And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ.--Colossians III., 23, 24.
Under ordinary circumstances I should not at this time, after less than twelve months as Rector of Trinity Parish, choose to say very much as to any work that may have been so far accomplished, or as to what in my judgment ought to be the general policy of this great religious organization.
However definitely and clearly one may have decided in his own mind upon a general line of action, it is well to be somewhat slow about announcing a policy or making public declaration of one's plans, and this applies especially in cases where the undertaking is a great one and the problems to be met are many and complex.
The present situation, however, is not an ordinary one, and it is one which demands a plain and public statement from the Rector of the Parish. I should have made such a statement long before this but for the fact that legal proceedings had been taken against us and that I was advised by counsel that while the case was undecided I must refrain from speaking upon matters connected with it. The consequence of this has been that while others have been free to make any statements that they chose, we have been restrained from speaking, even in our own defense. The decision of the Court just rendered, which should be read by all who wish to judge fairly of this matter, has shown how entirely unwarranted and without ground this legal action was, and to that I need make no further reference.
In many of its aspects the recent attack upon Trinity Parish has been similar to those to which, from whatever cause, the Parish has been subjected from time to time during its history.
The air has been full of the most astonishing statements and the most positive assertions, many of which have already proved to have no foundation in fact. Charges have been made against the Vestry of this Parish the nature of which was perhaps [3/4] hardly realized, which no serious person could have been expected to believe, but such as, for the sake of much that we most value in our life and institutions, ought not to be made without the gravest reason against any individuals, and certainly not against men who without advantage of any kind to themselves have been called upon to render an arduous service to the Church and to the community.
And yet I do not for one moment believe that the Press of this City, as a whole, desires to do injustice to Trinity Parish or to those who represent it, nor do I believe that the public at large cherishes anything but good will towards an institution which is so truly a part of our history and life as Trinity Parish is. I believe that if the public wish for this Parish could find expression, it would be only that it may fulfil to the utmost the high and sacred purposes for which it exists.
Even the attacks, harmful as some of them undoubtedly have been, have served to show the interest which this community feels in all that relates to the old Mother Parish and that interest is the measure of our opportunity; that interest is the evidence of the unequalled influence for good which Trinity Church has power to exercise throughout this whole City. Criticism, and even abuse, there may sometimes be, but these are only on the surface, and underneath there is another and a different feeling. The outcry which has been raised in regard to St. John's Chapel is a real, though faint and far-off, indication of the feeling that there is deep down in the heart of every true New Yorker for "Old Trinity."
THE SPIRIT BEHIND THE CRITICISM.
It is a strange and striking fact, however, that the most bitter and the most openly unjust attacks upon the Parish at this time have come from a few persons within the Church itself. Honest difference of judgment is possible, and frank expression of opinion ought to be welcome upon almost any question; but the recent discussion can hardly be said to have been conducted in the spirit of generous and helpful criticism, or even within the limits of courteous debate. It has been surprising to observe what someone has called "the unrelieved pugnacity and unconscionable dogmatism" which have marked much of the discussion. Statements have [4/5] been published, not once only, but week after week, placing Trinity Parish in a wholly wrong and false light and doing it very great and, to all appearance, deliberate injustice.
Charges and insinuations have been made to some of which it is needless to reply. Misrepresentation and misstatement are often best left to die of themselves. Even the Bishop of the Diocese has not escaped. For the grave offense of forming a judgment contrary to those who were condemning the course of Trinity Parish he has been treated in a manner which has roused the Clergy of the City at last to open and public protest. He has been charged with a lack of courage and of leadership and with espousing the cause of the rich against the poor. Many have felt that it showed anything but a lack of courage for the Bishop to take the stand which he did take in this matter. He at least could not be accused of taking the popular side, and to the outrageous charge that he was taking the side of the rich against the poor his whole life and ministry are the sufficient answer.
It has been said that this episode has done harm to the Church as a whole. It has unquestionably so clone, and the persons who are responsible for this are those who, whether unintentionally or otherwise, have misrepresented the facts, placed the matter persistently in a wrong light, and misstated the case in a way which has confused and misled many earnest and conscientious people. The most deplorable aspect of an attack conducted in this spirit is not the injustice which it does to any individual or to any particular institution, but the grievous hurt and injury which it does to the Church and to the whole cause of Religion.
But leaving all these things aside, I want to come to other and different matters. Very much of the recent criticism of Trinity Parish has directed itself against the policies of the past. My concern at the present moment is not with any of the past policies of the Parish. These belong now to history, and they will find their true and just judgment, whatever there may be in us of partiality on the one hand or of prejudice and passion on the other.
My responsibility is for the present and the future, and it is of these that I wish to speak, and that I may meet my full responsibility I ask nothing more than that I may be found as [5/6] faithful in my day and as true to my own vision of duty and opportunity as he was, whose noble and saintly ministry I have been called to follow.
