BIRDENA BISHOP Chapel Talk (PMSS) November 22, 1942

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel

BIRDENA BISHOP Chapel Talk (PMSS) November 22, 1942

BIRDENA BISHOP Chapel Talk (PMSS) November 22, 1942, features images and transcriptions of the Chapel program and a talk by Bishop.

Staff at Pine Mountain Settlement School were often asked to present the Chapel program on Sunday morning which, along with the Vesper services, was a regularly scheduled Chapel event for students and staff. The following is the program and the talk given by Birdena Bishop on November 22, 1942, for the Sunday morning service.

Earlier that same year, in March, she had also been asked to give a “chapel” talk at Berea, Kentucky. She was a lively, thoughtful and inspiring speaker, as this short offering testifies.

GALLERY: BIRDENA BISHOP – Chapel Talk (PMSS) November 22, 1942

TRANSCRIPTION: BIRDENA BISHOP – Chapel Talk (PMSS) November 22, 1942

Program. [birdina_chapel_tlk_000.jpg]

The Chapel
Morning Worship
Sunday, November 22, 1942

“I like the silent church before the service begins” — Emerson

Prelude — Preludio in C Sharp minor — Bach
Call To Worship
A Hymn — 78
Prayer of Contrition — Congregation, standing

ALMIGHTY GOD, our Heavenly Father, who givest us in abundant store the blessings which make life joyous and rich, we acknowledge with grateful hearts Thy goodness and mercy.

Fill our hearts with a sense of Thy constant presence, so that we may ever find ourselves making progress toward the attainment of true manhood and true womanhood, in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

The Lord’s Prayer

MINISTER — O Lord, open Thou our lips.
CONGREGATION — And our mouths shall show forth Thy praise.

The Gloria — 425 — Choir and Congregation standing

Reading of the Scripture
A Hymn — 95
Pastoral Prayer
Choral Response
Anthem — Lead Me Lord — Harker
A Talk — Birdena Bishop
A Hymn — 283
Silent Prayer
Postlude — Choral — Bach

Pastoral Prayer & Benediction [birdina_chapel_tlk_007.jpg]

Pastoral Prayer — Sunday Morning 11-22-42

Our Dear Father — We thank Thee for this day, this hour, this chapel, in the quiet and spirit of which we come to know Thee better. We humbly thank Thee because Thou dost see fit for us to live in peace and comfort, far from Thy sorely troubled children the world over. Give us wisdom, we pray Thee, that we may use the time well — precious, golden days in which we prepare ourselves for larger service, for lives which will be forever good in Thy sight. Help us here in our Pine Mountain home to be sympathetic, tolerant, understanding, gently, kind, helpful. Then when the time comes for us to take up our responsibilities in our scattered communities, may the Christ-way be so established in us that we shall proceed straightway in the promotion of good works. May we do all that our hearts and hands find to do, and thereby speed the day when all men shall dwell in peace and security, loving Thee.

We ask Thy forgiveness for thoughtless word or deed which may have caused pain to one of Thine own. We would be strong, we would be true to Jesus who lived and died to give us the pattern. In His name we pray —


And now may the love and the peace of Jesus be with us on this day, through this week and forever more. Amen.

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“And let the beauty of the Lord be up on us; establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it.”

What did the Psalmist mean? I think he meant that the work which we do with our hands literally makes us; it becomes so much a part of us that the result is the person which you and I turn out to be. That handiwork to which we apply ourselves molds us, shapes us, and if our hand be engaged in work that is wholesome and creative, behold, we shine forth with the beauty of the Lord upon us.

Not long ago, in one of our classes, we paused to see what lesson could be learned from studying two pictures shown side by side, pictures of two strikingly different faces. The first was that of a Chinese laborer; we thought that we could see in him a man who labored continually under the strain of excessive physical burdens; his face was drawn, gaunt, expressionless except for despair; his eyes, sunken in their sockets, told a story of fatigue, fatigue to the point of what is called “fatigue poisoning.” In order to look like that a man must be too tired to bestir his brain or his hand, had he a leisure moment. When there came a cessation of his labors, he must just drop like a clod, insensate until he must
resume his drudgery.

[Notation in left margin: “Scripture reading — 90th Psalm”]

The second picture was that of a white turbaned Hindu wood-…

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…carver. In his hand was his carving knife, in front of him a pile of shavings and the board on which the craftsman was carving an intricate design; on his face there was written intelligence, happiness, zeal and pride in work well done. I believe that the work of his hands had succeeded in establishing upon him the beauty of the Lord.

