Massey H. Shepherd

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Massey Hamilton Shepherd, Jr. (March 14, 1913 – February 19, 1990[1]) was an American a priest of the Episcopal Church. He was a prominent American liturgical scholar and one of the few Americans and members of other Christian churches honored with an invitation to participate in Vatican II council of the Roman Catholic Church in the 1960s. He was a leading figure in developing the 1979 Book of Common Prayer used by the 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 spent many of his younger years in Columbia, SC. He was confirmed in what is now Trinity Episcopal Cathedral across from the State House in South Carolina's capitol city.

Shepherd had an older sister, Eloise Melville Shepherd, who married a Wilmington surgeon, Duncan Roland McEachern.

Shepherd was married to Gabriella Taylor Connor, an artist and watercolorist. They had one daughter, Nancy Lloyd, who is married and has two children.

Academic career[edit]

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 one of the youngest students in the history of the University to achieve two degrees by age 19.

In 1937, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and, in 1941, his B.D. from the Berkeley Divinity School in New Haven, CT. 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, and in spite of the misunderstandings of the more elderly clerics of their purpose, he became one of the significant framers of the 1979 version of the Episcopal Church's Book of Common Prayer.

He had six doctoral degrees in all and was fascinated with ancient languages.

He was instrumental in the success of the Sewanee Church Music Conference which began in July 1951 at The University of the South at Sewanee, TN:

"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.”[2]

He also served as the head of the Church Historical Society for many years.

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).[3][4]

In The Paschal Liturgy and the Apocalypse he refers to the Revelation to St. John the Divine in parallel to the Last Supper.

His ashes are buried on Signal Mountain, TN next to his wife, Gaby.