Holy Trinity, Blakely

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Blakely, Georgia
A History by Mrs. Sarah Rebecca Moore Standifer

To write the history of Holy Trinity Church is to narrate one phase of the work of a humble, saintly, much-loved man, Dr. James. Bolan Lawrence, Rector of Calvary Church in Americus for forty years and one of the Diocese of Georgia’s Archdeacons. He was a man of determination, persistence and ability, equally at home with all classes of people. A man who read his New Testament Greek, yet was called “brother” by the people on the street.

It was during his first years to Americus that his mother told him of her god-child in Blakely, Rebe Standifer. He learned that two members of his Calvary Church, Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Donaldson, were living in Blakely. So, on Tuesday morning, November 17, 1908, he caught the four o’clock Central of Georgia train and arrived in Blakely at 9:45 A. M. He spent that day looking over the town, arranging a place to hold a service, inviting people to hear him preach, and rounding up his flock. It consisted of four Episcopalians, Mrs. Rebecca Jeanette (Jones) Standifer, Rebe Mae Standifer, John Pere Donaldson, Mrs. Eugenia M. Donaldson and one Lutheran, Mrs. Lucy Reich Smith.

The Church register states that Holy Communion was celebrated at 11 A. M., Thursday November 19, 1908, and that other services were held on November 17 and 20. Five people communed. This was the first Episcopal service ever held in Blakely. One year later, on November 17, 1909, he came back for one day, holding two services, Litany at 4 P. M., and Evening Prayer at 7:30. A note in the register says that these two visits were recorded as part of the work of Calvary Church, Americus, Ga.

On January 10, 1910, James B. Lawrence really started his work in Blakely. He was very methodical. On the second Monday in each month he arrived on the morning train, visited everyone who was sick and most of the other people in town, he had the Litany at 4 P. M. Evening Prayer at 7:30. At eight o’clock Tuesday morning, he led Chapel service at the school house, inviting the children to meet him at 4 P. M. for a children’s service. That night at 7:30 was Evening Prayer and sermon, Wednesday morning at a o’clock was Holy Communion, after which he caught the 9:45 train for Americus. The records show that he did this every month. These services were held in the Court House, except on special occasions.

On Tuesday, January 11, 1910, the Rt. Rev. F. F. Reese, D. D. Bishop of Georgia, came from Savannah and confirmed four, Harry Paul Munnerlyn, Lucie Otey Donaldson, Elizabeth Emma Standifer and Mrs. Eleanor Frances (Smith) Waters. This was the first confirmation ever held In Blakely and took place in the Blakely Methodist Church out of deference to the Bishop. This is the only time that the service was moved from the Court House on the Bishop’s visit. All the services were held in the Court House except during Court Week, when either the Methodist or Baptist Church was used. Mr. Lawrence obtained an organ and had it placed near the jury box when the services were held. He played the hymns himself if the organist Mrs. H. G. Smith, was absent. He always held Communion Services at the homes, and, since Mrs. H. G. Smith’s was more centrally located, hers was the favored place. The attendance was very good. The largest recorded was 200 to hear the Bishop on March 14, 1911. On that visit, Dr. W. B. Standifer was confirmed.
On February 27, 1912, Bishop Reese made his annual visit and confirmed Lucile Perry, Evelyn Cunningham, Martha Eugenia Donaldson, and John Branch Munnerlyn. His text was “Faithful Servant.” One hundred people were there.
The first marriage recorded by Mr. Lawrence was that of Samuel Franklin Gammon and Elizabeth Emma Standifer on November 11, 1919. This was a home wedding.

The Bishop failed to come in 1913, but on May 19, 1914, John Munnerlyn Donaldson was confirmed. That year twelve communicants were reported at Convention. On February 1, 1915, Sarah Rebecca (Moore) Standifer and Jack Guy Standifer were confirmed. This was the last confirmation in the Court House.

