September 12, 2008

John Henry Hobart

Category: Communion of Saints — Micah @ 12:00 am

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Good day, and welcome to Communion of Saints from I’m your host, Micah Jackson. Today is September 12th, 2008: the feast of Blessed John Henry Hobart.

It shouldn’t be a big surprise, if you think about it, that the decades after the American Revolution were difficult for the fledgling Episcopal Church. Associated with England, the Episcopal Church had to find its own way in America, and it needed some time to gain some stability before it started growing again. But in the early 19th Century the Church was prepared, and God provided one of the greatest bishops of our history in the man we remember today, John Henry Hobart.

Ordained a bishop after only ten years of priesthood, Bishop Hobart took on the task of expanding the Church. In only the first four years of his time as Assistant Bishop of New York, he was able to double the clergy of the diocese, increase missionaries by four times, and plant churches in nearly every town where there wasn’t already an Episcopal congregation, especially among the Oneida Indians. He was also interested in education. He was one of the founders of the General Theological Seminary, and was instrumental in re-energizing Geneva College. In gratitude, Geneva changed its name to Hobart, the name it proudly uses to this very day.

The Scripture appointed for today reminds us how John Henry Hobart lived his mission, and suggests how we might imitate his dedication to education for both clergy and laity, and his energy for mission: “But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep your selves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 20-21, 24-25)

John Henry Hobart dedicated his life to the expansion of the Church, in numbers, in congregations, and in holiness. Yet there is still more of his mission to accomplish. Let us continue his good work.

Let us pray: Revive your Church, Lord God of hosts, whenever it falls into complacency and sloth, by raising up devoted leaders, like your servant John Henry Hobart whom we remember today; and grant that their faith and vigor of mind may awaken your people to your message and their mission; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thank you for listening to Communion of Saints. Please join us tomorrow at for the feast of Blessed Cyprian. I’m Micah Jackson. May God be with you.

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