Edward Thomas Demby vs. Dorothy Day

In the last battle before the Round of the Saintly Sixteen, we encounter two trailblazers. Edward Thomas Demby was the first African-American bishop ordained in the Episcopal Church and Dorothy Day was an important figure in the cause of social justice. Will Dorothy win the Day? Or will Edward Demby-onstrate the will to win? (sorry, couldn’t come up with anything comparable for him). The winner will take on Benedict of Nursia in the next round.

In yesterday’s action, Martha of Bethany trampled all over the “Little Flower,” Thérèse of Lisieux. While we don’t take sides, it’s nice that we’ll no longer have to search for those accents on Thérèse. Martha will face Harriet Tubman in what should prove to be a hotly contested battle.

Leadership_DembyEdward Thomas Demby

Edward Thomas Demby holds the distinction of being ordained the first African American bishop in the Episcopal Church. In 1918 he became the Suffragan Bishop for Colored Work in Arkansas and the Providence of the Southwest.

Bishop Demby, born in Wilmington, Delaware, and raised in Philadelphia, attended Howard University and Wilberforce University in Ohio. He then entered the academic world and from 1894 to 1896 was Dean of Students at Paul Quinn College in Texas. At this time he was confirmed in the Episcopal Church.

This is when Bishop John F. Spalding of Colorado took special interest in Demby. He went to work in the Diocese of Tennessee where he was ordained a deacon in 1898 and a priest the following year.

While in Tennessee, Demby served as rector at St. Paul’s Church in Mason as well as two posts in academic administration. Then, from 1900 to 1907 Demby ministered to parishes in Illinois, Missouri, and Florida.

Demby returned to Tennessee in 1907 to become rector of Emmanuel Church in Memphis. This is where he served as the Secretary of the segregated southern “colored convocations” and was the Archdeacon for Colored Work. It was while he was Archdeacon that he was elected the first African American suffragan bishop.

Demby’s context was a segregated ministry, in which he worked tirelessly to establish black service institutions, like schools, hospitals and orphanages. Demby saw this as a way to build relationships with African Americans who, before emancipation, had understood the Episcopal Church as the faith community of their masters. However Demby’s witness, as a compassionate leader and committed Episcopalian, helped forge bonds that attracted many people and live on today.

For more than twenty years, Demby labored amidst white apathy, inconsistent funding, and the foggy commitment of his own denomination (not to mention the Great Depression) to build a ministry that would eventually evolve into desegregation.

Bishop Demby shares a feast day with the second African American bishop in the Episcopal Church, Henry Beard Delany, hence the wording of their Collect.

Collect for Edward Thomas Demby
Loving God, we thank you for the ministries of Edward Thomas Demby and Henry Beard Delany, bishops of your Church who, though limited by segregation, served faithfully to your honor and glory. Assist us, we pray, to break through the limitations of our own time, that we may minister in obedience to Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 — Chris Yaw

dorothydayDorothy Day

Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, was born in Brooklyn in 1897. As a young girl, while living in San Francisco where her father was a journalist, she experienced the devastating earthquake of 1906. Her memory of the assistance people offered to those made homeless by the tragedy remained with her throughout her life.

Though her parents were not religious, her brothers were members of an Episcopal church choir and, from the age of ten, she attended services and became enamored of the liturgy and music. She was baptized and confirmed but continued to think of herself as an agnostic.

After dropping out of college, she lived a bohemian life in New York City. She wrote for socialist publications and immersed herself in the causes of pacifism and women’s suffrage. Gradually a spiritual awakening crystalized into a conversion to Christianity upon the birth of her daughter Tamar in 1927. She was received into the Roman Catholic Church and later became an Benedictine oblate.

In the midst of the Great Depression, with her friend and colleague Peter Maurin, Day founded the Catholic Worker movement. Their newspaper, the Catholic Worker, an immediate success, focused on promoting Catholic social teaching and offering a pacifist viewpoint in a period when international tensions increased around the world.

Implicit in the movement was the need to care for those in need. Houses of Hospitality were started first in New York to care for the needs of anyone who needed food, clothing, or shelter. Before long several farms were established to allow people to live in community and grow their own food. By the early 1940s, 30 Catholic Worker communities were established across the U.S. Today 100 communities serve people in ten countries.

Throughout her life, until her death in 1980, Day spoke of God’s love and the causes of peace and justice, even when she ran afoul of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. When broached by critics with Jesus’ words that the “poor shall always be with us,” she replied, “Yes, but we are not content that there should be so many of them.”

Novelist and theologian Frederick Buechner said, “Vocation is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Dorothy Day’s life bears witness to that definition; she remains an icon for those who would meld their Christian faith with the pursuit of social justice.

Collect for Dorothy Day
Merciful God, you called your servant  Dorothy Day to show us the face of Jesus in the poor and forsaken. By constant practice of the works of mercy, she embraced poverty and witnessed steadfastly to justice and peace. Count her among your saints and lead us all to become friends of the poor ones of the earth, and to recognize you in them. We ask this through your Son Jesus Christ, bringer of good news to the poor. Amen.

