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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers William Augustus Muhlenberg, Priest, 1877 and Anne Ayers, Religious, 1896.

The personality and character of this man captured the imagination of the entire Episcopal Church in the nineteenth century. He was claimed by all parties, calling himself an "Evangelical Catholic." He was an enthusiastic exponent of Frederick Denison Maurice's ideas of Christian social involvement (see April 1). He was remarkably versatile, an excellent preacher, schoolmaster, and poet.

For over forty years he served parishes in Pennsylvania and New York and became one of the most widely loved and trusted pastors of his day. Some consider the founding of St. Luke's Hospital in New York City his greatest achievement. However, he also founded two religious communities, a number of schools, and contributed to the organization of several public charities.

Muhlenberg long exercised an important influence in the General Convention and the activities of the whole Episcopal Church. He was the chief author of the "Muhlenberg Memorial," a document which profoundly affected the life of the Episcopal Church. He was instrumental in initiating significant prayer book and hymnal revision. In proposing his name for the church's calendar, the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music declared, "There was not a significant area of the church's life that he did not elevate and strengthen."

Help us to build up your church, not as an empire, but as an ensign of your kingdom, O Lord. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

God of justice and truth, do not let your Church close its eyes to the plight of the poor and neglected, the homeless and destitute, the old and the sick, the lonely and those who have none to care for them. Give us that vision and compassion with which you so richly endowed William Augustus Muhlenberg and Anne Ayers, that we may labor tirelessly to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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