Walking with the Saints
Feast Day of John Henry Hobart, Bishop of New York
John Henry Hobart can be counted as one of the important first leaders of the Episcopal Church after the revolution. Born in Philadelphia on Sept.14, 1775, he attended the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton, graduating in 1793. Nothing is known about his early childhood, but one can assume that he came from a wealthy family. Right after graduation, he was ordained as a deacon and then as a priest in 1801 by his friend and adviser Bishop William White. I imagine that for those who are going or have gone thru the ordination process might wonder what has happened to make it so difficult now.
However, easy as it might have been, Hobart became a priest and bishop of some renown. In his first years as a priest, he served several parishes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Long Island. Before he was consecrated as assistant bishop of New York in 1811, he was an assistant priest at Trinity Church. Five years later he succeeded Bishop Moore as bishop of New York as well as rector of Trinity Church.
Within the first four years as a bishop he had doubled the number of clergy, missionaries and churches. Just about every major city in the State of New York now had an Episcopal church as a place for worship. He also began to serve the Oneida Indians by establishing a mission there. As if this was not enough, he was also one of the founders of General Theological Seminary as well as the reviver of Hobart College.
Before he died in 1811, Bishop Hobart established the Bible and Common Prayer book Society known for producing theological and devotional tracts for laity.
The gospel that is used to celebrate his life is John 17:1-19. It fits Hobart’s life in being present for all the people he served.