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Printed especially for the information of the members
of Christ Church Parish.








The publicity unavoidably given to the recent separation of the Clergy of Christ Church Chapel from their connection with the parent Church, makes it proper that a history of the event and of its causes should be authoritatively set forth. As the Rector of Christ Church, and as the one upon whose responsibility this separation has taken place, I purpose to give that history in this publication; but, as it is given solely for information and not for controversy, it will be understood that amplification, argument, and the imputation of motives can find no place therein.

Rector of Christ Church.

717 Locust Street, Philadelphia, February, 1880.


In 1874, the Rev. G. Woolsey Hodge, for three years previously my most faithful, laborious, and valued assistant at Christ Church, and in special charge of Calvary Church Mission, applied for permission to establish a Chapel of ease in the western portion of the city, with a view to retain in their parish connection such members of Christ Church as were moving away from the neighborhood of the Church Building. Previous to this, Mr. Hodge had, upon my nomination, been elected by the Vestry "Assistant Minister of Christ Church"; but during our conversation prior to the nomination, I had suggested as a difficulty in the way of conferring that permanent and irremovable position, the possible occurrence of disagreement between the Rector and the Assistant Minister. To this Mr. Hodge replied, and has since on different occasions repeated the assertion, that, if any trouble arose between us, or if the interests of the parish demanded that course, his resignation would be at once placed in my hands. Upon this understanding, the nomination was made to the Vestry and they confirmed it.

In arranging for the proposed Chapel, some understanding as to its general character and status became necessary, and this Mr. Hodge furnished by a statement, which he afterwards made in public at the opening of the Chapel, that no departure would be made from the general ecclesiastical position of the parent Church. I did not understand that this at all involved precise sameness in the number, structure, or ceremonial nature of the services, but only that general agreement of doctrinal and ecclesiastical status as should evidence the substantial unity of the Chapel and the Church.

Upon this understanding again, the consent of Rector and Vestry was given to the effort; the necessary business arrangements were made; a voice and a vote were secured to the Chapel and the congregation thereof by six members of the Board of Management being taken from the Vestry of Christ Church, the selection being made in accordance with the wishes of the Assistant Minister; and Mr. Hodge began his work.

It is no less my pleasure than my duty to testify at this point, as I have repeatedly done heretofore, to the unfailing zeal and energy with which [5/6] Mr. Hodge, some time with no salary whatever, and of late with a mere pittance of remuneration, has devoted himself to his voluntarily undertaken task. More untiring labors have rarely been seen, and their results are apparent in the Chapel building, congregation, services, and work.

I do not remember the date, but about two years ago, at Mr. Hodge's request, and upon ample assurance given by Mr. Hodge and others of his loyal adhesion to myself as Rector and to the general polity of the parish, I appointed the Rev. Henry R. Percival, Rector's Assistant, with sole duties in the Chapel. Mr. Percival's doctrinal views were generally understood to be those of a school known technically as somewhat "advanced," but my hesitation for this reason in making the appointment was overcome by the assurance referred to above. I subsequently learned that, in a personal interview with Mr. Hodge, the Bishop (to use his own language) "remonstrated against it, and expressed my (his) disapproval of such an engagement." Had I known of this at the time, my sanction to the appointment would have been withheld. To his labors I apply the same commendation as to Mr. Hodge's.

Since the occupation of the Chapel, various changes have been made in the conduct of public worship, but to none have I taken exception. They were usually matters of taste or judgment, quite within the limits of the pledge of general conformity, and apparently acceptable to the congregation.

The introduction of the surpliced choir and the choral service, which occurred during my absence in Bermuda, did indeed arouse some disaffection in the parent Church, but this I succeeded in quieting upon my return. Upon one or two expressions occurring in the addresses of the Rector's Assistant, I thought it right to offer counsel to Mr. Percival, and this, in a private interview, was not only made, but accepted, in a spirit of entire confidence and kindness. Of the general nature of the services I have no complaint to make, and have always judged that needless interference in trifles was improper both as to Mr. Hodge and myself, and would diminish that independent action which was essential to his success.

