Matthias vs. Absalom Jones

Welcome to Day Two of Lent Madness 2016. If this is your first year playing along, congratulations! You are no longer a first-time voter. You have successfully navigated the rigors of clicking an online button. Of course, the voting is just a part of what happens during Lent Madness. The reading, the learning, the inspiration, the community that forms — both online and in person — are all part of the larger process.

In fact, you may be amazed at the number of comments. Nearly 300 yesterday! This is a big part of the full Lent Madness experience. People love to hear your thoughts about why you voted a particular way — from the profound to the frivolous. So you’re always encouraged to share and/or read the comments. Gracious online commenting? Here at Lent Madness it’s not an oxymoron!

Speaking of yesterday, Helena mowed down Monnica 62% to 38% in record voting, with nearly 9,000 votes cast. For you Lent Madness historians, that beats the previous single day record — last year’s Golden Halo round when Francis and Brigid combined for 8,257 votes. Helena will go on to face the winner of Constance vs. Dominic in the Round of the Saintly Sixteen. And speaking of future battles, if you’re curious about when your favorite saint will be up, check out the recently uploaded 2016 Matchup Calendar (deftly created by Bracket Czar Adam Thomas).

Oh, and we also reached a Facebook milestone as we crossed the 15,000 “like” mark on the Lent Madness Facebook page. If you haven’t liked it yet, help us get to our next goal: 100,000!

But today it’s a Biblical saint taking on a saintly soul who lived 1,800 years later. Matthias vs. Absalom Jones. Such is the Madness of our little online devotion…



What do you do when you need a new apostle?

Jesus chose the original twelve, but with the betrayal of Judas and Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension, the eleven remaining disciples were faced with choosing a twelfth. Twelve is a Biblical number of completeness. The disciples, preparing for the next part of their journey, needed to be complete. For the successor to Judas, they cast lots—the practice of pulling a marked stone or stick out of a group. The lot fell on Matthias, and he was added to the apostles. After his election, we hear nothing more about Matthias in the New Testament.

Information about Matthias from other sources states he was born in Bethlehem and studied under Simeon (of Song of Simeon fame). He and Andrew traveled together to spread the gospel into Ethiopia. Matthias is said to have encountered several groups on his journeys that attempted to kill him in various ways. One account has him being forced to drink poison. Matthias complied; not only did he remain unharmed but also the other Christians with him who had been forced to drink the poison were miraculously healed. Another account recalls his flight from angry pagans bent on killing him; eventually he becomes invisible and escapes. When Matthias is again fleeing from agitated pagans, the earth opens and swallows them, allowing Matthias to go about his missionary work.

Church fathers Origen and Clement of Alexandria mention a Gospel of Matthias, which is lost to us. The fragment we have reminds us to increase the growth of our soul by faith and knowledge—a fitting reminder for a man who is barely known to us but whose faith encourages us through the ages.

Collect for Matthias 
Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve: Grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be guided and governed by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

— Laurie Brock

Absalom Jones


Absalom Jones was the first African American priest in The Episcopal Church. At age sixteen, Absalom was sold to a man who took him to Philadelphia. There, Jones attended a night school run by Quakers. In 1777 he purchased his wife’s freedom with his earnings; in 1784 he purchased his own.

Jones became a lay minister at St. George’s Methodist Church. Alarmed by the increasing number of the church’s black parishioners, the vestry decided to segregate blacks into an upstairs gallery, without notifying them. When the ushers tried to carry out this order, Jones, his friend, Richard Allen, and all the other black members walked out.

Along with Allen, Jones founded the Free African Society, a support organization for freed slaves. Members paid dues to help the needy and established communication with similar groups in other cities. The society also built a parish, which petitioned to become part of The Episcopal Church while retaining black leadership. In 1794 that congregation became the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, the first black church in Philadelphia. During its first year, with Jones as its lay reader, St. Thomas Church amassed over five hundred members. In 1795 Jones was ordained a deacon, and in 1804 he became a priest.

Famous for his oratory, Jones helped establish a tradition of delivering antislavery sermons on New Year’s Day. In 1797, he joined other blacks in petitioning the US Congress to overturn the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act—a law that facilitated the practice of kidnapping free blacks and selling them into slavery. During the 1790s, when yellow fever repeatedly struck Philadelphia, many doctors fled the city. Jones and a corps of black Philadelphians helped nurse the sick and bury the dead. Jones, in particular, sometimes worked through the night.

Jones died February 13, 1818 in Philadelphia. In 1996 his remains were reinterred in a chapel of his church, St. Thomas.

Collect for Absalom Jones
Set us free, heavenly Father, from every bond of prejudice and fear; that, honoring the steadfast courage of your servant Absalom Jones, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, which you have given us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

— Hugo Olaiz

Matthias vs. Absalom Jones

  • Absalom Jones (82%, 6,537 Votes)
  • Matthias (18%, 1,432 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,969

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Absalom Jones: Raphaelle Peale [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

273 Comments to "Matthias vs. Absalom Jones"

  1. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    February 12, 2016 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    Oh wow. This is a tough one. I really like Matthias a lot (no pun intended) and the invisibility thing is pretty impressive but I’m going to have to go with Absalom Jones. It takes a pretty special type of Christian to remain with a denomination after they try to relegate you to the gallery (remind anyone of anything else going on currently?). You can remain true to yourself and beliefs and still be in communion with others who disagree with you. In Christ all things are possible.

    • Tready3's Gravatar Tready3
      February 12, 2016 - 8:16 am | Permalink

      Nicely said, Jean

      • NKD's Gravatar NKD
        February 12, 2016 - 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Thumbs up, Jean

    • TJ's Gravatar TJ
      February 12, 2016 - 8:28 am | Permalink

      Very true! I have always marveled at that ability in Absalom Jones.

      • Brenda J's Gravatar Brenda J
        February 12, 2016 - 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Both are amazing in their own spheres. I am abstaining from voting because today’s contest is not a fair one. Matthias didn’t have a chance.

        • Grace's Gravatar Grace
          February 12, 2016 - 3:06 pm | Permalink

          I agree. I’m a bit sorry for Matthias.

          • Billie's Gravatar Billie
            February 12, 2016 - 4:45 pm | Permalink

            I voted for Matthias because so often the work of the church is carried on behind the scenes by unknown people who are seldom, if ever, acknowledged for their faithfulness. But, it was an unfair contest today, for sure!

          • Susan's Gravatar Susan
            February 12, 2016 - 9:38 pm | Permalink

            True. That is a noble comparison–so much goes unseen and unknown. How many times have people blessed us without our even knowing how they have touched us and benefitted our lives???

            What a gift.

          • Leon Spencer's Gravatar Leon Spencer
            February 13, 2016 - 10:32 am | Permalink

            I really liked Billie’s comment to your point. What Billie said will preach! I’m going to use that.

        • s's Gravatar s
          February 12, 2016 - 8:24 pm | Permalink

          Matthias, who can improve the soul though faith, has my vote

    • Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
      February 12, 2016 - 8:29 am | Permalink

      Well, it was actually the Methodists who tried to hide them up in the gallery, but nonetheless, it took 9 years between ordinations for Jones, which speaks volumes.

      • Alan Christensen's Gravatar Alan Christensen
        February 12, 2016 - 9:05 am | Permalink

        I had noticed that too. Nine years is incredible for a transitional diaconate.

        • Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
          February 12, 2016 - 9:22 am | Permalink

          I went for Jones as well. In the face of segregation, he walked out, but he stayed all night to help yellow fever victims, black or white. He also had the gift of persuasion through his sermons. As an speech coach, I applaud that.

      • Christina Thom's Gravatar Christina Thom
        February 12, 2016 - 10:23 am | Permalink

        At that time the Methodist were still the new kids on the block. Their parent was the Anglican church.

      • Strangely Warmed's Gravatar Strangely Warmed
        February 12, 2016 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

        In 2000, the United Methodist Church finally apologized for what happened.

      • Genie Kinney's Gravatar Genie Kinney
        February 12, 2016 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

        I agree. But am new this year to Lent Madness so thought I had better vote.
        I am a woman priest and it took from 1984 until 1990 for me to be orained priest. That is only six years but seemed like a million.

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      February 12, 2016 - 9:37 am | Permalink

      Close call but I chose Absalom because he CHOSE his lot. Mathias’s fate was by the luck of the draw.

      • Kathie's Gravatar Kathie
        February 12, 2016 - 9:47 am | Permalink

        No, Mathias was not chosen by the luck of the draw but by the Holy Spirit. God would not leave such a choice to chance. 🙂

        • Judy's Gravatar Judy
          February 12, 2016 - 12:10 pm | Permalink


          I couldn’t have said it any better! And St. Matthias is my parish – the little church with the big heart.

          • Glenda's Gravatar Glenda
            February 12, 2016 - 2:16 pm | Permalink

            I had to vote for Matthias as I’v been told I am related. Not sure how.

          • Patti Pruden's Gravatar Patti Pruden
            February 12, 2016 - 7:51 pm | Permalink

            The little church with a big heart is our saying too, for our church, Christ Church, Geneva, Ohio!

        • Robert's Gravatar Robert
          February 12, 2016 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

          Very well said, Kathie!

        • Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
          February 12, 2016 - 4:34 pm | Permalink


        • Richard's Gravatar Richard
          February 12, 2016 - 8:59 pm | Permalink


          • Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
            February 12, 2016 - 9:39 pm | Permalink

            Quite so.

