November 10, 1858
OUR AMERICAN CHURCH SERVICES IN PARIS.
Paris October 14, 1858
Messrs. Editors:--For the sake of those who have aided the enterprise, I beg to be permitted, through the columns of the CHURCH JOURNAL, to present a brief history of this very interesting movement.
In July last, the Rev. Mr. Lamson, a Presbyter of the Church, arrived here, hoping to provide for the wants of Churchmen residing in the French capital, as well as those who were, however transiently, in this city, in need of pastoral care.
An "American Chapel" was already in existence--built as your readers well know by the "American and Foreign Christian Union Society." A few Episcopalians were among the worshippers at that chapel, although its pastoral care is under a Congregational minister, and the form of worship, in concession to all parties, is a compromise of our liturgy with the usual forms of non-liturgical bodies. Notwithstanding Mr. Lamson came to Paris, without the slightest reference to the "American Chapel," some of the Episcopalians who were interested in that chapel, at once called upon Mr. Lamson, urging the expediency of some union with the Society already existing, or at all events to seek to establish some modification of the services there, before an attempt should be made to found a service purely and independently that of the American Episcopal Church.
Distrustful of the result, and quite confident, in his own mind, that things which are impossible at home, are no more practicable here, Mr. Lamson, for the satisfaction of those who wished such an arrangement, accepted an invitation to preach in the chapel; but in consequence of the restrictions placed upon the use of the Church service, and the subsequent statements made by Mr. Seeley as the representative here of the Society at home, as to the principles of the establishment, he (Mr. Lamson) was forced to abandon both for himself and his friends all hope of any proper association of the Church, in its ministry or services, with "the American Chapel." Nothing remained to him therefore but to ask the permission of the Government for an independent service, where the liturgy of the Church should be unmutilated, and its sacraments be dispensed by one of her own clergy. The difficulty next arose of obtaining a place of worship, until permanent arrangements could be made. The Taitbout chapel was obtained for one Sunday, but its further use positively denied, on the ground that the establishment of another American church would be inimical to the interests of the existing chapel, and would aid in the spread of "sectarian differences."
However, the first service of the "American Episcopal Church in Paris" was held in Taitbout chapel, upon the fifteenth of August last. Our chaplain--if we may so call him--was there assisted by the Rev. Edwin R. T. Cook, of the Memorial church in the city of New York. The presence of Mr. Cook gave additional interest to the occasion, for among the congregation were a French lady and her daughter, who had renounced Romanism in a recent visit to America, and were confirmed and received into the communion of the Church, under Mr. Cook's pastoral care.
After that service, our public worship was necessarily suspended for a few weeks, until it was resumed in the small chapel of the Oratoire church. This place has been courteously tendered to Mr. Lamson, until he can make better arrangements, for the chapel is very small, and inadequately accommodates the numbers who attend the service.
Two clergymen from the Southern States--Rev. Messrs. Dehon and Porter--have also officiated for us: the former preaching once, and once assisting in the service; the latter, upon a subsequent occasion, performing the service to the Communion.
The privilege, however, for which we are most unfeignedly thankful, is the presence of one of our Fathers of the American Church. The Rt. Rev. Bishop Davis of South Carolina, has been with us nearly three weeks. He it was, who first broke the bread of life to the wandering sheep, scattered from all latitudes of our land, yet gathered into one fold, thus far from home, around our wayside shrine. He it is, who has given the Episcopal imprimatur to the mission, and who, God willing, upon Sunday next, will offer the opportunity of confirmation to any who may desire it. Notwithstanding he is in a shattered state of health, and seeking to recuperate his wasted energies, he has exerted himself very much in behalf of this interesting church. Upon the two Sundays he has already passed in Paris, he has officiated for us, upon the first, administering the Holy Communion, while upon the second, he preached a sermon that will long be remembered by those who heard him. Next Sunday, which will probably be the last he will spend in Paris, he will hold a confirmation.
Included in this rapid sketch, must be the mention of an adult baptism, a marriage, and a burial; and when the confirmation is performed, all the rites of the Church will have been already celebrated, proving that the Church has her work to do, even in this distant metropolis.
Our greatest need--indeed our only want--is a permanent and consecrated building. Our ideas are not extravagant, and there is already in consideration a plan of a structure, which does not involve a very great outlay. The Church is entirely dependent upon the freewill offerings of the American Churchmen for its present support, and we must appeal to the Church at home for aid to begin the work.
A subscription list for the current expenses, and another for the building fund, have been well commenced. The treasurer, H. S. Lansing, Esq., 8 place de la Bourse, is appointed to receive any sums that may be remitted for these specified purposes, and to acknowledge the same.
May the liberal minded Churchmen remember us, and in casting his bread upon the waters, it may, perchance, return to him, after many days!
L. W. L.
March 9, 1859
THE AMERICAN EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN PARIS
The attention of the undersigned has been directed to a communication in the New York Evening Post, some time in January, entitled "The American Chapel in Paris," signed "c," in which the following passage occurs:--
You were in error, I think, Mr. Editor, in your statement of yesterday that the American Episcopalians in Paris had organised a new church, under the charge of the Rev. Mr. Lamson. Such was not the case four weeks ago when the writer left Paris. Mr. Lamson was then preaching, it is true, whenever and wherever he could, but apparently wholly on his own account.
This statement does great injustice to the Rev. Mr. Lamson, and to those Americans in Paris who sympathize with his efforts, and attend the services of his church. It is calculated (possibly not designed) to convey the idea that Mr. Lamson is a wandering, strolling preacher, gathering around him only that class whom chance, or novelty, or convenience, or excitement, may occasionally bring within his hearing. It very gravely misrepresents (it is hoped without intention so to do on the part of the writer) the character and condition of the congregation which has gathered under Mr. Lamson's ministrations, and which is seeking to enjoy in a foreign land the privileges of religious freedom and toleration, and the ministrations of the Church of their choice administered by a regularly authorized clergyman of that Church, and by a fellow-countryman.
Mr. Lamson's effort was not undertaken until the want of such effort had long been felt; nor was it without the sanction and approval of several of the Bishops, and many Presbyters and Laymen of the Church at home. He came here, bringing letters expressive of the highest personal confidence in himself, and of the deepest interest in the success of his undertaking, from Bishops, Priests, and Laymen of different dioceses in the United States.
