Anna Cooper vs. Charles Wesley

After yesterday's Harriet Havoc, it appears we have our first true Cinderella in Harriet Bedell since Emma of Hawaii made it to the championship round in 2012. She trounced Harriet Beecher Stowe 74% to 26% in the first blowout of the week after three days of tense back and forth battles.

Today we finalize the Faithful Four as Anna Cooper squares off against Charles Wesley. To make it to the Elate Eight, Anna defeated Joseph of Arimathaea and J.S. Bach while Charles beat out his brother John and Thomas Merton. The winner will cut down the proverbial nets and join Lydia, Phillips Brooks, and Harriet Bedell as the four remaining saints of Lent Madness 2014.

Here's today's Archbishops' Update for your viewing pleasure:

Have a good Palm Sunday weekend, all, and remember there are only three days left of this year's Madness. We'll have Faithful Four contests on Monday and Tuesday and voting for the Golden Halo on Spy Wednesday with the winner announced at 8:00 am on Maundy Thursday. Onward!

4983189771_c4cd337a85_zAnna Cooper

If you haven’t yet planned your next vacation, why not consider a road trip to the Mid-Atlantic — that is, of course, if you can’t make it to the great nation of Texas? Along with enjoying delectable blue crabs, artificially sweetened ice tea, and excessive humidity, you can embark upon a spiritual pilgrimage in honor of Dr. Anna Julia Cooper’s commitment to human dignity, equality, and Christian discipleship.

Begin your trip in Raleigh, North Carolina, with a visit to St. Augustine’s Normal School & Collegiate Institute AJC_Banner2B-RGB(now St. Augustine’s College), where Anna Julia Cooper began attending school at the age of nine. While there, recall Anna Julia’s early foray into activism as she demanded entrance into the same courses as her male counterparts, including classes in theology and pastoral ministry.

Anna J. Cooper Home

Anna J. Cooper Home

After that, hop onto I-85 and make your way to Richmond, Virginia, where you’ll find the Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School in Richmond’s East End. Visit with the amazing students there, and perhaps you can join some of the teachers as they make regular visits to their students’ homes — not because they’re in trouble, but because their teachers are committed to maintaining an active role in their students lives. Be sure to purchase an AJCES t-shirt while you’re there, too.

After a day in Richmond (make you sure to visit their fantastic

M Street School

M Street School

Museum of Fine Arts), hop on I-95 to Washington, D.C. While most of the traffic will be headed to the National Mall, drive on over to the less-crowded, but culturally rich & vibrant LeDroit Park to visit the M Street School (now Dunbar  High School) where Anna Julia Cooper served as principal.

If you get a chance, take a moment to enjoy the majestic sounds of Dunbar’s marching band. Upon leaving Dunbar, pass through Anna J. Cooper Circle on your way to visit her beautiful home. Be sure to take some pictures to mail home to your family and friends. Naturally, you’ll want to use the commemorative stamps in honor of Dr. Cooper, which you can purchase after taking a tour of the United States Postal Museum a few blocks away.

If the heat should become unbearable as you travel, recall Anna Julia’s tireless activism in heels and corsets and be encouraged. Besides, I’m not so anna_j_cooper_tshirt-r1088beff11e643a1b8822955bfd51001_8nhmp_324sure that Mr. Wesley — classy and talented he may have been — was so impeccably and painfully dressed.

Educators, unite—
Writers, speak—
Clergy spouses (and widows), find a new companion—
Francophiles, raise a glass—
World travelers, behold your passport—
Overachievers, join your tribe—
Believers of equality, stamp out injustice—
Everyone, channel your inner “Anna Julia” and live the Gospel with boldness & hope (corset & heels, optional)

Vote Anna Julia Cooper, y’all!

-- Maria Kane

Charles Wesley 

unnamedYou may fear, dearest reader, that as the younger of the famous Wesley Brothers, Charles Wesley would be bereft on nice, shiny, new kitsch. After all, youngest siblings always seem to get only hand-me-downs: clothes a few years out of style, “lovingly” used toys, and the like. And a lack of kitsch for Charles Wesley would mean a weak showing in the Elate Eight, and next to no chance of advancing. It would almost be as if he failed to show up for this late round of Lent Madness.