      • February 12, 2016 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

        What with the lot AND the poison, it would indeed be likely for people to identify Mathias with luck. But while not much may have been heard of him since the draw, at least it appears he did not quickly fritter away his apostleship like some winners of the lottery.

        • February 12, 2016 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

          Although in my post he does seem to have pawned off one of his t’s.

          • February 12, 2016 - 11:09 pm | Permalink

            pHil… Liked your post and 2nd post about the pawned “t”… And, of course that brings Nicholas into the conversation as the patron of pawn brokers… Good work!

      • Charles MARASCALCO's Gravatar Charles MARASCALCO
        February 12, 2016 - 4:33 pm | Permalink


    • Steve P's Gravatar Steve P
      February 12, 2016 - 9:53 am | Permalink

      We need a “like” button. That pun is awesome!

      • Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
        February 12, 2016 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

        My thoughts exactly, Steve. SEC, we need a “like” button!

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          February 12, 2016 - 6:47 pm | Permalink

          We need a DISLIKE button for the Like button.

    • A.J.'s Gravatar A.J.
      February 12, 2016 - 10:29 am | Permalink

      Jean, I agree with what you said, however that whole saintly thing and being chosen by God to replace Judas speaks profoundly to me. (Plus I don’t want to be zapped by a bolt of lighting). Therefore I am going to have to go with Matthias.

    • Ken Albrecht's Gravatar Ken Albrecht
      February 12, 2016 - 11:37 am | Permalink

      The church that relegated the blacks to the gallery was a Methodist Church, not an Anglican Church. They probably would have been treated the same way at Christ Church, which is not far from St. George’s Church.

    • Judy Batson's Gravatar Judy Batson
      February 12, 2016 - 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Appreciated the pun! 🙂

    • February 12, 2016 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Lovely comment Jean

    • Andy Fischer's Gravatar Andy Fischer
      February 12, 2016 - 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Jean.. That was the Methodists that treated him/them badly. He then switched to the Episcopal Church. Otherwise, nicely said.

    • Tamsen Whistler's Gravatar Tamsen Whistler
      February 12, 2016 - 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Well said. Hard decision. I have an affinity for Matthias, as I was ordained a priest on his feast day 31 years ago this month. (It was Feb 24, but technically “the eve of,” as it was a Sunday night.) The preacher, Carl Gerdau, pointed out that Matthias did not have to deal with commissions on ministry or ordination exams, but that the one requirement was having followed Jesus. That he was never heard from in Scripture again reminded us that we’re not in it for the glory–our glory–but for the glory of God. All that said, however, I have also voted for Absalom Jones.

      • Karen's Gravatar Karen
        February 13, 2016 - 1:14 am | Permalink

        My thoughts align with those of Tamsen. Although I am not I am official in the church, and don’t have special memories Matthias’ feast day, it is true that the unsung, largely anonymous often contribute value which is never celebrated publicly. However,Absalom’s story is the winter in my heart tonight. Thanks for the food for thought.

    • Mary Alice's Gravatar Mary Alice
      February 13, 2016 - 7:47 am | Permalink

      I appreciate the relevant wisdom of Absalom’s example for us now. Amen!

  2. February 12, 2016 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    Absalom for so many reasons, but the most touching (so close to Vakentine’s Day) is his buying his wife’s freedom before his own.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      February 12, 2016 - 8:31 am | Permalink

      He was obviously a lover AND a fighter. Go Absalom!

    • TJ's Gravatar TJ
      February 12, 2016 - 8:31 am | Permalink

      I also admire the selfless love that caused him to buy his wife’s freedom first. Were I so lucky as to find someone who loves me half that much!

    • Elise's Gravatar Elise
      February 12, 2016 - 8:32 am | Permalink

      Talk about putting others first!

    • Katie's Gravatar Katie
      February 12, 2016 - 8:43 am | Permalink

      I agree. That’s what (poor choice of words) sold me. A man with tremendous integrity.

    • Christine's Gravatar Christine
      February 12, 2016 - 9:29 am | Permalink

      This insured that their children would be free. I think one thing I learn from Absalom is to be one who sees solutions not just problems.

      • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
        February 12, 2016 - 11:54 am | Permalink

        I voted for Absalom! His faith despite all, kept him going. I think faith that strong can only come from having a. Strong spirit within. Rock on Absalom! We love you brother!

    • John's Gravatar John
      February 12, 2016 - 9:33 am | Permalink

      Seems almost n unfair matchup, especially the day before his feast day! I too am voting for Absalom Jones; he may not have survived actual poison but he surely and steadfastly endured the venom and vitriol of his day.

      • Sue's Gravatar Sue
        February 12, 2016 - 10:48 am | Permalink

        Well said!!

      • Willo's Gravatar Willo
        February 12, 2016 - 8:06 pm | Permalink


    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      February 12, 2016 - 10:10 am | Permalink

      Good point, Father Dirk!

    • Denise's Gravatar Denise
      February 12, 2016 - 10:18 am | Permalink

      That was my thought as well. I’m newly married, and I know my husband would remain enslaved while setting me free, without a second thought. That is the true measure of a man.

    • Lisa Yarbor's Gravatar Lisa Yarbor
      February 12, 2016 - 10:27 am | Permalink

      Dirk, I was thinking the exact same thing about Absalom and his wife! Also I voted for him because his story is very similar to the founding of my parish, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in New Haven, CT.

    • beth's Gravatar beth
      February 12, 2016 - 11:00 am | Permalink

      yes – that jumped out at me, too, that he first bought his wife’s (and by extension, childrens) freedom.

    • johnieb's Gravatar johnieb
      February 12, 2016 - 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Dirk, I, too, was struck by that detail, also by his fortitude during the epidemic, which exemplifies his steadfastness in the face of racism. Still, it;s tough to vote against an Apostle to Ethiopia!

    • tonip1's Gravatar tonip1
      February 12, 2016 - 1:34 pm | Permalink

      I was gonna vote for Absalom Jones already but that clinched it for me too. I am in awe of the selflessness of that.

      • Alison's Gravatar Alison
        February 12, 2016 - 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely, that was one of my main reasons for voting for him!

    • Mary Phinney's Gravatar Mary Phinney
      February 12, 2016 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

      I agree. He had my vote when I read he bought his wife’s freedom first.

    • Emily's Gravatar Emily
      February 12, 2016 - 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Well said. That loving action struck me as well

  3. Athanasios Stama's Gravatar Athanasios Stama
    February 12, 2016 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    St. Helena was a good momma! She raised St. Constantine so well he issued the Edict of Milan. She then went around and spruced up Jerusalem and found the true Cross. For this we love the herb basil!

    • AngelaBocage's Gravatar AngelaBocage
      February 12, 2016 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

      I do not understand the connection of St Helena and Basil, but am fascinated–basil is such a great plant to grow & use–could you please explain?

      • Jean's Gravatar Jean
        February 12, 2016 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

        I think legend has it that the remnants of the true cross were found by Helena under a basil plant.

  4. SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
    February 12, 2016 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    Poor old Matthias. He doesn’t stand a chance!

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      February 12, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

      I agree. The landslide will continue all day. But being a saint, Matthias is undoubtedly cheering for Absalom under the gentle glow of the halo he is already wearing.

      • Jennifer Allen's Gravatar Jennifer Allen
        February 12, 2016 - 9:21 am | Permalink

        Matthias continues to be the hidden saint even in Lenten Madness. He probably thinks the outcome is fitting and is surely cheering for Absalom–that fits what little we know of him.

        • Lea's Gravatar Lea
          February 12, 2016 - 9:41 am | Permalink

          While I HUGELY admire Rev. Jones, I voted for Matthias mostly because he appeared in a dream long before I ever knew who he was. Some kind of link there, I’m thinking.

        • Linda Kisker's Gravatar Linda Kisker
          February 12, 2016 - 9:46 am | Permalink

          I thought about it, but was swayed by someone who actually walked and talked with our Lord.

          • Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
            February 12, 2016 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

            Yes, that’s the key for me, too. Matthias joined the other apostles as a witness to Christ’s resurrection.

          • Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
            February 12, 2016 - 12:48 pm | Permalink

            Oops! How do you delete erroneous comments? :/ I meant to say…yes, that is the key for me, too. Matthias joined the other apostles as a witness to Christ’s resurrection.

  5. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    February 12, 2016 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I love the story of Matthias who was present but unnamed for the whole three years of Jesus ministry because he remains hidden from our sight apart from his appearance in Acts. He stands as a symbol of all those who faithfully live out their faith out of the limelight but known and loved by God. I would happily vote for both men, but in the end my single vote was for Absalom Jones who achieved so much against such odds, and for the Episcopal Church who recognised his vocation.

    • Diane's Gravatar Diane
      February 12, 2016 - 10:06 am | Permalink

      Thank you for this statement about Matthias’ faithfulness. I was also struck by the fact that he was there throughout Jesus’ ministry, but “hidden from our sight.” Hard choice today, but I will cast my vote for Absalom. I was particularly struck by the Collect for Absalom. How fitting for these present days – set us free from the bonds of prejudice and fear and let us show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God

    • Kitty L's Gravatar Kitty L
      February 12, 2016 - 10:37 am | Permalink


    • Marisa Wight's Gravatar Marisa Wight
      February 12, 2016 - 10:55 am | Permalink

      Fiona, you put that so well. I was looking for someone who wrote what I was thinking. I too voted for Absalom, but felt deeply that Matthias was chosen as an example for us, of doing the will of God without the fame. Sure, it’s nice to get a thank you from our fellow Christians, and brings a smile to us when our joyful deeds are done, but ultimately it’s having the Love of God. So God Blessed the world with both of these men. Marisa

  6. ChrisinNY's Gravatar ChrisinNY
    February 12, 2016 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    I have always had a soft spot for Mathias and wondered at how he felt to become one of the 12. Was unworthiness his first thought? But Absalom prayed with his feet and accomplished so much for those that did not otherwise have a voice in the Church- he got my vote.

