Project Canterbury




"First give thyself to God:
Then  to the work God gives thee to do."
Saint Augustine.





"Father Knowles by his long ministry at Saint Alban's, Olney, has made a really outstanding contribution to the upbuilding of the Kingdom of God. Dr. Knowles and Saint Alban's are one and inseparable for both the spiritual and the physical life and plant at Saint Alban's are the result of his long life and ministry there, fifty years. To few are given the satisfaction and blessings that have been his in seeing his work grow and develop through the years. Dr. Knowles has given unstintedly of himself, his many talents, his great physical endurance, and of his own personal fortune to this work.

God has richly blessed Father Knowles, and Saint Alban's. This little record of his life and that of the parish should be an inspiration to all of us in Holy Orders, that we may try to emulate the glorious example he has set us. And may it show the laity what really deep devotion to vocation is."

Bishop of Milwaukee

"All the world's a stage
And all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man, in his time, plays many parts."

"Act well your part, there all the honour lies,
Stoop to expediency and honour dies."

"Judge not the Play before the Play is done,
The plot hath many changes;
Every day speaks a new scene;
The Last Act crowns the Play."

"To every one there openeth
A way that he may go;
And the high soul climbs the high way,
And the low soul gropes the low,
(And in between the misty flats
The rest drift to and fro.)
But to every man there openeth
A high way and a low,
And every man decides
The way his soul shall go."

"God is working His purpose out
As year succeeds to year;
God is working His Purpose out
And the time is drawing near;
Nearer and nearer draws the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled with
The Glory of God
As the waters cover the sea."


"Father Knowles is, I imagine, best known by his excellent and most useful book of Instructions and Devotions entitled 'The Practice of Religion.' Many who have benefitted by this book have never had the privilege of seeing the faith, the teaching and the worship of the Holy Catholic Church put into practice at Saint Alban's. It has been my great privilege to know Father Knowles well during many of the Fifty Years of which he writes and to have joined in the Catholic teaching and worship of Saint Alban's. To him I send the following greeting:

"I rejoice with you and Saint Alban's on the approaching Golden Anniversary of that great Parish which you have served so faithfully for so many years. You and Saint Alban's are unique in the history of the Church in America and your loyalty to your parishioners who have come to Saint Alban's, stayed and then left this life on earth is an inspiration to us all. I hope that all Church people will know of this wonderful record of loving service.... God bless you!"

Lord Bishop of Nassau


"Give me the Priest, a Light upon a Hill,
Whose Rays his whole Circumference can fill;
In God's Own Word, and sacred Learning versed,
Deep in the Study of the Heart immersed,
Who in such Souls can the Disease descry,
And wisely fit Restoratives apply.
Give me the Priest these graces shall possess
Of an Ambassador the first address;
A Father's tenderness, a Shepherd's care;
A Leader's courage, who the Cross can bear;
A Ruler's awe, a Watchman's wakeful eye;
A Pilot's skill, the helm in storms to ply;
A Fisher's patience, a Labourer's toil;
A Guide's dexterity to disembroil;
A Prophet's inspiration from above;
A Teacher's knowledge and a Saviour's love."

"Give me the Church, a Parish large or small
In which the Love of God is all in all.
And Love of man shows forth in friendly way
As people meet and worship day by day.
Not Pharisees but those whose aim is right
For all their sins and failings in God's sight,
And by their Penitence their sins efface
And through Sacraments go from grace to grace.
Who work and worship for the praise of God
And with His blessed peace their feet are shod.
And to their Priest and Father their obedience give
As he sets forth the way to worship and to live.
Such Priest and Parish make a people true
Where each to each most gladly give their due,
And Glory give with all the heavenly host
To God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."
















Life here is not a mere thing of chance. It has a purpose. It is to fulfil the Will of God and prepare for the life hereafter. Priests and Parishes and Peoples are but the instruments in His hand through which He accomplishes His Will. So that in setting forth the story to follow, let it be realized that all that may be good or shows merit or virtue or that speaks of success is of God, Who works through His servants. To Him Alone belongs the Praise and Honour.

Life is a great adventure, if properly entered upon and lived for the Glory of God. For all the lights and shadows that make up the picture, life will be full of joy, if it is lived with high purpose, follows high ideals and upholds high standards. The realization of this will be found in daily trying to do one's duty and in the faithful practice of religion. And strange as it may seem, often when we think that we are planning out our own lives, God is guiding us to fulfil the purpose that He has for us. We are free to choose our way, but God in His all-wise Providence is overruling our actions.

Longfellow once wrote: "Lives of great men all remind us: we can make our lives sublime; And departing leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time." These [1/2] words may apply to everyone, even in a more modest path of life, where without being great, one may be good, and by pure, holy, religious, and unselfish living leave behind memories both happy and inspiring. For no matter how humble the station or how limited the environment, a life lived for the Glory of God is well worth while and makes its impress upon the world.

As life here is given to prepare for the life hereafter, God in fulfilling His purpose, assists by Divine Grace, given in prayer, praise and sacrament, through the help and means of the Holy Catholic Church, and aids the soul in choosing the right path.

It is not the praise of men that makes the good life, nor does publicity mean the fine character. It is before God that life and character stand to be judged. Well the poet says: "full many a flower is born to blush unseen" for some of the finest lives are not known, some of the loveliest deeds are unsung. So, if God purposes to bring some lives and characters to be seen and known by their fellows, we must ever remember that often many far better ones by that same Divine order are kept from the public gaze. And if God calls one to stand out and "let his light show forth before men," one must not forget that He also says: "That men may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

So as the story of Saint Alban's and its Rector is presented, let all see these actors on the stage of life, playing their parts not for the praise of men but for the glory of God.

The Story

SAINT ALBAN'S, although a very beautiful Church, is not a large Parish. It is not made up of prominent people; it is not possessed of persons of means; and it does not seek place in Church matters. Yet it is well known, even in far distant places, partly from its somewhat unique history and tradition, partly as a strong centre of Catholic Faith and Practice. For there for over fifty years, clearly and accurately, without fear or favour, has been set forth "the Faith once for all delivered to the Saints," the true Religion, the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Church as interpreted in the Catholic Revival in the Anglican Communion, with the ceremonial hallowed by the use of centuries, symbolizing doctrine, expressing reverence, and inspiring devotion to the Glory of God and in Honour of Our Lord. While there are many who will care little for this and who are only attracted to congregations which are large, prominent, and wealthy, there are others who will be interested in a Church of rare beauty and dignity, where the Catholic Religion obtains and God is worshipped "in spirit and in truth." For these is this little story.

In the story will appear both Priest and People, Saint Alban's and the Rector, for it is impossible to picture [3/4] in true perspective either Saint Alban's or Father Knowles apart from one another, for the life of Parish and Priest is closely interwoven. In very truth each one largely contributed to the development of the other. Consequently there will be much of a personal nature in the story, partly to make the picture stand out more clearly, partly to please those who have desired to read "Reminiscences of a Parish Priest," now long out of print.

Regarding the references to the Rector personally it has been somewhat difficult to decide what to print, as naturally he is reluctant to see commendation of himself. Those responsible however feel that this should not apply to that which has been published by others in the newspapers, as this is, so to speak, public property and serves to illustrate the story. For the Priest and people of Saint Alban's are as one in this. It is hoped that all will realize that there is no intention of self commendation or claiming that there is anything remarkable to relate. Venturing to tell a story does not necessarily mean this. Rather it is just the simple record of a rather unique ministry under rather unusual conditions and circumstances and God in His goodness blessing the work. So perhaps some may be interested in reading of one who once engaged in business and society, who had much that the world can give, who had the pleasure and privilege of travel, and was full of the "joy of life" finding his real vocation and his real happiness in Holy Orders, ministering to "all sorts and conditions of men."

[5] THE STORY OF SAINT ALBAN'S may properly be divided into three parts: first, when under the Convocation of Germantown; second, when in the personal charge of the Rev. Dr. Upjohn; and last, when under the present Rector, Father Knowles, who has ministered there for fifty years.

In 1891 when the Convocation of Germantown decided to start a Mission at Olney, that community was for the most part farmland. There were a few large places here and there that had once been occupied or were still occupied by prominent persons but most of the widely scattered houses were the homes of working people. There were no improvements such as paved roads, electric lights, trolley cars and buses. The automobile was still largely unknown, and the telephone was a rare luxury. The one great, ever memorable characteristic of Olney in those days were the muddy roads!

The Convocation of Germantown started the Mission in an upper room on Rising Sun Lane near Tabor Road, these being the two main thoroughfares. It was in the second story of a little building used by the association called "The Independent Order of Red Men," and was a modest little mission, simply trying to bring the Episcopal Church with its doctrine, discipline, and worship to this little country settlement. The work consisted mainly of providing services on Sundays, building up a Church School, and through social entertainments raising money for a Church structure, and gathering a [5/6] group of members. The ministrations were of a varied nature, Clergy of all kinds of Churchmanship being sent to officiate. The responsibility of the work was so vague that as in the Opera of the "Gondoliers" "everybody was somebody, nobody was anybody!" So it was not strange that the Germantown Convocation welcomed the suggestion of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Upjohn, Rector of Saint Luke's, to hand the work over to him. He assumed charge personally and never made it a Mission of Saint Luke's as the uninformed persons sometimes think.

Dr. Upjohn showed a real interest, often himself going to the Mission, sending his Curates regularly, from time to time taking over prominent Priests to preach. He desired to make the Mission known as one conducted on "Catholic lines." A number of his friends in Germantown, especially Mrs. McCaull and Miss Ingersoll, contributed to the work. All prospered as much as could be expected without a regular incumbent, and in a few years Dr. Upjohn purchased a tract of farm land at the site now known as Second Street and Tabor Road. To carry this, a number of lots were sold on which later houses were built. And on the part retained the first Mission Church of Saint Alban's was built, a pretty little stone structure copied after many a village Church in England. This cost $8,500, on which was a mortgage of $4,500.

On Saint Thomas's Day, 1897, the Church was opened with a Sung Mass and the use of Lights and Vestments. This was the highlight of Dr. Upjohn's ministration.

[7] For while he and his Curates came over from Saint Luke's to conduct the necessary services, it was soon found that the work was difficult and that the growth would not be rapid, as had been hoped. The families were still few, the contributions were small and there seemed to be poor prospects for self support. Both Roman Catholics and the Protestant bodies were building up Churches and congregations and with Episcopal Parishes at Branchtown, Oak Lane and Oxford, the future of Saint Alban's was not too well assured.

It was then an event occurred that, under God, was to open the way to Dr. Upjohn gladly being relieved of the responsibility which he had undertaken and radically to change the prospects and development of the little Mission of Saint Alban's. This was the entrance into the Sacred Ministry of Archibald Campbell Knowles.

As Archibald Campbell Knowles enters upon the scene, it seems almost like an illustration of the saying: "Man proposes; God disposes" for nothing was farther from his dreams in his earlier days than the taking of Holy Orders. Yet unknowingly to him, his life was gradually shaping itself towards that end. Consequently a sketch of his early life with its environment and experiences will not be unfruitful in helping understand his later career and his fifty years' association with Saint Alban's.

