Berkeley Divinity School chosen as test site for Holy Women, Holy Men

At the 2009 General Convention, the Episcopal Church authorized use of an expanded collection of commemorations with over 100 new names to replace Lesser Feasts and Fasts. The new collection, entitled Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints was much influenced by eight years of work by Jeffery Rowthorn, associate professor (adjunct) of pastoral theology at BDS and a member of the church’s Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music where he served for six years as chair of the calendar committee.

Soon to be available for trial use, the new collection will receive formal evaluation from a variety of designated sites around the Episcopal Church, including Berkeley. Dean Joseph Britton commented, “This is a natural contribution for us to make to the evolution of this new resource for the church’s worship, given our commitment to daily prayer and the deliberate attention we already give to each of the lesser feasts and fasts.”

Students and faculty alike will be asked to comment on the specific women and men included in the volume, the liturgical resources provided for each, and the overall shape of the book. In light of such evaluations, the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music will present their findings to the next General Convention in 2012.

Of particular interest to the Berkeley community is the inclusion in the volume of its eponymous namesake, Bishop George Berkeley, as well as two of the eighteenth century “Yale apostates”: Samuel Johnson and Timothy Cutler. The Convention’s approval of the volume was not without some modest controversy, prompting Bishop Rowthorn to observe that as a result, “this trial period is especially important.” Berkeley is privileged to be asked to put the collection to the test of being used regularly in worship.