Project Canterbury

Swedish Folk within Our Church

By Thomas Burgess

New York: Foreign-Born Americans Division, the National Council, 1929.

Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2008

The illustration on the cover is a photograph of the Jenny Lind chalice. The inscription upon it reads: "Givet till den Skandinaviska Kyrkan St. Ansgarius i Chicago av en Landsmanninna, A.D. 1851."

The Rev. Johan Gottfried Hammarsköld, D. D. For forty years leader of the Church's Scandinavian work.

Gloria Dei, Our Oldest Church in Philadelphia: Built in 1677. Under priests of the Church of Sweden till 1731. It still numbers among its communicants descendants of the Swedish founders.

St. Ansgarius' Church, Chicago: Founded by Rev. Gustaf Unonius in 1849.

Preparation for Confirmation is long and thorough among the Swedes: A typical class in 1921 at St. Bartholomew's Swedish Chapel, New York. In forty years 901 have been confirmed here. The majority have been transferred to ordinary parishes.

Swedish Clergy in 1901: Beginning at top, left to right, Outer circle - Brunner, Werner, Totterman, Toffteen, Ljunggren, Nordblad, Blomquist, Regnell, Lindstrom, Wallen, Kalin, Booden, Forsberg, Klaren, Ritz. Inner circle - Alfvegren, Hammarsköld, Sundelöf, Andren, Almfeldt, Schultzberg, Holmgren, Lindskog. Centre - Almquist, Nybladh.

Swedish Clergy in 1929: Top to bottom - Wilhelm Blomquist, A. W. Sundelöf, Litt D., K. J. W. Tullberg, J. G. Hammarsköld D. D., Philip Broburg, F. L. Anderson, W. E. Harmann, C. J. Ljunggren, E. G. Ericson, J. E. Almfeldt, Ph.D.

Showing the normal decline in the Number of Swedish Parishes: They become absorbed into the ordinary life of the Church. Records show 31,427 Scandinavian-Americans baptized by our Swedish clergy since 1887.

Tried by Fire, Emmanuel Church, Eagle Bend, Diocese of Duluth: Dean Broburg is here preaching to his people before the fire destroyed their church. The insert shows the ruins. A new church is now building.

Bethel Church, Iron Mountain, Diocese of Marquette: The people of our newest Swedish Mission bought and transformed a Baptist Church. Its missionary ministers to Swedes in many other places on the Michigan Peninsula.

One of the best choirs in Boston, St. Ansgarius' Church: For thirty-five years this has been the church home of leading Boston Swedes. Baptisms number 2058. A great welfare work has also been carried on.

Swedish Folk Within Our Church

The rise, normal decline and glorious results of half a century's work

By the Rev. Thomas Burgess, D. D.
Secretary for Foreign-Born Americans, Department of Missions, National Council

ALL OF OUR Swedish work, what there is left of it, have I seen with my own eyes, priests, people and churches. I have learned carefully its origins, rise, normal decline, results. I therefore thank God heartily and tell of it to you. For ten years, I have been technically Dr. Hammarsköld's superior officer. He has made monthly reports to me, and of course I have been more or less in touch with the work and visited some of it. This past spring, however, I made a special complete tour. It was worth it.

At present, in the special Swedish parishes, missions and circuits we have only eight priests; in 1920 there were eleven; in 1910, twenty-seven; in 1900, twenty-six; in 1890, four. According to records, these ministers of Christ have baptized since 1887, 31,427 Scandinavian-Americans; in unrecorded visits, far afield, they must have baptized at least ten thousand more. As a result, direct and in great measure indirect, for all this was not done in a corner but has been and is known of all men of Swedish origin, our ordinary parishes have in them large numbers of Swedish birth, parentage and grandparentage. This is so all over the country, but especially in the Midwest and Northeast. It is probably true to say that in these two sections, taking the three generations only, our parishes have more people of Swedish origin than of any other race excepting English.