Mr. Lawrence had bought a lot on College Street, where formerly stood the home of Richard Holmes Powell, the father of Judge Arthur G. Powell of Atlanta. He now had money enough to start building his church, His friend and architect, Mr. Lockwood, Sr., of Columbus, drew the plans and built the church in 1916. It was named by Mrs. Eugenia Munnerlyn Donaldson, one of the original five, and called Holy Trinity.

The first service held in the new building was Holy Communion at 10:30, on the morning of October 2, 1916, with seven members present.

The Rev. Newton Middleton, Rector of St. Paul’s in Albany, was invited to preach the opening sermon at 7:30 Monday night, Oct. 2, 1916. Seventy-five came out to hear him. Mr. Lawrence wanted to hold the Archdeaconry meeting in Blakely and began to work to that end. This took place the week of Feb. 12, 1917. Mr. Lawrence arrived on Monday to have everything in readiness to receive the priests on Tuesday. His friends of all denominations entertained them in their homes. They were Bishop Reese, R. W. MacCullum, W. W. Webster, Newton Middleton, and John Moore Walker. The meeting lasted through Thursday. Attendance was good. Subjects of the sermons were “Christian Conversion,” “Christian Duty,” “Christian Covenant,” and “Christian Prayer.” Thelma Jackson was confirmed.

In order to have more services, Mr. Newton Middleton began coming once each month, between Mr. Lawrence’s visits. This lasted only five months.

On April 22, 1918, the Bishop came and preached on Patriotism. On June 12, 1918, Mr. Lawrence held his last service which was Holy Communion, before leaving for army duty In France, he was in the war eight months. He left the Rev. J. M. Walker, who had replaced the Rev. Middleton in Albany, in charge of Holy Trinity. Mr. Walker came by train, stayed two days on each visit, and held three services, one for the children, Evening Prayer, and Communion. He came in July, August, and September. Then the influenza epidemic started. There were no services in October, November or December, but Mr. Walker returned on January 7, and come again in February and March. (Mr. Walker was Bishop of Atlanta in later life).

Mr. Lawrence returned on April 7, which was on occasion for Holy Trinity. Fifty people came to his evening service on Monday night and eighty-one came on Tuesday night. He brought the church two 14-Inch brass shells to be used as vases. They are still used in the sanctuary windows.

In June, 1920, Mr. Lawrence Invited Mr. Walker over for a week of services, beginning Monday, the 14th and, ending Saturday, the 19th. The next year, beginning June 6, 1921, he invited Mr. R. R. Claiborne to hold another mission. The attendance was very good.

The first marriage to take place in the church was that of Thomas Jackson Howell, Jr., and Martha Eugenia Donaldson, on August 19, 1922, James B. Lawrence officiated.

On January 28, 1923 the Rev. Herbert Scott-Smith, an Englishman who had charge of the Bainbridge Church made his first trip to Blakely. This was Septuagisima Sunday, and was the first Sunday service ever held in Holy Trinity, From then on, he came one Sunday in each month for thirteen years. These Sunday services supplemented Mr. Lawrence’s week day services.

When Bishop Reese made his visit on February 26, 1923, five were presented for confirmation. They were Mrs. Lucy Reich Smith, Sarah Virginia Adams, Emeline Ryan Adams and Mrs. Adele Joyce (Ryan) Adams.

The Bishop had confirmed, on Feb. 7, 1921, Mrs. Elizabeth (Thomas) Balkcom, Dorothy Elizabeth Balkcom, Mrs. Lena (Hall) Glessner, and Robert Jackson. Mr. L. D. Patterson, Edgar E. McGauty, Jr., Miss Ann J. Willis, and George C. Willis had come into the church by transfer. The total number of communicants reported on December 31, 1923, was 26.
These were the church’s most thriving years. There was a choir under the direction of Mrs. Eugenia Donaldson Howell, consisting of twelve children and two adults. Mrs. H. G. Smith was organist. There was a Sunday School with Dr. Standifer, Superintendent, and Mrs. V. F. Balkcom, Secretary and Treasurer.

