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From the Archives: Lambeth Conference, 1948

 

By Mary Klein, archivist

As Bishop Noble Powell made plans to attend the Lambeth Conference of 1948, the Standing Committee of the diocese surprised him with the announcement that a fund to send not only the bishop, but his wife to England had been established. Mary Rustin Powell accompanied her husband aboard the U.S.S. America, leaving New York on June 23 and departing from England on August 13. After the trip Mrs. Powell wrote the ladies of her home parish, Emmanuel Church, Baltimore, who had contributed generously to the purse making her adventure possible. That letter was published in the Maryland Churchman so that all you had contributed to the purse could glimpse the exciting journey. Following are excerpts from Mary Powell’s reminiscences of her nearly two-month sojourn abroad. Among the notable events shipboard, she wrote, “Those were six wonderful days enjoyed to the full, especially by me, perhaps, for never in the 24 years since I’ve been married have I known just where I could find my husband.”

Remarking on the scarcity of food and consumer goods in England, even three years after the end of World War II, Mrs. Powell noted, “I don’t understand how they can be so cheerful eating such rations year after year. In fact, we Americans are spoiled in every way. I can think of nothing I would rather do than send everyone I met a nice box of food and clothes.” The sight of the ruins in London touched her deeply, and at her first sight of Canterbury she observed, “I walked under the beautiful Cloister Gate, and as we climbed the steps I noticed some snapdragons growing out of ruins. There was no earth to be seen, just the stone; yet flowers were growing. I couldn’t help feeling it was typical of the British spirit – flowers growing out of ruins.”

Thrilled by the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, Mary Powell made some observations, “The Princess Margaret came our way. She is quite small and lovely looking in a pretty robin’s egg blue taffeta suit, hat and shoes to match. The Shah of Iran was there with his retinue; several Indian potentates with their lovely wives exquisitely dressed – their clothes floated around them. Probably the most interesting people were the former Prime Minister and Mrs. Churchill. He was jolly and gallant to everyone – seemed to know everyone and never stopped smoking his cigar. When they left everyone cheered, and I wondered if Mr. Atlee were around and what his feelings were.”

In closing to her friends at Emmanuel and throughout the diocese, the bishop’s wife wrote, “And so my trip abroad is over, but the memory of it will always remain, and with it my gratitude for your generosity in making it possible. Thank you again for these thrilling weeks.”

The Protestant Episcopal Brotherhood, Diocese of Maryland, 1851-1966

By Mary Klein, diocesan archivist

The Protestant Episcopal Brotherhood was “an organization of churchmen founded for benevolent purposes” in 1851. In the preamble it is stated that their purpose was to “associate ourselves for the purpose of mutual benefit in times of sickness and distress, for the promotion of Christian fellowship and love, and for the dispensation of temporal and spiritual aid and comfort to all who are in need of sympathy.” Those who were eligible included “every clergyman of the Church, a resident of the Diocese of Maryland, and every layman, baptized or confirmed, or a communicant in the Protestant Episcopal Church, if a resident of the Diocese of Maryland…” The dues were steep: three to five dollars to join, depending upon age, and two dollars every quarter. In return, a member who could not work received $5 dollars a week disability for the first 13 weeks, $3 per week for the next 13 weeks, and $2 per week for the remainder of his illness. (One man’s benefits went on for 179 weeks!) There was also a payment of $100 toward funeral expenses, as well as a $20 payment upon the death of a wife. A Widows’ and Orphans’ Fund also existed, as well as a Charity Fund.

In a day when unemployment insurance was unheard-of and unions were not prevalent in Maryland, a mutual benefit association which would provide some assistance while a man could not earn a living, was a God-send. Destitution could haunt a family quickly if the bread-winner were incapacitated; so the safety net provided by the Brotherhood, the vast majority of whom lived in Baltimore, probably spared many families the horrors of poverty.

