< Episcopal News and Current Events -- News About ECUSA: June 2006 Episcopal News and Current Events -- News About ECUSA: June 2006
Today's Quote

A Prayer For This Web Site
Almighty God, you proclaim your truth in every age by many voices; Direct, in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may do their part in making the heart of this people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
"For those who Influence Public Opinion,"
Book of Common Prayer, page 827

In our church, neither a person's gender nor their sexual orientation matter; what does matter is how they serve Jesus Christ as Lord.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Plans to Build a New Church Start in 1923

In an earlier message I mentioned how the original church building (and the supplemental property a half-block away and across the street) served us very well for a half century -- almost too well -- as things had gotten to the point that the original church was very crowded and the main church building at 8th and Laurel was beginning to show signs of very needed repairs. The original building - actually more of a chapel -- was 20 feet wide by 40 feet long and could seat 150 people. By standards of the nineteenth century it was a pretty good looking little church. Father Beatty had designed a small, but properly proportioned Gothic church.

Trouble was, by the early 1920's, there were routinely at least 100 people in church each week, the pews were small (see the remaining 'antique pew' from the old church we saved for historical purposes in the new building, along with the old pulpit back there), heating and cooling were not the best, to say the least, and we had already expanded once before (in 1917, the vestry had purchased -- for two thousand dollars -- a cottage and lot north of the 'main building' for the Sunday School and frequent, other than church, group meetings). Notice the church growth in the early years:
In 1872 we started with _12_ communicants.
In 1873 that was almost doubled to _23_ communicants.
In 1905 after the church had reorganized it was three times that number at _66_.
From 1905 through 1922, it doubled again, to _128_ communicants. By the mid-1950's the number of communicants would double two more times.

So with that foresight in mind, the vestry in the early 1920's knew what had to be done. Time was indeed running out ... and firm plans for a new building had to be made as quickly as possible. After 50 years of service as a church, the land at Eighth and Laurel was sold for five thousand dollars and the vestry started making preparations to move.

In February, 1923, the vestry voted to purchase two lots, side by side on which a suitable church could be constructed. The present site, 400 West Maple Street was selected as an ideal location to build a new church, in keeping with the architectural design and standard of Episcopal Churches. I would also have to say the location is ideal: living as I do in the southeast area of town, and being a handicapped older communicant of the church, a short, five-block walk to the church is very easy for me. In the June, 1923 meeting of the vestry the chairman of the building committee, Mr. George Guernsey, Jr. proposed that the building campaign should begin with a parish house, then the church, then a rectory.

If all had gone according to schedule, the parish house was to be erected in 1923. But so many things do not go according to schedule. They were not able to break the ground until December 16, 1923 when Bishop James Wise was here to participate in the ground breaking ceremony. The first part of our new church, the parish house (the north end of our church, now called 'Parish Hall') opened on September 7, 1924. Little did the vestry know that over the next century (well, at least 82 years as of now, 9/1924 though 7/2006) how much that parish house would be used by the community at large -- not just the church folks -- and how appreciated it would be.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

An Interview With Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

Again, off the beaten path a little, this time for the transcript of an interview on PBS with our new Presiding Bishop.

Interview with Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

June 21, 2006

RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY correspondent and program managing editor Kim
Lawton spoke to Presiding Bishop-Elect Katharine Jefferts Schori on June 20
in one of the first in-depth interviews the bishop has given since her landmark election. Excerpts from this conversation will be included in this week's edition
of the show (to be distributed Friday, June 23) as part of a larger story on the convention.

KIM LAWTON: You mentioned right away after your election that you saw the church as having an opportunity to be the vehicle for the reign of God. And I just wanted you to tell us a little bit more about what you see, what is that vision of the church?

Bishop KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI (Presiding Bishop-Elect, U.S. Episcopal Church): Well, the church is a community that is really called to transform the world around it. That takes different forms in different places. Each one of us has got a piece to play in that kind of work. And the fact that this General Convention has adopted justice and peace as its first priority for mission in the coming triennium, particularly focused on the UN Millennium Development Goals, gives us an enormous opportunity to be part of building something that looks very much like the reign of God that's achievable in our own day.

LAWTON: Are you very mindful of the magnitude of what you are lurching into?

Bishop JEFFERTS SCHORI: Probably not fully. I'm sure that I will have much to learn that I don't even know about. But I think life is meant to be challenging. If we're going to use the fullness of the gifts that we've been given, it means we have to continue to be stretched. And I look forward to that.

LAWTON: What message does your election send to all the quarters of the Episcopal Church?

Bishop JEFFERTS SCHORI: This is not your grandmother's church anymore. When I was growing up, girls and women could only do things like sing in the choir and serve on the altar guild. And singing's not my great strength, so I had no concept of being active in leadership in the church when I was growing up.

LAWTON: And what about for the rest of the communion? What message, what signal do you hope this sends to other members of the Anglican Communion?