I want first to call your attention to certain things which have been accomplished in the past few months, certain steps which have been taken, the importance and significance of which has perhaps not been fully realized and which, because of their significance, ought to be brought strongly to the attention of every one interested in this Parish.
THE POLICY OF PUBLICITY.
1st. Trinity Parish has adopted the policy of publicity. The Vestry has issued a full public statement of the financial affairs of the Parish, showing not only its annual income and expenditure in the same way that many parishes do, but giving also a full report of its assets and liabilities. Everything that this Parish owns or in any way controls is included in that statement. It can never again be said with truth that Trinity Parish pursues a policy of secrecy or of mystery. There are, I believe, very few parishes or religious corporations, whether of our own Communion or any other, which issue so complete a statement of their financial affairs as this Parish has lately issued, although Grace Church, our daughter and sister parish, in whose company it is an honor to be named, has issued such a statement since our own was published. I rejoice in this step, and believe in it unqualifiedly.
I wish to say distinctly that this full statement of the affairs of the Parish represents no mere measure of expediency adopted to meet a passing situation, but that it is a part of the policy which was in my mind when I was made Rector. It was under consideration and discussion before any of the recent agitation arose. We should in any event have issued it, and as Rector I shall stand always to the full extent of my power for this same policy. I welcome the interest of the public in the work which the Parish is doing, and am glad for all men to know how the funds entrusted to us are being used. There may be those who think that other and different work should be done and that the funds might in this or that respect be more effectively applied, but our statement shows that the whole of the income of the Parish, which is not used in the maintenance or [6/7] improvement of its property, is expended in religious and charitable and educational work of one kind or another, and that last year the expenditure was greater than the income.
NEW RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES.
2d. The second fact to which I wish to call your attention is that Trinity Parish has now taken up, as a regular and definite part of its work, Evangelistic Services and Street Preaching. There is a vast field for such work in New York to-day, and it seems a happy thing that the old Mother Church should lead the way and be the first of all our parishes to branch out and see what can be done along this line of service. The Rev. Mr. Wilkinson, who is to be our Evangelist, is well known in this city and elsewhere for his unusual gifts for this work. I am told that on a recent occasion in England the Bishop of London said that one of the most inspiring services in which he ever took part was a service in Wall Street conducted by Mr. Wilkinson. Our Evangelist is to give his whole time to work of this character, seeking men out and ministering to them whereever and whenever he may find them; and he is to carry on Evangelistic Services regularly in St. John's Chapel.
I feel a very deep interest in these out-of-door services and shall hope at times, when my other far too numerous duties will permit, to have part in them and share the privilege of them with Mr. Wilkinson. I have received many letters from leading clergymen and well known business men of our own and other communions expressing great interest in this work and great satisfaction that Trinity Parish has undertaken it and that St, John's Chapel is to be put to so good a use and one so well calculated to meet the needs in its vicinity. The undertaking of work of this character, in a definite and permanent way, is a new departure not only for our own Parish, but for our Church in this city, and I believe that very great results may follow from it.
CONDITION OF TENEMENT PROPERTIES.
3d. The third matter of which I wish to speak is the condition of our tenement property. I must begin by saying that very many of the statements which have been made as to the condition of the dwelling house property owned by Trinity [7/8] Parish are grossly untrue. Pictures have many times been published, in both magazines and newspapers, with the statement that the wretched tenements shown in them were the property of Trinity Parish, when in fact neither the houses shown nor the land on which these stood were owned by the Parish or in any way connected with it.
Certain papers have even published pictures implying that our property is the home of drunkenness and vice and disorder. No paper could be guilty of a more serious misrepresentation. Nowhere upon our property are any conditions of this sort to be found. The conditions in these respects are, in fact, unusually good. With three exceptions, fully explained in our recently published Statement, no liquors are sold on any of our property, and nowhere upon it is there a gambling house or a house of questionable reputation. Our houses are occupied by people of most respectable character, very many of the families having lived in the same place for years and some of them for several generations.
The dwelling house property of the Parish consists for the most part of small, old-fashioned houses, none of them built by the Parish, but reverting to it upon the expiration of leases. Originally one family lived in each of these houses, but now each house is occupied by two families or more. I think that any one inspecting the property as a whole would be impressed with the comfortable and homelike appearance of most of the houses.
