Project Canterbury

Charge to the 102nd Annual Convention of the Church in the Diocese of Chicago
Meeting in St. Mark's Parish, Evanston, February 7, 1939

By the Right Reverend George Craig Stewart, D. D., Bishop of Chicago

Chicago: no publisher, [1939]

Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York, 2012

Dear Brethren of the Clergy and Laity:

It is now more than forty years since here upon the campus of Northwestern University I was handed a book entitled "Reasons for Being a Churchman" by Arthur Wilde Little, L.H.D., Rector of St. Mark's Church, Evanston. It was the first book I had seen which set forth clearly and convincingly the Anglican claims and I hoped some day to meet the learned author. And meet him I did, for a few years later he was one of my examiners, and little more than a year after that he shared in the service of my institution as Rector of St. Luke's.

I mean no discourtesy to my dear friend and our good host, the present Rector of St. Mark's, nor to the memory of his predecessor, Dr. Arthur Rogers, nor to Bishop Longley of Iowa,—if I pay, in passing, a tribute to the memory of Arthur Wilde Little, during whose Rectorate the tradition of this parish was so solidly established as one of stalwart adherence to Catholic faith and practice. To all of us newly ordained men he presented a copy of his lecture on "The Intellectual Life of the Priest: Its Duties and its Dangers,—" a lecture delivered at the then Western Theological Seminary and marked by evidences of a classical scholarship seldom equaled then or now. Almost every page carries a quotation in Latin or Greek from one of the Church Fathers or from some pagan writer of renown. And if you think this a pose, let me say that my predecessor at St. Luke's, Dr. Daniel Freeman Smith, and the Rector of St. Mark's, Dr. Little, were wont to put the hymns of the Sunday into Latin verse, and then on Monday to compare notes. Those were the days before the motor and the movie, when life moved at a slower tempo and priests had time to study. And yet even then the intellectual life of the clergy was always threatened. "Alas,—" exclaimed the learned Rector of St. Mark's, —"the precious time which the hustling priest takes from his books, from his sermons, from his spiritual life 'to serve tables'—to manage guilds and sewing circles, bazaars, and five o'clock teas!

(Diakonein trapezais! Diakonein trapezais!)
Serving tables! Serving tables!

Where are the deacons? Is the sixth chapter of the Acts of the Holy Apostles no longer canonical? Has Jehoiakim the [1/2] Son of Josiah cut it out with his pen knife?'"—I shall not weary you with quotations from this admirable lecture—I only want to summon from the past in this beautiful Church of his conceiving, the slender little figure of a man with brilliant dark eyes and black Van Dyke beard, with the look of a Cardinal Mazarin and the urbane manners of a scholar and gentleman, who bore, in this place, his stalwart witness to the faith once for all delivered to the saints, who ministered faithfully the Word and Sacraments to a generation now no longer here, and who, I doubt not, still offers his intercessions for the good estate of the Church in the Diocese of Chicago. He entered into a heritage prepared by saintly priests like Father Stewart Smith whom I was also privileged to know, and he bequeathed to those who came after not only an altar and a building, but a spirit of quiet steady solid continuing Churchmanship which has its rich flowering today under the distinguished leadership of the present Rector of St. Mark's.


It is not necessary for me to make an extensive report to you on the events of the year 1938.

There have been a number of clerical changes, many more than usual,—but I am grateful that I need report but two deaths, that of the Reverend Arthur Rogers, Doctor of Divinity, Rector Emeritus of this Parish, who after an extended illness died on the tenth of June, and that of the Reverend Richard Cox, who died on January 3, 1939 in Millbrook, California, where he had been living ever since he retired from active service at Savanna early in my episcopate. They were good men and full of the Holy Ghost! "May they rest in peace!"

During the year the Reverend John D. Higgins has gone to Minneapolis as Rector of Gethsemane; the Reverend Gordon Brant of Minneapolis has taken his place at the Church of the Advent Chicago.

Father Jones of All Saints', Roseland has gone to the Diocese of Northern Michigan (Marquette), and has been replaced by the Reverend Walter T. Hayward.

The Reverend Arthur Willis has been transferred from the curacy at St. Paul's, Kenwood, to our City Mission Staff.

The Reverend Dr. Dennis has retired from the Holy Apostles and taken up the work at Holy Innocents' as well as St. Alban's, Norwood Park.

Father Shaw has been transferred to Momence where he is doing a good work. Father Giffin has left the Incarnation to take a curacy in Kalamazoo, Mich. Father Stretch who is now an assistant at the Pro-Cathedral, has been followed by Father Reed newly ordained priest at St. Ann's, Chicago. The Reverend Sidney Cooke, assistant at St. Chrysostom's has returned to New York. The Reverend Walter Schroeder, also of St. Chrysostom's, is spending a year in post graduate sociological study in Cincinnati. Father F. H. O. Bowman, who was succeeded at Pontiac by the Reverend Leon Harris, has become Rector of St. John's, Irving Park;—the Reverend Doctor John Evans formerly of St. Luke's, Western Avenue, is now at Flosamoor, and [2/3] Father Selcer is Rector of St. Luke's. Father Blackwell has left St. Matthew's to serve as curate at the Epiphany and is succeeded by Father Howes, formerly of Galena, which is now served by a lay reader. Father Foley, formerly curate of Epiphany, is now in charge of the Good Samaritan, while Father Mansel Green has retired. Father Hilbish, formerly Curate at St. Luke's, Pro-Cathedral is now Rector of Christ Church, Ottawa, while Father Warren Hutchins is senior Curate at St. Luke's. Father Henry of Farm Ridge was transferred to the Diocese of Washington and his place has been taken by the Reverend John Cleveland. Father Joseph Higgins formerly of Lockport has been suspended for causes not affecting his moral character, and his place is taken by the Reverend Wm. J. Wyckoff. Reverend Dr. Allen Albert, one of our newly ordained deacons, is in charge of Lombard which is now a self-supporting mission. Father Thayer of Morrison has accepted a call to Burlington, Iowa, and is succeeded by the Reverend A. E. Scully, formerly at Goshen, Ind. At Streator, Archdeacon Quigg is succeeded by the Reverend Wm. C. Bryant. The Reverend Dr. Charles Street formerly Headmaster of St. Alban 's School has been transferred to Wyoming, where he becomes Warden of Sherwood Hall for Boys, Laramie. I am nominating to you today the Reverend George Ridgway of Rockford to succeed him as Dean. The Reverend Dr. Frederick C. Grant, has not transferred his canonical residence, but is, as you know, now a Professor in Union Theological Seminary, New York.