The Bishop decided that Mr. Lawrence was needed to finish building the church in Moultrie, so he was asked to give the time he spent in Blakely to that project, leaving Holy Trinity entirely in the care of Mr. Scott-Smith.

Mr. Lawrence had collected old gold, out of which he had a beautiful communion set made. This he carried with him to all his churches. Holy Trinity had never felt the necessity of buying one of their own, but with Mr. Lawrence gone, this had to be done. On June 8, 1921, Mr. Scott-Smith blessed the lovely now silver communion vessels. Eighteen people signed the register.

Services continued monthly under Mr. Scott-Smith, who at first came by train from Bainbridge. Although it is only forty-five miles, he had to change trains in Arlington making a long, tiresome trip, requiring hours. In 1927, he bought a car, which made his trips much easier.

The next event of importance was the buying of two sanctuary windows which Dr. Lawrence came back to dedicate on May 26, 1925. Thirty friends came to the service.

A united service for Masons was held at the Baptist Church in 1927, in which Mr. Scott-Smith took a prominent part. He had a beautiful Knight Templar hat and sword which he had brought with him from England. These he gave to Dr. J. G. Standifer when he was made a Knight Templar.

On Monday, Feb. 11, 1928, C. C. J. Carpenter made a visit to Trinity and preached at 11 o’clock In the morning. He later became Bishop of Alabama.

The next three to be confirmed were Frances Connor Balkcom, Flewelyn Williams, and Sarah Eleanor Standifer, on April 29, 1929, by Bishop Reese.

In January 1931, the Albany Archdeaconry met for three days, 27th through 29th, at Holy Trinity. The clergy present were Bishop Reese, Archdeacon James B. Lawrence, Francis Craighill, Jr., Scatlane J. Cornish, Robb White, Jr., John Chipman, H. S. Cobey, H. Scott-Smith, and Mr. Patillo.

Bishop Reese’s last visit was on Monday night, April 3, 1933. The Rev. H. S. Cobey, Rector of St. Paul’s in Albany, came over with him. Forty-five came out to hear him speak.

On Sept. 30, 1934, Mr. Scott-Smith gave an address on the Holy Land. He had just returned from a trip there. Services were held regularly on the fourth Sunday in each month except the vacation month of August. On June 2, 1935, the Vicar preached the commencement sermon Baptist Church.

Bishop Reese retired and was replaced by Bishop M. S. Barnwell who made his first official visit to Holy Trinity on Feb. 2, 1936. He came alone from Bainbridge as Mr. Scott-Smith was taken ill after the 11 o’clock service. The Bishop preached to a full house and confirmed five: Marjorie Standifer, William Bryan Standifer, Mary Moore Standifer, Amelia Williams, and Vivian Strong Williams. In the absence of the Vicar, these were presented for confirmation by the Senior Warden, Dr. Standifer.

Mr. Scott-Smith’s health was failing. On May 23 1937, Trinity Sunday, he preached his last sermon at Holy Trinity to a full church, for he much loved by all who knew him. He returned to England where had two sisters, one of whom was married to an Anglican priest. He lived in Craft House, Hastings, and frequently preached in the various churches. During the Second World War, Craft House was bombed, but fortunately, he was in the country of the time.

On June 6, 1937, Dr. Lawrence came back to Holy Trinity, and services were again week-day. This continued until December 31, 1939 when Mr. J. H. Harvey was given the Bainbridge and Blakely churches. This was the first time Holy Trinity had ever had a Vicar with a wife. He came twice a month by car from Bainbridge.

Bishop Barnwell made his official visit on July 21, 1940, and confirmed Joanna Hilton Sherman Virginia Eleanor Pritchard aria Elsie Lorraine Pritchard. Mr. Harvey officiated at the wedding of Thomas Franklin Davis and Sarah Eleanor Standifer on March 16, 1941. It was a home wedding.

In 1942, the roof of the church was replaced.

Mr. Harvey’s last sermon was in July, 1942. He took a church in Roswell, New Mexico, which he served until he retired.

