Wednesday, June 25, 2014

25 June 2014


[1] From the Christian Observer, vol. 64, no. 26 (1 July 1885) - Death of Mrs. Flavia B. Converse [23 December 1804-26 June 1885], Widow of Publisher the Late Rev. Amasa Converse, D.D.

By the Rev. T. D. Witherspoon

The shadow of a great bereavement has fallen not only upon the Editors of this journal, but also upon all its patrons and friends. On the morning of Friday last, the 20th inst., there was called from the fellowship and service of the Church on earth to the closer fellowship and higher service of the Church in heaven the venerable Christian woman whose name appears above, widow of the late Rev. Amasa Converse, D.D., (who was for forty-six years the editor of the Christian Observer,) and mother of the subsequent, and present editors.

Whilst these brethren of the editorial staff sit amidst the shadows that have gathered about their dwellings, and tenderly review the memories of a life that has been fraught with so much blessing to them, it may not be inappropriate for me, as the endeared pastor of the deceased, to take up the pen that lies draped and unused upon their desk, and pay a brief, but heartfelt tribute to the memory of one to whom the Observer owes so much of its past triumph over obstacles, and its present influences and success.

Mrs. Flavia B. Converse was the daughter of Mr. David Booth, and was born at Longmeadow, four miles south of Springfield, Mass. on the 23d of December, 1804. She was reared in the Congregational church under the ministry of Dr. Richard S. Storrs and Dr. Dickinson, both of blessed memory; and at the early age of thirteen years made confession of Christ, and was admitted to the communion of the church. Upon the completion of her education, she went to Brunswick county, Virginia, to teach a family school, and there was married to Rev. Amasa Converse, on the 16th of December, 1828. Her early married life was spent in Richmond, Virginia, her first home being where the Spottswood Hotel afterwards stood, and where the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad offices are now located. Here she assisted her husband in the publication of the Family Visitor, afterwards the Southern Relgious Telegraph.

She found her husband embarked in a new and doubtful experiment. People had not yet learned the value of a religious paper. All the materials were costly, and the presses rude. Mail connections were irregular, and postage high. The subscription list was consequently small, and the income very limited. But she threw herself with all her characteristic energy and address into the work of assisting her husband. Her cultivated pen prepared contributions for the paper. Her quick eye assisted in the proof-reading, and her taste exercised itself in judicious selections for its columns; whilst her prudent and economical management of the household made the small present income sufficient until better days should come. Through all the changes that came over the paper; when in 1839 it was removed to Philadelphia, and in union with the Observer of that city, became the Christian Observer; during the subsequent years, when as the organ of conservatism in that city, it was riding the rough waves of a radicalism that threatened to engulf it; when, in consequence of the inauguration of a sectional war, it became necessary to remove to Richmond, Va., and begin anew, with only a limited portion of the subscription list; and when, at the close of the war, amidst the general depression and gloom at the South, with empty treasury and shrunken subscription list, the husband again (with the aid of one of his sons) undertook to regain for the paper the vantage ground it had so often lost, her spirit never flagged, and her courage never failed. Her ready counsel and her cheerful aid through all these times of trial were essential elements of the Observer's success.

The death of her husband in 1872 did not terminate her connection with the Observer. Retaining a part ownership, she continued to aid in its management, with her counsels, and most valuable suggestions as to its contents. Even down to her last illness (for her faculties remained unimpaired to the hour of her death), she took a deep interest in its conduct, and joined heartily and helpfully in plans for its welfare; so that up to the present time its editors have been under constant obligation to .......

. . . . Converse is a personal, as well as public loss. For fifty-seven years, through her lamented husband, through her ownership and supervision of the paper after his death, and through her sons, some of whom took up his work and carry it on, and all of whom owe their efficiency, in great measure, to the training to which she devoted the best energies of her life, she has exerted an influence upon the religious journalism of the land, such as few women have attained. And yet it has all be done with such true womanly modesty and unobstrusiveness that few have realized the power of the soft hand that was constantly upon the lever of the press.

On Monday afternoon at four o'clock her funeral was held from the First Presbyterian church, of which she had been, during her residence in Louisville, a devoted and honored member. The pastor was assisted in the service by Dr. Hemphill, of the Second church, Rev. J. H. Morrison, of Portland Avenue church, and Rev. S. W. Blain, the aged and long endeared friend of the deceased. All four of the sons and the daughters were present, and none who witnessed it can ever forget the impressiveness of the scene, as the form of the venerable mother in Israel was brought into the house of God, followed by four sons whom she had lived to see for many years in the ministry of the word.