Archibald Campbell Knowles was born in Philadelphia, [7/8] July 11, 1865, the son of George Lambert Knowles and Matilda Josephine Knowles. Through his family and subsequently through his marriage he was related to or connected with many Philadelphia families. One of his forbears came over with the "Mayflower" one signed the Declaration of Independence and another (a Lambert) gave Lambertville, New Jersey, its name. Baptized at Saint Clement's (where his father was at that time one of the Vestry) with his family he subsequently attended in turn Saint James's Church and Holy Trinity (where he was Confirmed by Bishop Stevens). Shortly after this he went to Saint Mark's, where he came under the influence and teaching of the Rev. Dr. Isaac Lea Nicholson, then Rector. He was educated at Rugby Academy and at the University of Pennsylvania (class of 1885). Upon leaving college he engaged in business and soon became the Secretary of a large concern, also a director in a National Bank and later the Trustee of three important Estates. His Grandfather had been President of a Bank. So was his Father, and his brother had a prominent position in the banking firm of Brown Brothers. He grew up in a time when telephones, trolleys and electric light were still to come, radio, automobiles and "movies" were unknown, when train, carriage and the old horsecar were the means of transportation, when life was "simpler" and for the fortunate ones "happier." He early began to write in a modest way, at first short stories and verse. Later coming under the influence of Dr. Nicholson he wrote [8/9] along religious lines. One little book called "The Belief and Worship of the Anglican Church" was published both in England and America, and had a preface by Dr. Nicholson in which he picturesquely referred to the "large hearted and large minded author," for whom he had conceived a most friendly feeling.

He was very fond of athletic sports, rowing, canoeing, cricket and tennis. He long belonged to an organization known as "The Philadelphia Fencing and Sparring Club," where he learned to box and use the sabre and singlestick, yet strange to say never took up fencing. He was taught horseback riding by an Austrian cavalry officer whose method was the hard way of keeping on bareback! His class at college ('85) was noted for its athletic achievements and contributed most of the men who went on the cricket teams to England. Father Knowles's love of sports exceeded his prowess, for he never won any special distinction in them. He always believed, however, that athletics, properly played, made for strength, discipline, courage and even certain virtues. (A cricketer knows what is meant by "playing straight" or "not being cricket.")

Having the "entree" into Philadelphia "society," he for years enjoyed "going out" and at that time had no idea of entering the Sacred Ministry. Philadelphia Society, with all of its exclusiveness, never showed the snobbishness or made the vulgar show of wealth that obtained in the so-called "Golden Age" in New York and Newport. It was very simple and delightful, [9/10] composed of many charming people, and for all the many balls, parties, dinners and receptions, the men attended to their profession or business and the ladies often were engaged in good works.

There was a so-called "religious set," largely made up of those attracted to the "Oxford Movement," then called "High Church." Many of these used to engage in the social or humanitarian work conducted by Saint Mark's, Saint Peter's, and the Evangelists. They would spend the earlier part of an evening with their Guilds, Reading Rooms, and Works amongst the poor and then go home and dress for a ball or a party. Many of them went to an early Communion every Sunday, then attended a late Mass and ended the day with Evensong. Illustrative of this "religious set" was a day party on Ascension Day at one of the lovely places up the Delaware River, given by a lady who, however, made it a condition that all who were invited as guests should attend an early Mass on that morning.

Those were the days of good manners, chaperones and conventions where the formal street dress of a gentleman was a frock coat, silk hat and cane (and also, days when fond parents dressed their boys as "little Lord Fauntleroy" or put them into an Eton jacket and topper--poor little chaps!) .

And all the while God was working His purpose out! With three of his friends, James Fry Bullitt, William Bernard Gilpin, William George Read, all so-called "Society Men," Archibald Campbell Knowles suddenly [10/11] came to the conclusion that he was "called to the Sacred Ministry." His father opposed, so while his friends went ahead and became ordained, he followed the advice of Dr. Nicholson, the Rector of Saint Mark's, to "wait and see if it was a real call!" He waited, he gave up the idea as he thought for good, and in 1893 was married to Miss Mary Clements Stocker. They went to live in Chestnut Hill and in 1895 he moved into a larger home he had built, modelled after Mount Vernon and the Upsal Mansion, with lovely woods and a view over the valley of the Wissahickon. And he was there but a short while before there came to him again "the call to the Sacred Ministry," persistent, persuasive and convincing.

He was then no longer opposed by his father. He was cheered and encouraged by his wife, who then, as always, hesitated at no necessary sacrifice but did all possible to help and cooperate.

He gave up business, which of course made a difference financially. (Which reminds of how his Aunt, Mrs. Elliot, gave him a dinner, at which before him was a "favour," the statue of a fat little monk. Bidden to open and look inside, there was found a thousand dollar cheque!)

He did not go to a theological seminary but studied privately under a tutor and attended lectures abroad. He can say that he learned a lot of "Moses" for that was his Priestly tutor's name! The lack of "seminary contacts" was more than made up by his experience in society, business and his travels abroad. When [11/12] examined he passed with credit and high rating, especially in Theology, Liturgics and Church History. (One of the questions in Scripture floored him: "Who were the daughters of Job?" He did not then know of Jemima, Kezia and Kerenhappuch and he should have said: "Being a Philadelphian I have never been introduced to them!" Like the Oxford undergraduate who read the question in his "Divinity Paper, "Name the minor Prophets of Israel," and not knowing them, wrote: "God forbid that an undergraduate of Oxford should have any acquaintance with minor Prophets!")

During his studies, he began to give "talks" on Church teaching and Church history and among the Parishes was that of Saint Luke's, Germantown. In this way he and Dr. Upjohn came to know each other well. And although long members of Saint Mark's, he and Mrs. Knowles were transferred to Saint Luke's, as in those days before the automobile, the city Parish was too far off. So it was that in arranging for his Ordination, Saint Luke's was chosen instead of Saint Mark's. Then came up the question of "having a title" (a place to go) . "Why not Saint Alban's, Olney?" asked Dr. Upjohn. And came the answer: "Saint Alban's, Olney! One never heard of either the place or the Church!" Yet there went Archibald Campbell Knowles and there, turning down many calls, has he been for fifty years. Over half a century!

On Saint Luke's Day, October 17, 1898, he was made Deacon, Dr. Upjohn preaching on the text, "I have [12/13] kept the Faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness." And on November 12, 1899, he was ordained Priest, Dr. Mortimer speaking on the words, "They that turn many to righteousness shall shine forever as the brightness of the firmament." There could hardly be two lovelier or more inspiring texts. On each occasion at Saint Luke's Church, Germantown, there were very beautiful services, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Isaac Lea Nicholson, then Bishop of Milwaukee, officiating by permission of the Bishop of Pennsylvania. At the Priesting there was the Vesting in the Chasuble and the Tradition of the Instruments. The newspapers made a lot of a "society and business man made Priest" but one with a sense of humour was more amused than angry.

Shortly after Ordination, the writer sold the Chestnut Hill house and moved into a more simple home in Germantown, renting it for a year, then buying it and still living there--over 49 years! After entering the Sacred Ministry, although Mrs. Knowles and their daughters continued "going out," Father Knowles did so only very occasionally, except to the Assembly Balls, to which Mrs. Knowles and he went until the death of their younger daughter in 1933.

WHEN FATHER KNOWLES "TOOK OVER" in 1899 from Dr. Upjohn, the picture had not changed much: a bare lot, a little $8,500 Church with a mortgage of $4,500, a small group of Communicants, a [13/14] mixed Congregation with a very limited income, and all around farmland and mud! For one with the background of Father Knowles it was a strange experience to minister at Olney as it then was, visiting humble homes, sitting in kitchens, seeing simple minded mothers unabashed nursing their children in his presence, all a mode of life as different to him then as it would be to the Saint Alban's of today. He did not regard his work as any sacrifice, although from a worldly point of view it was most unattractive, but almost from the first he resolved to remain there to try to develop a little Catholic centre. This he did, turning down many attractive calls. He set forth the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Church according to the Anglo-Catholic tradition, showing the meaning of everything and by patient persuasion and perseverance winning acceptance of the True Religion. In a material way, he got the mortgage paid off, built a Sacristy and Guild House in 1903, added a tower and organ in 1906, installed a Rood Screen and secured many accessories in the way of vestments and appointments.

Following an idea of Sir Walter Besant in his "Palace of Pleasure" for the poor in London, this first Guild House was kept open every weekday for all who cared to come, and games, gymnasium, reading rooms, lessons in burnt wood and other things were instituted to attract people. In a few years all of this "social experiment" ceased, for the times were changing. Olney rapidly began to develop. Banks, shops, and many new [14/15] homes and churches were opened. Paved streets and all improvements came. Trolleys and later buses and automobiles were added to the trains; and Olney became one of the most attractive suburbs of Philadelphia for persons of limited means. The more simply living people who had been there originally had either died, moved away, or were unnoticed amongst the new families of refinement and education.

In 1906 came the first and only real controversy at Saint Alban's when the idea of parochial organization was broached. Ninety per cent of the people supported Fr. Knowles, but about twenty persons, representing what little money there was in the Mission, violently and offensively opposed because, as they said, "they could not control Father Knowles and his policies!" They made a poor showing at both Parish and Diocesan meetings.

After the parochial organization was granted in 1907 and Fr. Knowles was chosen Rector, Bishop Whitaker (who knew all about the Catholic Churchmanship of the Rector) said to him in his pleasant, smiling way: "Never in my experience did I have so much literature sent to me about a prospective parochial organization! You need not have worried! I was with you from the start!" A kind endorsement by an Evangelical! Saint Alban's will ever gratefully remember the good offices of Mr. Sharswood Brinton and Mr. George Wharton Pepper, who gave invaluable assistance and guidance in the process of organization.

[16] Then in 1912 Saint Alban's was consecrated by Bishop Rhinelander, following a modified mediaeval form (which, strangely enough, the Bishop allowed for Saint Alban's but a few months later refused for another Parish) . Little did one think in 1912 that in a few years most of those buildings would be replaced by others and a new Church, one of the most beautiful in the country, would stand in their place!

In the developing of the services, Saint Alban's was quite unlike most smaller Parishes in similar environment. Father Knowles really knew only one standard, that of the large city Churches, such as Saint Mark's, Saint Clement's, and Parishes in England. As a consequence the services at Saint Alban's are modelled after the very best, conforming to the highest standards in ritual and ceremonial, liturgically accurate and reverently observed. It may safely be said that Clergy and Servers, Organist and Choir, having these traditions in mind, all do their part to have a beauty, a finish, a reverence in the services rarely to be found.

When his father, to whom he was devoted, died in 1914, Father Knowles conceived the idea of a memorial. This later, in 1921 when his mother died, was enlarged to embrace both Mr. and Mrs. George Lambert Knowles, who, with his aunt, Mrs. Samuel M. Elliott, had been benefactors of Saint Alban's, helping the work whenever asked, and encouraging all efforts by coming personally to the bazaars and services.

[17] THE BUILDING OF THE NEW SAINT ALBAN'S was the greatest joy to Father Knowles. He loved architecture, especially that of Churches. He had studied it superficially and it was one of his hobbies. He had helped design his successive homes. He knew pretty well what he wished to do. So first of all in offering to the Parish this memorial to his father and mother, he arranged with the Vestry that all that would be done must be entirely in his hands, according to his plans and wishes, and there should be no consultation or interference whatsoever.

Then he saw Mr. George T. Pearson, a prominent architect, who consented to carry out his ideas and work according to his wishes. This resulted in a most delightful association in which the Rector would show photographs of French Cathedrals and Churches and sometimes even sketch crudely that which he desired copied or adapted to make the new Saint Alban's a copy of French Decorated Gothic architecture of the 13th century. All of those who assisted in the work (and most of it was done by the best craftsmen) , as for instance Mr. Percy Ash who drew the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, Mr. Barber who made the carved woodwork, Mr. Higerty of Heaton, Butler and Bayne, London, who made most of the windows, and Mr. Anton P. Albers who decorated the statues, roof, and Chapel, cooperated in the same way and did their best to realize the ideal that Father Knowles had in mind. That the result was a success is proven not only by the very [17/18] beautiful building in itself, but by the following letter:

"Dear Father Knowles: Not only is it rare that one can plan and complete a Church as a whole, but also is it rare to find a Church in this country reproducing so largely some of the best to be found in the old world. The work has been a great pleasure to me and I am glad to hear that it has been called 'an architectural gem' . . . it is but fair to say that the conception of Saint Alban's as a whole and the harmony and unity which are found and likewise many of the lines and details are due entirely to you and came from your mind, my part being largely to blend and adapt the thoughts, ideas, and plans suggested, many of them taken from the great models of the old world. Sincerely yours, GEORGE T. PEARSON."