  7. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    February 12, 2016 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Have to agree with Dirk – Absolom’s first “virtue” of buying his wife’s freedom first struck me as fitting of a saint – and many more virtues followed.

  8. February 12, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Amen, Dirk!
    In light of the growing entrenchment of one group against another (whether that is sects of Christianity or Islam, one cultural group against another, one nation against its neighbor, and — here in the United States — an intensifying racism), we need more mentors and saints who demonstrate reconciliation.

  9. Lowell Lakes's Gravatar Lowell Lakes
    February 12, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Like Absalom I too left the Methodist Church to become an Episcopalian over issues of tolerance. I should have done so years ago.

  10. TLH's Gravatar TLH
    February 12, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Just as an aside, I’d like to ask about LM merchandise. Would it be possible to do a nice purple polo shirt with the logo on the left? I wear polos to work frequently – can’t wear t shirts – and that would suit our dress code. 🙂

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      February 12, 2016 - 9:57 am | Permalink

      From your mouth to God’s ears. I take a Woman’s 3X.

      • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
        February 12, 2016 - 11:00 am | Permalink

        And I take a Medium. Please?
        (A different Barbara)

      • Lea's Gravatar Lea
        February 12, 2016 - 6:33 pm | Permalink

        I’d like a woman’s large, please.

    • Pamela's Gravatar Pamela
      February 12, 2016 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

      I would like a medium please.

      • andrea's Gravatar andrea
        February 13, 2016 - 12:23 am | Permalink

        I would like a medium please. Thank you.

  11. Marcy's Gravatar Marcy
    February 12, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    While I appreciate the foundation of historical saints – whether real or not – I much prefer those living saints among us. Given my current work on a fabulous project on the Transatlantic Slave Trade headed by Dr. David Eltis ( I found Absalom Jones’ real history and story very powerful. We know that 12.5 million enslaved people were forced to leave Africa – of which approx 10.7 million survived the voyage. But tracing the next phase of the forced migration – intra-America – is tricky as we lack to tool of ship manifests to glean details. So, Absalom Jones’ story and sainthood and presence among us – having been bought by a slaveowner who carried him to Philadelphia – is truly a light unto all.

    • Marianne's Gravatar Marianne
      February 12, 2016 - 9:48 am | Permalink

      Thanks for this link, Marcy.

    • Kris Fuhr's Gravatar Kris Fuhr
      February 12, 2016 - 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Super intrigued by your study of Jones. I researched and wrote an undergraduate senior paper on him. The church of St. Thomas has wonderful archives along with Christ Church in Philadelphia, if you’re in that area.

  12. David Mitchell's Gravatar David Mitchell
    February 12, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Have to go with Absalom Jones. One of the first civil right’s activist.

  13. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    February 12, 2016 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    In the UK, if you enter a public election you need to give a £500 deposit which is returned if you gain more than a (very) low number of votes. It’s to stop the mischievous entering.

    I think we’re going to have to do a whip-round for Matthias to pay his deposit, aren’t we?

    • Sue G.'s Gravatar Sue G.
      February 12, 2016 - 8:54 am | Permalink

      I voted for him – will that do? Difficult choice today – fascinating to learn about 2 little-known Christians, but in the end I went for the geographical connection and voted for (old world) Matthias rather than (new world) Absalom Jones. Also, parallel Lent project 40 Acts (“40 days of giving back, doing good and living generously”) suggests strengthening community ties this week.

    • Emily's Gravatar Emily
      February 12, 2016 - 5:21 pm | Permalink

      I am grateful to learn about everyone in the brackets. I realize I am sadly lacking in backstory. Mathis may not advance in the competition but he will as someone for me to study further.

  14. Mildred Rugger's Gravatar Mildred Rugger
    February 12, 2016 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones for his courage, perseverance, and sacrificial love for others. I wish it hadn’t taken the Church so long to ordain him as a priest. Perhaps the norm between ordination as a deacon and as a priest was longer then, but I doubt if the norm was 9 years. One of many illustrations in the history of the Church of the fact that we struggle with understanding the dignity of all persons and God’s all-inclusive love.

  15. Bob Challinor's Gravatar Bob Challinor
    February 12, 2016 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    While drinking poison and surviving is a pretty neat life skill, Absolom’s saintly determination and heroic vision won me over.

  16. NJ's Gravatar NJ
    February 12, 2016 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    I voted for Matthias, because he was one for the faithful who did much out of the limelight. Much of the legwork that’s done in serving Christ and the church, as well as the mission all work, is done in that realm. Thankful for the many Matthiases in the church today!

    • February 12, 2016 - 9:02 am | Permalink

      I’m with you NJ. St. Absalom Jones is at no risk of losing, so I’m going to vote for St. Matthias in honor of all the “invisible” saints among us.

      • Lynne Ruedy's Gravatar Lynne Ruedy
        February 12, 2016 - 10:23 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Diane, for giving me the courage to vote for the invisible saint. I also buy a Charlie Brown Christmas tree because I know no one else will and adopted a stray dog no one else wanted. To all the invisible saints, THANK YOU FOR YOUR GOOD WORKS AND COURAGE.

  17. Richard Gatjens's Gravatar Richard Gatjens
    February 12, 2016 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    As a member of the Diocese of New York’s Antiracism Committee, which is holding a celebration of Absalom Jones at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine tomorrow, I am pleased to announce my vote for … (drumroll please) … Absalom Jones!

  18. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    February 12, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    I feel like this is going to be pretty one-sided. I feel bad for old Matthias, a man with obvious amazing faith, but Absalom’s story is pretty great!

  19. Sister Teresa Irene's Gravatar Sister Teresa Irene
    February 12, 2016 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    A rough choice. Both great men. 13 years ago on the feast of Mathias Episcopal Carmel of Saint Teresa was founded. Guess we owe him a lot. Hence my vote.

  20. Judith's Gravatar Judith
    February 12, 2016 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    Mathias for sure.

  21. Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
    February 12, 2016 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    This was a tough choice. While I love Mathias and his devotion to Jesus and sharing the Word, my vote has to go to Absalom Jones. I have long marveled at his dedication and spirit to the church, God, and people in a very difficult time.

  22. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    February 12, 2016 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    I vote or Absalom Jones, who paid to free his wife before he freed himself, and who stayed to tend to the sick and dead in Philadelphia when all the good doctors fled the epidemic. This doesn’t even take into account his amazing contribution towards racial justice, an issue with which we still struggle today.

  23. Linda Baker's Gravatar Linda Baker
    February 12, 2016 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    Blessed Absalom, I’d like to think this first African American priest in the Episcopal church had much to do with our blessing of having our first African American Presiding Bishop in the Episcopal church. They both speak of love and are guided by it.

  24. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    February 12, 2016 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Matthias sound like Harry Potter with his invisible cloak. Fighting evil deeds to the end.

  25. RevDEB Angell's Gravatar RevDEB Angell
    February 12, 2016 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    Voting while traveling in Mexico. Absalom Jones Began the work that we all need to continue together.

    • Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
      February 12, 2016 - 10:52 am | Permalink

      So Very TRUE!!!!!! We seem to be sorely lacking in our ability to do this, however.

  26. February 12, 2016 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones. Thanks to a late and lovely parishioner, Ellen Washington, his story became familiar to our congregation. She was able to have a stained glass window memorializing this saint placed in our parish hall. A scholarship was established to honor her memory, the memory of another African-American leader in our church, and the memory of Absalom Jones. A small wooden chapel stands at the edge of our cemetery. Slaves of wealthy parishioners once attended services there.

  27. February 12, 2016 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    If I had been able to vote yesterday, it would have been for Monnica, whose name rhymes with harmonica. Sort of.

  28. Pam Hardaway's Gravatar Pam Hardaway
    February 12, 2016 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    I can see this is going to be difficult every day to choose. Absalom Jones got my vote today however I will be thinking about Mathias and what it must have felt like to become a disciple.

  29. Kim Morse's Gravatar Kim Morse
    February 12, 2016 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Absalom, no doubt. Matthias had some pretty cool trick, and if there is ever more than a fragment of his gospel it would be fascinating reading. Also Sean Wilentz and Paul Johnson’s “Kingdom of Matthias” about a nineteenth century, um, mystic is a wonderful way to get into the Second Great Awakening. But Absalom’s story of faith, justice, commitment, and hard work wins.

  30. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    February 12, 2016 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    This was a tough choice. Two great men; one we know little about ~ Mattias. Absolom Jones dedicated his life to making historic improvements that gave multitudes a better life for generations to come. However, because of the biblical connection to Mattias, he received my vote. Both men are great in my eyes.

  31. Trudy's Gravatar Trudy
    February 12, 2016 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    When I came here this morning, I did not know about either of these saints. I started reading about Mathias and was enchanted, especially the part about him becoming invisible to his enemies. Truly a saintly man. But, Absalom Jones’story trumped (pardon the expression) Mathias’. I had to vote for this man/Saint of truly selfless character.

