Friday, July 10, 2009

New saints headed for the Episcopal calendar?

This gets little noticed in the midst of the noise over the Big Issues at General Convention: Who will be included on the calendar of saints on the Episcopal calendar? 

Our method of saint-i-fying is much less elaborate than in other traditions (no canonization or miracles required). Rather it is up to General Convention each three years to add names to the book called "Lesser Feasts and Fasts." 

The honorees this year include naturalist John Muir, composer Henry Purcell and Frances Perkins, the Labor Secretary in the New Deal. You can read more about this by clicking HERE.

Earlier this week the Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music Committee considered these additions. But here is the rub: 100 names were proposed, and the committee seems to be headed toward including all of them in a book for "trial use" over the next three years. To say that it will be unwieldy is an understatement, and to have 100 new saints on the calendar all at once seems to me to make each one "lesser" not greater.

When I was a alternate deputy to the 1996 General Convention in Philadelphia, it was my privilege to vote to include Absalom Jones, who started the first integrated Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. We made a real big deal of it at convention. It would be great if General Convention could make a big deal for, say, John Muir and Frances Perkins and maybe leave it at that. 

1 comment:

jfmiller28 said...

I worry that we are turning this into a "great Christians of history" list instead of a calendar of those whose lives exemplified Christianity.