Jonathan Daniels vs. Janani Luwum

Welcome to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen! After 16 bruising battles, we have cut the field from 32 saints to 16. We've already seen our fair share of hotly contested match-ups, blow-outs, and Cinderellas and we're only half-way through the bracket. Lent Madness, like Lent, is part endurance race and we encourage those who have come thus far to buckle down for the duration. As Saint Paul (who was upset by Emma of Hawaii last year) says, "Run with perseverance the race that is set before you."

In this round, we move past basic biographies and delve into what we like to call "Quirks and Quotes." We'll learn some unusual facts about our saints and hear about them, either in their own words or in words uttered or written about them. Some of our holy men and women are quirkier than others and some are more quotable. As always, remember these match-ups are neither fair nor for the faint of heart. If you want a bland Lenten devotion you've come to the wrong place.

The Saintly Sixteen action begins with two modern-day martyrs, Jonathan Daniels and Janani Luwum. In the first round, Daniels defeated Macrina the Younger and Luwum swept past Thomas Tallis. With all of the subsequent rounds you can click on the Bracket 2013 tab and scroll down to find links to the previous match-ups. This is particularly helpful if you need a quick refresher bio when making your decision. Thanks to our unsung Bracket Czar, Adam Thomas, for making this happen!

Yesterday, the final match-up of the second round was set as Dorothy Day slipped past Edward Thomas Demby and will next face Benedict of Nursia. The other Saintly Sixteen pairings are Oscar Romero vs. Lucy, Martin Luther King, Jr. vs. Frances Perkins, Martha of Bethany vs. Harriet Tubman, Luke vs. John Donne, Gregory the Great vs. Florence Li-Tim Oi, and Hilda of Whitby vs. Ignatius of Antioch.

61danielssermon_thumbJonathan Myrick Daniels

Jonathan Myrick Daniels, a 26-year-old seminarian and Civil Rights worker, was killed by a shotgun blast in 1965 when he pulled a 16-year-old African American girl out of the line of fire.

A native of Keene, New Hampshire, Jonathan Daniels attended the Virginia Military Institute.  Though as his yearbook page attests, “The presence of a New Hampshire Yankee in a southern military college has for four years roused the curiosity of his Dixie colleagues,” he was voted Valedictorian of the class of 1961.

After graduation, Daniels began a graduate program in English at Harvard, but the death of his father two years earlier had left him battling depression and a loss of faith. Attending the Church of the Advent on Easter Sunday 1962, he experienced a profound religious experience, inspiring him to leave graduate school and pursue Holy Orders.

Daniels had a similar sense of calling through worship when he decided to go to Selma. After reluctantly deciding “that the idea [of going to Selma] was impractical, and with a faintly tarnished feeling, I tucked in an envelope my contribution to the proposed ‘Selma Fund.’

“I had come to Evening Prayer as usual that evening, and as usual I was singing the Magnificat with the special love and reverence I have always had for Mary’s glad song. ‘He hath showed strength with his arm…' As the lovely hymn of the God-bearer continued, I found myself peculiarly alert, suddenly straining toward the decisive, luminous, Spirit-filled ‘moment’ that would, in retrospect, remind me of others – particularly of one at Easter three years ago. Then it came. ‘He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things…’ I knew then that I must go to Selma.”

This phrase from the Magnificat is included in the collect for the feast of Jonathan Daniels.

From his work in Alabama, Daniels gained a deep understanding of the prejudice that held the whole country in thrall. After speaking to a church group in his hometown, “a militant liberal expressed the wish that I would stop calling the parishioners of St. Paul’s [Selma] ‘Christians’ – ‘churchmen’ would make her happier. Instinctively, I felt defensive for the people of my adopted ‘parish family,’ recalling the painful ambivalence and anguished perplexity some of them were beginning…to feel.” And after being teargassed in Camden, Alabama, “I saw that the men who came at me were themselves not free. Even though they were white and hateful and my enemy, they were human beings too. I began to discover a new freedom in the cross: freedom to love the enemy, and in that freedom, to will and to try to set him free.”

