Cyrus Cooper's Memorial and the Free Gospel Ministry William F. Rushby* Introduction "Are you concernedfaithfully to uphold our testimony to a waiting, spiritual worship, and to afree Gospel ministry exercised in dependence upon the Head of the Church and under the immediate authority and prompting ofHis Holy Spirit? And do you maintain our testimony against that system which requires a ministry to be exercised at stated times orfor pay?" Query from the 1910 discipline ofPhiladelphia Yearly Meeting (Orthodox)1 This passage from an old book ofdiscipline bespeaks a model ofQuaker ministry almost universal in the Society of Friends of 150 years ago, but which is now confined mostly to a few Conservative groups. In this paper the writer seeks to recapture a sense ofwhat Quaker practice was like when "free Gospel ministry" was normative for Friends.2 To flesh out the traditional model ofQuaker ministry, the paper sketches and interprets the life and Gospel labors ofCyrus Cooper (1 860-1 940), a recognizedminister in Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative). It then addresses the questions of how free ministry functioned in times past and why it declined. Finally, the minister's journal is highlighted as a literary genre which can make an important contributionto ourunderstanding ofclassical Quaker spirituality and religious practice.3 The Memorial to Cyrus and Bertha Cooper'' was one of the last booklength ministers' journals to appear, and thus offers aportrait ofthe Quaker free ministry functioning in a somewhat contemporary setting. This document was prepared by their son Samuel, and published privately by the family in 1948.5 The book includes some material on Bertha, but our focus here is on Cyrus. Background and Early Life Cyrus Cooper was born into an Orthodox Friends family at Parkesburg, Pennsylvania in 1 860, the sonofSamueland Sarah Cooper. Third in afamily of ten children, he was the oldest son. Eventually, the household also *William Rushby, an independent scholar, belongs to the Rockingham Meeting (OYM) ofConservative Friends. Trained in the Sociology ofReligion, his research interests include the phenomenon of prophecy, the free ministry, and Russian sectarianism. Cyrus Cooper's Memorial and the Free Gospel Ministry 29 included his paternal grandmother and aunt. His father experienced some reverses in business, and the family had to relocate several times, always in southeastern Pennsylvania. During Cyrus Cooper's early life (1860-1897), the Orthodox Friends in Pennsylvania were an "island community," relating unofficially to some other Orthodox Quaker bodies and related groups, but hardly at all to the Hicksites or mainstream Protestants.6 Cyrus' family identified with the predominant Wilburite7 wing of the yearly meeting, which sought with decreasing success to maintain its traditional Quaker faith and practice.8 One aspect of this defensive cultural posture was "guarded education." Cyrus received his early education in Quaker schools under the care of conscientious OrthodoxFriends. OfDeborah Brooks he writes that"she was a very worthy woman minister and spoke in the North Meeting, which the school attended in the week."9 Another teacher, cousin Hannah Cope, ". . . had a very good care over us, not allowing anything improper, and when something appeared she was prompt to act upon it."10 After primary school, Cyrus attended Westtown Friends School. He comments that Westtown was: . . . ofuse to me as I attended meetings regularly and often heardministers who came to visit the school. . . . These were a help to me, and the services ofsuch continued to be ofuse long after I left school." Three terms at Westtown concluded his formal education. These Friends schools emphasized Christian character and spirituality, and left a lasting mark on Cyrus' life and ministry. When Cyrus finished his schooling, he apprenticed to a cousin to learn carpentry, which he pursued diligently and with great success. After his apprenticeship was finished, Cyrus and his brothers went into business together. Carpentry and then the related business ofretailing hardware and farm supplies became his lifelong occupation. The Coopers prospered in the building trade, as customers soon discovered that their skills were matched by careful and honest hard work. Cyrus trained himself to "make every motion count," greatly enhancing his efficiency.12 The brothers learned to work alone on tasks for which others would require a helper. Not only did they do...
I grew up in a small rural community in the Southeast, the oldest son of a poor family. From the beginning my interest in education was stimulated by my teachers and friends. After completion of my rotating internship I returned to my childhood hometown and established a solo practice. For many of the townspeople their paperboy became their physician. From the beginning I was attracted to teaching. After seven years I left my practice for additional training to prepare for a second professional vocation. In that process I have had a variety of experiences, including training in internal medicine and neurology. Since 1970 I have taught and handled administration in the area of family practice. I have experienced more variety than most people in my professional life.
Our mission is to mobilize the resources of the University of Dayton for partnerships with the Church that create and implement innovative pastoral initiatives designed to meet the needs of the Church and to articulate faith within the context of contemporary culture."> En Español Log In About VLCFF IPI Blog Students Partnership Courses Basic Information Courses Fees / Payment Policy Course Catalog Participant Guidelines Scoring Rubric for VLCFF Assessment Undergraduate Credit Continuing Education Units (CEU's) Certificate Programs Calendar Log In × Username Password Forgot Password? Log In If you have not been here before, you must create a profile before logging in. Chronic Illness: Mental Illness, Grief, Trauma Support and CounselingCourse Level: Intermediate Return to Course Catalog Course SummaryChronic Illness: Mental Illness, Grief, Trauma Support, and Counseling provides participants with information about living with mental illness and repercussions from trauma, as well as the impact on family, friends, the community, and the Church. Today, mental health and the impact of trauma are beginning to receive attention in the Church and around the world due to increasing deaths from suicide and addiction, as well as the sizeable number of children growing up with a history of trauma, abuse, and neglect. This course is designed for anyone who works with children and adults at the diocese or parish levels, including pastors, deacons, catechetical leaders, catechists, parochial school principals and teachers, and lay ministers. A degree or background in counseling or psychology is not necessary to complete this course. Because conversations about death from suicide, violence, and addiction are essential to address when discussing mental illness and trauma, participants should be aware that these topics will be discussed.Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.
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