Dr. Lawrence came, back on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 1942. He had a black Ford, so came through the country visiting and preaching in Dawson Cuthbert and Blakely on the same trip. Records show that Holy Communion was held on each trip at 11 A. M.

The entire second generation had failed to return to Blakely after leaving for college, so church attendance had reached a low ebb, being comprised mostly of the original members.

Dr. Lawrence continued to conduct regular services through December, 1945, when he had a heart attack and had to give up his work, but he returned on Saturday, March 2, 1946. He held Holy Communion at 11 A. M. and officiated at the marriage of Jack Orr Dean and Joanna Hilton Sherman at 8 P. M. in the Methodist Church. Dr. Lawrence, made three more trips to Holy Trinity in 1946. He had finished his 40th year of service at Calvary Church in Americus, and had resigned. He came to Holy Trinity on April 13, 1947, and held Holy Communion, and again on May 22, holding Holy Communion at 11 A. M., and officiating at the marriage of Jason Lawrence Meadors and Mary Moore Standifer in the Methodist Church at 8:30 P. M. Dr. Lawrence had another heart attack on Sunday, May 26, and died at his summer cottage, “Bloody March Villa,” on St. Simon’s Island on Monday morning, July 28, 1947.

When the Rev. W. C. Baxter took over the Americus Church, he had been asked by Dr. Lawrence to look after Holy Trinity until the Bishop could make provision for it. He made his first trip down by car on Tuesday, July 15, 1947. He returned on October 13 with his bride. She was an Americus girl and the niece of Miss Sally Davenport who had previously given to Holy Trinity a beautiful pair of candlesticks for the Altar. Mr. and Mrs. Baxter came down once each month on Sunday afternoon, holding a service at 7:30 P. M. and returning that night to Americus, a distance or 70 miles. Bishop Barnwell came on April 11, 1948, and confirmed John Hand Williams; Pheriba Alexander Moore and Helen (Patterson) Batson. Mr. Baxter continued to come monthly through July 15, 1949, when the Rev. H. E. Waller, Jr., who had just finished seminary, was given both Bainbridge and Blakely. Mr. Harcourt E. Waller’s first official service was Evening Prayer at 8 P. M., August 21, 1949. He had charge of the church through November 1, 1954. During this period, a number of changes were made. He taught a group of ladies to serve on the Altar Guild, thereby relieving Mrs. J. G. Standifer, who had had complete charge for years. The church was repainted on the inside. Kneeling benches were covered in red velvet. A janitress was hired to clean the church. Up to this time, the ladies had taken months at church keeping. As there was no one in the church who played, Nellie Ann Chandler, a Methodist was hired as organist and served until August, 1954, when Emily Houston replaced her.

In 1951 when Dr. Standifer was made Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, Miss Evelyn Hay took over his duties as Church Treasurer. In 1952, Miss Hay moved to Thomasville, and Mrs. E. E. Sessions was made the third treasurer of Holy Trinity.

Mr. Waller greatly desired to have a service in Holy Trinity every Sunday. He discussed this with Mr. Madson of St. Paul’s in Albany, who offered his lay readers to help if needed. On June 21 1953, services were started every Sunday afternoon at 6 o’clock, Mr. Waller having charge of the first and third Sundays and lay readers the other Sundays. The first lay readers to serve were Dr. J. G. Standifer, E. E. Little, Phillip Shefield, and Wilton Howell. In January, 1954, St. Paul’s in Albany began sending their lay readers on the third and fifth Sundays.

Bishop Barnwell’s last visit to Southwest Georgia before retiring was to Bainbridge on October 31, 1954, where he confirmed for Holy Trinity, Dr. Thomas Hunter Samson. Dr. Samson practiced medicine in Arlington, Georgia, and attended Holy Trinity with his wife. He was recalled to the Army and was given foreign service soon after his confirmation.

