F.D. Maurice vs. Julia Chester Emery

With their life spans overlapping by 20 years, today's battle sees F.D. Maurice take on Julia Chester Emery as both vie to advance to the next round. The pairing of contemporaries in Lent Madness is rare (unless they happen to be siblings) so there's that. They're also closely identified with initials: "F.D." Maurice and Julia Chester "ECW" Emery. So there's that as well.

Yesterday, Antony of Egypt failed miserably in his attempt to turn Basil the Great into pesto. Lent Madness bracketologists have determined that the loss was one of historic proportions; the worst drubbing in the history of Lent Madness -- 87% to 13%. Ouch. Basil becomes the first saint of 2014 to make it into the Elate Eight where he'll face the winner of Lydia vs. John of the Cross.

It's hard to believe we've made it through another week of the Madness! After a quick breather, we'll be back bright and early on Monday morning with Harriet Beecher Stowe tangling with Alcuin. If you encounter a Celebrity Blogger on your travels this weekend, be sure to ask for his or her autograph. It's very affirming and helps make up for the severe lack of monetary compensation.

fd moF.D. Maurice

Frederick Dennison Maurice (1805-1872) was among the foremost theologians of 19th century England, who held as his foremost theological and practical cause the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ. This primary conviction led him to serve as a theological forerunner to modern ecumenical movement, and to deeply involve himself in social reforms of the time with the foundation of the Christian Socialist movement. His ideas and activism often led him into conflict with religious authorities of the day; he persisted nonetheless. Contrary to some assertions, he was not called Maurice for his speaking of the pompatus of love.*

 On the church present and active:

We have been dosing our people with religion when what they want is not this but the Living God…we give them a stone for bread, systems for realities. -- As quoted in Life of F.D. Maurice (1885)

On the union of all of heaven and earth in the Kingdom of Christ:

All stages of our earthly life to the last are consecrated; so every beautiful spot in nature as well as all the forms of art share in the same consecration, and have that one name of ‘Father’ illuminating them all. -- from Sermons Preached in Country Churches

Christ is with those who seem to speak the most slightingly of him, testifying to them that he is risen indeed, and they have a life in him which no speculations or denials of theirs have been able to rob them of, even as we have a life in him, which our sins often hinder us from acknowledging, but cannot quench. -- from Theological Essays (1853)

On Relationships in Humanity and in God:

Human relationships are not artificial types of something divine, but are actually the means and the only means, through which man ascends to any knowledge of the divine… every breach of human relation, as it implies a violation of the higher law, so also is a hindrance and barrier to the perception of that higher law – the drawing of a veil between the spirit of a man and his God. – from The Kingdom of Christ (1838)

On the Liturgy and the Work of the Church:

I hope you will never hear from me such phrases as ‘our incomparable liturgy’: I do not think we are to praise the liturgy but to use it. When we do not want it for our life, we may begin to talk of it as a beautiful composition. Thanks be to God, it does not remind us of its own merits when it is bidding us draw near to him. -- As quoted in Life of F.D. Maurice (1885)

 *41-year old Pop Cultural Reference. If you don’t get it, ask your parents, or Google it.

-- David Sibley

jcemeryJulia Chester Emery

Julia Chester Emery (1852-1922) was for 40 years the national secretary of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Episcopal Church. She came from an unusual family: her father Charles was a sea captain and Episcopalian, and he and her mother Susan encouraged all of their eleven children not only to be personally pious but to actively work to further the kingdom of God. Two of her brothers were priests, and Julia and three of her sisters were missionaries or supported missionaries in the manner of Phoebe, whom Paul mentioned in the Letter to the Romans as a deacon and servant/helper to many in the church, and whom Susan Emery held up as an example to her daughters.

She was also a cousin to the four Emery sisters who were patrons of the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE), the Episcopal monastic community which now offers retreat space at Emery House in Newbury, MA.

Julia visited every single diocese in the United States and helped organize branches of the Women’s Auxiliary in more than 5,600 parishes. Many of these branches continue today as the Episcopal Church Women, or ECW.

She wrote: “There are hundreds more earnest, faithful, devoted women who would be cheered if only they knew what is being done by their sisters in the church and see their offering, small and insignificant as it seems, increased and multiplied by the union with the gifts of others” (Spirit of Missions, volume XXXVII, 1872).

Emery led the charge for canonical status for the office of deaconess. She also created the United Thank Offering, represented by small blue boxes with slots for coins to encourage daily giving and thanks to God. The UTO is still under the purview of the ECW, having awarded $1,517,280 in mission grants in 2012.

