Bishop’s Address of 1937

The Rt. Rev. Middleton Stuart Barnwell

Bishop M.S. BarnwellThere is little to report to the Convention in the way of official actions since the last Convention. This last Convention was held in May and most of the confirmations for 1936 were completed by that time and our spring visitations for 1937 have not yet begun. I spent the early part of the summer at two of the four camps held at Camp Reese. The latter part of the summer I was abroad, returning home early in September. After preaching at various Churches, we had our Conference for clergy and laity at Camp Reese in October under the leadership of the Rev. Arthur Sherman on the Forward Movement; and the Rev. R. Bland Mitchell, former National Executive Secretary of the Field Department talked to us about the Every Member Canvass. It was decided to hold this conference in two sections next year, one for the clergy and one for the laity, and to do without any outside leadership, depending entirely upon ourselves. Following this conference, I was busy getting into as many parishes and missions as possible to help organize the fall canvass and talking about the necessity of additional missionary enterprise up until Friday, November 13th, when on doctor’s orders I went to bed, where I stayed for a month. My strength has been coming back slowly and I believe that I am now in condition to carry on my work without further difficulty.

There have been some changes in the clergy personnel. The Rev. Mr. Barber resigned from the parish of the Good Shepherd in Augusta after many years of long and faithful service. No man was ever more true to the position and tradition of our Church than the Rev. Mr. Barber, and the ideals of Church loyalty which he planted in his people will be bearing fruit for many years to come.

To him in his retirement our best wishes go, along with our prayers for a long life of rest and happiness in the consciousness of duty well done. The Rev. Charles C. J. Carpenter resigned at St. John’s Church, Savannah, to succeed the Rt. Rev. Charles Clingman at the Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama. To me personally, this move was of interest for this is the parish which I served before I went to Idaho as Missionary Bishop. Mr. Carpenter leaves a place in the hearts of the Savannah people which it will be difficult to fill, but the Rev. Ernest Risley has come to us from the Diocese of Pittsburg, has been received with great happiness by our Diocese, and has already endeared himself to us in many ways. We look to see him carry on Mr. Carpenter’s work successfully in every way. The Rev. Mr. Lawrence Fenwick of the Diocese of North Carolina was called to the Good Shepherd, Augusta, to succeed Mr. Barber, and is at work winning his way into the hearts of his people. The Rev. John A. Wright resigned at St. Paul’s, Augusta, to accept Christ Church, Raleigh. He will be succeeded by the Rev. John E. Hines who comes to us from Hannibal, Missouri, and takes charge of St. Paul’s February 1st. Mr. Hines is a man well steeped in the traditions of the South, having received his collegiate education at Sewanee and his theological education at the Virginia Seminary. He has been West for only a few years, and we welcome him back into this part of the world. He has made a brilliant record wherever he has served and we look to see him successful in filling the great vacancy that Mr. Wright’s going has left in our diocesan life.

In the mission field there have been no great changes. We have been unable to expand the work because of lack of added income, and our returns from the Canvass last fall are as yet incomplete, and we are not able to say just what advance can be made during 1937. There have been one or two changes in missionaries’ fields. At the request of the people in Douglas, the Rev. Stephen Barnwell has been placed in charge of that field along with Fitzgerald, which he was already serving; and Dublin and Hawkinsville are being looked after through occasional visits of the Rev. Mr. Danniell of Savannah. The most promising work in Hawkinsville I believe is the colored work which under Dr. Tracy and Miss Ada Speight has prospered. I am asking Dr. Tracy to prepare his papers for admission to the diaconate. It is my hope that he will be able to fulfill the conditions required by Canon Law, as his usefulness will thereby be greatly extended. At the request of Archdeacon Brown, I am transferring Miss Ada Speight to the Savannah field to assist in developing young people’s work in the colored churches in this area, and also to assist Archdeacon Brown in the rural work at Burroughs. Her special training should be of great value to us in these particular areas.

As I outlined in my last Convention Address, I am very anxious to put a missionary at Statesboro who can look after the scattered communicants all the way up the highway to Dublin, but this depends entirely upon the receipt of additional income during 1937. I am frank to say that I do not know what we shall do unless there is provided additional salaries for at least two men, as we have two splendid young men graduating from the Theological Seminaries this year, and we cannot afford to have them lost to the Diocese of Georgia.

Most of our discussions at gatherings of this kind have to do with Church finance, and Church finance is a very important consideration because the gift of money is after all the gift of human life that went into the money’s making. And then the giving of money is a symptom. In a sense it is sacramental. It is the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, and unless that inward and spiritual grace is present, it is useless to talk about money, and if it is present, it will not be necessary. The chief thing to which we as leaders of the Church should give ourselves is the development of the religious life first within ourselves and then within our own people, in sure confidence that as loyalty to Christ deepens the earthly needs of His Church will be provided for.

