Today the church remembers Jackson Kemper, First Missionary Bishop in the United States, 1870.The first missionary bishop of the Episcopal Church was also one of the greatest. A well-bred New Yorker and a pupil of Bishop Hobart (see September 12), his missionary activity began close to home, in Pennsylvania. He convinced the elderly Bishop White of Pennsylvania to visit the western portion of his diocese and then accompanied him on this journey. The General Convention in 1835 consecrated Kemper and sent him to the wilds of Indiana and Missouri. He found that there was but one church in each of these states. However, by 1850, thanks largely to his efforts, both were flourishing dioceses with bishops of their own. Bishop Kemper toured the deep South, but the church was already prospering there. For “breathing space and room for expansion” he moved on into the Northwest. Wisconsin became his headquarters for the remainder of his life. He founded Nashotah House in 1842 and from there he directed and conducted missionary activities in Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota. Here was a man of great vision and inexhaustible energy. More than any other single man, he helped build the church in the Northwest. Raise up, we pray you, in every land, heralds and evangelists of your kingdom, like your servant Jackson. Amen.
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Lord God, in your providence Jackson Kemper was chosen first missionary bishop in this land, and by his arduous labor and travel congregations were established in scattered settlements of the West: Grant that the Church may always be faithful to its mission, and have the vision, courage, and perseverance to make known to all people the Good News of Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.