Father Knowles chose every subject in the stained glass windows, and to show the impression given, the following from a letter to him from Mr. Higerty, a member of the London firm, may be quoted: "... that your windows are extremely and exceptionally beautiful is undeniable and perhaps I may say with safety that no finer can be produced. It has been a great privilege to have collaborated with you in these windows and I wish to say that your choice and conception of the subjects, so varied, so devotional and so very unusual, illustrating in a most impressive and inspiring way our religion, gave us an opportunity of developing the [18/19] thoughts in a truly artistic and devotional manner... . I am conscious that these lovely windows in beautiful Saint Alban's stand not only for models of artistic excellence but especially for that spirit which made us work together for the Glory. of God. Yours faithfully, ALEX C. S. HIGERTY."

And Mr. Barber, who made our splendid Rood Screen and other carved work, shows his appreciation of his delight in carrying out your Rector's ideas by continually consulting him about other work he is doing for different clients.

In his book "Reminiscences of a Parish Priest" Saint Alban's has been described in some detail. It will do here to mention certain of its main characteristics which make it one of the most beautiful Churches of its size. It is in the style of French Decorated Gothic of the 13th century, unusually lofty. The Sanctuary, Nave, and Chapels make the exterior cruciform in shape. The high piers and arches and the stone walls make the interior very lovely.

The Sanctuary is far higher than many a larger Church, for it does not have the English Chancel arch (which makes this part lower than the Nave) but the main line of the roof is carried throughout in the French way. The Sanctuary ends in the customary Apse. The High Altar of white marble, with its beautiful reredos, spire, and canopies, is one of the loveliest conceivable. In the central canopy is the figure of Our [19/20] Lord (vested as a Bishop for the Mass), standing on the globe and surrounded overhead by an aureole of angels, the whole symbolizing the Incarnation, uniting God and man, heaven and earth. On the right of Our Lord is Saint Mary the Virgin and to the left Saint Alban the Martyr, under whose protection is the Parish. At each end of the Reredos is an adoring Angel. On the side of the Altar is an inscription, although unseen on account of the vestments, noting that it is a Thankoffering of the Rector, Father Knowles.

The high pitch of the Nave roof with its rich polychroming after the mediaeval manner is very impressive. Everything is of the best craftsmanship: the richly carved Screens, the Statues (made in London) of Our Lord and Our Lady, the Clergy Stalls. And as one looks round, through the vistas of the columned aisles, truly are the words realized: "a thing of beauty is a joy forever," and above all when one sees the "storied windows richly dight, casting a dim, religious light." So too there is a moral lesson in the three main characteristics that stand out at Saint Alban's: beauty, simplicity, dignity. Perhaps to see this beautiful building at its best one should be present at Solemn High Mass on a great Festival, when the Altar is ablaze with candles and fragrant with flowers for:

"Then shall long Processions sweep
Through Alban's pillared pile,
And also Banner, Cross, and Cope
Gleam through the incensed aisle."

[21] The Rood Screen, which replaces an earlier one, was designed by Father Knowles and Mr. Barber in collaboration. It copies "motifs" from Notre Dame, Paris. The Christ on the Rood is after Michael Angelo and was carved by the artist Maene. On the right is the B. V. Mary and on the left Saint John. The Rood Screen is most devotional and should remind of Our Lord's words: "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me."

The Lady Chapel fitly honours "Our Lady," the Mother of Our Lord. The Altar there, with its Reredos, containing carven niches with Angels, is richly decorated in colour and gold. In the centre of the Reredos is a copy of a Madonna and Child by Murillo, brought from Florence. The window (the traceries of which are after one in Melrose Abbey) shows scenes from the life of the Blessed Virgin: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Assumption, and the Coronation. The Carven Screen to the left is copied from a beautiful one in a Chateau in the Val d'Aosta, Italy. The lovely statue of Our Lady was made in London. And just outside the Chapel is another statue from London, one of Our Lord, an exact replica of the famous one at La Sainte Chapelle, Paris. The practice of burning votive candles before the statues is quite general, praying in the Name of Christ the Light of the World and asking the intercessions of Our Lord and Our Lady.

The Stations of the Cross were given by Mrs. [21/22] Knowles as a very loving and grateful remembrance of two faithful women, who at the death of her father and mother when she was very young, successively cared for her as nurse. The Stations are very realistic and devotional. They were made by a Bohemian artist, working for the Whitman Studios.

The bell replaces an older one, both having been given by the Rector's aunt, Mrs. Samuel M. Elliot, in memory of her brother, the Rector's uncle, Joseph Alfred Jones.

Perhaps the gem of Saint Alban's is the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, where the daily Masses are generally said. This is like a little Church in itself, in the shape of a Greek Cross. It is vaulted in stone after one in Notre Dame, and is decorated with the same "motifs" and "colouring" which appear in La Sainte Chappelle, Paris, which was built by Louis, King and Saint, to enshrine the Crown of Thorns. The Altar and Reredos are of white marble, a lovely openwork spire in the centre and in the canopied niches: at the right the Archangel Gabriel and at the left the Archangel Michael. This Chapel also contains a statue of Jeanne d'Arc. A tablet reads: "This Chapel is erected to the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of MATILDA JOSEPHINE KNOWLES, 1836-1921. "Thou shalt show me the path of life. In Thy presence is the fulness of joy."

The Baptismal Font, which is very simple and is [22/23] from the early Mission, was given by the Guild of Saint Mary.

The Pulpit of limestone is quite an architectural feature in Saint Alban's and does its part in adding beauty to the whole.

In the building of Saint Alban's were remembered the counsels: "Except the Lord build the house, their labour is but lost that build it" and also "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." These weighty words were ever kept in mind, in all sincerity and truth, in all faith and devotion. Perhaps the following inscriptions from the various tablets will help one feel that this was so.

The first is from the elaborately carven stone tablet beneath the large window at the rear of the Nave:



In the Entrance Tower, in which there are two [23/24] windows, one of Saint Alban as the Martyr, one as the Patron, are these tablets:






OUR WARDENS have always been most devoted to the Parish and Rector. Certain ones stand out more prominently: Mr. Herbert H. Ives, with his ardent love of the faith, loyally backing Father Knowles in his fight for parochial organization; Mr. Harold Hamerton, who loved to do everything possible, especially financially, for Saint Alban's; Mr. Wellington J. Snyder, modest, retiring but ever a little tower of parochial strength; and Mr. Harold H. D. Balbirnie, most devout of men, intensely religious, a daily attendant upon Mass. And today we have Mr. Henry Franz, Jr., long time Accounting Warden, full of wit and wisdom, ever willing to "do his bit," and Mr. Edwin I. Braxton, Rector's Warden, keen, enthusiastic and always to be relied upon. [25/26] And we may well rejoice in our other two officers, Mr. Monroe F. Van Artsdalen, our faithful Secretary for twenty years, and Mr. Albert T. Wunderle, our bright and capable Treasurer. Few Churches have been so well served by really devoted members.

Ever since the new Church was built, visitors from all parts have come to see the beautiful buildings. There came Father Field, beloved, of the Cowley Fathers, good Bishop Webb of Milwaukee, who might have been the Rector's brother-in-law; Dom Gregory Dix, the greatest of liturgical scholars, and Dom Augustine Morris, Lord Abbot of Nashdom of the English Benedictines. And Saint Alban's loves to remember Bishop Burton, Bishop Weller, Bishop Ivins, Father Taber, Father Williams, and Father Joseph, who came either to preach or officiate at some service.

Dom Gregory Dix and Dom Augustine Morris were brought to Saint Alban's by Father Peterson, who wished them to see the Church and meet the Rector. It is interesting to note that both Father Black and Father Peterson, who were sometime Curates at Saint Alban's had met each other and Dom Gregory Dix and Dom Augustine Morris when they, as Novices, were trying out their "vocation" at Nashdom. Although not going on to become Benedictines, they naturally have a great interest in the Order.

HIS TRIPS ABROAD were always prized by Father Knowles. In a way they had their association with Saint [26/27] Alban's for they were doubtless instrumental in keeping the Rector young and well. For it was his way to work very hard the greater part of the year and then to take a somewhat long holiday abroad, supplying his place during his absence by an able Priest. As he was always writing, part of this time was spent in revising his manuscripts and arranging for their publication in London. He became rather "widely travelled," knew England and many parts of Europe as well as America, and felt fully at home in London and Paris, in Switzerland and the Italian Lakes. While very probably most people are not in the slightest way interested in what he did or where he went while abroad, nevertheless here is given a partial little picture for the few who may care, especially those who enjoyed his "Reminiscences of a Parish Priest." He particularly liked the environment of Interlaken, with its lovely view of the Jungfrau; of Lake Leman, with the Castle of Chillon and the Dents du Midi; of Chamonix and the snowy Mt. Blanc; of Marren and the Bermese Oberland; but above all, of the Riffel Alp, high above the valley of Zermatt, facing the Mont Cervin or Matterhorn and surrounded by the great circle of snow peaks and glaciers; Monte Rosa, the Breithorn, the Lyskam, the Weisshorn, the Dom, the Dent Blanche and others.

Although an amateur he took many mountain trips, never, however, over 11,000 feet, sometimes with Mrs. Knowles and his daughters who were then very active and agile. It is a very pleasant memory, those trips on [27/28] rocks and glaciers, with guide and ropes and ice axe! Amid that grandest of scenery, enjoying the air, the exercise, and the marvellous views, was found in the stillness and the sunshine the realization of the Scripture: "Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?" "The mountains shall bring peace." These adventures in Switzerland "so beautifully grand and so grandly beautiful," and the seeing of Cathedrals, Castles and ancient Cities with all their treasures, did much in the way of spiritual and intellectual development.

Father Knowles has had many interesting experiences on his European trips such as: being present at the "Encaenia" at Oxford when the Duke and Duchess of York (who were later George V and Queen Mary) were there and General Lord Kitchener and Cecil Rhodes received Degrees; ... when with his family he attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace and had a closer contact with royalty; ... when he spent the night at the Hospice of the Grand Saint Bernard and was present at the 5:00 o'clock Mass in the morning when the monks used great MS. books; . . . when at the ancient Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz, near Mayerling and Vienna, the Verger (although knowing his visitor was an Anglican) asked him to give Benediction with a monstrance in which was a piece of the true Cross; .. . when on a Swiss mountain railway he met a Sister of Saint Margaret, who in her surprize, without thinking, said, "I used to dance with you!" (for they had met in "Philadelphia Society" many years before she [28/29] had become a Nun and the writer a Priest but had never seen each other since) ; . . . at Lord's, London, at the famous cricket matches between Oxford and Cambridge with their interlude for tea; . . . at the Opera at Vienna and Salzburg, so different from any other place; ... at the daily changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace; . . . above all attending the reception at Dartmouth House, London, given to the Bishops at the Lambeth Conference in 1930, when although few Priests were present, a friend obtained a special invitation for the Rector and Mrs. Knowles. It was quite an experience being greeted by His Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury, with Right Reverend Fathers in God, in every style of Episcopal dress, crowding round on every side, and finding old friends such as Bishop Weller, Bishop Ivins, and Bishop Garland to welcome one and the Lord Bishop of London (Winnington-Ingram) telling about his tennis and the way to keep well! "Don't eat too much, don't drink too much, don't smoke too much, and take plenty of exercise"; . . . of the visit to Anton Lang at his beautiful Chalet of elaborately carved wood at Oberammergau, Bavaria. Anton Lang was longtime the Christ in the Passion Play. He was a potter by trade. A plaque of the Resurrection made and signed by him and given to Father Knowles is now in the Sacristy of the Church; ... in 1930 being present at the Augustinerkirche in Vienna for the 1500th anniversary of the death of Saint Augustine, a most magnificent service, splendid music and a [29/30] Sanctuary crowded with distinguished Prelates in gorgeous vestments—an unforgettable experience.