Apparently, her only training for this ministry was a willingness to try it, for she possessed no special education or preparation. Her only authority was collegial, for being a lay woman, she had neither the office nor the perquisites of ordained status to buttress her leadership. Julia Emery reminds us that we all possess the resources we need to be effective missionaries, except perhaps the two most important qualities exemplified in her — a willingness to try and the commitment to stick with it, even for a lifetime. (Brightest and Best: A Companion to the Lesser Feasts and Fasts by Sam Portaro.)

Known as “Miss Julia,” Emery died in 1922 and is buried in the cemetery of St. James the Less in Scarsdale, New York, a cemetery that also contains a secret room and tunnel that was part of the underground railroad through which slaves were able to escape to Canada.

-- Penny Nash


F.D. Maurice vs. Julia Chester Emery

  • Julia Chester Emery (67%, 3,085 Votes)
  • F.D. Maurice (33%, 1,540 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,623

Loading ... Loading ...


* indicates required

Recent Posts



144 comments on “F.D. Maurice vs. Julia Chester Emery”

  1. Easiest vote so far. Anyone who has anything to do with the underground railroad gets my vote, in addition to everything else she did. YOU GO JULES!!!

    1. I appreciate the sentiment, however, since she was born in 1852 it's doubtful she was involved in the Underground Railroad.

      1. I don't think the statement means she had anything to do with the underground railroad just and interesting tidbit of information regarding the location of where she is buried. Anyone who has the determination to further the cause of women has my vote. She showed great courage getting involved with no formal education to further her ministry. I am in awe of the fact that she visited every diocese in the United States to spread her message. She is an inspiration.

    2. She was merely buried in a cemetery that was involved in the underground railroad. Her work was after the Civil War was over and, therefore, she personally had nothing to do with the underground railroad!

    3. I'm still laughing about turning Basil the Great into pesto!
      P.S. seeing/seeking the divine in our human relationships - brings me closer sentiment to F.D. Maurice

  2. In honor of my friend Martha Perry, who champions the United Thank Offering cause at St. Peter's in the Mountains, Callaway, VA, I vote for Julia Chester Emery.

  3. I wanted to vote for Julia, but F. D.'s theology spoke to me eloquently. F. D. Maurice and the Steve Miller for the win!

  4. I'm 70, but I have never heard of the Pompatus of Love, a movie which came out when I was an undergraduate. Guess I should watch it. I flipped a coin today.

  5. I'm 70, but I never heard of the Pompatus of Love, a movie from my years as an undergraduate. Guess I should watch it. I had to flip a coin today.

    1. Steve Miller's "Enter Maurice" (1972) and "The Joker" (1972) antedated he 1996 movie Pompatus of Love, billed as a "guy talk" movie by Wikipedia. I never heard of it either, but Maurice has my vote for his ideas of human relationships and the divine.

  6. When I read, "Julia visited every single diocese in the United States and helped organize branches of the Women’s Auxiliary in more than 5,600 parishes," that did it for me. That would be amazing today, but she did it before air travel.

  7. I was ready to vote for the founder of the ECW, but then I reread the quotes and found myself realizing that Maurice moved the entire Church away from a focus on form to a better recognition of our purpose of Christians. Kind of like the experience reading Basil's approach to prayer.

    Tough choice though. Thanks to both CBs.

  8. This was a *tough* choice, but in the end I had to go with FDM. We need more people speaking out about how our society is "...dosing our people with religion" and giving them "...systems for realities."

    More Christ, less religion! More God, less church! Or rather - don't go to church, BE the church!

    1. I disagree with all who suggest that JCE was a doer and FDM only threw words into the air. He was a 19th century faith-based community organizer. He lived the Gospel in the neighborhood. "The Christian socialists sought to apply Christian principles to laissez-faire industrialism, advocating for a collective responsibility for the poor and those in substandard factory working conditions."

  9. So far, this may be the least discussed pairing, and yet there is so much to say in comparing these two. Could it be that it's Friday of Spring break for many? BTW, the movie (in reference to Pompatus) pales in comparison to the hit song for social impact, and the social impact comparison is what makes the Maurice and Emery match-up a good ponder.

  10. Julia for me today. Amazing woman. Love that "willingness to try and commitment to stick with it." Great example of discipleship and encourager for all, no matter what small gifts each may bring to the table.

  11. Well, if you hadn't tossed in the Steve Miller reference I would have had to think about this one. Thanks for the Friday morning belly-laugh!

  12. Back to difficult choices. While I suspect Julia Chester Emery will win, I'm voting for F.D. Maurice. His willingness to upset the establishment within the church to care for the poor of society has my vote. We always need a few who will "upset the establishment" to remind us to do God's work first.

