Sam Shoemaker

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Samuel Moor Shoemaker was a well-known priest who lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Samuel, a rector of the Episcopal Church, preached through electronic means such as radio and tape. He was interested in politics as a graduate student, owing to his admiration for President Woodrow Wilson, and he was against brainwashing pupils with the righteousness of war and military training in educational institutions. He loved being active in missionary work because he was a sensitive man. He began his evangelistic ministry in China, where he was a participant in the Princeton in China Program. Later, he was placed under the supervision of Frank Buchman, a member of the Oxford Group. When he was ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church, he became a member of the organization. After that, he reinvented Manhattan’s Calvary Church, where he served as rector for eleven years. The Moral Re-Armament movement sprang out of the ‘Faith at Work’ movement. Samuel’s thoughts later became the basis for the organization ‘Alcoholics Anonymous.’ Throughout his life, he also wrote various books on religion and philosophy, many of which became followers of the Oxford Group and New York. Continue reading to learn more about his life and work.

Childhood and Adolescence

Shoemaker was born on December 27, 1893, to Protestant parents in Baltimore, Maryland. He spent his first two years of existence there.

The family moved from their rented apartment to their ancestral home, ‘Burnside,’ in 1895.
He went to Rhode Island’s ‘St. George’s prep school.’ He felt lonely and home sick in his first days away from his family, and he struggled to fit in with the students. In 1912, he followed in his father’s footsteps and enrolled in ‘Princeton University.’

He went on a tour of Europe after finishing his undergraduate studies. Through the ‘World Student Christian Federation,’ he was introduced to the concept of ecumenism during this time. The group tried to spread the concept of a united church among students.

Career of Sam Shoemaker

By 1917, he had proven to be a genuine believer in the concept of ecumenism, and he traveled to China as part of the ‘Princeton University’ student exchange program. He worked to build a section of the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) in addition to giving business lectures to students.

During his time in China, he met Frank Buchman, the founder of the ‘Oxford Group,’ albeit he did not gain any significant converts. Sam followed the way of the almighty under his capable direction. In 1919, he returned to Princeton and became the leader of the ‘Philadelphian Society.’

Under the direction of Bishop Murray, he was ordained as a deacon in the ‘Episcopal Church’ in 1920, a position he retained for the next two years.

During the academic year 1922-23, he returned to Princeton as the head of the ‘Philadelphian Society.’ Throughout this time, he kept in touch with Buchman, who paid frequent visits to the university. By this time, the ‘Oxford Group’ had amassed a loyal following as well as some adversaries.

He moved to New York after finishing his study at Princeton. He enrolled in the ‘General Theological Seminary’ in that city. He worked part-time in the Manhattan-based ‘Grace Church’ under bishop Charles Louis Slattery during his final year of theology school.

He embarked on a tour of Europe and the Middle East after graduating from divinity school. Around the same time, the ‘Calvary Church’ invited Samuel to preside over the congregation. He accepted the position of rector and was ordained.

During his eleven-year tenure, he made numerous attempts to revitalize the church by attracting new consumers and parishioners. He also instilled in regular churchgoers the ideals of the ‘Oxford Group.’
While some cults welcomed his teachings, he encountered hostility from others. He also drew criticism for selling a portion of the church’s land to rebuild his residence.

He was heavily involved with the mission ‘Faith at Work,’ which he co-founded with Frank Buchman, from 1926 to 1941. Initially, Samuel ran the mission out of the grounds of ‘Calvary Church,’ but the ministry subsequently objected.

As his reputation as a Reverend grew, he began broadcasting his sermons on the ‘WJZ radio station’ in 1946 to reach a wider audience.

On the 25th anniversary of his priesthood in the ‘Calvary Church,’ he was invited to serve as a rector at the church’s Pittsburgh location. He accepted after great persuasion and the ‘Pittsburgh Experiment’ began in 1955.
He retired from the ministry due to ill health and found peace in his home in Burnside. However, he continued to preach on the radio.

Major Projects of Sam Shoemaker

His views established the groundwork for the formation of ‘Alcoholic Anonymous,’ which went on to become a globally recognized organization for the counseling and treatment of alcoholics and their families.

Achievements & Awards

In 1955, ‘Newsweek’ named him one of the top 10 preachers in the country. He was named ‘Man of the Year’ by the ‘Pittsburgh Jaycees’ the following year.

Personal History and Legacy

In 1925, Samuel married Helen Smith Shoemaker, with whom he had two daughters. The pair met at ‘Princeton University,’ where they were both students.
On October 31, 1963, the famed evangelist passed away. He was buried at Baltimore’s ‘St. Thomas Churchyard’ after his death.

Estimated Net Worth

The estimated net worth of Sam Shoemaker is unknown.