Preface of Baptism
[Common of a Missionary]
[Common of a Pastor]
[For the Ministry]
[For the Mission of the Church]
PRAYER (traditional language)
God, the Great Spirit, whose breath dost give life to the world and whose voice dost thunder in the wind: We give thee thanks for thy servant Samson Occom, strong preacher and teacher among the Mohegan people; and pray that we, cherishing his example, may love learning and by love build up the communities into which thou dost send us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
PRAYER (contemporary language)
God, the Great Spirit, whose breath gives life to the world and whose voice thunders in the wind: We give you thanks for your servant Samson Occom, strong preacher and teacher among the Mohegan people; and pray that we, cherishing his example, may love learning and by love build up the communities into which you send us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
This commemoration appears in A Great Cloud of Witnesses.
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Last updated: 17 May 2019
WITNESS TO THE FAITH IN NEW ENGLAND, 1792
Reverend Samson Occom (1723 – 1792) (also spelled as Occum) was
a Native American Presbyterian clergyman and a member of the Mohegan nation
near New London, Connecticut. He has the distinction of being the first
Native American person to ever publish documents and pamphlets in English.
Born to Joshua Tomacham and his wife Sarah, Occom is believed to be a
direct descendant of the famous Mohegan chief, Uncas. In 1740, at the
age of sixteen, Occom was exposed to the teachings of Christian evangelical
preachers in the Great Awakening. He began to study theology at the "Lattin
School" of Eleazar Wheelock in 1743 and stayed for four years until
leaving to begin his own career.
Occom served as a missionary to Native American people in New England
and Montauk, Long Island, where he married a local woman. It was also
on Long Island where he was officially ordained a minister on August 30,
1759, by the presbytery of Suffolk.
Wheelock established an Indian charity school (which became Dartmouth
College) with a benefaction from Joshua Moor in 1754, and he persuaded
Occom to go to England in 1766 to raise money for the school, along with
the Rev. Nathaniel Whitaker. Occom preached his way across the country
from February 16, 1766, to July 22, 1767. He delivered in total between
three and four hundred sermons, drawing large crowds wherever he went.
By the end of his tour he had raised over twelve thousand pounds for Wheelock's
project. King George III himself donated 200 pounds, and William Legge,
Earl of Dartmouth subscribed 50 guineas. The friendship between Occom
and Wheelock dissolved when Occom learned that Wheelock had neglected
to care for Occom's wife and children while he was away. Occom also took
issue with the fact that Wheelock put the funds toward establishing Dartmouth
College for the education of Englishmen rather than of Native Americans.
Upon his return from England, Occom lived at Mohegan, then moved in 1786
with some New England and Long Island Indians to Oneida territory in what
is known today as New York. He then helped to found Brothertown, and lived
among the Brothertown Indians. Occom died on July 14, 1792, in New Stockbridge,
— from Wikipedia