During the year I have deposed as priest the Reverend C. W. Marty, formerly a member of one of our Religious Orders, for causes not affecting his moral character.

Among our deaconesses I have to record with regret the removal of Deaconess Adams to Wyoming; and with deep sympathy the serious illness of Deaconess Helen Fuller.

New Parishes

It is with great satisfaction that I report to you the application of two of our missions for union with this Convention as self-sustaining parishes,—the Church of Our Savior, Elmhurst, and St. James's Parish, Dundee. The former is the development after many years of a Chapel of Ease on the estate of the late Charles Bryant; the latter is the restoration after many years of the status of one of our former parishes. I have already recognized the outstanding leadership of the clergy of these parishes by presenting them with the Bishop's Cross for distinguished service.

And with great satisfaction do I report to you a newly organized mission, the Mission of St. Simon the Cyrenian in Maywood, developed under the leadership of the Reverend Shirley Sanchez which if I mistake not will develop into one of our most sturdy missions among the colored people. Also I report the newly organized mission of St. John's at Mt. Prospect. It has developed under the leadership of Father Hubbard and Major Todd.

Lights and Shadows

Lights and shadows have fallen across our institutional life during the year. After years of desperate effort to save it, we have had to close St. Alban's School for Boys at Sycamore. The [3/4] diocese, I need scarcely say, has thus suffered the very great loss of the Reverend Dr. and Mrs. Charles L. Street, whose home was the heart of this school dedicated to Christian Education. I have taken the necessary steps to conserve the sacred vessels and ornaments and vestments of the Chapel; and of course everything possible is being done to insure the creditors against loss. This is shadow.

Here is light: The House of Happiness on the south side, faced with the critical need of a gymnasium, has gone out and raised over $50,000.00 to erect such a building and it is about to be dedicated. Too much credit cannot be given to the Board of Trustees of that institution and to the Chairman of the Special Committee, Miss Margot Atkin, who has just been elected Chairman of the Board.

Light: The coming of Miss Isabel Pifer as the new head resident of the House of Happiness.

Shadow: The very serious illness of Deaconess Fuller at Chase House.

Light: The appointment of Sister Catherine Louise as Superior at St. Mary's Home to succeed Sister Eanswith who is doing such a remarkable work at the DeKoven Foundation. Sister Catherine Louise, before going into the Order, was a trained Social worker with an M. A. from the School of Social Service Administration of the University of Chicago.

Shadow: The retirement of Mrs. Theodore W. Robinson as Head of the Church Mission of Help after fifteen years of great leadership.

Light: The ministry of the Cathedral Shelter to 2708 different individuals. The work of Father Bowman of St. John's, bringing Lawrence Hall boys to their Church School.

The great leadership furnished by Father Morley, our Social Service Secretary, in integrating the work of our several institutions and relating our work to that of the Community at large.

Yes, and I must mention high-lights in parochial progress, or a few of them:

The great achievement of Father Aldworth and his associates in clearing off the last cent of debt at Calvary Church, Batavia.

The debt wholly cleared at Christ Church, Woodlawn, whose Rector, The Reverend Walter Bihler, the secretary of this Convention we heartily congratulate.

The enlargement of the Parish House and the creation of an exquisite chapel at Trinity Church, Highland Park, whose Rector the Reverend Christoph Kellar is one of our newly created Board of Bishops and Trustees of the Diocese.

The reduction of the debt at Christ Church, Joliet from $43,000.00, plus $5,000.00 in unpaid bills in 1932 to no unpaid [4/5] bills as of this date and a debt reduced to $31,000.00. Dean Minnis is furnishing fine leadership in this field.

The rise of the mission at Lombard under Dr. Albert until it receives nothing today from the Diocesan Council and is growing apace.

The building of a new Parish House at All Saints, Ravenswood, The Reverend F. E. Bernard, Rector, without incurring a cent of debt.

A successful attack upon the parish debt by the Church of the Atonement under the leadership of the Rector, The Reverend Calvert Buck.

I must not go on or I shall be taking up all our time in relating genuine forward movements in this Diocese.

The New Board

I needn't repeat here among the lights and shadows the emergency faced by us in our Diocesan Debt,—and still faced I may add,—the devoted work of the Committee of Six appointed by me last Spring, the organization of the new Board,—The Bishop and Trustees of the Diocese,—and the creation of The Laymen's Association. These are matters already recorded in the minutes of a Special Convention held in St. Luke's Pro-Cathedral, Evanston, on November 15th, and of an adjourned session of that Convention holden in St. James's Church, Chicago, one week later.