His first public service in Paris was held on the 15th of August last, in a French Protestant church in the Rue Taitbout, in which Mr. Seeley's congregation had been accustomed to worship before the completion of their chapel in the Rue de Berry. Several of the undersigned attended that service. They did not think that by so doing they were making any opposition to the chapel under Mr. Seeley's charge: on the contrary, they had looked upon its establishment with Christian sympathy and hope; and considering it firmly and permanently established, they rejoiced at its success with Christian satisfaction and national pride. They rejoiced that a large number of their countrymen could find in Mr. Seeley's chapel and in his services opportunity and means of public religious worship, although those services did not meet their own wants. And it did not occur to them that because some of their countrymen had established a chapel in Paris which suited themselves, all other Americans were obliged either to attend that chapel, or abstain from any public religious worship. They knew, moreover, that the number of Americans at all times in Paris is several fold more than can possibly be accommodated in Mr. Seeley's chapel; and they believed that an American Episcopal Church in Paris was greatly to be desired, both for the accommodation of Americans, and for the cause of religion. Those of the undersigned who were then in Paris, and who attended the first service of Mr. Lamson (above alluded to), therefore united in urging him to continue his efforts. To their surprise the use of the chapel in which the first service was held, was refused on the following Sunday on the ground of sympathy on the part of the consistory of the Taitbout church with Mr. Seeley's chapel, and of close relations to the Society in New York, which has control of his chapel. Disappointed and pained to encounter opposition based upon such considerations, they still renewed their entreaties to Mr. Lamson to persevere in his efforts. He succeeded in procuring the temporary use of a room in the "Oratoire" (another French Protestant church), where he officiated on the 12th day of September last, and where he has since continued to officiate without interruption, every Sunday from that day to the present.
In the meantime he applied to the French Government for permission to hold his services elsewhere, such permission being requisite to allow any Protestant services to be held in any place not previously licensed for that purpose; so that while Mr. Lamson might officiate in the "Oratoire" which had been licensed for Protestant service, he could not without license officiate in any new edifice which might be procured for the purpose.
Misapprehension of the facts connected with this application (produced by the direct interference of those who were unfriendly to its success), induced the French Government to defer a favorable decision until further information should be furnished as to the necessity of Mr. Lamson's services for the accommodation of Americans. Such information has been submitted in connection with a renewed application, which there is good reason to hope will be granted.
For want of that permission, Mr. Lamson's services are still held in the "Oratoire." The room is far from being luxurious, it is barely comfortable; its situation is remote from the residence of most Americans in Paris; and the hour, at which alone permission can be had for holding the service, is inconveniently early. Nevertheless, it is well attended every Sunday by an earnest and devout congregation, respectable both in character and in numbers.
All the services and Sacraments of the Church are regularly and statedly administered there. Upwards of forty American Episcopalians have enjoyed the Sacrament of the Holy Communion every month. And considering the number of Americans who have passed through Paris, it is estimated that upwards of a hundred of our fellow-churchmen have partaken of that Sacrament in Mr. Lamson's chapel, since his services began.
In October, the Rt. Rev. Bishop Davis of South Carolina administered the rite of Confirmation there. On Thanksgiving Day (November 18th), the Rt. Rev. Bishop McIlvaine of Ohio preached an eloquent sermon there, and there for the first time on the Continent of Europe, the American custom of keeping Thanksgiving Day was observed with public religious services.
The Rt. Rev. Bishop Potter of Pennsylvania preached there more than once, and on Christmas administered the Holy Communion.
At the present time, a class of several young persons has been formed under Mr. Lamson's efforts and instruction, awaiting anxiously the arrival here of one of our Bishops (who is shortly expected) to receive the rite of Confirmation.
There facts are submitted in connection with the statement in the above extract from the communication of "c" and show that Mr. Lamson's services have not been as "c" represents them, but have been regular and stated;--in a respectable church, and to a respectable and numerous congregation; that he has the approval of several Bishops and clergymen of his Church at home; that he has had the sanction and cooperation of three distinguished Bishops of the Church who have chanced to be in Paris since his services were begun; and that he is now ministering satisfactorily to a large number of American Episcopalians, among whom, it may be added, besides the duties of the desk and pulpit, he has been continually called to perform those other duties incident to the relation of Pastor and People; such as Baptism (both adult and infant), Marriage, Visitation of the sick, Communion of the sick, and four times has he been called to perform the last solemn service of the Church over the remains of deceased fellow-countrymen.
The undersigned have hitherto maintained silence, though they have seen with deep regret the many statements appearing in public papers in the United States, calculated to prejudice the efforts they are making to enjoy during their absence from home, those privileges of conscience, and that freedom of religious worship which the constitution and laws of their country guarantee to all Americans at home.
They have not interfered with the privileges, or the freedom of choice, or of action, of any other Americans; and yet their efforts to enjoy the same privileges which others are enjoying here, have been met not only with misrepresentation, but with decided and active opposition, from some who have been so fortunate as to have secured the privileges which the undersigned, in common with many others who habitually attend Mr. Lamson's services, are endeavoring to secure for themselves during their sojourn in Paris, and for those who may be here in the future, entertaining the same religious sentiments with themselves, and the same love of the freedom of religious worship.
There has been, there is, no desire on the part of Mr. Lamson's congregation to interfere in any way with Mr. Seeley's chapel or its services; they simply wish the privilege of public worship elsewhere, and under other ministrations, and that privilege they intend to exercise, although it be precisely what some persons here and at home are unwilling to allow them. They have persevered for five months past against an ungenerous and continued opposition on the part of some persons who seem to think it a Christian duty to misrepresent and thwart all efforts to establish another American Church in Paris. They hope, in spite of all such misrepresentations, yet to succeed, and to establish on a firm basis a church in Paris where American Episcopalians can enjoy the privileges of their own Church.
The undersigned, with their families, constitute but a small portion of those who within the past five months have attached themselves to Mr. Lamson's church. Many have passed through Paris to other places in Europe; many have returned to America; and to them reference may be had as to the character and prospects of Mr. Lamson's church, and as to the value of his services in Paris.
The undersigned have no design or intention to enter into any controversy or public discussion on the subject of the Church in Paris. They submit the foregoing statement simply to present some facts in connection with Mr. Lamson's effort, and to repel unjust inferences which may be drawn from communications which have appeared at different times in the public journals in New York and elsewhere.
Paris, January 28th, 1859.
H. SEYMOUR LANSING, Paris
THEO. S. EVANS, Paris
HAMILTON FISH, New York
GEORGE F. JONES, New York
DANIEL LEROY, New York
JOHN S. QUICK, New York
GEORGE H. DRAPER, Paris
HENRY S. BRIDGE, Detroit, Mich.
THE REV. JOSEPH H. COIT, Maryland
GEORGE F. SANDERSON, Louisiana
WILLIAM H. DEWITT, Albany, N. Y.
ALEXANDER BROWN, Philadelphia, Pa.
CHARLES B. COLLINS, New York
SILAS M. GIDDINGS, Brooklyn, N. Y.
June 15, 1859
THE AMERICAN EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN PARIS,
Paris 17th May, 1859.