The condition of much of the property is good; the condition of none of it is anything like so bad as has frequently been asserted, but having said this I must also say, on the other hand, that there are important improvements which need to be made and that there is some of the property the condition of which is far from being what it ought to be and from being what we intend that it shall be. This unsatisfactory situation cannot always be avoided, for property of this sort comes to us at the expiration of the leases in run-down and exhausted condition and constitutes, at least temporarily, a difficult problem. Whatever the difficulties, however, I say unhesitatingly that, as property owners, our responsibility for the condition of any dwelling house property owned by the Parish is the most vital and fundamental, and one of the most sacred of all the obligations resting upon us, and that we are bound to do everything [8/9] in our power to meet this responsibility. The long leases under which much of the property has been held have many of them expired, and we are able now to deal with this property in a way which, some time ago, would not have been possible.
Since becoming Rector I have given a great deal of time and thought and work to this question. In company with members of the Vestry I have visited many of the houses on our property. Plans long in hand have been carried forward, new plans of far-reaching importance have been formed, and work upon some of them is already under way. I hold that in this matter we ought to set not only a high standard, but the very highest. Far better, if necessary, that all our charities should be given up and all our churches and schools closed than that we should maintain any of them by revenue derived from property in an unsanitary or questionable condition.
In discussing this subject I have used the word Parish instead of Corporation. I have done this purposely, because so far as our responsibility is concerned, there can be no distinction between these two. Trinity Parish is a Religious Institution, not a Business Institution, and while, like every other organization in this world, it has, and must have, its business side, its business cannot be separated from its religion. As Rector of the Parish my primary responsibility is for its religious acts, but I claim also my full share of responsibility for its business acts, and I have found in the Vestry a most earnest desire that this whole matter of our property shall be dealt with not merely from the business point of view, but from the standpoint of religion, of social responsibility and of enlightened citizenship.
THE RIGHT TO VOTE.
4th. The fourth matter to which I invite your attention is that Trinity Parish has established upon the broadest and most inclusive basis possible the right of its communicants to vote at the election of Wardens and Vestrymen, and so to exercise control in the affairs of the Parish. Within the past few weeks, after careful consideration by our legal counsel, it has been decided, to the very great satisfaction of the Vestry and myself, that not only the duly qualified members of the congregations [9/10] of Trinity Church, St. Paul's Chapel, St. John's Chapel, Trinity Chapel and St. Agnes's Chapel have the right to vote, but also those of St. Luke's Chapel and the Chapel of the Intercession.
The statement has been publicly made that the right of the people of St. John's and St. Luke's Chapels to vote was conceded to them by the Vestry only on account of pressure from without, and that even now there is no guarantee that this right is secured to them permanently. The statement does not stand alone. It is only one of many similar amazing and wholly unsupported assertions. It is not only misleading--it is entirely untrue. The greatest possible care was taken by the Vestry to see that the action which they were taking should not in any way impair or jeopardize the right of the people of St. John's to vote at the Easter Election. The question of the right of the congregation of St. Luke's to vote was taken up voluntarily and as a part of the whole question of the voting rights of the Parish; and before the institution of any legal proceedings the matter had been submitted to counsel and the opinion of counsel had been given that the duly qualified members of the congregation of St. Luke's Chapel were legally entitled to vote. As to the further assertion that there is no guarantee that this right is to be permanently exercised, the voting rights of any chapel when once established are well known to be as permanently secure as those of the congregation of Trinity Church itself. It is not within the legal power of the corporation to disturb these rights even if they desired to do so.
The great fact, however, is that the voting rights of the Parish are now extended to the widest possible limit of which the law in the case admits, and are established upon an unusually broad and democratic basis. With the exception of the Chapel on Governor's Island, the conditions of which are unusual, and of St. Chrysostom's and St. Augustine's, both of which were established under an act which does not admit of their exercising this privilege, the right to vote is possessed equally by all our congregations in every part of the city.
The qualifications prescribed by our Charter are such that the poorest man in our congregation can be a Corporator equally with the richest, and it is the glory of Trinity Parish to-day, as it has been in the past, that the great majority of the people to whom she ministers are poor.
HOW TRINITY REACHES THE POOR.
It has even been asserted that the congregation of Trinity Church to-day is able to support that Church and to carry on its work without the help of the endowments of the Parish.
I am compelled to say that anyone making such a statement betrays either a complete ignorance of the facts or a desire wilfully to misrepresent them. The work of Trinity Church has become largely that of a downtown Cathedral, gathering and ministering to great congregations made up of people from all quarters, comparatively few of whom have any parochial connection with it.
Some of the old and wealthy families who still retain their pews in the Church no longer belong to the Parish or maintain any relation to its work.
Of the twelve hundred communicants on the list at Trinity Church, the very great majority are poor people brought into membership through the noble work of the Clergy and the Sisters of St. Mary at the Trinity Mission House on Fulton Street.
At St. Agnes', while there are a good many well-to-do people, by far the greater part of the congregation consists of people earnest, devoted, the very salt of our American life, but of slender means, and many of the most faithful members are of the very poor. At the Chapel of the Intercession the conditions are much the same as at St. Agnes'.