The membership application form asked several interesting questions: “Are you temperate in all your habits?”, “Will you endeavor to increase the membership for the Brotherhood and promulgate its interests?”, “Are you able to earn a livelihood?”. The rector of the applicant’s parish had to be named and three Brothers had to recommend the applicant. There was also a medical examination required, a printed form appearing in about 1900. A physician examined the applicant and reported on his height, weight, heart and lungs. An interesting question was, “Are you ruptured, and if so, will you wear a truss?” That must have been a big problem, if it showed up on a medical exam form! The applicants were all men, at least 18 years of age, and looking at the height and weight figures is interesting to us a century later. The forms from 1903 until 1907 indicate that height ranged from 5’ 4 ½ “ to 5’ 11”, and the weight from 110 pounds (on a man 5’8”) to 156 pounds on a man 5’7”.  Ages of the men applying ranged from 18-42, and most were shorter than today’s man and much lighter in weight, the average height being 5’8” and weight 134 pounds. Diets and work habits apparently make a huge difference in determining weight and height.

Occupations of applicants are also interesting to study. Of course there were clergy, as well as bookkeepers, students, salesmen and real estate brokers, but the vast majority seemed to clerks.

The prevalence of corner stores meant lots of clerks were needed. There was also a Supreme Court bailiff, a music teacher, a proofreader, a draughtsman, and a boilermaker. Machinist’s helpers, apprentices, telephone operators, attorneys, and stonecutters also applied; as did a car repairer, a confectioner, a post office clerk, a dentist, a stenographer, a paperhanger and a sexton. Merchants, bank clerks, laborers, as well as a moulder, a “general collector” and a glassmaker round out the occupation list. The list itself gives us a glimpse into the social structure of turn-of –the-century Baltimore, as well as the job market.

Receiving sick benefits didn’t happen just as a matter of course. A member on the Relief Committee paid the sick Brother a visit to verify that he was ill and deserved the payment. A physician also had to send a note to the Brotherhood stating that the member was under his care and was unable to perform the duties for the carrying out of his occupation. In about 1900 a standard form was available for the application for sick benefits, requiring the physician to determine if the illness or injury was “caused by intemperance or any immoral conduct.” Diagnoses may appear strange to modern ears.  Nervous prostration, lumbago, sciatica, acute mental aberration, pleurisy, malaria and typhoid were all reported. Injuries included being fallen upon by a sleigh, sprained ankles, poisoning, broken ribs, mashed hands, dislocated hips, broken wrists, puncture wounds, and run-away horse accidents. Rheumatism and pneumonia were common, as were stomach troubles, tonsillitis, and bronchitis. “La grippe” was reported often; we know it today as the flu. One man was diagnosed with “locomotor ataxia” and nervous exhaustion and was later confined to a mental institution.

During the years 1891 to 1903, one Maryland clergyman received benefits often. Born in 1835, aging and apparently prone to accidents. He was 66 years old in 1901 when he filed a claim saying that he was prevented from performing his usual duties because he had been injured by a run-away horse. In 1902 he was injured again (this time the cause was not given), and in 1903 he was diagnosed with “printer’s arm”, whatever that might be. He also filed claims in 1891, 1892, 1894, and 1895.

Another clergyman seemed to have been plagued with nervous disorders, as well as other problems. Although he left the diocese in 1886, he continued to belong to the Brotherhood, pay his dues, and receive sick benefits. In 1892 he was diagnosed with “herpes zoster”, what we call shingles; in 1893 his sleigh fell on him, causing several weeks of disability, and in 1895 he was diagnosed with malaria. Advent and Christmas must have been overwhelming for him, because the doctor’s report filed on December 25, 1901 said that he had a breakdown caused by overwork and nervous prostration. This diagnosis was repeated in 1902, and he died December, 1902 at the age of 60.

Modern insurance possibilities made inroads into the Protestant Episcopal Brotherhood’s stance as the sole help of many disabled workers in the Diocese, and the Brotherhood dissolved in 1966. There were forty members remaining and each received $200.00 at the dissolution. The Brotherhood’s resources of over $10,000.00 were turned over to the Diocese, thus bringing to an end a century-old experiment in relief, disability insurance and fellowship.

