We had long needed a new parish house for our growing work. Our parish had increased in numbers steadily, every year, till we once had 1,137 communicants in good standing, and possibly one or two hundred more who were indifferent, but who of course took even more calling-time than did most of the faithful. Yet our little parish house, with a kitchen about as large as "a good-sized Saratoga trunk," and only one lavatory for "young men and maidens, old men and children," and all others as well, was the same as when there were but 300 communicants and less than one-half of our forty-one kinds of organized work. We had full discussion of this problem, and the Vestry had gone so far, in 1919, as to have plans for forty-thousand dollars' worth of improvements on the church and parish house. Designs were then drawn, and a picture of the improved plant was made. The artist who painted it insisted on his commission of $400, which one of our most generous parishioners paid, and the picture has adorned the walls of the Rectory ever since.
But, in October, 1919, the General Convention of the Church at Detroit adopted the "Nation-Wide Campaign" for increased gifts to "Missions," and the diocese of Chicago took hold of this new enterprise with unprecedented enthusiasm. Our parish, which had always been one of the leading givers to "Missions," and had increased its gifts from about $1,000 a year when we came, to over $3,000 a year, suddenly rose in its might, and increased its income so splendidly that we pledged 45 per cent of our general fund to the Diocesan and National Councils, "fifty-fifty," and the sum was for the next two years about $18,000 a year. This, supplemented by our Auxiliary's gifts, and by those from my Rector's fund, amounted to about $19,000 for these two years, and was the largest total of this kind in the diocese. For the three following years we kept up our total, but St. Luke's, Evanston, led us by about $1,000. After that, in 1924, I found that I could no longer do the work without the full time of a Priest Curate. So we could not give quite so much. The parish, however, has maintained its strong position as a part of the "Home Base," even during the dark days of the Great Depression that followed the "crash" in the fall of 1929. So in 1919 we rolled up our $40,000 plans, and never looked at anything of the kind until 1925, when we found that we simply had to have a new parish house.
We have received many compliments as a parish, for the way in which we have utilized every square foot of our available space in this new parish house and chapel. The "Hawley Memorial" Chapel, consecrated as All Saints' Chapel, was largely built by a bequest of several thousand dollars from the will of our former Senior Warden, Henry S. Hawley. It is a gem, and J. E. O. Pridmore, our architect, may well be proud of it. The late Hon. Stephen T. Mather, of our parish, on entering it for the first time exclaimed, "It is worth a trip from Washington to see it!"
But, Ah! Alas! all of this work was a costly affair for Marie and for me! Had I known of this cost, I fear that I might not have had the courage to lead the enterprise as Rector. No one knew it, but Marie suspected it, though she bravely put her shoulder to the wheel and never wavered one moment during all of the eight long months of turmoil while the buildings were being erected. The cost was the permanent impairment of Marie's health and strength.
It was a stirring time. Our Vestry, under Courtenay Barber's leadership as Junior Warden and chairman of the finance committee, backed up by our generous Senior Warden, Arthur Dole, and by all the Vestrymen, grappled with the $80,000 proposition so determinedly, that the whole sum, a very large one for our parish, was subscribed without a cent of mortgage, and we kept up our missionary giving all during the period of building. And of course all of our running expenses were promptly paid. The members of the Church of The Redeemer proved to be no ordinary set of Church people.