To say nothing of the churches in poor neighborhoods which are assisted by Trinity Parish, the very situations of the Chapels of the Parish, St. Luke's on Hudson Street, St. Augustine's just off the Bowery, St. John's in Varick Street, St. Paul's, between Fulton and Vesey Streets, St. Chrysostom's at Thirty-ninth Street and Seventh Avenue, are sufficient to tell any one who knows New York that Trinity Parish has been striving primarily to minister to the poor. It is certainly no crime to minister to the rich, who are often more in need of spiritual help than any others, but Trinity Church may justly be called "the rich church of the poor people."
A visit to some of these Chapels would be a revelation to many people. Some of those who have recently made public statements about the work of this Parish have not troubled themselves [11/12] to learn--I much fear that they have not wanted to learn--of the earnest work among Italians that is being carried on at St. Augustine's, at which Chapel more than 10,000 persons have been baptized during the past 25 years; of the Sunday school for the Chinese at St. Paul's, with 75 members; and of the Business Women's Club at that Chapel, with 550 members and an attendance on every week day except Saturday of 400 or more; of the deep interest in all social questions and the pastoral devotion to the poor which have always characterized the work at St. Chrysostom's; of the noble and devoted work done among the needy in that downtown region through the Mission House on Fulton Street, in connection with Trinity Church itself, a work which among its various branches includes an admirably conducted Dispensary, a Relief Bureau and a large Fresh Air work for boys and girls, for whom a Home is maintained at Islip, Long Island. All of these good works in connection with the Mother Church are supported, not by the endowments of our Parish, but by the free will offerings of the people. In addition to these, the Athletic Clubs, the Night Schools, the Manual Training Schools, the Cooking Schools, the Laundry School, the Schools of Stenography, the Free Kindergartens and other branches of work, far too numerous to mention, carried on in all parts of the Parish, make it almost inconceivable that any one should be willing to say, as it has, however, been said in print, that Trinity Church has done little or nothing for years past but conduct stately services and parochial schools along old-fashioned lines.
Stately services there have been, and, please God, these there shall always be, as well as services in Mission Halls and services on street corners; and the Day Schools, in which nearly a thousand children are now receiving free education, have been an untold blessing to many lives and homes. But those who are willing to see can easily learn that there has been, in addition, an enormous amount of quiet and unostentatious and faithful work among the poor, very much of it carried on in precisely those regions of this city where the conditions are most discouraging and the problems are most difficult.
I have spoken of some of the great and significant steps that we have taken in this Parish in the past few months. The adoption of the policy of publicity; the taking up of Evangelistic [12/13] work; the pushing forward of plans for the improvement of our dwelling house property; the establishing on the most inclusive basis possible of the right of our people to vote and so to share in the control of the Parish. These are, I think, sufficient to show what we are doing, and to meet the charge sometimes made that Trinity Church never moves and never makes any change in its policy; and I wish to say once again that these are not measures which we have adopted unwillingly, or as a mere concession to agitation or pressure from without. They represent and stand for the policy in which for my own part I wholly believe; they are a part of the general plan which has been in my mind from the beginning, and which I know has been in the minds of many of the Vestrymen, and they would have been brought about quite independently of any of the recent agitation or discussion.
While this agitation has served to hasten some of these measures, it has served to retard and to create difficulties in the way of others, though it will not permanently interfere with or affect any of them.
AID TO STRUGGLING CHURCHES.
Let me now speak of one or two of the many other questions relating to the policy of the Parish, to which in due time I hope to give thought and attention.
It is my hope that it may be possible for us so to rearrange our work in certain ways and so to revise our budget that, without impairing or lessening the efficiency of the work carried on by our own Chapels, we may be able to give more largely to the help of weak and struggling churches in the Diocese and to good causes needing our help. It will not of course be possible for us in this matter to meet all expectations or to satisfy all desires. There will doubtless always be those who, for one cause or another, will see reason to disapprove our course. Few persons have any idea of the steady stream of appeals pouring in from near and far upon the Rector of Trinity Parish. It is an impossibility even to consider all of them, much as I wish that I could respond favorably to every one; and those whose requests cannot be complied with sometimes think this hard. Large as our income is, it has a limit, and our expenditures [13/14] are correspondingly large. Our financial statement for last year shows a deficit of $11,965.92.