Bishop JEFFERTS SCHORI: I hope that our decisions at this General Convention send several messages to the rest of the communion: that we are incredibly anxious to be, to continue to be, part of the communion; that we are fully committed to partnerships across the globe; that we firmly believe that all people need to be included in the reign of God that is being built; that people of all colors and races and nations and language groups and sexual orientations are fully part of this creation that God has blessed us with.

LAWTON: What do you anticipate saying to some of the primates at your first meeting, including some that you know have problems with women being ordained? What can you imagine yourself saying to them?

Bishop JEFFERTS SCHORI: One would probably begin with "hello," to begin to build some kind of relationship, speaking about each other's contexts, who am I, where do I come from, what kind of history do I bring, what kind of theology do I understand that this church is being called to? And we cannot have substantive conversations until we know each other as human beings.

LAWTON: Some people say that this has been a real crucial time for the Anglican Communion just in terms of reexamining what Anglicanism means today in this world. Do you think that is going on right now?

Bishop JEFFERTS SCHORI: Yes it is, and I think it goes on in every age. Anglicanism has grown out of a history of struggle and tension. The great Elizabethan compromise that produced the Church of England was born out of incredible strife, but it has been a gift to many, many people around the globe.

LAWTON: And so in what way do you see, you know, what are some of the critical issues that global Anglicans need to be examining right now?

Bishop JEFFERTS SCHORI: We need to be examining the poverty that is real around the world. We need to be examining the fact that our brothers and sisters, Anglican and not, in places like Africa and Asia don't have enough to eat. Their children don't have the opportunity to go to school. AIDS and tuberculosis and malaria are rampant in many parts of this world and people with those diseases don't have access to adequate health care. That's where our focus needs to be.

LAWTON: Clearly, one of the big challenges, the big issue is the sexuality debates. What message do you hope that this convention sends to people who are very upset about the consecration of Gene Robinson and are really opposed to same-sex, the blessing of same-sex unions? What signal do you hope they get from this convention?

Bishop JEFFERTS SCHORI: That there is room for them at this table as well.

LAWTON: And what about for gay and lesbian members of the church who are concerned that maybe there is a backing away, that maybe they're being, in some way being called to make sacrifices for the sake of unity that aren't just, for a church that's emphasizing justice? What do you hope they hear from this?

Bishop JEFFERTS SCHORI: The same message, that there is room for them at this table as well, that God calls all of us to this bountiful table to share in the riches of creation that were given for all.

LAWTON: There've been some pretty pointed statements publicly from some of the conservative bishops and other leaders of that wing of the church, really raising questions about whether indeed everybody can stay at the table and whether this is a time when that is no longer possible. Do you feel that reconciliation is still possible, and what will you do to try and make that happen?

Bishop JEFFERTS SCHORI: Reconciliation is always possible. The Christian faith is about the eternity of hope. Once we give up hope, I think we cease to become active, engaged Christians. If we have no hope, we have repudiated the basis of our faith. There is always the possibility of reconciliation, resurrection, renewal. And once we lose a sense of that in a very deep way, we have challenged the very foundations of our faith. If -- if the resurrection, the reconciliation may come beyond the grave, but we insist that it is always possible.

LAWTON: Talk about the transition, oceanographer turned bishop. What led to that?

Bishop JEFFERTS SCHORI: Well, I knew I was supposed to go fishing, and it took me a while to figure out just what for. Christians often talk about being sent to fish for people; the gospel is about drawing all people into the reign of God. When it became apparent that I was not going to be able to continue to be an active oceanographer, that if I wanted to continue in the field it was going to be as a grants writer and hustling grant money, right at the very same time, three people in my congregation asked me if I'd ever thought about being a priest, just out of the blue. It seemed absurd, it seemed unfitting to the gifts that I recognized at the time. But I went and spoke at great length with the priest in that congregation and came to the conclusion that, at least, the time wasn't right. But five years later, I was asked to preach on a Sunday morning when he wasn't going to be there -- a new rector. And that experience and the response that I had to that experience finally let me say yes. And I was in seminary the next fall.

LAWTON: Describe some of your emotions on Sunday [the day she was elected the first female presiding bishop]. What gamut did they run?

Bishop JEFFERTS SCHORI: It was a long and challenging day -- to sit waiting, to recognize that this election might possibly call me into this office. I think we were all surprised, all of us.

LAWTON: And I have a personal question for you. Just, a lot of people have different practices to maintain their own spiritual spark, you know, and to maintain that, and I'm just wondering if you'd be willing to share what's most meaningful for you? How do you get your best connection with God?

Bishop JEFFERTS SCHORI: I've always found a great sense of spirituality in the out-of-doors. I ground myself as a creature in the midst of the natural created order. And taking Sabbath time is exceedingly important to me, taking time away, and I bring all of those together in seeking solitude in the wilderness. The wilderness is a place of great gifts. It may be threatening to some people; it ought to be threatening, I think, in some important way. But it is a place where I discover God, and what God is calling me to do and be.