Messrs. Editors:--So much information has been in many ways spread before the Church at home, as to the establishment of the services of our Church in Paris, that I have thought it unnecessary to make any direct communication to the public prints while its purpose and spirit might have been misunderstood. I therefore imposed upon myself entire reserve until our Church movement here should have assumed a character of dignity and permanence, and have evinced a usefulness that should shield it from any imputation of quixotic individual endeavor;--until the individual should, as far as possible, have been lost in the work and its results. It is now, however, my duty to announce to the Church at large, through the public journals, that the congregation of American Episcopalians, to whom it has been my privilege to minister since September last, has become a church, and received a name under the accompanying form of organization, which has been made to resemble as closely as possible our parochial organizations at home. This would have been sooner effected, but for the tedious delay in obtaining from the French Government the full authorization of our services. This difficulty having been recently removed by the issue of the needful permission, measures were at once taken to organize the church and transfer its services to a more convenient locality. Fortunately, we have enjoyed the advantage of the counsel of two of our Bishops in maturing the plan of organization. Bishop Potter and Bishop De Lancey have both aided us with their wisdom and experience, and as close a conformity as possible to the canons of our Church has been observed. Room has been left for such amendments to the details of the plan as experience shall suggest, and the whole subject has been left to be submitted to the next General Convention, for such action as it shall deem expedient in the matter. Some difficult questions presented themselves for which no precedents or established rules existed, and therefore perfection is not claimed for a plan of administration which can be proved only by practical operation. Great care has been taken to preserve the Church from future inroads of dispositions which might diminish its usefulness by depriving it of that universal sympathy and confidence of the Church at home, which it should, and we trust does, possess. Therefore, in the two most important contingencies of its future operation,--viz: changes in its constitution, and the choice of any future incumbent--power is lodged with the senior Bishop to protect it from any extreme measures which might tend to its injury. Such a reference is in accordance with the general spirit of our Church polity, and has been thought the wisest that could be made.
The object of the establishment here is, as it should be, to minister our beloved Church in all her precious privileges and consolations, and with all simplicity and purity, to her own wandering and exiled children, and to all others who may seek her blessings. The experience of nine months has supplied abundant evidence of the value and importance of such a representation of our Church in this great capital, and encouraged earnest efforts for extending its usefulness. The silent power of the admonition, and direct attraction of our services, to overcome habits of indifference and neglect as to the public duties of religion, has been marked by results which give beautiful testimony to the deep and tenacious hold of our Church upon the hearts of her children; while the regularity and devout satisfaction with which they have been attended by a goodly number during the past Winter, discredits the common notion of the indifference of travellers and sojourners abroad to such privileges: it rather turns the reproach upon the Church for having so long neglected a provision so necessary to the spiritual welfare of her faithful. The serious inconveniences and hindrances we have suffered in being forced to hold our services in a remote locality, amid discomforts, and at an unseasonably early hour, are happily at an end; and though still unsuitably accommodated in a place not entirely consecrated to holy uses, and surrounded with some inconveniences, our services are as accessible as need be both as to place and time. They have been removed to No. 14 Rue du Faubourg St. Honore, near the Madeleine, where they will be regularly held until a suitable and inexpensive chapel can be provided through the Christian liberality of churchmen here and at home. Unfortunately, the necessity of keeping the services in a central location, makes the purchase of the ground the chief, and a large item in the cost of such a provision, quite out of proportion to the building itself, which might be very inexpensive. The small amount of money needed to effect the removal of our services has been readily furnished by our friends here, and a fund has been commenced for the erection of a chapel. The foundation of the fund, in the order of payment, is a consecrated offering of $100, from two daughters of the Church in Connecticut, who were orphaned here, and in their affliction received the faithful ministry and consolation of the Church, to which they now send their offering of gratitude. Other subscriptions, however, had previously been made, and in all there is pledged about the tenth part of the sum needed. The erection of a modest chapel here for the ministration of her manifold blessings is surely a work of trifling magnitude when distributed over the whole Church--for it is one that appeals to her generally. I feel a confidence that it will be done, for I have faith that God's hand is with us, and that He will bring great results from this erection of our pure faith and venerated worship, where it may attract powerfully by the beauty of its noble simplicity. Appeal is therefore confidently made for the rapid increase of this building fund by remittances to the home Committee, who will charge itself with their faithful transmission. A great and effective step has been made in obtaining from the French Government a recognition of our Church, and a full authorization of her services publicly in Paris; so that our way is now clear of all such difficulties of that nature, and there is nothing needed but a suitable and duly appointed place of worship, to fill up the measure of her usefulness here by the faithful ministration and dignified representation of her purely spiritual system.
Much ignorance and prejudice touching her faith and polity has already been dispelled by the establishment and operation of our services, and has been replaced by respect, if not admiration. The presence and services of several of our Bishops have not only given to our little church a truly apostolic foundation, but have attracted and interested those who knew little of our Church generally, to a degree that cannot fail to advance her influence in the world. We feel that God, in this and in many other happy providences, has signified the Divine favor with which He regards our work. Last Sunday we had the gratification of opening the temporary place of worship above mentioned, and though the arrangements were incomplete and the locality not generally known, the attendance was good, and the communicants numbered thirty-nine. On Easter Day there were forty-six. Last Sunday we were enabled for the first time to hold a second service, when the sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Carter, of Yonkers (New York). Communion has been established on the first and third Sundays of the month, and should experience show this to be too infrequent for the accommodation of travellers, it will be administered every Sunday. I am glad to observe that the clergy are beginning to furnish their parishioners with letters to me, by which they are brought directly to my acquaintance, and I have already been able to be of service to many of them. Some of our Bishops have suggested this to their clergy, and I wish that the practice might become general, as thereby the usefulness of the Church here, and the comfort of those who would seek its privileges, are greatly furthered.
Thus our position may be regarded as established, and the permanent success of our Church dependent under God, only upon the continued sympathy and support of the Church at large at home, and Churchmen individually here. It has hitherto demonstrated all the hopes and convictions upon which it was founded, and its strength has been found in the quietness and confidence with which it has pursued faithfully its work. God has blessed its hopes and its endeavors, and they who have faith and discernment to see the results to which it may reach, will pray and strive that the oil shall never fail from this lamp of our beloved Spiritual and Apostolic Church.
Wm. O. Lamson
P. S. May I beg the Editors of the Church papers in other Dioceses, to regard this communication as equally addressed to themselves, and to further our work by republishing it in their journals.
June 22, 1859
THE AMERICAN EPISCOPAL CHAPEL AT PARIS
[As the enterprise at Paris is the first attempted by American Churchmen on the Continent of Europe, and as, for this reason, much time and thought have been given to the subject, and in case of future undertakings elsewhere it will probably be looked to as a precedent, we insert the following account of its formal organization.--EDS. CHURCH JOURNAL.]