It will be news to some, however, to learn that the Bishop, a Corporation Sole has not disappeared, nor been blotted out, nor been absorbed by the new Corporation known as The Bishop and Trustees of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Chicago.—No,— the older Corporation continues to serve as trustee of not a little property, and of nearly 100 trusts created, most of them, by legacies. The New Corporation is dealing primarily and directly with the combined debts resting hitherto upon the Corporation Sole alone, though little by little the scope of the Bishop and Trustees will doubtless be extended, as it serves as the Finance Department of the Diocese, and gradually becomes the central and unifying board for all our diocesan funds.

Two major achievements of the new Board should be recorded: one the extension of heavy obligations maturing in the Spring of 1938: second, the creation of the Laymen's Association, with its plan for raising money to amortize the diocesan debt.


The Laymen's Association will, I hope, at this Convention present, through its president, a vigorous plea for that complete cooperation of clergy and laity which alone can guarantee to this great enterprise the success it deserves. I am glad that the President, Mr. Austin Lindstrom believes with me that the one answer to this problem and the one answer to all the financial problems of the Church, parochial, diocesan, national, is summed up in a word of one syllable—TITHE. Someday the Episcopal Church will wake up and begin to preach and practice tithing. Until it does we shall continue to muddle along, letting the few consecrated tithers carry the bulk of the burdens as they do today. Tithing! You know what it is, don't you? The Jews do [5/6] it: so do the Mormons: so do the Dowieites: so do the Moodyites, and the Seventh Day Adventists,—yes and increasingly the Methodists and Presbyterians and Baptists. It is simply trying to play fair with God. It is testing the vitality of your creed by the reality of your sharing. It is putting your religion on as sound a basis as your patriotism by taxing your income for your Church as you tax it for your State. It is taking 10% of your gross income and setting that aside as a basic minimum for objects to which you can conscientiously contribute in God's name and for His sake, and not for any personal or private benefit. After that 10%, you begin to give! That tithe represents stern discipline, sheer duty. Once it is paid, love adds what it can and will. But the 10% basic minimum is strictly observed by the tither. It may be used for all sorts of things,—Red Cross, Milk Fund, Community Chest, etc. How much of it should the Church have? Half of that 10%? I think that would not be too much. As I speak, do a little figuring. What was your gross income in 1938? Five Thousand dollars? And your tithe was $500.00? And one-half of that to the Church would be $250.00, or $5.00 a week. Well, what was your pledge in 1938?

Is there anyone here whose gross income was $50,000 last year? And was your gift to the Church at least one-half of your tithe or $50.00 a week?

And at the other end of the scale, suppose your gross income was but $2,000.00 last year. One-half of your tithe would be $2.00 a week to the Church. Did you give a quarter or a half dollar?

The cure for the Church's constant strain to balance budgets by card parties, bazaars, entertainments, pleas from the Chancel, special begging by letter, and seasonal begging at Christmas and Easter, wheedling, cajoling, enticing contributions from reluctant donors,—is right here in the practice of tithing. It is fair to everybody, it distributes the load: or rather it lifts the subject to the level where it belongs; it tries every one's faith by the acid test of "What is it worth to you?" It brings us face to face with the Crucified and makes us answer the question,—"How much would I sacrifice for Him?"

Someone will say, "But Bishop I am on relief", or "So many of our families are on relief." Well, if you are on relief you obviously have no earned income at all and one tenth of 0 is 0. But if actual incomes were being faithfully tithed by Christians, the Community Chests all over the country and every local relief organization would be strengthened enormously, and the Government would not have to take over so many of our relief agencies and their work. It is downright silly to scold and complain against the government's intrusion into this field when instead of taking advantage of the 15% deduction allowed from an income tax the average American gives so little of his income to religion, education, and charity, that he never yet has deducted one-fifth of this fifteen per cent allowed, for such gifts. The deductions in these brackets have never yet reached 3%!

Some one else may argue,—"Tithing is legalistic. It is an old Jewish law, but we are not bound by what they did in the days of Moses or of Malachi or even of Christ!" [6/7] I am not putting it upon a legalistic basis. I only reply as I think St. Paul would, that if by the law such giving abounded, by grace it should much more abound. I am taking you straight to the Master who plainly said,—"If you are not faithful in the use of money (Mammon He called it) how can I entrust to you the true spiritual riches?" Too long have we yielded to the Manicheans in our midst who think it is not "spiritual" to talk of money and the use of it, who would have the subject banned in the pulpit, and banished from the chancel, so as not to stain the white radiance of altar and sanctuary. The stain comes rather from the ghastly hypocrisy of offering at the altar casual contributions which have no significant relation to our income, and then singing to Talus Major "All things come of Thee O Lord and of Thine own have we given thee;"—The stain comes from spending spending spending on our own bodies, and starving the Body of Christ so that it sits by the wayside begging instead of striding across the world on its ministries of Grace. I hope the clergy of this Diocese will not be content with practicing tithing themselves, but will teach it and preach it to their people.