I am not aware of any devotional usages in the congregation for which the clergy are responsible, or for which any censure is due them. If such exist, they are unknown to me and have had no influence on my action.

My visits to the Chapel were necessarily few. My duty and my inclination both, led me to give my entire devotion to work in the parent Church, and, having no regular assistant, my whole time was absorbed.

On Monday, December 22nd, I was called upon by a lady, long and prominently identified with the Chapel, with a request that I should authorize her removal from the Chapel to the Church. Her decision to leave was based upon disapproval of the course taken by Mr. Percival in the matter of confession. After confirmation, her daughter, with her consent, was placed under the instruction of the Rev. Mr. Percival.

[7] From her statement, since reduced to writing in great part, I produce certain facts, omitting or modifying others which have been severally denied or modified by Mr. Hodge on authority of Mr. Percival.

(a). Mr. Percival urged confession to a priest as advisable before receiving the Holy Communion.

(b). To this lady's objection that her husband would not permit their daughter to go to confession, Mr. Percival replied that she should not speak to her husband about it; her answer to this being that her child was equally the child of her husband, and that such secrecy was wrong and intolerable.

(c). Mr. Percival asserted that he would not work in any parish where he was not at liberty to hear confessions; that this had been agreed upon by Mr. Hodge and himself as a condition of his working as Assistant in the Chapel; that Mr. Hodge had left him at liberty to deal as he saw best with those members of the congregation whom Mr. Hodge put in his special charge, or who of their own accord went to him.

The counselling to or hearing of confession is not in harmony with the established usages of Christ Church at any period of its existence. Much additional testimony having been voluntarily offered me, I considered as established by adequate evidence the following facts. For simple convenience of grouping, I shall place them together, but it must be understood that those marked with an asterisk were not known to me when I demanded Mr. Hodge's resignation, and were therefore not instrumental in causing that demand, though afterwards affirming to my mind the necessity for it.

1. Though auricular confession has never been preached in Christ Church Chapel, its expediency has been privately and repeatedly taught in explicit terms by the Rector's Assistant.

2. A communicant of the Chapel was advised by the Rector's Assistant to secure further spiritual counsel from a clergyman connected with a parish in this city where confession is known to be taught from the pulpit. She was not referred to her Rector and natural counsellor in spiritual things.

*3. A young girl who was confirmed at Christ Church Chapel under the training of Mr. Percival, has been refused by him the Holy Communion until after she had made her first confession, he telling her that she should not come to the Communion at the Chapel until she had confessed. This statement has been made by the person herself to two ladies at different times, and is verified by the girl's mother.

4. Devotional and religious books have been circulated in the congregation by the Rector's Assistant, and with the knowledge of the Assistant Minister, of which the following four (now in my hands) are samples:

(a). "Pardon through the precious blood, or the benefit of Absolution and how to obtain it."

[8] To those "already in the habit of confessing," this advice is given, Part 2, page 12--"Remember, however, that to those who desire to avail themselves regularly of this great blessing, the daily examination is of the greatest possible consequence."

Under the head of "Advice." page 29, is this--"Mention the time of your last confession, and say whether you have performed the penance that was given you. (The italics are my own).

(b). "Hints for a first Confession."
Evangelist House; St. Clement's Church, 1879.

(c). "Attendance at the Sunday celebration of the Holy Eucharist rather than at Morning Prayer the bounden duty of every christian."

*(d). "A Help to Repentance intended chiefly for young persons."

"The best rule about confession is, that you should use it whenever you are preparing to come to the Holy Communion, if you feel that you have fallen away from what you ought to have been." (Page 28).

5. Mr. Percival has been understood to affirm distinctly that he had agreed to assist Mr. Hodge only on condition that he was at liberty to express and practice his convictions as to religious life, and that on no other terms would he work in any parish. To this Mr. Hodge had been committed from the outset.

*6. In a visit to a communicant of the Chapel, my informant, his wife also being present, Mr. Hodge asserted that the views of confession taken by the Roman Church and our own differed only in this,--that the former made confession compulsory; and further that he endorsed all the views of Mr. Percival on confession, but considered him indiscreet.

