Daily Morning Prayer for Monday, January 10 (Commemoration of Harriet Bedell)

Harriet Bedell
3/19/1875 — 1/8/1969

Join us to pray live via Zoom videoconference at 8:00 a.m. ET using the following link:  Zoom Link for Daily Morning Prayer

The commemoration of Harriet Bedell is January 8th, but as we do not hold prayers on Saturdays, we celebrate her significant contributions today. A short biography can be found at the end of today’s Morning Prayer.

I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. Isaiah 49:6b

Let us confess our sins to God.

God of all mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you,
opposing your will in our lives.
We have denied your goodness in each other, in ourselves, and in the world you have created.
We repent of the evil that enslaves us,
the evil we have done,
and the evil done on our behalf.
Forgive, restore, and strengthen us
through our Savior Jesus Christ,
that we may abide in your love
and serve only your will. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through the grace of Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

O God, let our mouth proclaim your praise.
And your glory all the day long.

Praise to the holy and undivided Trinity, one God: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.


Jubilate Psalm 100

Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands; *
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.

Know this: The Lord himself is God; *
he himself has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise; *
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.

For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting; *
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

Psalm 96 Cantate Domino

1 Sing to the Lord a new song; *
sing to the Lord, all the whole earth.

2 Sing to the Lord and bless his Name; *
proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations *
and his wonders among all peoples.

4 For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; *
he is more to be feared than all gods.

5 As for all the gods of the nations, they are but idols; *
but it is the Lord who made the heavens.

6 Oh, the majesty and magnificence of his presence! *
Oh, the power and the splendor of his sanctuary!

7 Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples; *
ascribe to the Lord honor and power.

8 Ascribe to the Lord the honor due his Name; *
bring offerings and come into his courts.

9 Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; *
let the whole earth tremble before him.

10 Tell it out among the nations: “The Lord is King! *
he has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”

11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
let the sea thunder and all that is in it; *
let the field be joyful and all that is therein.

12 Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy
before the Lord when he comes, *
when he comes to judge the earth.

13 He will judge the world with righteousness *
and the peoples with his truth.

Praise to the holy and undivided Trinity, one God: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Exodus 2:1-10

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. ‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, ‘because’, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’

Canticle D
A Song of the Wilderness
Isaiah 35:1-7,10

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, *
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
It shall blossom abundantly, *
and rejoice with joy and singing.
They shall see the glory of the Lord, *
the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weary hands, *
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to the anxious, “Be strong, do not fear! *
Here is your God, coming with judgment to save you.”
Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, *
and the ears of the deaf be unstopped.
Then shall the lame leap like a deer, *
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness *
and streams in the desert;
The burning sand shall become a pool *
and the thirsty ground, springs of water.
The ransomed of God shall return with singing, *
with everlasting joy upon their heads.
Joy and gladness shall be theirs, *
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Praise to the holy and undivided Trinity, one God: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Canticle L
A Song of Christ’s Humility
Philippians 2:6-11

Though in the form of God, *
Christ Jesus did not cling to equality with God,
But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, *
and was born in human likeness.
Being found in human form, he humbled himself *
and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.
Therefore, God has highly exalted him *
and given him the name above every name,
That at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, *
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, *
to the glory of God the Father.

Praise to the holy and undivided Trinity, one God: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

An Affirmation of Faith (Northumbria Community)

Lord, You have always given
bread for the coming day;
and though I am poor,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always given
strength for the coming day;
and though I am weak,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always given
peace for the coming day;
and though of anxious heart,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always kept
me safe in trials;
and now, tried as I am,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always marked
the road for the coming day;
and though it may be hidden,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always lightened
this darkness of mine;
and though I cannot yet see,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always spoken
when time was ripe;
and though you be silent now,
today I believe.

Hear our cry, O God.
And listen to our prayer.
Let us pray.

Our Father in heaven, 
     hallowed be your Name, 
     your kingdom come, 
     your will be done, 
         on earth as in heaven. 
Give us today our daily bread. 
Forgive us our sins 
     as we forgive those 
         who sin against us. 
Save us from the time of trial, 
     and deliver us from evil. 
For the kingdom, the power, 
     and the glory are yours, 
     now and for ever. Amen.