So can it be that Charles Wesley should gain an interest in the Zazzle’s kitsch? Yes, dear reader, Yes! unnamedZazzle is here to remind us: There’s Methodist in My Madness!

But there are some in the kitsch-o-sphere that feel it is necessary to remind us that, even as a Methodist remains in our beloved Lent Madness, John and Charles Wesley were, indeed, Anglicans. Both died before Methodism split from the Church of England, and Charles, in particular, was very vocal against any potential split.

unnamedBut people of all kinds of denominations can unite behind Charles Wesley, and especially behind his over 6,000 hymns which continue to inspire the faithful. Inspire the faithful, so much, that he hangs out with his fellow hymn writers William Cowper, Fanny Crosby, John Newton, and Isaac Watts on an exquisite “Sing Hymns Loud!” tie that is said to inspire a thousand tongues to sing.

Indeed, ‘tis mercy all, immense and at a fee, all this kitsch didst find out me! Of course, Lent unnamedMadness isn’t all about kitsch. It’s about preparing for Easter, and for so many, Charles Wesley’s hymn “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” is among their favorites. The hymn is an adaptation of the earlier version from the 1708 Lyrica David original; The United Methodist Hymnal uses Wesley’s adaptation, but in the Episcopal Church’s Hymnal 1982, the original is blended with Wesley’s own verse in “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.” In one form or another, the hymn is beloved enough to deserve a place on your living room wall.

unnamedSpeaking of that favorite Wesley Tune, it looks like choir soloist John Daker from First United Methodist Church is getting ready to sing a song that’s very popular nowadays, with Charles Wesley being a contestant in Lent Madness. And then he’s gonna sing Amore too, okay?

On second thought, Charles Wesley's bust is not amused… so help him recover from that incredibly unique rendition of one of his hymns by voting him into the Faithful Four. 

-- David Sibley


Anna Cooper vs. Charles Wesley

  • Charles Wesley (57%, 2,664 Votes)
  • Anna Cooper (43%, 2,033 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,695

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154 comments on “Anna Cooper vs. Charles Wesley”

  1. Sticking with Anna today, thankful that women no longer have to wear heels and a corset, unless they so choose.

      1. "Every single day..." I can hear the angry answers already. Fiona's wit got me thinking, which wit will do. Let's try another way.

        If individual women today are collectively making choices that their future great-great-great-granddaughters will find as dis-valuable then as heels and corsets seem to be now, does that mean that the choices of women today are any less real? They certainly seem real to the women making them!

        I think women today are choosing; I think women in Cooper's time were choosing too, even if their options were not those of the C21. They, after all, had options that some in ages before them did not, seldom worrying about the House of Virgins or when they would next take a bath.

        Yet they were not more free than St Mary of Egypt. And St Catherine of Sienna (also remember-- St Teresa of Avila ;--) found a way to move even popes as a single, lay (she was a tertiary), woman nowhere near a center of power.

        Freedom is something inside a person. Sainthood seems to be less about the choices God gives you in this century or that one than about how you follow the path he opens through them.

  2. Poor Anna cannot compete with a rendition worthy of the Bad Music Appreciation Society. One can only guess at what Charles Wesley thinks of YouTube's inclusive collection.

  3. As the Chaplain at Anna Julia Cooper I can attest the students are all praying that their school's namesake takes the day! Blessings!

    1. Rock, I'm sharing your photo of the kids holding the VOTE AJC sign all over Facebook and Twitter! Don't know how to share it here or I would.

    2. I was struggling with this vote until I read Rock's comments. As a fellow head of an Episcopal school I can imagine my students if St. Mark were in the running and my vote is now decided! I am with your kids and voting AJC all the way now!

  4. So what is up with yesterday and today - where you talk about the accomplishments of the saint who might be the underdog in the match-up, then just highlight merchandise about the other? I'm sure that contributed to the Harriett blowout yesterday, and you certainly set up Charles Wesley in the same way today -UNHAPPY with the SEC!!!!

    1. I doubt I'll ever be able to write unhappy with the SEC; I vote the way I want 🙂 Some days my vote ends up in the majority, some days it doesn't. The madness is finding the method that I want to use for deciding my vote .. lol.