At a meeting of the male members of the congregation of American Episcopalians worshipping in Paris, under the charge of the Rev. W. O. Lamson, held on the 11th of April, 1859, pursuant to public notice given at Divine Service on the previous Sunday, the following Report of the Committee on the organization of the church, was submitted by its Chairman, the Hon. Hamilton Fish, and, on motion, was unanimously adopted. The following named gentlemen were subsequently elected wardens and vestrymen:--
HAMILTON FISH, Warden
GEO. F. JONES, Warden
H. S. LANSING, Vestrymen
EDWARD BEYLARD, M. D. Vestrymen
JOHN LAMSON, Vestrymen
DANIEL LEROY, Vestrymen
The Committee appointed to report on the name and on the organization of the American Protestant Episcopal congregation in Paris, and also on the powers of a vestry, or on a permanent committee in lieu of a vestry,
Respectfully submit the accompanying plan of organization, embracing, in the opinion of the Committee, the several points subjected to them:--
The Committee are of the opinion, that in case the accompanying plan of organization be adopted by the congregation, the appointment of a Committee resident in the United States, may be of most important aid; this Committee need perhaps be only temporary.
They recommend, therefore, the adoption of the following resolution:--
Resolved. That Rev. Dr. Vinton, Rev. Dr. Morgan, Mr. B. R. Winthrop, and Hon. John A. Dix, be appointed a Committee to aid by counsel and otherwise, the objects, the establishment, and maintenance of the American Episcopal Church in Paris; and that this Committee be requested in their discretion to add to their number, and to appoint auxiliary Committees.
The American Protestant Episcopalians in Paris, who have associated and formed a congregation under the ministrations and charge of the Rev. W. O. Lamson, gratefully acknowledging the opportunities, which, under the Divine blessing, have been thereby afforded to them, do adopt the following:--
PLAN OF ORGANIZATION
I. The church shall be known as "The American Protestant Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity in Paris," and shall ever profess and maintain the faith and doctrines, and shall forever worship according to the forms and usages, of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
II. There shall be a vestry, to consist of the Rector and six male lay members of the congregation, of whom two shall be wardens. The lay members of the vestry shall be chosen by the adult male members of the congregation, who either being Communicants of the Church, or having been for not less than one year regular attendants upon the services, and contributors to the support and maintenance of this church, or of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, shall also, for at least three months immediately preceding the election, have been attendants upon, and have either purchased or hired and paid for seats in, this church.
III. The first election of wardens and vestrymen shall be made by the congregation present, immediately upon the adoption of this plan of organization. They shall forthwith be divided by lot into two classes (each class to consist of one warden and two vestrymen), the term of office of one class shall continue until the persons to be chosen in 1860, shall enter upon the duties of their office; the term of the other class shall continue until the persons to be chosen in 1861, shall enter upon the duties of their office. The wardens and vestrymen thereafter to be elected, shall be elected, and shall serve for two ecclesiastical years, and until their successors shall be chosen and shall enter upon the duties of their office.
IV. The election of wardens and vestrymen shall regularly be held on the Monday in Easter Week each year, at such place and at such time (between the hours of eleven in the forenoon and five in the afternoon), as the vestry shall from time to time designate.
Notice of the time and place of holding the election shall be given, during morning service for two successive Sundays immediately preceding the holding thereof, and also in case the vestry deem proper, in any other manner that they shall direct.
The elections shall be by ballot, and the persons having the largest number of votes for the representative offices shall be chosen. The polls shall at all times be kept open for one hour and not longer, the elections shall be held by such persons and under such regulations, and shall be certified in such manner, as the vestry by general regulations shall direct.
V. A quorum of the vestry shall consist of not less than four members; provided the Rector or one at least of the wardens shall be of that number.
Any vacancy which shall occur in the vestry upon death or resignation, or the permanent removal from Paris of any warden or vestryman, shall be temporarily filled by the vestry, on the nomination of the Rector, or if the office of Rector be vacant, or the Rector be absent from the Parish, then by the vestry without such nomination--the person thus appointed is to serve during the remainder of the term of him, in whose place he may have been appointed.
VI. The vestry shall have charge of all the temporal affairs of the church, shall appoint a Secretary and a Treasurer from their own number, shall appoint and employ at their discretion, such subordinate officers and agents as they shall deem necessary, shall keep minutes of their proceedings, and shall from time to time make such regulations as they shall think proper for the management of the church. They shall by standing rules, prescribe the time and manner of calling and holding their own meetings, and the order and mode of transacting their own business.
They may recommend any amendments or additions to this plan of organization, and such amendments or additions shall take effect, and become operative as part of the plan of organization, provided they receive the written assent and approval of the Presiding Bishop of the House of Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, but not otherwise, and no amendment or addition can be made that shall not be conformable to the laws and regulations of France. Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the Rectorship, it shall be filled by the vestry with the written assent and approval of the Presiding Bishop aforesaid, but not without such assent. The Rector shall preside at the meetings of the vestry, if he be present; if he not be present, one of the wardens shall preside.
VII. This congregation desires to, and hereby does, place itself under the ecclesiastical control and supervision of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, which is hereby requested to take into consideration, at its next meeting, the establishment and condition of this church, and either to take it under its own jurisdiction or to attach it to some one Diocese, and otherwise to take such action as to the Convention shall seem proper.
VIII. The Rector shall report to the General Convention at its next meeting, the condition and prospects of the church, together with a copy of this plan of organization, and also any statement, report, or suggestion which the vestry shall think proper to make.
February 15, 1860
THE AMERICAN CHURCH IN PARIS:
To the members of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States
New-York, Jan. 4th, 1860.
BRETHREN,--No member of our Church can visit the Metropolis of Continental Europe, without becoming convinced of the propriety and necessity of the step we take in thus addressing our Episcopalian brethren of the United States.
The Capital of France offers perhaps, to the traveller from abroad, greater and more varied inducements to prolong a casual visit than any other principal city of the Continent. The social refinement which marks the character of its people, the accumulated treasures of art which adorn its collections, and the high degree of intellectual and scientific attainment which distinguishes its literary circles, all combine to render Paris the centre of attraction to the educated American traveller. Many, indeed, of our citizens with their families, have found a temporary home in that city, while improving the advantages it offers for purposes of instruction. Its geographical position, also, furnishes a sufficient motive for including it in almost every arrangement for an extended foreign tour.
The circumstances which are inevitably connected with the attractions of a populous and luxurious city, should lead every Christian mind to consider the duty of providing the means for a proper, recognized, spiritual guidance, thereby creating a wholesome, moral, and spiritual influence for the benefit of those who find themselves in the midst of worldly excitements and dangerous allurements, especially perilous to their religious character, without the controlling restraints and ministrations to which they had been accustomed.
This question, in all its important bearings, has for some years past occupied the attention and interested the hearts of many foreign residents of Paris. Americans, especially, have given to the project of securing the regular services of the Protestant Episcopal Church their zealous support and sympathy. Several Protestant denominations have already been established in that city, but their offices are not in conformity with the Episcopal ritual, nor are their doctrines and teachings those of the Church to which we owe our Christian allegiance.
An earnest effort has recently been successfully made, and the assent of the French government obtained, to organize and establish in the French capital a church in connexion with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, under the direction of the General Convention of the Church, and subject to the jurisdiction of the Presiding Bishop thereof. A site has been selected, and preliminary measures adopted for purchasing the ground and building the church.