This notable achievement of the Church's domestic mission has, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, been largely due to the wise and devoted leadership of that scholar, statesman and saint, the Rev. Johan Gottfried Hammarsköld, M. A., D. D. Landing in America in 1884, ordained priest by Bishop Clark in 1889, he first began a Swedish parish in Providence and later in New York, all the while traveling elsewhere, seeking out and shepherding the unchurched. On faith alone, he imported, at one time, six students from Sweden, not knowing even how they were going to be fed or housed, and his faith was abundantly justified. Again and again, he shared his last crust, so to speak, with those for whom he had made himself responsible. Many were the hard and picturesque experiences of his pioneer days in East and West. In 1893, he was made General Missionary and Superintendent of Swedish work under the old Board of Missions, the first and only National Foreign-Born Americans officer until in 1919 our Foreign-Born Americans Division came in with Dr. William C. Emhardt and me. And what a help and inspiration has he been to us all along! The National Council named him Dean of the Scandinavian work. Now after forty years, he is as active as ever; his constant labor and grave responsibilities still continue.

The Swedish work is now on its decline. This is normal and indeed intentional. In another ten or fifteen years there will be no need of it at all. Thus for half a century there has been skillfully woven into the variegated pattern of our American Church a profusion of Swedish [3/4] blue and yellow. This is the race, descendants of Vikings, of which Dr. Hammarsköld a few years ago said, "In history they are noted for their strong sense of honor, patriotism, valor, chivalry, pride, endurance, self-reliance, obedience to law, deep-rooted loyalty to friends, fondness for poetry, depth of feeling, religious mysticism, love of political and religious liberty, and strong desire for adventure."

On June 19, 1927, Dean Hammarsköld was the preacher at the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Gloria Dei Church (Old Swedes'), Philadelphia. He told me that many of the parishioners attending this service were lineal descendants of original settlers who founded New Sweden in 1638. The present church was built 229 years ago. The national Church of Sweden sent thirty-four priests in all up to 1831. They ministered in cordial friendship and cooperation with the churchmen of their sister Church of England, and by arrangement between the Bishop of Skara and the Bishop of London, who had jurisdiction over these neighboring missions, the Swedish clergy ministered to several English parishes. The last of this line of Swedish clergy had six of our clergy as his assistants in his large work in and about Philadelphia, one of whom became the first Bishop of New Jersey. Bishop Svedberg of Skara often reminded his colonial clergy carefully to observe "the existing union with the English Church." Holy Trinity Church (Old Swedes'), Wilmington, Delaware, which still flourishes, was the place of the meeting, in 1786, of the adjourned first General Convention.

With this introduction, let me jump to 1929 and relate what I have seen and know of the present. Incidentally, the history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries will appear. Let this be in the nature of a travelog. Dean Hammarsköld and I started west together but he [4/5] was with me only a small part of the month's trip.

The newly organized missionary society at Nashotah House had asked me to come and talk to them. Therefore I made my starting point in that lovely Wisconsin lake country so like Sweden. I found my audience consisted of the faculty and the whole student body of seventy men. I told them it was an appropriate beginning of a Swedish tour, and prefaced my address, which was on the general subject "No More Foreigners," by telling them the story of their own first graduate, Gustaf Unonius. Heading the first Swedish colony (since New Sweden days) of fifty intelligensia, he settled in 1841, at Pine Lake, in the howling wilderness a few miles south of Nashotah. Here the Rev. James Lloyd Breck took him as Nashotah's first student. Bishop Kemper ordained him in 1845 and he established our first Swedish mission in his own colony. Four years later Unonius went to Chicago.