Laymen's Association

The Laymen's Association hopes to secure annual subscriptions from laymen able and willing to give $25.00 and upwards yearly toward the diocesan debt. They visualize 1,000 such laymen providing thus each year enough to pay our interest and retire the principal in ten or twelve years. College alumni provide annually through just such "loyalty subscriptions" enormous sums for their Alma Maters. Why shouldn't we for the relief of our mother the Church? Without some such plan we shall be in desperate straits, for the Centenary Fund is swiftly approaching the completion of most of its five year pledges and our creditors have the right to expect and to demand a definite plan for amortization of the debt. It is a great satisfaction to me to observe that St. Matthew's Evanston under the leadership of The Reverend John Heuss has recently retired its obligation to the Bishop a Corporation Sole in the sum of $25,000.00 and has refinanced its debt in other quarters. To enable them to do this I have been glad to transfer title back to them. I hope other parishes for whose debts the bishop as title holder is responsible may do the same. And yet, when all possible self-liquidating projects are removed from the total diocesan debt, still there will remain at least around $600,000.00 which can be retired only by straight outright gifts.


"By outright gifts" and legacies! Time and again I have emphasized legacies as a means of clearing away this debt. Dean Hodges, formerly head of the Episcopal Theological School at Cambridge, used to say in his classes in Pastoral Theology that all Clergymen ought to make frequent use of the collect for the Sunday next before Advent, with the words:

"Stir up we beseech Thee O Lord the WILLS of thy faithful people" and then he would remind the young theologues of the rubric tucked away in the office for the Visitation of the Sick which reads,—

"The minister is ordered from time to time to advise the [7/8] people whilst they are in health to make WILLS and to leave bequests for religious and charitable uses."

Brethren I have had to plead for help in this situation,—one way or another ever since you elected me your bishop. I can only trust you to respond loyally and whole-heartedly to the appeal of the Laymen's Association.

The Bishop's Pence

Before I leave this subject, however, let me point out a few relevant facts:

1. The Bishop's Pence continues to maintain its strength. This is due to the great leadership of the Executive Secretary Mr. Lyman and to the Order of Episcopal Pencemen. After five years the number of participating parishes and missions is as great as at the beginning, 114 parishes and missions. Think of it,—we have received so far $115,000.00. What I cannot understand is why a half dozen of our strongest parishes give such limp support to a plan which if it had their enthusiastic backing would greatly increase its resources, to their benefit as well as the benefit of the Diocese. The Bishop's share of the Pence has saved the credit of the diocese again and again. Last year it provided over $10,000.00 on the Diocesan debt. But at the earnest request of the Pencemen I hope the Laymen's Association will enable the Bishop's share of the Pence to go where it was intended to go, to missionary emergencies in the Diocese.

2. I am sometimes discouraged when I hear uninformed people criticize the overhead expenses of the Diocese. Let me give you a swift summary of the assessments in dollars spread for the last ten years. In 1929 and 1930, I was myself chairman of the Finance Committee of the Diocese. Since then I have been bishop. I think I know the situation fairly well.


In 1929 there was spread for Assessment only $31,172.00. But it should be remembered that Bishop Anderson was alive then and so was Bishop Griswold. The Budget then did not include, therefore, $5,040.00 for annuities of widows of bishops, as it does today.

In 1930 the spread for Assessment was $32,000.00 It had risen by about $800.00. Why? Because of the annuity of $3,600.00 added for Mrs. Anderson,—$1,500.00 for completion of changes in Diocesan Headquarters (664 Rush St.) costs attendant upon the sickness, death and burial of Bishop Anderson, amounting to $2,000.00; an appropriation of $500.00 to St. James's Church for a meeting of the House of Bishops, etc. And we owed $7,000.00 on a note to Bishop Anderson, the balance on money borrowed to renovate 664 Rush St. including an elevator.

In 1931 the spread for Assessment was $34,821.00, an increase of only $2,821.00. And yet the budget now added $3,500.00 on the loan for the Bishop; an additional annuity to Mrs. Griswold of $1,200.00—for General Convention $1,500.00; and the difference of cost between one suffragan and two Archdeacons, viz. $3,000.00.

In 1932 the amount of spread for Assessment was $35,606.00, an increase of less than $1,000.00 although the budget had added a financial secretary for the Bishop, $3.000.00; increased Mrs. Griswold's annuity by $600.00. This was accomplished only by [8/9] reducing the Bishop's house rent $1,100.00 and omitting costs at Diocesan Headquarters.

In 1933 the amount spread dropped to $34,713.00 (about $1,000.00). The Bishop took a $500.00 cut in salary.

In 1934 it dropped again to $31,671.00 (about $3,000.00 less).

In 1935 the amount was $31,970.00.

In 1936 the drop was to $31,220.00.

In 1937 it went up to $36,182.00. This was when Mr. Wirt Wright became Treasurer with a salary of $2,500.00, and a secretary's allowance of $300.00; and Mrs. Toll was given an annuity of $360.00; and $1,100.00 was added for General Convention expense.

In 1938 it was $36,606.00. Archdeacon Quigg joined the staff.

To sum it all up,—from 1930 to 1939 the amount spread in Assessment has only increased from $32,000.00 to $36,000.00 annually although we have created at Headquarters such efficiency that there is not a better and more business-like Diocesan office in the country. Our overhead expense has steadily decreased from 1931 to 1938, while the efficiency has steadily increased. And though in this period the base of parochial expense has dropped by about $100,000.00, the rate of assessment has during the past eight years been increased only one-half of 1% on parishes and one-fourth of 1% on missions.

3. For the first time since I became bishop, I have yielded to the brutal facts and consented to a change in our formula of division of missionary contributions with the National Council. And for two reasons: first, because we must put our Diocesan Institutions on our budget, if they are to receive aid from the Community Chest; and second, because we must not make post-Convention appeals for the Diocesan Council, but must concentrate so far as possible upon the work of the Laymen's Association as it seeks to reduce our diocesan debt.

