A most important commemoration for all American Anglicans: the consecration to the episcopate of Samuel Seabury, the first Anglican Bishop not only in the newly-minted United States, but North America! (AFIK, that includes our friends to the north in Canada, but if I am wrong about that, I’m sure someone will correct me.)
“Samuel Seabury, the first bishop in the Protestant Episcopal Church, was born in Groton, Connecticut, on the thirtieth of November 1729. After ordination in England in 1753, he was assigned to Christ Church, New Brunswick, New Jersey as a missionary for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel…
“After the War, a number of Connecticut clergymen, meeting in secret on the twenty-fifth of March, 1783, named Seabury or Jeremiah Leaming, whoever would be willing and able, to seek episcopal consecration in England. Leaming declined, while Seabury accepted and set sail for England.
“After a year of negotiation, Seabury found it impossible to obtain episcopal orders from the Church of England because, as an American citizen, he could not swear allegiance to the Crown… Seabury then turned to the Non-Juring bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and on the twenty-fourth of November 1784, in Aberdeen, he was consecrated by the bishop and the bishop coadjutor of Aberdeen and the bishop of Ross and Caithness, in the presence of a number of clergy and laity.” Continue reading “Consecration of Samuel Seabury, first Anglican Bishop in North America, 1784 | For All the Saints”
In addition to being both the Centenary of Armistice Day (11 November 1918) and Remembrance Day (UK) / Veterans Day (US), today is also Martinmas: the Feast of St. Martin on Tours:
“One of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages and one of the patron saints of France, Martin was born in Pannonia (now Hungary) around the year 316. His father was a pagan officer in the Roman army, and Martin joined the army for some time as well, probably as a conscript.
“He intended to become a Christian from an early age and enrolled among the catechumens while still a soldier. He became convinced that his commitment to Christ prevented his serving as a soldier, because he would be expected to kill the enemy in battle. After protesting against his military service, he was imprisoned, and at the end of hostilities, was discharged.
“According to an ancient legend, while Martin was still a catechumen, he was approached by a poor man who asked for alms in the Name of Christ. Martin, drawing his sword, cut off part of his military cloak and gave it to the beggar. On the following night, Jesus appeared to Martin, clothed in half a cloak, and said to him, ‘Martin, a simple catechumen, covered me with this garment.'”
It is also the first anniversary of my ordination to the sacred priesthood of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, in its Anglican expression!
A very interesting “take” on Halloween, and the larger Hallowmas season (Eve of All Hallows, All Hallows / All Saints Day, and All Souls Day) of which it is a part. Sally Thomas writes, in this “web exclusive” for the excellent journal First Things,
“As a friend of mine observed recently, there is something medieval about Halloween. The masks, the running around in the dark, the flicker of candles in pumpkins, the smell of leaves and cold air — all of it feels ancient, even primal, somehow. Despite the now-inevitable preponderance of media-inspired costumes, Halloween seems, in execution, far closer to a Last Judgment scene above a medieval church door, or to a mystery play, than it does to Wal-Mart.
“To step outside on Halloween dressed as someone—or some thing—other than yourself is to step into a narrative that acknowledges that the membrane between our workaday, material world and the unseen realm of spirits is far thinner and more permeable than many of us like to think. This narrative disturbs a lot of people, as the proliferation of church-sponsored ‘autumn festivals’ and ‘trunk-or-treat’ parties suggests. To some of those who worry about it, Halloween is either a thoroughly secular or a thoroughly pagan observance, to be avoided by serious Christians…
“Halloween’s emphasis on darkness makes many Christians squeamish, but, to my mind, what my friend observed about the medieval feel of Halloween is more on the money. There is a drama to be played out, like a mystery play in three scenes, and it makes sense only if you observe all three days of Hallowmas — not only Halloween but All Saints’ and All Souls’ days as well. In this context, the very secularity and even the roots-level paganism of Halloween become crucial elements in a larger Christian story.”
“What their costumes are is less important than the fact that, for a night, my children will be people other than themselves: each of them will be someone who, regardless of real-life fears about the dark, is not afraid to step out into the night. Armored inside their personae, they can laugh at the shadows, as well they should. On the one hand, the powers of darkness are no joke; on the other hand, although Christians have no traffic with these powers, we do not fear them.”
This is an important lesson to learn, and one of the reasons I get a bit impatient at those Christians – usually on the Evangelical / Fundamentalist Protestant side of the Christian spectrum – who get into conniptions over Halloween, and often refuse to celebrate it at all. They are missing the point. They are also surrendering to the demonic far too much power: as Ms Thomas points out, we have no traffic with these powers, but neither need we fear them: Christ has already won the victory over them.
[These are some of the same folks – doubtless good and well-meaning people – who act as if, even if they may not formally believe, that the Devil is God’s “opposite number,” so to speak. In fact, the counterpart to Satan (Lucifer, the fallen “angel of light,” who became the demon of darkness) is St. Michael the Archangel (see Revelation 12:7–10): God is utterly supreme, omnipotent and ineffable, and has no opponent! That the Devil thinks he is anything close to equivalent with God is but a conceit on his part (hubris: overweening pride), and a heretical error to any human who believes it.]