-- Laura Toepfer

Archbishop Luwum with Idi Amin

Archbishop Luwum with Idi Amin

Janani Luwum

As a young boy, Janani Luwum (1922-1977) tended goats. As a young man, soon after his conversion to Christianity, he climbed a tree to preach a sermon to children in the courtyard of a school. As a newly ordained priest, he served twenty-four congregations with only a bicycle on which to get around. So it seems that Archbishop Luwum was only a little quirky.

The strength of his faith is reflected in his words.

Quote from the day he embraced Christianity:
“Today I have become a leader in Christ's army. I am prepared to die in the army of Jesus. As Jesus shed his blood for the people, if it is God's will, I do the same.”

Quote about that conversion:
"When I was converted, after realizing that my sins were forgiven and the implications of Jesus' death and resurrection, I was overwhelmed by a sense of joy and peace.…The reality of Jesus overwhelmed me – and it still does."

Quote from his epilogue to a centennial history of Ugandan Christianity:
“What will happen in the next hundred years or so?…we have seen that the Church is founded on the belief in the sure foundation who is Jesus Christ, the Saviour. He is the sure Rock of our Salvation and therefore we will not fear any evil.”

Quote explaining why his participation in those centennial celebrations would be limited:
"I do not want to be the Archbishop of a dead church, but of a live one."

Quote in response to criticism of his willingness to meet repeatedly with Idi Amin:
"I do not know for how long I shall be occupying this chair. I live as though there will be no tomorrow. I face daily being picked up by the soldiers. While the opportunity is there, I preach the gospel with all my might, and my conscience is clear before God that I have not sided with the present government, which is utterly self-seeking. I have been threatened many times. Whenever I have the opportunity I have told the President the things the churches disapprove of. God is my witness."

Quote whispered to fellow Anglican bishop Festo Kivengere as Archbishop Luwum, like Jesus, was mocked by the soldiers of a dictator before he was executed:
"They are going to kill me. I am not afraid."

Quote spoken to a young lawyer named John Sentamu, who decided to become a priest on the day that Archbishop Luwum was martyred and who now serves as the Archbishop of York:
"We must be Christ to these people: be our advocate and take up their cases. The local prison is filled to capacity with innocent people suspected of opposing the government."

-- Neil Alan Willard


Jonathan Daniels vs. Janani Luwum

  • Jonathan Daniels (62%, 2,284 Votes)
  • Janani Luwum (38%, 1,425 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,704

Loading ... Loading ...


* indicates required

Recent Posts



111 comments on “Jonathan Daniels vs. Janani Luwum”

    1. Janani Luwum is a hero to me, but I was called to New Hampshire by Bishop Tod Hall who teared up every time he talked of Jon Daniels...

    2. I so agree with Lore. I wish I could vote for both men, but will have to make a choice now. After reading the other comments, I feel as a Mainer, I must vote for Jon Daniels, even though I so can understand why Janani Luwum was a part of this team.

    3. Tough choice. I am drawn to Jonathan - maybe because I remember so much from that time.

  1. Tough choice but being from near Keene, N.H., I have to go with the "hometown boy."

  2. Jonathan Daniels. On the anniversary of 'Bloody Sunday' it seems particularly right. Nice scheduling touch on the part of the SEC.

  3. I first learned of Jonathan Daniel's story when I enrolled @ EDS. I know bishops and priests who went to school with him. I know that his story and death shapes that seminary's mission and vision. It now serves as a divinity school for the Jonathan Daniels of the world regardless of their age, gender identity, sexual orientation, call to lay or ordained ministry, race, cultural location, or denominational background to rigorously study theology while experiencing the luminous. I and Jonathan Daniels share this identity in some ways. +Janani's story is monumental and inspirational. My connection to Jonathan lies closer to home and therefore relational.

  4. We had Emmanuel Twesige, who knew Janani Luwum, on our podcast, Word and Table, a couple of weeks ago. Listen to him relate what Luwum went through before you vote. You can listen to it at We also discussed this particular match-up on the podcast on Monday. Our votes stayed with Luwum, in part because of the way that he was trapped in his situation without any opportunity of leaving. Daniels was great and totally admirable, but he always had a safety net. When I was reading about him, I wondered why Ruby Sales wasn't a saint with him (except for the fact that she's still alive, of course). She's become an important activist and is very heroic, and she was putting her life on the line for civil rights as a sixteen year old girl, which seems immeasurably brave. You can listen to our discussion of this match-up at (it comes near the end of the podcast). This was a tough and agonizing one, but the more we found out, the more it became clear that our votes had to be for Luwum.

