Friday, August 03, 2012

Comment and report on 'Holy Women Holy Men,' a book of Saints by Episcopal Church

Blessed feasts of blessed martyrs,
holy women, holy men,
with affection’s recollections
greet we your return again.

This article written and compiled by Peter Menkin

The Very Rev. David Thurlow of South Carolina goes over wording changes in an amendment to a resolution with the Rev. Susan Williams of Western New York during a meeting of the Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music Committee.Photo/Sharon Sheridan

The renewed Episcopal Church book of Holy Women Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints has almost 800 pages. Though I have no copy of this work, there is a PDF of it and that PDF is found here. This book is used in worship. In my own Parish (Episcopal) in San Francisco’s Bay Area we use the work, for it is authorized in Dioceses for the next three years by General Convention, 2012. You’ll note the title starts, Holy Women, which is politically correct for Episcopal Church USA.

Church Publishing offers the book for $35 here and says this in their statement about the work: “Fully revised and expanded, this new work is the first major revision of the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church in more than 40 years! It is the official revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts and authorized by the 2009 General Convention. All commemorations in Lesser Feasts and Fastshave

This work is being evaluated, Holy Women Holy Men, and during this time it is in use in worship services. It is a live evaluation.

been retained, and many new ones added. Three scripture readings (instead of current two) are provided for all minor holy days. Additional new material includes a votive mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, many more ecumenical commemorations, plus a proper for space exploration.”

What rationale there is for so many Holy Women Holy Men for a calendar, far more than the previous Lesser Feasts and Fasts–this Religion Writer does not know yet. Perhaps someone will explain in a comment. The text says the Presiding Bishop of Episcopal Church USA asked for the new work. Frank T. Griswold, Twenty-Fifth Presiding Bishop says in the “Forward”:

…questions have been raised regarding some of the biographies,
choices of scripture, and composition of the Collects. During my term
as Presiding Bishop, I therefore asked the Standing Commission on
Liturgy and Music to undertake a review and revision of Lesser Feasts
and Fasts, and to consider anew each entry in the existing Calendar
of Saints, alongside any proposed new commemorations. To that end,
a committee of the Commission was established. Holy Women, Holy
Men: Celebrating the Saints is the fruit of the committee’s careful and
painstaking work.

Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints seeks to expand the
worshiping community’s awareness of the communion of saints, and
to give increased expression to the many and diverse ways in which
Christ, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, has been present in
the lives of men and women across the ages, just as Christ continues
to be present in our own day. Faced with circumstances most often
very different from our own, these courageous souls bore witness

The PDF of the document starts with this poetic lyric. The lyric is a lovely text and a meaningful statement of its own. It sets a very good tone for this useful book currently used in worship on a temporary review basis:

Blessed feasts of blessed martyrs,
holy women, holy men,
with affection’s recollections
greet we your return again.
Worthy deeds they wrought, and wonders,
worthy of the Name they bore;
we, with meetest praise and sweetest,
honor them for evermore.
Twelfth century Latin text,

translated John Mason Neale
#238, The Hymnal 1982

This is the Committee’s Resolution. They are the Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music Committee. Take a look at this official statement to get a taste of its directness of language and willingness to save words in again endorsing continued testing of the book in Parishes across America. For this Religion Writer, it is a disappointing note to lose Lesser Feasts and Fasts to this thick book that lists so many saints. I know what is asked for is comments, for to my way of thinking on the matter, some are more worthy of being published for worship use than others. Was a purpose to have a Saint a day. What was the criteria for a Holy Woman or Holy Man’s inclusion? One early comment by a reader of this article remarked, Existen acontecimientos que escapan a la cuesti�n humana, llenos de intriga y fuera de aparente explicaci. Mitos, cuentos, meaning, There are events beyond the human question, full of intrigue and out of apparent explanation. Myths, stories,. A comment well said by the reader, for it is so difficult to know who is to be included, and who not. Ruth Meyers, Chair of the Committee developing the book, says the survey for commenting is closed. She adds, You can purchase the book from Church Publishing. You can download the text in Spanish (Santas, Santos) and in English from the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music page on the General Convention website.