  32. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    February 12, 2016 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    I voted for Matthias for two reasons – 1 -I’m a lifelong member of St. Matthias Church, and 2-He needed my vote!

  33. Corban's Gravatar Corban
    February 12, 2016 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    I’m sure St. Matthias did many great things, but Absalom Jones will always have a special place in my heart. I first discovered him when my boyfriend, after joining the Union of Black Episcopalians, mentioned him. He has the saint’s history memorized.

    Seeing how inspiring Absalom Jones is to so many black Episcopalians is one of the reasons I’ve chosen him over St. Matthias.

  34. RHL's Gravatar RHL
    February 12, 2016 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    The SEC seem to be a pair of sadists. They regularly pair up saints that I want to vote for both of them (so far this year both yesterday and today). They force painful choices. Wonder if they are smiling at the suffering?

  35. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    February 12, 2016 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    I will obviously have another chance to vote for Absalom so today I am voting for Matthias, the 13th Disciple. Some years back my precious daughter-in-law was expecting, and her children named the little one Matthias, after the Redwall character. She lost that wee wisp very early, but precious little Matthias has always remained in my heart. I have 12 grandchildren.

    • Patrica's Gravatar Patrica
      February 12, 2016 - 10:11 am | Permalink

      Thank you Patsy for this; glad I held off my vote for Absalom.
      One more vote, in memory of another “wee wisp” Mathias lost too soon.

      • Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
        February 13, 2016 - 9:06 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Patricia, for your vote for our little wisp. He is dear to my heart.

  36. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    February 12, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t not vote for the man who bought his wife’s freedom before his own!

    • Diana Lucas Leavengood's Gravatar Diana Lucas Leavengood
      February 12, 2016 - 3:53 pm | Permalink

      That is exactly what got me. After I read that I had to vote for Absalom Jones.

  37. Lisa Leadley's Gravatar Lisa Leadley
    February 12, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    My vote is for Absalom Jones! His fortitude of spirit throughout his lifetime reminds me very much of my brother’s journey through his own priesthood. My brother is the hospital chaplain at St. James hospital in Tokyo as well as rector of the parish operating inside the hospital, and he’s also been tasked with being the rector at a parish on the other side of Tokyo and lastly being Spiritual Director of the Nursing School also at St. James hospital. Being successful in bring Christianity and Anglicanism into a country with vastly different concepts of spirituality is presents a real challenge to any priest on a daily basis, but it’s an especially difficult task for a foreigner. My brother is doing God’s will everyday I am sure of it, and I pray that he can look to the example of Absalom Jones’s civil rights struggles before there was such a thing as the Civil Rights Movement.

  38. Martha's Gravatar Martha
    February 12, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    He purchased his wife’s freedom before his own, and did so much to improve the lives of others who were segregated. His work is an example we need in our world TODAY

  39. Tom McFarland's Gravatar Tom McFarland
    February 12, 2016 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    I admire Absalom Jones for his zeal and perseverance. He is a saint we should all emulate. However, I am voting for Mathias in part because of his connection to apostolic succession and his missionary history of standing up in the face of violent oppression. These are great choices though as was Helena v. Monica. I voted for Monica so it looks like my customary lower than average performance in these contests. Maybe I’m just swimming against the tide.

  40. Nolan McBride's Gravatar Nolan McBride
    February 12, 2016 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    While I admire Mathias, I voted for Absalom Jones. His witness is needed now more than ever.

  41. Amy Jane's Gravatar Amy Jane
    February 12, 2016 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    The collect is the clincher. The one for Jones echoes in my soul and my daily life:
    Set us free, heavenly Father, from every bond of prejudice and fear; that, honoring the steadfast courage of your servant Absalom Jones, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God…
    Cry of my heart!

  42. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    February 12, 2016 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    I knew I’d be going against the tide but my vote went to Mathias. I have always felt a connection to all the long forgotten people who have lived lives of faith, doing the best they could with what they had, and positively influencing those around them. They may be forgotten but their legacy of faithful service lives on. And so I chose Mathias. Now if only all the present day Mathias’ would act like Absalom. . .

  43. Galveston Tam's Gravatar Galveston Tam
    February 12, 2016 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    The story of Absolom Jones makes me even prouder to be an Episcopalian. We aren’t perfect, but we got this one right!

  44. Katherine Nobles's Gravatar Katherine Nobles
    February 12, 2016 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    I’m voting for Absalom Jones. First, because he bought his wife’s freedom first. And second, because he stayed true to his faith even though the church tried to keep him separated.

  45. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    February 12, 2016 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    As an EfM mentor, I had to vote for Matthias. Reminding us “to increase the growth of our soul by faith and knowledge” is spot on. His invisibility (both actual and in Scripture) is is worth a TR to be sure.

    • Tom Connolly's Gravatar Tom Connolly
      February 12, 2016 - 9:34 am | Permalink

      That resonated with me, too, Betsy. But I had to vote for Absalom, a role model for us all.

  46. Heather's Gravatar Heather
    February 12, 2016 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Lately I’ve been meditating on the rift between Episcopalian and Anglicans over homosexuality so I’m bringing that to today’s vote. What does it mean to accept others? What does it look like to open a seat at the table for the outsider? To put it simply, both Matthias and Absalom Jones were outsiders until their faith brought them to service. My vote went to Absalom because he was a fellow American and his work was for equality. But I’m inspired by Matthias, standing by, learning from Jesus until he was called. I’m probably more like Matthias but striving to be Absalom.

  47. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    February 12, 2016 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    It’s kind of a shame that the pairing is someone that we don’t really have much real information about with someone about whom we know a lot. Do I go with Matthias who was obviously one of Jesus’ faithful followers since he was around when they cast lots or do I go with Absalom who was so active in the early days of this country, working tirelessly for all the people of Philadelphia. Sorry Matthias, I’m awed that Absalom bought his wife’s freedom before his own, stayed and ministered to the sick during the Yellow Fever epidemic and persevered for years to become a priest. For these reasons, I have to vote for Absalom.

  48. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    February 12, 2016 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    Well, as impressive as some of the stories associated with Matthias are, I’m afraid they’re just that–stories, mostly probably apocryphal. Jones, on the other hand, was probably the first minority rights activist, which is a big star in the crowns I give to saints.

  49. Hillary's Gravatar Hillary
    February 12, 2016 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Sorry SEC, this isn’t even a contest. Absalom Jones rocks!

  50. Vicki Hughes's Gravatar Vicki Hughes
    February 12, 2016 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Absalom… what a great guy!

  51. Cindy Jayne's Gravatar Cindy Jayne
    February 12, 2016 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Although Matthias did, evidently, good works, Absalom Jones won this round hands down! Absalom, to me, showed incredible faith, courage, strength of character, and heart in his lifetime. He went from slave to free Priest, but never put himself first. This shows in the fact that he bought his wife’s freedom before he bought his own. Absalom, you’re Da Man!

  52. Toni C.'s Gravatar Toni C.
    February 12, 2016 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Absalom for sure! Anyone who stays behind to tend to the sick and dying when the doctors flee the city is a true saint for me. But to give Matthias his due, I also like “increasing the soul.”

  53. Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
    February 12, 2016 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    Living in the UK, I’d never heard of Absalom Jones — but he gets my vote. I love that he bought his wife’s freedom first.

  54. Carey's Gravatar Carey
    February 12, 2016 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    This was a tough decision but I ultimately selected Absalom for as noted above he purchased the freedom first of his wife and unlike so many today he served as a Deacon for nine years before being ordained a Priest in the church. I do wish we know more of Matthias.

  55. R.W. Byrd's Gravatar R.W. Byrd
    February 12, 2016 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    I, too, would love to have a deeper knowledge of Mathias. His is a wonderful example of devoted service. However, the story of a Christian standing up for what is right in yet another example of a Vestry concerned only with earthly matters, instead of letting God guide their decision making is why I vote for Absalom Jones. It is also a vote for the many that have left the Church because of these same types of Vestry moves. May our Father not leave them in their time of need.

  56. February 12, 2016 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    This is a tough one. Absalom Jones is dear to my heart. I served a congregation in Philadelphia and learned a great deal about him. I could walk a circuit between St. George’s, Mother Bethel (the church Richard Allen founded, the original sight of the African Episcopal CHurch of St. Thomas, St. Peter’s (where Absalom was ordained a deacon), and Christ Church (were he was ordained to the priesthood. It might have been the other way ’round between St. Peter’s and CHrist CHurch). The history there is mind blowing especially seeing as it wasn’t that long ago relatively speaking.

  57. Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
    February 12, 2016 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    I love Absalom Jones and teach him in my American Literature class, but when I was in Ethiopia with my sons visiting their families and I saw the devout faith of the Christians there, the churches that they carved from stone in Lalibela, and the friendships between Christian and Muslim people, I was moved. I will vote for Matthias in thanksgiving for his bringing Christianity to my sons’ land.

  58. Dan's Gravatar Dan
    February 12, 2016 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    This was a no brainer…an anti slavery change agent should definitely win!

  59. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    February 12, 2016 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    We just don’t know enough about Matthias and Ablalom Jones has a proven track record of Saintliness. If the point of Lent Madness is to learn about the Saints it worked–interesting that there’s a lost gospel of Matthias!