 — Heidi Shott


Edward Thomas Demby vs. Dorothy Day

  • Dorothy Day (58%, 2,181 Votes)
  • Edward Thomas Demby (42%, 1,557 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,737

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117 Comments to "Edward Thomas Demby vs. Dorothy Day"

  1. John Clemens's Gravatar John Clemens
    March 6, 2013 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Dear Dorothy is the embodiment of the spirit of San Francisco. Once you’ve lived there it never leaves you.

  2. Nancy Baillie Strong's Gravatar Nancy Baillie Strong
    March 6, 2013 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    Good grief! The church that sponsored me for ordination was a small African-American mission, where I learned to honor the lost stories of faithful saints of color who strove mightily in the face of many, many obstaclles to keep the faith…and I love Dorothy Day, too! I suspect that DD will win the day, so am casting my vote for Bishop Demby, with thanksgiving!

    • Mary Johnson's Gravatar Mary Johnson
      March 6, 2013 - 4:28 pm | Permalink

      You took the words out of my mouth, Nancy. I wish I could have given half a vote to each candidate!

  3. Meredyth's Gravatar Meredyth
    March 6, 2013 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    One of my formative experiences was being part of a Catholic Worker community in Chicago in the late 1970’s. Dorothy visited us, and one of the folks made the mistake of calling her a living saint. Her response, also used in other contexts was ” don’t say that– it lets everyone else off the hook!” Despite that, and maybe because of it, I know her to be a saint, and I humbly cast my vote for Saint Dorothy.

    • Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
      March 6, 2013 - 9:29 am | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing that — I like her even more!!!

    • March 6, 2013 - 10:02 am | Permalink

      Cool little story. Thanks.

  4. Cindy Coward's Gravatar Cindy Coward
    March 6, 2013 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Bishop Demby is great but I have to go with Dorothy Day as I think she did more for the poor.

  5. March 6, 2013 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Both had hearts for social justice issues, and while I like DD’s social consciousness, I like Bp Demby’s glasses a lot better.

    • Meg's Gravatar Meg
      March 6, 2013 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Fr. Mike, you are hysterical! Lol!!!

    • Susan Chacon's Gravatar Susan Chacon
      March 6, 2013 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

      I agree. (about the glasses)

    • Susan Hedges's Gravatar Susan Hedges
      March 6, 2013 - 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Oh, that explains why I was drawn to Demby! That and his work in Tennessee, my home state.

  6. Martha Watson's Gravatar Martha Watson
    March 6, 2013 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    A tough choice: both worked for social justice in different ways. I’m voting for Bishop Demby because everyone knows DD but almost no one knows about this valiant man who LIVED segregation even within the church and still persisted in faithful service.

  7. Bill's Gravatar Bill
    March 6, 2013 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Ok – I’m not voting yet and may not. As I’ve gone through these pairings I keep being struck by the powerful witness each of these people has provided, and how diverse their ministries were. I’m uncomfortable, even within the confines of bracketology, to say one is more deserving than the other. I don’t even know what that means. I’m thinking that I may simply confine myself to reading the bios and feeling inspired in various ways by the lives of these marvelous saints, I do not feel curmudgeonly about this – only offering how I am being affected by what I see.

    • Michele's Gravatar Michele
      March 6, 2013 - 9:43 am | Permalink

      Amen! But I voted for Bishop Demby.

      • Relling Westfall's Gravatar Relling Westfall
        March 6, 2013 - 10:43 am | Permalink

        Yes, I voted for Bishop Demby. Living in Virginia, for more than twenty years even if not continuously, and having been privileged to have been a part of a historically black Episcopal church that intentionally integrated, I have a greater understanding of Bishop Demby’s struggles. I wish that the biography had been written by someone who had more of an understanding for what Bishop Demby faced. Episcopalians do not often talk in an honest way about he genuine personal struggles of Black people in this church. I wish it were otherwise. Yes, I know, there are periodic events in which the national church does something like commemorate Emancipation Day, but those acknowledgements don’t really admit how hard it has been for Black Episcopalians to follow the cross in this church. I don’t mean to disrespect Chris Yaw, but that bio doesn’t give Demby his due.

        • Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
          March 6, 2013 - 4:03 pm | Permalink

          Oof. Thanks for this. Now I wish I could recast my vote. But seems they’re keeping an eye out for double-voting…

    • Mary Kaye's Gravatar Mary Kaye
      March 6, 2013 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

      A thoughtful response. Achieves the goals of the founders. 🙂

  8. Corey Sees's Gravatar Corey Sees
    March 6, 2013 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    A pacifist with an unflinching devotion to the poor. How can I not vote for Dorothy? “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.”

  9. March 6, 2013 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    I am in awe of Dorothy Day’s life and work. The Buechner quote was like a Siren’s song … but in the end I must vote for Demby. His perseverance, steadfast quiet war with apathy and resistance is humbling. He faced unimaginable negative societal forces from the time he woke until he went to sleep – everyday of his life. He had no “movement”. Still he answered the call of ministry and helped change the church and history. ETD for me.