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 77th General Convention
continue the trial use of Holy Women, Holy Men until the next General
Convention; and be it further
Resolved, That the 77th General Convention direct the Standing Commission on
Liturgy and Music to continue the process of inviting responses from the wider
Church and developing Holy Women, Holy Men for the coming triennium; and
be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music be requested to
present the revised edition of Holy Women, Holy Men to the 78th General
Convention in 2015 for a first reading.

Here are the Holy Women Holy Men for January and February. These people of history in God are a good group.

2 b Vedanayagam Samuel Azariah, First Indian Anglican Bishop,
Dornakal, 1945
3 c William Passavant, Prophetic Witness, 1894
4 d Elizabeth Seton, Founder of the American Sisters of Charity,
5 e
7 g
8 A Harriet Bedell, Deaconess and Missionary, 1969
9 b Julia Chester Emery, Missionary, 1922
10 c William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1645
11 d
12 e Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167
13 f Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, 367
14 g
15 A (alternative date for Martin Luther King, Jr. – see April 4)
16 b Richard Meux Benson, Religious, 1915, and Charles Gore,
Bishop of Worcester, of Birmingham, and of Oxford, 1932
17 c Antony, Abbot in Egypt, 356
19 e Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095
20 f Fabian, Bishop and Martyr of Rome, 250
21 g Agnes, Martyr at Rome, 304
22 A Vincent, Deacon of Saragossa, and Martyr, 304
23 b Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, 1893
24 c Ordination of Florence Li Tim-Oi, First Woman Priest in the
Anglican Communion, 1944
26 e Timothy, Titus, and Silas, Companions of Saint Paul
27 f Lydia, Dorcas, and Phoebe, Witnesses to the Faith
28 g Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Theologian, 1274
29 A Andrei Rublev, Monk and Iconographer, 1430
30 b
31 c Juan Bosco (John Bosco), Priest, 1888
31 c Samuel Shoemaker, Priest and Evangelist, 1963

1 d Brigid (Bride), 523
3 f The Dorchester Chaplains: Lieutenant George Fox,
Lieutenant Alexander D. Goode, Lieutenant Clark V.
Poling and Lieutenant John P. Washington, 1943
4 g Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark
and Sweden, 865*
5 A Roger Williams, 1683, and Anne Hutchinson, 1643,
Prophetic Witnesses
6 b The Martyrs of Japan, 1597
7 c Cornelius the Centurion
8 d
9 e
10 f
11 g Frances Jane (Fanny) Van Alstyne Crosby, Hymnwriter, 1915
12 A Charles Freer Andrews, Priest and “Friend of the Poor” in
India, 1940
13 b Absalom Jones, Priest, 1818
14 c Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop, Missionaries to the
Slavs, 869, 885
15 d Thomas Bray, Priest and Missionary, 1730
16 e Charles Todd Quintard, Bishop of Tennessee, 1898
17 f Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, and Martyr, 1977
18 g Martin Luther, Theologian, 1546
19 A
20 b Frederick Douglass, Prophetic Witness, 1895
21 c John Henry Newman, Priest and Theologian, 1890
22 d Eric Liddell, Missionary to China, 1945
23 e Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr of Smyrna, 156
25 g John Roberts, Priest, 1949
26 A Emily Malbone Morgan, Prophetic Witness, 1937
27 b George Herbert, Priest, 1633
28 c Anna Julia Haywood Cooper, 1964, and Elizabeth Evelyn
Wright, 1904, Educators
29 John Cassian, Abbot at Marseilles, 433

Where test of book Holy Women Holy Men
 is used in Daily Prayer at okay
 by its Rector,
 The Reverend Richard Helme
r of Episcopal Church of Our Saviour,
 Mill Valley, California.

As part of this bare bones article that is a kind of taste of this new book in consideration, this excerpt: Keep in mind the work of this book is for review and trial use only, Copyright 2010, Church Pension Fund.

The name of Thomas à Kempis is perhaps more widely known than
that of any other medieval Christian writer. The Imitation of Christ,
which he composed or compiled, has been translated into more
languages than any other book except the Holy Scriptures. Millions of
Christians have found in this manual a treasured and constant source
of edification.

His name was Thomas Hammerken, and he was born at Kempen in
the Duchy of Cleves about 1380. He was educated at Deventer by the
Brethren of the Common Life, and joined their order in 1399 at their
house of Mount St. Agnes in Zwolle (in the Low Countries). He took
his vows (those of the Augustinian Canons Regular) there in 1407,
was ordained a priest in 1415, and was made sub-prior in 1425. He
died on July 25, 1471.