  60. Ryan Whitley's Gravatar Ryan Whitley
    February 12, 2016 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas is only 15 minutes from my own, so I’ll cast a vote of solidarity for the good work my colleagues and brothers and sisters in the faith do there. And because their Rector has the most awesome name: Martini.

  61. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    February 12, 2016 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    I would like to nominate Matthias for Lent Madness 2018 (assuming we’re all still around by then). He never had a chance against Absalom Jones and he deserves another try for the Halo. I did vote for Absalom Jones, by the way. His life and witness are just too inspirational not to acknowledge. But I truly appreciate the comments above that Matthias is quietly smiling at all the votes for his brother.

  62. February 12, 2016 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    My money is on Absalom to go the whole way this time, halo and all. But I love Matthias’ often unrecorded service and wish I could have voted for him too.

  63. February 12, 2016 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    Wow! Totally unfair matchup. Poor Matthias doesn’t stand a chance. I mean really, who’s going to beat one of our own home grown dudes?

  64. Pam's Gravatar Pam
    February 12, 2016 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    I feel so sorry for Matthias. I’m sure he was a great guy, otherwise he would not have made the cut, but there is just nothing there to get a handle on.

  65. Jimmy Pickett's Gravatar Jimmy Pickett
    February 12, 2016 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    May we all act for freedom and justice like Absalom Jones in our own time.

  66. Elizabeth Holtzman's Gravatar Elizabeth Holtzman
    February 12, 2016 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    God bless you all! I voted for St. Matthias because that is the patron of my church in Baltimore. He seems to be a humble man, an obscure nobody. God bless Absalom Jones, but we all promised to vote for for our patron saint. Have a blessed Lent.

  67. Jim Bimbi's Gravatar Jim Bimbi
    February 12, 2016 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Serving in a 300 year old parish in Delaware with a church that includes a three-sided balcony (we know who used to sit up there), my vote has to go to Absalom Jones.

  68. AEC's Gravatar AEC
    February 12, 2016 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    Pairing a Biblical saint about whom little is known with a historical one whose life of bravery and service is well documented seems to skew the match at the very start. Yesterday’s matchup was much more thought-provoking. Perhaps the SEC might consider this when doing the draw for next year. Absalom all the way.

  69. February 12, 2016 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    This was a real tough one, but I had to go with Absalom Jones. His bravery in the face of the everyday prejudices, of his time, is a beacon to today’s Episcopalians to continue in his foot steps for equality and acceptance of the LBGTQ people in the church and society as a whole.

  70. Deacon Marcia's Gravatar Deacon Marcia
    February 12, 2016 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Tough choice. I knew nothing about Matthias except from the NT, so these were cool things to learn about him. Still, my vote goes to Absalom. I serve a very diverse parish and one of our retired priests was the rector of St. Thomas in Philadelphia. So, there’s a family connection.

  71. Jane Christmas's Gravatar Jane Christmas
    February 12, 2016 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    Well, it’s his birthday (almost) so it just seems uncharitable not to vote for Absalom.

  72. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    February 12, 2016 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    It was his buying of his wife’s freedom first that really solidified Absalom for me.

  73. February 12, 2016 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones’s faith gave him great courage. I was especially moved to learn that he stayed to nurse those suffering from yellow fever, a life-threatening illness that my own grandmother survived.

  74. jane fenicle's Gravatar jane fenicle
    February 12, 2016 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    So hard to choose between invisible and visible saints. Absalom’s perseverance and selfless love for his wife and future children won me over. I’m sure Matthias had as much to recommend him, but I living close to Philadelphia and having been to St. Thomas I wanted to support the local saint.

  75. February 12, 2016 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    A cruel choice to be made today! I teach at St. Andrew’s College, so my loyalty is with the apostle Matthias — did you know he also was almost eaten by cannibals?! But his pal Andrew saved the day, and together they carried on their brave mission. However, who can deny Absalom in times like these? I am neither Episcopalian nor American, but I voted Absalom — on the assumption that Matthias would have wanted me to do so.

  76. Eileen C. Fisher's Gravatar Eileen C. Fisher
    February 12, 2016 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones is an example for husbands everywhere, because of his generous act of liberating his wife before himself. He serves as an example for many other things as well, but I was particularly touched by this act of selfless love.
    As for “the good doctors” leaving Philadelphia during an epidemic, as a physician, really, how “good” were they? These cowards abandoned the sick and forgot the oath they took to heal and lessen the suffering of others.
    I am in awe of Absalom Jones, an 18th century Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He gets my vote. I detect a landslide here, but I could be wrong.

  77. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    February 12, 2016 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    St. Matthias Parish welcomed me as a VEP aspirant and as a Vocational Deacon where I served in 1989 for @10 years. When I retired from Christ Church Cathedral 25 years later, many of those St. M friends were right there. Absalom Jones, a true role model, enabled me to never give up during those years no matter the obstacles placed on the pathway. Always remember: “Keep your eye on the prize…hold on.” He did…moi, aussi ! No, I don’t speak French…just showing off. ONWARD ABSALOM !!!

    February 12, 2016 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    Now attending St Matthias in Waukesha WI, my vote goes to Matthian however much I also admire Rev Jones.

    • Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
      February 12, 2016 - 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Waukesha former hometown of the Order of Julian of Norwich? Isn’t Julian coming up for a vote soon? Julian all the way! As an associate of the Order just thought I’d get started for the push for Dame Julian. Grins.

  79. Bill Geiger's Gravatar Bill Geiger
    February 12, 2016 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    I have sympathy for Matthias; I’ve never been in similar shoes, but it could not have been easy to follow after a failed leader such as Judas. Nevertheless, the courageous (& historic) ministry of Absalom Jones is so compelling, my vote has to go to him.

  80. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    February 12, 2016 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    St. Matthias for me. An Apostle. Enough said.

  81. February 12, 2016 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    I voted for Matthias because I detected a pairing designed to keep Absalom in the race. A great story vrs ‘we don’t know much about.’ So I’m going for the underdog — or the one the guys in the backroom plotted against. I’m sure there is some sporty term for “fixing” the game . . .

  82. John Carter's Gravatar John Carter
    February 12, 2016 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    Two examples of breaking the commandment to love one another as I have loved you!
    Makes it difficult to opt for one. Absalom Jones is my selection based on the accomplishments which appear to be for the good of the Body. Matthias is also worthy as one of the 12. Persecution in any form is not the way of Christ.

  83. John G.'s Gravatar John G.
    February 12, 2016 - 10:29 am | Permalink

    I am going to vote for Absolom Jones, but just wanted ponder something about Mathias. In Acts, we know Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunich who was reading the prophet Isaiah on the roadside in his chariot. As I understand it from our Rector, the eunich returned to Ethiopia and established the first Christian church there. I never knew that Mathias evangilized Ethiopia until today, but I wonder if that predates the Eunich’s establishment of the church or if the two events are somehow related. Does anyone know? So, Mathias from Bethlehem was the saint who first evangilized in Africa, and Absolam was an African American who evengilized Piliadelphia.

    • February 12, 2016 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

      John G., the Eunuch actually served in the Court of the Candace, which is in what is now Sudan, not Ethiopia. The Sudanese Church is cleared that that Eunuch brought Christianity to Sudan.

  84. Susan Powers's Gravatar Susan Powers
    February 12, 2016 - 10:29 am | Permalink

    I picked AJ for the same reasons most of you list here, and yes, I always kind of liked St. M, who just waited his turn. But the Saint I really wonder about has no name. What about the guy who wasn’t the lottery winner? Did he keep on keepin on, or did he despair and go home?

    • Patrica's Gravatar Patrica
      February 12, 2016 - 10:54 am | Permalink

      And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. -Acts Acts 1:23
      (Similar to Matthias, there are various traditions that suggest he went on to do great things.)

  85. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    February 12, 2016 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    Sorry Mathias. There’s just too little information about you. I admire Absalom Jones most for buying his wife’s freedom before his own. His actions speak loudly.

  86. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    February 12, 2016 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    Another sympathy vote for Matty.

    • Emmy's Gravatar Emmy
      February 12, 2016 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Me, too… I was inspired by an earlier commenter who wrote that she would no doubt have an opportunity to vote for Absalom in a later round, so I’ve cast my vote for Matthias as well. I’ll be happy to vote for Absalom later on, but the Underdog Apostle has my heart this round.

  87. Walt Liefeld's Gravatar Walt Liefeld
    February 12, 2016 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    I would hope that all of us in the Diocese of Pennsylvania will vote for our local hero, Abalsom Jones. He is my top seed, to go all the way to The Golden Halo!

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 12, 2016 - 11:28 am | Permalink

      You’ve given me another reason to vote for Matthias: His name sounds like “Massachusetts” if you turn the volume high enough on the background music.

  88. Rachel B's Gravatar Rachel B
    February 12, 2016 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    What great stories of each. Matthias is wonderful for his hard work and dangerous travel. Yes, given the current issues of race and how the inspiration of Absalom is so grounding and relevant to today, I voted for Absalom Jones. Plus he purchased his wife’s freedom before his own, how profound.

  89. February 12, 2016 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    I voted for Mathias…the underdog in this group! I am not sure if I would want to take the spot vacated by such a traitor as Judas! The poison thing was rather impressive too!

  90. TLH's Gravatar TLH
    February 12, 2016 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    Oh I knew Jones would take this one hands down. So I voted for Matthias. 🙂

    February 12, 2016 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    Any friend of Richard Allen is a friend if mine!