It seems to be contended by some that, under the terms of its Charter, Trinity Parish does not hold its property in its own right, but only as a sort of Trustee for the Church in the whole Diocese. This is a question not of opinion or of preference, but of fact. If the facts bear out the statements which are made to this effect they ought of course to be accepted and acted upon, but if the facts do not bear them out such statements ought not to be made, for in that case they create misapprehension and cast a serious reflection upon the whole history and work of this Venerable Parish. I have been able to find no foundation for any such claim in history, in law or in justice, and the result of my own researches is fully borne out by the conclusions of some of the ablest lawyers in this city, not connected with Trinity Corporation, these conclusions being reached after most careful investigation of the matter. Many of the statements made and some of those which have been recently published, as to the terms on which Trinity Church received its Charter and as to the way in which it came into possession of its property,, are incorrect and entirely unhistorical. Both legally and morally Trinity Parish has exactly the same right to its property that any other parish has to property which it holds. But in another and far higher sense Trinity Church, like all other churches, does hold all that it has for the good of the whole Church. We are certainly bound to see to it that in the fullest measure possible our resources are used in those ways which will most help forward the whole work of the Diocese and of the Church of which we are a part, and I do most earnestly hope that we may be able in certain ways so to revise and reorganize our own work that it may be possible for us to give more help to the weaker parishes and missions of the Diocese.
CONCENTRATION OF EFFORT.
This brings me naturally to speak of a measure looking in this very direction which has met with much opposition at the hands of people not well informed either as to the facts or as to our purposes. I refer to the consolidation of the work at St. John's and St. Luke's Chapels.
 I must first speak of an unworthy attempt which has been made to make it appear that, in spite of the resolution which he wrote calling for the active consideration of the question, Dr. Dix did not really intend this consolidation to take place, and that he wrote and offered his resolution unwillingly and only under strong pressure from the Vestry. Those who are best in a position to know what Dr. Dix's mind was on this subject know that this presentation of the matter is as unjust to the late Rector and to the Vestry as it is false in itself.
Can any one who knew him imagine the late Rector of this Parish writing the resolution which he did write, unwillingly and under pressure, and not intending it to have any practical effect? Nothing could be more preposterous or more foreign to his whole nature and character. And, if after writing the resolution, he had changed his mind, does anyone think that he would have hesitated to say so to the Vestry or to withdraw his resolution?
I protest against this insinuation, for the slur which it seeks to cast upon the Vestry, a body of honorable men, and still more I protest against it for the position--an utterly impossible one for him--in which it seeks to place the late honored and revered Rector of this Parish.
I am able to assert, and I do assert, that no pressure of any sort was brought to bear upon Dr. Dix to induce him to take action in this matter, but that after years of thought he wrote the resolution bearing upon it and presented it at the meeting of the Vestry on his own motion and of his own free will, and further that he never by word or sign intimated to any member of the Corporation, or so far as I know to anyone, the least change in his attitude towards the question as expressed in his resolution.
It has been publicly declared, in support of the position above referred to, that Dr. Dix made statements in sermons and in private conversations which showed, that whatever action he might have taken in the Vestry, he was opposed to the consolidation of the parochial work of St. John's and St. Luke's. As to these sermons and conversations I know nothing. I never heard of them until after this discussion arose and only know now what I have seen published about them in certain papers. I do know, however, that of all men who have ever lived the [15/16] late Rector of Trinity Parish was one of the least likely to initiate formal action in his Vestry and then make statements either publicly or privately in any real conflict with that action. I do know what Dr. Dix wrote on this question in the Year Book of 1893 and I shall quote this later. I do know that of his own motion he wrote and offered his resolution in regard to the matter in November, 1907. And I do know as already stated that he never said to me or to any member of the Vestry one word which indicated directly or indirectly the least desire on his part to modify or withdraw from the action which he had taken.
But, having said this in the interest of truth and justice, I want to say that, although I did not initiate this measure, but found it already under consideration upon my election to the Rectorship, I cannot on that account be absolved, and I am not willing to be in any degree absolved from responsibility for it. The responsibility for the measure rests upon me more than upon the late Rector, for, while he initiated it, I carried it into effect. If it had not commended itself to my judgment I have no doubt that I could have prevented it. I made no attempt to do this. I believed that the action proposed was right and wise and necessary, and I believe so still. In my judgment this action was delayed longer than it should have been, and might with advantage have been taken many years ago.
An effort has also been made to create the impression that the Vestry itself has been divided upon this question.
It has been stated through the public press that only four new names were placed in nomination at the recent election of Church Wardens and Vestrymen because this number, if they had been elected, would have been enough to give a majority to those who, within the Vestry, were opposed to the new plans for work at St. John's and St. Luke's. I wish to say authoritatively that there is not the smallest foundation in fact for any such statement.
There is no division whatever upon this matter in the Vestry.
The fact is that the Rector and Vestry, whose only concern is to devise ways for the most effective carrying on of the work of the Parish, and who may reasonably be supposed to know at least as much about this question as those who have been expressing themselves in regard to it, are wholly united in their judgment as to the plans proposed.
 There has been no haste in adopting these plans. They have, in whole or in part, come before the Vestry a number of times, at meetings very fully attended, and the vote upon them has in every instance been a unanimous one.