    • Jerry Rankin's Gravatar Jerry Rankin
      March 6, 2013 - 9:11 am | Permalink

      Well said. Thanks.

  10. Laurie Atwater's Gravatar Laurie Atwater
    March 6, 2013 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Both worked against the injustices of their times, but Dorothy Day was a firecracker who lived the idea of “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.” She gets my vote.

    (Great blogging by Heidi Shott yet again. These go a long way into influencing people’s choices!)

  11. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 6, 2013 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    I have always adored Dorothy Day, but I never heard of Thomas Demby.We are too quick to dismiss the amazing leadership in segregated times, so my vote goes to him.

  12. March 6, 2013 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    I agree with Bill. I cast a vote today but I can not say it has any meaning. But I love reading about people who did God’s will. I love that I have not heard of some of these wonderful people before. It helps me get my ego out of the way as I try to follow God’s path for me. So many wonderful people living a life of love.

  13. March 6, 2013 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    I love Dorothy Day. But I have to vote for the bishop today.

  14. Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
    March 6, 2013 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Holy Saints, what a dilemma!!

  15. John Anderson's Gravatar John Anderson
    March 6, 2013 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    I was surprised to see that Dorothy Day was “received” into the RC church. Does that mean that they accepted DD’s Episcopal confirmation? I have observed many RCs who have been received into TEC as members and priests, but I have not seen the RC “return the favor.” So why was DD received? What made this different from their usual practice of re-confirmation and/or re-ordination?

    • Ken Campbell's Gravatar Ken Campbell
      March 6, 2013 - 9:29 am | Permalink

      I believe that Dorothy Day was conditionally baptized when she became a Roman Catholic.

      • John Anderson's Gravatar John Anderson
        March 6, 2013 - 10:03 am | Permalink

        It was not her Baptism I asked about as RCs generally recognize most non-RC Baptisms. It was her Episcopal Confirmation I was asking about and her RC reception as they, as i understand it re-comfim and re-ordain those going to Rome while those going to Canterbury are received.

        • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
          March 6, 2013 - 1:58 pm | Permalink

          John, I am probably a bit older than thou for I can remember when conditional rebaptism of converts was standard RC practice — the general acceptance of other churches’ baptisms was a result of Vatican II. The whole rite (plus reconfirmation when applicable) was commonly referred to as a reception of converts and I suspect that this was the case with DD.

      • March 6, 2013 - 10:04 am | Permalink

        You’re right, Ken. There’s only so much detail we can include in the brutal 450-word limit imposed on us by the autocrats of the SEC.

  16. Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
    March 6, 2013 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Because I am 75 years young, I know fellow Episcopalians who remember those who were disciples and beneficiaries of Bishop Demby and his ministries in a largely unappreciative Church. That many of us remained in this Church is still testimony to an abiding faith that one day…..because of Demby and Delany and countless other black priests who kept the faith in a Church reflective of a society that tried to keep us down. But as Mother Maya wrote: “And still we rise…..” Thanks, Bishop Demby.

    • March 6, 2013 - 11:43 am | Permalink

      Thanks Aleathia. Your personal testimony has helped me to decide to vote for Demby.

  17. March 6, 2013 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    I’m Episcopalian, my vote goes to the Episcopalian, as should yours!

    • Cathy's Gravatar Cathy
      March 6, 2013 - 9:31 am | Permalink

      Right on!

    • Cathy's Gravatar Cathy
      March 6, 2013 - 9:32 am | Permalink

      Well said!

  18. Cheribum's Gravatar Cheribum
    March 6, 2013 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Vote is for Denby today. Segregation was more insidious and emotional than any disaffection for the poor. And it was unclear as to Church doctrine and practice for too long.

  19. Gian's Gravatar Gian
    March 6, 2013 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    This is not fair. You cannot put a person who left the Episcopal Church to compete with a person so committed to the Episcopal Church that even put aside issues of racism and ostracism and did everything to draw a segment of the segregated population to our church. I feel this a biased competition.

    • March 6, 2013 - 9:35 am | Permalink

      Biased toward those who follow Jesus no matter what brand of church, perhaps? (says the Presbyterian who is faithfully following Lent Madness!)

      • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
        March 6, 2013 - 10:44 am | Permalink

        Hooray for ecumenicity! (There’s got to be a pun in there someplace about the City of God.)

  20. Jerry Rankin's Gravatar Jerry Rankin
    March 6, 2013 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    As in other matches, I thought I knew who I was going to vote for, and then I read the bios. Twenty eight years a priest, pious layman before that, and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve not heard of Edward Demby. Thank you. The intensity of faithfulness to rise day after day and serve God and his people in the world in which the good bishop lived both amazes and humbles me.