Very few people we fancy cross the ocean fifty-two times! Father Knowles generally said Mass at Sea on Sundays. He also, before leaving Paris for the steamer, was wont to have the Service at Saint George's (Church of England) , Paris, where he knew the Rector, Father Cardew. One time on reaching the station in Paris for the Cherbourg Special train it was quite provoking to find that apparently for no reason they had changed the seats from the first to the second section. They started and Father Knowles was reading, as is his custom, the P. B. Office in which was the 91st Psalm, "He shall give His Angels charge concerning thee," when the train came to an abrupt stop outside a tunnel. The guard told the passengers: "The first section has been badly wrecked and quite a lot of people hurt!"

THE ENDOWMENT OF A PARISH is most desirable, even if the aim is to support it by the offerings of the people. It is unfortunate that Saint Alban's has not more endowment. For while as a whole the members contribute most generously to the running of the Parish (and it should always be remembered that giving to God in the Church is a test of the reality of one's religion) , it is an assurance to know that there is an income from endowments.

In 1910 there was started at the Girard Trust Company that which is known as "The Endowment Fund of [30/31] Saint Alban's Church, Olney, Philadelphia." As with all invested funds the value has varied, but at best it is not $10,000 and the income is small. Another fund was given by the Rector to the Fidelity-Philadelphia Trust Company in trust, which at the death of Mrs. Knowles was somewhat increased by him and the fund renamed "The Mary Clements Stocker Knowles Endowment Trust." The value of this has also varied from time to time and the income is small. Upon the death of the Rector this trust will become the beneficiary of the royalties on his book, "The Practice of Religion" (which if the sale continues will make quite an increase in the income).

From time to time Saint Alban's has had legacies from devoted members who have died. It would be a happy thing if everyone making a will would remember the Parish even if with but a small amount. For little by little this would make the endowments grow. No one can foresee the future, so these financial provisions would be a happy assurance of continuance.

"IT IS THE MASS THAT MATTERS" is an old and helpful saying. When the so-called English Reformation occurred and the first Book of Common Prayer was put forth, it referred to the Holy Communion Service as "commonly called the Mass." This is the most usual and popular name amongst Catholics, for without meaning anything very definitely or precisely, it seems strangely to sum up and set forth all that [31/32] is conveyed by the other names: Holy Eucharist, Holy Mysteries, Holy Communion, Sacrifice of the Altar, and the Blessed Sacrament. So that the word is short, practical, and convenient for regular use. Whenever the word Mass is used, there we know obtains the Scriptural belief in the Sacrifice of the Altar for the living and the dead and the belief in the real, objective, supernatural Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

This reminds of a story of a Bishop in the Church of England. When visiting a country Parish, the Vicar showed him a service list. The Bishop read it, frowned and said, "I don't like your word Mass: 7:30 Low Mass; 10:30 Solemn High Mass." The Vicar courteously said: "Your Lordship, what word would you like?" "Why, Lord's Supper, of course," replied the Bishop. The Vicar wrote and then handed to him the corrected list in which he read: "7:30 Low Lord's Supper; 10:30 Solemn High Lord's Supper!" His Lordship had a sense of humour, so his pique turned to a laugh as he said: "Use the word Mass!"

Saint Alban's has followed the Apostolic practice of Daily Mass and also the ideal of always having the late service of a Sunday to be either a Sung Mass or a Solemn High Mass. And the people have been diligently taught their obligation always to be present at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days unless prevented by grave cause, and also the blessings of going to Mass every day. Nothing more than this leads to the development of [32/33] the spiritual life and the growth in the "beauty of holiness." Truly: "It is the Mass that matters!"

CONFESSION AND COMMUNION were both instituted by Our Blessed Lord. They make the sacramental life and are most important in the practice of religion. They are great privileges and bring great blessings and so are to be had regularly and frequently. Nothing more helps the spiritual life and we Anglicans should be just as particular as our Roman Catholic brethren. Every Priest should see that his parishioners have ample opportunity for both: regular times for Confession and daily Masses.

At Saint Alban's everyone is taught Confession and no one is presented for Confirmation who has not gone. (This is in accord with the Prayer in the Confirmation Office, "Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate these thy servants by water and by the Holy Ghost and hast given unto them forgiveness of all their sins.") Those who go to Confession, which is "under the seal," know what a great help and comfort it is and what an assurance it is for receiving the Holy Communion to their soul's good.

The writer in a long ministry of fifty years has heard many Confessions, including those of strangers who come from time to time. While he has probably heard every sin confessed except murder, in the majority of cases with right living people, the matter is generally not of grave character but very routine.

[34] Many amusing things occur, as in the case of the little girl who hurriedly left her place, saying, "I'll be back in a moment; I left my sins in the pew!" (meaning that she had written them down—which is not a good way!) . Or of the little boy, very long on his knees, who had understood his penance (Psalm 27, the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, and a Collect) to be twenty-seven psalms! (Poor little chap!) Or of another, who with great apparent sorrow confessed, "I tore my pants," which was most perplexing to the Confessor, who in his reading of Moral Theology had never come across this sin (?) which he assumed was not in the category of "mortal sins."

The Lord Bishop of London was once hearing a Confession in which a rather homely but pompous lady said, "I have been too proud of my beauty," when she was stopped by the Bishop with the words: "That is a mistake, not a sin!"

PREACHING has always been stressed at Saint Alban's, for the Priest is "to minister the Word and the Sacraments." There from the pulpit is diligently set forth the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Church, with Godly counsel for the practice of religion and the living of the Christian life. Cicero once said that the three essentials to successful speaking were: "placere, docere, movere" which may be interpreted "to please, to teach, to move." The preacher needs to prepare himself as well as to prepare his sermon, to have [34/35] something to say, to know how to say it, and to say it with earnestness and conviction. And he should speak "ex tempore," for a written sermon will rarely have more effect than an essay.

Whether the writer's preaching (and he has often preached elsewhere as well as at Saint Alban's) has fulfilled these requirements must be left to his hearers. At any rate the writer never had the experience of the English Vicar, to whom an old lady parishioner who had sent for him said: "My dear Father, I have dreadful insomnia and nothing seems to help. I thought if you would preach to me one of your dear sermons maybe I could go to sleep!" Nor has anyone praised the Rector's sermons as did the Cockney woman after hearing Father Stanton at Saint Alban's, High Holborn, London: "Cawn't 'e chuck h'it h'off 'is chest!"

It has generally been the writer's custom to preach doctrinal sermons at the chief festivals and fasts of the year and to try to keep the people well instructed on the "faith once for all delivered to the saints." Thus such great truths as the Incarnation, the Redemption, the Resurrection, and the Ascension of Our Lord, the instrumentality of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the efficacy of the Sacraments would be from time to time touched upon and taught. And in Advent very often sermons would be preached upon the "Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell.' Once one of the members of the Parish was asked, "What did [35/36] Father Knowles speak on last Sunday?" The answer was: "O! he gave them hell!"

Some years ago the Servers suggested that it might be "fun" if they would put a text in the Pulpit at Evensong on Sundays upon which to preach. It did not turn out a very difficult thing to do, although the texts chosen were thought to be "posers." When the text was "I am black but comely," it was made to apply to the Church; "Your garments are moth-eaten" gave a splendid chance to appeal for money for new cassocks; "There was no more sea" seemed hard until it was applied to condemning week-end trips to the seashore and on Sundays allowing the beach to make one forget or forego Church!

This reminds of a Bishop who tried this with those he purposed to ordain. One of these, an Irishman, on reaching the pulpit, read, "And Zacchaeus climbed up a sycamore tree." The sermon was rather unique, but certainly had the virtue of being short: "Zacchaeus was a little fellow. So am I. Zacchaeus was up a tree. So am I. With Zacchaeus for an example, I am getting down." It was the same Bishop (we think it was the older Bishop Temple when he occupied the See of London) who tried out his ordinands as to how they would act in visiting the sick, by going into another room and lying down and then having the candidate for the Sacred Ministry come to him. In his turn went in an Irishman, who looking down at the Bishop, said, "Ah! Pat! Drunk again, drunk again!" It is hoped [36/37] that the good Bishop had a sense of humour and ordained the rather original native of "the Isle of Saints."

THE MUSIC at Saint Alban's has always been of a high order even in the early Mission days. By this is meant that the music was well chosen and reverently rendered. At the start the Choir was made up of men and women, later on supplemented by a number of small boys. From 1898 to 1906 they were successively in charge of Mrs. Joseph Sudders, Miss Bella Stott, Mr. Walters, Mr. McMichael, and Mr. Butcher, all of whom very creditably discharged their duty as Organist. From 1906 to 1920 Mr. L. Edward Moyer was Choirmaster and under him came a great advance in the music, and in 1915 when the new Church was built, the girls were dropped and men and boys constituted the Choir.

In 1920 occurred a most important event when Mr. D. Arthur Rumbold brought to Saint Alban's an organization he had built up, called "The Philadelphia Concert Boys Choir," which, supplemented by men, gave to our Parish from 1920 to 1923 the finest Choir in the city, singing the most difficult and beautiful music. Their standing is shown in the Organist of Saint Clement's "borrowing" a large number of our Choir for their Patronal Festival and another Parish asking the "loan" of our best soloists. Saint Alban's also gave several concerts in Witherspoon Hall as "The Philadelphia Concert Boys Choir," and also sang Bach's Passion Music at the Church.

[38] In 1923 Mr. Thomas Patton succeeded Mr. Rumbold, being followed by Mr. Percy Bell in 1927, by Mr. W. Douglass Francis in 1928, these preserving the traditions of the Choir, so far as possible. From 1928 to 1948 Mr. George W. Tracy was Organist and Choirmaster, doing very effective work and keeping the singers to a high standard. In 1948 he resigned, to be followed by Mr. Charles R. Fickes, Jr., who bids fair to carry on our traditions. Two of the soloists under Mr. Rumbold were Edward Rhein and Louis Schroeder, both of whom are well-known today in musical circles.

In the last twenty years Saint Alban's has largely reverted to Plainsong and Gregorian (the real liturgical music of the Church) , which it renders exceedingly well, and now generally only on Festivals sings the more elaborate harmonized Masses such as those by Gounod, Mozart, Schubert, and certain English composers.

It is interesting to note that in the Choir today are Mr. Bertram Jowett, Mr. Valentine Jowett, Mr. James Lomax, and Mr. Edward H. Muller who started as boys under Mr. Rumbold. They must have many happy memories of their musical work, especially of those lovely Russian selections sung "a capella."

A most memorable occasion was that of Christmas, 1936, when the Baroness Rosalind Von Shirach sang the solo parts of Mozart's Mass and also as an anthem, "Silent Night." She was the daughter of Baron Von Shirach (who had married an American lady and was on the Kaiser's staff.) She had sung in Grand Opera in Berlin, [38/39] Vienna, and many places abroad and had come to America to try for the Metropolitan. The Rector came to know her from entertaining her father and brother when on a visit here, as through marriage they were related to his next door neighbour. It seems almost unthinkable that the brother of the Baroness, Baldur Von Shirach (who became a Nazi, a leader under Hitler, and is now serving a 20 year sentence for his brutal conduct as Governor of Vienna) sat in Father Knowles's house one afternoon in 1935 discussing the merits of Gobelin tapestry! Of course this was before Hitler began his regime, but it is a strange incident notwithstanding!