As yet but small progress has been made in obtaining the funds necessary to accomplish the object in view. A few resolute spirits are at work, and under the Providence of God they will persevere until their task is fulfilled.
In the confident belief that this subject will commend itself to the favor of all Episcopalians, and induce them to accord to it their encouragement and active assistance, we have consented to serve as a Committee to further its consummation. In the performance of the duty which we have undertaken, we solicit the contributions of every member of the Church who desires to see its ministrations extended wherever they can find hearts open to the influences of the Gospel Mission.
Subscriptions in the aid of the fund to establish a Protestant Episcopal Church in the city of Paris, may be forwarded to the address of the Right Reverend Horatio Potter, Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of New York, or to either of the undersigned members of the Committee, or to Benjamin R. Winthrop, the Treasurer of the Committee, No. 10 Wall street, New York city.
It is proper that we should state for the satisfaction of those who may design to contribute to this fund, that we have every assurance and a confident belief, founded on the generous spirit already evinced in Paris in regard to this sacred enterprise, that the church, once established and paid for, will need no further extraneous aid. The proceeds of the Offertory, there is every reason to believe, will be sufficient to meet all the current annual expenses.
We would further apprise those to whom this Circular is addressed, that the subject to which it refers has already attracted the attention and received the countenance of the House of Bishops, with the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies of the whole Church, by whom a special Canon in reference to it has been enacted.
With earnest hopes and prayers for the success of our appeal, we remain, your brethren in Christ,
Rt. Rev. Horatio Potter
William F. Morgan
John A. Dix
B. R. Winthrop
February 22, 1860
THE AMERICAN CHURCH AT PARIS
A late letter from one of those most prominently engaged in starting the Church in Paris--in aid of which a circular was published in our last--says:--
We have just made an unsuccessful effort to lease the American Chapel, at separate hours, and under some equitable arrangement, for the transfer thither of our services. They respond by asking an enormous rent for the use of the Chapel at hours when the doors would otherwise be closed; and in addition, place such restrictions upon our disposition of the pews, simply for our own services, as would effectually deprive us of revenue to meet the large obligations we should assume. The hours would be very inconvenient that would be assigned to us. And the simple inference from the whole is that they do not want us in the building. You are probably aware that the Chapel belongs to a Presbyterian society in New York, and its services are of a mixed character, and always under the charge of a Congregational or Presbyterian incumbent, who is the appointee of the Society. We made the attempt in good faith, to satisfy the public sentiment, here and at home, whether the same building could and should be used for the two separate services. They have made the arrangement impossible, and we shall now proceed energetically to provide ourselves a place of worship of an inexpensive and suitable character. We shall look for aid from home, where we have much sympathy and many friends in the Church at large.
August 29, 1860
Our Provisional Bishop (the Rt. Rev. Horatio Potter), when last heard from was at Paris, and in perfectly good health. He had preached at our American Church chapel, and confirmed a class of eight or nine persons. Dr. Haight was there also, and the accounts of his health are more favorable than have ever been given before for some years.
August 29, 1860
THE AMERICAN EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN PARIS.
Messrs. Editors:--The permanent establishment of our Church in Paris, has given that city a new interest to Episcopalians; and I now beg a small space in your columns, because I am sure there are many who regularly search your paper for information concerning this interesting mission--this pioneer movement toward furnishing our own services in their integrity, and our own clergy to our travelling fellow churchmen.
Scarcely two years ago the Rev. Mr. Lamson arrived in this city, determined to establish a place of worship which should be alike loyal to the Church of our love and the land of our birth. With an energy that nothing could daunt, Mr. Lamson battled against obstacles of every kind. At every step he was opposed by those unfriendly to our Church; while the indifference of many professing our creed added to his difficulties, and launched him in troubles which have been repeatedly and variously narrated, and, thank heaven, manfully overcome.
Yet, brief as has been the time, no other hand than Mr. Lamson's can chronicle the work that has been done, and, we humbly trust, the good accomplished. Thousands have attended the services, a large proportion of whom have been fed from the altar. The sick have been cheered in their sufferings; the afflicted have been encouraged to seek consolation in Him "who doth not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men." The last words of love have been uttered over the insensate form, and the voice of the Church hath echoed its tones of mercy through the hearts of the bereaved.
Paris and sorrow seem so incompatible an idea to the bustling traveller, as he exhausts his repertoire of sights to be seen, and hastens from this beautiful metropolis, that it is not easy to believe the mission of the church here is preeminently one of mercy; and, if opportunity were given, a history could be told that would surprise many. But it is not for me to speak of these things here; and to dwell no longer upon general subjects, I would mention particularly the visit of the Right Rev. Bishop Potter, of New York, and the confirmation (the fourth which has been held by different bishops) which took place upon the Seventh Sunday after Trinity, when eight persons, all young, were presented for the holy rite.
A large congregation was present, all the sittings were filled, and more were needed, notwithstanding resident Episcopalians were mostly out of town, and the number of American travellers is small at this season. Morning Prayer was said by the Rector; the Bishop reading the Ante-Communion Service and preaching from the text "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." None could have heard the sermon and not have been deeply impressed by its earnestness, and the beautiful picture of the Christ-like mind, which was so eloquently described by the Bishop, as the requisite of the heart that would follow its Master, and most especially must they have been affected who immediately afterward presented themselves to ratify their baptismal vows. Two of the candidates had been reared in another fold; another was an invalid to whom the service was a privilege to which he had scarcely dared look but a short time since; and still another had been numbered with the class being prepared for the rite, who scarcely forty-eight hours before, had been summoned to an eternal rest, but not until, "ready and desirous to be confirmed," he had humbly received the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ at the hands of his beloved pastor. The Bishop addressed very briefly those whom he had confirmed, and administered the Holy Communion, and thus closed another of those services which are making Paris a hallowed recollection for so many.
The visitation of one of our Bishops is to us an event which Churchmen at home can scarcely appreciate. It is a living evidence that it is the AMERICAN EPISCOPAL CHURCH which we are maintaining here. We are more ready to confess our oneness with the beloved body from which more than three thousand miles of cold and trackless waste cannot separate us. And yet here I must pause and ask my brother Churchmen if they have done all in their power to honor and vindicate the Church in this city. Should our Pastor be forced to depend upon the precarious offerings of each Sunday's service, as he must do until we have a suitable place of worship? Should there not be something better than the small, ill-ventilated room where we are now obliged to worship,--a room which opens directly upon a noisy court--so noisy, that in the service I have attempted to describe, the Bishop's voice was almost drowned in the din from without; indeed he was forced more than once to wait till disturbances should cease.
Will not Churchmen at home come effectually to our aid? Of the multitudes that pass through the French capital attending the services, how few leave a thank offering for mercies enjoyed! Will not every Churchman who reads this, in the length and breadth of our land, send us something, if it be but counted in cents?
