Samuel Seabury vs. Hilda of Whitby

In what seems to be shaping up as the Year of the Martyr, today’s pairing involves not a whit of martyrdom. The first bishop of the Episcopal Church faces a 7th- century monastic leader and both died of natural causes!

Yesterday, in a most lopsided match-up, Oscar Romero made quick work of Elizabeth Ann Seton defeating her 68% to 32% with nearly 4,500 votes cast. Interestingly the comments were split fairly evenly between the two even if the votes were not.

Many of you, especially those new to Lent Madness (welcome aboard the SS Madness!), have asked how the official bracket is formulated. In this brief video filmed last Eastertide, Scott and Tim give you a peek behind the purple curtain of Lent Madness. You might be surprised at the “scientific/holy” methods used to create our special blend of saintly absurdity.

samuel_seaburySamuel Seabury

Samuel Seabury (November 30, 1729 – February 25, 1796) was the First Bishop of The Episcopal Church, consecrated as the Bishop of Connecticut on November 14, 1784.

Seabury was born in Groton, Connecticut in 1729. He attended Yale College, and studied theology with his father. From a young age, he had felt a call to ordained ministry; however, canonical age restrictions prevented his ordination following his university studies. To pass the time, Seabury moved to Scotland, where he studied medicine in Edinburgh. In 1753, at age 24, he was ordained as a priest.

Seabury returned to the United States, where he served as rector of several parishes from 1754 onward. It was during his time as Rector of St. Peter’s, Westchester (now the Bronx), that the American Revolution erupted. Seabury proved himself a staunch defender of the crown, writing several tracts under the pen name of “A. W. Farmer” (an exceptionally uncreative acronym for “A Westchester Farmer”). In 1775, Seabury was arrested and imprisoned by local Patriots. During this period, Seabury’s family was beaten, his possessions ransacked – and his wife ultimately died. Seabury faced the possibility of exile in England.

In March, 1783, ten Episcopal clergymen, meeting in Woodbury, Connecticut, elected Seabury as their second choice to be Bishop. When the first choice declined, Seabury sailed to London in July of that year to be consecrated bishop. But after a year of negotiation, Seabury was unable to obtain episcopal orders from the Church of England, since, as an American citizen, he could not give the canonically required oath of allegiance to the King. Seabury turned to Scotland, whose non-juring bishops did not require an oath of allegiance. In return for reception of episcopal orders from the Scottish Church, Seabury signed a concordat agreeing to incorporate elements of the Scottish Eucharistic Liturgy – most notably the invocation of the Holy Spirit (or epiclesis) – into the new American Liturgy. In November, 1784, he was consecrated bishop. Seabury’s consecration as bishop by the Scottish church ultimately spooked the English Parliament enough to make provision for the consecration of foreign bishops: in 1786, William White and Samuel Provoost would ultimately receive their episcopal orders from the Church of England. Seabury returned to New London, Connecticut, where he served as Rector of St. James Church, and Bishop of Connecticut; in 1789, his ordination was recognized by the first General Convention of the Episcopal Church; in 1792, he joined in the first ordination to the Episcopate on American soil when he, White, and Provoost ordained John Claggett of Maryland.

Seabury was ahead of his time in many of his liturgical persuasions – some of which made him a polarizing figure within the church of his day. Today, the innovations don’t seem quite as controversial and instead ahead of their time: Seabury advocated for weekly celebrations of the Holy Communion and was among the first post-Reformation bishops to wear a mitre.

Seabury died in February, 1796, and is buried at St. James Church, New London, Connecticut.

Collect for the Consecration of Samuel Seabury
We give you thanks, O Lord our God, for your goodness in bestowing upon this Church the gift of the episcopate, which we celebrate in this remembrance of the consecration of Samuel Seabury; and we pray that, joined together in unity with our bishops, and nourished by your holy Sacraments, we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

David Sibley

St_HildaHilda of Whitby

Hilda was born into nobility, the grandniece of King Edwin, and was baptized on Easter Day in 627 with the entire noble court of the King. We know almost nothing about the first half of her life. Presumably she did not marry, and after King Edwin was killed in battle, she went to live with her sister in East Anglia. She then planned to join her widowed sister in a convent in Chelles in Gaul, but Bishop Aidan of Lindisfarne changed her plans, as bishops tend to do. He asked her to settle in Northumbria to be part of a monastic community there. With her companions in this monastery, she lived in the Celtic Christian tradition Aidan brought from Iona. A year later, Aidan asked Hilda to found  a double monastery (which accepted both women and men) in Hartlepool. After several years there, Aidan again asked Hilda to take her monastic show on the road and establish a monastery in Whitby in 657. It, too, was a double monastery where men and women prayed, served, and learned together in community.

The Venerable Bede writes of Hilda that she established a regular life in Whitby and “taught the obedience of righteousness, mercy, purity, and other virtues, but especially peace and charity. After the example of the primitive Church, no one there was rich, no one was needy, for everything was held in common and nothing was considered to be anyone’s personal property.” Hilda was called “mother” by all who knew her.

Hilda was an early spiritual director and diplomat. Common people as well as kings and others in power came to her for advice in their spiritual challenges and questions of life. She would have eschewed the title (because she was a big fan of humility and equality) but she was most certainly a Cardinal Mother. Her monastery at Whitby produced five bishops and Caedmon, an early English holy poet who wrote in (shockingly enough) vernacular English, a first in literature of the day. Because of Hilda’s support and encouragement of his poetry and education, she is also called a mother of English literature.

As if being a Cardinal Mother, the founder of several successful monasteries, and the mother of English literature wasn’t enough, Hilda’s denouement in her life of faith occurred at the Synod of Whitby. The male leaders of the day got together to decide (argue) whether the Church in England would follow Aidan’s Celtic Christian lead or fall in line with the more Roman expression of Christianity. The big controversy between the two was not women’s ordination or the full inclusion of lesbians or gays, or the use of incense, but the date of Easter (I know, clutch your pearls). Hilda favored the Celtic tradition, but when the Synod decided to follow the Roman tradition, she spoke passionately and as one with authority that she would be obedient to the Synod’s decision and expected others to do the same.

She died in 680, surrounded by those who called her monastery home. Her last words were not of church power or ecclesiastical wealth, but of faithfully following a Gospel of love and peace. Always.

Collect for Hilda of Whitby
O God of peace, by whose grace the abbess Hilda was endowed with gifts of justice, prudence, and strength to rule as a wise mother over the nuns and monks of her household, and to become a trusted and reconciling friend to leaders of the Church:  Give us the grace to recognize and accept the varied gifts you bestow on men and women, that our common life may be enriched and your gracious will be done; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 — Laurie Brock


Samuel Seabury vs. Hilda of Whitby

  • Hilda of Whitby (79%, 3,552 Votes)
  • Samuel Seabury (21%, 959 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,508

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169 Comments to "Samuel Seabury vs. Hilda of Whitby"

  1. David Jakes's Gravatar David Jakes
    February 21, 2013 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Can’t bring myself to vote for one who sided with the Redcoats. Go Hilda!

