August 5: Albrecht Dürer, 1528, Matthias Grünewald, 1529, and Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1553, Artists

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, then tell us what you think. For more information about this project, click here.

About this commemoration

Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer

In the turbulent sixteenth century as the Renaissance and the Reformation changed the cultural, social, political and religious face of northern Europe from medieval to modern, three artists stand as signs of those revolutions.

Lucas Cranach the Elder was born in south Germany. In his twenties he moved to Vienna where he became known in humanist circles. He later moved to Wittenberg where he became court painter to Frederick III, who was Martin Luther’s protector. His work enjoyed great popularity in his day, but history best remembers him for his several portraits of Luther and for the exquisite woodcuts he provided for the first German New Testament in 1522.

Albrecht Dürer was born Nurnberg and is generally regarded as the greatest German artist of the Renaissance. While he produced exquisite, life-like paintings, he is best known for his woodcuts and copperplate engravings. This art form enabled numbers of prints to be made of each work, which could then be sold to satisfy the rising middle class’s new demand for affordable art. His production was a sign of the shift in early modern society, especially in Protestant areas, from the church to the home as the center of life and religion.

Little is known of the early life of Matthias Grünewald, the name given to this artist by his seventeenth-century biographer. He is known to have been in Strasburg in 1479, already accomplished at portraits and woodcuts. He went to Basel in 1490, where Dürer was his pupil. Later he moved to what is now Alsace where he painted his famous Isenheim Altarpiece between 1512 and 1516. This piece was designed to go behind the chapel altar at the hospital in the monastery of the Order of St. Anthony. Grünewald was a deeply religious man who was particularly fascinated by the crucifixion as witnessed by the combination of raw physicality and mysticism that can be observed in the Isenheim Altarpiece.

Collect of the Day

We give thanks to you, O Lord, for the vision and skill of Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald and Lucas Cranach the Elder, whose artistic depictions helped the peoples of their age understand the full suffering and glory of your incarnate Son; and we pray that their work may strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and the mystery of the Holy Trinity; for you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lessons

Exodus 35:21–29

Romans 8:1–11

John 19:31–37

Psalm 96:7–13

Preface of God the Son

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?

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 instantly.

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

August 3: William Edward Burghardt DuBois, Sociologist, 1963

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, then tell us what you think. For more information about this project, click here.

About this commemoration

WEB DuBois
WEB DuBois

William Edward Burghardt Dubois was born in 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. As a young man he had already developed a deep concern for the advancement of his race, and at 15, he began to advocate for black Americans in his capacity as the local correspondent for the New York Globe.

In 1896, following the completion of his doctoral degree, Dubois received a fellowship to conduct research in the seventh ward slums of Philadelphia. His work with the urban black population there marked the first scientific approach to sociological study, and for that reason, Dubois is hailed as the father of Social Science.

In 1903, while teaching at Atlanta University, he published his book The Souls of Black Folks, in which he outlined his philosophical disagreement with important figures such as Booker T. Washington, who argued that Black people should forego political equality and civil rights and focus instead on industrial evolution. DuBois believed instead in the higher education of a “talented tenth” whose education would naturally help other African Americans achieve.

In 1906, he sought others to aid him in his efforts toward “organized determination and aggressive action on the part of men who believe in Negro freedom and growth.” The result was the so-called “Niagara Movement” (named for the group’s first meeting site, which was shifted to Canada when they were prevented from meeting in the U.S.), the objectives of which were to advocate civil justice and oppose discrimination. In 1909, most of the group members merged with white supporters and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was formed. DuBois advanced his causes, sometimes at odds with the white leadership of the NAACP, in the magazine Crisis.

A leading participant in several Pan-African meetings, DuBois renounced his American citizenship and moved to Ghana, where he died in 1963, on the eve of the March on Washington. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote of DuBois, “His singular greatness lay in his quest for truth about his own people. There were very few scholars who concerned themselves with honest study of the black man and he sought to fill the immense void.”

Collect of the Day

Gracious God, we thank you for the witness of William Edward Burghardt DuBois, passionate prophet of civil rights, whose scholarship advanced the dignity of the souls of black folk; and we pray that we, like him, may use our gifts to do justice in the Name of Jesus Christ our Liberator and Advocate; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Lessons

Jeremiah 34:8–18

Galatians 2:15–20

Mark 3:23–29

Psalm 113:1–7

Preface of Baptism

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?

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 instantly.

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

August 3: George Freeman Bragg, Jr., Priest, 1940

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, then tell us what you think. For more information about this project, click here.

About this commemoration

George Freeman Bragg, Jr.
George Freeman Bragg, Jr.

An historian whose work gives us invaluable insight into the early history of African Americans in the Episcopal Church, George Freeman Bragg served for 35 years as the secretary of the Conference for Church Workers Among the Colored People and authored important studies such as A History of the Afro-American Group of The Episcopal Church and Richard Allen and Absalom Jones.

The grandson of a slave, Bragg was born into an Episcopalian family in Warrenton, North Carolina in 1863. As a young man he campaigned for the Readjuster Party in Virginia, which advocated for voting rights and state supported higher education for African- Americans. He was the editor of the influential black weekly paper The Lancet, which he renamed the Afro-American Churchman upon his entrance into divinity school in 1885. Through this paper, Bragg called attention to the fact that African Americans were treated as recipients of mission work but were not supported in raising up self- sustaining institutions that would have fostered their presence in the church.