Already some seven or eight thousand dollars are subscribed, about a third of what is needed, and enough to build a modest and comfortable church, if the ground were provided. Land in the heart of the city, and it is there we must build, is enormously high; and to purchase a small lot to suit our modest views, will need twice the amount necessary for the erection of the church. Yet certainly the purchase should not be a difficult matter. This Paris church claims upon every Episcopalian; and if the two thousand persons who long ago attended the services had averaged ten dollars in their offerings toward the building-fund, there would now be a church in erection.
Think of it, travellers, who spend your thousands upon some frail article of bijouterie, and remember the church which only asks the smallest coin that you can spare. Think of it, parents, whose sons are leaving home to draw upon the literary or artistic resources of this great city, and remember the Church. Your capital will be well invested, for this church may be a home for your absent ones, as it is to many a home-sick heart who is now first finding happiness in its service, and to whom the Pastor is a friend in all times of prosperity and adversity. Think of it, young men, nurtured in the Church, for the first time far from home in this beautiful but dangerous abode. You may have neither silver nor gold, but you have influence and responsibility. You can help by your presence and attendance; you can influence those who have been less favored in earlier years; and you and they may thus "carry stones for the temple of the Lord."
Can we help this appeal to you who love the Church, and would see her honor vindicated here where she has so many enemies and treacherous friends, where on one side of the world puts on her fairest garb to dull the heart and conscience, and upon the other Romanism looks up in specious majesty to lure with its myriad seductions, beguiling the imaginative and unwary? And there are other influences, but of them we need not now speak. We only ask how long must we search for the "Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth," and be pointed to an out-of-the-way court--not fair to traverse or behold--where the most ordinary services are disturbed, and where the inconveniences are such as would keep empty any city church in America?
Help us, fellow Churchmen, and before another year, let the services of the American Episcopal Church in Paris be held in a fitting place.
That done, all peradventure is past, and we are sure of a Pastor as faithful and efficient as he is respected and beloved.
A CHURCHMAN ABROAD.
Paris, July 28th, 1860.
October 31, 1860
THE AMERICAN EPISCOPAL CHAPEL IN PARIS
PARIS, Oct. 5, 1860.
It may be taken for granted that the establishment in Paris of the services and ministrations of the American Episcopal Church is a matter of such deep interest to many of your readers, that no apology is needed, Mr. Editor, for offering through your columns some further account of our progress in an enterprise meriting the heartiest sympathy of all our American fellow Churchmen.
The necessity of such a mission has long been conceded; but were any so incredulous or so ill-informed as to require additional enlightenment on that point, we should need but to refer to the too-frequent demonstration we have lately had of the utter insufficiency of our present accommodation. I speak within strict limits of truth when I say, that during the last six months, hundreds of Americans, failing in their endeavor to gain an entrance to the room we now occupy, have been deprived of an opportunity of engaging in the exercises of God's house. Facts such as this were, I believe, but lately set forth in your columns; the "repetition," however, I look upon as anything but "vain." I would I were at liberty to consider it needless! Because, notwithstanding the publicity given at home to the general subject of the Paris church, and the support of a number of our fellow-citizens at home, the importance of whose aid and countenance can scarcely be overrated, let it be fully understood on all hands that the hardest part of the work yet remains to be done, and will not be done until all American Churchmen at home to whom God has granted the wherewithal to help a holy cause, as well as that spirit of Christian liberality which alone can make God's gifts a blessing, shall unite with us in securing the erection here of such a building for church uses, as shall be worthy of themselves, of our country, and of this sacred enterprise.
It is a matter of thankfulness that the conduct of efforts at home in aid of the Paris church has fallen to men of earnest hearts and able hands. The Committee having this matter in charge in the United States, you well know to be gentlemen whose names, position, and public character are an all-sufficient guarantee for the success of any enterprise to which they may lend their active support. And while nothing will be left undone by them that sound judgment and noble zeal can suggest, it becomes us not only to take all available measures that lie to our hands on this side the Atlantic, but likewise to furnish from time to time such reports of the condition and progress of our undertaking, as may be needed for the enlightenment of some who are yet in the dark even as to its existence, and of a still greater number who are ignorant of (or at least but imperfectly acquainted with) its immense practical utility, and immediate, absolute necessity.
And it is on this very necessity, as already demonstrated, that we base our appeal. It is on the real and palpable good hitherto accomplished, and on the inestimable benefit that even now with our slender means is daily conferred on American Churchmen who are travelling on the Continent, or to whom Paris may be more or less a place of residence, that we rest our claim. No better evidence could be desired, nor do we purpose offering any other.
The Provisional Bishop of New York has left us, after affording the most ample and encouraging proofs of his cordial interest in all that concerns our work. On the second Sunday of September last he appeared among us for the last time; and at the close of the Morning Service, many of the congregation received the Holy Communion at his hands. All must have been impressed with the unusually solemn character of a celebration which thus became a fitting farewell. Some there were who saw and heard him for the first time, on the occasion of his visit; and from these, as well as from others whose privilege it was to know him earlier, this honored father in the Church bears with him the ready and thankful tribute of deepest reverence and warmest love.
The next event calling for notice is the visit of the Rt. Rev. Bishop Kip of California, who arrived in Paris on the 15th ult., and spent three Sundays with us. On the 16th, and on the 23d, he preached in the morning, and last Sunday (the 30th ult.), both morning and afternoon. To the thousands at home who know the excellent and popular style of Bishop Kip's preaching, it were needless to say that on all these occasions he was listened to with the utmost acceptance by as many as could find accommodation within our place of worship. The administration of the holy rite of confirmation to a class of three persons, lent an additional interest to the services of last Sunday morning. On this occasion the Bishop delivered an eloquent and masterly discourse; and nothing could have been better fitted to sink into the minds and hearts both of the candidates and of the congregations, than the touching and impressive address following the administration of the holy ordinance.
It may excite surprise on the part of some of your readers that another confirmation should be held here so soon after the administration of the rite by the Bishop of New York, and perhaps no single feature could better illustrate the very peculiar and exceptional character of the enterprise we have in hand, than the necessity for such a close succession. When I add that had this second confirmation been deferred one week, the number of candidates would have been five instead of three, it will at once be perceived that while there is ample scope for the active exercise of the ministrations of a Christian pastor among the American Churchmen residing here, there is a field of labor no less extended and still more arduous, among the thousands perpetually coming and going, remaining for a more limited period of time. Again, our position with regard to persons eligible for confirmation is such that from among the large number of young Americans pursuing their education in Paris and its immediate neighborhood, there could be assembled on every opportunity afforded by the arrival of a Bishop, a class of candidates bearing a fair proportion to the size of the congregation. Nor it is among the least of the benefits conferred on us by the occasional visits of the Bishops of our Church, that their very presence serves to remind these young people of a sacred obligation, and becomes an incitement to the performance of a duty which, but for the silent admonition, might pass unheeded.