    • Ken Cook's Gravatar Ken Cook
      February 21, 2013 - 11:37 am | Permalink

      Both my wife and I get emails for Lent Madness-this morning she voted earlier and I cannot get into vote. Other days she cannot when I already have. What’s up with that? We have different e-mails. A sad disenfranchised voter.

      • Diane Amison-Loring's Gravatar Diane Amison-Loring
        February 21, 2013 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

        If you have two computers in your house, you can arrange separate votes. Just tell the SEC. Maybe the SEC will let you vote using different browsers, as long as there is only one vote per person? What about it Scott?

  2. Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
    February 21, 2013 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    No question at all! Hilda of Whitby and the Celtic tradition all the way.

  3. Dorrie's Gravatar Dorrie
    February 21, 2013 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    I never knew that Seabury was the second choice. I live near the Glebe House where the election was held. The story I have heard was that Seabury was elected because he did not show up to the meeting. Who was the first choice?

    • David Sibley's Gravatar David Sibley
      February 21, 2013 - 9:29 am | Permalink

      In the election at Glebe House, The Rev. Jeremiah Leaming was the first choice for bishop. He declined for age and health reasons.

      • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
        February 21, 2013 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

        Rev. Jeremiah Leaming was also absent from the meeting and because of his age the clergy present decided to elect a backup. Seabury, incidentally had grown up in CT but never served as a priest there before his election; since then only our present bishop has been elected from outside CT.

      • Marianne's Gravatar Marianne
        February 21, 2013 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

        Age and health reasons–already showing the Episcopal church to be different from the RC Church!! And I am not trying to be snarky, it’s just been on my mind given the Benedict retirement is being considered a bold new statement.

  4. Laurie Atwater's Gravatar Laurie Atwater
    February 21, 2013 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    The tradition of the double monastery was rather unique to the British Isles. We have an Episcopalian double monastery here in the US — the Order of Julian of Norwich in Wisconsin. I vote Hilda for her fine management of this tradition…five bishops and a poet? Not bad…

    • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
      February 21, 2013 - 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Actually the Brigittines of Sweden revived double monastaries and brought them back to England in the later Middle Ages; Syon Abbey near London was the most famous at the time of the Suppression, and even had a brief revival under Mary.

  5. February 21, 2013 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    How might the Episcopal Church’s history been different if Hilda had been its first bishop rather than Seabury? It’s an illogical question but Lent Madness isn’t logical either. Hilda gets my vote because of her love of peace and ability to create common and holy space.

  6. February 21, 2013 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one. Sam’s father, also The Rev. Samuel Seabury, was the first Anglican missionary here in Dutchess County, New York. So we have a fondness for the old man. But on reflection, the the son, so much. Didn’t know that he was a Tory. My fondness for Downton Abbey and the Seaburys aside, I can’t bring myself to vote for a Tory. I am casting my lot with Hildy.

    • don cardwell's Gravatar don cardwell
      February 21, 2013 - 11:16 am | Permalink

      Sam Seabury was true to his calling before, during, and after the War. He did NOT run to England with his prayer book afterwards, but became an American and a Bishop, and helped create our beloved Episcopal church, AND a country without an established church and with religious liberty. Perhaps his lesson today has to do with constancy and community; no schism-ist he. We’ve come a long way since dear Hilda. Yet we are living in Seabury’s legacy every day. Would more of us had his character.

  7. February 21, 2013 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    In just 53 years of life Hilda accomplished so much; she was amazing and represents the best of the Celtic tradition, including what we now call “servant leadership.” On my Sabbatical in 2010 I made a pilgrimage to Whitby, so I feel I have to vote for its holy and humble Abbess!

  8. Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
    February 21, 2013 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    Love Hilda lots, but c’mon! SS is the man – flexible, subtle, adaptable, obedient; skillful in negotiation and firm in resolve. He’s our own George Washington who fought the English on their own turf and used wise alliance to accomplish his goals. You can’t diss Torys in one breath, then vote for a Brit in the next – Seabury all the way!

    • Caitlyn's Gravatar Caitlyn
      February 21, 2013 - 11:06 am | Permalink

      Here here!

      • Caitlyn's Gravatar Caitlyn
        February 21, 2013 - 11:07 am | Permalink

        Hear hear!

  9. February 21, 2013 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    I must say that I am meeting some interesting saintly folks through this year’s Madness. It makes me glad that we are one universal churchwhen all is said and done. I find admirable qualities in both candidates today, but the vote went to the fantastic monastic. Hilda’s skill at nurturing the call of others seems to have richly blessed the church, and I am prone to contemplative spirituality myself. The fact that Seabury supported the crown during the Revolution influenced my vote as well, fairly or not. Of course, what is fair about life or Lent Madness.

  10. Alice's Gravatar Alice
    February 21, 2013 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    What a woman!

  11. Cynthia Gill's Gravatar Cynthia Gill
    February 21, 2013 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Between 1985-1988, the handful of women who matriculated at Nashotah House renamed their abode in the Cloister (otherwise known as C House or St. Luke’s) Hilda House. It was a very small thing that gave great joy to some and deeply threatened others. In honor of those students, Hilda.

    • Barbara Baxter's Gravatar Barbara Baxter
      February 21, 2013 - 10:30 am | Permalink

      Cynthia, I remember the controversy in the Diocese of Fort Worth in the 80’s (I too, was a member of Christ the King Parish), from whence I was a refugee in ’86, and returned to WNY. Your story gave courage to many of us as we discerned our calls. Hilda means much to me as well, having lived in St. Hilda’s House at the Bishop Strachan School in Toronto. My godmother, Hilda, guided me throughout my childhood and discernment as an adult. May blessings abound in your ministry!

  12. Amelia Hagen's Gravatar Amelia Hagen
    February 21, 2013 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    I’ve been to Whitby and even though I’m very grateful to Samuel Seabury, I voted for Hilda. Perhaps this time I will have picked a winner.

  13. February 21, 2013 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    My father was born in Hartlepoole. We have visited Hild’s monastery in Whitby. It’s Hild, by the way, not Hilda, as the brusque Yorkshireman caretaker there corrected me.

  14. Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
    February 21, 2013 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    As a vocational deacon of over 23 years, I serve at the pleasure and under a diocesan bishop. “Nough said……for once.

    • Georgia Giacobbe's Gravatar Georgia Giacobbe
      February 21, 2013 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

      I love the Celtic tradition and am eternally grateful for Seabury as TECs first bishop. So I was going back and forth on deciding on this one. However, I too am a vocational deacon (of 12 years) and you swung my vote. This one’s for Seabury.

  15. February 21, 2013 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    I went to Seabury-Western seminary, back when it existed as such, which alone is almost enough to make me vote for Hilda. But, having just read David McCullough’s “1776,” and knowing what pressure the revolutionaries were under, I can’t bring myself to vote for one who could of been a huge support but wasn’t

  16. Lera's Gravatar Lera
    February 21, 2013 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Two of my favorite personalities here. Hilda gets the vote, though. Sure hope I get to visit her when I join The Communion (and Bishop Seabury, too).