  21. Mollie Douglas Turner's Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner
    March 6, 2013 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    Much to learn and ponder in these two. I knew DD’s name, of course, though knew only a little about her; but Demby was a revelation. Oh, how much we have to repent of! Thanks, CB’s both, for enlightenment (at least in this small window). I vote for the Bishop.

  22. Sophia's Gravatar Sophia
    March 6, 2013 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Wow. I voted for DD, because I have been strongly drawn to the Catholic Worker movement in my life. But once again I’m glad that these votes have no real meaning, because I have a strong vision of Bp Demby and Dorothy Day rejoicing together in heaven, and that’s exactly as it should be.

  23. Sally's Gravatar Sally
    March 6, 2013 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    I voted based on my readings of the bios (and my leftist leanings) then read the comments. Can I change my vote?

    I learn so much from Lent Madness – truly inspiring.

  24. jon rinnander's Gravatar jon rinnander
    March 6, 2013 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for DD,of course. Her diaries, edited by Bob Ellsberg, are right up with Augustine’s Confessions as a testimony to how the wellsprings of social ministry lie in deep faith and constant prayer.The famous photo of her seated in the sun in delano with the farm workers shows her grit and serenity. Even Spellman admired her, said he didntveant to gobdown

  25. Rev. John's Gravatar Rev. John
    March 6, 2013 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Wow. Even as an ordained priest, I am humbled by the lives of those who have gone before us. Lent Madness is so crucial – not for the competition, which is really meaningless (Each of these people resides in the presence of God equally) but because it helps to remind us that we, each one of us, has a calling to be saintly. In fact, in the 2113 edition of Lent Madness, it may be your name up there inspiring others to come closer to God.

  26. jon rinnander's Gravatar jon rinnander
    March 6, 2013 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Spellman said he didnt want to be remembered as the bishop who persecuted Dorothy , so he is remembered for going to drag balls with j edgar hoover and pressuring kennedy to support the Diem family

  27. Carolyn Sharp's Gravatar Carolyn Sharp
    March 6, 2013 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    I voted for Edward Thomas Denby, because that is what Dorothy would have wanted. Dorothy would probably have wanted us to vote for whoever the greats minds of Lent Madness has put up against, because how could heaven refuse hospitality to whomsoever is crowned with the golden halo and after all, what else do we do in this life but seek opportunities to be hospitable and open the gates of heaven to all in need of God’s grace.

  28. Peg's Gravatar Peg
    March 6, 2013 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    I am so glad to be introduced to both these people. Today I really did have to toss a coin–a Lincoln penny, since he was so wise. Either outcome would feel right. (But I did two tosses out of the three, just to be sure.) The great thing about Lent Madness is getting acquainted with the saints (and bloggers and commenters) and knowing that I will find out even more about the remarkable people who advance toward the golden circle. In the process, I’ll enjoy every opportunity to laugh, think, explore, and share in this marvelous LM community.

  29. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 6, 2013 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    The intro says that Bishop Denby was “the first bishop ordained in the Episcopal Church….” Shouldn’t that be the first “African-American bishop”? Surely we were ordaining bishops in the early 1800’s. (Not enough coffee, Fr. Tim??)

    I’ll have to have my coffee before I vote.

  30. March 6, 2013 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    As frequently happens during Lent Madness, this was a tough choice. It made me think deeply about the gifts each saint brought to improve the lives of the people and live out Jesus’ calling to care for “the least of these.” In the end, I felt a greater kinship with Dorothy Day, possibly because I knew of her directly during my lifetime. But my vote for Day in no way lessens my admiration for and appreciation of Bishop Denby. God be thanked for these saints who still inspire us.

  31. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 6, 2013 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    Doroth Day praised both Castro and Che Guevara and took no issue with Che’s actions as Castro’s chief assassain. She felt that actions like this were the price of revolution.

    Bishop Demby spent a lifetime working to overcome the evil that is discrimination. The choice today was easy.

    • Gian's Gravatar Gian
      March 6, 2013 - 2:55 pm | Permalink

      I did not know that detail about DD. For some reason it was omitted. Then, as Cuban, I am glad that I voted for bishop Demby.

      • Relling Westfall's Gravatar Relling Westfall
        March 6, 2013 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

        I did not know that political detail about the Cuban involvement either. I agree that it is hard to think of a saint who sanctions murder.

  32. gayle's Gravatar gayle
    March 6, 2013 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    Dorothy Day changed by life. I lived in Catholic Worker Houses for 6 years, and still try to live by the principles of love in action that I learned there. She would not consider herself a saint because she “did not want to be dismissed so lightly” but maybe in this case she would approve. I go with Dorothy!

    • Beth Ann's Gravatar Beth Ann
      March 6, 2013 - 11:35 am | Permalink

      Hi Gayle!
      If the concept of “saint” is to be of any use to us, it must be to call out of us our deep gladness to serve Christ. Dorothy Day has been supremely effective in this regard. I cast my vote in honor of J.C. Orton, a “living saint” who does more than is humanly possible to feed, clothe and shelter those in need under the banner of the Catholic Workers Night on the Street ministry in Berkeley, CA.