Baltimore Hosts General Convention, 1808

By Mary Klein, diocesan archivist

Meeting from May 17-26, 1808, twenty-seven clerical and lay deputies, representing seven states, convened at St. Paul’s Church in Baltimore for the seventh General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Only two bishops attended: William White of Pennsylvania, who was the Presiding Bishop, and Thomas Claggett of Maryland. Bishop Benjamin Moore of New York, The Rt. Rev. Samuel Jarvis of Connecticut (who had also failed to attend the 1799 Convention) and Bishop James Madison of Virginia did not attend and the other dioceses – New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, and South Carolina were without bishops.

Since there were only two bishops comprising the House of Bishops, the Rev. Joseph Bend, rector of St. Paul’s Parish, offered the bishops St. Paul’s rectory as “the place of meeting during the sitting of the Convention”. Each day, the bishops met at the rectory and worshipped with the clerical and lay deputies at the parish church; evening services were held at St. Peter’s Church since St. Paul’s was “not fitted for service by candle-light”. The Rt. Rev. Samuel Parker of Massachusetts had been scheduled to preach at the opening service, but, having died only three months after his consecration in 1804, Bishop White agreed to take his place as preacher.

 

 

 

 

The Convention passed legislation adding thirty hymns to those contained in the Prayer Book, as well as legislation mandating that “Ministers of this Church ought not to perform the funeral service in the case of any person who shall give or accept a challenge to a duel”, which was passed four years after the famous duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton was buried at Trinity Church, Wall Street, and the funeral was conducted by Bishop Benjamin Moore of New York, who served as rector of Trinity, as well as being bishop. A resolution that clergy could not unite in matrimony any divorced person, unless the divorce was on account of adultery was also passed. The House of Bishops sent a note of thanks to the Rev. Dr. Bend, “for the accommodations which they have received in the use of his parlour, and in other attentions, during the Session of the Convention.”

General Convention would not meet in Baltimore again until 1871, then again in 1892.

General Convention wrap-up and ongoing ministry

For a summary wrap-up of General Convention, please read the article on Episcopal News Service highlighting the big headlines. We will continue to follow the legislation of General Convention with stories on the Diocese of Maryland’s response to actions taken at General Convention and how we, as a Community of Love, are following the mission and ministry set forth by our wider Church in the local communities in our diocese.

Highlights from your Maryland deputation, fun moments and other important events not to be missed

As the House of Bishops branch of our church government unanimously voted on July 10 to formally welcome Cuba back into The Episcopal Church after a separation in 1966, there were explosions of clapping, shouting and joy. Bishop Chilton Knudsen explains why in this video, which has reached 2,000 views on Facebook. The Rev. Dina van Klaveren of St. Andrew’s, Glenwood and head of our diocesan deputation to General Convention, served on the legislative committee that addressed this resolution at GC79. Read more in The Rev. Dina van Klaveren shares testimony on Cuba and learn more about the issue from the Living Church.

Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio of Cuba with The Rev. Dina van Klaveren at the 79th General Convention

One of the most moving and powerful events the deputation experienced at General Convention was a prayer vigil held at the Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas on Sunday, July 8. Bishop Michael Curry gave a rousing speech, surrounded by Episcopalians who were there to let the refugee women being detained in the facility that they were not alone. Many described seeing the women’s faces in the windows of the center. The women were able to communicate that they felt loved. For more on the event, see coverage by the Austin NBC Affiliate of the the Bishops United Against Gun Violence Rally, held earlier that morning in Brush Square across from the Austin Convention Center, and on the detention center vigil. See pictures shared by The Rev. Ramelle McCall of Holy Trinity, Baltimore. Last week, the diocesan Latino Ministries Committee met to discuss way in which we can carry on the legislative work centered on immigration and refugee issues done at General Convention in our diocese. Be on the lookout in upcoming posts and news for events, training and advocacy opportunities.

