Thomas Bray, Priest

15 February -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of Pastors, page 483

Born at Marton in Shropshire in 1656, Thomas Bray was educated at Oxford and subsequently ordained. He was chosen by the Bishop of London to assist with the work of organising the church in Maryland in the USA but, during an extended delay in his setting out, he managed to organise a system of free libraries, initially for use in America but later instituted in England. This led to his founding the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) in 1698. On his return to Europe in 1699, he also founded The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG). He died on this day in the year 1730.