  13. At least one person voted for Julia because of an association with the Underground Railroad. If one reviews the bio one finds that the writer has perhaps misleadingly pointed out that she is underground in a cemetery in which there are tunnels associated with the Underground Railroad. Nothing else is said. This may parallel the superfluous reference to "Pompatus of Love" in the bio of F. D. Maurice. However, I have found Maurice the most comprehensive of Anglican theologians, a man with values I wish were held today, including compassion for those who work hard for little pay, the poor and the sick. I hope most readers understand that Maurice's Christian Socialism was in practice shared by Julia Emery and was not a secular political movement. Maurice's statement that the Church gives us religion when we are crying out for the Living God is as to the point today as it was in the 19th Century and his awareness of the Presence of God in all things touches me deeply. [I dare to note that so far the comments suggest a gender division in this voting round, women for Julia, men for Maurice. I think they should share a golden halo or perhaps intertwined halos. I'll have to ask my Deacon spouse how she would vote this time around.]

    1. I voted for Julia over Maurice because I am inspired by a woman who could make such a difference in the church and the world without any theological training but only her “willingness to try and commitment to stick with it.” Julia shows us that every person has the potential to make a difference in the world. I think the reason why the vote seems to be along gender lines is because Julia is the example of a woman making a difference just being a woman and not because she went against societal norms and competed in the male dominated society.

    2. Well said, Robert Stiefel. I too have noticed that the bios as written here can influence votes based on incorrect information or conclusions. Thank you for your impassioned plea for Maurice.

  14. Words vs. Actions? Seems to me it is the "women of the faith" who continue to do the "work" Christ has called us to do. Thanks and blessings to Julia, who against all odds, has made it possible for the ECW to continue her work today! I am honored to vote for her and blessed to be an Episcopal Church Woman.

  15. I keep going back and forth on this one. Both have strong social ministry ties. I admire Julia for her work, her steadfastness and her ministry in a time when women were not permitted ordination. I have long admired the theology and work of FD Maurice too. I think FD wins out. Wish I could vote for both.

  16. I must vote for Julia again this round. In her lifetime she did more to help further the cause for women to be a vital part of the church. Like Carole I am honored to vote for her and every time I put money in my Blue Box I will say an extra prayer for all the women who have succeeded thanks to Julia

  17. This was my hardest choice so far. I voted for both of them in the first round. I am moved by the words of Maurice and see how today's Church needs to hear them again. So Maurice got my vote this morning. Sorry Julia.

  18. Oh, this is so hard--both of these folks pull at my heart. They both did so much for the church and for the people of their time. And the ripple effects are still being felt.... Ouch, this is really tough.

  19. I hate it when people bash the church and religion and say folks really need Jesus. That's true, but the church is a one place to start looking for him

    1. F. D. Maurice did no more than write the truth about institutionalized religion over-riding the Gospel of love. He didn't "bash the Church" but remained a vital figure in the life of the Church of England in his day and like Jesus reached out to the "untouchables" - the poor, the rural, the working classes.

    2. Unfortunately, there are churches--both individually and in groups--in which it is not easy for some to find Jesus. Perhaps F.D. ran into too many of those.

  20. While I honor Julia for her work on emancipation and work on women's equality in the liturgy, I had to vote for Maurice for his efforts and beliefs in bringing God and ministry together in our every day life. If I were only as spiritual as Maurice. A goal to shoot for.

    1. Good morning Fred, though I voted for J.C.E. today, I have to agree that it's important to incorporate our beliefs into our everyday lives and not just be Christian on Sunday. Julia was a fantastic example of this. By the way...I like your name. Nag nag naggity naaaaag!!!

  21. Christian Socialism has never been given the prominence it deserves, and so I must go with Maurice. Besides, his hymn is just *made* for Laetare Sunday, which is this weekend (Divine, divine, divine it is when all combine").

    So wear pink to church for TWO reasons!

  22. Tough, tough, tough choice! But as moving as the words of FDM were, it was the action of Julia that grabbed my vote! Now I have to wonder how many and where were all of the dioceses she visited, but still an amazing feat given the modes of transport available at the time!

  23. Julia Chester Emery inspired and empowered the women of the church to commitment and action which, in turn, has involved children, men, and entire families in caring for the least among us throughout the world by means of the United Thank Offering (UTO). UTO is not just money but also prayer, commitment, and action. The little blue box has sat on millions of kitchen window sills and kitchen tables as constant reminder of our call as followers of Jesus the Christ to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, care for the sick, visit the prisoner... impacting not only the recipients but also the givers in the name of God. Emergy DID what Maurice only talked and wrote about.

  24. Both of these are compelling saints - Maurice for his vision of human relationship as our way of apprehending divine love, and Emery because of her willingness to do, and her work of empowerment of women. I voted for Maurice, because I think this deserves to be close!

  25. Just to show that I don't always automatically vote for the chicks, especially the more feminist ones, I went with FD Maurice. JCE was an important person, but FDM encouraged us to really cultivate our relationship with God, and that seemed more halo-worthy to me.

    Either that or I was sucked in by the Steve Miller Band reference...