The old parish house was demolished as the summer vacation period of 1925 began. Marie and I went at once to Grand Isle, for July and August. My greatest anxiety on returning in September was how to keep the parish work going during these months when we had no parish house. I tried every available building and large room in the neighborhood, but could not rent one inch of space from anybody. Yet there were the Church Sunday school, the three choirs, and several other organizations that had to be housed somewhere, or else disbanded during the indefinite period while the new buildings were being erected. I finally took my foot rule and measured most carefully the width of the choir's grand piano. I found that the piano could be dragged through the Rectory basement door with about a half-inch to spare. I then went to Robert R. Birch and asked him if he thought he could conduct the choir rehearsals in the basement of the Rectory, and he said, "If there is room for fifty chairs, yes." I found that there was such room. I then went to Marie and asked her whether she would be willing to have the basement of the Rectory so used. And the brave-hearted woman said "Yes, but I fear it will be the death of me." In my stupidity and clumsiness I didn't realize all that that remark meant. I simply thought that she meant that the unavoidable noise, and so forth, would annoy her, and that the privacy which she valued and deserved would of course be invaded, even at best. She did mean that, though she placed only a very small amount of emphasis on that side of the sequel. What she really meant was something that I did not dream was true. Had I thought that it was true, I would either have asked her to let us store our Rectory furniture for the necessary time, and move to a hotel, turning over the Rectory to the parish as a parish house pro tempore, or else I would never have consented to the erecting of the buildings during my time. It is too late now to speculate on what would have been the result of the next seven or eight years in our respective lives, or what would have been the result for the parish. The die was cast. She courageously assented. The billiard table was removed in pieces to the attic from its room in the Rectory basement. The fifty chairs and the old grand piano and the music of the choir-library were moved in, and David our sexton rigged up temporary hooks and boards for the 100 vestments of our three choirs. Five rehearsals a week at once began, after 3: 15 p.m., and the Primary Department of the Church school met in this new choir-room on Sunday mornings. And the room proved to be so desirable and pleasant that the Vestry wanted to meet there, and the Church school teachers, and so on. All of which helped us indeed to keep the parish running during these eight very trying months. The other portions of the Church school met in the church. We stretched a curtain before the sanctuary at these times.
And then began the severe and unremitting strain upon Marie's strength. Busy as her days had always been, she had up to this time had quiet afternoons and evenings. Her knees were never over-strong, and the three flights of stairs in the Rectory made heavy demands upon her knee-strength from the first day of our thirteen years of our home life therein. She would of course have to keep up her morning marketing and other regular duties of housekeeping. And then, just as she would be beginning to have some needed rest after luncheon, the children would begin to come to the back door for choir rehearsals, or something else, almost every day.
Now the plague of our lives in one direction at this time was rats. Every enterprising rat in the neighborhood soon found out that the workmen left lots of fragments of their daily luncheons lying around loose in the buildings, and they held high carnival accordingly. David caught seventeen of these wretched vermin in a few weeks by relentless trapping. They would run into the church and run up the aisles even during services! And Marie was terribly afraid that they would get into the Rectory. That is something that no rat or mouse had ever been allowed to do in any of our homes. The only protection that there was against them in the basement was a flimsy screen-door and its colleague, the door of the basement. I simply plastered these doors with signs "Please Never Leave These Doors Open." And it had about as much effect as Mrs. Partington's broom had when she attacked the on-coming tide. To have to open two doors to get into one basement was too much to ask from the eager girls and boys of our parish. They would hook back the screen door, and take their chances on closing the other door as they rushed into their various rehearsals or classes or meetings. And poor Marie, trying to get a little rest upstairs, would strain her ears for the slamming of the doors, when the children began to come. If she didn't hear the slam, and she often didn't, then she would wearily climb down the two flights from her room to the basement, and stand guard over the doors as long as she felt necessary. Thus the rats did not get in, but she became utterly worn out, as the months dragged along. Her old knee troubles, which had bothered her for some years, began to return. She went down to our faithful and able physician, Dr. Howard N. Lyon, time after time, for his magic electric treatments, and they helped some, but could not offset the wear and tear at the Rectory.
Then the Rectory was used for many things. We always went to the door ourselves, I in the mornings, and she when I was not in. Our maid simply could not do her work and also answer the doorbell. When the telephone in the workmen's shanty broke down, they would come to the Rectory to use our telephone. When things had to be delivered for the parish house work, they were not infrequently sent to the Rectory. And so the path to the doorbell was worn smooth, and this was largely done by tired Marie.
And she was not willing that the Federation should go to pieces during these months. Our friendly neighbors, the Congregationalists, rented us their rooms a block away, for these occasional meetings, and for some dinners. Marie one time sold two hundred one dollar tickets for a dinner given by our Woman's Guild in these rooms. She stood at our telephone for hours, day after day, at this work. She collected every dollar, with a little help from me and my old "Reo" car, and we delivered each of the two hundred tickets, and placed the $200 in the hands of the Woman's Guild one week before the dinner! And right after that, when her friend of St. James's days, then Mrs. Arthur Ryer-son, agreed to address the Federation in a Travelogue, Marie sold two hundred other tickets at fifty cents, in the same way. All this was besides watching over the rattish basement door, and carrying on all the other work of her busy routine.