Halloween is (or should be; admittedly, there are some who use it to celebrate darkness to a psychologically and spiritually unhealthy degree, but Christians should know better) about mocking the forces of darkness, not embracing them. It is, in a sense, a victory parade for the battle that was won for us on the Cross of Calvary – a celebration in which some may choose to wear the uniforms of the defeated enemy.
And it is also, of course, a harvest festival, celebrating the turning-point between the season of warmth and light, and that of cold and dark… between, that is to say, the seasons of life and of death, or seeming death. And this, too, is a Christian mystery!
For just as the myths of the “dying gods” recorded by Frasier in The Golden Bough, and others, were reflections of the seeming “death” (actually dormancy) of the natural world in the Winter, only to be “reborn” in the Spring, so that very seasonal cycle is a reminder of what C.S. Lewis called the “true myth” of Christ’s death and resurrection:
“Now what Dyson and Tolkien showed me was this: that if I met the idea of sacrifice in a Pagan story I didn’t mind it at all: again, that if I met the idea of a god sacrificing himself to himself . . . I liked it very much and was mysteriously moved by it: again, that the idea of the dying and reviving god (Balder, Adonis, Bacchus) similarly moved me provided I met it anywhere except in the Gospels. The reason was that in Pagan stories I was prepared to feel the myth as profound and suggestive of meanings beyond my grasp even tho’ I could not say in cold prose ‘what it meant.’
“Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference — that it really happened.”
“On All Saints’ Day, our parish holds a children’s festival, hugely attended, at which children and adults alike dress as their favorite saints… The party is such fun that we could almost dispense with Halloween, whose festivities, as we observe them, are minimal by comparison. But the cumulative iconography of being, first, a secular character confronting darkness, and then a saint in light, is imaginatively powerful and valuable.
“As our Hallowmas ends, the pageantry and excitement of Halloween and All Saints’ Day give way to the comparative quiet of the feast of All Souls. This final solemnity is a day without costumes. Having been denizens of the night and citizens of the household of God, the children step back into themselves to contemplate their own mortality and pray for our beloved dead. In three days they have enacted the story of their own eternal lives: from darkness to the hope of heaven and the joy of the saints who await them in glory. From mystery to mystery, it’s a drama I would not have them miss.”
“From the beginning, we determined to make God the Senior Partner. In a crisis, the problem was turned over to Him, and He hasn’t failed to help us with the answer… If any of you are troubled or perplexed and looking for answers, may we invite you to look to Him, for God loves you.”
— Chuck Buck: from the “Forever Warranty” page, Buck Knives website
As my father Chuck Buck would say, if this is your first Buck knife, “welcome aboard.” You are now part of a very large family. We think of each one of our users as a member of the Buck Knives family, and we take care of our own.
Now that you are family, you might want to know a little more about us. Dad said it best when he said, “The fantastic growth of Buck Knives, Inc. was no accident. From the beginning, we determined to make God the Senior Partner. In a crisis, the problem was turned over to Him, and He hasn’t failed to help us with the answer. Each knife must reflect the integrity of management. If sometimes we fail on our end, because we are human, we find it imperative to do our utmost to make it right. If any of you are troubled or perplexed and looking for answers, may we invite you to look to Him, for God loves you.”
We have stood by these values since 1902 and honor our products with this Forever Warranty. Please don’t hesitate to contact us regarding your knife.
President, CEO, Chairman of Buck Knives
And they put their money where their mouth is, with the “Forever Warranty.” I particularly like this:
“If your knife has sentimental value, please make a note of it when you send the knife to us so that we can determine whether to repair or replace.“
That, to me, shows way-above-average class – and compassion, realizing that a knife is more than just a tool: it is (or can be) part of a person’s individual “story,” and often their family history as well. Well done, Buck Knives!
I am in the process of finding a replacement for my old Schrade Uncle Henry 3-blade “Stockman,” and since they are no longer made by the original company, or in the U.S., that means buying “pre-owned.” But I think my next new knife is going to have to be a Buck.
Many thanks to Stephen Clay McGehee, who alerted me to the fact that Buck Knives is not only a family-owned company, but one whose ethic is based firmly in the Christian faith.
Percy (Percival) Dearmer (1867-1936) was an English priest and liturgist who was and is best known as the author of The Parson’s Handbook, a liturgical manual for clergy of the Church of England. His appointments included:
• Vicar of St. Mary the Virgin, Primrose Hill, 1901-1915
• Professor of Ecclesiastical Art, King’s College, London, 1919-1936
• Canon of Westminster Abbey, 1931-1936
Although on the Anglo-Catholic side of the Anglican liturgical spectrum, he was decidedly not an ultramontanist (Romanist), favoring, rather, ritual forms drawn from the pre-Reformation “English Use.” Wikipedia notes that he also had a strong influence on the music of the church and, with Ralph Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw, is credited with the revival and spread of traditional and medieval English musical forms.