  33. Carol Sullivan's Gravatar Carol Sullivan
    March 6, 2013 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    A very hard choice for me. Well, after I woke up enough to realize that Doris Day wasn’t up for the Golden Halo! Finally, I decided that the Bishop did his amazing and admirable ministry within the status quo and DD shook things up. Shaking up the powers that be is hard for me, so that increases my admiration for Dorothy.

  34. Barbara Mays-Stock's Gravatar Barbara Mays-Stock
    March 6, 2013 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Well, this one was a tough choice for sure! Wish I could vote for both, but ended up casting mine for Dorothy Day, as she is such a great role model for us deacons!!

  35. Judith's Gravatar Judith
    March 6, 2013 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Having lived in Massachusetts and worshipping with retired Bishop John Burgess before his death in 2003, I was surprised to read that Denby was the first Afrixcan-American bishop. We had always understood that this distinction went to Bishop burgess so I did a little research. Bishop Burgess was the first African-American bishop of a diocese in the Episcopal Church, perhaps a seemingly small disticntion but an important one to me. Knowing Bishop Burgess and his dear wife as I did, my vote went to Dorothy Day. Is there any logic there? No, but this is Lent Madness!

  36. Gwin Hanahan's Gravatar Gwin Hanahan
    March 6, 2013 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    In celebration of my wonderful bishop, the first African American bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, I cast my vote for another great Episcopal bishop Edward Thomas Demby.

  37. March 6, 2013 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Not sure there are any Episcopaleans in heaven…or Lutherans, or Catholics, or any other denomination. I suspect it is just one big happy family amidst the great cloud of witnesses. That said, it was a tough choice. Bishop Demby isn’t known as well as he should be and is a terrific Christian witness. Dorothy Day certainly had a rough start and is accused of many things by detractors, but in the end, she was the classic sinner-saint. Although a former soldier and police officer, I remain thankful for the welcome I received at the Casa Maria Catholic Worker Community in Milwaukee in the mid-1990s. Her legacy remains a true and faithful witness to the Gosepl among many. Although we might differ on some of the “how-tos” and theology, I long for the kingdom of God to be ushered into our world. As a kind of thank you, I’m voting for Dorothy Day.

  38. Monica's Gravatar Monica
    March 6, 2013 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    Another completely unfair matchup! Two wondrous figures, both of whom shook their fists at the status quo in the name of Christ. What’s not to love in both? Although I’m heartbroken not to vote for Demby’s incredible service to the marginalized, I can’t not vote for Dorothy Day, who, more than any other figure in the bracket, truly inspires me. I am tremendously moved by her awesome wisdom, her prickly wit, and her total irreverence for the system — her ability to be completely herself, both faithful and rebellious at the same time. At age 75, she got arrested for protesting in support of the United Farm Workers’ Union (see the awesome picture here: http://www.jimandnancyforest.com/2005/01/09/remembering/). Two things not explicitly mentioned in Heidi’s wonderful blog that captivate me about DD: 1) She chose always to live in solidarity with the poor, because she felt it necessary for true compassion, and 2) She was a staunch opponent of proselytizing at Catholic Worker Houses, because she felt that forcing people to hear a message of Jesus in order to get their supper was not in keeping with true charity. With my deep apologies to Demby, but I’m rooting for Dorothy to take the Golden Halo!

  39. Day Smith Pritchartt's Gravatar Day Smith Pritchartt
    March 6, 2013 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    Two very inspiring individuals; I thank God for the witness of each. But I’ve been waiting three weeks to say, “Day! Day! All the way!!!”

  40. Allison Askins's Gravatar Allison Askins
    March 6, 2013 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    I didn’t know enough about Dorothy Day and sadly knew nothing of Bishop Demby, but where I find myself in making my choice is in my question about why Dorothy didn’t stay within the Episcopal Church (and wikipedia does that annoying thing, calling it the Episcopalian church — argh!). Anyway, I feel called to stay with the saint who worked within the church that has been with me since birth. I cannot imagine what it was like to work within a church as a segregated body, but thanks be to God and the goodness of people like Demby and Day, we know better today … and strive to live into that knowledge still.

  41. MJK's Gravatar MJK
    March 6, 2013 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    Had been looked forward to voting for Dorothy.
    Problem is, when we read Lent Madness, if I may say, day by day, we learn about a Community of Saints in people we never knew. Denby deserves more recognition so, although Day will likely win, he get’s my vote this day.

  42. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 6, 2013 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    DD for me. Layperson, bohemian, convert to Christianity, “we are not content.” ‘Nuff said.

  43. Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
    March 6, 2013 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    Having lived in the segregated South and felt even as child that it was an evil institution, I have great respect for Bishop Demby. However, my vote goes to Dorothy Day because of her “we are not content” statement. A tough choice, this one.

  44. Eve's Gravatar Eve
    March 6, 2013 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    DD will always be known and revered. But Demby, in his quiet solid commitment to the Episcopal Church and ‘black service organizations’ should win this round of LM!