This, of course, could not go on forever. One day in June, during the great Roman Catholic Eucharistic Congress, I was escorting her to the banks in the Loop where she had our accounts. During those years we found that it was not wise to have her try to do our banking alone. I could save her some steps by going with her, and doing the necessary walking. This particular morning the streets were very heavily crowded. Suddenly she stopped, with a cry of pain, and could walk no further. I well remember just where it was. We were on Adams street, opposite the Federal Building. I at once hailed a taxi, and we drove rapidly to Dr. Lyon's office on Washington street, opposite Marshall Field's, in the Venetian Building. I helped her to hobble to the elevator, and Dr. Lyon, who at once applied his electrical machine to her aching left leg, said that a half-hour more of delay would have involved her being crippled for several weeks. We managed to get home, and Marie had to be very careful for a long time about her walking, especially up and down stairs.
The new parish house was finally completed, and the new chapel was consecrated, and then came vacation. I asked the Vestry (this was in 1926), please to let me have my first long vacation. They had called a Curate from New York City, the Rev. Alfred Newbery, who with his wife and little girl of three had moved into an apartment close to the church. He was fully competent to carry on the parish work until mid-December, and the Vestry very kindly allowed me the long leave of absence. We paid to an express company $1,000 to pack and to move our furniture from the Rectory to Grand Isle. We left in the Rectory only the kitchen and dining room furniture, and enough besides to furnish the living room and the library room downstairs, and one bed-room upstairs, besides my "den." The rest we moved to "Twenty Acres," preparing for our final move, which we knew would come in 1929, the year of my 68th birthday anniversary, and of my retirement and admission to the roll of pensioners of the Church. The very exacting and laborious task of deciding what to take and what to sell or to give away and what to leave fell wholly upon Marie. I was not competent to decide these things except in connection with my own books and a few other personal belongings. It exhausted Marie very much to do all this, but there was no way out of it. It simply had to be done. She of course buckled to and did it without the slightest hesitation.
And when the 203 boxes, barrels, and crates, completely filling one freight car of the New York Central Railroad, were all packed and shipped, and the $1,000 paid, we ourselves started for Grand Isle. And there Marie sat in a chair, morning after morning, for nearly two months, while our nephew, Garrett Van Antwerp Graves, and I wrestled with the crates, boxes, and barrels, unpacked them all, toted them over from the barn to the house at "Twenty Acres," carried them all into the house, bit by bit, and placed them where Marie, from her chair of state, ordered us to locate them. We took a good deal of pride in the fact that everything upstairs was carried up the only flight of stairs that there was, and only one little scratch was inflicted upon the walls. I think I did that myself. "Garrie," as we all called him, proved to be of exceptional help about the settling. He had had a good deal of instruction from his mother in their home at Hartford, Connecticut, concerning moving and settling, and Marie found him to be of most welcome assistance in this long and tiring task. He is now a successful officer in the United States Coast Guard.
At last the final load was brought over from the barn. Two friendly farmers helped us to carry upstairs The Redeemer parish's original Altar, which I had used for so many years for daily Celebrations in the church as our side Altar, and which was superseded by the new Altar in the memorial chapel. It just fitted into the little oratory at the south end of the house, adjoining my new "den." These good friends also helped us to carry up the fragments of the billiard table, and to set it up at the south end of the large room upstairs. Otherwise Garrie and I did all the "toting" and the carrying.
After all this work there were a few days for Marie to rest at Wedding Bells Bungalow, before we moved up into our home at "Twenty Acres" for the fall and early winter. She needed the rest greatly, for all this work and planning, and the strain of it all, had told heavily upon her limited strength.