Financial Regulations

While I am in the area of finance let me also speak very directly and perhaps rather sharply to the lay delegates. We expect laymen to be good and responsible business men. And yet I regret to relate that year after year this disgraceful thing happens:—the treasurer of a parish or of a mission is found to be a defaulter; he started borrowing from Church funds and before he knew it, he was a common thief. Then too late I discover that Canon 22, paragraph VII had been wholly disregarded. Here it is: "Each treasurer shall be bonded by the parish or mission." Well, why wasn't this done?

Again I learn from time to time that certain treasurers do not make a monthly report to the Vestry or to the Finance Committee. Why not? "Each Treasurer shall be ready to answer all questions as to the state of the treasury" says the Canon, and no parish or mission is well administered which does not have at least a monthly report from the treasurer showing receipts and disbursements for the month, and for the period, compared item by item with the budget adopted, together with the amounts of bills payable and bills receivable.

[10] Once more,—I discover to my amazement that some parishes and missions apparently never knew that the law of the Church in the Diocese requires that there be a missionary treasurer whose duty it is to have charge of all missionary offerings which he is to remit monthly to the Treasurer of the Diocesan Council.

And finally, annual financial reports come into my hands carelessly made out, flagrantly inaccurate, and wholly unaudited, reflecting great discredit not only upon the treasurers who drew them up but also upon the priests who permitted them to be sent. May I bluntly and briefly recapitulate these points in the hope that every vestryman and finance committee man will take note:

1. Bond your treasurers,—both the parish treasurer and the missionary treasurer.
2. Insist that the parish and missionary treasurer make clear and definite monthly reports.
3. See to it that there is a missionary treasurer who remits monthly to the Diocese.
4. Refuse to turn in an annual report unless it is accurately in balance and audited by responsible persons.

World Council

During the year it was my privilege, as it was my duty, to share in the conference at Utrecht Holland which considered and determined the doctrinal basis upon which Churches should be invited to join in the proposed World Council. I was there as one of the COMMITTEE OF FOURTEEN which issued the call, fourteen men, half of whom represented the Edinburgh Conference on Faith and Order, and half of whom represented the Oxford Conference on Life and Work. And I am continuing to serve not only on the Committee of Fourteen and on the Provisional Committee of the World Council, but also on the Continuation Committee of the World Conference on Faith and Order, and on the American Section of the Joint Committee on Faith and Order, and Life and Work.

What is this World Council, you ask? First of all it is not a proposed merger of Churches or federation of them or a super-Church transcending all of them. It proposes to be, for one thing, a permanent conference of all those Christian World Communions which acknowledge Jesus Christ as God and Savior. It will have no constitutional or legislative power over any of the participating bodies, but it will be a Koinonia, a fellowship, deepening and enriching and nurturing the cause of unity, and manifesting such unity as is discovered. Our Church which has been a pioneer in this field and the organizer of the first Commission on Faith and Order, has of course been invited to join the World Council, and I hope that when our General Convention meets in the fall of 1940, following the Lambeth Conference, we shall accept the invitation.

Concordat with Presbyterians

Meanwhile various conversations are going on between our own communion and others here in America. Only recently our General Convention Commission on Approaches to Unity under the Chairmanship of Bishop Parsons, and the Presbyterian Department of Church Cooperation and Unity headed by [10/11] Dr. J. Ross Stevenson of Princeton at a meeting in New York on October 17-18, 1938 agreed to a proposed statement on Reunion. I hope you have read it. It shows that the conferees have seriously interpreted the declaration made by both our General Convention and their General Assembly,—that "the visible unity of Christian Churches is the will of God," and that we "declare our purpose to achieve organic union and agree to take immediate steps toward framing of plans whereby this end may be achieved."—The statement is irenical not polemical; it is reconciling not contentious; it is positive and constructive and by its careful theological phrasing prepares us for the news that the nine points of agreement are those drawn up and agreed upon by the representatives of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the representatives of the Church of England some five years ago. Among things named as those that might be undertaken in common are two which are bound to be stumbling blocks here even as they were in Britain; the mutual interchange of pulpits and measures providing for intercommunion. But the storm centre of discussion is the proposed Concordat appended to the agreement, providing for cross ordinations, which would make it possible for Presbyterian ministers to give communion to Episcopalians and for our priests to give communion to Presbyterians. Of course at present Presbyterians acknowledge our orders,—while we receiving into our ministry a Presbyterian minister, insist that he must be episcopally ordained. The Presbyterians as a matter of fact (in Scotland they are more particular in carrying out the inferences than they are in America) claim that the Presbytery exercises Episcopal functions, that, to quote the Concordat, it "acts in its Episcopal capacity." This is no place to argue that question. It is clear to me that the heart of the difficulty so far as the ministry is concerned is not so much in the question of episcopacy itself, but rather in the question of that priesthood which the episcopate is set to guard. The Anglican Church Union through its Executive Committee has heartily denounced the whole plan. On the other hand one of the Cowley Fathers, the Rector of St. Mary-the-Virgin, New York, has spoken it fair. In one of the Church papers I have already expressed an opinion. Let me do so a little more clearly and extensively today. I was reared in one of the strictest forms of Calvinism,—in the United Presbyterian Church. I think I know the point of view of the average well instructed Presbyterian. And I suspect that he shudders just a bit at the thought of a liaison with the Episcopal Church. "The back door to Rome," thus my father, a lay officer in the Presbyterian Church, curtly described the Protestant Episcopal Church. When I was in Scotland a year ago I heard the same old antiphonal versicles and responses going round as they have I suppose since the days of the Covenanters,—

"Piskies, Piskies up and doon
Wearin' a sark instead of a goon!"

