Category Archives: Sunday School

Two 1919 Church School Memorials

A room in St. Paul’s Parish House on Jay street contained a portrait gallery of prominent men and women from the parish: rectors, wardens and vestry members, curates, and significant donors. You can just make out some of these portraits in these 1947 photographs of the Parish Aid Society.

Parish Aid Society Ladies January 1947

Parish Aid Society January 1947

Because this collection was completed in the first half of the 20th century, the clergy, warden and vestry portraits were entirely of men. It is only among the donors that we find a few women, including three of whom I have already written: Flora Myers Brady Gavit, Pauline Hewson Wilson and Caroline Gallup Reed.

But the photo gallery also included portraits of two much younger women, both of whom were honored by the establishment of memorial funds in St. Paul’s Church School one hundred years ago this year. Both had attended St. Paul’s Sunday School, and their parents commemorated their young lives by establishing funds in their memories.

On the centennial of the creation of those memorials, let us also remember Beatrice and Marian, and the many unnamed young people who have been  touched by St. Paul’s Sunday School.

Beatrice Pinney Butler

Beatrice Pinney Butler was born in 1906 in New York City, and during her first 10 years lived with her parents and maternal grandparents in Brooklyn. In November 1915, her father (then a captain in the New York State National Guard) was posted to the Adjutant General’s Office in Albany, and the family moved here.

Beatrice developed appendicitis in March 1918, and despite surgery, she died on April 15, 1918.

Marian Sparrow Blanchard

Marian Sparrow Blanchard was born in 1898 in Albany, and lived here with her parents. She contracted influenza during the epidemic of 1918, and died on October 18 of that year.

Loyalty Week, 1955

Last year, Jennifer Johnston shared with us the program from St. Paul’s 1990 production of “Fat, Fat Jehoshaphat.” Now Jennifer has made another discovery: a brochure produced over 60 years ago as part of a St. Paul’s stewardship campaign. The leaflet includes photographs of a typical Sunday at St. Paul’s, giving us a view of the state of the parish in that period.

This 1955 stewardship campaign was called “Loyalty Week,” beginning on November 13 of that year. This brochure was distributed, and “The Messenger” (which was mailed weekly to every household) encouraged families to bring their pledge cards to church on Sunday. The preacher that day was Arthur R. McKinstry, rector of St. Paul’s from 1927 until 1931, and by this time the Bishop of Delaware.

Arthur R. McKinstry

This was only nine years after the end of World War II, at the height of the Red scare (the Army–McCarthy hearings had been held the previous year), the year after the armistice that paused (but did not end) the Korean war, and at the beginning of the Cold War. With both the United States and the Soviet Union testing nuclear weapons, the United States in January of that year had begun development of intercontinental ballistic missiles. We have to agree with Deacon Mole (a character in the Walt Kelly comic strip “Pogo”) that the newspapers in that period were “Full of Doom, Gloom and rumors of Boom.”

 

 

 

 

No wonder, then that prominently placed on the brochure’s front page, in all capital letters and a bold typeface, is the warning “CIVILIZATION IS IN PERIL IN AN ATOMIC WORLD, IF THE WORLD IS UNCHRISTIAN!”

Loyalty Week 1955: Brochure Cover

Once we flip to page two, however, the view is much sunnier. There are five photographs:

Nave, with 324 worshipers:

Loyalty Week 1955: The Nave

A Sunday school room:

Loyalty Week 1955: Sunday School Classroom

Women’s luncheon:

Loyalty Week 1955: Luncheon

Women’s group, at work sewing):

Loyalty Week 1955: The Church at Work

There are no corresponding photographs of men’s participation, but a text block assures us of their active involvement.

Loyalty Week 1955: Men’s Activities

Chancel Choir and clergy (the rector, F. Graham Luckenbill and his assistant, Robert J. Evans). The choirmaster, Clarence A. Hollister, is on the far right of the middle row.

Loyalty Week 1955: Chancel Choir and Clergy

The accompanying text describes an active, growing parish, and includes annual statistics of 25 baptisms, 35 transfers and 19 confirmed. “This is far from sensational, but it is also far from standing still.” The author highlights increases over the previous year with both Sunday attendance and Sunday School enrollment doubled. These are certainly noteworthy increases, but one wonders why that particular comparison is made.

Loyalty Week 1955: Note from the Vestry

Milton W. Hamilton’s 1977 history of the parish provides the necessary context: the previous years had been a very difficult one for St. Paul’s:

The Reverend Oliver D. Carberry, who became rector in 1948, was an able and effective preacher, but he became involved in a controversy over church music, in which he was opposed by several vestrymen. There were other disagreements and several resignations from the vestry. Feelings ran high, and a number of families left the church. A call by one vestryman to stop this trend was tabled. The Reverend Mr. Carberry resigned February 22, 1954, to accept a call to St. Paul’s Church, Fairfield, Conn. The loss in membership, however, was reflected in less financial support. A contributing factor was that now few members lived in the downtown area. In 1948 a rectory had been purchased in western Albany. The Reverend F. Graham Luckenbill (1954-1958) recognized the need for a parking area, and it was necessary to take out a large bank loan to buy a lot for this purpose.

