Monday, February 15, 2010

Thomas Bray (1656-1730)

Thomas Bray: priest, Oxford professor, husband and widower (twice), father of two children, pastor and teacher, author, co-founder of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) and of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG), founder of schools and libraries, and often called "The Father of American Libraries", fundraiser for missionary work, vigorous proponent of the consecration of an American bishop, advocate for prison reform and for social justice among American Negroes and Native Americans.

In the Dictionary of English Church History, Archdeacon W. H. Hutton writes of Bray: " no one in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries does the practical work of the English Church owe a greater debt."

"O God of compassion, you opened the eyes of your servant Thomas Bray to see the needs of the Church in the New World, and led him to found societies to meet those needs: Make the Church in this land diligent at all times to propagate the Gospel among those who have not received it, and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge...Amen."

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