Labor Day came and went, and with its going the family group at Westerly dispersed to their respective homes in New York and Hartford, and we settled down in our new home "on the hill," to enjoy the fall in our unaccustomed but beautiful surroundings. A flying trip to Chicago in later October, to attend the wedding of our dear young friend, Avice Martin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Zelotes E. Martin, on Saturday evening, October 16th, was the only occasion of our leaving "Twenty Acres" until December 10th, when we packed up and started for Chicago.
We started that early in order to spend four days in New York City. This was our first visit to New York since our St. James's days in 1892, thirty-four years previous. We greatly enjoyed seeing our kith and kin in their own homes. And I was highly honored by an invitation to preach in "Old Trinity" Church--something I had eagerly longed to do for many years. I owed this unexpected privilege to the fact that I was introduced to Fr. Kinkaid, the first Assistant, by my sister Edith. This introduction was on Friday noon. I preached the following Sunday afternoon at Evensong. I will never forget my feelings, as I mounted the steps of that historic pulpit.
Back we then traveled to Chicago, partly but only partly rested.
Marie's knees were still in evidence, and somehow I had been so busy with all the unpacking and the like that I was not as ready for the full routine of work as I had expected to be. We found at home the same kind of a situation, I suppose, that every city Rector finds after he has been away on a long vacation. It took me just about one year before I felt that I had the parish once more as thoroughly in hand as when I left it. This was somewhat of a surprise to me, and of course it was entirely unintended by our good people. It is only one of the unavoidable features of the whirling, driving life that people seem to be obliged to live in a city like our beloved Chicago. Fr. Newbery stayed with us for ten months, and then accepted the call to The Church of The Atonement, Edgewater, on the North Side of Chicago.
I called Fr. Benjamin Horton, from the neighboring mission of St. Edmund's, on the South Side, to be his successor, and he stayed with us until his sudden and unexpected death from appendicitis in a year from the following August.
Our life in the parish soon took on its accustomed activities, after our return from our long vacation. Marie bought about $500 worth of new furniture, rugs, etc., to make the rooms that we used in the Rectory more homelike and attractive, and she resumed her leadership of the Federation at once.
I am frank to say that the next two years were shadowed for me by the thought that I must resign the work which I loved so dearly, and I felt that it might be better if I did not wait until 1929, the year when my 68th birthday anniversary would arrive, but that I ought to give a younger Priest the opportunity to be the parish's Rector at the close of June, in 1928. So on Low Sunday, 1928, I preached what I supposed was my "farewell" sermon, and I told the large congregation that I had written out my resignation to the Vestry, to take effect on the last day of the coming June. This sermon was preached at the usual time during the mid-morning Holy Eucharist. Fr. Horton was celebrating, and at the close of the sermon he was about to proceed with the service, as usual, when young Harry Harkins (one of my "honorary Acolytes," and son of Professor William D. Harkins of the University of Chicago, who was the Willard Gibbs prize-man for that year, and in some respects the most distinguished member of our parish), suddenly stepped up to the chancel rail and tapped me on the shoulder. I at once turned around, and said, "What is it, Harry?" He replied in a low voice, "My father wants to know if he can say a few words to the congregation." I answered, "Why, certainly." I stopped Fr. Horton, and spoke briefly to the people, introducing Professor Harkins. He occupied about five minutes with the most earnest appeal to the people not to let us go, and at the close of his remarkable message the whole congregation broke out into applause. It was possibly the most tense and dramatic moment of my life in the chancel, and I was almost speechless. I managed to get sufficient control of my voice to thank Professor Harkins and the people for their tribute, and to say that I would change one item in my letter of resignation. It would read 1929 instead of 1928. Never will I forget the thrill of astonished gratitude that filled my heart that morning. Marie rejoiced with me for it was a tribute to her as well as to us both. So we stayed on, and the year passed all too rapidly.
As has been stated above, Fr. Horton, who was a dear young Priest, a gentleman to his finger-tips, endowed with a gift for poetry, and also very earnest and studious, fell desperately ill during that summer, from what proved to be a deadly attack of appendicitis. The telegram announcing the hour of his Requiem reached me just too late for me to catch the train for Chicago that would have brought me home in time. Marie and I, however, closed up at Westerly, in early August, and went straight back to the parish, so that I might have at least a month or more in which to find another Curate.