  17. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    February 21, 2013 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Cardinal Mother and mother of English Literature! And founder of multiple successful monastic communities! Amazing woman for her time, for any time. Besides, I attended St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s school in the 60s and if I didn’t vote for Hilda the Rev. Mother Ruth (foundress) would rise from her grave and beat me about the head. Hilda, Hilda all the way.

  18. February 21, 2013 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    With eternal thanks to blessed Aidan, I vote for Hilda!

  19. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    February 21, 2013 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Hmmm. I went to Seabury, and while there missed Hilda of Whitby on a GOE coffee hour question. What to do…….??

  20. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    February 21, 2013 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    This retired English professor voted for the Mother of English Literature, of course. However, I have great respect for Bp. Seabury, who, in spite of initially being a Torie [he took a vow at ordination!], did work to preserve the episcopate for his newly formed country.

  21. February 21, 2013 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    Just voted and saw the stats. I know it’s still early but Sammy is getting pasted!

  22. Carol Sullivan's Gravatar Carol Sullivan
    February 21, 2013 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    Faithfully following a gospel of love and peace. Always.
    Gotta go with Hilda

  23. February 21, 2013 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    I’m an alumna of the seminary that bears his name, and what would our eucharistic liturgy be w/o the epiclesis? I’ve often wished that Hilda had been a little less subservient when givin up the Celtic tradition, but in the end I doubt it mattered much. The bishop and rector who sponsored me for ordination for consecrated and “installed”, respectively, on Hilda’s feast day. And they are really good people. S0, all things considered, it’s Hilda for me.

  24. February 21, 2013 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    While I admire them both, I voted for Mother Hilda.
    I love the “OK that didn’t work. Now what?” problem solving of Seabury. I like that he rode a big Friesian horse (actual holy horse shown here: to Scotland to try his luck there. I’m really glad he helped start the Episcopal church.
    But in her corner, Hilda had both V. Bede AND Caedmon AND Pastoral pipes AND the Bodhrán (which the Scots stole from Rome and the Irish stole from the Scots and Cameron stole for Titanic)

    So Hilda it is.

  25. February 21, 2013 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    My vote goes to Hilda of Whitby in order to honor the women seminarians who were my classmates at Nashotah House in the late 1908’s. The Rev. Cynthia Gill (’88), The Rev. Marjorie Menaul (’89), and The Rev. Karin Wade (’89) formed Hilda House within the rooms set aside for singles. These dedicated priests have gone on to offer great service and leadership within The Episcopal Church. They live the inspiration found in the strength and character of Hilda of Whitby.

  26. February 21, 2013 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    Definitely the easiest matchup so far…Hilda!!!! What a woman, and what a tradition endures through the communities she founded and so ably led.

  27. February 21, 2013 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    Seabury shouldn’t even be a contestant! Thoroughly unpleasant individual. We don’t even include him in the sanctorale calendar; we remember the date of his consecration in thanksgiving for the gift of the episcopate, but we don’t commemorate him. So … Abbess Hild, who deserves to prevail even if Seabury were a valid contender, must get my vote. A champion of charity and church unity!

  28. Sean Albert's Gravatar Sean Albert
    February 21, 2013 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Cardinal Hilda of Whitby has a nice ring to it. Cf. fr om Dionne’s pen to God’s ear.

  29. February 21, 2013 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    Although I love Hilda deeply, and am inspired no end by what she was able to accomplish, I cannot vote for her because her precedent *in my eyes* is not one of peace and concord, but of compromise on her own holy conviction. If she were speaking at a contemporary Lambeth Conference, she would be speaking against women bishops & against LGBTQ inclusion, even if she felt these were right and just. How can I vote for that? Meanwhile, although I was sad to learn that our first PB had been a loyalist, he did come around, and blaze the trail for the independence of the ECUSA – not to mention for all the other independent churches that now comprise the Anglican Communion worldwide. So, although it is, I fear, a vote for the short end, it is the vote of my deepest conviction. I believe Hilda would approve, now that she’s had time to consider.

  30. Michael Cudney's Gravatar Michael Cudney
    February 21, 2013 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    While the place of Sam Seabury in the Episcopal Church is assured, that place rests more on politics than holiness. Hilda surely was pretty astute at politics, as Whitby* demonstrates, but her life and service prior to that show a woman of deep holiness and devotion. Have to go with her today.
    *For a great [fictional] story about the council and Hilda’s role, check out Peter Tremayne’s ‘Absolution by Murder’.

    • Cate's Gravatar Cate
      February 21, 2013 - 10:13 am | Permalink

      Just pinned the your recommendation on my “to be read” list! Thanks.

    • Lynda's Gravatar Lynda
      February 21, 2013 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the novel title as I love a good read with an historical bent.

  31. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    February 21, 2013 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    A vote cast for love and peace. Always. And the pearl-clutching comment evoked a grin. Go Hilda!

  32. Geof Smith's Gravatar Geof Smith
    February 21, 2013 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Yes, he was a Tory, but so were many Anglican ministers of the day. Hilda was born to royalty – how likey would she have been a Patriot? If it weren’t for Sam the Anglican Cathedral in Edinburgh would be adorned with the flags of the Highland regiments like many other English churches – instead of the flags of the fifty states of the United States.

  33. linda of new orleans's Gravatar linda of new orleans
    February 21, 2013 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    as the Rev. Barbara Crafton pointed out Hilda was really Hild. She already has 80% of the votes-including mine- and it’s only 8am down here. sorry Sam. only one can win.

  34. Jeanne Smith's Gravatar Jeanne Smith
    February 21, 2013 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    With respect to Bishop Seabury, for me it’s Hilda all the way. On a parish pilgrimage to Walsingham, we visited Whitby, and I was aided in that trek by a cane that I named Hilda. That very transformative pilgrimage and both Hildas are with me still.

  35. Janet's Gravatar Janet
    February 21, 2013 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Bishop Seabury made a significant impact on the church but have to vote for Hilda – a Cardinal Mother & progressive thinker!

  36. Nancy Baillie Strong's Gravatar Nancy Baillie Strong
    February 21, 2013 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    Oh good grief: in the vote-in round, I cast my ballot for Sam, whose day of consecration (NOvember 14th) is my wedding anniversary…but compared with Hilda of Whitby, he’s not even in the same league!

  37. February 21, 2013 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    One word – TORY! Says it all.

  38. February 21, 2013 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    I’ve recently learned that the early Americans had plenty of reason to have Seabury ans their second choice, and not just his Tory leanings. I was amazed
    that they went ahead and named the school after him anyway, given his personality.
    Hilda sounds more “saintly,” although I’ve heard it said saints are great in Heaven but hell to live with on Earth.

  39. Carolyn Sharp's Gravatar Carolyn Sharp
    February 21, 2013 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    A vote for the epiclesis!