Accordingly, after staying at delightful Nashotah two days, I got a ride as far as Milwaukee and saw from an auto the hills and lakes where Unonius once labored. Like Unonius, I went to Chicago and on Sunday preached at the new Saint Ansgarius' Church. St. Ansgarius' was founded by Unonius in 1849. Jenny Lind contributed fifteen hundred dollars and presented a beautiful specially designed chalice and paten which are now, after eighty years, the parish's most prized possession, used only on great festivals. After a ministry there of nine years, Unonius returned to Sweden where he took a government position, but was often called to officiate in the services of the national Church. A little later, the Rev. Jacob Bredberg, ordained in the Church of Sweden, came to Chicago and was accepted as a priest of our Church by Bishop Whitehouse. During the interim, the Rev. Henry B. Whipple, afterwards the famous pioneer Bishop, took charge of the work. In relating his experiences, he wrote, "One of three services which I held every Sunday was for the Swedish congregation. In my work with them I became deeply attached to the Scandinavian race for their love of home, their devotion to freedom and their loyalty to government and to God."

In this parish, 9,597 have been baptized and 3,173 confirmed. About two-thirds of these were during the long and successful rectorship of the Rev. Herman Linskog. For some years these well trained confirmation classes were the largest in the diocese. Following the custom in the Church of Sweden, preparation for confirmation by our Swedish clergy is always long and painstaking. About ten years ago a terrible catastrophe occurred. An unworthy priest wrecked the parish and lost all the property. Deans Hammarsköld and Broburg salvaged the wreck and after a few years the courageous people, with diocesan help, put up a little portable church in a new and fast-growing section of the city. They are planning to begin soon an attractive, building which will serve as church, parish house and rectory. In a few years this will be the flourishing parish of the new community; no longer Swedish but ordinary.

I attended the good-sized Sunday school and preached that morning in the temporary St. Ansgarius. The enthusiastic and forceful rector, the Rev. K. J. W. Tullberg, in introducing me at length told of their hopes and plans. After the service, which was in English, I met the Finance Committee and found them, as Bishop Griswold and several of the Chicago clergy who have been acting as their advisers told me, as fine a group as any vestry I have ever met. These people paid their quota for the general work of the Church for several years in full and last year over two hundred per cent.

General contribution for diocesan and general missions has not been characteristic of our Swedish parishes in the past. In this they are like some other parishes. Perhaps it has taken them a little longer than the average parish to awaken to this duty. Anyway the latest figures show that they are fast awakening. There is, moreover, a generic fault of which our [5/6] Swedish parishes have sometimes been accused, and I believe with some justice, viz., exclusiveness, even snobbishness, anyway parochialism. Forsooth, I have heard the same applied to others than Swedish.

That Sunday night I took a train to Galesburg and was met by Dr. Hammarsköld who had been there several days having Holy Communion for the sick, visiting the well, holding the Sunday services and preparing the Swedish people of St. John's for the return, after fifteen years' absence, of their former rector, the Rev. John E. Almfeldt, Ph.D. Dr. Almfeldt was given his M.A. and Ph.D. in course at Brown University at the age of fifty-seven. His thesis was a comparison of the philosophies of Hegel and St. Paul. He built St. John's Church at Galesburg, part of it with his own hands. When I visited him in Providence, he showed me a framed poem given him at the time by one of the leading business men of Galesburg entitled It Couldn't Be Done. In fact, Almfeldt has the building of several rectories and churches to his credit. Now his ambition is to spend the rest of his life again as a missionary. From Galesburg, he will work out into the surrounding country and draw to our Lord many unchurched of Swedish stock. Bishop Fawcett of Quincy has appointed him Archdeacon. Bishop Fawcett wrote me some time ago: "Our Swedish work contributes largely to our English-speaking work. It is only for the new arrivals and some of the old people that we need a service in the Swedish tongue, but for long we will need Swedish priests to lead. It has been a joy to find that the Swedes of St. John's really belong to us. They feel that they are a part of the American Church and have an important part in the work. They are a loyal body of people, proud of the Apostolic marks of the old Church of Sweden in which they or their forebears were reared and glad to find a similar body in this country."

Dr. Almfeldt drove in June with his family from Providence to Galesburg in his second-hand Chevrolet for which Dr. Hammarsköld raised the money. His people are overjoyed to get him back. The new Archdeacon has a good opportunity and he is the level-headed, devoted sort that will make the most of it.