August is part of Chicago's play-time. Hundreds of people come to the city during that month for their vacations. We felt at once the difference in atmosphere, and we thoroughly enjoyed our August in the parish. I kept up the services, of course, but I made scarcely any calls except on the sick. And I spent a good deal of time with Marie in our faithful old "Reo." Finally I called Fr. William C. Downer to help me through the rest of the year, and he came in September, and stayed with us until I retired, on June 30, 1929.
This final year passed all too rapidly. I confess that there was a clutch of deep-seated fear at the bottom of my heart, day and night. It had begun even two years before, during our long vacation. How could I bear to give up this life-work that I loved so tremendously? What would I do with myself, when the high pressure was removed? A list-lessness blighted me whenever I sat down for even ten minutes. I would look at my library, and not a volume of all its hundreds seemed to me to be of the slightest interest, if I had no more preaching to do. I looked at the clock, and one desperate day I asked Marie "What should I try to do with myself after 3: 30 p.m. in the afternoons?" Those hours always were the most crowded of my busy days, as I was always out in the parish, trying to do the impossible task of keeping up with my calling. Marie looked at me with that affectionate twinkle in her wonderful eyes that I had learned to associate with deep wisdom, and calmly replied, "Well, I should think it a good time to devote to letter-writing." As I write these words at this very same time of the day, after my usual mid-day post-prandial rest and "read," at Grand Isle, I think of that merry twinkle, and I recognize the wisdom. All the same, there was a dark and dismal fear within me most of that final year. I never allowed it to interfere with my work however, and my earnest prayers that I might be helped to rise above it were answered sufficiently to permit a good "finale" to the nearly thirty-five years of Rectorship that a kind Providence had assigned to me.
With Marie, the impending change did not bring so many other changes. Her life would go on in many parallel channels, and the relief from the responsibility of her self-chosen leadership among the women in parish matters would be most welcome. Of course the greatest help that came to me during these trying months was the thought that I would be at liberty to be with her constantly. It galled me to have to leave her alone in the Rectory, while I was trudging or motoring along, calling largely upon strangers in my pastoral rounds, or while I was on duty in the parish house in the evenings. And the thought that soon it would be right for me to be with her just as much as she found convenient, exhilarated and cheered me greatly. When people asked me why I was resigning, when the parish didn't want us to go, and when I was perfectly well and sufficiently strong, I always gave two replies, both of which were true, and either one of which was sufficient. One was that sixty-eight was an official age set by the Pension Fund for the beginning of a Priest's retirement. If I let that date pass, what could be the next signal? Either that my health should begin to break, which would cripple my plans for helping Marie during our remaining years together, or that the work should begin to sag because the "old man" had stayed around too long, and people were honestly and reasonably tired of him. Neither of these signals ought to be permitted. I must keep my health, so far as I could control this, and the parish work must never be allowed to sag because of incompetence or infirmity on the part of its Rector. And then there was the other reason. Marie had devoted her life and strength to me and to my work, in a degree rarely dreamed of or paralleled. Her health had become impaired by the "occupational disease" of keeping house and keeping open house, with the Rectory stairs in the background. At this time she had chronic trouble in walking. She could walk, but only with difficulty and not very far at once. There seemed to be no cure. With my help, however, and with our car, she had still a great deal of pleasure and of variety before her, provided I could be with her all the time. So I felt that there was every reason for me to accept the hint of the Pension Fund, and to resign as I approached my sixty-eighth birthday anniversary. That occurred on September 17, 1929, and my resignation took effect on the last of June, 1929. Our faithful "Reo" had been given to me by our kind parishioner, Francis A. Puckey. I drove her 19,000 miles during our last seven years in the parish.
