RIGHT REVEREND BENJ. F.
P. IVINS, D.D.
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."
+ BENJ. F. P. IVINS,
Bishop of Milwaukee
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!"
+ SPENCE BURTON, S.S.J.E.,
Lord Bishop of Nassau
FOR PRIEST AND PEOPLE
EVEN IF NEVER FULLY ATTAINED
"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."
THE REVEREND ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL KNOWLES, D.D.
THE FIRST LITTLE SAINT ALBAN'S, 1899
INTERIOR OF THE FIRST SAINT ALBAN'S, 1899
SAINT ALBAN'S CHURCH, 1903
INTERIOR, SAINT ALBAN'S CHURCH, 1903
SAINT ALBAN'S, IN 1907
INTERIOR OF SAINT ALBAN'S CHURCH, 1907
PRESENT INTERIOR OF SAINT ALBAN'S,
WITH NEW ROOD SCREEN AND POLYCHROMED ROOF
THE PRESENT SANCTUARY AND HIGH ALTAR OF SAINT ALBAN'S.
ENTRANCE TO LADY CHAPEL, SAINT ALBAN'S
LADY CHAPEL OF SAINT ALBAN'S
CHAPEL OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, SAINT ALBAN'S
CENTRAL PANEL OF THE HIGH ALTARWITH ALTAR CRUCIFIX TEMPORARILY REMOVED
THE REVEREND ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL KNOWLES, D.D.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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
 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.
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.
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
 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.
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.
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.")
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
 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:
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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
"Then shall long
Through Alban's pillared pile,
And also Banner, Cross, and Cope
Gleam through the incensed aisle."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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:
THIS CHURCH IS ERECTED TO
THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF
GEORGE LAMBERT KNOWLES
THE WORSHIP AND PRAISE OF ALMIGHTY GOD
ACCORDING TO THE USE OF
THE ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC
"THE LORD IS IN HIS HOLY TEMPLE"
SPEAK SOFTLY: MOVE QUIETLY: ACT REVERENTLY
AND WHEN THERE IS NO SERVICE LET ALL
"THE EARTH KEEP SILENCE BEFORE HIM."
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:
"THOSE WHO ENTER THIS
THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF
GEORGE LAMBERT KNOWLES
NEVER TO LEAVE WITHOUT A PRAYER FOR
THE CLERGY AND CONGREGATION
THE FOUNDERS AND BENEFACTORS
THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
AND TO HAVE THEM IN REMEMBRANCE AT
THE OFFERING OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST."
"THE LORD PRESERVE THY GOING OUT,
THE LORD PRESERVE THY COMING IN,
GOD SEND HIS ANGELS ROUND ABOUT
TO KEEP THY SOUL FROM EVERY SIN;
AND WHEN THY GOING OUT IS DONE,
AND WHEN THY COMING IN IS O'ER,
WHEN IN DEATH'S DARKNESS ALL ALONE
THY FEET CAN COME AND GO NO MORE,
THE LORD PRESERVE THY GOING OUT
FROM THIS DARK WORLD OF GRIEF AND SIN
WHILE ANGELS STANDING ROUND ABOUT
SING: ‘GOD PRESERVE THY COMING IN.'"
THE STATIONS ON THE WAY OF THE CROSS
SHOWING FORTH THE
PASSION AND DEATH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
ARE ERECTED TO THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MARY ANN O'BRYAN
 MAY GOD IN HIS MERCY GRANT "THAT THEY
MAY REST IN PEACE AND THAT LIGHT PERPETUAL
MAY SHINE UPON THEM."
"HE HATH EXALTED THE HUMBLE AND MEEK."
THE BELL OF SAINT ALBAN'S CHURCH
HUNG IN 1898 AND REPLACED IN 1916 BY THE SAME DONOR
IS GIVEN TO
THE GLORY OF GOD
IN LOVING MEMORY
JOSEPH ALFRED JONES
THAT IT MAY CALL THE FAITHFUL AND
THE LOVING AND THE PENITENT TO
THE PRAISE AND WORSHIP OF ALMIGHTY GOD
AND TO THE PRIVILEGES AND BLESSINGS OF THE
ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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!"
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.
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.
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.
 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."
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!
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."
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.
 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."
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
 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
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.
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
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.
"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.
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.
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
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:
OF THE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY OF NASHOTAH
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.
 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
DOCTOR IN DIVINITY
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
E. J. M. NUTTER, D.D., Dean
Fredk. D. Butler, D.D., Clerk.
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
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."
BEYOND THE VEIL
"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,
 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."
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.
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:
"BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN
FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD"
TO THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MARY CLEMENTS STOCKER KNOWLES
MARY CLEMENTS STOCKER PALMER
BELOVED WIFE AND DAUGHTER
OF THE REVEREND
ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL KNOWLES, D.D.
FIRST RECTOR OF SAINT ALBAN'S CHURCH
BRIGHT AND JOYOUS OF SPIRIT
PURE AND HOLY OF LIFE
FAITHFUL IN THE PRACTICE OF RELIGION
AN INSPIRATION TO ALL
WHO LOVE GOD AND WHO SEEK
THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS
"THEY DO REST FROM THEIR LABOURS
WHERE THEIR WORKS DO FOLLOW THEM"
"THY PRESENCE IS THE FULNESS OF JOY"
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
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.
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.
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.
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
TO THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN LOVE AND GRATITUDE
FOR THE BLESSINGS BROUGHT THEM
THROUGH A MOST DEVOTED MINISTRY
PRESENTED BY THE PEOPLE OF SAINT ALBAN'S
TO THEIR RECTOR
ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL KNOWLES
ON THE TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY
OF HIS ORDINATION TO THE SACRED
NOVEMBER 12, 1924.
"HE FED THEM WITH A FAITHFUL AND TRUE HEART;
AND RULED THEM PRUDENTLY WITH ALL HIS POWER
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.
 Bishop Ivins, who could not come to the 40th anniversary, sent the
following very gracious greeting:
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."
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.
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.
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
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!"
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.
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.
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
The following is a brief description of the windows in the Nave:
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.
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
(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
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.
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
CHALICE AND PATEN in memory of "S. G.," a humble servant of God;
THE HIGH ALTAR, a "Thankoffering" from the present Rector;
 THE ROOD SCREEN, a "Thankoffering" from Father Knowles and Mrs.
STATUE OF BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, in Lady Chapel made in London, in memory
of Mary Clements Stocker Palmer; given by her Parents;
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
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
SILVER PLATED CENSER made specially in Paris for Parish, given by Mrs.
C. E. Buckle;
SILVER PLATED OFFERING PLATES, given by Congregation;
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.
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.
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.
 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!
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.
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.
 "Arise! For the day
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."
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."
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.