The Rector's relations with the Organists and members of the Choir have always been most pleasant. This may be in a measure attributed to the Rector's choice or supervision of all the music sung, according to the intention of the Canon. Thus the music is chosen by Father Knowles, the members of the Choir are engaged by him, and everything works harmoniously, devoid of friction because the Priest is the authority.

For a hymn book Saint Alban's has used one of those of the Church of England known as "Hymns: Ancient and Modern." Which reminds of a witticism and a story. The first is when a would-be wag referred to the old Rector and the young Curate as "hims: ancient and modern"! The second is of an English Vicar named Jordan who was very much disturbed over a not very studious son going up to Oxford for his "exams," and [39/40] who asked him to wire the result. In due time came a telegram reading, "Hymns Ancient and Modern: `Art thou weary,' fifth verse." Very much provoked, the Vicar cast the telegram aside as a poor joke, but at night when he started to read it carefully, he became wreathed in smiles when he saw in the hymn "Art thou weary" the lines, "labour ended: Jordan passed."

THE FIRST VESTRYMEN were chosen by the present Rector, who also made up the By-Laws and the Seal of the Corporation. Four persons for the Vestry are chosen each Easter to serve for a term of three years. While there is a time set for the election, as there have never been any rival names, the members of the Parish do not come, so that the Vestry elect those nominated, thus far making the Vestry practically self perpetuating.

There has always been full and frank discussion of all subjects that come up, often with great show of practical common sense and with great good humour. No friction, discord, or final disagreement has ever occurred, the aim apparently being to agree upon the policies of the Rector as the one best qualified to guide. This is shown by the following story: At a meeting the Rector prefaced what he wished done by saying: "Gentlemen, you have generally done what I desired . . ." when he was interrupted by one of the Vestry who said: "Father Knowles, you are wrong; we have always done as you wished!" And this is literally true and is [40/41] probably quite unique. Saint Alban's does not have "yes" men, but rather those of open mind and good judgment, free from bigotry and prejudice.

The present Vestrymen are the following: Edwin I. Braxton (Rector's Warden) ; Neill Ralph Cranmer, Henry Franz, Jr. (Accounting Warden) , Bertram Jowett, James Lomax, Edward H. Muller, Louis R. Richards, Harry J. Stratton, William Ronald Taylor, Monroe F. Van Artsdalen (Secretary) , Thomas Wajda, and Albert J. Wunderle (Treasurer) .

THE GUILD OF SAINT MARY THE VIRGIN had its start with the beginning of the little Mission, for which it worked hard. Later on it was organized in a more formal way by the present Rector with the special objects of working for the Parish and aiding the cause of Missions. Its motto is: "Orare et labore"--"to pray and to work." The Officers are appointed by the Rector. The members are to be Communicants of the Church, to be faithful in their prayers and to make a Corporate Communion four times a year, on the Purification, the Annunciation, Corpus Christi, and All Saints'. At one time the Guild included the work of the Woman's Auxiliary. During the first World War the Guild organized as a Chapter of the Red Cross. It has helped homes and hospitals and has contributed to the British War Relief. And in the Parish it has held bazaars, card parties, and dances from time to time to supplement the general funds. Amongst its [41/42] Presidents best remembered are Mrs. Dadeker, Mrs. House, Mrs. Russell, and Mrs. Weston. Mrs. Edwin I. Braxton, Sr., now holds this office.

In the autumn of 1948 another organization which started as the "Confraternity of Saint Alban" (originally including both sexes) and was changed into the "Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary" (for younger women) was merged with "The Guild of Saint Mary the Virgin," its head, Miss Elizabeth S. McGarvey becoming the Vice-President, and its Secretary and Treasurer, Miss Winifred Ellis, retaining this position in the larger guild. It is hoped that the memory of over fifty years of faithful work will inspire to still more fruitful labours, and a greater spirit of devotion and self-sacrifice. For it is a lovely thing in this way to work for the Glory of God, the Love of Christ, the good of the Church, under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

THE ALTAR SOCIETY is one of the most important Guilds. Its members are chosen by the Rector and the Officers are appointed by him. All engaged in this work are pledged to go regularly to their Confessions and Communions, and by special prayer consecrate themselves to do their part. While some of the duties apply to all, who in turn attend to the cleansing and arrangement of the altars, others are divided up, with certain persons specially responsible. With rare exceptions the members have been very faithful in fulfilling [42/43] their appointments, very devout in their prayers, before beginning their work, and very reverent in the performance of their duties. To record the names of the various members over a period of fifty years is rather beyond the scope of this book, for very many have served in this way. At present Mrs. Bertram Jowett is the head, and the members are Miss Barnholser, Mrs. Christ, Mrs. Collier, Mrs. Diehl, Miss Ellis, Mrs. Harrison, Mrs. Kinderman, Mrs. Lomax, Miss Oliver, Mrs. Stratton, Sr., Mrs. W. R. Taylor, Mrs. Van Artsdalen, and Miss Weiss.

Especially laborious are the duties involved in the care of the Vestments, the arrangement of the Flowers, and the work on the Candles. Almost from the beginning Miss Weiss has had charge of the Flowers and Vestments, assisted in later years by Mrs. Collier. Miss Oliver takes care of the Candles. Those who never see "behind the scenes" have no idea of the time and trouble that is taken to have our beautiful services and to have everything done "decently and in order." No thanks or appreciation can be commensurate with the work so cheerfully done!

MARRIAGES are always interesting. At Saint Alban's the Law of Christ and the Church is strictly followed. No divorced persons need apply! And it has been the Rector's custom to refuse to marry without the parents' approval, even if the parties are of age. The beautiful building makes a lovely background and place [43/44] for a wedding and it has always been the aim to conduct the ceremony with great dignity and fitting reverence.

Once, however, the unexpected occurred. Everything had gone satisfactorily at the rehearsal, with the promise of a very lovely wedding. The day came, the music was playing, the Rector in cope was awaiting the approaching participants. Then what should happen but that the father of the bride, a policeman with the bride on his arm began to walk up the aisle "goosestep"! He plainly saw the amazement and the disapproval on the part of the Priest and the shaking of his head in the hope of the discontinuance. Nothing doing! The policeman evidently felt that he was cutting a fine figure! He was pleased with himself! And up until the Chancel was reached, he came with a goosestep that would have shamed the stiffest German soldier! The marriage took place, but ever since, when a wedding is talked over, an admonition is given as to the proper approach up the aisle.

THE SERVERS AND ACOLYTES have been well trained in the work of the Altar and have ever been counselled to remember that "they do serve the Lord Christ." For years most of them have done their duty well and faithfully, in the true spirit of reverence and with poise and dignity. In fact, it would be hard to find a body of young men who, generally speaking, could excel them in serving. And this comment also has often been made by visitors to the Parish or when [44/45] the Servers have been present at various meetings of Acolytes elsewhere. And on one notable occasion (that of the Solemn High Mass at the last Catholic Congress held in Convention Hall, Philadelphia) some of our Servers, especially Harry Stratton and Monroe Van Artsdalen, had very important places.

The Servers also many times went to New York on Lincoln's Birthday to attend the special Acolytes' Services at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin which have been held for years. After luncheon they were wont to go with the Rector to see one of the Atlantic liners in port. We have never forgotten the time when going over the "Mauretania," Thomas McGarvey, Jr., scandalized the dignified English steward, who had been asked by him the cost of a certain "de luxe" suite of rooms, by saying: "I asked the cost of the apartment, not of the ship!"

Saint Alban's is really very proud of our Servers. It is hoped that they will keep in mind the splendid record of the past, that they will be equally faithful in the present, and that they will look forward to upholding these same ideals and standards in the future, regularly coming to their appointments, never forgetful of their obligation of frequent Confession and Communion, of daily Prayers, and of trying to live pure and holy lives. To forget their responsibilities or to drift away from these traditions is to bring discredit upon the Guild, the Parish, and the individual.

[46] MANY OF OUR YOUNG MEN enlisted or were drafted in the late war. All of them acquitted themselves "well" and especially Edward Abernethy, Robert Abernethy, Ralph Neill Cranmer, Frederick T. Collier, Horace Caldwell, and Albert J. Wunderle. Sad to say, there were casualties: Ellwood Clarke was killed in an aeroplane and Frederick Collier at Guadacanal, where he was praised for "conspicuous courage."

An outstanding record is that of Horace Caldwell, who was one of our best Servers and for sometime a member of the Vestry. He enlisted in the Army and in a short time was given an important position at Washington connected with Government cables and coding. He accompanied Mr. Roosevelt as "codist" on his many visits to Hyde Park and was with him on his trips to Casablanca, Yalta, and Teheran. He was awarded the honour of the "Legion of Merit" by President Truman in the White House. The citation was" displayed unusual initiative and devotion to duty, in the proper operation of all cryptographic equipment used for Presidential communications." He was one of three who were given this. Saint Alban's feels that Horace Caldwell is not only worthy of the honour but that he also brings credit to his Parish, to which he is most loyal although residing now in another city. Someday perhaps he will be able to write, contributing his bit of remembrance of his trips with President Roosevelt, in his meetings with Churchill in Canada and in the journeys beyond the seas.

[47] THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, a world-wide association, was introduced in Saint Alban's many years ago. And for quite a while the Rector of the Parish has been the "Provincial Superior" of the Province of Washington. It is a very lovely organization, designed to give honour to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and to teach the proper doctrine and practice regarding it. Saint Alban's has a fair membership of devout people, but many more persons should belong to it, to help its work and their own souls. The Rector is Chaplain of Saint Alban's Ward of "The C. B. S." Mrs. Knowles was for years the Secretary and Treasurer. At her death the Rector put in her place Mrs. Percival Weston.

On the evening of Corpus Christi for twenty-five years the Parish has had its beautiful and inspiring Service (which Saint Alban's was the first Church here to inaugurate) of Solemn Vespers, Sermon, Procession of the Host, and Benediction. To this have come the Clergy and members of "The C. B. S." of other Parishes. Few who have been present in the crowded Church on these occasions will forget the devotional uplift of these Services.

Twice has Saint Alban's been chosen for the Annual Meeting of the whole Confraternity on the Octave of Corpus Christi. Then we had a Solemn Pontifical Mass, the Right Reverend Dr. Reginald Heber Weller, the Bishop of Fond du Lac, officiating, followed by the usual meetings and luncheon. Father Knowles preached at [47/48] the Annual Service held some years ago at Saint Paul's Church, Brooklyn.

THE SUNDAY SCHOOL at Saint Alban's has been run according to what is known as the "Method of Saint Sulpice," in which the Clergy do all of the teaching, which is largely catechetical, supplemented by Scriptural pictures and "viva voce" instruction. In a small Parish, the Church School is usually small. It is so now but bids soon to be much larger (with the growing up of the big crop of babies of recent years) and it is hoped that the old time will be repeated when all of the seats in the Guild Hall were filled.

This "method" is infinitely superior to the usual Sunday School system, for while many things set forth by lesson papers are not touched upon, there is the sound, practical teaching of the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Church, which trains up the' youngsters to be good little Christians and well informed Church people.

THE RECTOR from the beginning of his ministry has been a member of the Philadelphia Branch of "The Clerical Union," generally called "The Catholic Club," in which he was President for one term and Secretary for another. "The Catholic Club" has met many times at Saint Alban's.

THERE HAVE BEEN many Church Picnics, Choir trips, and Outings for Servers and Acolytes and others. [48/49] There are many pleasant memories of steamboats to Burlington and Wilmington, journeys to Valley Forge, as well as the old standby, Hunting Park. All of these outings were always preceded by a Mass, which all were expected to attend, and at which was asked God's blessing and protection.

