Massey H. Shepherd

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The Reverend Doctor Massey Hamilton Shepherd, Jr. (March 14, 1913 – February 19, 1990)[1] was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1941. He was a prominent American liturgical scholar, and one of the few Americans and Protestants honored with an invitation to participate in Vatican II in the mid-twentieth century. He was a leading figure in developing the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, used by the Protestant Episcopal Church.

Early life[edit]

Shepherd was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, the son of Alice Louise Gladstone Melville and Massey Hamilton Shepherd, Sr. He had an older sister. In 1928, he finished at the top of his class at Columbia High School at fifteen in Columbia, South Carolina. Less than four years later, he received both an undergraduate and a graduate degree simultaneously from the University of South Carolina in Classical Studies. He was married to Gabriella Taylor Connor and they had one daughter, Nancy Lloyd.

Academic career[edit]

Early in his teaching career he held a faculty position at the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For many years he was a faculty member at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, and lectured at the nearby Graduate Theological Union. With Marion J. Hatchett, he became one of the significant framers of the 1979 version of the Episcopal Church's Book of Common Prayer. He received one of his doctorates from the University of Chicago. He had six doctoral degrees. He was instrumental in the success of the Sewanee Church Music Conference which began in July 1951 at The University of the South: "Regarding Massey Shepherd, Richard White (who served as Registrar for 13 years) related: “He was probably the finest liturgist in the country. He could talk for fifty minutes (the length of the classes) on the Prayer Book, the psalms, the structure of the service, etc. with no notes and never searched for a word. He was even invited to the Vatican to participate in discussions on liturgy.” [1]

He was the author of over eighty publications including The Living Liturgy (Oxford University Press, 1946), The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary (Oxford University Press, 1950), and The Worship of the Church, Seabury Press, 1952).[2][3]

He is buried in Tennessee next to his beloved wife Gaby.

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