    1. Good to know where Emmanuel is as we went to church and worked together years ago in Nashville TN. Hope he and Beatrice and their girls, now young ladies , are doing well.

    2. Even though this isn't directly LentMadness related, Karl Stevens, you have put together a very impressive ministry to judge by your podcast. I hope your community will understand what a treasure they have in you. The extent of topics that you cover in your podcast is truly generous: not only Luwuum, but the difference between what African Christians read when they read the Bible and what we emphasize, as well as the challenge "where do you encounter the incarnation?" and many more.

    3. Dear SEC, we do not have a thumbnail choice for posting this match on Facebook! I liked the previous choices of a generic thumbnail or one depicting each candidate.

  5. This is an incredibly tough choice. Kudos once again to our celebrity bloggers for bringing these two holy men to life in their words, as they faced death and ultimately died for Christ.

  6. Though Daniels won my vote, I'll admit to tearing up a little when I read: Quote whispered to fellow Anglican bishop Festo Kivengere as Archbishop Luwum, like Jesus, was mocked by the soldiers of a dictator before he was executed: “They are going to kill me. I am not afraid.”

  7. This was a very hard choice. Both of these men are contemporary martyrs. Both are saintly role models in a sinful modern world. I pray that they continue to pray and intercede for us as we stand up for God's Kingdom and invite The HolySpirit to work through us to draw all people to Christ.

  8. Very hard choice, but I did live in Uganda for a year before Idi Amin and worshipped in the cathedral there, experiencing the vibrancy of their faith in Jesus. So I will go with Janani. But I would love to vote for them both.

  9. A very hard choice but someone who stood up to Idi Amin takes my vote
    and I am sure the majority will vote for JD so I feel I need to support AB. Luwum
    Both should/could win the crown. Hopefully they are both crowned in heaven

  10. One of the retired priests in my area supervised Jon Daniels when he was a seminarian and shared this quote with me yesterday: "I need a lot of space in my togetherness." A parishioner was a year ahead of him at VMI, and my dad was VMI class of 50B, so I have to go Big Keydet today. It was a really tough choice!

  11. Just think of a young man knowing nothing really of the ways of a people living lives virtually foreign to him , black and white, for life in the South was not like that in New Hampshire. Then have indelibly imprinted in your memory his stepping in front of a girl and pushing her aside with no thought of the moment he would be cut to ribbons by that act. Then think of that girl made mute in memory of the horror of that act. She was Ruby Sales who later recovered and devoted her life to carrying out a ministry of pure selfless love and forgiveness as Daniels did in service to God, one of the power of a forgiving love that frees one of hatred and urges forgiveness of those who hate. May his spirit live forever.

  12. These 2 lives are not heart breaking. They are heart bruising. They hurt me. Partly because it is hard for me to look in the mirror and say, “I am capable of such bigotry. I am capable of being a ruthless dictator." Tho I try to be the change I want to see, I am sometimes the evil I abhor. I fear their actions (would I, could I do that?) and their fates, but I fear their lives more. Their discipleship is death-defying. With my vote, I chose to stand with Luwum, but Daniels is holding my hand.

    1. I like what you say, Sheldon - that you stand with Luwum, but Daniels is holding your hand. You've helped me to do the same!

  13. Voting for Jonathan Daniels today because it was through the Daily Office, in part, that he was led to understand his calling to Selma. Both men are powerful, clear witnesses to God's love.

  14. Hard choice but I feel I have to go with Archbishop Luwum he broke my heart with his quotes.

  15. JD has my vote b/c I'm reading a Civil Rights tome - which alleges he was considering dropping out of the Episcopal Church and seeking ordination as a Catholic priest... Either way, his witness inspires me!

  16. No one ever says what Janani was before his conversion to Christianity.
    An Animist? A Muslim? A Scientologist? What?

    1. It matters not, what his religion of "birth" was. He converted to Christianity at age 26 and was considered the "Father of the faith" by his fellow Ugandans and others who knew of his work.

