Presentation on theme: "1879 to 2011... Milestones and Millstones 132 Years of Christian Ministry to Bakersfield, Kern County – and Beyond."— Presentation transcript:
1879 to 2011... Milestones and Millstones 132 Years of Christian Ministry to Bakersfield, Kern County – and Beyond
Sir Francis Drake brought the Anglican Church to California in 1579 at Point Reyes – north of San Francisco
In 1853, the Missionary District of California was adopted by General Convention in New York San Francisco was the See city
In 1855, Bishop Kip conducted the first Episcopal Prayer Book Service in Kern County at Fort Tejon
In 1879, Bishop Kip planted a church in Bakersfield and found the man for the task as St. Paul’s Vicar
Bishop Kip found Rev. Douglas Kelley, known later as the “Founder of Missions in San Joaquin”. St. Paul’s was the first of seven churches he planted. Bakersfield Population in 1880: 801
On December 1, 1879, St. Paul’s mission was formed with about 12 communicants present.
Mrs. Walter Crittenden brought her own organ from her home each Sunday on a light wagon.
In the 1870s and 1880s, Bakersfield was wide open with saloons, gambling, gunmen, and prostitutes...
... but the forces for betterment were already at work. St. Paul’s shared a church building with the Methodists.
In the early 1880s, the ladies of St. Paul’s Mission formed St. Paul’s Guild with meetings in members’ homes.
In 1882, Rev. Thomas Griffiths became the first resident missionary (or Vicar) – but he became seriously ill and died the next year.
For two years, St. Paul’s had no resident priest. Mr. H. H. Clapham, a seminarian in Fresno continued monthly meetings at St. Paul’s.
Following his ordination, Fr. Clapham came to Bakersfield as St. Paul’s resident missionary.
Under Fr. Clapham’s leadership, property was purchased at 17 th & Eye Streets and a new church – with a high steeple – was completed.
The first service was held in the new church on November 21 in 1886. Construction cost was $3,000 -- with only $470 yet unpaid!
In 1887, a 900- pound bell was given to St. Paul’s by Mrs. George Cooper in memory of her son.
In 1889, downtown Bakersfield burned and not a a business was left standing – but a bucket brigade saved St. Paul’s. Bakersfield Population in 1890: 2,626
In 1891, Fr. Clapham resigned. Sr. Warden Charles Jewett preached about being prepared for death. The next week he drowned in the Kern River trying to save two children.
In 1892, the Rev. Frank Miller began as Vicar and as the first native Californian to serve St. Paul’s.
In 1896, Rev. David Holmes replaced Mr. Miller but, even though Oxford educated, wasn’t well received and resigned before serving even one year.
In 1897, Rev. Hobart Chetwood arrived only to find parish work too heavy and resigned within the year.
Two events marked major growth for St. Paul’s: (1) the arrival of Fr. Ed Morgan (2) the discovery of oil in May 1899.
Fr. Morgan was young, energetic, and filled with religious zeal – and soon had a flourishing parish – and a new brick church for $16,000.
In 1901, the old church building was moved to East Bakersfield to become St. Barnabas’ Mission – with the Cooper bell still in place. Bakersfield Population in 1900: 4,836
Mabel Tevis bought an Italian marble altar for St. Paul’s on display in Buffalo where President William McKinley knelt and prayed. Later that same day, he was assassinated.
St. Paul’s Italian marble altar and Tiffany window were a gift to St. Paul’s by Mabella (Mabel) Tevis in memory of her father, California’s first Hispanic governor, Romualdo Pacheco.
Fr. Morgan resigned after 7 positive years only to be replaced by “high church” Walter Clark who antagonized many and resigned to return to San Francisco in 1907.
Fr. David Crabtree answered St. Paul’s call from Washington DC and soon was preaching to a full church – plus Sunday School with 25 to 30 children!
In 1910, our 14- county missionary district was formed with Fresno as the See city. The Rev. Louis Sanford was consecrated as Bishop. Bakersfield Population in 1910: 12,727
In 1912, Rev. Anson Graves – retired Bishop of the Platte -- came to St. Paul’s only to leave after 3 months because of a serious asthmatic condition.