On the morning of Friday, January 2nd, Mr. Hodge was at Christ Church, and a conversation of over three hours in length took place between us. The matters at issue were extensively discussed, especially the teaching and practice of confession, and the reference for spiritual counsel to the clergy of another parish. Mr. Hodge declined to disavow endorsement of Mr. Percival's course in these respects, or to guarantee that it should be discontinued by his instructions to Mr. Percival as his assistant, should I so require. I insisted that both the teaching and practice of confession were contrary to the pledge of conformity to the general usage of the parent Church, and that that contrariety was a breach of the condition upon which consent to the establishment of the Chapel had been given; and further that the reference of his or my communicants to the clergy of another parish was an act of disloyalty to myself as the appointed and responsible head of the parish.

Mr. Hodge enquired whether I would consent to the sale of Calvary Church, the assumption of its name, charter and property by the Chapel, and the latter's complete separation from Christ Church and future existence in Pine Street under the former name.

[9] This proposal I declined.

I enquired of Mr. Hodge whether he was ready to fulfil his pledge of resignation upon my demand, and he replied that, if I would send him that demand in writing, he would consider his response.

I informed him that he would receive from me a written communication not later than the following Monday morning, but that no final action would be taken without his being given an opportunity of appearing before the Vestry and making whatever statement he should see fit.

After taking counsel with the Bishop, and with two learned priests, well known in the Church as "High Churchmen," and being told by them it was not only my right but my duty to take some action, though I never asked their advice as to the manner of proceeding, nor did they volunteer any on that subject, I decided upon it.

On January 3rd, I mailed to himself the following letter, and to Mr. Percival that which will be found in the appendix. The correspondence between myself and Mr. Hodge is here given in its order.

PHILADELPHIA, January 3rd, 1880,


Reverend and Dear Sir:--From no fault of mine, circumstances have arisen which render it impossible for us to work together. At the time when you became the Assistant Minister in Christ Church Parish, you gave me the assurance that, if any difficulty should arise on your account, you would immediately resign. I hereby request you to make good that verbal pledge and to resign said position. Please favor me at your earliest convenience with a direct answer to this plain request. I shall accept no condition that may be added by you, for your promise was unconditional.

I desire to have a Vestry meeting on the evening of Wednesday or Thursday of the coming week, and request your reply before January 7th, if possible. I hereby repeat the assurance which I gave you in the church on Friday last, that no final action will be taken until you have been offered the opportunity to make any statement that you may desire.

Permit me also to add that I forgot to state to you I was pledged to convene the Vestry early in the coming week. I remain, reverend and dear sir,

Yours, etc., etc.,

Rector of Christ Church.

January 5th, 1880.


Dear Sir:

In accordance with the request of your letter received to-day, I herewith place in your hands my resignation as Assistant in Christ Church Parish.

As you assured me that you had no desire to interfere with the work of the Chapel, I have made my resignation to date from the appointment of some one [9/10] else to take charge of it, or from its erection into a separate parish, if that course should be selected by the Vestry.

In the wording of the resignation, I have made no reference whatever to the cause of its presentation, trusting to your "assurance that no final action will be taken until I have been offered the opportunity of making any statement I may desire."

The Rev. Mr. Percival informs me that you have withdrawn his appointment as Rector's Assistant. I presume, however, there can be no objection to his continuing to officiate at the Chapel as my assistant until the ecclesiastical status of the congregation shall be settled, as I could hardly supply his place even temporarily, and I could not do his work in addition to my own.

I remain,

Yours, &c.,


Philadelphia, January 6th.


Gentlemen: I hereby tender you my resignation as Assistant Minister, to take effect from the appointment of some one else to the care of the Chapel of which I have charge, or from its erection into a separate parish, if that course should be deemed best.

I am, Gentlemen,

Respectfully yours,


January 7th, 1880.