  40. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    February 21, 2013 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Gotta be Hilda. Just gotta be.

  41. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    February 21, 2013 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    I have to vote for Sam. I want to know how he got from prison to Bishop – though it looks like I will never find out!

    • Peg's Gravatar Peg
      February 21, 2013 - 11:59 am | Permalink

      Keep watching Downtown Abbey. I think that’s where Bates is headed.

      • Susan Hedges's Gravatar Susan Hedges
        February 21, 2013 - 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Oh, a new story line? Anna will make a lovely Bishop’s wife!

  42. Barbara Cohn's Gravatar Barbara Cohn
    February 21, 2013 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    Hilda all the way….Amazing that she had any power/say during the time that she lived. Also, Bishop Seabury was an English loyalist??? W.A. Farmer….
    Ok, it wasn’t a nice thing what the Americans did to him and his family. We all have to stand for our own ideals I guess….

  43. Bill B's Gravatar Bill B
    February 21, 2013 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    Poor Sam……..He was no political extremist, braved the ocean deep to receive ordination even tho he was 2nd choice, trudged about finding episcopal hands that would not let politics get in their way, came back and served in a dubious role, and still died in bed. He gets my minority vote.

  44. Diane Cook's Gravatar Diane Cook
    February 21, 2013 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    This is a match that I’ve been looking forward to. I went to the now defunct SWTS and loved it . Sam’s fortitude was an inspiration to me. My grandmother’s name was Hilda so I’ve loved Hilda of Whitby ever since I found her. As much as I am thankful for my association with Seabury I think that blood is thicker. My vote is for Hilda, sorry Sam.

  45. February 21, 2013 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    Seabury, I’m not a fan of all the bishop bashing that is going on here. If not for Seabury there would be no Episcopal Church. Therefore no Lent Madness, there for Hilda might have been lost to history on this side of the Atlantic.

    Additional point, I serve under the bishop who wrote the book on Seabury ( One, Catholic and Apostolic Samuel Seabury and the Early Episcopal Church )

    So while I love the concept of double Monastic orders in the country side of England, I have to go with the first Bishop of my tradition, Tory and all (there were after all a lot of other Tories too).

  46. Jan Potter's Gravatar Jan Potter
    February 21, 2013 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    I just need to say that I feel guilty for not voting for Seabury just because he looks just like Bates on Downton Abbey…. but alas, women of power always reel me in quicker.

    • Peg's Gravatar Peg
      February 21, 2013 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Jan, I wrote my comment above before I read yours, so we must be on the same page. Seen in person onstage, Brendan Coyle (Bates) is much better looking than Sam, so I think your vote was well cast. I went with Hilda, too.

  47. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    February 21, 2013 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    I voted for Seabury for the messiness of it all. In revolutionary situations it is difficult to see ahead and know what the outcome will be – or which is the right road to get there. I have wondered if I had been born in those times if I would have chosen revolution, or if born in Jesus time if I would have dared to follow him. seabury seems to have followed his calling to ordained ministry through many twists & turns and changes so I voted for him.

  48. Marie's Gravatar Marie
    February 21, 2013 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one – weekly Eucharist, getting around the system, and the epiclesis or double monasteries, Celtic Christianity, 5 bishops, and a poet. In the end, Hilda it is.

  49. William Doubleday's Gravatar William Doubleday
    February 21, 2013 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Without the electrion and Scottish consecration of Samuel Seabury, any Catholicity would have been absent from the newly organized Protestant Episcopal Church. I admit he was Tory, fat, arrogant, and egotistical, but without him we might well have been just another Protestant Church, with nominal Bishops at best, and a much less Catholic liturgical tradition! No disrespect to Hilda, but this man was a VERY important part of of our evolution as a church!

  50. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    February 21, 2013 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    Wait. So there’s no epiclesis in the Eucharist as it’s celebtated in England?

    • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
      February 21, 2013 - 4:11 pm | Permalink

      The 1552-1662 Canon has a petition that the communicants ;may be partakers of [Christ’s] most blessed Body and Blood” — the 1789 American Canon has a similar petition but associates it specifically with blessing and sanctification by the Word and Holy Spirit; Seabury’s own proposal went further still and prayed for the elements to become for us the Body and Blood, and this has been incorporated into most of the new canons in the 1979 BCP. So 1662 had a minimal prayer for the effects of consecration; Seabury (following the Scottish Office had an actual prayer for Consecration; 1789 compromised with a stronger prayer for the effects of Consecration, and now we have several prayers which recover Seabury’s intent. The invocation of the Holy Spirit is traditionally key to the definition of the Epiclesis, the Scots took this from their study of Eastern liturgy, and Seabury did bring this to our Church.

  51. June's Gravatar June
    February 21, 2013 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    This one was so hard. As a Celtic woman, I really admire Hilda and her work with the double monastic tradition. However, Seabury was the first bishop and is from Groton, where I was also born and grew up. I mean, how often do you come across someone from Groton? So, since I am feeling nostalgic and homesick, especially for my beloved snow, Seabury got my vote.

  52. JoAnn's Gravatar JoAnn
    February 21, 2013 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that Seabury is backward looking, supporting the King and all, and Hilda was progressive. He will have to be content with having his name immortalized in Seabury Press. Go Hilda!

  53. Rob's Gravatar Rob
    February 21, 2013 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    Sorry, Bishop Seabury, “Old Bishops never die, they just fade away.”

  54. Barb's Gravatar Barb
    February 21, 2013 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    It’s amazing that so early in church history the men seemed more enlightened to the place of women in the church. So glad that Aiden was one of those men. Hilda all the way.

  55. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    February 21, 2013 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    Hilda. A no brainer.

  56. Deakswan's Gravatar Deakswan
    February 21, 2013 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    The first Episcopal church I belonged to proudly claimed Samuel Seabury as one of its early rectors. If truth be known, he sent subordinates there becasue it was too far from Manhattan being on Staten Island. And since I am both Irish and English…the rebel in me won out and I decided, happily to vote for Hilda…besides, she is more interesting.

  57. February 21, 2013 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    My loyalty lies with the first American Bishop, but my heart tells me to vote for Mother Hilda. You go girl!

  58. John Hobson's Gravatar John Hobson
    February 21, 2013 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    You forgot to mention the other great controversy at the Synod of Whitby, the form of the tonsure. The Romans cut on the top, leaving a ring of hair; the Celts cut from ear to ear.

    • Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
      February 21, 2013 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

      If Hilda wins, there is more to come….

  59. Cate's Gravatar Cate
    February 21, 2013 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Going through the comments, it seems that anyone who has visited Whitby is an automatic vote for Hilda. We went on a typically drizzly British day, but by the time we hit the stairs (!) to the Abbey, the sky cleared and it was the most gorgeous and peaceful day. That alone would have swayed my vote. But, as someone posted earlier: 5 bishops and a poet! She obviously encouraged thinking in that beautiful abbey on the seaside. Go Hilda!

