Marion Josiah Hatchett, theologian, author and priest, dies at 82

August 10, 2009

The Rev. Marion Josiah Hatchett, who served with distinction as professor of liturgy and church music for 30 years from 1969 to 1999 at the School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, died August 7 in Sewanee, Tennessee. He was 82.

A priest of the Episcopal Church, he served parishes in the dioceses of Upper South Carolina and South Carolina prior to his appointment to the faculty at Sewanee.

Marion Hatchett was born July 19, 1927, in South Carolina. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, a bachelor of divinity from the School of Theology of the University of the South, Sewanee, and a master's degree in sacred theology and a doctorate in theology from the General Theological Seminary in New York City, New York. In 2006, he was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree by Wofford College, and in 2008 he was honored by the General Theological Seminary as Distinguished Alumnus of the year. He was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree by the University of the South at the university's commencement in 2008.

In addition to training generations of Episcopal clergy, Hatchett served from 1973-76 on the drafting committees that produced the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and on the Standing Liturgical Commission from 1976-1982. He was convener and chair of the ecumenical committee that produced the "Common Eucharistic Prayer," included in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer as Eucharistic Prayer D. He chaired the committee that produced the first Book of Occasional Services (1979). He served on the Standing Commission on Church Music from 1973-1985, chairing the text committee for The Hymnal 1982.

A founding member of the North American Academy of Liturgy, Hatchett was a prolific scholar, writing 13 books and numerous articles on the history and practice of liturgy and church music. Chief among his written works is his "Commentary on the American Prayer Book," the definitive guide to the history and theology of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.

The funeral will take place at Otey Parish church in Sewanee after the start of the school year.