Thus has passed away from amongst us one of the true saints of God. She needs no canonization by the Church on earth, for a higher than human voice has said to her, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." And to-day, in this editorial sanctum, upon whose doorknob is the crepe, as my heart goes out in sympathy to these dear brethren in their grief, I seem to hear a voice amid the stillness saying to me, as to the inspired Apostle of old, "Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them."
T. D. Witherspoon.

[excerpted from The Christian Observer, 1 July 1885.]

Text provided by Wayne Sparkman, director of the PCA Historical Center.

+ PCA Historical Center, 12330 Conway Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63141, 314-469-9077,

Christian Observer, Post Office Box 1371, Lexington, Virginia 24450,

[2] Articles Concerning the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Held 14-21 June 2014 in Detroit, Michigan

-- It's Time To Leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

-- Presbyterians Redefine Marriage

-- Presbyterian Lay Committee Board of Directors Repudiates Action of PCUSA General Assembly

-- Presbyterians Back Anti-Israel Divestment

-- American Presbyterian Church to Divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions Claiming They Profit from the Israeli Occupation of Palestine

-- Presbyterian Church USA Defeats Motion to Care for Babies Born Alive after Abortion

+ Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202, 888-728-7228
, Fax: 502-569-8005

GOPUSA, Contact Page

Christian News Wire, 2020 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington DC 20006, 202-546-0054,

+ Institute on Religion and Democracy, 1023 15th Street Northwest, Suite 601, Washington DC 20005-2601, 202-682-4131, Fax: 202-682-4136,

+ Presbyterian Lay Committee, Post Office Box 2210, Lenoir, North Carolina 28645, 828-758-8716, Fax: 828-758-0920,

+ New York Times, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, New York 10018, 212- 556-1234,

+, Post Office Box 270841, Fort Collins, Colorado 80527,

[3] Introducing the Newly Revised Chaplain Corps Journal

By the Rev. Dr. Michael A. Milton

I was honored when my friend and my supervisor in my Army chaplaincy, Chaplain (Colonel) Peter Sniffin, US Army, Deputy Commandant, US Army Chaplain Center and School, whom I have known for many years (we first met in Heidelberg, Germany when our paths crossed at the HQ of Seventh Army Europe), invited me to be a part of the Chaplain Corps Journal. I had written for the Journal before, but had not had the pleasure of being part of the editorial team.

The Chaplain Corps Journal aims to “Produce a professional journal in order to cultivate learning communities across the Army Chaplain Corps.”
This week, under CH Sniffin’s considerable skills as Managing Editor, we released the Spring-Summer issue. The Journal is housed, digitally, at the Command and Research Library (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas) and is available to everyone. I have provided a special short link here for you to copy and share with others:

I want to draw our readers’ attention to an outstanding peer-reviewed article by Chaplain (Colonel) Ken Bush, US Army, Retired. Chaplain Bush was previously the Director of Training for the US Army Chaplain School and is a PCA Minister (as is Pete Sniffin). I consider Dr. Bush, who holds a graduate degree in ethics from Duke, among several other prestigious degrees and honors, to be one of the top ethicists and theological educators in America. I believe his contribution on “Moral Leadership in a Post-Everything Culture” is an outstanding article that merits special attention. I found myself thanking the Lord for the wisdom of his insights. The Abstract from the Journal gives a brief summary:

“This is a peer reviewed article. The author isolates the moral crises facing the United States military and offers five possible areas of common ground for Moral Leadership Training in addition to the thoughtful presentation of a transcendent Faith Story that brings hope for the hopeless.”

There are other solid articles and some excellent book reviews, as well. I found CH (LTC) Brian Crane’s review of Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis led me to read the book and learn a new chapter in that fascinating story.

I hope you will read online or download your copy of the Chaplain Corps Journal and share it with others. We who are endorsed (to serve as Army and other sister service chaplains) in the Presbyterian and Reformed Joint Commission are thankful to be able to minister together with dedicated chaplains of other faiths, traditions and convictions to exercise our First Amendment rights in serving soldiers and their families and carrying out the mission of the Chief of Chaplains. In doing so we are granted the privilege to minister the Lord of Lords to those who come to us for our help.

For that we give thanks to God.

Dr. Michael A. Milton is the founder and President of Faith for Living, Inc., an outreach ministry advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people possible through every means available so that there will be a multitude of souls safe in the arms of Jesus when He comes again.