THE MEMBERS of Saint Alban's have always had a right proper outlook regarding the Church. Like those in the Army and Navy they realize that they should follow the guidance and direction of the Clergy in all matters, spiritual, and ecclesiastical. In the Bible the Centurion said of his soldiers: "I say unto this man: 'Go' and he goeth: to this man: 'Come' and he cometh, and to this: `Do this' and he doeth it." This one feels has been the ideal and attitude at Saint Alban's.

Quite a marked characteristic of Saint Alban's is the bright, cheerful, friendly atmosphere which prevails. Apparently there are no rivalries, jealousies, or quarrels. Most reverent in Church, the people are full of life and fun outside. They really seem like one large family. And the relations between Priest and people have always been most pleasant. It seems as if one of their main desires is to please the pastor and to do everything as he may wish. Sometimes it is thought that they are rather cold, stiff, and standoffish to strangers, but this is not intentional. The attitude is probably due to a possible feeling of shyness, to their having been taught not to talk in Church, and to the wish not to seem to be [49/50] trying to "rope in" visitors. Which reminds of a story of another Parish in which a zealous young man at the close of the service went up to an old gentleman and asked if he would not like to see the Church. With an amused smile the old gentleman assented and was shown around. As he thanked the young man the latter said: "I hope that we will see you here again some time." "Thank you, my young friend," said the old gentleman. "I hope you will, for I am the Accounting Warden and have been so for over twenty-five years!"

One of the greatest sources of happiness to the Priest and to the Parish is the splendid record of the young people taught and trained there. In the long period of fifty years hardly any of them have failed to quit themselves well and to be an honour to their Church and families. One could almost literally count upon one's fingers those who have really "gone wrong." Often have parents said to the Rector: "What a joy you must have in the lives you have trained and brought up in the Church!"

IN 1937 the Rector was given an Honourary Degree of Doctor in Divinity by Nashotah. The citation, written in Latin, may (for the benefit of those not at home in the ancient languages) be translated as follows:


situated in the State of Wisconsin and founded in the year of Our Lord 1842 and dedicated to the Glory of God and the Teaching of the Doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church in America.

[51] To all those skilled in Learning, Greeting in the Lord, always: May it be known to us that the Reverend Master Archibald Campbell Knowles, a man holy, prudent, honourable, and well read both in the things of God and in all scholarly literature has had conferred upon him, for the Cause of Honour, the Degree of


and also with it all of those privileges which pertain to this Degree. In testimony of which, this day, the 13th of June, in the year of Our Saviour Nineteen Hundred and thirty-seven, we, the Trustees of this Seminary of Learning, Nashotah House, for the confirmation of the same have subscribed our names.

+ BENJ. F. P. IVINS, M.A., D.D., President
+ HARWOOD STURTEVANT, D.D., Vice President

E. J. M. NUTTER, D.D., Dean
Fredk. D. Butler, D.D., Clerk.

As it was impossible for Father Knowles to go to Nashotah to receive it, they graciously conferred the Degree "in absentia." One naturally appreciates and greatly prizes such an honour from Nashotah, unworthy as one may be of such citation.

THE GUILD OF ALL SOULS, another world-wide organization, has also been in Saint Alban's many years. The Guild, especially under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Franklin Joiner, Superior, has done a notable work, remembering the faithful departed by name, and helping poorer Parishes to have the proper Vestments for Requiem Masses for the Dead. While Saint Alban's has a good membership, a great many more persons should [51/52] join this Guild. It is hoped that this mention will bring new memberships. The Rector is the Chaplain of Saint Alban's Ward and Mrs. Collier is Secretary and Treasurer.

FUNERALS at Saint Alban's are always held in the Church and are Requiems, generally Sung Masses, followed by the Absolution of the Body. That which is usually known as the "Burial Office" is generally read on the evening before at the house or undertaking rooms. Care is taken to bless the grave, if the interment is not in a consecrated Churchyard. It has been remarked by undertakers and others that rarely are the Requiem Masses so beautifully and reverently rendered as at Saint Alban's. The military funeral given for Frederick T. Collier, Jr., who was killed in the Second World War, will stand out in one's memory.

And we would here stress the truth that death here is but the entrance to life hereafter. Too often there is rebellion at the death of a loved one and then a quick forgetfulness. Nothing is so hard as the passing of a dear one, nothing so sad as that sense of sorrow and that feeling of loss and loneliness and yet how soon many forget! The truly Christian soul must rise beyond this and realize that as a ship has sunk below the horizon but is still sailing on, so the departed soul is gone from sight but is still living on in a better and happier world, preparing for the great joy of heaven, praying for those who are left behind, and in rest and peace. Therefore those left [52/53] here should not give way to unavailing grief or rebellion, but rather, in their loneliness and loss, bow to the will of God and bear their own sorrow in rejoicing in the joy that has come to those they love as they look forward to a glad reunion in "the great beyond."

In Charles Reade's "The Cloister and the Hearth" occur these memorable words: "Christians live forever and love forever but they never part forever. They part as part the earth and the sun to meet more brightly in a little while. . . . We part in trouble, we shall meet in peace; we part creatures of clay, we shall meet immortal spirits; we part in a world of sin and sorrow, we shall meet where all is purity and love divine, where no ill passions are, but Christ is and His Saints around Him clad in white . . . with joy unspeakable, in the light of the shadow of God upon His throne, forever . . . and ever . . . and ever." Happy those who in the True Religion love their neighbours and dear ones living and dead and when the parting comes can bravely go forward, with loving words and deeds, as they say the Church's great antiphon: "May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon them."


"Veiled from our sight, withheld from our embraces
Wrapped in God's silence which we dare not break,
Yet in our dreams we see the well loved faces,
And feel their presence near when we awake.
Closer perchance than those who walk beside us,
Who greet us face to face and hand to hand,
[54] Given perchance a power to shield and guard us
Our unseen guardians from the unknown land.
We know so little, yet in our Communion
Love bids us worship at the Saviour's feet,
Where at His Altar throne, in mystic union
Adoring, we and our beloved meet;
There, in His Presence, at the great Oblation
We feel their presence as we kneel and pray,
And wait the wonder of God's revelation,
When day shall break and shadows flee away."

Very deep sorrow came in 1933 to Father Knowles and Mrs. Knowles in the death of their youngest daughter, Mary Clements, and in 1947 to Father Knowles in the death of his wife. They had always been most devoted to one another and had a lovely home life. Both Mrs. Knowles and her daughter were very fine characters, "lovely, loving, and lovable," possessed of a very deep spirituality and a very real religion and yet always full of spirits and the joy of life. Father Knowles had the somewhat unique privilege of baptizing his daughter, preparing and presenting her for Confirmation, hearing her first Confession, and giving her first Communion, solemnizing her Marriage, and also the very sad office of singing her Requiem. Except occasionally, in the last few summers when they were separated, Mary Clements received the Blessed Sacrament through the ministration of her father.

Mrs. Knowles in 1934 developed the trouble with her back that made her partly an invalid for the balance of her life, and although she generally went to the late [54/55] Mass at Saint Alban's and to certain meetings at Saint Anna's Home, of which she was the President of the Associates, she had completely to give up all social duties and pleasures. During the entire time she never uttered a word of complaint.

In the Lady Chapel, which they both loved, the Rector has erected a simple but beautiful Gothic Bronze tablet on which are inscribed the words:







[56] Mrs. Knowles was interested in everything. It would be hard to find a finer instance of the true religious Christian attitude. Her passing was a very sad blow to all, but everyone seemed to feel that God in His goodness was calling her to Himself and to her rest. Well was she called by Sister Anna Gabriel of the Community of All Saints "a gallant lady"! She was a truly lovely character, full of kindness and good works!

IT CAN HARDLY BE DOUBTED that the Rector's writings, mostly along religious lines, have helped make known Saint Alban's to many persons who otherwise would never have heard of the Parish. "The Practice of Religion" alone, with its many editions and its sale of over 100,000 copies, has drawn much attention to both the author and to his Parish Church. His books are modest ones, they make no claim to special excellence, they do not aim for a large appeal, but almost invariably they have been most favourably received and reviewed by the Press both here and abroad. One would think that the Parish would be pleased and interested. Whether or not Father Knowles has "the pen of a ready writer," he has written over fifteen books on a variety of subjects. Many think that much good has resulted. As Father Knowles never sought place or preferment in the Ministry, so he has never aimed for praise or popularity in his writings, but being very human, he has always been pleased with the comment of the Rev. Arthur Ritchie that he wrote "with persuasive power." He [56/57] wrote from the love of writing, to set forth certain truths and teachings and to accomplish certain spiritual ends.

The list of his books includes: "BALSAM BOUGHS" (1893) , Short Stories of the Adirondacks and elsewhere; "THE BELIEF AND WORSHIP OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH" (1896) ; "ON WINGS OF FANCY" (1898) , a volume of Verse; "TURNING POINTS" (1898) , Counsels for the Young; "JOSCELYN VERNON" (1898) , a tale of King Charles I; "THE TRIUMPH OF THE CROSS" (1900) , the Passion and Crucifixion; "COME UNTO ME" (1901) , teaching and devotion; "THE HOLY CHRIST CHILD" (1905) , the Incarnation; "THE LIFE OF OFFERING" (1906) , Good Friday addresses arranged for every day; "THE PRACTICE OF RELIGION" (1911) ; "REMINISCENCES OF A PARISH PRIEST" (1934) ; "ADVENTURES IN THE ALPS" (1913), in the mountains; "ROOSEVELT: THE GREAT LIBERAL" (1936) ; "A RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY" (1946) , a sketch of the life and career of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; "LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF THE SACRED MINISTRY" (1947) . Most of these were published in London and New York and have been long out of print. They were generally most favourably reviewed in England and America. The following may be of interest to some of the readers: "The Practice of Religion" has reached a sale of over 100,000 copies, has brought many persons into the Church, has started some for Holy Orders, and in part was translated into French by wish of [57/58] Bishop Carson for use in the Diocese of Haiti. Funk and Wagnalls used five chapters from "Adventures in the Alps" for their ten volume publication "Seeing Europe with Famous Authors." A Japanese writer wrote for permission to translate "A Rendezvous with Destiny" for circulation amongst the Japanese. "Lights and Shadows" has the commendation of five Bishops and several heads of Seminaries. "Roosevelt: the Great Liberal" was bought up by the Democratic Party in Philadelphia and circulated with their compliments amongst the Clergy and professional men prior to the 1936 election.

Father Knowles is continually receiving letters from unknown persons and clippings from newspapers about his book "The Practice of Religion." The following true story is rich! It appears that during the late war the parents of a young drafted soldier gave him "The Practice of Religion." Not being very religious he did not read it, but thinking that "it might bring him luck" carried it in his pocket. He went into action, his "buddies" were blown to pieces by a shell and he was for awhile rendered unconscious. When he came to, he was terribly frightened and recollecting the book took it from his pocket and began to read prayers. As the rescuing party came, the officer in charge leaned over and glanced at "The Practice of Religion" and said: "Did you know you were reading the Preparation for Holy Communion!"

Years ago at a "Catholic Congress," at the meeting after the Mass Father Knowles was seated next to a very [58/59] attractive young girl, a perfect stranger. She showed him a copy of "The Practice of Religion," showing on the flyleaf that Father Huntingdon had given it to her. She asked: "Is Father Knowles here? If so, will you point him out? I love his book! I wonder what he looks like!" It was not until the close of the meeting that Father Knowles made himself known.

OUR OBSERVANCE OF SAINT ALBAN'S DAY was for years quite an event in the Parish. There would be a Solemn High Mass, Procession, and Sermon. There would be many invited guests from amongst the Clergy. And there would be a luncheon in the Guild House, where all sat around the festive board and the visiting Clergy made speeches one by one in answer to various toasts. Many a happy reminiscence was heard, may a good story told, and many good wishes offered. All of this is now a thing of yesteryear for now Saint Alban's only keeps the patronal day by the Service, but those who came in the past will probably never forget the happy occasions.