At St. John's, as in all our Swedish parishes, the services are more than half in English according to our Prayer Book, and less than half in Swedish according to the use of the Church of Sweden. Swedish services must continue decreasingly a few years longer for the older generation. However, language is not the important matter. The all important thing is a priest who thoroughly understands and so can reach the scattered and unchurched people.

Dean Hammarsköld and I attended the Diocesan Convention in Peoria and made addresses. Then he went alone to St. Paul and I followed the next day. We met again only for a couple of hours when he, Associate Dean Broburg and I held a dinner conference together in an excellent Swedish restaurant.

Scandinavians were largely the pioneers and builders of Minnesota. A large proportion of the population is of their stock, Swedes and Norwegians about equally divided, and the Danes in lesser proportion. One thing that proves the result of our Swedish work is that while the numbers of Swedes and Norwegians were [6/7] about equal in the general population of Minnesota, far more Swedes are members of our ordinary parishes than Norwegians. Almost every parish in Minnesota has many Swedes in its membership. In St. Mark's, Minneapolis, which was formerly Bishop Freeman's parish, the choir is almost two-thirds Swedish. At Gethsemane Church, the rector told me a number of his children are products of nearby St. Ansgarius'.

We used to have four Swedish parishes in the Twin Cities. Now there are two, both at present under Dean Broburg who is assisted by lay readers from Seabury Divinity School. He has been greatly hampered in his widespread rural work in the past few years by the burden of these two parishes, St. Sigfrid's, St. Paul, and St. Ansgarius', Minneapolis. In the latter, since its founding, in 1893, there have been 903 baptisms and 510 confirmations. Its founder, the Rev. Olaf A. Toffteen, Ph.D., later professor at Western Theological Seminary, did remarkable work there and in the surrounding country. The Rev. Fritz Anderson was at St. Ansgarius' fifteen years. A little over a year ago, he took an ordinary parish in Manton, Rhode Island, and now has just succeeded Dr. Almfeldt at St. Ansgarius', Providence. He recently wrote me: "I am now renewing acquaintance with things Swedish and in it I find great joy." He is a talented musician and was formerly organist in St. Ansgarius', Boston. Broburg and Anderson were at Seabury together and are both products of our Swedish work. Swedish parishes in the Twin Cities have given ten priests to the Church.

I spent almost a week in these beautiful cities on opposite banks of the upper Mississippi, Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the region around about reminded me of my own New England just as it reminds the Swedes of the land of their fathers. I had good talks with Bishop McElwain and a number of the clergy on the Scandinavian situation. On Sunday morning I celebrated the Holy Eucharist at Gethsemane at eight o'clock, preached at a Swedish service at St. Sigfrid's at nine-thirty; rushed back to Minneapolis to preach at St. Paul's at eleven; then traveled to Eagle Bend and back again, making 320 miles, and arrived at my hotel three o'clock the next morning.

Because of an unforeseen shift in my plans, Dean Broburg had to change the hour of services at St. Sigfrid's and could give his people only a few days' telephonic notice. Notwithstanding this, there were over 150 in the church that morning. The big choir was splendid and sang as only Swedes can sing and they [7/10] were all thoroughgoing young native Americans of Swedish parentage and grandparentage. At least I think so, for in this parish there are a number of Norwegians and Germans, also Czechs, Danes and even a few Irish.

The service was Swedish Hoch Messa according to the Prayer Book of the Church of Sweden, which corresponds to our Proanaphora or Ante-Communion. Dean Broburg wore surplice and stole. For the Holy Eucharist, which is generally said in English, he and most of our Swedish priests wear the typical Eucharistic vestments of the Churches of Sweden and Rome which include the "fiddle-back," heavily embroidered chasuble. Although I know no Swedish, I found I could join heartily in the Swedish hymns.