The impression of a thriving parish in 1955, then, relied on a comparison with the previous year, which had been a disaster. And the long term problems that had weakened St. Paul’s (white flight from downtown Albany, the decline of the neighborhood, loss of families because of controversies and debt) could not be easily overcome.

Clarence A. Hollister

In addition to the resignations of the rector in 1954, choirmaster Walter Witherspoon had resigned in September 1955, to be replaced by Clarence A. Hollister.

Bishop Frederick L. Barry

We have not found records of the results of this Loyalty Week, but the long-term demographic changes in the neighborhood would only continue to worsen for the next few years. Within three years, the parish was so weakened that when F. Graham Luckenbill resigned as rector in 1958, Bishop Barry appointed Luckenbill’s curate, Donald I. Judson, as priest-in-charge, discouraged the vestry from calling a new rector, and suggested that St. Paul’s either merge with another parish, or construct a new building elsewhere in the city. As we saw in an earlier post, the vestry rejected Bishop Barry’s advice, and instead called Nelson F. Parke.

But in October 1955, those challenges seemed surmountable, and we can appreciate the enthusiasm and vision of those who organized Loyalty Week and produced this brochure, promoting an enthusiastic view of St. Paul’s future.

My thanks to Jenn! What other treasures may she be able to find?

Henry Yates Satterlee

St. Paul’s is proud that four of its rectors went on to be consecrated as bishops in the Episcopal Church in the United States. They were:

  • William Ingraham Kip: rector 1837-1853, first missionary Bishop of California, first Bishop of California
  • Thomas Alfred Starkey: rector 1854-1858, Bishop of Northern New Jersey (now the diocese of Newark)
  • Arthur R. McKinstry: rector 1927-1931, Bishop of Delaware
  • George Taylor: rector 1932-1948, Bishop of Easton

There were several others associated with St. Paul’s who also became bishops, and we remember one of them today: Henry Yates Satterlee, the first Bishop of Washington, D.C.

Henry Yates Satterlee

Henry Y. Satterlee was born in 1843 in New York City, but both of his parents were born in the city of Albany and had long family ties in this area. The family moved to Albany in 1846 so that his mother, Jane Anna Yates Satterlee, could manage the household of her father, Henry Christopher Yates. The Yates Mansion (also known as the Yates-Kane house or Ash Grove) was located at what is now the south side of Ash Grove Place between Grand Street and Trinity Place. It was here in the Yates Mansion that Henry lived from age 3 to 13. [i]

The Yates Mansion

Henry’s father, Edward Satterlee, was only nominally a member of the Dutch Reform Church.[ii] Henry’s mother. on the other hand, regularly attended two churches: the Dutch Reformed on Sunday mornings, and the Episcopal in the afternoon. She owned a pew at St. Paul’s Church during the period when William Ingraham Kip and Thomas Alfred Starkey were rectors.[iii] St. Paul’s building on South Pearl Street would have been convenient to the mansion; it was only a ten minute through Kane’s Walk (the park that gave Ash Grove its name) and up Pearl Street.

Kane’s Walk and the Yates Mansion

We know that Henry Satterlee attended St. Paul’s Sunday School.[iv] But Mrs. Satterlee must have also brought Henry along with her to St. Paul’s services where he heard sermons. The family tells a story about his reaction to the services:

Henry, as a small boy, used to come back after service, tie an apron over his shoulders and deliver a sermon, saying the Episcopal Church was the one he proposed to enter.[v]

One wonders whether Satterlee’s attraction to the Oxford Movement started when he heard the sermons of Thomas A. Starkey. Whose “high-church notions” caused an uproar at St. Paul’s in this period.

Henry was first privately tutored by Miss Ellen P. Frisbee, an 1849 graduate of the State Normal School[vi], and then attended the Albany Academy.[vii] Satterlee also learned Dutch from his mother, who was fluent in the language.[viii] When he visited the Pruyn household in Albany as an adult, he was still able to write out a Dutch poem for the Pruyn children. Huybertie Puryn reported that “[h]e did not vouch for the accuracy of his spelling, as his so-called ‘Bible Dutch’ had become blurred in the passing years.”[ix]

Albany Map of 1857, showing Ash Grove and its neighborhood

Henry’s grandfather, Henry Christopher Yates, died in 1854. Two years later, the family returned to New York City.[x] Henry graduated from Columbia College in 1863 and then (following up on his boyish enthusiasm for preaching in the Episcopal church), attended the General Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1865.