  60. Gillian B's Gravatar Gillian B
    February 21, 2013 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    Hilda all the way! My dad was from Yorkshire, so I have a special fondness for that part of England. I also admire her connection to Celtic Christianity and her support of the poet Caedmon.

    My dad would have had a tough time voting in this one–on the one hand, Hilda had connections with his homeland, on the other, Sam was on the correct side (in his opinion) in that war where the colonies were lost…

  61. RoodRunner's Gravatar RoodRunner
    February 21, 2013 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    First American bishop, yeah. A high churchman and British loyalist, he stuck to his principles. But kind of a stick-in-the-mud, too. So while we’re grateful for the role ol’ Sam played in the Episcopal Church’s formation, gotta give the nod this time to the imaginative Hilda, on the real cutting cusp of creating Christian communities (alliteratation allowed) in England.

  62. Laura Ray's Gravatar Laura Ray
    February 21, 2013 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Hilda who set up houses of prayer.

  63. Foucault's Gravatar Foucault
    February 21, 2013 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    Pearls now unclutched (nice touch). Torn by my allegiance to the Bronx, I nonetheless voted for Hilda. While Seabury’s created a wider church, Hilda created a deeper one.

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      February 21, 2013 - 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Well stated!

  64. Jenny Brake's Gravatar Jenny Brake
    February 21, 2013 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for Saint Hilda. I’ve traveled to Whitby and the ruins overlooking the North Sea. I heard the chants of the faithful and felt I had come to the ends of the earth. A beautiful and peaceful place.

  65. The Holy Fool's Gravatar The Holy Fool
    February 21, 2013 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Samuel Seabury is my choice today. I do need a point guard to get us to the final four.
    Besides, he does have quite a story.

    • February 21, 2013 - 10:16 am | Permalink

      Hilda…woman of power and conviction who got it done. As a lover of the Celtic tradition, how could I not vote for her?

  66. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    February 21, 2013 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    I found myself having a hard time warming up to Seabury. It is certainly true that he contributed greatly to the Episcopal Church and his advocacy for weekly communion earns him points in my book. However his Tory leanings concern me since if things had gone his way we would today be Church of England and not Episcopal.

    Hilda’s overall body of work might not equal Seabury’s but I find in her a special quality. While arguing the date of Easter might seem small to us I am struck by how Hilda handled it. Hilda advocated strongly for her position but in the end had the wisdom and grace to accept the decision of the group. If only our elected leaders displayed these qualities. Besides being Scots-Irish it is hard for me to vote against a Celt.

  67. Cynthia Espeseth's Gravatar Cynthia Espeseth
    February 21, 2013 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    Oh dear – the patron of my seminary alma mater, or the matron of the community I serve. No contest – it is Hilda all the way! Her life, her choices, her faith inspire our church of St. Hilda St. Patrick (one of 3 churches in the US that are blessed to be named after her). We can only aspire to love and serve as she did!

  68. Nancy Evans's Gravatar Nancy Evans
    February 21, 2013 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    I voted for Hild for all the reason stated. I cannot condone a Tory either. I am sure the Bishop is a worthy person but my inclination is to go with a winner. ( For a change).

  69. Miriam Colwell's Gravatar Miriam Colwell
    February 21, 2013 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    I’m going with Hild for a bunch of reasons, but especially for presiding over what must have been a most contentious gathering at Whitby, easily rivaling any General Convention of today. I seem to remember that at the Synod of Whitby, another raging controversy that had to be resolved in the big Celtic vs. Roman smackdown was that of the official haircut for monks. The Roman tradition favored the “halo” do with the hair left all around the edges of the head and a shaved spot in the middle. The Celtic style supposedly involved shaving the head in the front from ear to ear leaving the hair from the middle of the top of the head to hang down the back of the head. ( Obviously this makes far more sense than shaving the back of the head and leaving the front of the head unshaven with hair hanging down the front.) The Romans won, as witnessed by the classic monastic tonsure. By the way, all this comes from having read this somewhere a very long time ago; I can’t vouch for its veracity. I’m not sure if there was a similar controversy about the women’s hairstyles. If anyone has any corrections or can add any more information about this event, certainly one of the most significant in the history of hair styling, I would be most grateful to learn more.

  70. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    February 21, 2013 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    I cannot vote for anyone but Hild. What a woman! If Seabury had been born in a different time and place. He would not be in the bracket.

    • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
      February 21, 2013 - 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Same for Hild.

  71. Chris Carter's Gravatar Chris Carter
    February 21, 2013 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    One thing that was not mentioned was that Seabury wrote many tracts in the 1760’s in favor of establishing an American bishop. He understood that the church could not survive or move forward if anyone who felt the call to Holy Orders had to travel to England–a potentially dangerous and certainly expensive proposition. He wrote under a pseudonym which was wise since there was considerable opposition from the Bishop of London (under whose authority all clergy in all the colonies served) and the English establishment. Had his view prevailed it is very likely that the Episcopal church would have remained much stronger after the Revolution and would not have lost so much membership (and property) to the Methodists who had plenty of ministers because they didn’t have to go to England for ordination.

    So it’s important to understand that he very much understood that America had a unique culture and needed a degree of self-governance. His position, like that of many loyalists, was that while changes were needed, they need not be so radical. He would certainly have preferred something along the lines of what ultimately developed in the the British Commonwealth with domestic self-governance and institutional but largely ceremonial ties to the mother country. It goes against our civic culture now, but we need to see him in his own culture. It is also very notable that unlike many clergy, he did not flee to Canada in order to remain loyal to the Crown, but rather fully embraced being an American citizen; note that he did not offer to swear allegiance to the crown in order to be consecrated.

    As others have noted he was ahead of his time and though considered quite high church in his day, would be considered quite the norm in our own with his emphasis on the sacramental aspects of the Anglican tradition and the importance of the Eucharist as the primary expression of regular corporate worship.

    Finally, he was renowned in his own time for his travels as Bishop and for his pastoral work for his own parish as well as his diocese. He was prickly and his subsequent conflict with leaders of the more evangelical wing and of the Southern church have tended to diminish his reputation outside of his native New England.

    • Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
      February 21, 2013 - 10:53 am | Permalink

      What Chris said! Go Sam!

    • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
      February 21, 2013 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

      My heart is still with Hilda, but what a persuasive argument Chris makes for looking at Seabury as 3-dimensional human being and spiritual leader, and not just as a church politician (my inclination prior to reading this post.)

      Even so, reading about Hilda’s life just moves me in ways I cannot articulate further.

  72. Kathy Olsem's Gravatar Kathy Olsem
    February 21, 2013 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    This comment swayed my vote. I was on the border until I read this. Setting the example of obediently honoring the Synod’s decision should be an example all of us follow.
    “Hilda favored the Celtic tradition, but when the Synod decided to follow the Roman tradition, she spoke passionately and as one with authority that she would be obedient to the Synod’s decision and expected others to do the same.”