Changes began to take place at Holy Trinity. The Reverend Harcourt E. Waller, Jr., accepted a call to be Chaplain at Florida State University in Tallahassee. He made his last visit to Holy Trinity holding Holy Communion on November 1, 1954. Bishop Barnwell retired and the Reverend Albert Rhett Stuart of New Orleans was elected and consecrated in his place. Bishop Stuart made his first visit to Holy Trinity on December 5, 1954, accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Madson, rector of St. Paul’s, since Blakely and Bainbridge had no Vicar to welcome him. The ladies of the Auxiliary gave a supper after the service for the Bishop and out-of-town guests at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Standifer. The Bishop spent the night and celebrated Holy Communion on Monday morning.

The layreaders of Blakely and Albany continued the Sunday afternoon services until Easter, April 10, 1955, when the Reverend John Paul Jones, Jr., (who had replaced Mr. Waller in Bainbridge) came to Blakely for his first service which was Holy Communion at Holy Trinity. After this, he came on the first and third Sunday afternoons and the lay readers continued on the second and fourth as formerly, except for one month when the Bishop placed a seminarian, Mr. James P. Crowther, Jr., in charge. Mr. Crowther lived with the Standifers and made friends with the young people whom he met on the tennis courts. He conducted services on Sundays writing his own sermons, and gained experience in looking after a Mission Church. After his departure the Albany lay readers resumed their coming on the second and fourth Sunday afternoons. In 1957, Mr. Jones turned over the third and fifth Sundays to them, and he come weekly and visited the people. Those from St. Paul’s taking part were W. L. Wells, K. T. Beals, C. P. Whiting, John Whiting, John Harden, James M. Robinson, Julian Hall, David Hard, J. F. Hartley and S. E. Ward.

The year 1957 was eventful. The Church gained two real assets when Mr. George Smith moved to Bluffton and transferred his membership to Holy Trinity from Orlando, Florida, and when Mr. William Bernard King was confirmed on May 19 1957, by Bishop Stuart in Cuthbert, having been presented by Mr. Jones for Holy Trinity. He soon become the Church’s efficient treasurer. Floyd Hattaway was also confirmed, but, soon after, on the death of his wife, moved to Mobile, Alabama.

It was also in 1957 that hymnals were given to Holy Trinity by Mrs. Eleanor (Waters) Thompson of Houston, Texas, in memory of her mother, Eleanor Smith Waters. It was also on July 7, 1957 that Mrs. Eugenia Donaldson and her daughter, Lucie Donaldson Riggs, of Graham, Texas, attended Evening Prayer at Holy Trinity and made their yearly donations. Mrs. Donaldson and her husband were the two Episcopalians who transferred their memberships from Americus, to make the five original members when Dr. Lawrence started the church in 1908. Mrs. Donaldson suggested the name “Holy Trinity.” Both she and her husband are buried in Blakely from Holy Trinity.

Another lady from Texas, Mrs. Vivian Davidson, gave generously each month to Holy Trinity for a number of years before her illness and retirement. She had never been a member but was one of the children from another church who had attended Dr. Lawrence’s services for children and had been confirmed after leaving Blakely.

Three years passed after the sale of the first Camp Reese before a suitable location was found to build another. The second and third summers of these years, Camp Hichita in Kolomoki State Park, a few miles north of Blakely, was used by the Diocese of Georgia as their camp. It was a most enjoyable time for the people of Holy Trinity as Evening Prayer was held on Sunday afternoon at Holy Trinity. The Blakely members were happy to see their church filled with young people. This also was in 1957, but that year ended sadly when, on November 3, 1957, the Reverend John Paul Jones, Jr. announced that he had accepted a call from Thankful Memorial Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In the two and one-half years, he had endeared himself not only to his church members but to the people of Blakely. It was with deep regret that the church gave him up, even though they did not know that with him went the last Protestant Episcopal Priest.