V. Help us, O God our Savior;
R. Deliver us and forgive us our sins.
V. Look upon your congregation;
R. Give to your people the blessing of peace.
V. Declare your glory among the nations;
R. And your wonders among all peoples.
V. Do not let the oppressed be shamed and turned away;
R. Never forget the lives of your poor.
V. Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you;
R. And your favor to those who are true of heart.
V. Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning;
R. So shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.

Holy God, fill us with compassion and respect for all people, and empower us for the work of ministry whether near or far away; that like thy servant Harriet Bedell, we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, and by giving up ourselves to your service. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to connected against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities ad among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

We name now our prayers and intercessions, silently or aloud.

(Time for prayers is allowed.)

Hear our prayers
That we may love you with our whole being
And willingly share the concerns of our neighbors. Amen.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom:

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Icon of Deaconess Harriet Bedell by Gay Pogue


Harriet Bedell (1875-1969) was from Buffalo, NY where she was trained and working as a school teacher when an Episcopal missionary on leave from China spoke to her parish about the need for missionaries. Although she originally had her heart set on going to China, Harriet’s mother was not as excited about her daughter going overseas, and agreed for her to apply to Deaconess School instead. In 1906 she completed the one-year course at The New York Training School for Deaconesses, which provided training in religion, missions, teaching, hygiene, and nursing care, after which she was sent to be a missionary-teacher to the Cheyenne in Whirlwind Mission, Oklahoma in part, because of her teaching experience with children from the Seneca Nation from the nearby Cattaraugus reservation. She not only provided education for women and children, but tended the sick, organized access to social services, and covered liturgical duties when the rector was away.

In 1916 the Episcopal Bishop of Alaska requested her to consider a remote assignment, which began her time in Stevens Village, Alaska, a tiny village in north central Alaska just 40 miles from the Arctic Circle. In 1922 she was named a Deaconess in the Episcopal Church and her ministry was moved to Tanana so that she could start a boarding school there which had been funded by church members for children who couldn’t get to school during the long winter months. When money for the school began to run out, Harriet traveled back to New York in 1931 to ask for more funding. With the Great Depression, however, money was scarce and although the church paid the school’s debts, there was no money to continue her work in Alaska.

In 1933 at the age of 57, Harriet was invited to speak to a group in Miami, FL about her mission work in Alaska. During this trip she visited a Seminole Nation reservation and was determined to focus the rest of her life to improving their quality of life through better access to housing, education, and medical services as well as through reviving their basket and doll-making traditions so that they could preserve their traditions and become more self reliant economically.

Because her community was so spread throughout the Everglades, Harriet purchased a used Model A Ford Sedan for $298 and learned to drive it in a week. She drove all around the Everglades meeting the needs of people, but it is reported that she drove so slowly she often created traffic pile ups! She also poled dugout canoes through the swamps to minister and bring aid to those in need. She established the Glades Cross Mission where she provided education and medical services and also worked out a deal with the Collier Company (The company which brought the first telephone, railroad, newspapers, and bus company to the area and also constructed the Tamiami Trail through the Everglades, connecting the two coasts of Florida.) so that she could “pay” the Miccosukee and Seminole artisans for their handiwork and then pay them in tickets that could be used at the company stores.The handiwork was then displayed in the mission.

Although officially obliged to retire in 1943 at the age of 68, she reportedly said, “There is no retirement in the service of the Master.”She continued her work, playing a pivotal role in the Miccosukee and Seminole gaining tribal status and acquiring 200,000 acres of land for a school. She fought to maintain their land when the Everglades National Park opened in 1947, and continued in service to the native people until her church and all of her personal belongings were destroyed in 1960 by Hurricane Donna. After the storm she moved to Bishop Gray Inn, and Episcopal Retirement Home in Davenport, Florida where she cared for fellow residents until her death in 1969 at the age of 94.

This excerpt from The Florida Memory Project is a good summary of her life’s work: Bedell emphasized health and education rather than religious conversion in her work with the Seminoles; their spiritual and physical comfort was more important to her than religious conversion, and her work and friendship with the Seminoles of Florida reflected those values.

Click here for pictures of Harriet Bedell during her ministry.

Books about Harriet Bedell:

Ames, Elizabeth Scott, The Deaconess of the Everglades. 1995: Cortland Press, Cortland, NY (Phil Fisher illustrations).

Hartley, William & Ellen, A Woman Set Apart. 1963: Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, NY (definitive biography of Harriet Bedell).

Daily Morning Prayer commemorating Harriet Bedell was prepared by Hope Laingen, postulant for the diaconate from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.