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A Correspondence from Members of the English-speaking Congregation of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Honolulu

[This text is taken from a mimeograph typed copy found among the Papers of the Rt. Rev. Henry Codman Potter in the Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of New York]

Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2009

Schedule A.

April 4, 1889.

May it Please Your Grace:

At a meeting held on April 1st of a number of members of the Second English-speaking Congregation of St. Andrew's Cathedral, it was resolved that in order to place in a fair light before your Grace the Societies for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and theLondon branch of the St. Andrew's Cathedral Building Committee, the recently published pamphlet entitled, "Report of Meetings of the Board of Trustees of the Anglican Church in Hawaii," which your Grace doubtless has before you, held February 19th, 20th and 21st, 1889, the following communication should be made to your Grace and copies thereof furnished to the said Societies and the said branch of Committee; and we most respectfully and earnestly beg your Grace's kind attention, and that of the Reverend Secretaries of the said Societies to our statement and request.

We are constrained to represent to your Grace and to the societies we have named, the unhappy condition of the relations existing between the Bishop of Honolulu, on one hand, and some of the clergy and a large part of the lay members of the church in this diocese on the other, and to ask the advice of your Grace [1/2] as the authority to which with most fitness we can appeal, upon the course of conduct calculated to alleviate our grave trouble.

We desire in the first place to assert our loyal obedience to the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England, and our earnest will to assist to the best of our power in the perpetuation and increase of its work, to the glory of God, and for the spreading of His Kingdom, an end towards which we have endeavoured to direct our labours and our offerings. We cannot be charged with an intention of avoiding any pecuniary charges necessary to this object, for our means have been freely given to the building of the Cathedral and to other required expenditures for the work of the church. The congregation, of which we are members, provide a stipend for one clergyman as its minister, and shares with the Cathedral congregation proper, the expenses attendant upon the maintenance of public worship in the Cathedral, whilst provision for the stipends of the Bishop and the other clergy of the diocese is, we believe, made by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; it may thus be seen that we are self-supporting as a congregation, and not a financial burden upon the mission, to the requirements of which, on the other hand, we contribute to the best extent of our power. Towards the object we have in view, wise leadership would greatly help our progress; and without such direction our position seems one of hopeless and costly stagnation, if not one threatened with probable decay.

[3] We are not involved in any controversy with the Bishop as to doctrine or ritual: nor has there been, nor is there, any wish on our part unduly to urge upon others or upon each other observances or opinions non-essential to our common churchmanship which individuals amongst us may prefer; and we are perfectly willing to abide by the same practice of mutual toleration as to such observances and opinions if thereby our common cause may be strengthened.

It is not in spiritual matters that any question of the position of our Bishop is now made; and he knows that we endeavour at all times to view his sacred office with the reverence and respect to which his consecration entitles it. We believe that we express the views and desires of the intelligence, the devotion, the means and the material in general upon which the carrying on of church work in the Diocese has largely depended and must continue to depend. One of the signers of this letter represents the Hawaiian race as well as his inherited English churchmanship, and the others are residents of Honolulu, of English birth. The Americans, who predominate in number in the Anglo-Saxon population of this city and these Islands, and the Germans, are unrepresented herein for there are, unfortunately, now very few Americans or Germans in Honolulu who habitually worship in the Anglican Church.

Loyal and honest suggestions were made in 1885 to obtain for the clerical and lay members of the then poorly circumstanced [3/4] body, known as the foreign congregation, such a share in the direction of their own temporal affairs as would relieve them from the prospect of insolvency and make the congregation what it was expected and ought to be, a strong and growing support to the whole Church in Hawaii; these suggestions were misconstrued by the Bishop into an intended infringement upon his rights, and through the communication of his views to the secular press were caused to appear by innuendo as the result of unworthy motive and made a cause of public scandal and great injury to the church.