For forty-eight years, Holy Trinity had been a member of the Thomasville Convocation, but since the Bainbridge Church had become a parish, was thought best to put Holy Trinity with other Mission Churches. On January 5, 1958, the Reverend Dr. George V. Johnson, a former Roman Catholic priest for sixteen years and a transfer to the Anglican Church had Holy Trinity added to his other two Mission Churches—Cuthbert and Dawson. This automatically transferred Holy Trinity to the Albany Convocation. Father Johnson was a mature, conscientious man hard working and a brilliant speaker. Many of his sermons were so good that the congregation would have liked them published. He was also trained in the use tools. At the beginning of Lent 1958, he suggested that the laymen, with his help, remodel the church building as their Lenten sacrifice. So, on the first Monday after Ash Wednesday; Mr. Smith, Mr. Howell and Dr. Johnson met at the church and the work started. The rooms on either side of the altar were removed and put at the back on either side of the entrance. The choir floor was lowered to the level of the nave of the church. The second level, or what had been the choir level, was put across the entire building stead of from small side room to small side room as formerly. The pulpit and lectern were put on this floor at either side, connected by the communion rails with a passageway between. The third level, on which was the altar, was very small, holding only the altar and priest instead of the altar, communion rails, servers and priest as before. With this arrangement, the seating capacity was increased by twenty-four, having three more pews on either side of the aisle. The two rooms in the rear; with a small hall from the outside doors to the inner swinging doors, gave privacy to the bathrooms and looked very nice. Dr. Johnson himself designed and made the reredos, altar, communion rails, pulpit and lectern. By Holy Week, the building was completed and ready for the celebration of Easter. The appearance was greatly improved. Dr. Johnson’s next idea was to spend a month in Blakely, with Blakely as headquarters instead of Dawson. It happened that Mrs. Perry on North Main Street wished to visit her sister in Atlanta and was willing to rent her home as it stood to the Johnsons, allowing them the use of all her things. The Johnsons really enjoyed her large house and the grates with coal fires. Mrs. Johnson enjoyed entertaining and using Mrs. Perry’s lovely things. The old house came to life that month. They had Open House for neighbors and Parish members, entertained visiting clergy and the Bishop on his visit. In fact, some guest was there almost every night.

Dr. Johnson’s next project was a Mission followed by a visit from Bishop Stuart. The priests taking part In the Mission were (1) the Reverend Ben Meginnis from Dothan, Alabama, a man well known in Blakely and very popular through his part on the “Pastor’s Forum,” a broadcast each Sunday night over Dothan TV: (2) the Reverend William Worrell; (3) the Reverend Harry Shipps; (4) the Reverend Joseph Peacock; and (5) the Reverend Nelson A. Daunt of Albany. The attendance each night was very good. The Bishop came and praised the work that had been done at Holy Trinity. Dr. Johnson truly left his mark in the church. He accepted a call to a church in North Augusta.

On June 21, 1959, a most remarkable red-headed, sunburned, returned missionary from the Bahamas, the Reverend J. H. MacConnell arrived on Sunday afternoon, with a charming wife a most perfectly behaved five year old son and a large dog equally well-behaved. He had been sent to the three Mission churches—Blakely, Cuthbert and Dawson—for the express purpose of completing the church in Dawson, which for some reason was at a standstill; the walls were up, but no roof. He stayed one year, at the end of which the Dawson church was completed and dedicated. The Bishop, at the end of the dedication service, announced that the parochial school in Savannah was without a headmaster, and that no other man in the Diocese of Georgia was so capable of heading this school as was Father MacConnell. The Blakely church was very fond of Father McConnell and was happy that he had the opportunity to return to the educational field.

Mr. MacConnell’s Lenten observation was especially memorable.. He came to Blakely each Tuesday evening for the Litany service, and showed pictures of the Holy Land. His lectures on his travels there were enjoyed by the congregation. It was the nicest Lent the Church had ever had. Since service each Sunday was Holy Communion, friends from other denominations felt hesitant about attending. There were fifteen at his last service, on May 8. Father MacConnell was a priest of the old school like Dr. Lawrence and Mr. Scott-Smith. He even started Holy, Communion with the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments. Father MacConnell suited Holy Trinity, and his leaving was a great loss.