Dear Sir:

I feel obliged to return to you the resignation you have sent me of your position as Assistant Minister in Christ Church Parish, as its being made to take effect upon either of the two courses therein prescribed is not a compliance with my request to you for an "unconditional" resignation. In accordance with your original, voluntary, and repeated promise of resignation in case of any difficulty and upon my demand, I shall expect such resignation to be so worded as to take effect upon Monday the 19th inst., and without condition or stipulation of any kind. I name the above date as being subsequent to the meeting of the Vestry at which you will be afforded an opportunity of making whatever statement you may desire.

I remain, yours, &c.,


I called a meeting of the Vestry for the evening of January 8th, when I expected to lay before them what I had done, and my reason for doing it. A communication from the Assistant Minister was offered and read before my statement was completed. On the morning after, January 9th, I received by mail from Mr. Hodge the following letter.

[11] 2125 SPRUCE ST., January 8th, 1880.

Dear Sir:

I have received yours of the 7th inst. returning my resignation as Assistant Minister, saying that you do not consider it a compliance with my promise of resigning when you demanded it, and that you will accept nothing but an "unconditional" resignation.

You can do exactly what you choose.

I consider that I have fulfilled every condition which the most scrupulous sense of honor or generosity on my part demands. To say that my resignation was to take effect so instantaneously as not to allow time for a successor to take charge of the Chapel, which, as you know, is entirely dependent upon me and connected with which are multifarious services which could not be stopped without its injury, or without giving me any guarantee that its work shall not be interfered with,--is to press that promise, which I made you in all good faith, believing that you would treat me justly and fairly, beyond all bounds. And I am willing to leave it to any body of honorable men, as I shall to the Vestry, to say if it is not so.

If they think my resignation is not a compliance with my promise, I will put it in any terms they may prescribe.

But until they do I must refuse to alter its wording.

I remain,

Yours, &c.,


January 9th, 1880.


I have received your note of the 8th inst. The tone is just what I should expect from a man who refuses to act up to his word. I assured you that an opportunity would be given to you to make any statement that you should desire before the Vestry of Christ Church. Without waiting for the time to come, you managed, through some process best known to yourself, to place before them a written statement, in which you spoke of me and of my action in this unfortunate matter in terms which were calculated, and I believe intended, to convey a false impression.

Whatever your opinion may be of me, it will hardly, I think, take the form of the one which I have been forced, most reluctantly, to take of you. Correspondence from my side ceases on this date.

I am, yours, &c.,


On February 4th, at a meeting of the Vestry of Christ Church, the following resolution was passed, and was ordered to be sent to Mr. Hodge.

Resolved, That the resignation of the Assistant Minister be and the same hereby is accepted, and that the Secretary be instructed to so inform him by letter; the said resignation to take effect not later than the 10th of March next.


1. Dr. Foggo's letter to Rev. Mr. Percival.

717 LOCUST ST., Philadelphia, January 3rd, 1880.

Rev'd and Dear Sir:

Some time since I gave to you the right to the title of "Rector's Assistant" in Christ Church Parish. I hereby withdraw that right.

This action on my part is final and absolute.

I ask for no statement from you. I shall engage in no discussion with you.

Permit me to add that this is one of the most painful acts of my life.

I remain, Reverend and dear sir,

Yours, &c.,


2. Mr. Percival's reply.

Philadelphia, January 5th, 1880,

I hardly know how to write to you in acknowledgement of the receipt of your note of the 3rd inst. I can only say that I feel hurt at the apparent severity of its tone, and am sorry that I should have done anything to call from you so marked an expression of disapproval.

While I can no longer then sign myself "your obedient assistant," (as I trust you have found me hitherto), I hope you will not resent my styling myself

Very truly your friend and younger brother in Xt,


To the REV'D E. A. FOGGO, DD.
Rector of Christ Church.

3. Mrs. ----------'s letter to Mr. Hodge. [Printed by permission.]

Philadelphia, January 5th, 1880.