I read a story recently about a first year high school girl who was having much trouble mastering her Freshman subjects. She had also had had trouble getting through the grades. She was not unintelligent, that is, she rated high on intelligence tests, but
disgracefully low on achievement tests. She was not an underprivileged child, for she came from a moderately well-to-do home where she was the only child. Indeed her father happened to be the President of the School Board in their thriving industrial
city. The young woman who was her home-room teacher was much distressed when scholarship complaints poured in from English, science and math teachers — Alida was doing nothing — just nothing in any of her classes. Miss Wakely, the home-room
teacher, asked Alida to stay for a conference after school; they had to move from the regular class-room to get out of the way of some electricians; the art-room happened to be handy and Miss Wakely guided Alida to chairs beside a work-table. As the teacher talked — trying to win the girl’s confidence, trying to get beneath the blanket of indifference that enveloped the young face, she got no other response than: “I don’t like anything. I don’t want to do anything; my father says I am…

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…a disgrace to him, and he’ll take me out of school as soon as I am sixteen.” As the girl talked, idly her hand closed itself up a lump of modeling clay that lay upon the table. During the few remaining minutes of the interview she pressed it rather desperately between her fingers. Miss Wakely, who felt she was getting nowhere finally dismissed Alida. The girl was almost out of hearing when Miss Wakely’s eye fell up an expertly shaped little head, the lump of clay which had taken shape in Alida’s hand. Miss Wakely ran calling frantically, “Alida, Alida, come back”. A considerable chase ensued but soon Alida was back in the art room, and in a storm of sobs and tears came the story. Ever since she had gone to kindergarten, she had wanted to fashion pretty things with her hands, but her father — a successful self-made business man, woefully lacking in many appreciations — had decreed that she must work with her brain, not her hands. he did not know that the development of either depended upon the other; he had thrown away her modeling clay, her paints and crayons.

Well, Miss Wakely dared to storm the lion in his den — she visited Alida’s father to try to make him see what she thought she saw in his daughter. She obtained his grudging consent to Alida’s spending most of her time in the art room. For a few weeks she was to be excused from all academic classes, but very shortly she came asking to be reinstated in her English class, for they were studying Greek mythology, and she didn’t want…

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…to miss out on that, for it would contribute to her growing store of knowledge about Greek sculpture; next came her request to return to her math class, for she had found that she couldn’t transfer to paper with any degree of accuracy the designs with which her head was teeming; still again — she wished to get back to her science class for they were studying anatomy, and that was absolutely essential to her modeling. Almost as if by a miracle Alida had found herself — the work of her hand had established upon her the beauty of the Lord. Her obstinate father still disapproved of such useless frills as art — but he was pleased beyond words to note the creditable marks in other subjects, and more important than that, the newly animated countenance of his daughter.

I remember that last year one of our boys spent hour upon hour — re-creating with ink, crayons, tissue paper and cardboard a triple-arch Bethlehem-Christmas scene. He exclaimed, “Why, I didn’t know that I liked this kind of stuff! But I enjoy it!” — which was evidenced by the way he stuck at it. He had reason to be proud, and there was a new light in his eye.

Let’s all make something with our hands whether it be at work or at play. Any work which is at least partly creative is as interesting as play and it serves as recreation (that is, it re-creates us, build us up inside) if we enjoy it.

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We may aspire to minister to health with the strong manipulative hands of the doctor or nurse; or to render beautiful tone poems with the slender supple hands of the harpist or pianist; or to create objects of beauty with the sensitive paint or clay besmeared hands of artist or sculptor; our satisfaction however may be even greater in turning out a well-forged, horse-shoe and knowing how to apply it; in giving the final spank to a good spongy batch of well-kneaded bread-dough; in reeling off perfectly typed sheets from a typewriter; in probing with expert black greasy fingers the mysterious inner parts of a sick car or other machine; in fashioning with scissors, needle and thread becoming articles of apparel; with pocket knife and sand-paper to create intricate miniatures in wood; with other simple tools to work with, grasses, leather, metals. I could go on and on until my list would be impossibly long.

I wonder how important a fact it is for us today that Jesus worked with saw and hammer, with wood and his hands — became a master craftsman before he began his teaching. What did he learn there in his carpenter’s shop? Perhaps he suffered many disappointments and failures; perhaps he learned much, as we do, by trial and error; perhaps through painstaking care and the will to stop at nothing short of perfection, he attained that hitherto unattained infinite…

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…patience and constancy to an ideal, the ideal of perfected personality, which was His, and toward which we strive.

Dear Father — May we find for ourselves work to be done by our two hands. Establish thou the work of our hands upon us, and may the beauty of the Lord be upon us.


BIRDENA BISHOP  (Biography) 



COMMUNITY STUDY MAP (Created by Birdena Bishop)


BIRDENA BISHOP — Chapel Talk (PMSS) November 22, 1942

BIRDENA BISHOP – Women’s Assembly Talk, Berea College, March 28, 1942



BIRDENA BISHOP A Philosophy of Freedom, talk for 1942 Commencement at PMSS. [4 pages]