Let me not omit mentioning another circumstance of last Sunday morning; at the close of the Gospel, the Bishop made an animated and forcible statement concerning the position of the Paris church, graphically exhibiting both its practical working, and its claims upon the support of the Christian public. A short residence in Paris many years ago has enabled the Bishop of California to speak with peculiar authority on this subject; and if to his eyes it was even then evident how urgent was the need for the establishment here of the ministrations of the American Protestant Episcopal Church, how do arguments which might then have been used gather force when we consider that since those days the number of Americans visiting Paris, or residing here, must have increased twenty fold? This was clearly pointed out by the Bishop, who proceeded to dwell earnestly on the importance of religious influences being brought to bear upon the throngs of children of our Church who at any time may be found in the hotels and boarding-houses of this city; showing that it is just among such floating material as this that the most striking and irresistible evidence appears in testimony of the worth of the Rev. Mr. Lamson's services; and that on the part of the pastor there is found vigilance, activity, and energy in his moral and material aid of all, whether here or at home, who, having an intelligent understanding of the true nature and value of this enterprise, are not lacking in liberality and Christian zeal to support it. The Bishop farther alluded to the personal assurances he had received from several American families residing here, that nothing but the difficulty and frequent disappointment attending their past efforts to find accommodation, deterred them from appearing regularly at our services; at the same time giving it as his belief that were a sufficiently commodious church edifice now at our disposal, the number of the congregation would be at once increased three-fold.
These remarks of the Bishop of California, were likewise fully embodied in the warm and earnest written testimony he left in the hands of Mr. Lamson. Both from Bishop Potter and from Bishop Kip has Mr. Lamson received letters, designed for public use, expressive of the heartiest interest in his undertaking, and the deepest solicitude for his success. It is no small encouragment to us that this warm friendliness is shared in equal degree by all of the six American Bishops who, up to this time, have visited us.
The simple facts constituting the clearest recommendation of our work to public favor and support, enter so largely into the above statement, that I am almost saved the necessity of alluding more particularly to the importance of immediate and energetic action on the part of all who wish well to our enterprise. As to the result of our endeavors, we have not a shadow of a doubt; for, while no effort will be spared here, we have abundant faith that our fellow Churchmen at home will promptly and liberally respond to the call that is made upon them. Nothing but such a concert of vigorous action can either command or deserve success.
December 19, 1860
OUR CHURCH IN PARIS
Messrs. Editors:--I discharge a most agreeable duty in communicating through your Journal to the Church at home an account of one of those pleasant and valued acts of intercommunion between the elder branches of our Communion in Great Britain and ourselves, which we always hail with so much satisfaction. The importance of such public manifestations of the essential oneness and cordial sympathy of these sister churches cannot well be overestimated, and I am sure the evidence I have now to record of the power of this foreign establishment of our American Church to promote so valuable an intercourse and sympathy, will be received as another significant token of its great usefulness.
I was not aware of the presence in Paris of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Trower, former Bishop of Glasgow, until he was kind enough to call and leave upon my table a few lines expressing his pleasure at finding an American brother here, and intimating his willingness to officiate at our services in order publicly to evince his fraternal feeling. His official errand here as the representative of the Bishop of London, added to the value of this courtesy; I readily availed myself of his kindness, and wrote to beg that he would preach and administer Holy Communion in our humble place of worship, on the 18th inst. He acceded to this wish, conveying his answer in terms which I cannot forbear printing for the pleasure I know they will give to our brethren at home:--
24 Champs Elysees, Saturday, Nov. 10, 1860.
Rev. and Dear Sir,--It will give me great pleasure (please God) to officiate as you propose in your church on the 18th. When I came to Paris I was not aware that there was a chapel of the American branch of our Communion in this city. Believe me, few things could give me greater pleasure than to express in any way my sense of the unity of the two branches, and my deep respect and sympathy for the American Church.
Your faithful brother,
(Signed) W. J. TROWER
Rev. W. O. Lamson
In accordance with this arrangement, our place of worship on last Sunday morning was the scene of a service that we shall ever recall with the deepest satisfaction. The room was, as usual, crowded with those who were able to get within its doors, while many turned away disappointed of the pleasure they had come to enjoy. A considerable number of our English brethren were among the congregation, and joined heartily in the services. The Bishop said the Ante-Communion service, after Morning Prayer, and then proceeded with the sermon. He then returned to the altar and resumed the Communion Service, performing the act of consecration, and administering to a goodly number of English and American communicants--manifesting in all his ministrations a heartiness and pleasure that plainly interpreted the satisfaction he felt in the circumstances of the service.
The Bishop has kindly permitted me to extract such parts of his sermon as I might desire. I am thus able to send you the opening portion which refers more specially to the circumstances of his appearing amongst us, and which I am sure will be read with great pleasure and find a cordial response throughout our Church at home.
Taking for his text ACTS viii. 30, 31:--"And Philip ran thither to Him and heard Him read the Prophet Esaias: and said, understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, how can I, except some man should guide me?" The Bishop spoke as follows:--
"As a Bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and also at this time bearing a commission from the Bishop of London, to minister the apostolic rite of confirmation in British chapels on the Continent (over which the Bishop of London has conventionally been considered to have Episcopal jurisdiction), I have felt very special pleasure and satisfaction in availing myself of this opportunity, afforded me by my Rev. brother the Rector of this Church, to take part in the services of this chapel of the American Episcopal Church by ministering to-day both at the altar and from the pulpit. As soon as I was aware that a congregation of that branch of the Reformed Catholic Church was formed in this city, I communicated with your pastor, because I saw how happy an occasion might be afforded for showing the unity between these three sister churches,--which, while entirely independent, and each perfectly constituted as branches of the Universal Church, not only confess the same creed, and receive the same Apostolic discipline, but derive both their Orders and their Liturgy from a common source--the Church of England, the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America, and the Episcopal Church of Scotland. The Church of England, amidst many anxieties at home, has of late years derived no little strength and comfort on the one hand from the wonderful spread of her own Episcopate in the various British Colonies, and on the other from witnessing the remarkable growth and prosperity of that Church in the United States, which, if in some respects a daughter of the Church of England, is already to be viewed rather as a sister than a daughter, requiting from year to year any early benefits, by the value of her independent testimony to the truths and principles of their common confession, and by the learning and orthodoxy of her Prelates and Doctors. I need hardly say how close has ever been the relation between the Scottish and American branches, from the recollection of the circumstances of Bishop Seabury's consecration, as well as from their similar position with respect to connection with State support and recognition; and the feelings of the Church of England towards her American sister were in some faint measure expressed on that remarkable occasion, at which I had happiness of being present and taking part in the great solemnity, where seventeen Bishops of the English, American, and Scottish branches, met in the cathedral church in London, on the 150th anniversary of the Venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and joined in the highest act of worship with more than one thousand other communicants."