St. Sigfrid's Church and rectory where Dean Broburg has been in charge for fifteen years was once in the heart of a residential settlement. Now it is in the railroad shipping section, surrounded by tall warehouses. Not one of the 467 communicants of the parish lives within a mile of the church. Because of the location paying assessments have sometimes been over one thousand dollars a year. Notwithstanding this and a large sum for improvements, these people paid five-sixths of their quota last year and plan to give the whole this year.

A 1929 graduate of Western Seminary who was born in Sweden, has just come to assist the Dean. It is hoped that another assistant can relieve him of his strenuous duties in running two parishes and leave him time for the development of his vast rural field. As it is, he has driven his Chrysler almost fifty thousand miles in the past five years on a circuit of several distant towns and villages and occasional ministrations to many scattered, unchurched Scandinavians. Beside all this, it was he who opened and superintended the new work in the Diocese of Marquette and helped solve the difficult situation in Chicago. Several times his iron strength has almost broken under the strain. He is a large man, with a fine dignified presence, sound judgment and ability as a writer, as well as tireless energy. According to his report for the year 1926, when he was temporarily running the two parishes in the Twin Cities, he performed ministrations in twenty-five different places in four dioceses.

[11] I saw some of that rural field, untouched by the Church yet ripe for the harvest, in the 320 miles that Sunday to Eagle Bend and back with the Associate Dean. I passed through more of it on the train later, a wonderful farm country developed and manned largely by the thrifty Scandinavians. At Eagle Bend in the Diocese of Duluth, we have had a Swedish mission for some years, but the work had diminished to a faithful few. Three and a half years ago Dean Broburg took hold of it. With his student lay assistants, he has built it up until it is now the outstanding congregation of the village. It also was the best church building. Last year the building was thoroughly repaired, the exterior painted, the interior painted and decorated, a new hall opened and well furnished, all bills had been paid and the final payment of twenty-five hundred dollars on the mortgage. A three days' mission had just been concluded. Then late one night, Dean Broburg received the telephone message, "Our church is burning down." He jumped into his car and drove wildly the 160 miles through the night. He found the church still burning and about the ruins in the early morning light were grouped the stricken parishioners. He told me: "I stood there and cried like a child."

I saw the bare foundations the evening I was there. We had service in a dingy upstairs Odd Fellows Hall where the fraternal regalia shone forth from a glass case near the temporary altar. There must have been two hundred people there as fine and interested a congregation as I have ever preached to, with lots of young people. It was Evening Prayer in English and they sang very sweetly the familiar hymns. At Dean Broburg's request I preached an evangelical sermon for forty minutes, as he told me the Swedes always desired a long sermon. I met and congratulated the delightful parents of Elmer Johnson who this year graduated from Seabury. Bishop Bennett on his last visitation to Eagle Bend said that if Dean Broburg had done nothing else, to have given to the Church such a candidate for Holy Orders was worth all his travels. Even now as I write a new church, with the help of the ever-ready American Church Building Fund, is rising on the old foundations. The people's affliction has only increased their zeal.

I wish there were space to write of my next four days with the new and remarkable Archdeacon for White Work of South Dakota, Valentine Junker, formerly Moderator of the Presbyterian German Midwest Synod with 149 churches under his charge. But this is a Scandinavian story and I will only mention it by stating that the vast rural field with its failing sectarianism which "Val," as everyone affectionately calls him, is opening up, is quite similar, except in racial stock and lack of trees, to Dean Broburg's rural Minnesota.

I stopped half a day at Litchfield, Minnesota, with the Rev. William E. Harmann, formerly Secretary of the Standing Committee in the Diocese of Duluth, and another of our American-born Swedish priests. This spring, he consummated the union of our Swedish and American parishes in Litchfield with a combined vestry. He has long done good work among his racial brethren, and like all the rest is often called to distant places to minister to Swedes in Swedish or English. Ten years ago, he made the same Swedish-American combination when in Duluth, but in that case the two parishes took over the Swedish church building because it was the better of the two.