Church Continues its Growth and Expansion

After Father Randall left us in 1912, another excellent man, the Reverend
H. Haupt came here from Burlington, Kansas to be our rector. Due to a childhood
accident, he spent his entire life on crutches. He had a fine singing voice, directed the choir himself, and founded the Alter Guild in 1914. He left us in
1915 to do missionary work in Wyoming where he founded several missions around
the Yellowstone Park area. He then took a position as rector at Grace Church in Philadelphia, where he passed away during the Easter Communion Service in
1928. He is buried here in Mount Hope Cemetery.

Also, in 1914, St. Mary's Guild was started, and it remained an active part of
our church until it was dissolved into the Women of Epiphany Auxiliary in 1971.
Fr. Haupt was followed by Father Mack on March 1, 1915. Fr. Mack was especially active in holding services -- the trouble is, often times no one would
attend; no one at all.

By this point, there was a regular choir of seventeen people and he instituted a later afternoon/early evening program on an occassional basis
called Choral Evensong. He always conducted three services daily during
the Lenten season. He also had a service called "Harvest Festival" with a
Reverend Fenn from Wichita as the guest preacher. But, often as not, few or no people would come to church for the 7:30 AM mass. People would attend for the service in the later morning, and also in the evening however. Bishop Millspaugh died November 21, 1916 and Fr. Mack held a special Eucharist for him on
November 26. The newly elected Bishop, The Right Reverend James Wise made his
first visit here on April 29, 1917.

In the spring that same year, 1917, the church had purchased, for $2000, a
small cottage and lot north of the church (approximatly 8th and Chestnut) to be
used for the Sunday School and other group meetings. Just before Fr. Mack left,
a Girl's Friendly Society was organized, with Mrs. Houston (see earlier message about the Epiphany Sunday School) sponsoring it. Girl's Friendly
had several projects, including much work for the Red Cross, and they also
furnished and maintained a room at West Side County Hospital which we now know as Mercy Hospital.

Those early days at Epiphany were very busy, active times. After the vist by Bishop Wise on April 29, 1917, Fr. Mack tendered his resignation effective July 1, 1917.
We did not have a priest until April, 1918 -- about nine months later -- when Reverend William E. Warren was appointed by the vestry. He was here about three years and the last recorded activity in his register was the baptism of L.C. Inge on June 28, 1921.

Warren stayed here from 1918 until 1922, when Reverend Francis B. Shaner took over on October 1, 1922.
But time was starting to run out for the little church building. After 54 years, the building had seen better times; was much to small for the number of congregants regularly worshipping, had leaks in the roof, and just overall was not very satisfactory for our needs. The vestry sold the building to the D.A.R. (Daughters of American Revolution) who used it for a few more years and moved it over to the corner of Park Boulevard (formerly Third Street) and Locust. D.A.R. eventually sold it to the Girl Scouts who now (as of 2006) use it now and then. The building is protected from being torn down under federal law and the Historic Preservation Act. Our vestry sold the land under the building for five thousand dollars and started planning a new home.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Few More Details on Church of the Ascension in Neodesha - part 2

Just as the early 1900's brought much life to Independence and Epiphany Church, likewise Neodesha and Church of the Ascension were similarly blessed. For Epiphany our good fortune came from the Sinclair Pipe Line Company and the Midland Glass Plant. In Neodesha's instance, the same period of time brought not only Standard Oil (in later years known as Amoco) but also a smelter, two brick plants, a glass plant, the roundhouse, and much oil and glass exploration.

From 1908-1925 Ascension was served by two archdeacons and four priests or rectors. Reverend Stowells was the first resident priest and one of the most popular. In 1929, Reverend Charles Davies, who with his wife lived in Coffeyville, began serving Neodesha on a regular basis. Fr. Davies was transferred to Chanute in 1931, but he continued to care for the missions in Coffeyville and Neodesha.

In the 1930's and 1940's, Fr. William Paul Barnds served both Epiphany in Independence, and Ascension in Neodesha. Fr. Raasch served Epiphany for 11 years in in the 1940-50 era as well as Neodesha. Then, Ascension had a resident priest, Fr. Boyer for a year and a half in 1949-50.

The Reverend John Fargher was the vicar at Epiphany from 1955 through 1959, and during that same time he also had charge of Neodesha with the exception of the two
years, 1957-58 when Reverend Warren H. Sapp was a resident priest at Neodesha.

Street Hall, the parish house at Neodesha was constructed in 1957-58 under the supervision of Fr. Sapp. There are a lot more details in the history of Church of the Ascension, but I will leave those up to the vestry there when they plan something for their hundredth anniversary in April, 2008.

But I thought that since Neodesha and Independence were so historically innertwined, you at least needed a bit of its history. At the present time (2006)
Fr. Gerry and our staff here at Epiphany serve them.

More About Ascension Church

Church of the Ascension (SE) 702 Osage Neodesha, KS 66757
We are also affiliated with and share Vicar and Deacon with Ascension Church

There are several things Ascension and Epiphany share
in their respective
histories and I have now received more history on the Neodesha church to be
shared with you. My thanks goes to Clark Thompson, a member of the vestry
there for making these details available.

