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

Loading ... Loading ...


* indicates required

Recent Posts



154 comments on “Anna Cooper vs. Charles Wesley”

  1. Charles will undoubtedly win this round but that's totally irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. I will stick with AJC, first as I'm the daughter of a St. Aug alum and, then as a longtime teacher...just look at those AJC School children proudly holding up their VOTE FOR AJC signs, and finally because...who else? She'll still go down in history for making it this far! She is truly a role model as one who knew how to demand and get equality in the face of stubborn opposition. She's a winner of her own GOLDEN HALO as far as I'm concerned. Do what-some-ever you want, I'm with AJC to the end even if the end is today and miracles still happen.

  2. Nursing Homes Swing!

    I'm part of a regular Episcopal worship service at a local assisted living home. I love the song-service format, so different from regular worship and so familiar from my Presbyterian youth (though I do miss sung psalms still). Of course Christ the Lord is Ris'n Today is in the song booklet, set aside for Easter. The funny coincidence is that briefly a 97 year old woman lived in the home, and played, really really well, popular songs from her youth. Her left hand rocked. The activities director printed up lyric sheets of some of her favorites, that others might sing with her. I had her play Amore, and kinda mangled it, but mostly for trying to emulate Dean Martin.

    Next Week, I'll emulate Dean in the singing of Ris'n, in honor of Rose and John Daker. Still, my vote (and faint hope for a Halo) is for Anna Julia Cooper.

  3. Since I lobbied (in vain) to take high school shop (required for freshmen males) instead of the required-for-freshmen-females home economics class - I had been in 4-H for years and was way beyond what was being taught in that home ec class - I had to vote for Anna. She's my kind of woman!

  4. Today I agree with the "loudluthrn" I hope Charles makes it all the way! Where would our Easter Sunday (or any Sunday) worship be, if we did not have those wonderful hymns to sing?!
    The words of the hymns are so important to our worship experience, and often convey a message that would be very hard to express in a sermon or homily.
    I am very sure that the music of the church has been responsible for many a conversion and/or a call to the Lord. Musicians are indeed as much teachers and spreaders of the Gospel in their own way and I think this one is most worthy of the golden halo!!

  5. Since I started participating in Lent Madness because of the Wesley brothers there's no contest for me- Charles Wesley all the way. Besides, while I'm sure Anna Cooper touched the lives of all of her students, Charles Wesley's hymnody has enriched the worship of all of Christendom. "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" is essentially synonymous with Easter. "Hark the Harald Angels Sing" does the same for Christmas. "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing" is the ultimate processional hymn. Charles was also the grandfather of the great organist Samuel Sebastian Wesley, who provided us with so many wonderful hymn tunes.

    Ps. It's a bit odd that the comments are in favor of Anna when Charles is trouncing her in the voting.

  6. Can you imagine the sweater kitsch if someone were to vote often enough to get Mr. Rogers this far. Oh dear!

  7. I truly enjoy the kitsch and would not change it at all. Maybe Anna's kitsch could have contained more as comment writers then actually did provide some more. It's fun to see how much crazy silly stuff can be collected. Thanks to the writers who find all those items and comments. This is Lent Madness after all and to be enjoyed not analyzed. Huzzah for kitsch !

  8. I'm an Uncommon Woman (and if you know what that means, you also probably have a signet ring with Psalm CXLIV on it). For Anna and for education!

  9. Bravo, Bravo, David Sibley!! Hilarious and snarky use of And Can It Be to wonderful effect!! One of best hymns ever and why the heck isn't it in our Episcopal repertoire? Guess I shoulda been a Methodist...

  10. I can hardly believe that Cooper beat Bach--Jesus Himself would have a hard time beating Bach in my score--but she doesn't seem to be beating Wesley. Charles has almost the stature as a hymnodist that Johann has as a composer, so it's another no-brainer for me.

  11. This was SOOO hard! As a musician, I have the utmost respect for this great man whose beautiful music I've listened to and sung over the years. But the contribution of Ms. Cooper to education gave her the slightest of edges. Now I want to see her win!!

  12. I can hardly believe that Cooper beat Bach--Jesus Himself would have a hard time beating Bach in my score--but she doesn't seem to be beating Wesley. Charles has almost the stature as a hymnodist that Johann has as a musician, so it's another no-brainer for me.

  13. OMG....where did you dig up that Draker rendition? I couldn't stop laughing. I'm going to vote for Charlie in spite of the video! Having just written a piece for our parish newsletter about the 1982 Hymnal, I note it contains no less than 24 hymns Charles Wesley composed the words for. Just reading his words, music aside, is a legacy worthy of the Golden Halo!

  14. Another difficult choice, which is why Lent Madness is so much fun. Kitsch aside, as I was drifting off for a 20 minute power nap, "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"!!, came to my head. Thinking that my vote would go to Wesley, I re-read todays posts and then read about the Anna Cooper school and my vote has to go with Anna. Although I love Wesley's Easter anthem and would not be upset if he goes on to the Final Four.

  15. With apologies to Charles Wesley.... A little song for thy Lenten Madness

    And can it be that I should gain
    a bracket in thy Lenten poll!
    Vote thee for me who wrote such song!
    For me? To win the greatest prize?
    Amazing love! How can it be
    that thou, my friend, shouldst vote for me?
    Amazing love! How can it be
    that thou, my Friend, shouldst vote for me?

  16. I like the hymnwriters tie, but I cannot stand poor musical performances -- I had to turn the Daker video off before he even finished the first phrase! Ouch! Nevertheless, there is no way that I would not vote again for Charles Wesley!

