Today we remember an English parish priest whose name is not in The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. This extraordinary follower of Jesus Christ is listed in For All the Saints which explains the Calendar of the Anglican Church of Canada.
On February 15, 1730, the Rev. Thomas Bray was called home by our Lord and Saviour. Bray’s love of knowledge was recognized and nurtured by his parish priest who enabled him to attend Oxford University. Following ordination in the Church of England Bray served a rural parish where he encouraged his parishioners to grow in knowledge and faith. The Bishop of London sent him as his commissary to Maryland where he was a diligent pastor in providing educational resources for parishes and in recruiting clergy for the colony. To achieve these goals he gathered support in England for the establishment of Parish libraries. In 1698 he organized the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, S.P.C.K. In 1701 Bray founded the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to recruit and support Anglican missionary work in America. His last 22 years were given to serving the urban poor, the schooling of children of slaves, and the unemployed imprisoned for unpaid debts in his London parish.
We remember God’s faithful servant, Thomas Bray.
Bible Reading: Isaiah 55:6-11, Matthew 9:35-38