Francis Joseph Hall

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Francis Joseph Hall (December 24, 1857 – March 12, 1932) was an American Anglo-Catholic theologian.

Early life and education[edit]

Hall was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, as the son of Joseph Badger Hall and grandson of John Hall (1788–1869), an early missionary priest in Ohio and later rector of St. Peter's Church, Ashtabula. He was educated in the local schools in Ashtabula until 1867, when he and his parents moved to Chicago, Illinois. His grandfather, with his parents permission, dedicated his life to the church at his birth.[1] Upon completion of his education in the Chicago city schools, Francis J. Hall entered Racine College in Racine, Wisconsin, where he graduated in 1882. Graduating as a candidate for Holy Orders, he went on to study at the General Theological Seminary in New York and, after two years transferred to the Western Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois (now Seabury-Western Theological Seminary) theological seminaries.[2]


Ordained a deacon at St. John's Chapel of Racine College on July 1, 1885, he was advanced to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul on October 11, 1886 by William E. McLaren, Bishop of Chicago. Upon his graduation from Western Seminary, he was appointed instructor in dogmatic theology in that seminary and in 1905 advanced to the professorship in that subject. He was also registrar of the Diocese of Chicago from 1894 to 1913 and was church counsel in the trial of Dr. Crapsey in 1906. In 1913, General Theological Seminary in New York City elected him as its professor of dogmatic theology, a position he retained until his retirement in 1928. As a child he contracted scarlet fever, which handicapped him by partial deafness. In a midlife nervous breakdown, his deafness became total, but he continued to train more than a generation of future Episcopal priests and bishops.[3]

In 1910 and in 1927, he was a delegate to the World Conferences on "Faith and Order". In 1923, he delivered an important paper at the Anglo-Cathoic Conference in the interest of reunion, entitled "The Future of the Church".

Kenyon College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity (DD) degree and the General Theological Seminary awarded him an honorary Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD).

Summer ministry[edit]

In June 1902, Hall became one of the pioneer summer residents in Onekama, Michigan, on Portage Lake. He immediately purchased property and built a summer home that was completed during his first summer. Obtaining the permission of George D. Gillespie, the first Bishop of Western Michigan, Hall began to celebrate Holy Communion in the study of his summer home to a small group of friends and neighbors. In 1911, he purchased a lake-front lot and arranged for the construction of a chapel to his own design, which was dedicated on August 11, 1912, as the Chapel of St. John-by-the-Lake (Onekama, Michigan). Hall remained as priest-in-charge until October 1930, when he resigned no longer able to make the summer trip to Michigan.[3]

The altar of the chapel is dedicated to Hall's memory. He died in Baldwinsville, New York, on March 12, 1932.[4]


He was author of:

  • Theological Outlines (Three volumes, 1892–95)
  • Historical Position of the Episcopal Church (1896)
  • The Kenotic Theory (1898)
  • Introduction to Dogmatic Theology (1907)
  • Authority, Ecclesiastical and Biblical (1908)
  • The Being and Attributes of God (1909)
  • Evolution and the Fall (1909)
  • The Trinity (1910)
  • Creation and Man (1912)
  • The Incarnation (1915)
  • The Bible and Modern Criticism (1915)
  • The Passion and Exaltation of Christ (1918)
  • The Church and the Sacramental System (1920)
  • The Sacraments (1921)


  1. ^ Hall, Francis J. "Life of the Rev. John Hall". Project Canterbury. Retrieved August 20, 2012. 
  2. ^ Hall, Francis J. (1910). The Trinity. New York: Longmans, Green, and Co. p. v. OCLC 845862. 
  3. ^ a b Bigler, Cleon E. (2012) [1959]. St John-By the Lake, Onekama, Michigan, and its Founder The Rev Francis Joseph Hall, D.D. Onekama, MI: St. John-by-the-Lake. OCLC 51003933. 
  4. ^ "Dr. Francis J. Hall, Theologian, Dies; Former Professor at Western and General Seminaries Had Retired When 70. In Other Important Posts Author of Ten-Volume Work on Dogmatic Theology, Which Re-Quired 16 Years To Write.". The New York Times. March 13, 1932. Retrieved August 20, 2012. (subscription required)


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