      1. I agree, it matters not at all what Janani was before he met Jesus. But I would like to learn as much about him as I can, since he is a man I have always greatly admired.

        1. According to Emmanuel Twesige when he was on the Word and Table podcast, Janani was raised Christian but had a spiritual conversion at age 26. Somewhat like John Wesley's spiritual conversion. I'm not sure I left that detail in when I edited the podcast - it was a long interview and we needed to make it fit into a reasonable time.

          1. Thank you, Karl. I haven't had a chance to listen to your podcast yet,
            but I am looking forward to it.

        2. One of the sources I have been in touch with has provided me with the following "the main published source on Janani's life is Margaret Ford's book entitled, "Janani: The
          Making of a Martyr", (Marshall Morgan & Scott, 1978). Margaret was Janani's secretary at the time of his death. Archbishop John Sentamu has also written a chapter on his life, which can be found in Andrew Chandler's edited volume entitled, "The Terrible Alternative: Christian Martyrdom in the 20th Century".

  17. As a person who grew up while desegregation was taking place in the south, I remember having such admiration for those who left hearth and home to go south to help in the cause. watching these brave men on TV from the safety of my home, and wondering why they did it. Now i know why, not just to right a wrong, but for the glory of God. Jonathan gets my vote.

  18. Thanks to Neil Alan Willard for the connection between Luwuum and Sentamu. I hadn't know of it before.

  19. Both men already have the real halo they deserve I believe. I chose Jon Daniels because of the story of loving the members of his church even as they violently disagreed. I've faced that as a clergy person and it touched my heart.

  20. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Janani Luwum stood up to strong men who would eventually kill them, and they knew it, yet "cursum perficio" these young Pauls. Jonathan Daniels ran the perfect course into the line of fire showing the greatest love.
    As I am associated with Africa, I have seen the Janani Luwums moving among the Dark places, throwing Light into the corners.

  21. As many have stated a “tough choice”, both deserve our votes and both are worthy of advancing. To me Janani Luwum is that person who optimizes the meaning of martyr. To be tortured and still proclaim his faith and forgiveness of his torturers is an inspiration to me.

  22. Not for the faint of heart to be sure, this second round. I voted for Jonathan Daniels but, for sure, both these men and their witness will be with me in my meditations this day. How blessed are we to have such examples before us to strengthen us on our journeys!

  23. It was a hard choice, but in the end I voted for Jonathan. Years ago, I saw a glimpse of what God was calling me to do in the quiet of compline in an Austrian abbey. It was the first time I felt the power of the Holy Spirit.

  24. I have taken my children to Lowndes County, LA (Lower Alabama) several times for the Jonathan Daniels pilgrimage, and worshiped in the courthouse, where there is still a cell in the back corner. Powerful! Jonathan Daniels all the way!

  25. Very hard choice indeed. On the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, I went with Daniels. Even now, I am second-guessing that vote. Both men are saints. Period.

  26. I wonder what Jon would think of this contest. I suspect he might not have been amused. If forced to vote in it, he would almost certainly have voted for Janani. I was determined to do that, as it were, on Jon's behalf. Until the very last minute, when I voted for my classmate.

    This contest is so, well, if you pardon the expression, American. There must be winners (hence, however regrettably, losers). And of course we'll vote for the saint we know rather than the saint we don't. But the plurality (ot is it majority?) of Anglicans worldwide are African. If the contest reached as many Africans as Americans, I wonder how the Daniels vs. Luwum tally would go.

    1. I appreciate your note about this contest being American. We are certainly more familiar with Daniels and understand him better; I absolutely relate to him much more than I do to Luwum. In fact, there is a bit of a superhero quality about Luwum, not fearing death and persevering as he did, that is hard for me to understand, whereas Daniels is more like me, not wanting to do something scary but finally being persuaded by the Magnificat.... I am voting for Luwum because he's behind, and Daniels, as you said, would have voted for the underdog, and because a saint is, in a way, a superhero. So now between the two of us, we've voted for both of them!

  27. A really tough choice, as noted. I prayed, then went with Daniels - he was one for the many against the many. Luwuum was one for the many against one.