I next went north to Duluth, stopping over for two hours in Minneapolis to report to a member of the National Council at breakfast. In Duluth my old G. T. S. classmate, Oscar Lindstrom, met me. Alas, we had to take a trolley to the rectory because someone had stolen the carburetor from his ancient Ford the night before. However, he installed a new one that afternoon and we merrily rattled over the extraordinary, long, bare [11/12] mountain whose side is covered with the city of Duluth, and had a wonderful view of the greatest of fresh water lakes. Lindstrom, like several others of our Swedish-born priests, has long been out of Swedish work.

In Duluth, as everywhere, the results of former Swedish efforts have told strongly. St. Paul's, Duluth, is the largest parish in the Diocese. Its rector, the Rev. B. T. Kemerer, formerly of the Field Department, reported to the Division last year that his parish was made up "very largely" of people of Scandinavian stock. Of course, no one looks upon these people as foreigners because the Scandinavians are part and parcel of the regular American population, and many are among the leading citizens. So it is all over this country where Lindbergh was brought up.

I preached for Lindstrom in his two churches on Sunday, went on a picnic Monday at his camp on the inlet of the lake with Kemerer and the Dean and hospitable Mrs. Lindstrom, who is, by the way, educational secretary of the diocesan Woman's Auxiliary. That night I took the sleeper along the southern border of Lake Superior, got off the train at Marquette at four a. m. and went to a hotel to finish my sleep. At nine o'clock Bishop Harris came and got me and he and the Dean all day showed me the beauties of Marquette. Its high rocky shore covered with pines, balsam firs and white birches is just like the coast of Maine, only the waters of the great cold lake are a Mediterranean blue. In the evening, the Bishop drove me out to the edge of the cliffs and we meditated in the moonlight.

Next day the Bishop drove me south one hundred miles through the deep woods and mining country to Iron Mountain. Our veteran priest, the Rev. Wilhelm Blomquist, and the famous old Archdeacon Poyseor met us. Like all Swedes, Mr. Blomquist has a most refreshing sense of humor. It is great fun wandering among Swedes. The church at Iron Mountain is our newest Swedish [12/13] mission. A whole congregation, including its former minister, ordained in Sweden, asked Bishop Harris to take them over six years ago. A National Council appropriation on a decreasing scale helped start them and carried them along. Now they are self-supporting. They bought and transformed a former Baptist church and ordered a gorgeous altar from Chicago. It cost them many thousands of dollars to make over this church. The whole matter has been accomplished under Dean Broburg's wise guidance.

I never saw such an immaculate church. We tracked a little dust on the shining chancel floor and were at great pains to remove it. That evening came the service, Swedish Vespers. Mr. Blomquist preached ten minutes, the Bishop ten, the Archdeacon eleven (his standard duration), and then, heeding Dean Broburg's emphatic admonition given me before I left him, I held forth for forty-five! I preached an evangelical sermon and chose as my text that giving the ninefold fruits of the Holy Spirit, and then followed it with a dissertation on the Swedish work of the Church. After I finished, the rector began preaching some more, so I had to bid the Bishop good-bye in the sanctuary and make my train as I had an appointment with Bishop Griswold next morning.

The rest of the trip was not Scandinavian except as I talked with Bishops Griswold and Fawcett and met at Bishop Griswold's house, where I was entertained, the student, Mr. Franklin, whom I have mentioned before as being Broburg's new assistant. In Chicago I spoke at a U. T. O. diocesan meeting, visited the Presbyterian Jewish Mission, lunched with the Rev. F. G. Deis of the Field Department, spent an hour with the Greek Bishop of Chicago, who, by the way, is a graduate of Nashotah, and then took the train for Quincy. There I celebrated and preached in my grandfather's old Cathedral (he was the first Bishop of Quincy) and saw some more of Bishop Fawcett. After attending the Quincy Deanery Convocation, I traveled by various [13/14] trains and steamers to Toronto where I investigated the Church's Jewish work and met at the Bishop's Synod reception a number of Canadian clergy. One of these was Canon Vernon, who as the head of immigrant work in Canada has long been in touch with our Division, and another, the chairman of the new Canadian Church Committee on Cooperation with the Eastern Orthodox. Then I sailed back across Lake Ontario to the United States and home.

