St. James church celebrates Jonathan Daniels’ 75th birthday
KEENE — St. James Episcopal Church will commemorate city native Jonathan Myrick Daniels, who was born 75 years ago, at a service at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10.
Daniels was murdered in the summer of 1965 in Alabama, where he was helping to register blacks to vote. The Episcopal Church recognized Daniels as a martyr in 1991.
The Feast of Jonathan Daniels, which honors his sacrifice as well as other martyrs of the civil rights era, holds a special place for the congregation, according to Mark Jenkins, rector at St. James.
Daniels was a member of St. James, where he taught in the Sunday School. St. James was also his sponsoring parish when Daniels attended seminary.
Beyond that, Jenkins said, “Daniels’ life and witness continues to shape and form the outreach ministries of St. James today, and his spirit pervades much of the congregation’s programs. Outside of our parish, there are many people in Keene who knew or admired Jonathan Daniels, and this service is an opportunity to honor him and his life.”
The Rev. Canon Ed Rodman, a former classmate of Daniels at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., and an ardent proponent of social change and the church’s role in changing lives and overcoming racism, will help preside at the service.
Rodman, who recently retired as a professor at the Episcopal Divinity School, has been a devoted spokesman on black youth issues since the late 1960s. During high school, he served as a spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality.
While in college, he was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In addition to ministering to urban parishes, he has served as assistant to five consecutive diocesan bishops in Massachusetts.
Jenkins said, “Daniels’ message and example is as relevant to today’s youth as it was to Daniels’ generation in 1965. I believe the current generation of young adults is concerned with issues of equality and justice as was Daniels. The story of his life and death inspires and motivates them to be more involved in the life of their community.”
St. James is working with other community organizations to plan several events in August next year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Daniels’ death.
St. James Episcopal Church is located at 44 West St., next to the Keene Sentinel. Free parking is available in the Gilbo Avenue parking lot behind the church.
For more information on St. James, call 603-352-1019, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.stjameskeene.com.
For more information on the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, visit www.nhepiscopal.org