To which the Episcopalians replied,—

"Presbies Presbies, dinna bend—
Squatten doon on your chief end!"

We need not get excited over the proposed concordat. You may [11/12] be sure the Presbyterians by and large will be as loath to sign it as shall we. Thousands of them still have a pardonable pride in their stiff hostility to prelacy, to what those old Covenanting fathers of theirs sniffed at as "rags of Rome." And you may be sure they have no intention of tumbling over each other to become quasi-Episcopalians.

Nor do we who carry a tradition of great distrust of Puritanism, leap to the summons to include among our heroes that great but most unpleasant Jean Cauvain of Geneva and that burly pulpit-dinger, John Knox of Edinburgh.

So let us not get too excited!

No responsible body on either side, you may be sure, is prepared to sign the concordat as it stands.

Well what is the matter with it?

In my opinion the primary and fundamental matter is this, that it exists at all, that it is proposed at all. The time hasn't come for it yet. In China I know that two families through their parents sign the papers, and a boy and girl find themselves married before they have ever seen each other, much less fallen in love. In America we believe in having the wedding and signing the register only after an extended period of courting. The couple learn to know each other and to like each other and to love each other. Then they are married and presumably live happily ever after.

Now the Episcopalians and Presbyterians need to learn to know each other, to like each other, and to love each other before the banns are called and the marriage vows exchanged.

And we don't know each other—yet. And we don't quite love each other—yet. What we must do as organized communions, is to cultivate each other, to see more of each other, to go out evenings together, sit on a park bench and hold hands, to walk together. Concordats will come later, and canonical legislative changes, as a matter of course.

Second,—the present proposal is, I think, too petty, too mechanical, too touched with make-believe; it hasn't the large air of mutual confidence well matured, well-seasoned, well thought out. It seems to be gotten up painfully for the occasion. It suggests not the Spirit of God, but ecclesiastical lawyers.

Third,—it must always be remembered that the laity are much more conservative than their clergy. They are great adherents to a cause. They are not easily swayed from traditional loyalties to an institution, and in the main they identify denominational loyalty with religious loyalty. This is I think true of Presbyterians, as it is of Episcopalians. It is to be regretted but it is certainly true, that the vast majority of the communicants in each of these communions know scarcely anything of the ecumenical movement. The word ecumenical is not yet in their vocabulary. They need education. They should not be rushed into what might too easily become a reactionary position, one which would set back instead of forward the cause of Unity.

The situation seems to me to be one described by Visser t'Hooft our General Secretary of the Provisional Committee for a World Council, in the recent issue of Christendom,—

[13] "We cannot unite because there are deep and serious divergencies between us in matters of faith, but neither can we continue to live in complete separation from each other, because we recognize one common Lord and we desire to seek together for the Una Sancta. We are not yet ready to enter into full communion with each other and to act as one undivided body, but we are now ready to give up all policies of isolation, to enter into a truly Christian Conversation with each other and to act together whenever we can find common ground for doing so."

I plead then not for inaction—thank God we are actually moving toward each other, but for time to get better acquainted, to cross-fertilize these communions with their diverse ideologies which after all derive from a deep and common faith. Let us have exchange of professors in our seminaries—more exchange of preachers in our pulpits (now canonically permissible)—more fraternizing between the clergy, more adventures in worshiping together. But let us at least know each other before we are formally engaged, and love each other before we are joined in wedlock.


To the very last of my address I have left a matter which is primarily one of personal concern, although it is inevitably and inextricably involved with the good estate of the Church in this Diocese. I refer to my own health.

It is now exactly eight months since I suffered a heart attack which stopped me suddenly. Fortunately it was at the end rather than at the beginning of a busy season. My summer holiday was spent on my back,—most of it in a hospital. I suffered discomfiture for months. I also suffered decumbiture. God was very merciful. I never suffered any pain. During the critical days and weeks I had my family near to me; my attending physician was not only competent and kind but a fellow-Alumnus of Northwestern University, and a fellow-Churchman. The devoted parish priest of Sault Ste. Marie read my offices with me daily and brought me my communion regularly. And I was upheld all the way along by the myriad intercessions ascending from your altars and in your private devotions. My mail was flooded with the tender and touching expressions of your loyalty and love. This, my brethren, I can never forget. And I shall ever be in your debt for your unfailing considerateness. By fall I began in rather gingerly fashion to take up the reins of active administration again. But had it not been for the ability and industry of my staff of helpers—Archdeacons—headquarters staff, clergy and laity, I would have found chaos. Instead of that I discovered a diocese moving forward smoothly, efficiently, demonstrating under emergency test the tensile strength of our organization. Sometimes I wonder if our laity—yes even our clergy—appreciate the work that is turned out at headquarters. I pause to pay a well-deserved tribute to every employee at 65 E. Huron St., and I hope we shall be successful in adopting a fair and workable plan which shall provide for security against sickness and old age since they are denied participation in the benefits of the Federal Social Security Act.

But to return. The fall days ripening into winter found me [13/14] cheering on our forces, but unable myself to take many services or to give many addresses.

Our family motto is "Virescit Vulnere Virtus!" "Strength develops from wounds", and I felt like the ancient Scottish warrior who going down under a smashing blow from a battle-axe, cried out

"Fight on my merry merry men,
I'll lay me down and bleed awhile,
Then rise and fight again!"