For one, Ascension began meetings in April, 1876, just a few years after the founding of the town of Neodesha, in 1867.

Epiphany began in April, 1872, just a dozen or
so years after the town of Independence got started.

For two, one of the founders of Ascension, Amanda McCartney, wife of Dr. Allen McCartney, was one of the founders of the town of Neodesha.

While J.A. Eisenberg, the fellow who held the organizational meeting of Friends of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Independence was not a
founder of the town of Independence, he was rather 'highly placed' and a very respected leader in the community.

For three, the earliest meetings of Church of the Ascension, like the earliest meetings of Epiphany
were held in many public halls around town; also the hotel parlor, other churches, and sometimes in private homes.

The first year of Epiphany's existence was the same kind of thing; public halls around town,
other churches, even for a month or so at City Hall. But after a year of that, we had our
original church home, at 8th and Laurel Streets. Ascension would go on for a few more years in
'borrowed spaces'.

There is no indication that Ascension suffered the same 'black out' period that Epiphany suffered,
but the notes from Clark Thompson do tell us that Ascension did have a 'flourish of activity' in the
early 1900's as did Epiphany. Considering that the church was recognized as a mission in May, 1899,
I am led to believe they probably had a bit more activity going on than we did in those days.

It was not always Church of the Ascension. The original church in Neodesha was named
Grace Church , which was a very common name for Episcopal (and other denomination)
churches in that era. In 1902, the name was changed to Church of the Ascension. On the other hand,
we have always been 'Epiphany' since our beginning.

A church member gave them a piece of land on 8th Street (in Neodesha) for a church, but the Neodesha
vestry decided to not build on that land and they sold the land. The street name there is still 'Church Street'
however. Instead they chose to build at their present location at 7th and Osage Streets. They laid
their cornerstone on July 2, 1903
, and moved in early in 1906. The construction took over two years since it was done on the 'pay as you go' method.

Epiphany began to wake up from its quarter-century 'nap' about that same time, in 1903.
Our 'full resurrection' would take place over the next year. Ascension completed building its church in
1904, as Epiphany was really getting into motion.

From May, 1899 when the 'Grace Church' mission at Neodesha was recognized until November 23, 1905
when 'Church of the Ascension' was well under way, the number of communicants grew from 8 to 46.
People in town saw them building the new church, they were interested in what they saw, and
wanted to be part of the action.

In 1872, the rolls show we had 12 communicants at Epiphany. In 1904, the rolls show us there
were 65 commuicants at Epiphany. So you might say we were two small rural churches which pretty much
grew up together.

Ascension was consecrated March 17, 1908 by Bishop Millspaugh, but they had
services in the building as of February, 1906. Ascension did have resident
priests at one time, and it was only in the 1950's that the present arrangement
-- sharing priest and deacon with Epiphany became the standard.

More about Ascension in another message.


The First Mention of Women at Epiphany

Women have always had a very important role at Epiphany Church. The first mention of female participation was on opening day in the first meeting in April, 1872. Fr. Beatty was anxious to get started with our building, so he named three women to be on the building committee. Then there was the Ladies Aid Society which received a lot of praise. Reverend Beatty's daughter, Mrs. Anne Beatty Oliver used to have very pleasant ice-cream socials and bake sales, with the profits going toward the
building fund. But until the church was re-organized in 1904 and the Epiphany Guild started, there was no 'organized' group of women. The Epiphany Guild contributed heavily to the welfare of the church and members of the community in need for over fifty years, until it was eventually re-organized in the middle 1950's, to be replaced by St. Martha's Guild which had been organized in 1949 and the Alter Guild, which began in 1914. Also, in 1914, a women's group called St. Mary's Guild got started and continued until it was dissolved into the Epiphany Guild and combined with St. Martha's in 1971.

On May 15, 1907, our priest at the time, Father Randall and a group of women met to form the first auxiliary, which they decided to call the Emma P. Frey Branch.* In addition to the United Thank Offering and Box Supply work which they took over, they also had an educational program mostly concerning missions and mission work.
*[[Emma P. Frey was the deceased wife of Isaac M. Frey, the former Congregational minister turned Episcopal deacon who came to 'take charge' following the resignation of Fr. Canfield in 1880. His wife (Emma) died in the typhoid epidemic which hit Independence in 1880. She is buried in the original Mt. Hope cemetery, lot 196-D. The other person buried in that lot, a child of a parishoner named 'Ward' was buried there at no charge because the family was indigent. Note that Reverend Frey simply came to 'take charge'. He was not a deacon nor a priest. My thoughts are that the typhoid epidemic had caused such a disaster in our town -- probably affecting our church heavily also -- Reverend Frey simply decided to step in and try to hold our church together, for which we should be eternally grateful.

Of course, there was also the Sunday School which had been started in 1904 (see earlier message) and the women who were involved with that phase of our ministry.