THE ANNIVERSARIES OF the Ordination of Father Knowles have also been occasions of great interest. There was the 25th or "silver anniversary" in 1924 when the Rt. Rev. Reginald Heber Weller, D.D., Bishop of Fond du Lac, pontificated and preached; the 35th anniversary in 1934 when the Rt. Rev. Benjamin F. P. Ivins, D.D., Bishop of Milwaukee, pontificated and [59/60] preached, and the 40th anniversary in 1939 when the Rev. Father Shirley Carter Hughson, O.H.C., preached. On each occasion there was a Solemn High Mass and Procession, and after the Service a luncheon at which many happy speeches of congratulation and good wishes were made. At the 25th anniversary two very commendatory letters to the Rector were read, one from "The Vestry and Parish," one from "The Members of the various Guilds, Confraternities, and Organizations" expressing their appreciation in the most affectionate terms. Accompanying the letters was the gift of a Chalice and Paten inscribed:

NOVEMBER 12, 1924.


At the anniversary in 1934, the people generously presented a purse of money to the Rector, which gave him the pleasure of passing it on to the Endowment Fund.

[61] Bishop Ivins, who could not come to the 40th anniversary, sent the following very gracious greeting:

"Both you and your people have been richly blessed. It is not given to many Parishes to enjoy so many years of such a consecrated and generous Ministry as you have given to Saint Alban's. And what a joy your Ministry has been to you, my dear Dr. Knowles: to have given to God the lovely and exquisite Church fabric which shall be a beautiful memorial to you and to your Priesthood for untold years to come and to have built that other, less tangible but even more real memorial to the Glory of God, in the lives and souls of your people and their children even unto the third generation.

May the good God grant you many years in His Service.
The Power of God the Father,
The Wisdom of God the Son,
The Love of God the Holy Ghost,
And the Grace of the Blessed and Undivided Trinity
Be with you on your Anniversary day,
And preserve you, henceforth and forevermore.

Faithfully and affectionately,

+ Benjamin F. P. Ivins,
Bishop of Milwaukee."

The Vestry sent the Rector on his 45th anniversary a very lovely letter expressing their affection and appreciation of all that had been done at Saint Alban's, spiritually and materially, all signing their names.

[62] The following "appreciation," in "The Living Church" of October 24, 1943 (while quite undeserved), by Father Hughson, whom everybody loves, is here reprinted:

"Judged by the world's standard of mere bigness, St. Alban's was not one of the great parishes of America. But material bigness counts for naught in the Kingdom of heaven. What does count is just what Saint Alban's has been happy in possessing from its earliest beginnings—a Priest who had but one thought, but one ideal, and who through a ministry extending now over five and forty years, has asked but one thing of God and the Church, that he be given the opportunity to serve the Master in the Master's appointed way, in the persons of the souls committed to his care. From its inception, Saint Alban's has been a work which has reflected in everything the spirit of its leader. Catholic to the core, it has never known anything of the spirit of compromise which loves to talk glibly of the essentials and the non-essentials of Catholic faith and worship. Priest and people realized that the Christian vocation was not to gain success as the world counts it, but to faithfulness as God expects it of His servants. Whatever the Catholic Church has placed her imprimatur upon, either in the Faith, or in the symbolic expression of the Faith in the glory of worship, Saint Alban's and its Rector have exemplified.

[63] On one occasion, Our Lord, speaking to His disciples, concerning temporal blessings, said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." In stern faithfulness to the principles of the kingdom, Fr. Knowles has not been left without signs of divine blessing on the temporal side of the work to which he has consecrated himself; but it has all been translated into spiritual realities by the use to which it has been put.During his rectorate Saint Alban's has built one of the most beautiful Churches in America, a veritable shrine of the beauty of holiness, and redolent of the fragrance of the devotion of the hearts of the people. May God give His servant yet many years of ministry fruitful to souls, and to the glory of His kingdom."

In "The Church News" of the Diocese, in their issue of October, 1943, appeared the following little eulogy of the Rector, under the arresting caption "WHO SUCCEEDS BISHOP TAITT?" and then the explanation:

"Who succeeds Bishop Taitt as the oldest Clergyman in active service in the Diocese? Very likely the Rev. Archibald Campbell Knowles, D.D., Rector of Saint Alban's Church, Olney, although no one would suspect it to see Father Knowles still going so energetically about his work. He does not climb the Swiss Alps as he used to do every summer—though we suspect he would try it again if it weren't for Adolph. Now he ascends only the [63/64] little hills of Germantown. But he is still- active with tongue and pen. He is one of the Episcopal Church's most felicitous writers, a man of deep conviction and extensive knowledge who knows how to express himself clearly and convincingly and who has the courage of his convictions. THE CHURCH NEWS salutes this witty and cultured Christian gentleman and hopes that he may be spared for many more years to exercise his priesthood in one of our most beautiful churches."

The 50th or Golden Anniversary of his Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood occurs on November 12th, 1949. It may be that Father Knowles, who would then be over 84, may be called to another world and work which he cannot refuse! If with Saint Alban's, however, this anniversary will probably be more simply kept than the others, mostly confined to the Church Service.

BISHOPS are loved and honoured at Saint Alban's! We have seen many kinds, some in Cope and Mitre, some in Purple Cassock, some in Black "Magpie." There are pictures in our Sacristies of the late Lord Bishop of London, Bishop Nicholson, Bishop Ivins, Bishop Grafton, and Bishop Weller vested in Cope and Mitre. Once when Bishop Garland visited the Parish, Mrs. Garland pointed to these pictures and said: "If you wore those things, Father Knowles would probably hang your picture there!" Bishop Taitt never liked and probably never wore Cope and Mitre. Once the Rector got him up to the point of promising to wear the Cope but when [64/65] the Server went to vest the Bishop, most pathetically he turned and said: "Father Knowles, please don't make me!"

The writer has always had most friendly relations with his various Diocesans, Bishop Whitaker, Bishop Mackay-Smith, Bishop Garland, Bishop Rhinelander, Bishop Taitt, Bishop Hart, and Bishop Remington. Apparently there has been mutual regard and consideration. For Bishop Nicholson, Bishop Coleman, Bishop Weller, and Bishop Ivins there has always been great affection, as also for dear Bishop Spence Burton.

We cannot refrain from telling two good stories about two Bishops! One of his Clergy called upon the Rt. Rev. Henry Codman Potter and said that he was in great trouble. A year ago he had lost his wife. Now he was to marry again. The Bishop did not know whether to console or to congratulate! "But what is your trouble?" he asked. "Well, Bishop, you see, on my wife's tomb I had inscribed the words: ‘My Light has gone out!'" "O," interrupted the Bishop, "don't worry about that. Just add the words, ‘I have struck another match!'"

The dear and godly Bishop Weller used to love to tell this story about himself. He had adopted the habit of signing himself as the Church of England Prelates do, as for instance the Archbishop of Canterbury as +Geoffrey: Cantuar. When Bishop Weller went to Paris with Mrs. Weller he registered at the hotel: +Reginald Heber: Fond du Lac, and underneath [65/66] wrote: Mrs. Weller. The very "French" clerk, not knowing the Bishop or his name, looked at him a moment and then said: "Monsignor on vacation!" And of good Bishop Weller!

IN THE SUMMER OF 1948 Saint Alban's had a very pleasant experience with All Saints' Church, Crescentville. Saint Alban's has ever held to a certain standard and has never departed from what is believed the true interpretation of "the Faith once for all delivered to the Saints." The position of the Evangelical and Low Churchman always seemed to be untenable in the light of history and not reconcilable with the clear and explicit teaching of the Prayer Book. Yet Saint Alban's has ever tried to have "the spirit of charity" and "to live and let live."

In 1948 occurred the chance of "being kind one to another." Due to certain road improvements taking place, All Saints' Parish, Crescentville, was practically cut off from the use of their buildings and the Rector and members of the Church were in great trouble. They were most relieved and delighted when Father Knowles offered and arranged for them to use the Guild Hall for their services, at the same time placing no restrictions or conditions of any kind. The plan worked admirably. In the Guild Hall, which, with its lofty roof and hammer beams resembles a Church building, a platform and Altar were arranged, a Cross, Candlesticks, and Super Frontal were placed upon it, a small portable [66/67] organ was carried in, and chairs arranged for seats. Saint Alban's made no charge for the use of the building and refused any compensation. Father Mayer, the Rector of All Saints', and his people seemed most appreciative and grateful.

For about three months the arrangement continued. Saint Alban's had its Services in the Church, with full Catholic ceremonial. All Saints' had its Services in the Guild Hall in simple manner. They did not conflict, brotherly charity prevailed, and all seemed happy. We even had our little joke in the suggestion that the offerings be taken before the services began by the Accounting Wardens standing outside and saying: "You' pay your money and you take your choice!" All in all it was an instance showing mutual regard, friendly feeling, and freedom from pride and prejudice.

THAT "THERE IS LITTLE GOOD STAINED GLASS in this country" may seem a bold statement, but it is really true if judged by mediaeval standards which should rule. This is largely because the makers have failed to realize that picturing on canvas and picturing in glass are two different things. Only by following the mediaeval models do we get fine windows, combining light and decoration, for teaching and devotion, rich in colour, irregular in thickness, with much leading and with little perspective. One of the firm of Heaton, Butler, and Bayne of London, who made most of our stained glass, said that no finer windows can be produced than [67/68] those in Saint Alban's. As a tiny garden may have flowers lovely and rare, so our little Parish Church has its flowers in these beautiful windows, both in the stone traceries and in the stained glass that fills them.

The following is a brief description of the windows in the Nave:

(a) The Sanctuary Windows: These three large ones in the Apse were given by Mrs. Archibald Campbell Knowles as memorials; that on the Gospel side to her mother, Katherine Myers Hale Stocker, representing the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, and the Flight; that on the Epistle side to her father, John Clements Stocker, representing Our Lord entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the Agony, the Resurrection, and the Ascension; that back of the Altar to her sister, Almy Augusta Stocker Purves, depicting the Choirs of Angels. (b) The Chancel windows are four Clerestories showing the Evangelists Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke, and Saint John. (c) The Clerestory windows, ten in number, in the Nave, show various periods in the Church, the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul; the Latin and Greek Fathers, Saint Augustine and Saint Athanasius; the Mediaeval Divines, Saint Bernard and Saint Thomas Aquinas; and later ages, Saint Augustine of Canterbury, Saint Denis of France, Saint Andrew of Scotland, and Saint Patrick of Ireland, and far up above the large aisle window, one which shows an Archangel.

Beginning on the Epistle side, next to the Lady Chapel, the aisle windows are as follows: (1) Memorial [68/69] to Isaac and Mary Dadeker, given by the Rector and Congregation, showing the B. V. Mary and Saint Joseph going to Bethlehem; ,the Repose in Egypt; Our Lord working as a Carpenter; Our Lord teaching the Doctors. This window represents the Holy Family.

(2) Memorial to George Lambert Knowles and Matilda Josephine Knowles, given by the congregation: "I Am the Bread of Life"; "Feed My Sheep, Feed My Lambs"; "Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven"; "Go ye forth into all the world." These four subjects set forth the Word and the Sacraments.

(3) Memorial to George Tyrrel Pearson (Architect of Saint Alban's) presented by his son: Moses building the Tabernacle; Solomon dedicating the Temple; Saint Louis of France presenting the Crown of Thorns in "La Sainte Chapelle"; Saint Mary and Saint Alban offering the model of Saint Alban's to Our Lord. This window symbolizes Architecture dedicated to the Glory of God.