The eagerness to rise and go at it again was there, but I was not permitted to do so. I had to call on outside bishops to help with confirmations, and today I pay my public tribute to Bishop Johnson of Colorado, Bishop Essex of Quincy, Bishop Gray of Northern Indiana, Bishop Paul Jones, Bishop White of Springfield, and Bishop McElwain of Minnesota who came over and helped us. The total confirmed in 1938 (2,052) is only two hundred (200) under our usual number, though I myself took no confirmations between Whitsunday and Advent. We record increased enrollment of church school teachers and pupils, an increase in Easter communions over 1937 and a net gain of 700 communicants.

Episcopal Assistance

The physicians tell me I am not a broken crippled old man at 59; but they warn me that I cannot ever again go the pace which I managed to keep for nearly forty years. I had hoped to serve ten years before I called for episcopal assistance: But I didn't quite make it. Bishop Anderson was alone from 1905-1912,—a period of seven years. I have been alone for nearly nine. To be sure I couldn't have managed it without the Archdeacons,—Deis and Ziegler, and now Archdeacons Deis and Quigg. But even so, I have for fully eight years done practically all the confirming alone, have driven my own car over country roads through fog and sleet and blistering heat, often confirming three times a Sunday and two or three evenings a week besides. And I have not heretofore asked for an assistant because I felt we could not afford one, and because I felt that the unity of the Diocese would be better insured if I managed to cover the ground alone.

Now however the time is come when I must ask for permanent episcopal assistance. In Pennsylvania, Bishop Taitt who is 77 years old has neither Coadjutor nor Suffragan, but depends on visiting bishops to help him. His diocese, however, is but 2,000 square miles; ours is nearly 15,000 square miles. I feel sure I should not depend upon this casual kind of episcopal assistance.

Suffragan Bishop Asked

I have decided to ask for a Suffragan Bishop rather than for a Coadjutor. The reasons for this decision are as follows:—

(1) To elect a Coadjutor at this time would be unfair to the diocese, to the man elected and to me: I am not ready to retire. At fifty-nine and in my present state of health I could not conscientiously ask the House of Bishops to retire me on one of the only two reasons they will accept,—old age or infirmity. Besides I do not propose to resign until I see that I can no longer carry on a full and reasonable amount of work. Yet a Coadjutor-elect [14/15] would have no doubt the right to ask,— "When does the present bishop propose to retire?" You will remember that in one of our larger dioceses, four strong men successively elected, declined because no satisfactory assurance was given, and no date was set for the retirement of the bishop. As it fell out, the local man who finally was elected succeeded to the office within two years,—a pleasant irony of fate,—nevertheless it made a very awkward situation. As a great bishop said to me,—the one above all others whose advice you would expect me to follow,—"If you expect to resign within five years ask for a Coadjutor, and state the date of retirement: if you expect to continue beyond that, in all fairness ask for a Suffragan Bishop!"

(2) Moreover I wonder if all the laity here understand (I assume the clergy do), that when a Coadjutor is elected, the Bishop must cede certain jurisdiction, which is irrevocable except by mutual consent. What does that mean? It means a genuine threat to the unity of the diocese, a real peril of divided policy and divided administration and divided loyalty. Suppose a Diocesan cedes to his Coadjutor the missions of the diocese; in that moment the diocesan practically resigns leadership in missionary work, and commits the mission clergy to a new leader: suppose on the other hand, the diocesan gingerly and cautiously cedes a minimum of responsibility, then such a scene may arise as marked my own election when the question was seriously raised whether or not the canonical requirements had been genuinely fulfilled.

Not one of the five other largest dioceses of the Church has elected a Coadjutor, and I am sure this has been one of the reasons.

Bishop Manning of New York is 75 years old. He has a Suffragan Bishop.

Bishop Sherrill of Massachusetts is 49. He has a Suffragan Bishop.

Bishop Stires of Long Island is 73 and he has a Suffragan Bishop.

Bishop Anderson of this Diocese had successively two Suffragan Bishops—and finally asked for a Coadjutor only when his feet were entering the Valley of Shadow and when he found himself elected Presiding Bishop of the Church. But he was dead when we met to elect the Coadjutor.

(3) I say it would not be fair to the diocese. Nor would it be fair to a Coadjutor. After all a Coadjutor knows he is someday to succeed if he outlives the diocesan, and he doesn't want to play second fiddle in the orchestra interminably. He has presumably his own ideas; and he is presumably younger than the diocesan and is inclined to chafe as the years go on, and he remains assistant. One cannot blame him.

(4) And finally, I add, it would not be fair to me. I should not want, would you, to go about my work with the uneasy feeling that appraising eyes were ever upon me, watching, it might be, for the promising signs of approaching dissolution. I should not covet, would you, to feel that anyone, however secretly, or any group, however guardedly, was measuring me, if not for my [15/16] shroud, at least for a wheel chair, wagering so to speak that "it won't be long now", and resenting every evidence of health of body, vigor of mind and cheerfulness of spirit, as a kind of betrayal of an agreement to have done and begone and give another a chance.

You wouldn't like that, neither would I. No priest or bishop would be guilty of this I know, nor any good Churchman, but I have noticed that often poor Churchmen, ignorant and insensitive Churchmen have a good deal to say. And I am not going to have it! I ask you my brethren to give me your consent for the election of a Suffragan Bishop.

Before I leave the subject, however, I have one or two additional words to say.

