Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Saints: William White

Although his official feast day is July 17, on this Fourth of July I want to commemorate William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania, as our saint of the day. Bishop White was born in Philadelphia in 1747 and died there in 1836. His home in Philadelphia has been preserved and is overseen by the National Park Service. If you visit his home, you must obtain tickets early in the day, because they limit the visitors to about eight at a time.

In April of 1772, Bishop White was ordained priest in England. Upon his return to America he served churches in Philadelphia, and also served as chaplain of the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1789. He was consecrated bishop in England in 1787. Until 1800 he served as chaplain of the United States Senate. He was also the first Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America.

Among his students were those who would become bishops, church planters, and founders of hospitals and seminaries. For example, Augustus Muhlenberg, one of Bishop White's students, founded St. Luke's Hospital in New York City, which opened in 1858.

Bishop White's influence spread widely because he taught theology generously and was generally regarded as a prince of a fellow. Bishop White was known for his wisdom, patience, and diplomacy in the chaotic period following the American Revolution. We look to him as an example of Christ's stability and peace in a frenetic world.

In peace,

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

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