  45. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    March 6, 2013 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    Day by day

  46. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 6, 2013 - 10:56 am | Permalink

    After having coffee–and breakfast–I went with the Bishop. He, too, was a reformer, working to establish “schools, hospitals, orphanages,” while attracting people to the Episcopal Church.
    Besides, he’s the underdog.
    (And thank you for correcting “first bishop ordained…” to “first African-American bishop ordained…” in the introduction to the match-up.)

  47. The Holy Fool's Gravatar The Holy Fool
    March 6, 2013 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    No disrespect to Doris, but the Holy Fool votes for the Good Bishop today. He has a height advantage in going to the hoop.

  48. Mary W's Gravatar Mary W
    March 6, 2013 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Two great candidates again, but I’m voting for Demby. Good grief, the poor guy can’t even get a feast day to himself, but has to share it with the 2nd A-A bishop!

    BTW I may be getting too facebookized, but man I wish there were like buttons for the comments.

  49. March 6, 2013 - 11:19 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that there are many people who are drawn to a cause first, and then somehow discover God. Others choose first to follow God, and then go where that primary choice leads them. Obviously Dorothy Day was a good person who served the poor; but my vote goes with the Bishop whose decision was first to follow the Lord, wherever choice would lead him.

    • Relling Westfall's Gravatar Relling Westfall
      March 6, 2013 - 11:31 am | Permalink

      Well said.

  50. Diana Wilcox's Gravatar Diana Wilcox
    March 6, 2013 - 11:35 am | Permalink

    Both are inspiring, but for me it was no contest. Dorothy Day gets my vote.

  51. Brian's Gravatar Brian
    March 6, 2013 - 11:35 am | Permalink

    I believe the first African American Bishop was the Rt. Rev. James Theodore Holly who was consecrated in the late 1800’s see


    • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
      March 6, 2013 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

      I served at one time as interim at Bp/ Holly’s old parish in New Haven, and can say that although he was consecrated by Episcopal bishops it was for an independently constituted church in Haiti and not for PECUSA.

    • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
      March 6, 2013 - 2:26 pm | Permalink

      I served at one time as interim at Bp/ Holly’s old parish in New Haven, and can say that although he was consecrated by Episcopal bishops it was for an independently constituted church in Haiti and not for PECUSA. The cited article is a little misleading on this point.

  52. Elizabeth Byrd's Gravatar Elizabeth Byrd
    March 6, 2013 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    The Diocese of Louisiana is working on a reconciliation event apropos of slavery and our part in the Black experience in America, so I am aware of the invaluable work of black persons who worked within the Jim Crow system. I am grateful to all of them and glad to have a chance to say so.

  53. Barbara Cockrell's Gravatar Barbara Cockrell
    March 6, 2013 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    T0ugh choice today – but my vote goes to the Episcopalian!

  54. March 6, 2013 - 11:51 am | Permalink

    It is the season of purple, which is also the color of related to the Episcopacy, so my vote goes to the Rt. Rev. Edward Thomas Demby, the Episcopal Episcopalian who I suspect would be quite happy with the practical work his former employer Paul Quinn College is doing in relation to hunger & food desert area issues here in Dallas. (I think PQC has the only football field turned farm in Texas.)

  55. Alan's Gravatar Alan
    March 6, 2013 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I met DD in person. She was awesome. I bet Bishop Demby was just as awesome. The Catholic Worker movement was and stil is truly ecumenical. Lets not hold her switch to the RC against her.

  56. Diane Amison-Loring's Gravatar Diane Amison-Loring
    March 6, 2013 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Here is yet another case of putting a person up too soon.
    However, we have a Dorothy Day house in our town and it has an active ministry to the needy of our area. Dorothy’s witness was and remains profound.
    Go, Dorothy!

    • Jim's Gravatar Jim
      March 6, 2013 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Your point of this perhaps being a case of putting a person up too soon is I think well taken. Although the Episcopal Church considers Dorothy Day a “person worthy of commemoration” she has no feast day and is ineligible for such consideration until at least 2030.

      Derek Olson has published some information on the explosion of commemorations in the Episcopal Church. His materials show that during the period from 1957 to 2008 about 100 new persons were nominated for commemoration for an average of about 2 new names per year. During the period from 2008-2011 about 125 names were brought forward, or about 42 new names per year.

      Why the big rush to suddenly commemorate people, especially as his numbers show persons mostly from recent times.

      • March 6, 2013 - 8:41 pm | Permalink

        There are probably so many too recent people in Lent Madness to address the complaints of too many white men . . . I’d like to toss out the social worker types who have only a tenuous connection to religion, but even the SEC can’t please everyone all of the time.

  57. dr.primrose's Gravatar dr.primrose
    March 6, 2013 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    “In 1918 he became the Suffragan Bishop for Colored Work in Arkansas and the Providence of the Southwest.” Should it be “Province” of the Southwest? Just asking.

