Category Archives: Easter

Easter 1968

It’s Easter Sunday, and today we share two slides taken on another Easter Sunday fifty years ago, April 14, 1968. The first slide show the rector, J. Raymond McWilliam, approaching the altar. The second slide shows him at the altar, with his back to the congregation, as was then the custom. Many thanks to Dave Van Hattum and Bob Peters, who provided the identifications.

Easter 1968

The two servers at the altar wearing red cassocks are Robert Peters and Richard Green. The one torch-bearer visible is David Van Hattum and the crucifer is John O’Meara.


Easter 1968

The server wearing a red cassock is Richard Green.

Easter 1967

On this Easter morning we share two slides taken on Easter Sunday fifty years ago, March 26, 1967.

Easter Sunday 1967

Easter Sunday 1967











And here are four undated photographs, mostly likely from Easter, and possibly also from Easter Sunday 1967. The rector, J. Raymond McWilliam, is clearly visible. Does anyone recognize the server or the other priest?

Altar, possibly Easter 1967

Altar detail, possibly Easter 1967

Procession, possibly Easter 1967

Altar party, possibly Easter 1967





Easter 1966

It’s Easter, and fifty years ago St. Paul’s celebrated its first Easter in the Hackett Boulevard building. This was only the second service  in the church: the high altar had been consecrated on Maundy Thursday, and there were no services on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

All three photographs show the rector, J. Raymond McWilliam, at the altar. Notice that he stood with his back to the congregation. In the third photo, David Van Hattum is the crucifer. Can anyone identify the others in these snapshots?

Easter 1966

Easter 1966

Easter 1966

Easter 1966

Easter 1966

Easter 1966

Easter on Lancaster Street

As Easter week comes to a close, I thought you might like to see a few photographs of the church on Lancaster street as it look with the altar decorated for Easter. All photos are from color slides found in St. Paul’s archives.

The first two photos are undated, but were probably taken in the late 1950s. The first shows the altar and part of the choir:


The second showing more of the nave:

IMG_0006 v001

The next is dated April 1960, again showing the detail of the altar

IMG_0002 v001

The final photo is undated but probably also about 1960. It is unusual in showing a large part of the nave, including the baptistry on the left.

Nave and Chancel maybe 1960 v001

Easter 1883 at St. Paul’s — The Children’s Service

Lancaster Street Chancel late 19th century


The Lancaster Street chancel in the late 19th century










The list of St. Paul’s services for Easter 1883  includes the Children’s Service at 3:30, with a list of hymns they sang. But our archives also includes a copy of the children’s song sheets.

Easter 1873_0003





Easter 1873_0004

Perhaps the most interesting hymn  is “The Story of the Resurrection,” to verses by Claudia Frances Ibotsen Hernaman (1838-1898), prolific author of hymns, particularly for children. She is represented in the current Episcopal hymnal by the Lenten hymn “Lord, who throughout these forty days”.

You’ll notice that the text is divided into four sections –The Question, The Answer, The Story and Our Cry to Jesus. One English edition (M. Woodward, The Children’s Service Book as Used in the Parish Church of Folkestone. Folkestone: Vaughan & Russell, 1881.) assigns Section I to Two Choristers, Section II to Choir, Section III to Children and Section IV to All, suggesting a ataged performance.

The earliest edition for which I can find a melody is from the same year (Charles Lewis Hutchins ed., The Sunday-School Hymnal and Service-Book: Medford, Mass: by the editor, 1881.) It is possible that this was the edition used at St. Paul’s, because it contains versions of five of the six hymns on the song sheet. While the composer is not named, we know that he was English organist and composer Alfred Edward Redhead (1855 — 1937), because he is credited in a later version.

Redhead adds interest and drama to the hymn by using three different melodies. The Question and The Call use related melodies in the same  key, both marked “Not fast”; The Story changes the key,  and increases the tempo “A little faster”; Our Cry to Jesus returns to the key, melody and tempo as at the beginning.

The Sunday-school Hymnal The Sunday-school Hymnal

In Redhead’s later version entitled “Resurrection Song” (F. N. Peloubet and Hubert P. Main eds.,  Select Songs No. 2: for the Singing Service in the Prayer Meeting; Sunday school; Christian Endeavor Meetings. New York: Biglow & Main Co., 1893.), he uses a different device to add drama, including Sections I and II only, but alternating quatrains from Question and Answer, and suggesting performance “By two Classes, or the School in two Divisions.


O Holy Church: A Song for Easter Morning

A hand-written document, found in St. Paul’s archives, with the notation “Dr. Henry Coppeth [sic], University Penn., wrote these verses in St. Paul’s Rectory”.

O Holy Church
A Song for Easter Morning

O Holy Church, but yesternight
In dust thy robes were trailing;
The dew was heavy on thy head,
And thou thy Lord bewailing.

O Holy Church, the gates are burst;
The tomb could hold no longer;
The closing stone was adamant,
IMG_0004The God within was stronger.

O Holy Church, this Easter morn,
Thy richest banquet spread;
Thy risen Lord a-hungered comes,
To bless and share they bread.

O Holy Church, dear bride of Christ,
With flowers bedeck thine altar;
Array thy courts in evergreens,
Intone thy richest psalter.

O Holy Mother dear, who all thy Lord’s
Rich graces dost inherit,
Now bid the loud Tersanctus rise,
To Father, Son and Spirit. Amen.

The notation misspells the author’s name: when this verse was published in 1882, it was ascribed to Henry Coppée, one-time professor at the University of Pennsylvania.


"Henry Coppée" from The Lehigh University, a
Historical Sketch, by Edmund M. Hyde, 1896..
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia

It is not certain when and why Coppée would have visited St. Paul’s rectory.  His first visit to this area was in 1866 (to receive an honorary LL.D. at Union College) and, since that was the last year he taught at Pennsylvania, that may be the year of composition. On the other hand, Coppée was in Schenectady and Albany many times between 1866 and 1880, so the date may have been later. As to the connection to St. Paul’s, our rector from 1864 until 1891 was J. Livingston Reese, a long-time member of Union College’s Board of Trustees.

“O Holy Church” was first published in The American Church Review for April 1882, with a few small changes.  The text itself only gives the initials “H.C” and “Bethlem, Penn.”,  the location of Lehigh University, where he was professor. The magazine index, however, lists Coppée ‘s full name.

The American church review

Five years later, in volume 4 of The Parish Choir, the poem was used as the text for an Easter Hymn. In this publication, Coppée is not credited, and an additional quatrain was added to fit the melody. The Parish Choir