Let me now take a glance at the past extension of the Midwest Scandinavian work, and this will lead fittingly to the work in the East. As I mentioned above, there was formerly a much larger number of organized mission stations. There have been forty-two in all. The largest number of priests in charge of them at one time was twenty-seven. The majority of these stations are now entirely Americanized. Our present number of organized Swedish parishes and missions is twelve with eight priests.

In the Midwest, four of these former organized Swedish stations were in Illinois, including Emmanuel in Chicago which united, in 1915, with Holy Cross parish. There were fifteen of these in Minnesota and two in North Dakota, some of which were started by the former Midwest General Missionary to the Swedes, the Rev. John V. Alvergen, who later returned to Sweden and is now rector of a large parish there. It was in North Dakota where one of our veteran Swedish missionaries, the Rev. P. A. Almquist, lost his sight while traveling over the vast prairie spaces in a driving blizzard. Totally blind, he came to Minneapolis and died there three years ago. In addition to a small pension, he and his wife were supported all these years by the efforts and in part the purses of Deans Hammarsköld and Broburg. Grace Church, New York, used to contribute regularly, as did also several individuals.

For three years, also, there was a Swedish mission and priest at the Cathedral, Denver, Colorado, at the time of Dean Hart. Dr. Hammarsköld had the following experience there. On his arrival in Denver, he found it exceedingly hot. Sunday morning came a blizzard. He waded knee-deep to the Cathedral and there to his astonishment found practically the whole Swedish Sunday school faithfully present, including the smallest tots. For five summers Mr. Blomquist has taken his vacation in the far West, Oregon and Washington. He spent much of the time visiting Swedish people and baptized and presented for confirmation quite a number and connected them with various parishes.

Now for the East, the First, Second and Third Provinces. This part of my tour has been made at odd times during the past few months. St. Ansgarius', Providence, Rhode Island, where Dr. Almfeldt was rector and where now is the Rev. Fritz Anderson, has a building copied from a thirteenth century church in old Sweden, attractively located on the corner of a little park not far from the Rhode Island Hospital. Dr. Hammarsköld began there his first work in 1887. In this parish, 1,245 have been baptized and 1,034 confirmed. A constant stream has gone forth to our ordinary parishes. Like all other Swedish parishes it never grows. New members from immigration and other sources keep the communicant lists about static and they give forth their young people year by year to other parishes. From Providence as a center five missions were established for a while and then turned their members into the ordinary parishes. Bishop Perry told me he thought much of his Swedish parish and that the splendid loyalty of its people was a lesson to other parishes.

Founded by its present rector, the Rev. A. W. Sundelöf, Litt.D., St. Ansgarius' in Boston has flourished since 1893 and has ever had as its members the leading Swedes of the city. It has by last report 480 communicants. Dr. Sundelöf is a charming person and a poet of great talent. He has a boyish sense of fun. Mrs. Sundelöf has been a great help to him in [14/15] his work and in the training of the choir. Recently this parish, with diocesan help, bought and refitted a large Unitarian church in Roxbury with extensive parish rooms. He needs an assistant now so that he, like the other Swedish clergy, can hold occasional services for Swedes in other places in the Diocese. There are four places in Massachusetts which formerly had organized congregations.

In Connecticut, the now abandoned Swedish stations numbered three. In one of these places, West Haven, the rector reported on the blank sent out by the Division last year that among his parishioners were "one hundred Swedes and eighty Danes, approximately." In New Jersey there used to be one. In the Diocese of New York there were eight and one of these, Brewster, has had for years on its vestry two Swedes.