  58. Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
    March 6, 2013 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Fr. Yaw had a limitation of words for Demby’s bio. Demby was Suffragan Bishop solely over “Colored work” only in the Diocese of AK and the SW Province. Bishop John Burgess was the first Afro-American Bishop over the Diocese of MA in 1970…no racial limitations/barriers as was the case with Demby. Yaw wrote according to set guidelines/restrictions determined by the SEC. Hope this makes thngs clearer.

    • Relling Westfall's Gravatar Relling Westfall
      March 6, 2013 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Aleathia, you make a great point. I think when you describe a person’s contribution by stating his offices and titles that you keep that person’s life at a distance and make it hard for the audience to get a sense of who he was and what his life was like. As we see in the comments from people who actually me the individuals, an actual comment in a specific event often lends persuasive substance and charcter to a person who is otherwise only a name. It is difficult in a limited space to make those choices, agreed.

      • March 6, 2013 - 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Probably those who are young and/or did not grow up in a segrated world, have no idea how racially divided the Episcopal Church was.

        • Anne Rein's Gravatar Anne Rein
          March 6, 2013 - 3:25 pm | Permalink

          From my perspective as a member of a small, struggling and historically African American congregation, I am concerned that young Episcopalians still are not aware of how much racism pervades the church.

  59. Paul Rosbolt's Gravatar Paul Rosbolt
    March 6, 2013 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Tough choice. I’m drawn to DD, particularly because of the income inequality that we face today, but have different views on Just War than she apparently did. Denby was a non-violent protest against racism just in being who he was and showing up every day. My vote for Denby.

  60. Ron Duncan's Gravatar Ron Duncan
    March 6, 2013 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Had to vote for Denby. Think of the times in which he lived and the struggles he would have had to face. I suspect there were times he was a very lonely man and would have been the target of people both many whites as he was challenging segregation and and a good number of blacks as he was representing the Episcopal Church in the face of many who would have been born slaves and children of former slaves. As well, he didn’t have the ways to rally support that Dorothy Day did and in terms of segregation, his struggles did not have the numerical, media and inter-racial support that later people like Rosa Parkes and Martin Luther King Jr. had to strengthen them in their struggles. This is not to take away from Dorothy Day but I believe Denby persevered and succeeded in a much greater struggle against forces of darkness.

  61. Nancy Mott's Gravatar Nancy Mott
    March 6, 2013 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Actually Bishop James Theodore Holly was the first U.S. African American ordained bishop by the Episcopal Church. Holly, ordained deacon and priest in Connecticut, was consecrated bishop in 1874 to serve the Diocese of Haiti. His account of his life and ministry can be found at http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/jtholly/facts1897.html.

    Today’s saints are a tough choice. Dorothy Day is one of my great heroes. But I’m a member of historically African American St. Luke’s in Knoxville TN, and Bishop Demby celebrated the first St. Luke’s Eucharist, March 16, 1936. Demby’s biography
    “Black Bishop: Edward T. Demby and the Struggle for Racial Equality in the Episcopal Church, ” (by Edward Beary) details his struggle and success in building Black ministry despite lack of funds and ecclesiastical racial disrespect. (Neither Bishop Demby nor Bishop Henry Beard DeLaney were ever given the vote in the House of Bishops and at least one Arkansas Diocesan convention insisted that all Black clergy, including Demby, retire e to the church basement to receive communion!) Demby bore these handicaps and insults with dignity and forbearance. He gets my vote.

    Both Day and Demby ministered under difficult circumstances but I have to vote for the largely unrecognized bishop, Edward T. Demby.

  62. Jill's Gravatar Jill
    March 6, 2013 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Being from Arkansas, I had to cast my ballot for Bishop Demby. As horrible as the circumstances were in the diocese after the turn of the century (the bishop at the time’s so-called “Arkansas Plan” that split the diocese between white churches and black churches and created the position for which Demby was appointed), and as embarrassing a time as it was, he still served with dignity and faith. He is very popular in my sweet, small state, even today!

  63. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 6, 2013 - 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I have a Baptist minister friend who says that this country is the most segregated on Sunday mornings in churches. I suspect he is right. I voted for Demby. BTW, is Bishop Delaney mentioned in the blog the father of the famed Delaney sisters whose story was told in the book “The Delaney Sisters, the First Hundred Years”? I am suspecting so but would like confirmation.

  64. Diane Cook's Gravatar Diane Cook
    March 6, 2013 - 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Have to vote for the bishop today. Although DD certainly is a woman of honor, Demby was a measure of grace in an almost impossible situation. We need to hear more of these unsung heros of our faith. Go bishop!

  65. Skip's Gravatar Skip
    March 6, 2013 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting biography’s. I knew of Dorothy Day but not of Bishop Demby. It appears this will be the”revenge” of the Catholics today after poor Little Flower’s defeat yesterday.

  66. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    March 6, 2013 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Dorothy Day for me today. Not a simple choice. But I’m sure. She has been a saint working in my head and heart for many years.