  73. Dick Mitchell's Gravatar Dick Mitchell
    February 21, 2013 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    Pardon the nerd comment, especially since I doubt Bishop Seabury will make it to the next round. But in yr narrative, you state he participated in the consecration of Bishop “John” Claggett. Down here in the Dio of MD, where we still remember Bishop Claggett fondly, we refer to him by his first name, THOMAS Claggett.

  74. Lee's Gravatar Lee
    February 21, 2013 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    This is a toughie… I am a Nutmeg State native which would sway my vote toward Samuel Seabury, but I so wish Hilda had prevailed so that we might have been able to incorporate elements of the Celtic tradition earlier on, but then there’s that part of Seabury getting the epiclesis inserted into the eucharistic canon… oh me, oh my. What to do?

  75. Barbara Mays-Stock's Gravatar Barbara Mays-Stock
    February 21, 2013 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    Let’s also remember that Sam Seabury also was the first bishop of Rhode Island, too. Sam all the way!!

  76. Molly R's Gravatar Molly R
    February 21, 2013 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    You had me at EPICLESIS. Ok, I usually go for the contemplatives, and not for “the man,” but I am so happy that the Scots insisted he take that Eucharistic gesture back to the U.S. for children who lose interest in listening to the Great Thanksgiving, they are taken by gestures and movement for prayer. For me it is a sign of covenant, which always originates with God. It is a sign of our prayer to invite God in and transform “the gifts,” and we are the gifts too. And it isn’t complete until the gesture of response is given: when the bread and wine are lifted in offering the great doxology (all this we ask of you…all honor and glory are yours, now and forever). I love a big hearty AMEN or an amen set to music at that point. “Amen” meaning, “Yes, we agree with all that has been said and done. So be it.”

  77. Rob leacock's Gravatar Rob leacock
    February 21, 2013 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    With all due respect to Bishop Seabury…not the friendliest guy. Just saying.

  78. Alice's Gravatar Alice
    February 21, 2013 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Thank you Lent Madness. I learned today that the local Episcopal church where I grew up (St. Peter) had such a famous rector. Not that I would have known then who Seabury was 🙂 However, I will have to go with Hild(a) for many reasons so well covered in the biography!

  79. Rob's Gravatar Rob
    February 21, 2013 - 11:07 am | Permalink

    Hilda, because the world needs more celtic saints, and less partisan stupidity.

  80. Alan's Gravatar Alan
    February 21, 2013 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    As much as I’m grateful for the inclusion of the epiclesis, had to vote for Hilda.

  81. BER's Gravatar BER
    February 21, 2013 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Too bad so many of our bishops and clergy don’t understand that being in the Catholic tradition means being obedient with the Synod/Council/Convention. Hild understood that this is the way the Holy Spirit speaks to the church, and that our personal opinions, no matter how scholarly, are just that — personal opinions.

  82. BER's Gravatar BER
    February 21, 2013 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Too bad so many of our bishops and clergy don’t understand that being in the Catholic tradition means being obedient with the Synod/Council/Convention. Hild understood that this is the way the Holy Spirit speaks to the church, and that our personal opinions, no matter how scholarly, are just that — personal opinions.

  83. John's Gravatar John
    February 21, 2013 - 11:22 am | Permalink

    Oy vey vey! This is a tough one! As a longtime supporter of the epiclesis as THE moment when all Heaven breaks loose, I was going with the dead white male (every few centuries one of them gets something right), but Hilda’s devotion to the Way opened by Jesus ultimately counted for more in the scales of my frequently erratic judgment (I’m neither a sheep nor a goat most of the time, but I am definitely a March Hare).

  84. Harvetta Von Fange's Gravatar Harvetta Von Fange
    February 21, 2013 - 11:23 am | Permalink

    Just wanted to say that my father was rector of St James New London from 1947- 1957. I find this lent madness fascinating and hope you will do it next year.

  85. Allison Askins's Gravatar Allison Askins
    February 21, 2013 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    This is such church geekdom fun …. but I must go with Hilda. I mean, a spiritual director in Lent Madness … how awesome is that? And the pearl clutching had me laughing out loud … not that Hilda clutched her pearls, but it’s good that we know ourselves so well! It’s Hilda for me …

  86. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    February 21, 2013 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    Celtic saint all the way. The Celtic saints kept me in the church when little else could.

  87. Rex Van Alstine's Gravatar Rex Van Alstine
    February 21, 2013 - 11:28 am | Permalink

    When the British took over the dutch colony and renamed it New York, the original settlers were required to make an oath to the British Crown, similar to that made by all who would be clergy in the Church of England. Three members of my family fled to Canada rather than break that oath, the rest of us fought the Red Coats. I understand the situation Fr. Sam found himself in. I applaud the contribution he made to our liturgics, but Hilda got my vote.

  88. Bex's Gravatar Bex
    February 21, 2013 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    Hild of Whitby 100%. Not being any kind of expert in this subject but having taken Whitby as my heart/soul’s hometown after visiting there many times, she’s the One. It seems to me that Seabury was more about HIM and Hild was more about OTHERS. That’s just a laywoman’s take on it.

  89. Johannas Jordan's Gravatar Johannas Jordan
    February 21, 2013 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    A Bishop who advocated weekly Eucharist, had the courage to stand by his convections, and wore a miter and a Cardinal Mother who realized the value of both men and women, founded orders, was influenced by the Celtic traditions, and followed the decisions of the group. A very difficult choice. I think I’ll let my gender be the deciding factor and vote for Hilda.

  90. Margaret Smist's Gravatar Margaret Smist
    February 21, 2013 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    I have always thought we could have used more of the Celtic influence in the church so BRAVO to Hilda for supporting that at the Synod of Whitby.

  91. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    February 21, 2013 - 11:47 am | Permalink

    Co-ed, co-op monastery or bringing Heaven down to Earth? I may have to sit this one out. (But the process forced me to look up “epiclesis”, for which I am thankful.)

  92. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    February 21, 2013 - 11:51 am | Permalink

    OK, so I just went for the underdog. Besides, our rector is thoughtfully and carefully creative with liturgy, not unlike Bp. Sam.

  93. Monica's Gravatar Monica
    February 21, 2013 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

    The imbalance of votes doesn’t really reflect the respect both these people deserve. I voted Hilda anyway.

  94. Diane Amison-Loring's Gravatar Diane Amison-Loring
    February 21, 2013 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I live in Connecticut, and Seabury has the home court advantage here, but I spent many years living in St. Hilda’s House, New York City, and working at St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s School. Got to go with Hilda.

  95. Paul Rosbolt's Gravatar Paul Rosbolt
    February 21, 2013 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t vote for the man who styled himself “the Bishop of all America.” Go Hilda!

  96. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    February 21, 2013 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s no contest – When you can start 5 bishops and bring the first English language poet and multiple communities off the bench, and know when to stop fouling and let the game end without drawing an ecclesiastical technical, you are going to win most of your games by an overwhelming margin. Hilda, you are the Phil Jackson of your day, and had your piety allowed it, would have been wearing championship rings on all your fingers!