He served at Zion Church, Wappingers Falls, New York from 1865 until 1882, initially as curate, and later as rector. He was then called as rector of the influential Calvary Church in Manhattan, where was rector until 1896.

Henry Yates Satterlee was consecrated the first Bishop of Washington, D.C. in 1896, and served in that role until his death in 1908. He is best known as the driving force behind the construction of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, popularly known as the Washington National Cathedral. Satterlee is buried in the Bethlehem Chapel of the cathedral.[xi]

Henry Y. Satterlee’s Tomb (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

[i] Charles H. Brent, Master Builder: Being the Life and Letters of Henry Yates Satterlee First Bishop of Washington (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1916), 6. Huybertie Pruyn Hamlin (see note ix below) also reports that Satterlee lived in the Yates-Kane house, but is mistaken when she says that it was at 102 State Street.

[ii] Brent, 2-3.

[iii] Brent, 3-4.

[iv] Label on Saterlee’s portrait in the St. Paul’s portrait gallery.

[v] Brent, 4.

[vi] An Historical Sketch of the State Normal College at Albany, N.Y and a History of Its Graduates for Fifty Years (Albany: Brandow Printing Company, 1894), 124.

[vii] Brent, 9.

[viii] Brent, 5.

[ix] Huybertie Pruyn Hamlin, An Albany Girlhood, ed. Alice P. Kenney (Albany: Washington Park Press Ltd., 1990), 137.

[x] Brent. 9.

[xi] Wikipedia “Henry Y. Satterlee,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Y._Satterlee. accessed 19 Feb 2018.

All Saints 2016 – a Centennial

It’s All Saints, and this year we mark the centennial of two objects donated to the parish, both of which were dedicated on All Saints Day 1916.

Knabe Grand Piano

Knabe Grand Piano

The first is a grand piano “for use in the upper room of the Parish House” on Jay Street, but now placed in the south aisle of the Hackett Boulevard church. It was “a gift as a thank offering to the parish by Marcia Brady Tucker, daughter of Mrs. Anthony N. Brady.” We’ve written recently about the generosity of the mother, Mrs. Marcia Ann Myers Brady, particularly the Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ that she endowed in 1915. The younger Marcia grew up at St. Paul’s and was married to Carll Tucker here on February 27, 1908. The piano, in an ebony case, was built that same year (as confirmed by the serial number) by the Knabe Company in Baltimore Maryland.

The second object dedicated that All Saints Day 100 years ago was the tall clock that continues to keep watch over our coffee hours in the Blue Room. It was given by more than one hundred members of the congregation in memory of three parishioners associated with our Sunday School.

Elliott Tall Clock

Elliott Tall Clock

You might be surprised that such a lavish gift would be offered for Sunday School volunteers, but in those years St. Paul’s Sunday School was an important part of our corporate life. Total enrollment on November 1, 1915 had been 286, with average Sunday attendance that year of 203. Classes were divided in five departments (Beginners, Primary, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) with 30 teachers, all overseen by 12 officers.

The clock, a “[t]all English chiming clock, encased in mahogany, made by Elliott of London, England,” honored “the long and faithful service” of three individuals:

 

  • Frederick W. Ridgway, Jr. (15 Sep 1896 – 14 Jun 1916), the Assistant Secretary of the Church School, was the son of Frederick W. Ridgway Sr. (St. Paul’s vestryman from 1901 until his death in 1915), and the brother of Dorothy Ridgway, who the next year (1917) would marry our organist and choirmaster, T.F.H. Candlyn.
  • Anna Jaykill Phelps (22 Jan 1857 – 8 Jul 1916), “teacher with a record of nearly 25 years of perfect attendance.” Anna was married to Marcus E. Phelps and had two sons, Charles and Edward.
  • Ira Porter Jr. (12 Jan 1838 – 21 Nov 1914), Librarian of the Church School for 45 years
Ira Porter Jr.

Ira Porter Jr.

By far the longest serving was the last of these. Ira Porter Jr. had retired as Sunday School librarian about 1905, so his tenure with the Sunday School, went all the way back to almost 1860. He served in the period when St. Paul’s Sunday School was the largest in the city, and when attendance far surpassed even the levels in the early 20th century. The glory years were the 1870s and 1880s, when total enrollment was 600, and average attendance was about 400, with almost fifty teachers.

Sunday School Song Book 56th Anniversary (1883)

Sunday School Song Book 56th Anniversary (1883)

Ira Porter Jr., a member of St. Paul’s for fifty years, had not only served as Sunday School librarian, he was also clerk of the vestry for thirteen years. He was the son of Ira Porter Sr. (1811 – 1892) and Jane Eliza Rice Porter (1818 – 1894). The elder Ira Porter was a St. Paul’s vestryman from 1859 until 1871. Ira Jr. worked at the Albany Customs House for fifty years, ending his career in 1907 as a Special Deputy Surveyor of Customs.

Ira Porter Sr.

Ira Porter Sr.

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.