By the way, Father Randall was a bachelor, and he lived with his mother in a beautiful home at Fifth and Myrtle Streets. Their home became 'the place' for Sunday afternoon tea and stimulating conversation before Evening Prayer. Father Randall and his mother were especially concerned with charity organizations (which were mostly non-existent in Independence at that time). He and his mother organized the first charity service here, it was called Associated Charities and served people throughout Independence and southeast Kansas.

In those days, we commonly had three services each Sunday at Epiphany: the two morning services at 7:30 AM and 11:00 AM and the Evening Prayer at 6:00 PM. For Father Randall, that was in addition to his other duties as priest in charge of the missions at Cherryvale, Sedan, Cedar Vale, Elgin and Caney. He was also the Chaplain of the Kansas State Senate in 1910. In 1912, Aaron F. Randall tendered his resignation and relocated to Spokane, Washington.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Pilgrims, Both Inside and Outside the Church of England

This column today is devoted to two people in our own congregation who noted to me with some amazement that the local AME church used the word 'Episcopal' in its name, and that the corner stone of the local United Methodist Church had the same word 'Episcopal' in its name; of course it is a very old building.

We have all heard about the Pilgrims -- early settlers in the United States -- and how they came about. What is not as commonly known is that there were two groups of Pilgrims . They were all on the outs with the Church of England of course, and all had come to America to avoid persecution for their beliefs. While one group of Pilgrims believed that their differences with the established orthodoxy of the Church of England could best be settled by staying 'in the system' -- that is by trying to change the church from within the church, by appealing to the Bishops and other church members, thinking that reason and logical thinking would bring everyone around to their ideas -- the other group of Pilgrims thought that was nonsense; no changes would be possible within the existing structure of the Church of England. In order to make a difference, they would have to go their separate way.

So this group of 'separatist Pilgrims' continued on their own path, and today -- 2006 -- are known as the United Church of Christ -- a Congregational style style church organization. They've gone through many changes over the years, but always retained the congregational polity or style of church government. That is what the word polity means, i.e. style of church government. There are essentially two styles of church government, or polity. Those pilgrims, and their descendents who went on their own way, and those of us who chose to remain under the leadership of our bishops, which is is the other style of church government, or Episcopal.

The original episcopalians got scattered in various ways but so did the original congregationalists. Note the small letter /e/ and small letter /c/ as they refer to church polity or style of government. This oversimplifies things a little, but the original episcopalians -- or pilgrims who decided to stay with the Church of England -- are today, by and large Episcopalians. The congregationalists further splintered and among other things became Campbelites (Disciples of Christ) and Baptists and Congregationalists (in later years, United Church of Christ.)

The episcopalian side of things splintered into, among other things, the Weslyan movement, which later split into the Methodists and others. Where almost all of the congregationalist style churches serve the communion wafers and liquid to people sitting in their pews, the Methodists serve it at the alter, the same as those of us who are Episcopalians. Do you know why that is the case? Because their founder, Mr. Wesley, did not want to give up his Anglican heritage, pure and simple. Wesley was born in the Church of England; went outside the church like many of the pilgrims, but was reluctant to give up (among other things) the style in which the Eucharist was served. Years and years and years ago, they were known as the Methodist Episcopal Church for that, among other reasons; the other main reason being they are governed by a Bishop, even today, the same as we are.

Then there was the 'problem' with black people -- African Americans -- and their role in the church. Throughout the 1840-1850's time frame, a huge controversy in almost all churches in America -- including the Protestant Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church - was what to do with African-Americans -- black -- Negro -- people attending our churches. See an earlier message in this cluster about 'Our First Vestry and How We Got the Name Epiphany' for more details. To our ever-abiding shame as Episcopalians, in 1856, Epiphany Church in Philadelphia broke up -- with about half the members of the parish leaving over the slavery issue and forming a new parish 'Church of the Covenant' where black people were welcome. The Methodists did the same thing; black people who had been attending the Methodist Episcopal Church were in some cases 'encouraged to leave' and they then formed the African Methodist Episcopal Church as a congregation which would welcome people of various races. In both the modern, 21st century version of those churches, A.M.E. and (what is now called)United Methodist, there are still vestiges of the Anglican customs and ways of doing things, communion served at the alter rail and (in many United Methodist Churches at least) a procession by the choir down the center aisle to the nave of the church for the service. At least into the 1950-60's Methodists were still processing down the center aisle doing that. There is also a black denomination called 'Christian Episcopal' which holds to some of the 'original' Episcopalian (i.e. Church of England) traditions.

So now, ladies, you have a better idea why various churches have the word 'Episcopal' as part of their name even though very little of their
religious activities resemble ours, but the main thing is, they are
governed by Bishops just as we are
and going way back when, they were
part of the pilgrims who did not choose to split from the Church of England.

Now, a century and a half following when slavery was considered a properly
debateable issue, all the churches which split apart because of slavery
(Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, various congregationalists and of
course Episcopalians) are about to split again because of sexuality. Maybe
we Episcopalians will take a true leadership role this time around, eh?