    2. I do agree
      The presentation of the winning Harriet was wonderful and the other Harriet inconsequential
      Maybe you thought we all have good memories and would know everything you had written previously. But alas, some of us have those large holes in the memory box and need the good reminders.
      Please help us in all rounds to appreciate the ministry of each saint you present
      thank you

      1. I think Harriet Bedell won not because of the kitsch, but because many people remembered the initial write up about her. She was way ahead of her time. When she translated the 23rd Psalm for a Seminole funeral, she was brilliant and thoughtful when she used language that the Seminole would connect with instead of insisting on traditional Christian terms. Thus, " you will always be welcome in the Great Chickee" instead of "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Bedell was an amazing woman who worked tirelessly for the poor.

        1. Personally, I followed the 'no soul, no vote' rule to a straightforward, easy vote. Bedell's known personal choices were more easily explained by spirituality in Christ than the similar choices of Stowe. The deaconess made promises to Christ and lived her faith across cultural boundaries; the reforming propagandist-- however saintly she was in fact-- is harder to read as a soul from the bios we were given. Bedell.

    3. LM gets lots of attention, so plenty of people will give it a try. Some will find weak humor about saints so compelling that they come back year after year for more of it, jonesing in withdrawal when Easter comes. Others will think the first funny post they saw once upon a time was worth a smile then, but will thereafter look past the predictable hehehaha for something more worth their time, and if they don't find it they will leave. The beauty of the 'net-- easy come, easy go.

      So, if the SEC upgrades the resume bios to good hagios-- albeit hagios with humor-- then they will retain more people than they will if they don't. (In fairness, it may be difficult for the busy bloggers to do that this year.) And if the SEC does not "appreciate the breadth of piety" then LM will still persevere in its hehehaha niche (eg the Wittenburg Door) with a narrow but addicted following, and some other online observance will eventually win the rest away.

      Even those who leave will be indebted to LM for exploring the possibilities. The honest feedback from critical posters is nothing to sulk about, because it has been implicitly supportive of what the SEC appears to be trying to do. And rightly so.

  5. This was a tough one -- as if any of them have been easy. But I am a teacher and so was Anna, so......

  6. "You may fear, dearest reader, that as the younger of the famous Wesley Brothers, Charles Wesley would be bereft on nice, shiny, new kitsch. After all, youngest siblings always seem to get only hand-me-downs: clothes a few years out of style, “lovingly” used toys, and the like. "
    I wanted to vote for Anna, was planning on voting for Anna, but older-sibling guilt and the love of great first lines in a blog post won me over to the Charles side.

  7. Ooooooooooh, the UTube nearly turned me away from Charles. Surely there is superior version of Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra singing these two pieces, and actually remembering the lyrics???

  8. Do you think that John Daker is available for hire for Easter Morning - His rendition of Amore might add to the wonderment and joy of Easter Morning Service or NOT. Charles Wesley deserves a vote after that!

  9. Just a slight correction on Methodist History. The Christmas Conference of 1784 created the Methodist denomination. John Wesley (who has his own bobble-head kitsch) died in 1791 and Charles died in 1788, so they were both alive at the time of the split. I'm not sure that Charles ever came to terms with the split.

    1. This was actually a very interesting question that arose as I wrote the very first bio of Charles Wesley.

      There are a variety of ways of interpreting the date of the split; some date to the formation of the General Conference structure in 1784; I'm opting dating to 1795 and the Plan of Pacification, which was the most final and decisive split from the Church of England. (

      That said, it's a matter of historical nuance and interpretation - and your point is well taken - by the time both John and Charles died, it was clear Methodism would split from the CofE, without any doubt.

      1. I'm in the United Methodist candidacy process to become an ordained Elder. The history classes I have had repeatedly teach that 1784 is the birth of the denomination. The first Discipline was authorized at the Conference as well as the first ordinations.

        1. I'm a former UM seminarian and Local Pastor, and currently an Episcopalian layman. I say that both of you are right, in different countries. I would date the formal schism between the Methodist Movement and the Church of England to the 1784 Christmas Conference in North America and the 1795 Plan of Pacification in the British Isles. Because of these different routes to separation, the British and American Methodist churches remain separate to this day. Indeed, there is no formal inter-communion between the two churches, though Methodists have historically not seen full-communion agreements as important since they practice open communion and recognize orders from any mainstream denomination.

