- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 30, 2000

"Keep us, we pray, from thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, and ready at all times to step aside for others, in honor preferring one another, that the cause of Christ may be advanced." Suggested prayeron the Feast of Saint Chad

LONGVIEW, Texas As if this presidential election needs another twist, it turns out there is a patron saint of disputed elections, and it's none other than St. Chad of Lichfield, England.

The seventh-century Anglican bishop is perhaps best known for not being the archbishop of York. While Chad was elected and duly installed as archbishop of York, some bishops objected to his ordination because his consecration had not been rightly performed.

Unlike his bickering American counterparts today, however, Chad humbly withdrew in favor of the other candidate to preserve unity.

Rather than cause division in the church, Chad is said to have told the archbishop of Canterbury: "If you decide that I have not rightly received the episcopal character, I willingly lay down the office; for I have never thought myself worthy of it, but under obedience, I, though unworthy, consented to undertake it."

The archbishop of Canterbury was so impressed with Chad's humility, the story goes, that he ordained Chad Bishop of Lichfield instead. Chad died on March 2, 672, and he was venerated as a saint soon afterward.

The Rev. Jim Bass, pastor of Mission Bend United Methodist Church in Houston, uncovered the ironic historical twist and passed along the information to Methodist pastors in the Texas conference. His tale was verified by the Oxford Dictionary of Saints.

The Rev. Jim Welch of Longview's First United Methodist Church said the irony of a saint named Chad was too good to pass up at the beginning of his sermon Sunday morning. And the congregation cracked up, he added.

"I was going to use it in our newsletter, but I could not resist using it in church," Mr. Welch said. "I mean, how ironic. The Bible is full of gentle humor, with all kinds of word play. And the greatest use is irony."

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