In this connection I must say a few words as to the election of Church Wardens and Vestrymen held last Tuesday.
Under the circumstances, and judging from the many exaggerated statements which have been made, it might have been supposed that all the people belonging to St. John's would have supported the ticket presented in opposition to the Vestry.
As a matter of fact, however, no less than fifty of the one hundred and forty-two voters belonging to St. John's failed to do this.
Of the one hundred and forty-two names sent in from St. John's as entitled to vote, only ninety-two came to the polls. And, apart from St. John's, in spite of all the misstatement and misrepresentation that there has been, only thirty-two persons out of our entire Parish voted the opposition ticket.
I feel quite sure that those who voted this ticket did so from true and conscientious motives, and I fully respect their rights in so doing.
It is a most significant fact, however, that five hundred and twenty-nine men came out to vote for the present Vestry. The total vote at the annual election has usually been not more than twenty-five or thirty.
We can see, therefore, how the agitation against our Parish has already worked us good instead of harm. The interest and the sense of responsibility which it has aroused among the men of our congregations is without precedent, and I believe and hope that this interest will not subside.
Anyone who knows the conditions of New York business life will understand what it means for six hundred and fiftythree men to come and cast their votes at an election of Vestrymen.
This election is an evidence that the sober judgment of the Corporators of Trinity Parish may be fully relied upon, and it is, on the part of our people, an expression of confidence in the administration, which will be a great strength to the Rector and Vestry in the work which lies before them.
 It has been loudly proclaimed by certain persons that our plans for the work at St. John's and St. Luke's Chapels were in violation of, and were condemned by, all righteous public sentiment.
It is a favorite method with controversialists to claim that they represent the public conscience, but, as American citizens, we are accustomed to regard the Ballot box as a surer indication of public sentiment than the assertions of any particular individual or of any particular newspaper.
There could hardly have been a better test of the public conscience in this matter than its submission, last Tuesday, to the whole body of the voters of the Parish.
They were directly interested in the question; they had certainly heard it fully discussed on the one side; they live in all parts of the city; very many of them are personally familiar with the situation at St. John's and St. Luke's; not a few of them have at some time lived in that region and have been connected with one or other of those chapels, and they have given their judgment in terms that no one can mistake.
Nothing could be more unjust and more contrary to the facts than the statement, which has been again and again repeated in print, that in taking this action we are abandoning a downtown region and deserting the poor. What we are doing is the very opposite of this. We are Trustees of the funds of Trinity Church, and as such we are bound to use these funds in the ways that we believe will accomplish the greatest and best results. The work at St. John's has been carried on for many years at a most extravagant cost. We are planning to apply the $30,000.00 which has been hitherto spent yearly upon St. John's Chapel alone in a way that will bring benefit to a vastly larger number of people in that district.
HOW THE WORK OF ST. JOHN'S AND ST. LUKE'S IS TO BE CARRIED ON.
Our plan of work for this region is a threefold one and includes the following distinct branches:
The first part of our plan is the consolidation of the ordinary parochial work of the two chapels at St. Luke's, which is now and has for many years been the proper center for this [18/19] work, and where we believe it can be carried on far more strongly and effectively than it has been heretofore from both centers. As will be shown later, St. John's and St. Luke's Chapels are not both needed for this work. The people now attending St. John's can all of them attend St. Luke's, and very many of them live much nearer to St. Luke's than to St. John's.
The second part of our plan is the taking up of work among other than English-speaking peoples at a different point within the district, for which we hope to arrange after the parochial work at St. Luke's is well under way.
The third part of our plan is the carrying on of Evangelistic Services at St. John's Chapel and also of certain branches of welfare work, which we believe will minister to a real need in that neighborhood. The region has been largely given over to business houses. The people who still live there are chiefly Roman Catholics, whom we have no wish to proselytize, but we hope that the informal services contemplated may draw in many of the workers from the warehouses and factories, and it is our purpose to provide comfortable rooms, where those who desire to do so may rest and read and eat their lunches, and also other helpful agencies for which there may prove to be opportunity.
It should be added that if the consolidated work at St. Luke's justifies this, as we hope and believe that it will, it is our purpose to build a new church with accompanying buildings especially suited to the needs of the congregation, though at present the buildings at St. Luke's are sufficient to meet these. St. Luke's Chapel as at present arranged will seat 700 people, and its structure can readily be so changed as to make it seat i,000.
In the light of this plan, which has been more than once publicly announced, it is quite competent for anyone to say that he disapproves of the changes that we are making, and doubts their wisdom. It is not possible for any truthful person to say, or to continue to give the impression by his statements, that we are abandoning the region or deserting the poor.
Least of all the parishes in this city can Trinity Parish be accused of deserting the poor. Whatever other charges may be made, no one who has any knowledge of the facts can make this one.