      2. btw, I'm not trying to be argumentative... just using my seminary education since I've paid dearly for it! 🙂

        1. 😀

          Blessings on your ministry, Grace.

          Thank you for responding, David.

          I hope the reunion of the Methodist Conference and the Church of England is not delayed much longer.

    2. Clearly he didn't come to terms with the split because when he was dying he asked the local vicar to please allow him to be buried in the churchyard since he didn't want to be separated from the Mother Church/Ship. That is what I remember from the first round write-up on Charles Wesley, and was one (only one) of the things that caused me to vote for him. The others included his dedication and, of course, the hymns.

  10. I don't care much for the kitch but, even though I voted for Anna, it doesn't seem as though the kitch will hinder Charles.

  11. As a musician, I can hardly vote for the person who knocked JSB off the brackets when there's a writer of such glorious hymns as her alternative. Go Charles!

        1. I know!!!!! I am STILL in denial about my
          Homeboy Bach getting voted out!
          MEIN GOTT!!!!!

  12. While I truly admire Anna Julia and share her commitment to education and injustice, having been a teacher that did visit my students' homes, and I so appreciate the wonderful work Maria did with classing up the kitch, I must vote for Charles, whose music takes my soul to higher planes of love and devotion and permits me to get closer to God spiritually. I may buy some of his kitch to wear as I take the Anna Julia tour sans corset and heels!

  13. Loved the tour of Anna Julia spots in Virginia and the link about those wonderful kids! The John Drake video almost made me fall out of my chair, laughing, however. Worst case of stage fright I've ever seen, so I know I'm going straight to hell for laughing at him.

    1. Excellent diagnosis, Maurine. I have to say I laughed without guilt, maybe because I was in two piano recitals (as an adult) and never finished a single song. My hands shook so badly, all I could do was stop torturing the music and make a joke, which allowed the listerners' collective pity to dissolve into open laughter that eased my departure from the bench. In some cases, they who laugh pray three times.

  14. Soooo hard to decide...I love them both! So a vote for Anna because, being a social worker, I love anyone who fights for the underdog...but I have to confess that WAY before my current profession ever came to fruition I was already loving and embracing the hymns of brother Charles. So, Im a winner either way.

  15. I voted for Anna because without her and others like her, I would likely not have access to things like voting, education and other things men once had sole access to. I am thankful for Anna's efforts so she got my vote.

  16. As I listened to the video, I felt so torn. Do I laugh because it's downright funny? Or do I feel guilty because it's not very Christian to laugh at a person who is making an effort to perform his recital piece? If it were a skit on SNL, I'd be busting a gut, so I'll pretend that's what it is and laugh away. (would've used the vulgar acronym, but thought I'd exercise a bit of restraint, for once in my life. - OOO, I'd love to hear John Daker sing that one!) Being a former choir singer, I was drawn to Wesley, but also being a former educator, I finally cast my vote for Anna, who seems to be going down to defeat at this moment.

  17. Despite the emphasis on the Methodist church, my vote is for Charles, because of his incredible contribution to the music of our faith. This is an Anglican devotion and he was an Anglican through and through. Now if only I can get that YouTube rendition out of my head, and recall the true majesty of his music... Go Charles!!

  18. Charles didn't last a month here on St. Simons Island, GA. I'll vote for the lady that handled the south, corsets and all.

  19. Lydia, Phillips Brooks and Harriet Bedell and the winner of this round go to the final just seems like Thomas Merton should be in that number. and next year! when Mr, Rogers is on the bracket, and if he doesn't win the golden halo i will be distressed!

  20. Well, MaurineRuby, I'll be right behind you in line on the highway to hell. Oh dear.(but of course the pianist never skipped a beat and she was gonna keep playing even if the dear fellow had passed out at her feet)

  21. Charles Wesley and Dean Martin must both be rolling over in their graves. That video failed to sway my vote away from Wesley, though--maybe the "Methodist in my madness" T-Shirt saved it. I did go to a Free Methodist college, and as St. Augustine put it, "He who sings prays twice" (although I'm not sure how that works in John Daker's case).