The Western Orthodox Academy

Leonard Henderson

The late Dr. Leonard Henderson (1921-2000) was a pioneer of adult and non-traditional education in the United Kingdom in the fields of music and theology, and was a graduate and faculty member of Columbia Pacific University. Dr. Henderson was counted as a personal friend and colleague by the Master of the College. He was adopted as Patron of European-American University, which has now merged with the Western Orthodox University, and the Henderson Memorial School of Music was named for him in 2016.

The Chancellor, the Most Revd. Professor John Kersey, writes:

I met Leonard Henderson at a gathering of the Worshipful Company of Musicians (of which we were both Liverymen) during the 1990s and was struck by his deep and humane appreciation of the non-traditional concept of education. His work in favor of educational opportunities for adults, undertaken through his professional degree consulting service and related advocacy, was considerable and undertaken at a time when adult-centered non-traditional methodologies were beginning to emerge onto the educational scene here in the U.K.

Upon his unexpected death, I was fortunate to be the recipient of the bequest of Len’s valuable nineteenth-century insignia of the Sovereign Order of St John, with which I was formally invested at Coventry’s historic Guildhall when I followed in his footsteps as a Knight of the Order.

To a large extent, the values and beliefs that Len stood for have served as an example to me in my pursuit of the ideals of non-traditional education. His openness to experimentation in the service of opportunities for those who would otherwise have been educationally disenfranchised was an inspiration and a mark of a spirit that sought truth wherever it was to be found.

No appreciation of Len would be complete without mentioning his devotion to Columbia Pacific University, one of the premier non-traditional institutions of its era, where he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees and then joined the faculty passing his expertise on to others. The photograph reproduced above shows him in his doctoral robes, in which he often appeared at the organ, and following academic tradition, he was buried wearing these.

Updated version of Dr. Henderson’s biography from the World Biographical Hall of Fame
lhLeonard William Henderson was born on July 31, 1921, at Fulham in southwest London, U.K., and is of Scottish grandparents. Upon completion of his secondary education, he had aspirations to be a cinema organist, having received guidance in this direction from Charles Smart, A.R.C.M., of B.B.C. fame. However, fate decreed otherwise, particularly with the prospects of World War II looming, and he gave up the idea, or at least in a full-time capacity.

Forty years hence, a momentous event took place: he was approaching sixty, a sort of “late developer,” when he decided to embark on further academic studies and, in particular, a combined master/doctorate programme (M.A.-Ph.D.) in music history and liturgical studies with Columbia Pacific University in California. Further studies ensued with the University of the State of New York (now Excelsior College). This resurgence of academic activity originally came about purely by chance when an advertisement was spotted in a Sunday newspaper, placed there by the American degree consultant, Dr. John Bear. In retrospect, Mr. Henderson, as he was then known, had an average education, having gained nothing in particular except a few certificates in commercial subjects and music, and having failed his University Entrance Examination completely (rectified much later). It was not until his mid-twenties, while he was serving in the armed forces, that he began seriously thinking about his academic position and what he had achieved: precious little. Like most of us he had to earn a living, especially with a family, and, having vacated his old office job, he jumped at the opportunity, upon demobilization, to study full-time at Trinity College of Music, London, on a government grant. College days are remembered with pleasure and gratitude for the friendships he enjoyed with his fellow students of all races, cultures, and religions. Many have risen to the top In their various fields – opera, jazz, academia, concert pianists, organists, etc.Looking back over this period, the following texts become meaningful:

“People who make music together cannot be enemies” (Paul Hindemith)
“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133 v. 1)