The Bishop then proceeded to the treatment of his text, by showing in an admirably clear and forcible manner how to his mind it illustrated the principles of our common confession, both with respect to the value of authorized formularies as a guide to the right meaning of Holy Scripture, and also as to the position of the blessed Sacraments in the scheme of the Doctrine. It would be too great a demand upon your columns to give the many portions of the discourse which specially deserve to be remembered. I will only add the closing paragraphs, which will serve well enough to indicate the character and temper of the whole discourse:--
"Lastly, may this whole subject lead us all to bless God, that in different lands and climes we have been taught this one confession ever made from the beginning, and are members of that Reformed Catholic Church which cleaves to the "faith once delivered to the saints;" which confesses the Scriptures as the only source of saving truth which each man is bound to search, but leaves not her children to search that volume without the guidance of the Book of Common Prayer; which has the blessing of unmutilated sacraments as well as of a sure succession of ordained and commissioned ministers, which may take in all her branches as a motto or symbol of her profession, Evangelical Truth and Apostolic Order. In these days of novel opinions and infinitesimal divisions, may we value more and more the safeguard which we have in our common formularies and common principles. May the identity of our principles and communion be increasingly a bond of that union and brotherhood which should ever distinguish us, even as members of one race and family; and may those who differ from us on the right hand or the left, from encumbering the simplicity of the faith with human additions, or from rejecting the guidance of primitive antiquity and authority, meet at length in that Via Media, which we take, not on the principle of compromise between conflicting views, but because we receive it as the Way divinely revealed and marked by the footsteps of the saints of God even from the first."
The inference from this service must be such, I think, as to dispel any fears that may be lingering in the minds of any of our brethren at home, as to the possible interference of our Church here with the conventional rights or interests of the English establishments on the Continent. No such jurisdiction is claimed either by or for the Bishop of London, as would give room to fears of this nature. Nor have I ever seen the slightest manifestation of jealousy from the English chapels themselves. The English clergy and laity are frequently worshippers with us, and I have met with many instances of voluntary and cordial congratulations upon our work, joined to expressions of great admiration of our Prayer Book and services.
The good feeling of the Bishop of London was more directly evinced recently, when, on the occasion of the visit of one of our own Bishops here for the purpose of confirmation, his Lordship wrote to the English Chaplain, directing him to send me any English candidates, that they might be added to my class. Other proofs might be given you to show how important an agency our Church in Paris may become, for the advancement of that intercourse and cultivation of those relations with the Mother Church for which we should earnestly pray and labor, as we desire the prosperity of Christ's kingdom in the world.
Permit me to add in conclusion, that the only drawback to our pleasure in this service above described, was a considerable degree of mortification at having no more worthy or becoming a place of worship in which to welcome the Bishop. It is a daily increasing shame to our great and wealthy American Church, that this important and authorized foreign representation of herself should be left without the power to do its office with dignity and credit to its original, or to do anything like justice to the direct purposes of its establishment. The proofs of prosperity become, by this prolonged delay, signs of poverty--not of wealth, but of zeal--in those at home who should appreciate the importance of the work, and meet its requirements as well as redeem the honor of the American Church, by providing forthwith for the erection of a proper church building. The zealous watchfulness, and full ministrations of the Church, are vitally important to the spiritual safety and comfort of her children here, in this great moral wilderness--abounding with snares and pitfalls for the soul. Away from the fold and the voice of the Shepherd, the sheep of Christ's flock are nowhere in more danger than here; and the testimony of thousands has taught me that nowhere is the shepherd's voice more comforting, or the familiar fold more gladly sought or dearly prized. Let us, then, have it in our power to gather all who seek the Church's hallowed influence and strong protection, and not force her to turn half her children from the door, and chill the zeal of the other half, by the comfortless welcome we are forced to give.
W. O. LAMSON
Paris, Nov. 21, 1860.
February 12, 1862
THE AMERICAN CHURCH IN PARIS
Paris, Jan. 21, 1862
Messrs. Editors:--I but echo the feelings of hundreds of our fellow-countrymen, when I tell you of the delight with which a Churchman on reaching Paris, finds himself able to enjoy again the services of our own Communion; and it is because the existence of our Church here is most essential to the spiritual interests of a large body of Americans, that I beg, through your columns, to give a short account of its condition and prospects. The Rev. Mr. Lamson has been laboring faithfully here for a period of nearly four years, and has great cause for encouragement. He has a small but faithful company of communicants among the permanent American residents, and these together with the transient visitors make up a very good congregation on Sundays. The support of the services depends entirely on the voluntary offerings of the congregation, and though just now, in consequence of the troubles at home, the number of Americans is much smaller than common, and these offerings are consequently much diminished in amount, yet in ordinary times, if the Church were once established in a commodious house of worship, it is believed they would suffice for the purpose. The great want of the congregation is a suitable church building, and in order to obtain one, they will be obliged to depend, in great part, upon the liberality of friends at home. Their present place of worship has many disadvantages, in addition to the very uncertain tenure by which it is held. It is in a Lecture room on the Rue de la Paix, so situated within a court, that no one, not carefully on the look-out, would be able to find it. It is also an inconvenient distance from a large body of the American residents. There are also some other considerations which it is very disagreeable to mention, but which are necessary to a right understanding of the difficulties which the American Church has had to encounter. There is another congregation in Paris, which calls itself par excellence "the American Church." Its worship is a sort of fusion of the rites of our Church and the extemporaneous services of the various "Evangelical" denominations. There are Prayer Books in the seats, and a part of Morning Prayer is said on Sundays, followed by extemporaneous prayers. Their preacher is a Methodist divine of considerable repute--their house of worship is very attractive--their zealous agent waits on all visitors to Paris, whether Clergy, or Laity, Churchmen, or Dissenters, directly upon their arrival, representing it as "the American Church"--and the result is, that many Churchmen who are not well-informed, attend there on Sundays, supposing it sanctioned by the Church authorities at home. I would do no one an injustice, but in some way, various rumors are from time to time put in circulation, to the prejudice of our own Church and its most estimable clergyman, most of them adapted to Northern ears, and all, I need not say, entirely without foundation.
The chief obstacles to the growth of this parish will be removed the instant it is provided with a commodious church. For $30,000 a church and a residence for the clergyman can be procured, and one-half of this sum has already been pledged. These lines are written with the hope that they may move some zealous and liberal Churchman to aid this good work by timely contributions. Its consummation will be an untold blessing to many of our fellow countrymen, in a metropolis where temptation to worldliness and sin beset one on every hand.
May 7, 1862
The Bishop of Ohio having left England for a tour on the Continent, offered to the Bishop of London to administer confirmation for him in the English chapels of Paris--one of which, at least, indulges in rather an advanced style of ritual, &c. The authority was given, and in the chapel in the Rue d'Aguesseau the Bishop confirmed considerably more than 100 persons, part of whom were from Mr. Lamson's parish, and the rest were from the three English congregations. The American Office was used, two of our American Hymns were sung, the prayer for the President preceded that for the Queen, and the Bishop's addresses and everything about his visit seemed to have been highly gratifying to all concerned, of both nations. It is the first time confirmation has been administered to persons of both nations at the same time by an American prelate. During his stay in Paris the Bishop dined with Lord Cowley, the British Ambassador.