The Order of the Brethren of the Common Life was founded by
Gerard Groote (1340–1384) at Deventer. It included both clergy and
lay members who cultivated a biblical piety of a practical rather than
speculative nature, with stress upon the inner life and the practice
of virtues. They supported themselves by copying manuscripts and
teaching. One of their most famous pupils was the humanist Erasmus.
Many have seen in them harbingers of the Reformation; but the
Brethren had little interest in the problems of the institutional Church.
Their spirituality, known as the “New Devotion” (Devotio moderna),
has influenced both Catholic and Protestant traditions of prayer and

Episcopalian Peter Menkin
 uses Holy Women Holy Men in
 Daily Office when attending
 Our Saviour, Mill Valley, California.

Thomas à Kempis
Priest, 1471

i Holy Father, who hast nourished and strengthened thy Church by the inspired writings of thy servant Thomas à
Kempis: Grant that we may learn from him to know what
is necessary to be known, to love what is to be loved, to
praise what highly pleaseth thee, and always to seek to
know and follow 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 Holy Father, you have nourished and strengthened your
Church by the inspired writings of your servant Thomas
à Kempis: Grant that we may learn from him to know
what is necessary to be known, to love what is to be loved,
to praise what highly pleases you, and always to seek to
know and follow your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalm Lessons
33:1–5,20–21 Ecclesiastes 9:11–18
Ephesians 4:32–5:2
Luke 6:17–23

In the Episcopal News Service report on some General Convention activity written by Sharon Sheridan it is noted there is a very good comment. Please recognize that they are quoted in their entirety and refer to text that was incorporated in Liturgy, not only the work of Holy Women Holy Men. One tells about a popular kind of reaction to the General Convention 2012 itself. The work of the test goes on with many people commenting and participating in other ways.

Wll there be a response link for “Holy Women, Holy Men” as was true after the Trial Use 3 years ago?

Have the previous response materials been collated? Is there a report on the responses ? Available thru’ what link? Thank you for any info.

R H Lewis

These two more comments found on Sharon Sheridan’s report … also noted here:

I am glad to see the article mention The Contemporary English Version and the Contemporary English Version Global. (Global has metric measurements, not British) The translation is set at a 4th grade reading level, and is especially meant to be read orally and listened to. When readings for the Gospel of John come up, that have the word “the Jews” translating hoi Ioudaioi, consider CEV, as you will find “the Jewish leaders” or “the leaders” or “the people.” I have been involved in interfaith work for a couple of years, and have an ear attentive to how our words can sometimes lead themselves to unfortunate connotations and misunderstandings.

If you buy a copy, get the American Bible Society with Deuterocanonicals and Apocrypha. The art work is middle-Eastern (not blue-eyed blond northern European). Or, if you go to Bible Gateway on line, the entire text (excluding the Deuterocanonicals and Apocrypha) is available online. I thank the bishops and deputies of GC 77 approving D021.

And, yes, I have a Common English Bible. I most often read NRSV in worship and on occasion feel I should be reading something else.

Personally, I regret The Message was not approved. There are times I will read the gospel in NRSV and then read The Message to begin the sermon. Some of the parables are unbelievably good. If/when it is approved, I would use it judiciously and rarely. I first heard The Message read at an ecumenical service in a Methodist church, and the reader read I Corinthians 13. I heard that chapter like I had never heard it before.

My contacts at the American Bible Society pointed out that the CEV was not designed to replace the Good News but to supplement the Good News. I know that an Episcopal priest who works at the ABS will be in touch with SCLM about the Good News

Les Singleton

Wow. What a convention! Now *this* is the Episcopal Church I thought I had joined 40 years ago! Intelligent, humane, concerned for justice and creation. Yes, that’s still a church worth loving and serving.

Harry Coverston

The last comment is the comment favored by the Episcopal Church USA of the most of kinds of comments on this recent Convention. That is my opinion through anecdotal evidence heard in San Francisco’s Bay Area among Episcopalians.