  97. February 21, 2013 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I admire Seabury tremendously (without him we might all be Unitatirans in fancy dress!) and I am proud to be descended from Connecticut clergy and early New London residents, AND Seabury often has gotten an undeserved bad rap (read Paul Marshall’s “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic”). But my heart says vote for Hilda. She was a wonderful leader and irenic figure. Besides, my grandmother’s name was Hilda, and her father always claimed there was some family connection to Hilda of Whitby…but how would one know?

  98. Gwin Hanahan's Gravatar Gwin Hanahan
    February 21, 2013 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

    You are an Episcopal and a senior seminarian. You are sitting in a room with important people who are asking you important questions. You know you really need to get one last question correct. Which of these two questions do you hope they ask you:
    1. Who was the first bishop in the Episcopal Church?
    2. Who is the mother of modern English literature?

  99. Gwin Hanahan's Gravatar Gwin Hanahan
    February 21, 2013 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    You are an Episcopalian, a senior seminarian. You are sitting in a room with important people who are asking you important questions. You know you really need to answer one last question correctly. Which of these two questions do you hope they ask you:
    1. Who was the first bishop in the Episcopal Church?
    2. Who is the mother of modern English literature?

    • February 21, 2013 - 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Well, now that we’ve played Lent Madness, bring it on! Of course, that doesn’t mean that the “important” people will allow you to go to seminary in the first place!

  100. Anne's Gravatar Anne
    February 21, 2013 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I was sure I was going to vote for my ancestor, Samuel Seabury, the more so because I first joined the Episcopal Church as a member of parish that considered itself to follow the Scottish tradition. But Hilda, as both spiritual mother and a mother of English literature, not to mention an adherent to the Celtic tradition, wins my vote today.

  101. February 21, 2013 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Why cant I vote from my email?

  102. Lawrence DiCostanzo's Gravatar Lawrence DiCostanzo
    February 21, 2013 - 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Wow, this is a hard one. I spent a week in Whitby in 2011 and St. Hilda is still important there. I also come from Norwalk, CT, where the communion table where Samuel S. presided over the Eucharist is preserved in the side aisle. Both these people did a lot and had really interesting lives. I will be an irresponsible voter and flip a coin. LOL!

    • Cate's Gravatar Cate
      February 21, 2013 - 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Which way did you vote? Hope you didn’t ruin my theory that anyone that has been to Whitby is voting for Hilda 😉

  103. Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
    February 21, 2013 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Samuel Seabury is one of the main people we have to thank for the existence of the
    Episcopal Church in the USA. After the Revolution, Anglicanism in this country was
    in real danger of disappearing altogether. In spite of the fact that Seabury had been
    a Loyalist (and had suffered for it) he didn’t flee to Canada or England. Many other
    Loyalists had done so, but for the sake of the Church he chose to remain in this country(not an easy option, since everyone knew he had been a Tory). He accepted
    the new government and when he went to England seeking episcopal consecration,
    he refused to swear allegiance to the King. By God’s grace he obtained the episcopacy
    through the Scottish Church and brought it home to us. Episcopacy was vital for our
    survival, and by providing it Seabury is one of the saviors of Anglicanism in this
    country. Whatever grandiose personal ambitions he may have had, he was a good
    son of the Church and a faithful servant of God.

  104. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    February 21, 2013 - 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t read all that much particularly redeeming about Seabury other than that he was the first Episcopal bishop (and not even the first choice for that), whereas Hilda was a woman providing strong leadership in a time when women were rarely able to do that, all the while retaining her humility. Plus Laurie Brock had the good little snark in there at bishops in general. Hilda all the way.

  105. Cindy Selby's Gravatar Cindy Selby
    February 21, 2013 - 1:56 pm | Permalink

    The 6th and 7th grades voted for Hilda, with only 3 votes for Bp. Seabury. So, I have cast our collective vote for Mother Hild of Whitby.

  106. bobbers's Gravatar bobbers
    February 21, 2013 - 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Late-comer to the fun. Thanks!

  107. February 21, 2013 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

    There once was an Abbess named Hild
    With her grace all of Whitby was filled
    Tho’ a Celtic Church staple,
    She caved and went Papal
    Yet we still clutch her Bede’s and are thrilled.

    • Peg's Gravatar Peg
      February 21, 2013 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Another fine piece of literature, courtesy of Hild.

    • Lynda's Gravatar Lynda
      February 21, 2013 - 5:19 pm | Permalink

      Got any more?

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      February 21, 2013 - 11:54 pm | Permalink


  108. Millie Hart's Gravatar Millie Hart
    February 21, 2013 - 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Good Ol’ Sam may have been the second choice for the first Episcopal Bishop, and he may have had to set aside his Tory ways for the advancement of the faith but bottom line is at our parish level our priest presented info on Seabury last night and I presented on Hilda. LOVE Hilda but it is more about her advancing to the second round so my rector doesn’t!

  109. Dorothee's Gravatar Dorothee
    February 21, 2013 - 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I am clutching my pearls! GO HILDA!!!

  110. Lou Ritter's Gravatar Lou Ritter
    February 21, 2013 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

    My great-grandfather was baptized in the church of St. Hilda in Hartlepool, so I feel an affinity for St. Hilda. She gets my vote.

  111. Phil Harrington's Gravatar Phil Harrington
    February 21, 2013 - 3:13 pm | Permalink

    But did the Venerable Bead clutch his pearls?

    I understand Seabury donned the headgear for clout in theological debates. “Sam, you have a point there.”

    Hmm… epiclesis vs. love and peace… Oh, well, Sam already has a publishing house. I’ll vote in honor of Caedmon! (After all, didn’t he go on to make chocolate bars?)

    • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
      February 21, 2013 - 4:40 pm | Permalink

      I do believe you’re thinking of Cadbury, maker of those lovely chocolate Easter eggs.

  112. Elizabeth Byrd's Gravatar Elizabeth Byrd
    February 21, 2013 - 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I votred for Hild but am grateful to the Seaburites for broadening my appreciation for his fi8nding a way to get a bishp in the new country and the Scotish connection and their take on the eucharist.

  113. Relling Westfall's Gravatar Relling Westfall
    February 21, 2013 - 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the biographies. I didn’t know much about either one. I admire Hilda’s example more than that of Seabury.

  114. February 21, 2013 - 4:26 pm | Permalink

    This was again a tough choice. I’m grateful for the lives of both. Seabury was of the highest integrity and his time in Scotland is reflected in the independence of his thinking. He had great influence over the form of our BCP but also in maintaining that it should be a living documentation and should (must) change to reflect the spiritual growth we were expected to have as we the Church grew in the liberation, through the Spirit, by Via Media. I also am grateful for his leadership as a proponent for weekly Eucharist. I think weekly Eucharist, as we practice, on knees when able, and elbow to elbow, side by side, has been a factor in our new tradition of full inclusion. Regardless of what one thinks about the person next to you, ultimately it’s very difficult to then refuse them the full stature of being grace filled and Christ inspirited fellow human beings.