  92. Monica's Gravatar Monica
    February 12, 2016 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    This is my first year playing, and learning about each of these folks is exciting. I voted for Mathias because I felt he would be an underdog in this match up. I also felt sad when I thought of nobody getting to hear from him. His lost Gospel makes me fear we are missing a great deal, and I tend to prefer the old world.

  93. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    February 12, 2016 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    “… The fragment we have reminds us to increase the growth of our soul by faith and knowledge” if this is all we knew about anyone, it would be fitting. Fragments and anonymity are all that most ever amount to, yet chosen by God for ministry.
    Going with the underdog today! (But it was an unfair match up!)

  94. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    February 12, 2016 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    Knowing a distressing amount about struggling with and through fear, the collect for Absolom Jones swayed me.

  95. Jen M's Gravatar Jen M
    February 12, 2016 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    So I am a recent convert and I guess my RC past is still instilled a little on my voting process. Grew up thinking saints needed to have completed 3 miracles to be blessed with the title, so while Jones was a very notable man and arguably one of the Father’s of the civil rights movement my vote goes to Matthias one of our Super Hero saints…after all how many of you can go invisible?! 🙂

  96. Johanne Hills's Gravatar Johanne Hills
    February 12, 2016 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    So much to commend in Mathias, particularly the second tier recognition. I find the pairing rather unfortunate as we know so much more about Absalom and the issues he dealt with, in all their varied manifestations are still with us, whether or not we are American. What we seem to know about Mathias smacks a bit too much of mystery and magic, rather than of personal fidelity. a great faith must have been present, yet it is difficult in our time to access its history.

  97. JAMG's Gravatar JAMG
    February 12, 2016 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones got my vote today because we know he was a doer. Doers are my heroes – may we all do like them.

  98. Steve Barnett's Gravatar Steve Barnett
    February 12, 2016 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    My vote went for Mathias. Chosen by lot under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he was THE ONE God wanted to fill a most important position in the continuation of the establishing of HIS CHURCH for HIS ENTIRE FAMILY created in HIS image and likeness for ALL TIME.
    GO MATHIAS!!! 🙂

  99. Wholly Yoga Heidi's Gravatar Wholly Yoga Heidi
    February 12, 2016 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    Must complain to the SEC–this match up is very lopsided:one contestant we know lots about, the other nearly nada. I’m going with AJ but would have loved to see Mathias pitted against an equally unknown Saint with super powers. The invisibility power was intriguing…

  100. JP's Gravatar JP
    February 12, 2016 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Although I have great admiration for Absalom, my vote goes for Matthias. They both connect well to today’s history. Mathias gets it because he experienced the terrors that today’s immigrants, refugees, etc. go through on a daily basis. He is such an example of persistence in the face of hardship. Christ carried him throughout his life – from Bethlehem to the temple with Simeon to his election through terror, poisoning, earthquake and his faith is an example of how to grow strong.

  101. Dwight's Gravatar Dwight
    February 12, 2016 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    AJ, of course. However, the first comment by Jean touched me – ” It takes a pretty special type of Christian to remain with a denomination after they try to relegate you to the gallery (remind anyone of anything else going on currently?).” Could be the Anglican Church rebuke to TEC or for those in Southern California it could be a Bishop who locks out his own mission church for monetary gain.

  102. Mary Ann G.'s Gravatar Mary Ann G.
    February 12, 2016 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    I had to go with Absalom Jones just for the fact that he stayed in a city that other doctors were fleeing to help the sick and dieing. He has to be a very smart, intelligent, patient and kindharded man.

  103. Elizabeth A Siler's Gravatar Elizabeth A Siler
    February 12, 2016 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    This was actually hard for me since Matthias is credited with bringing Christianity to Ethiopia, one of the most Christian areas of the world. That is a monumental accomplishment — to evangelize a whole region of the world I have a lot of Ethiopian students, and I’m so impressed by their commitment to living out the gospel. BUT, having said that I was overwhelmed with the documented life history of Absalom Jones. In the end, I voted for Jones.

  104. Frances Hooton's Gravatar Frances Hooton
    February 12, 2016 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    Go… go, Geaux… Absalom. I am touched that he chose his wife’s freedom first.
    Oh SEC… I believe the next Facebook goal should be 144,000…

  105. Margaret Moran's Gravatar Margaret Moran
    February 12, 2016 - 11:22 am | Permalink

    Absalom got a few breaks during his own life: he was bought by a good master, married before l6 to a woman worth buying, and although it took 9 years to become elevated in the church, they were not wasted years. I admire a remarkable and talented person of faith, whose good works were visible.

  106. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    February 12, 2016 - 11:35 am | Permalink

    Matthias is the clear underdog, so he gets my vote!

  107. February 12, 2016 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    I recently read an interesting book that influenced me to vote for Jones. “An American Plague” is a fascinating juvenile history of the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. As a nurse, I loved how Jones and black nurses took care of others, even those who hated them, even though they could die themselves (and some did). But Matthias is an interesting person, too, wish we knew more about him.

  108. Jane Young's Gravatar Jane Young
    February 12, 2016 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    Absalom! But I agree with Fiona about Matthias. Are there any books about him? He accepted the call of the Spirit at a time that required such courage and faith, he serves as a great example of how to walk in faith.

  109. Greg Masztal's Gravatar Greg Masztal
    February 12, 2016 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones!–A person who had no fear of tearing up rules of exclusion!

  110. Jane Young's Gravatar Jane Young
    February 12, 2016 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    Absalom! But I agree with Fiona about Matthias. He accepted the call of the Spirit at a time that required great faith and courage. Are there any books or essays about Matthias?

  111. Alice's Gravatar Alice
    February 12, 2016 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    I voted for Jones because of his fortitude and perseverance! He had a deep moral compass. He bought his wife’s freedom first. He did not cut and run during the yellow fever epidemic. He was a true leader!

  112. Robert Corey's Gravatar Robert Corey
    February 12, 2016 - 11:57 am | Permalink

    One the eve of his feast — is that fair? That feast will be celebrated tomorrow at a nearby church. Absalom Jones… I’m eager to see the swag. Matthias’ cloak of invisibility would be fun, but nobody has ever seen it.

  113. Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner's Gravatar Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner
    February 12, 2016 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

    It was hard to not vote for Matthias, chosen last but faithful to the end. And invisibility! Who doesn’t want invisibility? But Absalom Jones has had star power for me for many years. When things got uncomfortable, he stayed and worked for change from within. IMO, there’s a lesson there for many of us in today’s world. His devotion to the church, to those who were suffering – all in a world that didn’t considered him a full human being – well, those are things not only worthy of my admiration, but also of my vote.

  114. Pamela's Gravatar Pamela
    February 12, 2016 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Another very madding decision to make. However, it was the fact that Absalom bought his wife’s freedom first that helped me to finally decide to vote for him.

  115. Georgianna Miller's Gravatar Georgianna Miller
    February 12, 2016 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Absalom because, I could tell that he was doing his best to follow Jesus. By buying his wife’s freedom, before his own, he was truly showing the love of Jesus.

  116. Heather D. Sanderson's Gravatar Heather D. Sanderson
    February 12, 2016 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Of the impressive things that Absalom accomplished, two stand out: 1. buying freedom for his wife first. 2. Staying to nurse and bury the yellow fever victims, after the doctors had fled. Both of these decisions and acts show ultimate concern and sacrifices for fellow human beings. Both of these acts show a mirroring of Christ, who also ministered to the sick, especially lepers, and the dead. Jones was willing to put himself aside to buy another out of slavery, a perfect mirroring Jesus’ willingness to sacrifice himself, to save other human beings. I have to hand it to that Matthias, though: surviving being poisoned, becoming invisible, clearly God’s favor and protection were with him.

  117. February 12, 2016 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Lent Madness is a spiritual discipline for me because after having reflected on the holiness manifest in the competing saints, I seek ways in which their holiness calls out to a perhaps yet unnamed, unhonored, and unnurtured holiness inside myself or inside those around me.
    Since I am actively involved in my parish search process, the holiness that calls out to me today from the two competitors is the holiness of that person who is, as of yet, not around me, namely the holiness of my next rector, and the holiness of all next rectors.
    They are called to join already formed circles, not always fully knowing which shoes they are filling. Sometimes they have to heal the wounds inflicted by a Judas, other times they have the perhaps more difficult task of living up to a legend, but always they must continue in the sharing of the Risen life of Christ in community.
    So I vote for the holiness of Matthias today, and name, honor and nurture the holiness of my next rector and all next rectors.

    • February 12, 2016 - 11:22 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for this thoughtful & thought-provoking reflection. We are often encouraged to pray for our priests, but rarely to pray specifically for the “next rector” or “next pastor”. I think that’s a lovely idea that I will try to keep, maybe especially on St Matthias’ feastday.

  118. Mars's Gravatar Mars
    February 12, 2016 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I love the fact that he paid to free his wife before he paid to free himself.

    • Janene Gorham's Gravatar Janene Gorham
      February 12, 2016 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Yes, so kind and loving.