Two and a half years hence, he possessed four diplomas as executant and teacher to show for his hard work, which were put to good advantage in the teaching practice that he had already built up; and he achieved a high rate of examination successes, including diplomas and scholarships. Organ appointments, broadcasts, and recital work at London churches quickly ensued; also, regular engagements as guest organist in the performance of numerous major works at public halls, collaborating with well-established concert artists, and those on the threshold of a successful career like himself. Still in his formative years, and after a period of state school teaching in music and mathematics, two events took place which were landmarks in his life. On January 1, 1951, in addition to acquiring ownership of his first house, he commenced thirty-five years in the service of The Performing Right Society. Here he gained considerable experience in the many aspects of the world of music – music copyright, the “trade,” affiliations with similar organizations throughout the world, and even more pleasantly, the meeting and corresponding with musicians from all quarters of the globe. Leonard Henderson’s unique musical knowledge was thus put into its fullest effect, further enriching those long years until his retirement from the Society four years ago. He is now able to fill the vacuum by devoting his time and energies to his organ and pianoforte performance, and to the expansion of his considerable academic activities, which have resulted in his serving on the boards of studies and several mentorships extending to nine universities and other schools of higher education in America and the United Kingdom. Also, he conducts his own music degree consultancy service, guiding mature students of all ages and backgrounds to the appropriate programmes of study and thus fulfilling their life’s ambitions.

Since the age of seven, Leonard Henderson has also been closely associated with the Church, first as a chorister, and shortly afterwards through the study of the organ, which garnered several appointments: first as an assistant to his own tutor. Dr. Frederick T. Durrant, at St. Matthias, Earl’s Court. South West London; and upon demobilization, several others. Among his most important positions are those at Archway Methodist Central Hall, Highgate. North London; and well-known churches in the West End, notably Hinde Street Methodist (University of London Chaplaincy), St. Michael’s Chester Square, and from 1976, First Church of Christ, Scientist, London. In addition to a lifelong study of music in its wide aspects, Dr. Henderson has pursued other academic fields, in particular the acquisition of office skills, and the copyright aspect of music. Shortly after leaving secondary school, he became a qualified teacher of typewriting, holding fellowships and memberships of various examining bodies, and teaching the subject at Pitman’s College head office In London and various state schools. Later, he became a member of the British Institute of Management in recognition of his administrative posts. Apart from passing the University of London’s Intermediate Bachelor of Music examination, and a brief resurgence of studies in 1970, culminating with the award of the Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists diploma, nothing remarkable happened until his fateful contact with Dr. John Bear in 1980. It was then that he was introduced to various American degree programmes available externally to students from the United Kingdom. Fortunately, Dr. Henderson selected Columbia Pacific University in California, where he began and successfuly concluded his masters and doctorate studies. He is now a member of its faculty of six-hundred specialist professors, which provides some idea as to the size and importance of this university. During his tenure there, Dr. Henderson has seen it grow in size to nearly six thousand students annually, pursuing bachelors degree programmes to doctoral programmes in every conceivable field of specialization. The university’s philosophy is one that Leonard Henderson commends:

Unitas Mentis Corporis Spiritusque   (Mind, Body and Spirit are One)

His master’s degree studies in church music history were guided by Dr. John Fouse (a contributor to “Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians”), and were followed by the successful completion of his Ph.D. with a major in music and liturgical studies. From then on his life took on a new meaning, and things began to happen quickly. It had become increasingly evident that the possession of a good degree was to be the most important step in his life at that time. Nevertheless, he still regards himself as a student, and always will. His academic life was destined to continue in musicological research; in the study of musical history in its complete spectrum, and also of the traditional chants of the Oriental Churches of the influential and vast Holy Eastern Orthodox Church. These studies have resulted in the award of a doctorate from a seminary founded in Indiana that also has a flourishing branch in the U.K., in which he is closely involved as a tutor and board member. Dr. Henderson continued his research further, the result of which was a doctor of divinity with a major in eastern church studies. He is now honored to be a research professor in this Swedish seminary. The further distinction of a Fellowship in the London College of Music was awarded him after the submission of a thesis on the Pentatonic Scale (Asiatic form). In addition to the various examining boards on which he serves, he has been invited for inclusion on the Inspectorate of The British Accreditation Council for Independent Further and Higher Education. Dr. Henderson is a committed disciple of the American “non-traditional” concept and approach to learning exemplified in the degree programmes of his alma mater, Columbia Pacific University, which are designed to accommodate each individual’s specific field of interests and potential. Consequently, what he has learned he now puts at the disposal of others. Dr. Henderson is also an eternally dedicated admirer of the music, life, and philosophy of the late Viennese conductor, Robert Stolz, the prolific composer of some three thousand works, whom history remembers as ‘The Last of the Waltz Kings.” in his memory, and in recognition of his service, Dr. Henderson has been conferred the Diploma of Honor of The International Robert Stolz Society, of which there is a branch in the United Kingdom, and several others throughout the world. The lifetime motto of Robert Stolz (1880-1975), and one which Dr. Henderson would like to perpetuate, is: “If some day Our Lord says ‘Come to Me’, I can only take with me what I have given away to others.”