Beginning June 4, 1960, Holy Trinity was in the charge of a Deacon the first time in its history, Mr. Aural H. Muntean. During this period, Mr. Daunt of St. Paul’s in Albany, came over once a month to the communion service. Four of the nine members of Holy Trinity were elderly and rather reluctant to have the form of worship altered from the familiar. Therefore the two deacons, Mr. Muntean, and later Mr. Groves, received valuable training in dealing with obstinate congregations early in their ministries. Other training that these deacons received at Holy Trinity was the burial of the dead. Mr. Muntean had two funerals. He really studied on the subject, and the second was very nicely done.

At the end of his year, June, 1961, Mr. Muntean as ordained a priest. His father and mother came to Georgia for his ordination in the Church of Holy Spirit, Dawson. The Cuthbert and Blakely missions helped finance the celebration. A large representation from Dawson, Cuthbert, Blakely, Americus and Albany filled the Dawson church. Just as the members of Holy Trinity began to understand and appreciate Mr. Muntean, he was given another church. His last service was on July 9, 1961; his subject was “Anger.”

The next Sunday, Mr. Clayton Graves, the second deacon took charge of Holy Trinity. Beneath soft-spoken words lay his belief that his word was law. As may be imagined, his life in Blakely was not very harmonious. Mr. Graves decided that the reredos which Dr. Johnson had built for Holy Trinity would look better in the Cuthbert church. He moved it to Cuthbert incensing the members of Holy Trinity. Mr. Graves promptly returned reredos. His work in Blakely lasted for two years, ending in August, 1963.

The dear Bishop was so upset with his children in Southwest Georgia the decided to let the missions look after themselves. Holy Trinity survived the crisis with flying colors. Mr. Wilton Howell, lay reader of Holy Trinity, under the supervision of Father Daunt Archdeacon, continued the regular weekly services. Father Daunt and Faller Wirtz came to Blakely for communion once a month.

This period of more than a year without a priest was a time of physical improvements. The windows of plain glass were replaced by cathedral glass. All needed repairs were made and the church was painted. The pews were cushioned with foam rubber, and the kneeling benches covered to match. The stove was taken out and with the financial help of a Baptist friend, the church was air conditioned. Mr. and Mrs. J. M. David, Sr. of Albany, after a visit to see the church where their son was to be married offered to give hanging lights. This was a most gracious suggestion and was gratefully accepted by Holy Trinity as it was the one thing most needed to beautify the building. The church lot was surveyed and Mr. Howell put up a chain-link fence on the two sides not facing the streets, and planted climbing roses.
The big event of the summer was the marriage of Sydney, the older daughter of Mr. Wilton Howell to Mr. John M. David, Jr., on June 15, 1963. This was the first evening wedding held in Holy Trinity, Father Daunt conducted the marriage service. Mrs. Daunt assisted Mr. Howell greatly in arranging details for the church wedding. She brought over the kneeling bench for the bride and groom. In fact, she sow that the wedding was done correctly. It was a very lovely affair, and a large crowd attended both the wedding and the reception given at the Woman’s Club.

Also during this period of “no Vicar” which lasted from August 18, 1963, to November 1, 1964, the membership increased. The Great Southern Paper Mill was built on the Chattahoochee River near Cedar Springs in Early County. Blakely was the nearest town, so its population greatly increased. There were a number of Episcopalians among the newcomers. Some were the contractors and builders who moved on when their work ended but five families built homes and are taking part in the work of Holy Trinity. Also, one of the town boys married an Episcopalian from Christ Church, Savannah, who has a lovely voice and is a great asset to the church. A former, member of Holy Trinity moved back to Blakely with her three children, so in all, there were seven new families ready to greet a new priest. A notice came from Bishop Stuart saying that Holy Trinity would be transferred back to the Thomasville Convocation and again share a priest with Bainbridge.


On November 8, 1964, the Reverend T. O. Atwood and his lovely wife made their first visit to Holy Trinity, holding a 9 A. M. Communion Service. They are a very nice young couple and we are hoping for great things during their stay in Bainbridge and Blakely.

March, 1965