  119. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    February 12, 2016 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Having written on the Dred Scott decision in law school, which included a brief history of slavery in this country, I had to vote for Absalom Jones. I tried to get that article published a few years ago on the 150th anniversary of the Dred Scott decision, but, unfortunately, while editors loved my article, they had been inundated with articles on Dred Scott! I wish that weren’t true, because I think that knowledge of that history and of the decision and what went into it still can have important impact today. Sadly, Absalom Jones petition on the Fugitive Slave Act would have been tabled/ignored when it was presented. After an earlier petition calling for abolition, presented by Benjamin Franklin and produced by the Society of Friends (the Quakers) to the 1st Congress in 1790, the unwritten rule in our government was to never discuss the issue of slavery, or even to mention the words slave or slavery (slavery was always referred to as the peculiar institution and other euphemisms like that)! That silence on the subject is one of the things that allowed the whole issue of slavery to fester until it result in armed conflict with the Civil War in 1861. Interestingly, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams carried on a correspondence after their presidencies in which the issue of slavery was discussed numerous times, but the words were NEVER used! They both did express their fears that the issue was going to lead to armed conflict and that they hoped never to see the day. They got their wish as both died on July 4, 1826. There were all too many like Absalom Jones who worked to end slavery and the discrimination behind it, only to run headlong into that huge brick wall! Sadly, even today there is great difficulty in even discussing continued racism in this country!

  120. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    February 12, 2016 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I also had to vote for Absalom Jones. No reasoned-out, logical argument here. His story simply speaks to me, possibly because it is closer in time and issues to mine. Both of these saints accepted the challenges offered to them, both chose to take a path that could endanger them, both protected those around them, both did the work of God in the time and place in which He created them.
    My thanks for the consideration of this matchup.

  121. Martha Berger's Gravatar Martha Berger
    February 12, 2016 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

    This is hard! After all, Matthias had a invisibility cloak! And yet Father Jones wins my vote.

  122. Linda Rollins's Gravatar Linda Rollins
    February 12, 2016 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    The match-up between Matthias and Absalom Jones hardly seems fair. We know so little about Matthias and so much about Absalom Jones.

  123. Janene Gorham's Gravatar Janene Gorham
    February 12, 2016 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    We know so little about Mathias that it is hard to appreciate all that he did.
    Rev. Jone, however, made a clear impact on society as we know it. I can’t imagine having to fight so hard because your skin is a different color

  124. Susan Mulledy-DeFrank's Gravatar Susan Mulledy-DeFrank
    February 12, 2016 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I chose Absalom Jones over Matthias because his history continues in this country today and any form of slavery needs to be addressed through action of the Church. That said Matthias helped bring Christianity to the peoples of Ethiopia and Egypt, and because the Coptic Church today is in turmoil in Egypt I am torn. We can not forget the struggle of either of these Saints .

  125. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    February 12, 2016 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Absalom Jones had to have a lot of courage and strength to do all that he did. He gets my vote and appreciation.

  126. Mary Novello's Gravatar Mary Novello
    February 12, 2016 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    In memory of the life and work of the Rev. Toni Schiesler, I voted for Absalom Jones.

    • jofost's Gravatar jofost
      February 12, 2016 - 8:06 pm | Permalink

      The UBE has kept Newark Episcopalians aware of AJ for years!
      Go Trinity Cathedral! You’ve been there?

  127. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    February 12, 2016 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed learning about Absalom Jones and was especially inspired by his dedicated service during the yellow fever epidemic. However, my vote must go to the Apostle. I wasn’t aware of the tradition that Matthias had gone as a missionary to Ethiopia, where I worked for six years. Nice icon, BTW.

  128. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    February 12, 2016 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I vote for Matthias in honor of all the missionaries past and present whose names and work are not remembered except by Jesus and the people they’ve helped into heaven.

  129. Peggy Blanchard's Gravatar Peggy Blanchard
    February 12, 2016 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

    The whole nursing folks with the yellow fever thing seems to be a trend among those on our calendar: made me think of Constance and her Companions, Martyrs of Memphis. I would like to think that Constance knew of Absalom Jones’ faithfulness and fortitude, and that he inspired her to go and do as he had done. And speaking of patience and fortitude, what about those nine years as a transitional deacon? This man had the patience of a saint! (Glad we recognized it!)

    • John G.'s Gravatar John G.
      February 12, 2016 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Constance was born in 1847 in Massachusetts before moving to Memphis to serve as headmistriss at St. Mary’s so I bet she knew all about Absalom. To aid yellow fever patients and survive tells me that God had a further purpose for Absalom Jones.

  130. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    February 12, 2016 - 1:01 pm | Permalink

    It’s difficult to balance two people when one is “invisible” to us and the other lived in the age of documentation available to all and had such a dramatic impact on the church universal in the US, as well as the Episcopal Church. In the end I had to go with the miracles that were “tangible” to me, but Matthias as one of the original group of 120 that helped bring the Way to where billions live out Christ’s original commandments to love certainly deserves the “golden” halo he already must have.

  131. February 12, 2016 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I hereby LIKE every one of the comments I have read so far, but am noting my failure in disciplining myself, this Lent, to spend less time reading comments, I will stop now.

  132. Hugh Matheson's Gravatar Hugh Matheson
    February 12, 2016 - 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I don’t expect Matthias to win. But I’m voting for him anyway, because he was an important example at a difficult time in my life.

  133. Kelly's Gravatar Kelly
    February 12, 2016 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Absalom Jones. His story of not wanting those he brought into the church to be treated as different than other parisioners really speaks to me and to where our church is today. While the church is not perfect, we always seem to work toward inclusion instead of exclusion, grace and intellect instead of condemnation and fear.

    To point out, however, according to the St. Thomas Church’s website, Jones was released by his owner rather than buying his own freedom in a process called manumission.

  134. Katharine K.'s Gravatar Katharine K.
    February 12, 2016 - 1:50 pm | Permalink

    And so the AGONY begins — I’ve always had a soft spot for Matthias, but the SEC matched him against a truly amazing man. Oh dear oh dear!
    And can we also have a ‘like’ button for comments? So many people have said such wonderful things.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      February 12, 2016 - 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Actually we have 4 such “buttons” — LIKE

  135. February 12, 2016 - 1:58 pm | Permalink

    HAVE to go with Absalom. We studied him during an Epiphany class about the saints — you know, those who spread the light of Christ — and I attended an Absalom Jones worship service at Voorhees College in Denmark, SC, last week. Any man who saves his pennies to buy his wife’s freedom is a hero to me!

  136. Donna H.'s Gravatar Donna H.
    February 12, 2016 - 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Matthias, so little is known about him, but God protected him and those around him in such miraculous ways. I realize Absalom Jones will probably win, and for good reasons, the courage and steadfastness he showed during that time, but felt Mattias needed a supporter.

  137. Jennifer Franz's Gravatar Jennifer Franz
    February 12, 2016 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

    The fascinating thing to me is that the church Absalom founded is still alive and well in Philadelphia. If you need a diversion today, the website is both informative and inspirational – great music, too! It gives me the sense that the saints of our church are very much with us today, in a variety of ways.

  138. February 12, 2016 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for giving us that information re Matthias. Wish that more could be found about him. However, I had to vote for one of my long-time favorite people, Absalom.

  139. David Shaw's Gravatar David Shaw
    February 12, 2016 - 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I had to go with Absalom- great name, impressed that he purchased his wife’s freedom before his own!

  140. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    February 12, 2016 - 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I’ve noticed a whole lot of comments actually stating or strongly implying that this match-up is lopsided…”That’s not fair !” Do remember the title” Lent MADNESS…Remember?…MADNESS? When I taught young children years ago, I helped them understand that “FAIR” was a word they needed to dump…PRONTO !! Life is not about what’s fair…it’s about the realities we face and deal with in our lives and learn when to step back and when to step out in faith. Today-Absalom; tomorrow-your choice and maybe, not mine. FAIR won’t be the issue…MADNESS is there for a good reason…It’s LENT !!!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      February 12, 2016 - 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for those words of reality.

    • Louise's Gravatar Louise
      February 12, 2016 - 9:22 pm | Permalink

      True! Fair is something that comes to town once a year – the rest is LIFE is all its glory.

  141. Kate Guistolise's Gravatar Kate Guistolise
    February 12, 2016 - 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Although both Mathias and Absolam are worthy and noble candidates, these are some of the thoughts that contributed to my voting decision.
    Absolam was resolute and fearless and a man loyal to his wife and the cause of equality for black oppressed humans – what a bold step to challenge the church and then follow that challenge with action.
    While its correct that we don’t know a lot (pun intended) about Mathias, we do know that he was courageous and spoke valiantly by words and deeds immediately challenging all of the known world- with bravery and determination for all oppressed followers of the way, most certainly voting with his actions to die in order to stand for Christ.-yes, he was chosen by lots – but he CHOSE to stand for election (lots)hoping to join a group whose leader was apparently dead, having been betrayed by his own people – even one of his own hand picked inner circle – Mathias willingly joined an entire group of men – not even chosen but hoping “the luck of the draw” would allow him to join a group pretty much certain to die. I vote for the Mathew who so deeply needed to follow our lord that was willing to be a second choice after judas and prayed to follow Jesus, a frightening statement of faith, no matter what it took.
    Mathias gets my vote.

  142. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    February 12, 2016 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

    The sanctity of Absalom Jones shines through in every detail of his earthly life and is a reminder of the call we have today to follow the example of Christ, the first and greatest Liberator in our faith. His collect says it all.

  143. Susu's Gravatar Susu
    February 12, 2016 - 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, Matthias… voted for you on my bracket but not today. I’m 1 for 1.

  144. February 12, 2016 - 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I appreciated the information on Matthias, but like others, I had to vote for Absalom. If we all had his tenacity, his faith, and his compassion. Love the collect.