    My vote was for Hilda. I love her powerful spirit and power over the misogyny of the times, though in the Celtic Church, it was less of a factor as women were on more equal footing. I love the Celtic tradition which is at the core of our vowed community. I sit with an icon of her as well. She helps remind me that I must open my heart to She the Spirit and invite her in. I must act, I must be open hearted and vulnerable to the workings of God’s love, as all real change occurs from the inside out.

  115. Lynda's Gravatar Lynda
    February 21, 2013 - 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Hilda gets my vote today. A remarkable woman to establish a double monastry and to encourage others in their gifts and callings. An English Poet and Five Bishops is a wonderful legacy. She must have been very well loved and respected. I also love the Celtic Tradition and so heartily put my vote with her.
    Seabury is no less a worthy contender, standing the English up going to the Scots to become Bishop. He certainly got their attention! Again, well done for another great match up.

  116. February 21, 2013 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Hilda has long been a (s)hero of mine. I first did a paper on her in my M.Div. studies as I studied the turn taken at the Synod of Whidbey–regretfully, I might add. The examplary leadership, generous spirit and gender equality typified by Hilda, Bridget and other women of the Celtic church should be reclaimed by our church of today

  117. John Anderson's Gravatar John Anderson
    February 21, 2013 - 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Why can I not vote? My wife voted earlier today; but I can not. NO VOTING BOX. Same thing happened to her last Friday or Sat/

  118. William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
    February 21, 2013 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Some more trivia about Bp. Claggett: First, his consecration did not take place until Bp. Madison had been consecrated in England for VA (he was of the same family as the President) and this was because the Scottish Bps were not then in communion with the CofE and Seabury did not want any problems to develop about Claggett’s orders. Second, Claggett followed Seabury’s example and had a mitre (very similar to SS’s) made for himself (I remember seeing it Bp. Powell’s office when I lived in Baltimore 50+ years ago.
    I’ve served in CT for more than 40 years (under 6 of SS’s successors, and I have also had the opportunity to visit Whitby — did you know that Dracula was written there, and (in the book) actuall visited Whitby?
    It is now so obvious that Hilda wins that I just have to vote for the home team this time!

  119. Alec Clement's Gravatar Alec Clement
    February 21, 2013 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Hilda appears to be winning but I am voting for Seabury. Tory or not–he seems to have been responsible for much for which we Episcopalians can be thankful.

  120. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    February 21, 2013 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

    When I think of all the people who have shaped our faith and how many of them had grave faults– Abraham, Martin Luthrtr, David, Moses, Henry Tudor (ffs) (for faith’s sake), I shall cast my vote for Seabury. My partisan moment.

    Hild’s great holiness notwithstanding.

  121. Harry W's Gravatar Harry W
    February 21, 2013 - 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Hilda of Whitby gets my vote today. She saw and held the vision of God’s church
    where all people enrich it with love and peace.

  122. Susan Hedges's Gravatar Susan Hedges
    February 21, 2013 - 6:35 pm | Permalink

    “I sing a song of the Saints of God, etc., etc. . .
    And one was a Doctor and the same one a Priest…”

  123. Richard's Gravatar Richard
    February 21, 2013 - 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Since “Sammy” didn’t support his homeboys I can’t support him.
    Go “Hildie”

  124. Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
    February 21, 2013 - 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Oh, the agony .. the first bishop for the TEC and ordained in Scotland (land of my heart) vs. Hilda of the Celtic traditions.

    Well, it needed Sam for me to be able to join TEC, and I had a memorable personal moment visiting Old Saint Paul’s in Edinburgh where he also worshipped, so my vote is again going to the underdog of the day’s voting!

  125. Cheribum's Gravatar Cheribum
    February 21, 2013 - 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Completely underwhelmed today. Good luck promoting either contestant further in Round 2.
    Ultimately, Seabury was the runner up. Hilda stood her ground on the all important date of Easter observance and wins a begrudging vote. What weak conference did these two tomato cans win to qualify for the bracket this year?

  126. Mjdavid's Gravatar Mjdavid
    February 21, 2013 - 8:04 pm | Permalink

    You can’t expect someone whose biography lists being one of the first to ‘wear a mitre’ to beat out Hilda. Seabury seems to come across as a Tory who favored fancy dress. If he and his family had suffered because he was a faithful Christian instead of a faithful kings man he might have had a better chance. There is more to his story, but those two items left an impression…

  127. Anji's Gravatar Anji
    February 21, 2013 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Pearls in hand, red, white and blue ones!!! My votes for Hilda.

  128. John Gillette's Gravatar John Gillette
    February 21, 2013 - 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Gotta go with Hild. Anybody who doesn’t realize that you have to be in the meeting to avoid the bad jobs being handed out isn’t up to snuff.

  129. Susie's Gravatar Susie
    February 21, 2013 - 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Go, Hilda!
    Thanks for Lent Madness–I’m really enjoying it (and your humor :- ) & I’m learning about new-to-me Saints, too!!

  130. Cricket Cooper's Gravatar Cricket Cooper
    February 21, 2013 - 10:21 pm | Permalink

    I am a proud SWTS alum, but Sam is whispering in my ear “Hilda! Hilda!”
    She’s my choice for the Golden Halo this year~
    Let’s hear it for modeling that church is not about getting “your” way.
    Hilda, Hilda, rah rah rah!

  131. Meg from Connecticut's Gravatar Meg from Connecticut
    February 22, 2013 - 12:12 am | Permalink

    Now I know where Seabury retirement in Bloomfield CT got its name. I believe they have the same painting of the old guy in the main building. My father stayed there.

  132. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    February 22, 2013 - 12:31 am | Permalink

    Pious, articulate and humble in victory or defeat: Hilda of Whitby!

  133. Lore Yao's Gravatar Lore Yao
    February 22, 2013 - 1:14 am | Permalink

    What I am a bit puzzled about is I understood is during and after our war of Independence is that we became Episcopalian because we could not make our allegiance to the King of England.So I wish I could get more information. I was just confused by the write up. How can one be pro british during this time and then there is no mention of the transition?

    • John Anderson's Gravatar John Anderson
      February 22, 2013 - 10:22 am | Permalink

      It is surprising to many NOW how many people did NOT support the Revolution before, during, and AFTER the war. Some did what people still threaten to do because on an election: move to Canada. Others came out of the closet during the War of 1812. Sorta like all the Episcopalians who thought FDR was a Traitor to his Class and Church.
      There were there—sometimes just not that obvious.

  134. Lisa Mitchell's Gravatar Lisa Mitchell
    February 22, 2013 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    As a Canadian Lent Madness follower the whole British/non-British isn’t an issue. *GASP!* After all Hilda was British too!

    • John Anderson's Gravatar John Anderson
      February 22, 2013 - 10:29 am | Permalink

      Hilda was British because she was not aware of America. One might speculate: Would she have supported Seabury’s episcopate had she known about it? Would she of supported the American Revolution?

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