In 1985, following his writings on the music and liturgies of the Eastern Churches, Dr. Henderson was asked by the chairman and editor of the Anglican Catholic Gazette, the official organ of The Anglican Society, to write an article on Ethiopic Christianity. It was well received, and he was invited to write further articles on this particular field; he is now a regular contributor. In 1987 Dr. Mar Aprem, Metropolitan Bishop of The Church of the East, whose palace is at Trichur, Kerala, in South India, honored Dr. Henderson with an invitation to review and write a foreword to his latest book, The Cross of Calvary. Dr. Henderson found it appropriate to quote these wonderful words of the writer John Oxenham (1852-1941):

In Christ there is no East or West
In Him no South or North
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth
In Him shall true hearts everywhere
Their high communion find
His service is the golden cord
Close-binding all mankind

lh2This book, incidentally, has been translated into over one hundred languages. Besides a recent spell of academic work in Kenya. Dr. Henderson’s regular activities are holidays round the world, which are combined with “fact finding missions.” During the past few years, his knowledge has been enriched by visits to several countries: the Soviet Union, India, America (two thousand miles of the East Coast), China, and parts of the Middle East. Plans for Ethiopia have been regrettably postponed. In early 1986 he was able to combine business with pleasure when, because of his incalculable knowledge of,the American system of higher learning, he was asked to serve on a delegation of academics visiting Kenya, forging a link of affiliation between a new university and the American University of London. Another important phase in Dr. Henderson’s career as an organist came about through redundancy in an appointment from the Established Church. However, having regard to his vast and long experience, he was approached by one of two Churches of Christ, Scientist, in the London area in the early 1970s to act as temporary organist, which lasted two and a half years, and as a Deputy. Later, on, in 1976, he was selected by audition to become the regular organist at First Church of Christ, Scientist, London S.W. It has also afforded him the opportunity to reflect not only on his performance, but also on what connotes music conducive to services of Divine Worship. In other words, It must possess a spiritual quality. He also feels that the same approach to his playing is compatible with and, indeed, complementary to his interest in music therapy. Since music is the greatest of the arts, it is natural that organists seek to serve God in the obvious way, i.e., through the medium in which they have been endowed, music; and he would like to feel that the church organist does not succumb to religious or rather sectarian bigotry, but can thank God, the giver of his special talent, in whatever church he finds inspiration and outlet for his musical offering. He believes that the following Armenian motto could very well be emulated by all churches that claim to be doing the will of the Master:

Unity in Essentials
Liberality in Unessentials
But, above all. Charity in all things

Dr. Henderson always emphasizes the fact that there is more that we have in common than that which disunites us; and, in a way, atheists have a valid reason to suspect any religion that treats their fellow brothers and sisters as pariahs, an issue at which we still fail lamentably. He lays great stress on the therapeutic value of music and feels that church organists should emulate the aspirations of many of the great composers (including Bach and Handel), remembering at all times that music not only uplifts, but also heals. It is Dr. Henderson’s hope that the following Old Testament verse is appropriate to his humble offering:

“It came to pass when the minstrel played that the hand of the Lord was upon him.” (2 Kings iii. 15)

Dr. Henderson is grateful for the opportunity to officiate at the organ console of First Church of Christ, Scientist, London S.W.1., where he has played for fourteen years, thus completing over fifty years of service since his post-choirboy days. His very full week of activity is completed by his increasing academic work.Lastly, and most important, Dr. Henderson’s service to music has culminated in an appointment to the Livery of The Worshipful Company of Musicians, and his ambition has been further fulfilled through his admittance to the Freedom of the City of London. In 1999, he obtained by purchase the title of Lord of the Manor of Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex.His interests lie in the beauty of country life, world-wide travel, spiritual sciences, liturgical music, music therapy, ethnomusicology. and philately. In conjunction with these interests, he also enjoys book and record collecting (classics, music hall, jazz, folk, ethnic music, Eastern music), organ playing, accompanying and recordings, music degree counselling, and musicological research.Scholarly works include: Music and Liturgical Studies: Jesus and the Synagogue to the East-West Separation of 1054 AD.; A General Survey of Church Music History; The Coptic and Ethiopian Churches and Their Music; Church Music and the Orient (An Insight Into its Origins and Influences); The Pentatonic (Asiatic) Scale; Publications of The Anglican Society: Christianity in China – Nestorianism. Ethiopic Christianity, The Maronites, The Armenian Church, The Coptic Church, and miscellaneous writings on liturgical music. He and his late wife Elizabeth, had a son and daughter, and three grandchildren.