  145. Mollie Douglas Turner's Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner
    February 12, 2016 - 2:53 pm | Permalink

    While I love the idea of Matthias’ representation of all the unknown and/or unnamed saints of Christianity, and I’m sorry we won’t get more goofy, improbable stories of his saintly “actions” (because who knows but God?), I had no hesitation voting for Absalom Jones. I know a deacon or two who waited excruciating lengths of time before priestly ordination for reasons known only to their bishops; nine years is too long for such a man as Mr. Jones, of course, but it happens even now. We humans are often mighty slow to notice what God is up to! And I’m reminded of my seminary classmate who preached on this feast day (nice that we’re getting him practically ON his day–thanks, SEC!) and began her sermon with the question, “Why would a mother name her son Absalom?” Something to ponder.

  146. February 12, 2016 - 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I was glad to read the little known about Matthias. I did’t know that we had a piece of a gospel attributed to him as well. Must have been awesome for him to become part of the twelve.

  147. Tom's Gravatar Tom
    February 12, 2016 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Hey folks, I’m not getting my voting emails! Help!

    • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
      February 12, 2016 - 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Thom, if you get the bios and the comments, just head back up from comments to the voting area and it will let you vote. I used to have this problem in past years. Even if i didn’t want to peruse the comments i still had to go there first.

  148. Tom's Gravatar Tom
    February 12, 2016 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Very hard ch0ice ,but I went with Matt. Shortly after he saw his leader crucified he stayed
    with the Eleven. He stepped forward and joined a group that would eventually cost him his
    earthly life. He was part of the foundation of what would become the Church. He helped
    spread The Way that Rev.Jones would find and lead him into his amazing life.
    Thanks be to God for all that went before us and passed the Faith to us. May God use us to pass the Faith on to others.

  149. Victor of Sturbridge's Gravatar Victor of Sturbridge
    February 12, 2016 - 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Matthias (and will observe his day later this month); I also agree that this match-up is an unbalanced one. That said, while I do not question the wisdom of the Eleven, the choice of the Holy Spirit, or the requirement that the replacement for Judas be a person who had been with Jesus from the beginning (Acts 1:21), it has always seemed to me that the election was held a few years too early. The more notable successor to Judas was a chap named Paul of Tarsus.

  150. February 12, 2016 - 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Matthias, poor man, really wasn’t a fair competition…..Absalom captured my heart when he freed his wife. He fought against prejudice….and for equality….

    • Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
      February 12, 2016 - 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Agree that this seems an unfair match-up.

  151. Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
    February 12, 2016 - 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Wow! Now this is a true rout! Mathias didn’t have a glimmer of a chance right out of the gate. Poor man. Good thing he’s already a saint so I’m sure it doesn’t rankle.

  152. Carrie's Gravatar Carrie
    February 12, 2016 - 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I have always been a fan of Absalom and voted for him. But now I am thinking, as often as I have wanted the earth to swallow me up to avoid an embarrassing situation, maybe I should have voted for Matthias?

  153. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    February 12, 2016 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Absalom because the first notable thing I learned about him was he paid for his wife’s freedom before he paid for his own, and that seems to be the standard by which he lived – doing for others, standing for right and justice.

  154. Hope and Skye's Gravatar Hope and Skye
    February 12, 2016 - 6:52 pm | Permalink

    My sister was busy so it is just me tonight reading this with my mom. I voted for Mysterious Matthias. How did he survive after drinking poison? That’s amazing that it didn’t affect him or the other Christians who were with him. I’m also going with Matthias because he traveled with Andrew, and I attend St. Andrew’s in Burke. Absalom led an interesting life too. — Hope

    • andrea's Gravatar andrea
      February 13, 2016 - 12:39 am | Permalink

      I like the fact Matthias traveled with Andrew too, and the invisibility cloak.

  155. Kate DiLiberto's Gravatar Kate DiLiberto
    February 12, 2016 - 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Absalom Jones was quite an extraordinary and brave gentleman, in the truest sense of the word. He secured his wife’s freedom before his own, he worked for social justice, and he nursed the sick. He truly did God’s work. I voted for him!

  156. Jeaninejj's Gravatar Jeaninejj
    February 12, 2016 - 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Unfair matchup is right! Matthias captured my imagine through the proofs of God’s trust in him. However, I cannot ignore all the works of Absalom, so there’s my vote.

  157. Chris Mills's Gravatar Chris Mills
    February 12, 2016 - 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Because I have just started reading “Bound for Glory”, I felt compelled to vote for Absalom…I sheepishly admit to not knowing a thing about Matthias.

  158. Margaret Kingsley's Gravatar Margaret Kingsley
    February 12, 2016 - 8:17 pm | Permalink

    I think this is a fine competition — the choice between the known and unknown, visible and less so, is one that haunts me. I voted for Matthias because without him there might have been no way for Absalom to know anything about the Christ that he preached.

    • Margaret Renwick's Gravatar Margaret Renwick
      February 12, 2016 - 9:46 pm | Permalink

      That’s how I see it.

  159. Marilyn's Gravatar Marilyn
    February 12, 2016 - 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Absolom Jones is running away with this matchup. Nevertheless, inspired by his story, I voted for him.
    Go Absolom Jones!!

  160. February 12, 2016 - 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I went for Absalom Jones. I admire him for buying his wife’s freedom before his own and for advocating for what was right; and for his bravery in serving people when others left the town during the yellow fever. Also, I am Episcopal and love the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas. A dear friend (recently deceased) was from that parish. So for Clarice, I vote for Absalom.

  161. james lodwick's Gravatar james lodwick
    February 12, 2016 - 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I found this one a no-contest. We know of Absalom Jones’s faith, courage, patience and strong, even heroic, leadership in a church that sadly and unchristianly put many obstacles in his path. Matthias might have been a great man and a great Christian leader also, but unfortunately we know almost nothing about him except his name. All else is only legend or fable.

  162. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    February 12, 2016 - 8:58 pm | Permalink

    All honor to St. Matthias. I wish we knew more about him. Nevertheless, Absalom Jones had me at the dates on which he purchased his wife’s freedom before his own.

  163. Richard's Gravatar Richard
    February 12, 2016 - 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Makes me want to learn more about Absalom Jones.

  164. Louise's Gravatar Louise
    February 12, 2016 - 9:16 pm | Permalink

    a tough choice, again!! For those of you in the near Cincinnati area, if you drive west on Kemper Rd. through Springdale, OH, you will come the a Roman Catholic church on your right just before you cross Winton Rd. The front of the building is shaped like a mitre!! Neat symbolism, I’ve always thought.

  165. February 12, 2016 - 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Let’s see…I attend a St. Thomas Episcopal Church, I remember learning about Absalom Jones many years ago, and was impressed with the story of him walking out when ordered to go upstairs. And his saint day is tomorrow. This was an easy choice, but I agree with others. Poor Matthias was doomed to meet his match when paired up against such an important person in our Episcopal Church history.

  166. Jim Bosworth's Gravatar Jim Bosworth
    February 12, 2016 - 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I am reminded of the time that I served a Director of Music % Christian Education in a church in Mississippi. If any BLACK people were to show up for the service, they were to be instructed to sit in the balcony. How ironic! Aren’t we ALL to be considered God’s creatures?

  167. February 12, 2016 - 11:31 pm | Permalink

    I’m pleased to find out that Matthias traveled with Andrew – I didn’t know that.
    But my vote too went with Absalom, especially as a saint to be lifted up in these times. I was struck by his tradition of preaching against slavery on New Year’s Day: now there would be a fine tradition to revive in his honor, adapted for our times to preach against racism.

    • Jennifer Rich's Gravatar Jennifer Rich
      February 13, 2016 - 7:42 am | Permalink

      Great idea!

  168. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    February 13, 2016 - 12:18 am | Permalink

    Very tough choice. I’m so moved that Absalom Jones purchased his wife’s freedom before his own and nursed the sick. An example of loving service, but I had to go with Matthias. For All the Unsung Saints. *sings hymn*-(Yes, I know the proper title is “We Sing for All the Unsung Saints”.)

  169. Pat McWhorter's Gravatar Pat McWhorter
    February 13, 2016 - 12:28 am | Permalink

    Oliver, what are your thoughts on today’s pairings? I miss your insights!

  170. Brixham Beth's Gravatar Brixham Beth
    February 13, 2016 - 4:10 am | Permalink

    I have a picture in my mind of all the saints who are involved, and their friends, sitting in front of a Heavenly television or giant screen watching the Lent Madness as it happens and chuckling at our comments as they come up, or nodding in agreement. It would be good to think that they are enjoying a coffee or tea in a purple mug, possibly a beer, but I have been assured that food and drink are not part of Heaven! I look forward to finding out and fancy sitting down to a feast with Julian of Norwich to chat to. Difficult choices stretch our brains and reading comments takes ages. Have a good day.

  171. Jennifer Rich's Gravatar Jennifer Rich
    February 13, 2016 - 7:38 am | Permalink

    My vote for Absalom – along with the fact he was the first black priest in America and a wonderful person – was also for the fact that even as a slave, he put his wife first by purchasing her freedom before his. How much more saintly can you get!!

  172. Joanne's Gravatar Joanne
    February 13, 2016 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Two brothers! A difficult decision when both are mentioned in each other’s biographies to boot! I voted for Methodius simply because he was the eldest and surely had some influence over his younger brother. ??? I would rather have voted for both, but alas, not to be. This is my first year of Lent Madness – mercy, the suspense!

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