  67. Mary Urban-Keary's Gravatar Mary Urban-Keary
    March 6, 2013 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

    anyone, especially a woman, who bucks the RC Church gets my vote for that sole reason. Add to that the fact that Dorothy Day lived out the Gospel and continues to inspire people to do the same and she gets my vote.

  68. Patty Reichert's Gravatar Patty Reichert
    March 6, 2013 - 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Born in Delaware, The First State, The State that started this wonderful nation. That is reason enough for me. (guess where I was born? Yup your right.) Well he is also the first African American Bishop also. Now doubt about it, my decision is made.

  69. Anne Rein's Gravatar Anne Rein
    March 6, 2013 - 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Once again Lent Madness reminds me that there are no degrees of worthiness. Bishop Demby’s life speaks to me as an example I may follow–not the path to the Episcopacy–but quietly and continually bearing witness to the love of God in the face of human conflict, ignorance, and evil. Thanks be to God for the lives of all the saints.

  70. Karr Tyson's Gravatar Karr Tyson
    March 6, 2013 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

    My vote is for Bp. Demby. His colleague, Bp. Delany was the first Suffragan for Colored Work in North Carolina, his descendants still actively worship at my home parish. St. Ambrose: Raleigh. But I do offer thanksgiving for the work and legacy of DD.

  71. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    March 6, 2013 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

    The Supreme Court in Plessey vs. Ferguson in 1896 ruled in favor of “separate but equal”. In 1954 in Brown vs. Board of Education (Topeka), the Court ruled “separate but equal” invalid. Most, if not all, of Bishop Demby’s life was during Segregation. His faith and his persistence led many people to Christ.
    Voting for Bishop Demby.

  72. Mary Beth's Gravatar Mary Beth
    March 6, 2013 - 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Another Delawarean here. I was lucky enough to hear of Bp Demby from his nephew – both exceptional men. Sorry, Miss Dorothy – not this round.

    • Relling Westfall's Gravatar Relling Westfall
      March 6, 2013 - 6:08 pm | Permalink

      How cool for you, Mary Beth.

  73. Ann Hunt's Gravatar Ann Hunt
    March 6, 2013 - 6:43 pm | Permalink

    on many other days, I could have voted for Bishop Demby, but paired against Dorothy Day just couldn’t do it. I appreciate the inclusion of so many women & persons of color. white men are still a bit disproportionately represented, but I appreciate the fact that the SEC (who also appear to be white males themselves, though I don’t ever assume and I don’t think they have ever self-identified) has done a great job in leaving the impression that we are a catholic and multi-cultural, multi-gendered church despite the fact that Church history books often leave a different impression… (granted church history books of the last couple of decades are doing better, but I attend seminary in the 60’s/early 70’s) Blessigs and KOKO…

  74. Doug Knowles's Gravatar Doug Knowles
    March 6, 2013 - 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I voted for the Christian, and so should you!!!

  75. Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
    March 6, 2013 - 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Holly did not serve as bishop in America, thus the reason for not being recognized as the “first”. Yes, Bishop Delaney was indeed the father of the well known Delaney sisters and their siblings. It’s not surprising that some Delaneys still worship at Raleigh’s St. Ambrose Parish. It must be remembered that there are canonical reasons for designating who’s first and who’s second and geographic placement/assignment does figure in final selections. Looking for a miracle to put Demby ahead…I do pipe dream!

  76. Nancy R. Evans's Gravatar Nancy R. Evans
    March 6, 2013 - 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I have to go with Rev Demby for all the reason I have read in the comments.

  77. March 6, 2013 - 7:40 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate the life and work of DD, but I have more affinity for a man who was in that in-between place of working within the Episcopal Church while serving a rightly suspicious population. I get it, and he gets my vote.

  78. Betsy Rogers's Gravatar Betsy Rogers
    March 6, 2013 - 8:04 pm | Permalink

    VERY tough choice today, but I’m currently reading “All Is Grace,” a biography of Dorothy Day, and am inspired. Among other things, in the Catholic Worker she showed that media do not have to sell their souls to advertisers. In today’s media world, that’s a voice in the wilderness.

  79. Anne's Gravatar Anne
    March 6, 2013 - 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Voting for the (slight) underdog as of 9:10 pm – everyone knows Dorothy Day while helping Bishop Demby’s reputation to spread might draw someone new to Christ.

  80. St Patti's Gravatar St Patti
    March 7, 2013 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Difficulties online, but would vote for Denby for his commitment & humility, that he would remain in the church that retained segregation, & thus became a model of tenacity & love of God, & inspiration to stay the course in the knowledge that desegregation needed just that. Dorothy Day was admirable , but I have to vote for the one who faced more discrimination…even than the woman.

  81. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 7, 2013 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Lent Madness has been an interesting and light-hearted way to observe the season; I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the fun of it. Today’s matchup, however, is even more sobering than “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Thank you Tim and Scott. I get it.

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 7, 2013 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

      I actually meant that comment to appear under Daniels vs. Luwum. The “getting it” pretty much applies anywhere now.

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