With this point of view, we look towards Lent, now almost upon us, and I ask that you go back to your respective fields planning additional services, resolved to be more zealous in pastoral visiting and more courageous in meeting the difficult problems of personal evangelism which sometimes have to do with embarrassments of private life. True missionary work is not merely holding stated services at mission points but seeking out the indifferent and the lost, and this is the most important work that any clergyman is called upon to do—this is the work for which he was ordained. I can understand, though I do not agree with, people who turn their backs upon the Church and are hostile to it, but I cannot understand people who are members of the Church, who believe in what the Church teaches, and then do nothing about it. One of two things is true. The Church is either the most important institution on earth, or it is nothing at all. If its claims are false, it should be cast out and forgotten. If its claims are true, then it has within its keeping that which alone can solve the pressing problems of human life. To this last position, we of the Church are unalterably committed, and I ask that you examine your hearts to see if you are prosecuting your work as one should do who is offering to the world that which alone can save it from itself in this world and for itself in the world to come. There is no problem of human relationship, no struggle between class and class, no strife between labor and capital, no hatred or war between nation and nation, that the spirit of Christ living in human hearts cannot overcome. Christ alone can solve these problems. We have in trust for the world that which the world will die without. This constitutes an obligation to more zealous service in parish life, more zeal in Church extension, and more consecrated loyalty in carrying Christ throughout the world, that He may motivate the lives of wicked men. This is what we mean by missionary enterprise. It means building Christ into human life in Georgia, the nation, and the world.

Again I call your attention to the opportunity which so many of you are missing in not developing a greater interest among your people in the camps at St. Simon’s Island every summer. We have provision in these camps now for every type of Church member except the babies. We have one camp for little boys, one for little girls, one for the Young People’s Division, and one camp for adult members. Our accommodations are convenient with private rooms in comfortable cottages, and in every instance we have splendid leaders on hand for the morning lectures with something worth while to impart. Last year I attended the young people’s camp as well as the camp for adults, and I plan to do the same thing again this coming summer, and I look forward to these camps as opportunity given me to know my people better. There are young people and adults as well in every parish and mission in our diocese who need just exactly what these camps can give, and I earnestly plead that you will make a greater effort to interest them in what we have to offer. The charges are most reasonable, and in these days of good roads, transportation is no problem at all.

I call your special attention to the two conferences that are to be held this fall to carry out the original intention of the Diocesan Convention at Americus. This Convention which we are now attending is the business session of the diocese, and it is our purpose to get all the routine business matters out of the way as early in the year as possible. The conferences this fall will be for instruction and inspiration. We will have the laity over some week-end in October, to be determined later on, and the clergy at a similar conference during the week. I attended a laymen’s conference last fall in the diocese of South Florida. There were nearly one hundred laymen present at that conference which lasted a single day. If we could secure one hundred parish leaders in Georgia for a Sunday conference at Camp Reese where we could lay before them the practical problems of the Diocese, I am sure it would result in great good for the parishes and missionary work as well. I wish that you clergymen and you laymen would have these conferences on your minds and remember them in your prayers, and let us see if this fall we cannot make a new beginning in diocesan loyalty.

(The Bishop’s address concluded with a tribute to the life and services of Bishop Reese. This tribute is printed on the page devoted to the Memory of Bishop Reese.)

BISHOP OF GEORGIA. 1908 — 1936

On December 22nd at 10:40 o’clock in the evening in the city of Savannah Frederick Focke Reese, the fourth Bishop of Georgia, entered Paradise. He had been the Bishop of Georgia for more than twenty-eight years, having been consecrated in Christ Church, Savannah, on May 20th, 1908. Bishop Reese was born in Baltimore, Maryland, October 23rd, 1854. He studied at the University of Virginia and the Theological Seminary at Berkeley, and was ordained a Priest of the Church in 1877. After serving in Baltimore, Virginia, Christ Church, Macon, Christ Church, Nashville, he was elected to the Diocese of Georgia in 1907, and served with loyalty and faithfulness ever since. Up until very recently he retained the full vigor of his younger days. He was a preacher of great power and fearlessness. He had an abiding faith in God and his fellow men. His sphere of influence went far beyond the limits of this Church. He was a stalwart champion of the religion of Christ as this Church hath received it. This world is the richer for his life and the Church Triumphant is richer for his entrance into it. Long will his shining light remain an example to those of us who are left to carry on his work. May he go from joy to joy in the Life Everlasting.