Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* William Dwight Porter Bliss and Richard T. Ely *


O God, who in the work of creation commanded the light to shine out of darkness: we pray that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ may shine into the hearts of people everywhere dispelling the darkness of their ignorance and unbelief and revealing to them the knowledge of your glory in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


We are waiting, blessed Saviour, we are watching for the hour
when in majesty descending, you shall come in mighty power;
then the shadows will be lifted and the darkness rolled away,
and our eyes behold the splendour of the glorious crowning day.

We are waiting, blessed Saviour, we are watching not in vain
for the cloud that bore you upward and will bring you back again.
Then, among your ransomed people, we shall tread the shining way
and our eyes behold the splendour of the glorious crowning day.

We are waiting, blessed Saviour, for a union, heart to heart,
with our dear ones over the river, where we never more shall part;
then our sorrows, in a moment, like a dream will pass away,
when our eyes behold the splendour of the glorious crowning day.

( Fanny Crosby, 1820–1915 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

William Dwight Porter Bliss and Richard T. Ely: Economic Justice? In Church?

Today Saint Laika’s remembers two servants of God, who tried to move Christ’s church through the confusing theories of economics to find a way for the Church to lead and speak with authority to wealthy and poor alike.

Richard Theodore Ely was born in 1854 in Ripley, New York. After receiving his doctorate in economics at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, he taught at Johns Hopkins University and then at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Ely rejected the extremes of both capitalism and socialism.

When accused of being a socialist, he stated in his defense, “I condemn alike that individualism that would allow the state no room for industrial activity, and that socialism which would absorb in the state the functions of the individual.”

What was needed instead, he argued, was a proper and healthy balance between public and private enterprise. He favoured competition with regulation that would raise the moral and ethical level of economic practice. He claimed that the Gospel was social rather than individualistic in nature and he consistently called the Episcopal Church to work toward the reform of capitalism for the sake of the rights and dignity of the American worker. Ely’s principles were highly influential on his friend Walter Rauschenbusch, one of the major figures in the Social Gospel Movement.

Like R.T. Ely, William Dwight Porter Bliss believed that the church was called to work for economic justice, the principles of which were grounded in the Gospel. Originally ordained a Congregationalist minister, in 1887 he became an Episcopal priest. He served parishes in Massachusetts, California, and New York before organising the first Christian Socialist Society in the United States in 1899. Bliss consistently claimed that economic justice, for which all Christians were responsible, was “rooted and grounded in Christ, the liberator, the head of humanity.” Among his written works are "The Encyclopedia of Social Reform" (1898) and "The Hand-Book of Socialism" (1895).

In the second chapter of the "Book of Acts," at verses forty-four and forty-five, we read:

All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for a fair and compassionate sharing of the wealth of the world among all its peoples.

... for an end to the capitalism that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer and ignores the needs and welfare of the earth and all its peoples.

... that the Church will imitate its Lord, in being a friend to the poor and a caller to account of the rich.

... that we will not be short of the necessary things and not tempted to pursue unnecessary wealth at the expense of others.

... that the people of the world will find the willpower to do what is necessary to halt global warming and climate change. DETAILS

... for the twenty people killed and those who were injured when a stretch limousine veered off the road and crashed into a tree in Schoharie County, New York State, on Saturday afternoon; for all who have been involved in road traffic accidents recently. DETAILS

... for the thirty-six Indian schoolgirls who had to be treated in hospital after they were attacked by a large crowd of teenage boys and their parents because they complained of sexual harassment; for an end to the widespread and horrific physical abuse of women in India. DETAILS

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.


Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.


From "What is Christian Socialism?" by William Dwight Porter Bliss:

Christian socialism is religious first. It does not believe that society can be “made new by arrangements;” it believes that it is to be regenerated “by finding the law and
ground of its order and harmony, the only secret of its existence in God.” These words of Maurice state the view of all Christian socialists.

Men say, “ business is a fight,” “if any man is not well off, he should go in for self and make money.”

Christian socialists call this "mammonism," the opposite of brotherhood, the opposite of love, the opposite of Christianity. And the cause of this they say is that men have forgotten God; or if they remember God in creeds, that they have ignored him in their deeds.

“The beginning and the end of what is the matter with us in these days,” said Carlyle, “is that we have forgotten God.”

If we had remembered him we should never have forgotten that men are brothers. The thing society needs to do, say Christian socialists, is to return to God. We need religious socialism.

“There can be no brotherhood without a common Father.”

The law of love must become the law of trade. The Golden Rule must be made the rule for gold.

“Competition,” said Maurice, “is put forth as the law of the universe. This is a lie. The time is come to declare it is a lie by word and deed.”

It is not a matter of rhetoric, but of deepest conviction, that Christian socialists take the name of Christian.

“Oh, my Italy,” cried Savanarola, “nothing can save you but Christ,” and Christian socialists of ever land and every age repeat the same.


Blessed God, whose Son Jesus came as servant to all: we thank you for William Bliss and Richard Ely, whose dedication to principles of economic justice led them to be bold reformers of the world and the Church; and we pray that we, with them, may find our true happiness through self-sacrifice in service of your reign, where all the hungry are fed and the downtrodden are raised up through Jesus Christ our Liberator; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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