A new semi-Swedish work is being carried on by the Rev. Carl J. Ljunggren, formerly of the Seamen's Church Institute and for fifteen years rector of St. Ansgarius', Providence. At Hopewell Junction, an ordinary mission where he is priest in charge, he has occasional Swedish services. In Christ Church, Poughkeepsie, he had for a couple of years Swedish services monthly and now four times a year. The rector, the Rev. Alexander Cummins, D. D., takes a great interest in his work.

In 1889, Dr. Hammarsköld left Providence and organized a Swedish mission in St. Bartholomew's parish, New York; two years later the present St. Bartholomew's Swedish Chapel on 127th Street was acquired. The rector, the Rev. Dr. Greer, later Bishop, was ever one of Dr. Hammarsköld's most loyal supporters in this chapel, where 2,098 baptisms and 901 confirmations are recorded. Since its foundation it has been the spiritual home of thousands of Swedes of greater New York and vicinity. The large majority have been transferred to other parishes but a number still come to the chapel for their Christmas and Easter Communions. [15/16] The priests in charge have continually gone out to minister to Swedish people in Staten Island, Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey with the result of widespread religious education, baptisms and confirmations. For the past twelve years the devoted pastor of this chapel has been the Rev. Eric Gideon Ericson.

And now for Dr. Hammarsköld's own particular work, though indeed it is all his work. Many of the parishes and missions were established by him personally and with all of them he has been in intimate touch. His statesmanlike wisdom, devotion, tireless energy, and gentle great-heartedness have rarely been equalled by any of the pioneer missionaries of the Church, and the way has bristled with difficulties. For some years now he has lived in Yonkers, New York, and has a regular Swedish congregation, with evening services only, in the chapel of St. John's Church, Yonkers, and another congregation in nearby Tarrytown. His office is in St. John's Parish House. When he is away, the Swedish priests in New York and Hopewell Junction take his services, or one of the nearby clergy. He told me the other day that he had preached in the last forty years 10,367 sermons, an average of over 200 a year. This does not count addresses. Let me quote from some of his monthly reports of the few years past. These reports are paragons of brevity. Here is a typical one: "I beg leave to report that during the month of December, I conducted twenty-three services, took part in four, and delivered sixteen sermons, six addresses, celebrated Holy Communion eight times, one public and six private, baptized five children, married two couples and officiated at four burials."

Three other monthly reports, after giving a similar list of ministrations, say: "During the same period I visited Washington, D. C., seven towns in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and attended to work at my missions and preaching stations." "Visited eleven towns in Massachusetts, nine places in Rhode Island and six in Connecticut." "During my western trip, I had from two to three services every weekday and four every Sunday. The average attendance at these services was 162." And another: "beg leave to report that during the month of January I suffered from a rather severe attack of rheumatism, but I managed to conduct all stated services and with the aid of automobiles to call on 149 non-church-attending families in Westchester County. The main object of these calls has been to urge parents to at least send their children to our Sunday schools, and I have reason to believe that the results will justify the efforts made. Permit me to suggest that you make it known to our American clergy that I am anxious to visit their parishes and cooperate with them in the efforts to gather the younger generation of Scandinavians into the Church." Each year he has brought new life and courage to Swedish priests and people in various places by holding several missions of three to seven days' duration. Recently, Mr. Ericson has been recovering from an operation and the overworked Dean, who was sixty-nine years old in August, has been running his parish. He seems to have spent the hot summer having funerals in Brooklyn and elsewhere. I do not think he ever took a real vacation. Two years ago the Archdeaconry of Westchester helped him to buy an Essex car. It has been a wonderful aid to him in his work and a real recreation.

I have attempted to tell something of the little-known story of our Swedish work, its origin, rise, normal decline and glorious results during half a century. Truly it is one of the most remarkable cross-sections of the history of our American Church. For this that has been accomplished for the souls of thousands, thanks be to God.

Copies of this leaflet may be obtained from the Foreign-Born Americans Division, 281 Fourth Ave., New York, N. Y., by asking for Leaflet No. 1546.

Project Canterbury