A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of Samuel Shoemaker

Holy God, we offer thanks for the vision of Samuel Shoemaker, priest and co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous; and we pray that we may follow his example to help others find salvation through knowledge and love of Jesus Christ our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Alcohol/Drinking, Alcoholism, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer

5 comments on “A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of Samuel Shoemaker

  1. Brad M says:

    It is nice that Sam Shoemaker is being given a Provisional Feast Day. I expect, though, that AA would never call him a co-founder. Dr. Bob and Bill W. are accorded that title. He did have a personal impact on Bill W. and was a great friend of AA. Read ‘AA Comes of Age” which describes their relationship.

  2. Jeremy Bonner says:

    The renewal movement actually has more to thank Shoemaker for than AA. The prayer culture that he instituted at Calvary Church in the 1950s gave rise to subsequent developments at Sewickley and elsewhere in Pittsburgh in the 1960s and 1970s, including Trinity School for Ministry (Peter Moore was one of Shoemaker’s curates).

    [url=http://catholicandreformed.blogspot.com]Catholic and Reformed[/url]

  3. Rob Eaton+ says:

    I’d agree with Jeremy. AA clearly identifies Sam Shoemaker as a spiritual founder, rather than co-founder, as he made himself available with spiritual and pastoral to the founder(s) and helped in providing a framework for the 12 steps. But AA was only one of the fruit of foundational work and thought brought about through Sam’s ministry. And it is more specific than identifying it as “the renewal movement” (I think you have to give that one to Dennis Bennett+ and perhaps George Stockhowe+, and the laity who brought it to them).
    Sam’s work was being evangelistic (accoladed as the foremost mainline evangelist of a half century), and especially seeing the value of such through small groups, which also provided assimilation. That is the first grand movement of the 1950’s – small groups in the Body of Christ – and he was at it clearly before the 1950’s, when it exploded ecumenically.
    Sam wasn’t perfect, by any means, but a provisional feast day collect that points only to AA, and makes allusion to that being his primary tool of evangelism, is quite limiting.

  4. Jeremy Bonner says:


    Agreed, if “renewal” is understood specifically as “charismatic renewal.” I’ve also employed it – perhaps wrongly – as a generic term to embrace that assemblage of Evangelical bodies that includes – but is not limited to – SAMS and the Fellowship of Witness.

    And of course you’re right to point out that the Shoemaker story begins at Calvary, New York (and was the reason Austin Pardue brought him to Pittsburgh in the first place).

  5. Rob Eaton+ says:

    I remember the day when I heard that ECF was becoming ERM. Seemed the right thing at the time, but I think some umph was lost to the momentum of the charismatic renewal.
    Anyway, that’s my context for reading the word renewal, so, backward from that point, references of the renewal movement before then are indeed specific to the charismatic renewal.
    BTW, do you know if John Wipf is related to Al Wipf?
    Back to Sam, after reading many of his works years ago (my dad had a connection to his ministry, and I attended a Faith at Work seminar around the mid-seventies), I went looking for articles or comments he might have made re: Bennett, et al, and there wasn’t much. And since he died in 1964 (?), he would have known of some of the hubbub, but not much of the spreading influence throughout the Church. Despite the lack of contemporary reflection, there’s no doubt he was fully aware and articulate on matters of the Holy Spirit, perhaps moreso than any other Episcopalian author during that time.
    But then there weren’t many others. That’s very sad, isn’t it.