Friday, June 23, 2006

Our First Vestry in 1872 and How We Got the Name 'Epiphany'

The very successful meeting on April 22, 1872 resulted in John A. Eisenberg being elected as Junior Warden
and John Cullyford being elected as Senior Warden. This optimistic group (known as 'Interested Friends
of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Independence, Kansas'
, even elected three delegates to the
Diocesan Convention planned for a month later in Topeka, in May. Those three delegates were Eisenberg,
M.D. Henry and George Burchard, who were also elected to the first Vestry.

The rest of the vestry was formed also, and consisted of Frank C. Jocelyn, W. A. McCully, and J.J. Sprague.
Mr. Jocelyn was named clerk pro tem and Mr. Burchard was named clerk. M.L. Robinson was appointed
treasurer. Not only did they talk about building the first church building, they even decided on a name for it:
The Church of the Epiphany. We were named after the Church of the Epiphany in Philadelphia
which dated from the Revolutionary War Days. Fr. Beatty had attended that church and been married there
and he was quite pleased that this little church on the far western prairie should be its namesake.

Many churches are named 'Epiphany' in commemoration of the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, but
this particular Church of the Epiphany took a special place in American and Kansas history just before the
Civil War.
Although located in Philadelphia -- in the northern part of the USA -- many pro-slavery people
were in the congregation, however the rector, Dudley Tyng was very much an Abolishionist, and he got into
several heated discussions on the slavery issue with members of the congregation and the vestry. One Sunday
morning in 1857, while people all over the USA were discussing and arguing about the plan to force Kansas (the
LeCompton Constitution plan) into the USA as a slave state, Dudley Tyng devoted his entire sermon speaking a
against the idea. In the middle of his sermon, one of the vestrymen there in Philadelphia, Doctor Norris rose from
his seat and began to rebuke Dudley Tyng for 'introducing politics into the services of the church'. This whole
issue caused such a controversy that the vestry decided to ask for Tyng's resignation which was forthcoming
that same day.

At the evening service that same day at Epiphany in Philadephia, Tyng removed himself, along with a large number
of congregants from Epiphany Church. They all went over to Concert Hall and created a new parish known as
Church of the Covenant which coincidentally is how the church in Junction City, Kansas got its name.
Tyng preached constantly against slavery and very much favored having Kansas enter the United States as a
'free-state'. One of his sermons there in his new parish was entitled 'Stand Up For Jesus'. One person in the
congregation for that sermon was George Duffield, Jr. in 1858, who wrote the hymn Stand up, Stand up for Jesus,
Ye Soldiers of the Cross,
which was and is usually sung to the tune known as 'Webb'. A person named
Mr. Webb was the organist there at Concert Hall for the Church of the Covenant meetings held by Reverend Tyng.

Fr. Beatty wanted nothing to do with slavery -- which had already been abolished several years prior -- and that
bit of history from the namesake 'Epiphany Church' in Philadelphia plus sweet memories of his own marriage
there by Reverend Tyng also several years before convinced him to use the name 'Epiphany' for the new church
being started here in Independence. Three days later, on April 25, 1872 the new vestry was sufficiently pleased
with Archibald Beatty and his credentials that they met again and asked him to be the Rector at their new church.
So now, you know how we got the name 'Church of the Epiphany'. And perhaps you also notice how squabbles
among Episcopalians is nothing new. Just as we these days have fights over issues like sexuality, in the 1850's
Episcopalians had squabbles over issues like slavery.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Book Review: New Book on Bishop Robinson

[Note: Not really related at all to the history of Epiphany Church but worth a mention during this convention week in Pennsylvania, I am tossing in for your thoughts a review of a new book being published on Bishop Vickie Gene Robinson, Bishop in New Hampshire. And considering the first for us with the election of a female presiding bishop this past week as well, you may want to do two things: get a copy of this new book and read it, and then (b) read the various blogs on the net dealing with the new presiding bishop, including my own blog if you wish to read it which is located here.


Going to Heaven: The Life and Election of Bishop Gene Robinson
by Elizabeth Adams

Trade Paper 6 x 9
Biography 308 pp. $14.95
To be Published on July 28th 2006

An exploration of the man—Gene Robinson, the world's first openly gay Episcopal bishop—who many believe will be the catalyst for the breaking apart of the Episcopal Church.

It may be a uniquely American success story: not long ago, who would have thought that the son of tobacco sharecroppers in Kentucky could become an Episcopal bishop? No one could have predicted that this boy, born poor, ill, and given little chance of survival, would in fact be elected and ordained 56 years later as the first openly gay bishop in Christendom, finding himself at the center of unprecedented positive and negative reaction in the religious world and beyond.

Gene Robinson’s life is a compelling story of challenges overcome by hard work, intelligence, humor, love, and deep faith. It is also a story of one man’s journey into his own “otherness”; of courage found and integrity retained; and the emergence of a ministry that speaks to countless people who believe in a Gospel of love and inclusion, and want the church to reflect that vision.

