Reading again, in “Holy Women, Holy Men” about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Ross Tubman on their feast day last week reminded me how important it is to touch base with these stories regularly because there is always something I either missed the previous times or just forgot.  What was refreshed for me this time was their connection to the Episcopal Church.  The other was in seeing in the work of Amelia Bloomer the common thread that runs through all the saints:  fighting the forces of oppression.  In Amelia’s case it was the oppression of clothing standards that injured the health of women.  Her campaign was not unlike those fought against foot binding in China.  Oppression takes so many forms:  the oppression of ignorance, of poverty, of unsafe working conditions, of abusive parents, of poisoned air, water and food, of crime, of harmful social conventions and mores, of co-opting for personal gain people’s thirst for communion with God and “laying heavy burdens on their backs.”   St. Paul in one of his letters sets forth many forms of ministry that make up the body of Christ, teachers and so forth.  Hymn 293 takes the list further with mention of a doctor, a queen, a shepherd and a soldier.  To these we need to add not just volunteers in food pantries, and Opportunity Shops, police officers and fire fighters, but labor organizers, environmental protection workers and advocates, child and adult protective services workers, bank regulators, inventors, and political and business leaders working for the advancement of the common good.

The Church provides us a means of being reminded daily about the myriad ways of living out in daily life the call to be part of the body of Christ.  It is “Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints,” the expanded and revised successor to “Lesser Feasts and Fasts.”  It’s available on Amazon for just $20.00.  While I’m loathe to tell others how to spend their money, I consider this the next “must have” for every Episcopalian after his or her own Book of Common Prayer and Bible with the Apocrypha.  If you jump right on ordering yours today, you won’t be sorry.

Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Church, Washington DC

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1 Response to Saints

  1. Wendy A F G Stengel says:

    I didn’t know of this book, but am buying it now!

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