Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Saints of Summer: William Porcher DuBose

One of the things I love about the Episcopal calendar is running across names of saints who are, albeit, a bit obscure in our own time but who are much worthy of our consideration. Today is the feast day of William Porcher (pronounced "Por-shay") DuBose, born in 1836 in South Carolina, died in 1918.

He ought to be a household name in every Episcopal parish of Charlottesville.

As near as I can tell, DuBose is the only saint on our calendar who is a graduate of the University of Virginia, having matriculated in 1859. He went on to the Episcopal priesthood, and founded the School of Theology at Sewanee, Tennesee, where he served as Dean until 1908.

He taught moral theology, was a prolific writer and mined the best theological trends of his era from the Anglo-Catholic Oxford movement to the Evangelicals. "We need the truth of every variant opinion and the light from every opposite point of view," he once said, voicing an ethic out-of-favor in some quarters of our church.

We owe him much for his creativity, theological gravitas, and the work that continues at Sewanee (including Education for Ministry which came long after his time but is very much in keeping with the foundation he set at Sewanee).

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