Through a lively text based on extensive interviews with Bishop Robinson, his closest associates, family, colleagues, and observers, and illustrated with photographs from all phases of his life, this book paints a portrait of Bishop Robinson not as a symbol but a human being who is, as he puts it, “neither the angel nor the devil some would make me out to be.” It illuminates his life; his struggle with—and eventual acceptance of—his sexual orientation; his calling to become a priest and later a bishop.

It tells the story of the critical, central events of his election and consecration amid intense opposition, huge security concerns, and media attention. The book follows him through the next two years as he juggles dual roles—Bishop of New Hampshire, and symbol of gay achievement and the progressive church— while the opposition stirred by his election creates increasing pressure for schism in the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Communion worldwide.

The book concludes with a discussion of the deep theological and historical significance of Gene Robinson’s election and personal vision for the future, and what this means both for individuals and for a Church seeking to be relevant in a today’s world.

Elizabeth Adams has been granted unique, extraordinary access to Bishop Robinson and the events and people surrounding him. She also has significant knowledge about the Episcopal Church gained through lifelong membership and active participation, and has been an observer, writer, and speaker for many years about the interface between religion and contemporary life and politics.

Read a sample chapter on line here .

Now with that out of the way, let's continue discussing our history here at Epiphany Church, and the next item following this dealing with the 1904 resurrection and re-awakening of Epiphany Church. PAT]

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

1904 Was a Great Year in the History of Epiphany Church

In 1903, after 23 years of being dark and deserted -- mostly, except for occasional 'church days' when the Bishops would come around, or itinerant missioners would pass through town,-- the Reverend A.S. Freese, a supply minister in southeast Kansas decided to add Independence and Epiphany Church to his otherwise busy schedule serving Cherryvale, Neodesha, and Coffeyville. And so, once or twice per month, we would celebrate Eucharist, although sometimes no one would show up, so unaccustomed to having services at Epiphany everyone was. After almost a quarter century, that's how things had gotten. The original building, at 8th and Laurel Streets had gotten pretty dilapidated, and as often as not, the itinerant missioners and such would begin by repairing the roof or windows prior to conducting Morning Prayer services. When Freese came around on a sort of regular schedule, the vestry decided to make a whole-hearted effort to try and repair things and make it a church once again. The Seventh Day Adventist people had last used the building more than a decade before, on a rental basis, and we could not really expect _them_ to do any repairs.

Good things happened in 1904.

A group of English people arrived in Independence to open and operate the Midland Glass Plant, and beginning about the same time, executives from Sinclair Pipe Line Company moved into town. For Midland at least, true Anglicans everyone of them, they were very interested in an active church life, and it did not take them long to resurrect Epiphany and start an active church. Ditto the 'oil people' from Sinclair.

During vacation, while in Seminary, the Reverend George Davidson had been in Independendence. He liked being here, the vestry and parishioners at Epiphany all liked him, and they asked him to become the new rector here, for a salary of $700 per year. He arrived in 1904, and immediatly set about rebuilding and resurrecting the parish. Fr. Freese was only intended to be temporary at best, because his hectic schedule put him more often in Neodesha and Cherryvale than here in Independence anyway. And recall, in these days when automobiles were still new, many people still traveled by horse and carriage, the same as Fr. Beatty and Bishop Vail a quarter century before. So Fr. Freese was perfectly happy when he was able to turn things at Epiphany over to Fr. Davidson in 1904.Now he was able to give those other churches more of his time.

Some folks have contended that we should really say Epiphany Church was a 1904 creation by the Midland Glass Plant and the Sinclair Pipe Line Company and that would be a very interesting theory, except that our charter -- our official status as a corporate entity from the State of Kansas dates to April, 1873 and Fr. Archibald Beatty. (Although our first meeting was April 22, 1872, our charter of incorporation was a year later, in April, 1873. April, 2007 marks the 135th anniversary of our Sunday meetings, and the 134th anniversary of our charter.)

Our vestry which dates to 1872, technically held the church and charter in trust for the 24 years of 'darkness'; the vestry was re-organized in 1904 with C.L. Hanson and C.H.H. Patison as the wardens under the re-organized vestry. Two thousand dollars was raised in 1904, and our church was taken out of the Mission class. There were 65 active communicants that year.

The first choir at Epiphany was a Boy's Choir, founded by Fr. Davidson. The Boys Choir becane quite well known throughout Kansas and Missouri. Founded in 1904, they were soon invited to sing in various churches around the state,including a camping out trip to Kansas City where they sang at a very large church. Some of the first members of the Boys Choir were Nolan Ottman, Fred Truby, Frank Stanford, Paul Surber and William Wallace. All the little guys went to school here in Independence and gave considerably of their free time to 'choir practice' at the church.