Accomplishments attained by Dr. Henderson follow:
Musical education: Trinity College of Music, London; University of London; private tuition with Dr. F.T. Durrant, Allan Brown, Charles Smart, and Dr. Henry Coates (composition); registered teacher, Ministry of Education. Examination successes: licentiate of The Royal Academy of Music (pianoforte accompaniment); licentiate of Trinity College of Music, London (triple diplomas in pianoforte performance, organ teaching and general music teaching); fellowship of The Royal College of Organists; fellowship of The London College of Music (by thesis); Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy, Columbia Pacific University, California; Doctor of Music, Central School of Religion, Indiana (U.K. branch). Doctor of Divinity, St. Ephrem’s Institute of Eastern Church Studies (Sweden). Honors: Knight of Grace, Sovereign Order of St John Of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta (The Hereditary Order); Lord of the Manor of Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex, U.K.; Cultural Doctorate in Sacred Philosophy, The World University Roundtable, Arizona, U.S.A.; Doctor of Music and Fine Arts, Ateneo di Studi Superiori Pro Pace (Italy): Ecclesiastical Award of The Order of Saint Martin of the Holy Cross of The Apostolic Episcopal Church, Archdiocese of The Caribbean, W.I.; Honorary Fellow: Guild of Musicians and Singers, Independent Contemporary Music Awards (ICMA), National College of Music, Faculty of Church Music (Central School of Religion); Fellow: Academy of St Cecilia, Curwen College of Music, Independent Awards Committee, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland; Lifetime Deputy Governor of The American Biographical Institute Research Association; Elected “Man of the Year 1990” by the American Biographical Institute & Board for International Research. Lifetime Fellow, Patron and Deputy Director General of the International Biographical Association, Cambridge; Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Musicians; Freeman of the City of London; Member of La Maison Internationale des Intellectuels (L’Academie Française); Associate member of the International Society for Psychic Research with a special interest in Spiritual Studies; In 1988 given rank of “Minister of Music, America”. Main academic appointments: Faculty of Church Music and Central School of Religion Board of Studies; faculty member, Columbia Pacific University, California; Professor of Music and Eastern Church Studies, Director, School of Liberal Arts, Personal Assistant to the Chancellor, American University of London; director of studies and member of the Academic Board, National College of Music, London; guide professor of Graduate Music Studies, World Open University Graduate School, South Dakota; tutor, Geneva Theological College, Cambridge (later Greenwich School of Theology); research professor, St. Ephrem’s Institute of Eastern Church Studies, Sweden; music advisor, University de la Romande; inspector, British Accreditation Council for Further and Higher Education, 1985-. Church organ appointments include: Holy Trinity, Brompton, London, S.W.; Archway Methodist Central Hall, North London; Park Chapel, Crouch End, North London (a position held by Dr. Eric Thiman – afterwards appointed to The City Temple); Hinde Street Methodist Church (University of London Chaplaincy), London, W.I.; St. Michael’s, Chester Square, London, S.W.I.; First Church of Christ, Scientist, London, S.W.I. (1976 onwards).Dr. Leonard Henderson’s work has been recognized in numerous biographical publications, shown here with the names of their publishers: the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, U.K.; the International Register of Profiles (8th ed.): the International Who’s Who In Music and Musicians’ Directory (10th ed., 1985); the International Biographical Association Directory (1987); Men of Achievement (12th ed,, 1988); The First Five Hundred; American Biographical Institute: the International Book of Honor (“Hall of Fame”); the International Directory of Distinguished Leadership (1st ed.): and the International Book of Honor (2nd World ed.)