(4) Memorial to the Rt. Rev. Isaac Lea Nicholson, S.T.D., sometime Bishop of Milwaukee, who ordained the present Rector to the Sacred Priesthood: Isaiah hearing the Sanctus; David playing before Saul; Angels singing the Gloria in Excelsis; Saint Ambrose, Saint Gregory and Saint Cecelia singing with the Blessed Virgin Mary the Magnificat. This window illustrates Music consecrated to God's service.

(5) Memorial to Mary Koch Franz and Henrietta Ringe Bacher, the parents of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Franz: the Sacrifice of Abel; Zacharias at the Altar of Incense; [69/70] the Worship of the Wise Men; the Adoration of Our Lord in Heaven. This window illustrates Sacrifice and Worship.

(6) Memorial to William Vincent Turner and Elisabeth Annie Turner, presented by their children: Samuel and Eli; Elijah in the Wilderness; the Monastic Orders, Saint Benedict, Saint Ethelreda, Saint Catherine, Saint Columba, the Venerable Bede; the Friars, Saint Francis, Saint Dominic, and Saint Clare. This window pictures the Religious (the Monastic and Conventual Life).

(7) Memorial to Emily Baker Elliot: Saint Elizabeth of Hungary; Saint Martin of Tours; Our Lord feeding the Multitude; Saint Mary anointing Our Lord's Feet. This window shows forth Charity or Good Works.

(8) Memorial to Harold Hamerton, given by the Rector and Congregation: Naaman being cleansed in the Jordan; Our Lord giving the Power of the Keys; Our Lord with Chalice and Host; Our Lord Enthroned in Heaven. This window represents Absolution, Communion, and Worship.

THE WEST WALL WINDOW OF THE NAVE is a large and magnificent one representing the Transfiguration, with predellas below showing Moses and the Burning Bush, Moses with shining face coming down from Mount Sinai, Elijah taken up in the Chariot of Fire. There is the Rainbow, below which are figures of Saint John, Saint Peter and Saint James; on the [70/71] rainbow, Moses and Elijah; above the rainbow in an aureole of glory, Our Lord, respectively symbolizing the Church Militant, the Church Expectant and the Church ,Triumphant. This window, a memorial to the Rector's father, Mr. George Lambert Knowles, bears the beautiful inscription: "The path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

LADY CHAPEL WINDOW: This is a Memorial to Margaretta Stocker Lewis, the aunt of Mrs. Archibald Campbell Knowles given by her niece. It illustrates God's Promise to Adam and Eve in the Garden; Hannah presenting Samuel; Isaiah's Vision of a Virgin, and above, the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Purification, the Virgin as the Mother of Sorrows, the Assumption, and the Coronation. The stone traceries are copied after a window in Melrose Abbey, Scotland.

OTHER MEMORIALS: Naturally very few could give memorials or do much more than contribute to the best of their ability to the support of the Church. This last they have generously done. The following are amongst the Memorials of record:

VESPER LIGHTS given by Miss Monges in memory of her mother, Louisa Tesseire Monges;

CHALICE AND PATEN in memory of "S. G.," a humble servant of God;

THE HIGH ALTAR, a "Thankoffering" from the present Rector;

[72] THE ROOD SCREEN, a "Thankoffering" from Father Knowles and Mrs. Knowles;

STATUE OF BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, in Lady Chapel made in London, in memory of Mary Clements Stocker Palmer; given by her Parents;

STATUE OF OUR LORD, made in London, given by Mrs. Archibald Campbell Knowles, in memory of her Sister Caroline de Tousard Stocker;

SANCTUARY LAMP, in memory of Stevenson Hockley Walsh, Jr., presented by his wife;

MISSAL STAND, given by Mrs. Frederick T. Collier;

SANCTUS BELL, presented by Mrs. House in memory of her husband, Charles H. H. House;

LITANY DESK, in memory of Adelaide Selsor;

TOWER BELLS, given by Mrs. Elliot, one in memory of Joseph Alfred Jones; the other in memory of her husband, Samuel M. Elliot.

REREDOS, PAINTING of Madonna by Murillo, from Florence and STATUES in Lady Chapel given by the Rector and Mrs. Knowles;

BRONZE CRUCIFIX, Lady Chapel given by Servers and Choir in memory of Charles Franklin Phillipp;

BRASS TRYPTYCH on High Altar presented by the Servers and Rector in memory of Warren Lord.

ILLUMINATED ALTAR CARDS given by Mrs. H. H. Ives in memory of her mother, Mrs. Gluck;

EUCHARISTIC LIGHTS presented by Mr. and Mrs. Ives in memory of their son Paul.

SILVER PLATED CENSER made specially in Paris for Parish, given by Mrs. C. E. Buckle;


MISSAL, given by The Rev. William H. Davis;

TWO SILVER PLATED CENSERS, made in London after mediaeval designs, given by the Rector;

MASS VESTMENTS (13 sets) and COPES (9), many of them specially made in Paris; BANNERS, LIGHTS, etc.

[73] Saint Alban's has been fortunate in its Curates who have always seemed happy in their relations with Rector and Parish. The Rev. Henry Bower Gorgas had been Rector of the Advent, Bath Beach, and Curate at Saint Ignatius, New York, and Saint Luke's, Germantown. He was a fine classical scholar, a sound theologian and most spiritually minded. He was with us from 1918 to 1927. The Rev. William Howard Davis who came in 1927 and died 1934 had been Rector or Curate of several Parishes, including the Annunciation, Saint Stephen's, Camden, and Saint Mark's, Hammonton. He loved to play the cello or bass violin. He was a very earnest Parish Priest. The Rev. Moorhouse Lindley Johnson, who was at Saint Alban's from 1938 to 1941, had been educated abroad; been in business and taking Holy Orders; had served as Rector or Curate in many places. He was full of "the joy of life" and greatly liked. The Rev. Carroll McCloskey Bates, who had been Rector of Holy Cross, Baltimore, and Curate at the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, and elsewhere, served parts of 1941, 1942 and 1946 in between being an Army Chaplain. He was much liked. The Rev. Jay Theodore Black, who was with us from March 1943 to July 1944 had worked in many places and was a splendid all round Priest, devout and earnest. The Rev. John C. R. Peterson came for a short while in 1947 but had to resign on account of illness. Faithful, devoted and learned, he was greatly liked. The other Priests were at Saint Alban's but a short time.


ALL THINGS come to an end. The half century association of Priest and People will some day be but a memory. When the hours are run there will come a time when there will be a "passing," a Requiem, the joys and sorrows of life will be over and the dimming recollection of the past begin. For the world goes on and has little memory except for the very few.

Yet perhaps in the hearts and minds of some while life continues will be thoughts of the past, of those who were actors upon the stage of life. As Adelaide Proctor wrote: "If thou wilt: remember; if thou wilt: forget." God alone ever remembers, never forgets.

In the story has been the tradition set forth: that the Priest's primary duty is not to make a great parish or a large one or to raise money or to provide social entertainment, but rather in his "Cure of Souls" never to forget the value of Souls in the sight of God but "to watch for these souls as one who must give account."

As lives are imperfect, there have been sins of omission and sins of commission. The writer prays that God will pardon all that was wrong or mistaken; will accept all that was good or well intended and will bless, prosper and protect all who have tried or are trying to attain "the beauty of holiness" and live for His Honour and Glory.

[75] In a more modest way one may apply the words said of Sir Christopher Wren who built Saint Paul's Cathedral in London: "If thou seekest his monument, look around," to both Priest and people of Saint Alban's, not in the buildings or in books or in the annals of the great, but in hearts and lives of those who have made the Parish. And what greater joy can they have than to know that they hold the True Faith, can "worship God in spirit and in truth," and in the practice of religion learn to live a life "hid with Christ in God." And is not the greatest happiness of a Priest to know that under God his ministry has contributed to this? It is not often that a pastorate extends over fifty years in which a Priest has in some instances ministered to four generations of the same family and where most of the members have been born since he assumed charge!

Saint Alban's stands at the cross roads, but if her members now and to come are loyal and faithful to their heritage and traditions the Parish will go on, in the strength of the Catholic Revival, to win souls to the Christian Religion and work for the Glory of God. So we repeat the words of God, as recorded in Holy Scripture: "Bid the people go forward," to use their time and talents in the work of the Lord, in their lovely home in beautiful Saint Alban's.

FIFTY YEARS show a very different world as we compare the start with the finish. Both in the Church and in the State have come great changes. Some lovely things [75/76] have been lost, others gained. The fortunate few of the past may look back longingly at times to the happier ways of yesteryear, but they must rejoice in the knowledge that many more now share with them in the "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" which is the right of all. And in religion, while generally speaking, the individual apparently may be less spiritually inclined and shows less self-sacrifice and consecration than in the past, there has been a great advance in Christian charity and brotherhood and in the love of one's neighbour. So for all the crime and corruption, the wickedness and vice in the State, for all the failure in love and sacrifice, discipline and devotion in the Church, Saint Alban's believes that God still reigns and that the world is a better place now than it was in the past notwithstanding recent horrors and present persecutions.

THE FUTURE of the Church as well as the Country lies mainly with the young. Their elders may start and build a work, but if it is to endure, the younger ones must carry it on. So with any Parish. So with Saint Alban's. Some of them have not really started. Others have not fully realized their responsibility. All have a part to play, and so at the end of fifty years, your Rector and your Parish call all of our young people to do their duty and to go forward with zeal and enthusiasm and consecrated efforts even as one enlisting "in the colours." No one can really love the Church who does not wish to work for her welfare.

[77] "Arise! For the day is passing
And some lie dreaming on;
Others have buckled their armour
And forth to the fight have gone.

A place in the ranks awaits all,
Each one has a part to play,
The Past and the Future are nothing:
In the face of the call: Today."

WE HAVE PICTURED to you Saint Alban's, its Priest and its people. We have sketched the fifty years with their lights and shadows. As we said at the start, Saint Alban's is a small Parish, neither endowed with riches nor social prominance, where neither Priest nor people have ever sought place or preferment in Diocese or Church. Yet it has played its part, and in the Providence of God, is not unknown even far beyond its borders. The Past is; gone, the Present is here, the Future rests with God. It is hoped that now is but the interlude to a day when the stakes will be driven deeper and the borders enlarged.

We hope that you have liked the play. We trust that you have enjoyed the story. We pray that God may use our humble efforts through the play and the story to bring us closer to Him, to be enshrined in the Sacred Heart of Our Lord. Fifty years, how long a time it is! And what memories come, of familiar faces, of those who have come and gone, of those we have loved and lost, to find in the life beyond; of noble characters, of faithful souls, of those who, "far from the madding crowd," "to [77/78] fortune and to fame unknown," have been seen "in the beauty of holiness" and have shown the way to God, as Priest and People taught and helped each other. So through the mercy of God, they hope to meet at the end of the road, to be with God forever and ever and ever.

"Keep right on to the end of the road,
Keep right on to the end;
If the way be rough, let the heart be strong,
Keep right on round the bend.
Though you're tired and weary, still journey on
'Til you come to that happy abode,
When all you have loved or been longing for
Will be there at the end of the road."

O ALMIGHTY GOD, Giver of all good things, grant us; we beseech Thee, large measure of Faith, Hope, Charity and Repentance. If it be Thy gracious will give us health and happiness and the power and will to live and work for Thine Honour and Glory or else give us happiness alone by keeping us close to Thee. Wash us and make us pure, strengthen us and make us strong, illumine us and make us see. May we find light in the Face of our Saviour Jesus Christ and in Him courage ever to go forward no matter whatsoever the difficulties of the way, giving us grace to impart this courage to all we meet in the journey of life. May we be so blessed and guided by Thee, that for all our failings and imperfections we may be a help and benediction to all, which we ask in the Name of our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

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