The Epiphany Sunday School was also quite active. Founded in 1904, the Sunday School superintendent was Mrs. Catherine Huston, and her assistant was Mrs. Deal. The regular Sunday school teachers were Miss Sophie Bates, Mrs. Carl Gansel, Mrs. John Fertig, and Mrs. John Holdren. Mrs. Holdren was involved with the Sunday School through the end of the Second World War, and she became the superintendent when Mrs. Huston resigned the position. The first Sunday school lesson materials came from Coffeyville.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Quarter Century of Darkness

After Archibald Beatty resigned the second time, in 1879, there were various fellows who came around to help us when they could, for the most part all missionaries and a couple of deacons. But regretably, no priests were available. In 1880, the vestry voted to close the building, and suspend further services until that situation could be rectified; it took 24 years, about a quarter century before Epiphany was to re-open and function as a full time Episcopal church once again. During that 24 year period, the building was poorly maintained, and for a number of years was rented out by the Vestry to the Seventh-Day Adventist people.

We had Episcopal services only rarely, (those occassions were called 'church days') and often as not, we had to use the Congregational Church to do so. Bishop Millspaugh came once to visit, and found the church in such dreadful need of repair, he set about redoing the roof himself.

The 1890's were a time of financial depression in the United States also, and things did not look very good for Epiphany Church, but finally things started to look a bit better: in 1903, Reverend A.S. Freese -- a supply minister -- decided to add Epiphany into his already busy schedule serving Cherryvale and Neodesha. People started coming back to church, but only in small numbers. But 1904 was just around the corner, and Epiphany would soon come to life once again.


Church of Ascension in Neodesha Shares With Us

Church of Ascension in Neodesha, 702 Osage Street shares Father Gerry and Deacon David Butler with Epiphany.

The arrangement has been that way for many years, but as of this time, I do not have any historical details on Ascension to share.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Some Historical Facts About Our Parish

Did you know?
Our first and third pastor -- the founder -- was Fr. Archibald Beatty, a missioner from around the Kansas City area? On April 22, 1872 he met with a group of residents here who had founded an organization called Friends of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Independence, Kansas . In that meeting, held in the downtown office of J.A. Eisenberg, the decision was reached to start an Episcopal Church -- or Protestant Episcopal as we were known in those days -- and Fr. Beatty was asked to become the pastor, or rector. He remained with us for three years, until 1875. His duties included holding services in the nearby towns of Coffeyville, and Fredonia as well. Independence was a town of 1500 people in those days.

During his two-plus year's tenure, Sunday services were held in several public halls around town, including City Hall, Gray's Hall, Waggoner Hall, and Dunning Hall. During that time, Fr. Beatty also built our first church, which was located at 8th and Laurel Streets. In April, 1873 Epiphany Church was incorporated with the state as a result of Fr. Beatty's efforts, and we were likewise admitted into communion with the Diocese of Kansas.

After Fr. Beatty had been here about 6 months, his rectory caught on fire and burned down. The rectory was located at (what is now numbered) 617 East Myrtle Street, around First and Myrtle. It had been a very dreadful summer, the crops were mostly all eaten by grasshoppers or scorched from heat, so the fire really was the final straw, one might say. His entire library -- thousands of books of which he had intended to give several to the church to begin our library -- was destroyed. About the same time, an epidemic of spiral menengitis hit our town, and one of the Beatty children died in that.

In April, 1875 he tendered his resignation, and went to work as a chaplain for the Santa Fe Railroad.

Reverend Levi Holden followed him as our pastor after the new church had been closed for nine months, in January, 1876. He remained with us for about two years, then the vestry asked Fr. Beatty to return which he agreed to do, for another year, in September, 1878. He remained for another year, until he was able to raise some money for the church, which he did in September, 1879, and he again turned in his resignation. Independence had been a 'tough act' for Fr. Beatty. He was followed by Reverend C. H. Canfield who stayed only a few months. Canfield was here as our pastor only three months, until February, 1880.


Epiphany Church's Community Memories Web Site

Our handsome church building at 400 East Maple Street in Independendence. Constructed in 1925-26.

Our first church building was constructed in 1873, was located at 8th and Laurel Streets, and now is protected by the Historic Preservation Law.

April 22, 2007 will mark the 135th anniversary of the founding of our church, and we would like to prepare a book outlining our history, both in the Independence community and in the greater Anglican community. Therefore, for the next several months at the least or even longer, this area on the internet is being set aside as a place for YOUR memories and thoughts about the past several years here at the church. We will base our new book -- if we manage to put one together -- on the 1972 book of our 100th anniversary as a parish which was edited by Mr.& Mrs. J.R. Barnett and the 1997 supplement to same which was edited by Roberta Davies and Sally Pokorny.

Your help is vitally needed! If you have any newspaper clippings, books or pictures about the church -- or even just personal memories -- would you please share them with us?

If you can share things with us, we will be extremely grateful, and if you want the materials returned, we will be glad to copy them and return the originals to you. Or, if we can keep the documents, that would be great also. Please give them to Marty E. in the office. If you just have personal memories you want to share, you can type them in right here. Nothing is unimportant or 'not worth' telling us about.

Thanks so much, and Christ be with you!

Patrick Townson
Acting Historian for Epiphany Episcopal Church