George Bragg was ordained a deacon in 1887 in Norfolk, Virginia. He challenged the diocese’s policy of requiring black men to remain in deacon’s orders for five or more years, much longer than their white counterparts, and in 1888 he was ordained a priest. He served as the rector of St. James’ First African Church in Baltimore for 49 years, from 1891 until his death in 1940. He helped establish the Maryland Home for Friendless Colored Children, and did not cease in his advocacy for black Episcopalians and their full inclusion in the larger life of the church. He vehemently challenged the exclusion of African Americans from the church’s society for mission work. He was instrumental in fostering over twenty priestly vocations in an environment in which black Episcopalians were often left to fend for themselves without the support and resources of the larger church.

Collect of the Day

Almighty God, we thank you for the strength and courage of George Freeman Bragg, who rose from slavery to freedom, documented African-American history, and helped to found the first advocacy group for black people. Grant that we may tell the story of your wondrous works in ways that proclaim your justice in our own time, to the glory of Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lessons

Wisdom 10:9–17

2 Corinthians 10:3–7

Luke 17:20–31

Psalm 143:5–10

Preface of Baptism

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?

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 instantly.

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

August 2: Samuel Ferguson, Missionary Bishop for West Africa, 1916

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, then tell us what you think. For more information about this project, click here.

About this commemoration

Samuel Ferguson
Samuel Ferguson

Samuel David Ferguson was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on January 1, 1842. He grew up in Liberia, West Africa, having moved there with his family at the age of six. He attended mission schools that were sponsored by the Episcopal Church and eventually became a teacher.

Ferguson was ordained to the diaconate in 1865 and to the priesthood in 1867, serving first as curate and then as rector of St. Mark’s Church, Harper, Liberia.

Perhaps due to his own upbringing and his first vocation as a teacher, Ferguson emphasized the importance of education throughout his ministry. He was the founder of schools throughout Liberia and his passion for education influenced other parts of West Africa. His efforts at starting schools were supported through funds given by the Women’s Auxiliary [later to be the United Thank Offering (UTO) of the Episcopal Church Women] under the leadership of Julia Chester Emery.

Ferguson was called to be the fourth bishop of Cape Palmas, later the Diocese of Liberia, in 1885. His ordination to the episcopate took place at Grace Church in New York City. He was the first American- born black to become Bishop of Liberia. Although not the first Episcopal bishop of African-American heritage, he was the first to sit in the House of Bishops.

With the generous support of Robert Fulton Cutting, a wealthy New York financier who served for a time as the treasurer of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, Bishop Ferguson founded Cuttington College in 1889. In addition to basic studies, theological, agricultural, and industrial education were emphasized. Ferguson believed that establishing a strong spiritual and educational foundation was the best way for Liberia’s young people to transform society. Although closed for two decades during the Liberian civil war, the college, now Cuttington University, continues to serve the people of Liberia thus fulfilling Bishop Ferguson’s vision.

Bishop Ferguson remained in Liberia for the rest of his life. He died in Monrovia on August 2, 1916.

Collect of the Day

Almighty God, we bless you for moving your servant Samuel Ferguson to minister in Liberia, expanding the missionary vision of your Church in education and ministry. Stir up in us a zeal for your mission and a yearning for your holy Word; through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lessons

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:13–26

2 Peter 1:16–21

John 3:1–15

Psalm 119:9–16

Preface of a Saint (2)

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?

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 instantly.

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

August 1: Joseph of Arimathaea

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, then tell us what you think. For more information about this project, click here.

About this commemoration

Joseph of Arimathaea
Joseph of Arimathaea, by Pietro Perugino

All that is certainly known of Joseph of Arimathaea comes from the narratives of the burial of Jesus in the Gospels. Though John speaks of Joseph as a secret disciple of our Lord, and associates him with Nicodemus, another member of the Jewish Sanhedrin who was drawn to Jesus, we know nothing of any further activity of these men in

the early Christian community. Later, however, legends developed about their leadership in the Church. One of the more attractive is the story of Joseph’s coming to the ancient Church of Glastonbury in Britain and bringing with him the Holy Grail (the cup used at the Last Supper). This tradition cannot be dated earlier than the thirteenth century. Although this and other stories obtained wide credence, they are not based on historical facts.

Joseph’s claim for remembrance does not depend upon such legends, however beautiful and romantic. When our Lord’s intimate disciples were hiding for fear of the authorities, Joseph came forward boldly and courageously to do, not only what was demanded by Jewish piety, but to act generously and humanely by providing his own tomb for the decent and proper burial of our Lord’s body, thus saving it from further desecration.

Collect of the Day

Merciful God, whose servant Joseph of Arimathaea with reverence and godly fear prepared the body of our Lord and Savior for burial, and laid it in his own tomb: Grant to us, your faithful people, grace and courage to love and serve Jesus with sincere devotion all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lessons

Genesis 23:3–9,17–19

James 1:17–18

Luke 23:50–56

Psalm 16:5–11

Preface of the Commemoration of the Dead

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?

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 instantly.

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