John Melville. Burgess was born March 11, 1909 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on March 11, 1909, the son of Theodore Thomas and Ethel (Beverly) Burgess. He received a bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan in 1930 and 1931, respectively, and graduated from Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts., in 1934. He was ordained in 1935.
He began his ordained ministry at his home parish, St. Phillip’s Church in Grand Rapids, and was charged with the mission church of St. Simon of Cyrene in a community outside of Cincinnati that he described as “the poorest of the poor.” From St. Simon’s he administered a social services center, medical clinic and day school in an effort to make the church a place that ministered to the whole person. His experiences at St. Simon’s, coupled with his activism alongside the region’s auto workers toward integration of organized labor, helped shape him as one who understood the concerns of working people and the poor and, later, as a bishop who provided unusually effective leadership across lines of race and class.
On Aug. 2, 1945, he married Esther J. Taylor in Fredericton, New Brunswick. An activist in her own right, Mrs. Burgess was arrested and put in jail in 1964 (with others, including Mrs. Malcolm Peabody, wife of a bishop and mother of Massachusetts governor Endicott Peabody) when she refused to leave the Ponce De Leon Motel in St. Augustine, Florida., after being told that she would have to eat in the restaurant kitchen.
We ran across the bishop looking for #151 the astrologer of the same name and he struck our fancy.
Bishop Burgess has a good chart for a religious man: Mercury is the lord of the chart and in the 9th House that highlights the higher mind and education. His Pluto is conjunct his Ascendant at 29 Gemini showing how his adulthood and later schooling, gave him purpose and solidified his faith. The North Node in the first house shows his mission to undertake daring deeds that also gives him protection against his foes to bring about his success. The South Node in the 7th house but alone, shows how he knew through his faith not to rely on man but sextile the Part of Fortune and Mercury in the 9th, his higher calling.