As the title of “The Parson’s Handbook” indicates, he had a strong concern for the parochial; that is, the ordinary, day-to-day spiritual and religious life of ordinary Christians, and found (as many have, both before and after him) the classical Prayer Book pattern – the core of Anglican tradition – to be an excellent model and aid for growth in holiness.
[As I prepare to post this, it occurs to me that I may have posted it, or parts of it, earlier; but if so, no matter! If I have, it’s been a while, and this is the sort of thing that one needs to revisit from time to time, if one is even the least bit serious about what Martin Thornton called “Christian Proficiency.” I hope some may find it helpful!]
“SCHWANGAU, Bavaria: On Sunday, October 14, 2018, the traditional Colomansfest takes place, which is always held on the second Sunday of October. With the Colomansfest, the tradition of the Horse Ride goes back to the 16th century. More than 200 splendidly dressed horses – ridden by traditional wearers [wearers of traditional costume] – take part in it. At 9:00 o’clock the cavalry train is formed at the town hall and led by the music band Schwangau and accompanied by the music band Weissensee in the direction of the pilgrimage church St. Coloman. In favorable weather, the Holy Mass is held with all riders and visitors outdoors. At the end of the Mass, Coloman’s relic is followed by a solemn equestrian event, followed by a three-hour tour around the church, which the clergy and political guests of honor perform in decorated carriages. Guests of honor this year are Markus Ferber (MEP), Angelika Schorer (MdL) and Schwangau Second Mayor Johann Stöger.
“The pilgrimage church of St. Coloman is dedicated to a saint – Saint Coloman [Irish Colmán]. According to legend, he is said to have been an Irish prince who undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. His path also took him through our area. In July 1012 Coloman came to the area of Stockerau, the former border area between Bavaria and Moravia. Because of his foreign clothing and language, he was suspected as a spy, tortured, sentenced to death and executed. Soon his innocence turned out. Because miracles took place on his corpse, the then sovereign ordered on October 13, 1014, the solemn transfer of the bones from Stockerau to the collegiate church in Melk. When the horse ride took place for the first time, is not known. However, it may be assumed that the first hunts took place in the 15th or 16th century, possibly even going back to the beginnings of the pilgrimage. The importance of Colomansfest in village life may be seen from the fact that in 1552, Emperor Charles V granted the owner of Hohenschwangau the right to set up and hold a market “annually and for eternity” on Coloman day. Based on this market right, stands on this feast day at the church stalls with drinks and snacks, because it is a tradition to cultivate the cosiness after the church.
“Colomansfest on Sunday, October 14, 2018 in Schwangau: – from 9 clock, installation of the riders at the town hall of the community Schwangau – 10 clock service at the pilgrimage church of St. Coloman – 3 pm Rosary On Saturday, October 13th, the Colomanstag will be celebrated with a mass at 10 o’clock and a rosary at 14 o’clock in the pilgrimage church of St. Coloman. A small service provides for your physical well-being.”
Here is a video on the subject of St. Coloman himself:
And here is a video of (parts of) the 2013 Colomansfest:
A very interesting article / essay, which raises (in my opinion) some very good points. Inter alia:
“It has become commonplace among many Christians to quickly denounce these neo-pagan rituals and the people who participate in them. They see the increasing visibility of paganism as a fruit of secularism and a sign that the West is descending further into cultural darkness.
“But sometimes I wonder if this paganism — in some of its manifestations — has more in common with ancient Christianity than with many the whittled-down and demythologized versions of Christianity that are known as ‘mainstream.'”
He goes on to list three points of commonality (please read the article for further explication of these points): 1) recognition of the importance of ritual, 2) a holistic view of life, and 3) a reverence for creation.
I agree; in fact, I have made similar arguments, repeatedly and in a variety of fora, for literally decades.
The failure of what post author Daniel Lattier accurately describes as “whittled-down and demythologized versions of Christianity” – I would add, overly-intellectualized and, indeed, quasi-Gnostic versions of Christianity – to embrace these principles is, I firmly believe, one of the reasons why it is losing ground both to secularism and to other forms of spirituality which do.
Please note that we are not talking about syncretism, here; we are not talking about blending doctrine, or paganizing Christianity. We are talking about basic, underlying principles that are common to both, because they stem from the human religious impulse itself: an impulse which is one of God’s gifts to us, as humans.
In this context, I very much liked one of the comments that followed on Facebook, where I found the link to this post:
“Any assertion that changing seasons, folk rituals, astrological observance, herbal remedies, local festivals &c were “pagan” would have been met with bemusement in the Middle Ages.
“Such things were not pagan but human. Who doesn’t notice the seasons and stars? Who doesn’t have local legends and traditions? Only the deracinated postmodern man.”
Just so. And I am quite sure that the likes of Tolkien and Lewis would concur!
N.B. “Deracinated” is not a word in common parlance today. Here is its definition:
to pull up by theroots;uproot;extirpate;eradicate.