The efforts of the Cathedral Building Committee to discharge their duties have been seriously hindered by the Bishop's refusal as their President, to convene or sanction their meetings. It has been necessary for them, if only in view of their heavy financial responsibilities, to meet under direction of their Vice-President; and the Bishop's absence from some of the meetings thus necessitated, has apparently caused his ignorance of correspondence which, whilst having been understood and acted upon by the members with the good faith which has been customary amongst them, has not been referred to in their written records in the detail which it now appears would have been desirable. Hence have arisen charges made by the Bishop, as appears by the report of the present Board of Trustees, to which we have alluded of improper conduct on the part of members of the Building Committee.

[5] We cannot but feel that the difficulties we have alluded to, proceed from the Bishop's unwillingness to encourage the voluntary efforts in temporal respects upon which the Anglican Church in Hawaii is compelled to rely unless such efforts are exactly in the form which recommends itself to his unaided judgment, unless in fact they are practically in obedience to his dictation. The encouragement, with Catholic regard for the varying elements comprising his flock, by our Chief Shepherd, of the abundant desire prevalent amongst us for the good of the church, and the tolerant direction of this desire into practical shape, would have saved us from many mistakes and many troubles.

For the better indication of the interest in the success of the Anglican Church in Hawaii which induces us to make, with great regret, this respectful but earnest appeal for advice and counsel, we append to our undersigned names a statement of the circumstances of our connection with the Church in Hawaii.

A copy of this letter we send to the Bishop of Honolulu in order that he may be aware of the course we are taking,

We remain, your Grace's obedient servants,

H. W. Mist
Capt. R. N. retired:
Communicant for twenty-five years. Warden of Cathedral, Honolulu, for several years. Member of Building Committee from its formation. Member of Synod from its organization until this 1889 election. President of St. Andrew's Church Association,

[6] M. P. Robinson
Communicant since the year 1880. Treasurer of the Cathedral Building Committee since 1886, and member of that body previous, from its appointment in 1881. Treasurer of the Trustees of the Anglican Church in Hawaii from March 26, 1883, to January 21, 1889

T. May
Communicant since 1869. Synodsman from 1880 to 1881 and from 1884 to 1888. Churchwarden of the Second English-speaking Congregation since 1886. A member of the Cathedral Building Committee since its appointment in 1881. A Trustee of the Anglican Church in Hawaii from December 6, 1881 to January 21, 1889.

T. R. Walker
Communicant since 1869. Synodsman since the organization of the Synod in 1880. Churchwarden of the Cathedral from 1880 until December, 1885: Churchwarden of the Second English-speaking Congregation since December 1885. Member of the Cathedral Building Committee since its appointment in 1881.

[7] A. T. Atkinson
Communicant since 1869. Principal of St. Alban's College under Bishop Staley, now Inspector-General of Schools of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

R. F. Bickerton,
Justice of the Supreme Court, and Trustee for eight years.

T. M. Starkey„
Communicant for twenty years.

E. W. Jordan,
Communicant since 1879. Synodsman from 1880 to 1881.

A. S. Cleghorn,
Vice-President of the Building Committee since its formation. Member of H. H. Majesty's Privy Council of State. Regular attendant at the Church for over twenty (20) years.

F. M. Swanzy,
Member of St, Andrew's Congregation over eight years.

C. Crozier,
Communicant since 1876.

J. W. Podmore,
Communicant since 1887.

Schedule B.

September 17, 1890.

My Lord,

We, the undersigned members of the Second English-speaking Congregation of St. Andrew's Cathedral, Honolulu, feel it to be our duty to express our entire accord with a large number of our brethren of your Lordship's Cathedral Congregation in the wish that you may see the desirability of resigning the superintendence of the Anglican Mission in Hawaii.

We do so in the firm belief that whilst your Lordship is in charge of this diocese, peace and harmonious work cannot exist therein, and the well-being and hoped-for extension of our church in this country is impossible.

We remain, my Lord, with great respect,
Your Lordship's obedient servants,
(Here follow the signatures.)

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