Our wedding anniversary on June 10th that year was a memorable day indeed. Dear Mrs. Z. E. Martin had invited all the parishioners to her beautiful and hospitable home at 6700 South Shore Drive, where Marie and I had spent so many happy Christmas days with Mr. and Mrs. Martin and their delightful family. And hundreds of our good people came, afternoon and evening. The guests wandered at will around the garden and house, until our hostess summoned everybody within, and then Arthur Wyman of our Vestry read aloud the truly wonderful "Resolutions" which the Vestry had had so handsomely engrossed in a bound booklet, and at its close, which conveyed to us tidings of my election as Rector Emeritus of the parish, he handed us a most generous purse of $1,500 from our friends of The Church of The Redeemer. I think that those Resolutions ought to be a part of these memoirs, for they rise to their climax of gracious and affectionate eloquence by including Marie, as they should have done, in their message. An expert in English has pronounced these words to be a rare piece of language.
"To John Henry Hopkins, our beloved friend and Rector: It is with profound regret that, in response to your urgent request, we are called upon to relieve you of the duties which you have so happily, so lovingly, and so ably carried forth throughout the eighteen years of your splendid ministry with us.
"In so doing, we are guided but by one motive: that of yielding to your desire for a period of much-needed rest, following the ever increasing strain attendant upon your years and the growth of our parish. Under no other circumstances could we for a moment consider, without prayerful protest, the decision you have reached.
"Bound to you, as we are, by ties so sacred that they cannot be translated into words, we are deeply conscious of the irreparable loss to which we must submit; yet holding fast for all time to the loving memories which no earthly power can wrest from us.
"That we shall sorely miss you; that we shall continue to think of you, and most happily; that we shall never feel that the separation involved in your action will make any real change in our hearts--these are the thoughts we shall cherish, for we shall continue always to revere and to love you.
"And, as further evidence of our grateful appreciation of all that you and your beloved wife have been and have meant to every member of our parish, we beg you, in their behalf, and our own, to accept your election as Rector Emeritus of The Church of The Redeemer, together with our earnest prayers that God's richest blessings may attend you both always.
"Signed by Courtenay Barber, Senior Warden; Zelotes E. Martin, Junior Warden; Arthur Wyman, Alex. M. Davis, Carl H. Ruether, H. A. Lewis, L. H. Kellogg, Paul T. Bruyere, Edward F. Kenyon, Maurice N. Lovewell, Irwin N. Walker, and Malcolm Campbell, Jr., Vestrymen."
This beautifully engrossed and illuminated testimonial occupies a sacred place in the library of our home at "Twenty Acres."
Another remarkable and unprecedented gathering in connection with our "finale" was the choir reunion which Mr. Birch and his helpers arranged one evening in May. He invited all the previous members of our choirs whose addresses he could find, to meet at the parish house, then to have a choral Evensong in the church, and a reception following the service. There was a large and interested attendance, despite the pouring rain, and we all grouped ourselves on and before the parish house stage while one of our photographers, Mr. Roehlke, succeeded in getting-a fine picture of us all as a memento. A copy of this picture adorns our billiard room at "Twenty Acres," near a large picture of Epiphany choir which was taken just before Marie and I took our one trip to Europe, chronicled above.
So the final days sped on, and we packed up our last belongings, and the last Sunday arrived on time. It was the thirtieth day of June, the Fifth Sunday after Trinity. I had nerved myself unnecessarily for this experience, for when it came it passed just as it should have done. My successor had been called, my friend of long standing, the Rev. Edward S. White, from The Church of The Holy Communion, St. Louis, and formerly of our congregation at Libertyville, in the diocese of Chicago.
Our many friends paused in their busy lives to give us a fine "send-off" as our final weeks came on. During May, our Altar Society invited us to a social meeting at the home of one of their members, and there they presented me with a most beautiful set of white silk Eucharistic vestments and also gave me the green set and the violet set which I had used for so many years in our Celebrations. These beautiful vestments have enabled me since to Celebrate at Grand Isle, in our log chapel and in our oratory at "Twenty Acres," properly vested, and I deeply appreciate the kindness which made this possible.
Our Brotherhood Chapters held a Local Assembly meeting and service in our church during May, which was an opportunity for me to bid "good-bye" to the Brotherhood, with which I had been connected for all of our Chicago life.
