Friday, August 20, 2010

Remembering Jonathan Daniels, Episcopal Seminarian and Martyr

45 years ago today, Episcopal seminarian Jonathan Myrick Daniels was shot and killed in Hayneville, Alabama. Here's what I said about Jonathan in my sermon this past Sunday:

In response to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s call to come to Selma, Alabama, Jonathan decided to go South, leaving behind the safety of the seminary and putting his faith into action on the front lines of the Civil Rights struggle. A few months later on August 20, 1965, while trying to enter a store, Jonathan and his friends were confronted by an angry white man with a shotgun who told them to leave or be shot. After a brief confrontation, he aimed the gun at a young African American girl. Jonathan pushed her out of the way, taking the point-blank blast of the shotgun, giving his life so that another would live.

You can see pictures of this year's pilgrimage to the site of Jonathan's martyrdom here (note that the Episcopal Church observes his feast day on August 14). Be sure to also watch the video of this year's pilgrimage.

You can read more about Jonathan here and here.

And if you haven't seen it, watch the following video that tells Jonathan's story:

Here Am I, Send Me: The Story of Jonathan Daniels from Episcopal Online on Vimeo.


BillyD said...

If today is his "heavenly birthday," why is his feast observed on 14 August?

Bryan Owen said...

I think they chose August 14 not just because August 20 is already taken by Bernard of Clairvaux, but also because Jonathan and his companions were arrested for joining a picket line on August 14. So they spent almost a week in a broken-down jail without air-conditioning or adequate plumbing in the Alabama August heat before being unexpectedly released on August 20.

The date of the feast day notwithstanding, it still makes better sense to me to do the pilgrimage to the site of Jonathan's murder/martyrdom on August 20.

BillyD said...

No, I was just wondering about the difference in dates.

My rector, unhappy with HWHM, came up with a sanctorale based on different sources, and so last week we commemorated Jonathan Myrick Daniels with Maximilian Kolbe. At first it seemed like an odd combination, but the themes of offering one's self up for another tied it all together.