 

Bishop Sutton hands out orange ribbons from our own Diocesan Convention to honor those who have died as a result of gun violence. Photo credit ~Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

 

Outside the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas. One of the most moving moments for many who participated was seeing a white flag being held out through one of the slitted windows. Photo credit ~The Rev. Ramelle McCall

Our deputies and bishops chaired and served on numerous legislative committees. They actively engaged in testimony and leadership within the larger Church. The Rev. Jason Poling of St. Hilda’s, Catonsville traveled to Austin for a few days to testify about Israel and Palestine. See Jason’s message +HERE. The Rev. Ramelle McCall testified on resolution A029 – Commend the Evangelism Charter for the Church to All Episcopalians. See his testimony on the floor of the House of Deputies branch of church government +HERE. Ramelle also offered his thoughts on why being at General Convention is important to his work and to the work of the diocese in a video +HERE. He serves as Urban Missioner for the Diocese of Maryland, practicing ongoing community building. The Rev. Scott Slater testified in a hearing on resolution A147Pilot Board for Episcopal Transitions, and The Rev. Dina van Klaveren testified in support of improved and more thorough background checks for candidates for election of bishops in the Episcopal Church. The measure on background checks passed the House of Deputies unanimously, Deputy Mark Garcia reported.

Mark served on legislative committee 12 – Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Music as a dispatch liaison. The committee dealt with prayer book revision, as well as revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts and the Book of Occasional Services. See more on the prayer book revision in this story by Episcopal News Service, House of Bishops proposes expanded path for prayer book revision (ENS).

 

Lisa Marie and James Ryder, co-executive directors of the Claggett Center, show off the Claggett banner with Bill Slocumb, executive director of Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers (ECCC) at General Convention. Photo credit ~Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

Our new co-executive directors of the Claggett Center, James and Lisa Marie Ryder, along with Baby Fletcher, came out in full force to promote and support Claggett’s presence at General Convention. The Claggett labyrinth was featured on the banner for the Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers booth at GC79 and Claggett had its own day of promotion in the booth July 7. July 9 was “camp day” at General Convention. The Maryland crew wore their Claggett shirts and lanyards and came out in full force to support our camp and conference center. For more about how Claggett was featured at General Convention, read The garden of the Diocese, the Claggett Center, featured at General Convention.

The days of hard work, serious prayer and action and long hours of legislation at General Convention were interspersed with moments of pure joy, fun and celebration. The Episcopal Church put on a revival at the Palmer Events Center in Austin on Saturday, July 7. Bishop Curry’s “sermon” contained quite a few mentions of St. James, Baltimore, his former parish. You can check it out +HERE. Dinner followed at “Texas night,” a BBQ and live music event sponsored by The Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Be on the lookout for what Maryland will come up with for a Maryland-themed night when we host General Convention 80 in 2021!

 

A touching moment at the Revival when, to his surprise, Bishop Curry received a laying on of hands, symbolically by the 5,000 gathered, as well as prayers to grant him rest, strength, courage, love and revival on his continued journey as our presiding bishop. Photo credit ~Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

 

The Rev. Dina van Klaveren digs into her corn on the cob at “Texas Night.” Photo credit ~Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

On Tuesday, July 10, the Maryland crew hosted a luncheon for the bishop and deputation of Puerto Rico, with whom we have a companion diocese relationship. The two deputations and guests bonded and shared hopes and dreams for future exchange programs, including a youth trip next summer, as well as ongoing clergy and lay relationships and common ministry. A desire to learn more Spanish was a hope for many in the Maryland crowd. At the end of our time together, the whole group posed for a photo. The picture below (prepping for formal photo) says it all. Please keep the Diocese of Puerto Rico and the people of Puerto Rico in your prayers, especially as they continue to recover from Hurricane Maria. Bishop Sutton will be a guest at their diocesan convention in October of this year.