 In the action which the old Parish is now taking, it is rearranging its work and changing its methods to meet in a larger and more effective way the changed conditions and the actual needs of one of the poorer neighborhoods to which it has so long been ministering. Another statement equally unjust and without foundation which has been made is that, in consolidating the parochial work of St. John's and St. Luke's Chapels, we are turning the people of St. John's adrift and depriving them of spiritual ministrations. The facts of the case wholly disprove any such assertion, and they show further that, in asking the people of St. John's to unite with those of St. Luke's, we are asking only what it would be right and reasonable to ask of any two congregations under the same circumstances. No one with any knowledge of the case can possibly say that this action was taken suddenly or that it was unanticipated by those connected with the work.
For nearly twenty years it has been understood generally and openly that these two chapels ought to be and must in time be united. Until the present unfortunate and wholly unnecessary situation was created, largely through the unhappy influence of persons not connected with our Parish, this course was recognized and accepted as the natural and right one, which must sooner or later be taken.
There has never been any secret about it. The late Rector wrote in the Year Book of 1893: "The old church of St. Luke on Hudson street, opposite Grove street, came into possession of Trinity Corporation December 1, 1892. . . . For the present and until the removal of St. John's to a new site not far from that of St. Luke's, this church will be maintained, with an adequate force of clergy and lay workers, as a part of the Parish of Trinity Church. . . . The Fields of St. John's and St. Luke's run into each other, and a new church, with suitable buildings, will soon be erected, to accommodate the united congregations." The matter has been constantly in mind and frequently under discussion ever since. The Revd. Philip A. H. Brown, the present Vicar of the two chapels, wrote last November, upon being notified that the action had been decided upon: "I of course anticipated some such move, but I cannot help feeling sorry for the necessity. I am glad for the ample notice that the clergy will have."
 We are not asking the people of St. John's to go to a strange place. Ever since St. Luke's became a part of Trinity Parish in 1892, the two congregations have been united under one Vicar and have worked in the closest possible association. They have always, in Dr. Dix's words, "run into each other," and have been in many ways one congregation.
Not only have they always worked under one Vicar, that office being still held by the Revd. Philip A. H. Brown, but the curates have regularly conducted services in both chapels. Much of the work of both chapels has long been carried on at St. Luke's, because this has been recognized as the proper center for it. The kindergarten of the two chapels, which is described in the Year Book as "The Kindergarten of St. John's and St. Luke's Chapels," is conducted at St. Luke's. The Men's Club, called "The St. John's and St. Luke's Club," has long held all its meetings in the Parish House at St. Luke's. The Bishop has held only one Confirmation Service for the two Chapels, and the candidates from both congregations have been presented together in one class. The two chapels have only one branch of the Woman's Auxiliary, which includes the women of both congregations and is known as "The Woman's Auxiliary of St. John's and St. Luke's Chapels." During Lent the two congregations have been in the habit of uniting and attending the Wednesday night service in one of the Chapels and the Friday night service in the other. Many other facts might be given, but these are enough to show what the situation is and to make it clear that those who have supposed that we were asking the people of St. John's to unite with a congregation of strangers, or to go to some new and far-off place, have been entirely misled, and that, as already stated, the congregations of St. John's and St. Luke's, although worshipping in two churches, have in many ways long been united. All the work which has been done at St. John's can be continued at St. Luke's and the work as a whole can be carried on far more advantageously from that point.
PERSEVERANCE IN A BROAD POLICY.
The difficulties which have recently arisen will in a short time be overcome and forgotten. Several of the families who were [21/22] at first drawn into the agitation voluntarily withdrew from it sometime ago and have been attending regularly at St. Luke's.
A very large part of the responsibility for the situation which has been created rests upon certain persons quite outside our own parish and having no connection with it, who in defiance of all Church order and of all rules of Parochial comity, have felt at liberty to foment discord and to foster and encourage dissension within Trinity Parish. It is true that we are members one of another and that what concerns one parish is of interest to all the others, but this does not give individuals from one parish the right to intrude at will into the affairs of another; to constitute themselves judges in matters affecting the arrangement of its work and internal administration, and to create and direct organized opposition to measures decided upon by the duly constituted authorities of the parish. If this course which has been pursued in regard to Trinity Parish were generally adopted and followed in the case of other parishes, it would introduce a principle of anarchy which would mean an end of all order and peace and fellowship and the disruption of the Church.
It is impossible to defend the methods of those who have seen fit to oppose in this way the constituted authorities of the Parish acting with the openly expressed approval of the Bishop of the Diocese. But in spite of the feeling of antagonism which has been so unhappily aroused, the delay in carrying out this and other important measures which has been occasioned, and the opportunity to scoff and deride which has been given to those who are unfriendly to the Church, I see already that good has come out of this experience for the parish, and that through it we are stronger to do the work which is to follow, and I am confident that when our plans are fully carried into effect they will commend themselves to the faithful people of St. John's as well as to all who are sincerely interested in the spread of Christ's Kingdom in this city.