The Federation of Women arranged the May meeting as a reception to Marie. One visitor pronounced it to be "the most perfect reception I have ever attended." There were guests from at least a dozen parishes, largely of the South Side, and the parish house was crowded. The women presented Marie with a purse of gold, and she acquitted herself in the response far better than I did at the Altar Society's reception when they gave me the beautiful Eucharistic vestments. Our Woman's Guild and our "Tuesday Night Club" (the young married people's club, which was the last organization that I formed in the parish, and in the organization of which Fr. Horton so admirably did most of the work) held meetings for us, and gave us purses and presents.
I used most of these unexpected gifts of gold to buy records for our graphophone library at "Twenty Acres." The clergy of the diocese gave me a luncheon, attended by some fifty. The Rev. Dr. Duncan H. Browne, Rector of St. James's Church, where Marie and I began our Chicago life, presided, and the clergy presented me with a fine box of carpenters' tools, which has ever since adorned the bench in the basement of "Twenty Acres." I was asked to preach the sermon at the annual festival of Acolytes, held that year at Grace Church, Oak Park, with some 500 Acolytes and clergy in the procession. It was the nineteenth annual festival, and over 1,000 people crowded the large church. This service was started at The Church of The Redeemer, during my first January, with 100 Acolytes and 25 clergy.
Our final number of The Kalendar, as we called our parish paper, was devoted to a brief summary of our life together, with a description of our Grand Isle home, a list of all the members of our three choirs, a list of the 154 donors to the memorial chapel of the parish, the chronicling of the various "farewell" gatherings and services, and a very beautiful poem by Anne Abbott called "Borderland," which Marie had received twenty years previous, and which was printed in this paper by the express permission of Messrs. Gorham and Co., Inc., of New York. I also gave a brief summary of statistics of our nearly nineteen years at The Church of The Redeemer. It was as follows: baptisms, 893 (223 candidates being "Of Riper Years"); confirmation candidates, 807; marriages, 467; burials, 489. Our Easter Days' Communions totaled 12,114. There had been 9,134 Celebrations of the Holy Eucharist; and 514 administrations, usually of the Reserved Sacrament, to the sick and "shut-in" parishioners. There had been 15,272 "choir offices," that is, Matins, Evensong, Litany, etc.
Up to one month before I retired, the parish raised for all purposes about $691,166. We spent for parish purposes and support, $310,952. We gave away, for diocesan missions, including our quota of diocesan assessments for Bishops' salaries and Convention expenses, about $98,-000. Likewise for General Missions and other extra-diocesan objects, we gave away some $94,322. These two extra-parochial items total away over $192,000. For improvements, new buildings, lots for the Rectory, parish house, and chapel, and for enlarging our organ, and for incidental repairs to our property, we spent $161,852. That is, we gave away for Missions, etc., about $31,000 more than we expended upon improving and maintaining our own property.
So the final day came. I Celebrated my last Holy Eucharist as Rector, and my first as Rector Emeritus. We left about $500 worth of furnishings in the Rectory, which we did not need at Grand Isle. Fr. and Mrs. White were very gracious in accepting them just as they were. We took the Michigan Central train for the East, and wended our way towards the unknown future with hearts full of gratefulness for the myriad blessings of our nearly thirty-five years of work for our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and for His Church and Kingdom in the wonderful city of Chicago, and for the six years of similar work in the Missouri Valley, the unusual two years or less of travel in the "Fifth Department," and that active year among the tenements and "sidewalks of New York."
My own feeling was that I wished I could begin it all over again and try to do all much better. I do not see how Marie could have done her part better. She was always a marvel to me. And the more I think it over in retrospect, the more I wonder at her brilliance, her versatility, her adaptability, her unchanging loyalty, her large and gifted generalship, her tireless energy, her great-heartedness and lofty nobility, her refined instincts and grace, her shrewdness and thrift, her steady devotion, her executive power, her absolute accuracy (finding Chicago's biggest bank in mistakes more than once, to their deep chagrin), her irresistible humor, her eloquence and literary charm, and her solid reliability. When did any fortunate Priest ever have a greater helper by his side during "the changes and chances" of even six utterly different parochial experiences! I think that we did not talk very much for a while, as our familiar train-route opened before us on our Eastward way. I hope that I spent most of that time in penitential prayer and humble thanksgiving. That is what I should have done, anyway.