An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

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Murphy, Edgar Gardner

(Aug. 31, 1869-June 23, 1913). Social Gospel theologian and southern liberal. He was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and studied at the University of the South, where he was deeply influenced by William Porcher DuBose. He also studied at the General Theological Seminary, but he received no degree from either school. He was ordained deacon on Aug. 31, 1890, and priest on Sept. 3, 1893. Murphy served Christ Church, Laredo, Texas; St. Paul's Church, Chillicothe, Ohio; and St. John's Church, Kingston, New York. His most significant ministry was as rector of St. John's Church, Montgomery, one of the oldest and most important congregations in Alabama. He served there from Nov. 1898 until 1901, when he resigned to devote himself to social work on a full-time basis. Murphy renounced the ordained ministry so that he could devote all his time to public education in the South. He was deposed on Mar. 30, 1903. He spent the remainder of his life working for improved child-labor laws, public education, and race relations. Murphy was an organizer and secretary of the Southern Society for the Promotion of the Study of Race Conditions and Programs in the South, a member of the Alabama Child Labor Commission, executive secretary of the Southern Education Board, and an organizer and first secretary of the National Child Labor Commission. His major books include Words for the Church (1897), The Larger Life (1897), and Problems of the Present South (1904). Murphy died in New York City.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.