Dear Sir:

I think after my long connection with the Chapel, it is proper that I should tell you I have asked the Rev. E. A. Foggo's permission to rent a pew in Christ Church. That Dr. Foggo asked me why I left the Chapel In reply to this question, I told him that last summer Mr. Percival, after talking about my altar cloth, the sisters he wanted at the Chapel, had [13/14] said that you had wished him, during his confirmation lectures, to preach his sermon upon confession, but that Father ---- had advised him not to do so. Mr. Percival also stated you had given him permission to state his views upon confession to any of the congregation he might see fit. That after Mr. Percival had talked to me for some time upon the subject of confession, I told him that the teaching was quite new to me; that I must have time to think it over; that I promised to see him again; that I waited a few days hoping to have an interview with yourself and Mr. Percival together. I found this could not be because you were out of town and Mr. Percival ill at home; that I then wrote you that if those were to be the teachings at the Chapel I must leave; that you were kind enough to write me in reply, that I was too valuable a parishioner to lose and the same time asking for a personal interview; that when we had a personal interview you showed me a paper which you said Mr. Percival had drawn up for you, expressing his views; that that paper did not express all Mr. Percival's views, or I should not have told you I would not again go to the early service, knowing how Mr. Percival felt; that I could not leave my daughter in his care as I, after her confirmation, had intended and promised before I knew that Mr. Percival considered confession advisable, if not absolutely necessary, before receiving the Holy Communion.

Whether you think as Mr. Percival does or not, you know best; of course you cannot preach what you do not practice. Our understanding was that if I remained at the Chapel it was to be as your parishioner.

Two days before Christmas Mr. Percival spoke to me about our not being at the early service, or indeed present at a celebration since our return, which he considered a neglect of duty. I did not think it worth while to tell him that I was at the 11 o'clock service the previous Sunday, as I did not agree with him in thinking it obligatory, and since I became a member of the Church I have considered it a privilege rather than a duty to attend its services whenever it was in my power.

In a few words I told Dr. Foggo I could not go to a church where auricular confession was taught as it is at Christ Church Chapel, for I do not believe it to be the teaching of our Church. I believe I have only stated facts to Dr. Foggo. My duty in this matter is the only painful one I have been called upon to perform since I have been a member of. the Church.

I wish also to tell you that I told Dr. Foggo that Mr. Percival distinctly said that you received him as Priest Assistant at Christ Church Chapel, with the agreement that he had your permission to teach confession as understood by him.



4. Mr. Hodge's letter thereon to Dr. Foggo

2125 SPRUCE STREET, January 6th, 1880.

Dear Sir:

Mrs. ------ has sent me to-day an account in writing, he statements which, she says, she made to you in reference to the cause of leaving the Chapel. Although you have not asked of me any explanation hem, nor yourself given me the opportunity of explaining them before landing my resignation, though it is to you alone, not to the vestry, that I [14/15] am responsible for all spiritual matters connected with the Chapel, I feel that I ought in justice to myself to send you, as I can, a categorical denial of each of the statements Mrs. -------- 's letter contains.

Not that I would accuse her of intentional falsifying, but of having received a totally wrong impression of all Mr. Percival said to her.

I did not wish the Rev. Mr. Percival to preach a sermon on confession; on the contrary he has always known I did not wish the subject referred to in preaching, for fear of misunderstanding, and no sermon has been preached on it in the Chapel. I did not "give him permission to state his views upon confession to any of the congregation he might see fit." I simply left him at liberty to deal as he saw best with those members of the congregation whom I put in his special charge, or who of their own accord went to him. And Mrs. ---- in her letter to me acknowledges that she put her daughter in Mr. Percival's charge at the time of her confirmation.

I did not "receive Mr. Percival at the Chapel with the agreement that he had permission to teach confession as he understood it. The simple fact in regard to that is, that when Mr. Percival was ordained Priest, he told me he could not remain where he did not feel at liberty to hear confessions, and I replied that I could not deny him that, as I should deem it my duty to do so myself; if any one should apply to me, believing that the Church provides for and recommends it to those who feel they need it. Mrs. ------ also implies that "the views of Mr. Percival contained in the written paper, which at my request he drew up, and which I showed her, "were not all his views" on the subject. He assures me that they were, and I do not think you will be inclined to doubt his veracity. Though sending this to you, I still rely on your "assurance" that I will be permitted to make any statement I may wish to the Vestry.

I Remain Yours, &c.,


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