On the side of the poor

Daily Reading for November 25 • James Otis Sargent Huntington, Priest and Monk, 1935

Huntington, an Anglo-Catholic, was as theologically conservative as he was socially liberal. He taught that the sacramental life was the motivating force behind the reconciliation of all races and classes. He also embraced monasticism in large part because of his commitment to the world beyond the monastery walls. Only through rigorous self-denial and total devotion of self, he believed, could one truly serve the poor and work to ameliorate the problems of society. During the summer of 1889, he worked as a common laborer among farmworkers in western New York to understand their condition more fully. Huntington’s reading tastes were wide-ranging; he read not only theology and church history but also the latest work of socialist and progressive writers. He campaigned for better conditions for working men and women, and he longed to see the church become, in his words, “the great Anti-Poverty Society.” The church must be on the side of the poor, he said, “if she is going to live at all.”

From The Episcopalians by David Hein and Gardiner H. Shattuck, Jr. Copyright © 2004. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY. www.churchpublishing.org

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