The plans of the Vestry do, as we have all along realized, call upon a small number of persons to suffer some inconvenience and to sacrifice associations which are dear to them but the number of those really so affected is very small and while sympathizing sincerely with them we must ask them to think of the many souls not now being reached at all who will [22/23] be benefited by the far larger development of the work which they all know will be possible with St. Luke's as the parochial centre.
When the work is consolidated it will be placed in strong and wise and capable hands and it will be my special desire that the clergy at St. Luke's shall do everything in their power to lessen any inconvenience which the change may occasion to the small number of our people who still live in the vicinity of St. John's.
THE PARISH IN ITS RELATION TO MISSIONS.
While discussing this subject of our general policy there is one other matter of which I must speak. I must express my fervent hope and desire that our great Parish as a whole may rise more and more to the fullest measure of its privilege and opportunity as regards the Missionary work of the Church. It is true that the very great majority of the Communicants throughout our Parish are people of small means. It is true that the congregations of many of our churches are composed entirely of the poor and that Trinity Parish has not anywhere among its people a tithe of the wealth of some other congregations in this city, although the gifts of its congregations have been held up to' most absurd and ungenerous comparison with those of parishes conspicuous for the wealth of their people. It is to be remembered that the apportionment upon any Parish is based not upon its endowments, which may not be available for this purpose, but upon the willingness and ability of its people to give. But it is also true, and we who belong to this Parish must remember it, that the endowments which enable us to do our work among the poor have a .direct bearing upon this matter, for they make it possible for us and they make it incumbent upon us to give more largely according to our means than we otherwise could give, to missions in every form, Parochial and General, in City and Diocese, in Western State and Foreign Country.
The trouble is not with endowments in themselves. The work of no one of our many congregations could be carried on without the support of our endowments. Very few of the strongest parishes in this city could continue the work which they are doing without their endowments, but, as I have said [23/24] in my letter upon this subject, sent to each one of you recently: "If the endowments of Trinity Parish should make us less willing to give of our own substance to God's work, they would be a distinct spiritual injury to us instead of a strength and a means of greatly enlarged power for service."
I know that we are all of us giving in many ways. We all have many responsibilities, many interests, many claims, but no other claim and no other interest can take the place of or relieve us from the responsibility of this one.
This matter of giving, and especially of giving to enable the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ to fulfil her world-wide Mission, is a primary obligation resting upon every one of us. The word of command in this matter comes direct from Him in Whom we believe. It is a question of our faithfulness as individual Christians. It is a matter of vital moment not only to the Church and to the world but to our own souls. We must all set ourselves earnestly to realize our responsibility and our high privilege in this regard, and to work and pray that our Parish may show an example of interest in missions that shall be an inspiration to the Church.
THE SUPREME PLACE OF WORSHIP.
And last, whatever changes of policy or of method we may be led to make as the days pass and the opportunities for service grow and multiply about us, in one thing I pray that we may never change. I pray that this Parish may never be led into the mistake of giving to the Second Commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ the place that belongs to His First and still greater Commandment, or of allowing Work in any measure to usurp the place of Worship.
While giving itself to fuller and fuller service and learning ever new and larger ways of ministering to the needs of men, may our Parish stand in all the future, even as it has stood in all the past, supremely and above all else for true and living Faith in God, for glorious and holy Worship, for the ministering of the divinely-given Sacraments, for the carrying of heavenly help and comfort to the poor and the rich, the living and the dying, the sick and the well, for the preaching in all its fulness of the Everlasting Gospel, the Truth of God revealed in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and made known [24/25] to us through His Church, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.
It is this foundation of faith in the Eternal and Unchanging One, the One Who in Christ has shown us the whole meaning of human life, which will give us the vision to see the needs and the strength and the purpose to meet them.
It is the constant remembrance that our work is being done "to the Lord and not unto men," and that we "serve the Lord Christ" which can alone give us strength sufficient to meet our great and far-reaching and unequalled opportunity.
Standing fast in the faith of Him in Whom we have believed, we shall not be moved or disturbed by change, we shall rejoice in it, if it be a way to larger service; and in the midst of whatever changes it may see Trinity Parish will still stand for the Changeless amid the Transitory.
May these, then, be our two watchwords: Faith and Service. First, faith in God and in His Truth, divinely and once for all revealed; and then, founded on this and inspired by it, the enlarging life, the growing vision, the increasing service which shall make this venerable Mother Parish of the Diocese, with each year that passes, more and more a blessing and a power for God in the Church and in the City.