    For a much better rendition of Jesus Christ is Risen Today!

    1. This King's College version has a neat descant on the final verse, but I wish I could find a version in 4-part harmony -- Easter Hymn has some really fun harmonizations!

    2. Phil, thank you and alleluia lent is nearly over. The alleluia not said out loud, just mentally preparing. Anna is my choice. What am I to do if it's Anna vs. Harriet?

      1. Hi Pat,
        I feel like I'm cheating on my alleluias, because the choir that I sing in has been practicing for Holy Week for some time now, including the Hallelujah chorus!!!!
        I'm soooooooo naughty.......

        1. I gave up on alleluias already, I have been looking for a new apartment for the last month -- with a lot of disappointments, and strange occurrences (like one current tenant who was going to move out and then changed their minds after we were approved! Ouch!). It was beginning to be a nightmare as our current landlord is a real creep who is kicking people out right and left with flimsy excuses (discrimination against the elderly and disabled as our current place used to be for the elderly and disabled and he thinks he can make more money off a different kind of tenant). We were facing having to live in a motel for a couple of months and store our stuff -- which would have been horrible. Suddenly, this last week everything finally came together and we have a place that we can move into as soon as Holy Week is over and we can get some help from people at church! Both my associate pastor and I used the "A" word more than once when that happen, so I give up!

          1. So sorry you had to go through all that. Must have been extremely worrying. Thank God your story has a happy ending!

          2. Hi again Phil,
            Good for you for finding a place to move so you can get shed of your creep of a landlord(I've had the same experience myself in the past so I can relate)!
            I think there are extenuating circumstances,where it's okay to let fly with as many alleluias as you want.
            This is definitely one of them. So
            He is risen!
            You are moving!

  17. BIO WRITERS: Maria Kane's 'pilgrimage' structure for her bio of Anna Cooper is worth a second look. She did find some low voltage humor in it, but more importantly it was fresher than a resume bio of the same facts. This structure could have worked well for some other saints, especially the serious travelers (eg St Basil, St Mary,Thomas Merton, Schereschewski). It opens a whole new veins of not irrelevant piety (think of the relics!) and humor (think of the relics!). I enjoyed Ms Kane's creative choice.

  18. Having gotten myself in way over my head on many occasions in attempted service the community and by extension to God, I send my kudos to Mr. Daker, wherever he is, for his effort on 2 rather tricky songs, aided (?) by an overexuberant accompanies

    Nonetheless, I usually go with the saint who has worked most with dis- and un-enfranchised, so Cooper it must be.

  19. Phil, thanks for posting this, oh my goodness those voices!
    On a totally unrelated subject,
    The second floor of Chidester Place no longer smells like smoke.
    God bless the Ypsilanti fire department, these guys ROCK!

      1. Yes, I'm aware that it could have been infinitely worse, kudos to the brave men and women firefighters everywhere!
        By the way, good luck with your upcoming move, may it go smoothly!

  20. Thank you SEC for the kitsch round in the Elate 8. I have enjoyed the light-heartedness this week before we enter Palm Sunday. I worried that the modern-day saints won't have enough kitsch to compete with dolls and plates, but even that has been overcome somewhat with the Anna Julia Cooper travelling companion. Love it.

    1. No, I'm afraid not. Others in my family tell me he's a distant relation (cousins of some sort), but I can't remember what.

      1. Dear Margaret, I think one can always go back to the previous blog posts, especially useful if one is joining LM later in the "contest". And, for something a bit more straightforward or, perhaps, even academic, I found the on-line book Stars in a Dark World by Fr. John-Julian, OJN, to be very helpful. Also, the good Father writes in a non-partisan way. Of course, we expect the CBers to champion their saint-of-the-day. On the third hand, Lent Madness is terribly frustrating. I can't tell you how sad I feel when my Favorite Saint goes down in flames---- again.
        Even so, I've learned a lot about saints. But, there's more... I wonder: what makes a person holy? I wonder: which is a better "holy project"? I wonder: how the historical era influences the saint's holy activity?
        And, finally, I wonder why Other people don't agree with my choice of saint-of-the-day! I regret to say I harbor uncharitable thoughts. Well, it is Lent. We are suppose to face our failings. Sigh.

        1. Hi Ginny! Facing one's failings isn't much fun, but it can get somewhat easier over time. As an alcoholic with almost 10 years of sobriety, I can attest to this( step 10 in the big book: "continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it")!
          Happy LM!
          Go Charles!!!

        2. Thank you so much Phil for finding the video. I agree with other posters that sometimes choirs sing his music too slowly, and this version was a bit slow in my humble (non-tutored opinion). The harmony was lovely however. I too am voting for Charles, and I am encouraging a Methodist bloc of voters to join in (one vote only). Charles Wesley for the golden halo.

      2. No worries at all, and thanks for the comment! And I fully understand wanting to capitalize on a seminary education! 🙂

        I'm absolutely happy to receive critiques of the history as I receive them when I write for a saint, and then revise as necessary.

  21. One of the fun things about living part of each year in Ireland is that we have a very different hymnal in the C of I than ECUSA's 1982. "And can it be" is often on our Sunday hymn board, and I've noticed most of the hymn tunes over here are far more interesting, especially for a confined-to-4-notes alto. 1982 has some pretty dull harmony until a Welsh or English or Irish tune comes along. Charles for me, thank you.

  22. Since my last name is also Cooper I have a special reason to vote for Anna. I do however believe she would be my choice even if there was no name connection.

  23. I know a lot of folks, myself included, who would object to Raleigh being identified as mid-atlantic.