was able to mediate that truth with grace and power: Grant, we pray, that all whom you call to preach the Gospel may steep themselves in your Word, and conform their lives 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.

Lessons

Jonah 3:1–10

Ephesians 3:14–21

Matthew 24:24–27

Psalm

33:1–5,20–21

Preface of  a Saint (1)

Text 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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October 10: Vida Dutton Scudder, Educator and Witness for Peace, 1954

Welcome to the Holy Women, Holy Men blog! We invite you to read about this commemoration, use the collect and lessons in prayer, whether individually or in corporate worship, and then tell us what you think. For more information about this project, click here.

About this commemoration

Vida Dutton Scudder was born on December 15, 1861, the child of Congregationalist missionaries in India. In the 1870s, Vida and her mother were confirmed in the Episcopal Church by Bishop Phillips Brooks. After studying English literature at Smith College and Oxford University, Scudder began teaching at Wellesley College. Her love of scholarship was matched by her social conscience and deep spirituality. As a young woman, Scudder founded the College Settlements Association, joined the Society of Christian Socialists, and began her lifelong association with the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross in 1889, a community living in the world and devoted to intercessory prayer.

In 1893, Scudder took a leave of absence from Wellesley to work with Helena Stuart Dudley to found Denison House in Boston. Stresses from teaching and her activism led to a breakdown in 1901. After two years’ recuperation in Italy, she returned renewed and became even more active in church and socialist groups; she started a group for Italian immigrants at Denison House and took an active part in organizing the Women’s Trade Union League. In 1911, Scudder founded the Episcopal Church Socialist League, and formally joined the Socialist party. Her support of the Lawrence, Massachusetts, textile workers’ strike in 1912 drew a great deal of criticism and threatened her teaching position. Though she initially supported World War I, she joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation in 1923, and by the 1930s was a firm pacifist.

Throughout her life Scudder’s primary relationships and support network were women. After retirement, she authored 16 books on religious and political subjects, combining her intense activism with an equally vibrant spirituality. “If prayer is the deep secret creative force that Jesus tells us it is, we should be very busy with it,” she wrote characteristically, adding that there was one sure way “of directly helping on the Kingdom of God. That way is prayer. Social intercession may be the mightiest force in the world.” Vida Scudder died on October 9, 1954.

Collects

I  Most gracious God, who didst send thy beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Raise up in thy Church witnesses who, after the example of thy servant Vida Dutton Scudder, stand firm in proclaiming the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

II  Most gracious God, who sent your beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Raise up in thy Church witnesses who, after the example of thy servant Vida Dutton Scudder, stand firm in proclaiming the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Psalm 25:1-14

Lessons:  Isaiah 42:5–9, Romans 12:1–2,14–21, and John 6:37–51

Preface of a Saint (3)

From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.

Also of interest

Link to excerpts from some of her writings

http://www.anglocatholicsocialism.org/chrrev.html

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?

If you’d like to participate in the official online trial use survey, click here. For more information about the survey, click here.

To post a comment, your first and last name and email address are required. Your name will be published; your email address will not. The first time you post, a moderator will need to approve your submission; after that, your comments will appear automatically.