Great teamwork and uproarious laughter as Maryland and Puerto Rico construct the group photo pose! Bishop Sutton is doubled over. Photo credit ~Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

As mentioned above, General Convention 80 will take place in Baltimore in 2021! Many thanks to Caroline Bomgardner for her hard work at General Convention 79, learning what it takes to host the event. Did you know this event requires more than 1,000 volunteers? The Diocese of Texas and all of the volunteers who came in from around the Church did an amazing job. They were especially excited when the moment came to “pass the torch.” Bishop Andy Doyle of Texas took a hand-crafted torch from hard-working Texas volunteer Scott Madison. From there it was passed in a relay race to the sound of Chariots of Fire until it reached Bishop Sutton, who accepted it. Later the torch was passed through the House of Deputies to The Rev. Scott Slater, who accepted it on behalf of the diocese in that House, accompanied by a slide show of Orioles, crabs and more. Excitement about General Convention in Baltimore abounded.

Texas volunteer Scott Madison joyfully hands the torch to Caroline Bomgardner in the House of Bishops at GC79. GC80, here we come!

With all this action it’s hard to imagine there could be more. As one last salute to hosting General Convention in Baltimore, the Marylanders cooked up a surprise. In case you hadn’t heard, there was a certain pigeon who graced the hall of the House of Deputies throughout convention. By mid-convention he had his own Twitter (@gc79pigeon), and even Instagram, accounts. The General Convention Pigeon prompted the obtaining of pigeon hats and other shenanigans from various deputations. But we had them beat. No one can top the POEgeon and his dark priest from Baltimore!

The General Convention POEgeon. Imagine we’ll be seeing more of these in 2021!

Other highlights from Maryland include our Archdeacon Ruth Elder serving at the table at GC79, another General Convention under the belt for our longest serving and most experienced deputies, David Mallory and Alma Bell and the excellent impromptu host of our version of Inside General Convention, The Rev. Stewart Lucas of The Church of the Nativity and Holy Comforter. Our videos were a hit. Stewart did a great job connecting everyone at home to what was happening in Austin. Be sure to check out our Facebook page to view all of the videos.

The Rev. Ruth Elder serves at the table at a General Convention Eucharist. Photo credit ~Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

To view the worship services, Inside General Convention television show, sermons preached at General Convention Eucharists, Bishop Curry’s speeches and sermons and so much more, please visit the General Convention Media Hub of The Episcopal Church. To read stories about the Diocese of Maryland at #GC79, please visit our General Convention blog. Welcome home, Everyone. We’ll see you all in Baltimore in 2021! In the meantime, the work continues. #JesusMovement #EpiscopalEvangelism #CommunityofLove #EncounterEngage

 

Dispatch from Austin from The Rev. Dion Thompson

AUSTIN: Now comes the eighth legislative day, the penultimate day of the 79th General Convention. Resolutions are moving fast and furious between the two houses. Some make it through relatively unscathed. That was the case yesterday when the House of Deputies unanimously concurred with the decision by the House of Bishops to readmit Cuba into the Episcopal Church.

“Right now, I know that the Holy Spirit is moving through all of us,” the Rt. Rev. Griselda Delgado del Carpio, bishop of Cuba, told the deputies. “I want to thank the Lord and the Trinity for this prophetic moment that we are experiencing.”

There were cheers and applause. “Welcome home,” said the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies.

Plans to revise the Book of Common Prayer have traveled a much tougher legislative road. The resolution passed last week by the House of Deputies had a $2 million price tag and projections for a years-long process. It arrived yesterday from the House of Bishops as a proposal to create a Task Force on Liturgical and Prayer Book Revision comprising 10 lay people, 10 priests or deacons, and 10 bishops.

The multi-million-dollar budget was now $201,000 for the translation of liturgical materials with hopes that the Executive Council would find another $200,000 to begin the liturgical revision process. Such is politics. At this late date, with time winding down, the deputies passed the resolution without amendment.

Plenty of work remains. Today’s first order of business is the proposed $134 million budget for 2019-2021.

That’s all for now.

God’s peace,

Dion+

David Mallery and Alma Bell are our senior deputies. This is their sixth General Convention as lay deputies for the Diocese of Maryland.