One Step Closer to "Sainthood"

The Episcopal Church adopts a feast day for Kenyon founder Philander Chase

Harcourt Parish and its student group, Canterbury, recently celebrated the Episcopal Church's newly adopted feast day for Philander Chase, the first bishop of Ohio and Illinois and, of course, Kenyon's founder. At the church's general convention last summer, delegates voted to include Chase, for a three-year trial period, in the commemorative calendar, Lesser Feasts and Fasts. The calendar honors men and women who exemplified heroic commitment to Christ--Episcopalian "saints." Chase joins such other figures as the writer C.S. Lewis, who was also approved for trial commemoration, and Enmegahbowh, an Ojibwa Indian and the first Native American Episcopal priest, who received final approval.

While the news media at the convention focused on resolutions addressing the standing of gays and lesbians in the church, a small group of delegates with Kenyon affiliations, including Elton Hartney '04, also eagerly followed the two resolutions involving Chase. The first established September 22 as a feast day for Chase. (It is the first available free day in the commemorative calendar following the anniversary of Chase's death on September 20, 1852.) The second authorized a prayer giving thanks for Chase's "pioneering spirit" and his "zeal in opening new frontiers" for the church. The movement to establish a feast day for Chase began in 1989 with efforts by the Reverend John Carson of Hillsboro, Ohio, a 1954 Bexley Hall graduate and the father of four Kenyon alumni. After the three-year trial period, a normal part of the process, the next general convention, in 2006, will consider final approval for Chase.