Here is an example of a working suggestion added to the test work. It and others can be found here:

June 15: Evelyn Underhill, 1941
June 15, 2011by goforthforgod9 Comments

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

The only child of a prominent barrister and his wife, Evelyn Underhill was born in Wolverhampton, England, and grew up in London. She was educated there and in a girls’ school in Folkestone, where she was confirmed in the Church of England. She had little other formal religious training, but her spiritual curiosity was naturally lively, and she read widely, developing quite early a deep appreciation for mysticism. At sixteen, she began a life-long devotion to writing.

Evelyn had few childhood companions, but one of them, Hubert Stuart Moore, she eventually married. Other friends, made later, included such famous persons as Laurence Housman, Maurice Hewlett, and Sarah Bernhardt. Closest of all were Ethel Ross Barker, a devout Roman Catholic, and Baron Friedrich von Hügel, with whom she formed a strong spiritual bond. He became her director in matters mystical.

In the 1890’s, Evelyn began annual visits to the Continent, and especially to Italy. There she became influenced by the paintings of the Italian masters and by the Roman Catholic Church. She spent nearly fifteen years wrestling painfully with the idea of converting to Roman Catholicism, but decided in the end that it was not for her.

In 1921, Evelyn Underhill became reconciled to her Anglican roots, while remaining what she called a “Catholic Christian.” She continued with her life of reading, writing, meditation, and prayer. She had already published her first great spiritual work, Mysticism. This was followed by many other books, culminating in her most widely read and studied book, Worship (1937).

Evelyn Underhill’s most valuable contribution to spiritual literature must surely be her conviction that the mystical life is not only open to a saintly few, but to anyone who cares to nurture it and weave it into everyday experience, and also (at the time, a startling idea) that modern psychological theories and discoveries, far from hindering or negating spirituality, can actually enhance and transform it.

Evelyn Underhill’s writings proved appealing to many, resulting in a large international circle of friends and disciples, making her much in demand as a lecturer and retreat director. She died, at age 65, in 1941.


I O God, Origin, Sustainer, and End of all creatures: Grant that thy Church, taught by thy servant Evelyn Underhill, guarded evermore by thy power, and guided by thy Spirit into the light of truth, may continually offer to thee all glory and thanksgiving, and attain with thy saints to the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast promised us by our Savior Jesus Christ; who with thee and the same Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

II O God, Origin, Sustainer, and End of all your creatures: Grant that your Church, taught by your servant Evelyn Underhill, guarded evermore by your power, and guided by your Spirit into the light of truth, may continually offer to you all glory and thanksgiving and attain with your saints to the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have promised by our Savior Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalm 37:3–6, 32–33
Wisdom 7:24–8:1
1 Corinthians 4:1–5
John 4:19–24

Preface of the Dedication of a Church
From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund.


These newspaper reports in major papers ...

There is a Wall Street Journal article online about Episcopal Church General Convention 2012, but I am no longer able to find it to put the location here.

This Ross Douthat and a WSJ story on the Episcopal Church are having an impact on the denomination, especially among progressives who say, “Not so.” Maybe it is somewhat in league with the Time magazine cover of the 60s about God is Dead. In any event, this and the WSJ piece are important reports; pay attention is a good idea in this case:

This is the Beliefnet piece on Episcopal Church General Convention, similar to WSJ and NYT in content I’ve heard. I’m going to read it after posting this, as I haven’t done so yet but it is supposed to be worth the time, etc.

A former Dean tells what he thinks of Douthat’s column in NYT. He says churches in North America are in decline.

George Conger gives an ABC radio talk on Episcopal Church troubles:…F&

“Kind of report on book, ‘Holy Women Holy Men’ with a note on Episcopal Church General Convention 2012” admin says:

27/07/2012 at 02:37 (Edit)

This Religon Writer Peter Menkin found the link to The Wall Street Journal article on Episcopal Church USA General Convention. This is it:

This is a favorite link by some on the same subject of their General Convention, considered favorable and fair by some Episcopal Clergy:

27/07/2012 at 22:10 (Edit)

Dear Mr. Menkin,
Because the General Convention renewed the trial use, the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music will re-open opportunity for comments. The commission won’t meet until later this year, so I don’t know yet what the process will be. For now, we continue to get occasional comments on our blog – – and we will review all of those comments during the coming triennium.

Grace and peace,
Ruth Meyers
Chair, Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music

This article about Holy Women Holy Men originally appeared Church of England Newspaper, London. Contact the author: .

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