First,—if anyone in this Convention, or anywhere else says to me,—"You can't get a good man to accept the position of Suffragan Bishop,—a first rate man will say Coadjutor or nothing,"— then my reply is this: any man who takes that attitude ought not to be elected a bishop at all. To be a bishop is not a worldly honour to be sought. It is a solemn and awful duty to be accepted. And in my opinion no man is worthy of election to the Episcopate who would chaffer and trade as to titles and terms.

Second,—I have often heard it said,—"When you elect a Suffragan Bishop you are really electing a successor to the diocesan;" and then it is pointed out that in every case but two this has proved to be the case. It was not so of Bishop Babcock in Massachusetts: it was not so of Bishop Toll in Chicago. My reply is,—and so what? If you want him as a successor, you elect him: but you don't have to elect him: you exercise your franchise. And if you do elect him it may be inferred that he has so endeared himself to the diocese that the clergy and laity want him to carry on.

I have appointed a special committee on the Bishop's Charge. This committee will, I hope, among other duties, take this request, confer with the Finance Committee and with the Committee on Legislation, and bring to the Convention a report with appropriate recommendations. Before the election of a Suffragan Bishop "the consent of a majority of the Bishops and of the several Standing Committees must be had and obtained." Therefore there can be no election at this Convention; but if you consent to give me this assistance, and the Bishops and Standing Committees also consent, I shall then of course, call a special Convention for the election of a Suffragan Bishop. Meanwhile I hope the Finance Committee will include in its budget for 1939 an item for episcopal assistance for the first six months since it is unlikely that a new bishop if elected could be consecrated much before June.

Suffer me but another word. If it should occur to anyone to ask whether the proposed Suffragan would not take the place of one of our Archdeacons, my own reply would be,—first,—not this year, since both of the Archdeacons are under contract made by you for three years which in each case includes the year 1939. Second, I could not possibly answer your inquiry until I saw [16/17] whom you had chosen. And if we could afford it, I should hope that the Suffragan Bishop might be added to help me, to cut down my heavy load, not to absorb the work of one of the Archdeacons.

World Scene

Brethren, you will dispense me from making extended remarks upon the world scene. For most people Munich is the great and significant place-word for the past year. For others Madras is far more significant because it represents not a Welt-politik, but the statesmanship of the Kingdom of God, the growing power of a totalitarian state whose dictator rules from a cross. We live in a dangerous world. About us are not wanting all the Spenglerian signs of a decadent civilization. Wars and rumours of war abound. Race intolerance and religious intolerance break out like a bubonic plague, and sweep from country to country. Freedom of thought and freedom of speech and freedom of worship so hardly won are threatened on every hand. Terror stalks across pleasant gardens and invades ancient abodes of quiet security. Science is suborned to serve monstrous and murderous masters. Specious arguments seek to justify the return to the jungle law of dog eat dog. Christianity would seem to be as helpless in the world of today as a virgin saint in the hands of Nero or Diocletian.

"Machine guns are ambushed behind the walls of Jerusalem,
And the streets of Bethlehem are piled high with sandbags,
While modern Herods plot the slaughter of innocents.
On the road where wise men trailed over the hills
A steel-helmeted sentry cries: 'Halt! Who goes there,'
And Death answers mockingly:
'It is not He. He is not here.'

But the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.
New life is washed up on a distant shore of the Bay of Bengal,
While shepherds of souls pace the fields and wait,
Watching for the star of truth to rise
In the clear, blue-green sky of India."

Hope and Faith

What future can there be for the Church of the living God in a world which seems delivered over to Satanism? My answer is,—"The beyond is the within." There is a future very remote. There is also a future at once accessible. There is a future very far off; a future of the vision splendid, and worlds yet unrealized;—but there is also the future of this afternoon and tomorrow morning. The stage for immediate action must be firmly placed. We do not know the future, but we make it,—not all of it,—but the important parts of it. Up then with your heads and hearts! "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." There is no place in the Christian scheme for doubt and despair. "Optimism", you say? Certainly! What would you—pessimism? The only sane optimist is the Christian, because his optimism is not a flimsy Polyanna sentiment, but a security and serenity rooted in the supreme and inevitably victorious purpose of a holy and loving [17/18] God. I have just been reading, Dr. Compton on "Freedom". It is thrilling to hear physical scientists today announce the complete breakdown of determinism. Sometimes we act as if a doom were laid upon us, as if we were participants in a Greek tragedy where we could only cry "Aei" as Fate inevitably wove her net about us, pitiful helpless actors in the tragic drama of human life. But of course that is not Christianity. Christ taught us that even mountains could be moved by faith, that we were not puppets dangled by cords in the hands of demonic forces behind the scenes, but rather freemen, children of God, responsible agents, creators with God of a new world, redeemers with Christ of a lost world, partners with the Holy Spirit in bringing society to judgment, to repentance and a new birth.

"Say not, the struggle naught availeth,
The labor and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars,
It may be, in yon smoke concealed
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers
And but for you possess the field.

For while the tired waves vainly breaking
Seem here no painful inch to gain
Far back, through creeks and inlets making
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only
When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look the land is bright!"

"Westward;"—The Long Run;—Islands of Hesperides;—Tir Na-Nog, The Land of Youth;—21st and 22nd chapters of the Revelation of St. John;—The Day of the Lord;—the fulfillment of your daily prayer, Thy Kingdom come! —"Westward, look the land is bright!"

The God of all grace who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, make you perfect, steadfast and strong!

Faithfully your bishop,
+ George Craig Stewart.

Project Canterbury