Thursday, July 12, 2007

Saints: Thomas Bray

Thomas Bray

Thomas Bray was an Anglican priest from England who, having been given oversight of the colony of Maryland by the Bishop of London, visited Maryland in 1699 for about two and a half months. He saw that our churches were in dire need of educated clergy, Bibles and Prayer Books. He went back to England and founded the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge ("SPCK") and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (“SPG”).

Bray had a special place in his heart for the education of children and for the integrity of clergy. He insisted that clergy "constantly read prayers twice a day and catechize and preach on Sundays."

I mention him because his ideas helped influence James Oglethorpe to start the colony of Georgia. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel provided priests for Christ Church, Savannah and St. Paul’s, Augusta. I was once in St. Paul’s, Augusta for an ordination, and they still have a baptismal font given by the SPG. It’s in a display case, of course.

Here in part is what their website ( has to say:

Since 1698, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge has distributed over 30 million books and provided the means for translating the Book of Common Prayer into more than 200 languages. SPCK sent the first printing presses to India, opened the first British schools for poor children, gave equal education to girls, sent the first printed books to Australia, established libraries for clergy and missionaries in many countries, and published the first Braille books. SPCK is the oldest Anglican missionary society in existence.

Although SPCK has changed with the times, its fundamental mission remains the same: to sound the Gospel to all peoples in all nations by providing them ways to produce, publish, and distribute Christian knowledge in print and other media. Today the worldwide network of SPCK consists of chapters in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the United States.

Today we give thanks for The Rev. Thomas Bray, through whose farsightness the SPCK still provides books to seminarians around the world.

In peace,


The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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