Fr. Charles Hitchcock came from San Rafael in 1912 and preached good sermons. St. Barnabas’ building was sold to pay off the debt on St. Paul’s new building.
St. Barnabas’ church was sold to Calvary Baptist – along with its Cooper bell. It’s still at Niles and Kern Streets.
Fr. Ben Diggs came to St. Paul’s in 1914. A lawyer by training, his sermons were well organized and instructive. With the church’s debt cleared, the building was consecrated in 1915.
In 1920, Rev. George Renison came from Minnesota. He had been missionary to the Indians. His personal charm and magnetism drew the parish together. Our youth programs flourished. Bakersfield Population in 1920: 18,638
Rev. William Cash came to St. Paul’s in 1921. He was civic minded and took part in the community. The first rectory was purchased for his residence at 217 “H” Street.
In 1925, Rev. William Patrick arrived. A Harvard graduate, he served as a decorated WWI chaplain. Despite the 1929 depression, he accomplished much – yet accepted a reduction in pay to only $600 per year. Bakersfield Population in 1930: 26,015
Fr. Ralph Cox served St. Paul’s during WWII and until 1954. In 1942, a fire was extinguished by firemen but smoke and heat damage rendered the pipe organ unplayable. Bakersfield Population in 1940: 29,252
Then in July 1952, the entire building was destroyed by an earthquake. A major after- shock in August required total demolition of St. Paul’s. Bakersfield Population in 1950: 34,784
Despite severe shaking, the altar and stained glass windows were salvaged and placed in storage until the new church construction began.
The property at 17 th and Eye Streets was sold for $145,000. Land on 17 th Street between B and C Streets was purchased from the Hay family for $40,000.
During construction of St. Paul’s new church, services were conducted in the downtown Elks lodge. Despite all these problems, St. Paul’s church school had 200 kids and 20 teachers.
In 1953, St. Paul’s parish was formally incorporated. At the same time, the new sanctuary and offices were constructed for $194,500.
Fr. Cox was called to a parish in New England. He was succeeded by Rev. Clarence Franz who resigned within a year despite strong growth in communicants and seminarians.
Dr. Frederick Schilling was called from the CDSP faculty in 1955. Within 2 years, he presented 132 for confirmation and 147 for baptism.
St. Paul’s first curate was hired to assist Fr. Schilling. The Rev. Ralph Jeffs was a former student of Dr. Schilling. He helped form our first children’s choir with 24 singers
In 1958, Rev. Victor Hatfield was called from northern California as Rector and later honored with “Canon” added to his titles. The parish hall and classrooms were constructed in 1960 for $250,000.
The original windows on side walls were rose-colored cathedral glass. These were replaced with stained glass art created by Judson Studios of Pasadena in 1960. Bakersfield Population in 1960: 56,848
Dr. John Ellison was called to St. Paul’s from Texas in 1971. A scholar of biblical history, he created the first computer concordance of the RSV Bible. Bakersfield Population in 1970: 69,515
The area above the kitchen was converted to a youths’ meeting room in 1972. Needed funds (and work) were provided by the youth group themselves.
Fr. John Spear came to St. Paul’s in 1979 after serving as Dean of the Cathedral. Two firsts: Palm Sunday with real palms – and St. Paul’s first small group in a home.
In 1982, St. Paul’s mortgage was burned (literally) in the courtyard. Also, Mornings Out for Mothers (MOMS) was begun – but on Tuesdays only. Bakersfield Population in 1980: 105,611
St. Paul’s first men’s bible study was formed beginning with a study of St. Mark. Also included was a 3-part series on the Old Testament by a local attorney of the Jewish faith.
Fr. Spear retired and was succeeded by Rev. Robert Fosse. A new St. Paul’s Ministry Master Plan was adopted. The parking lot across the street was acquired for $46,650.
In 1994, a capital campaign was announced with a goal of $684,000 for a new roof, a new organ, etc. A total of $671,000 was pledged – and a new pipe organ was purchased. Bakersfield Population in 1990: 174,870
In 1994, five teams of two each visited one of the churches of each Rector candidate – all over the US. Selected was Fr. Mark Lawrence in Pennsylvania (a former Kern County resident.)
Fr. Lawrence first focused inwardly and created PLEMs (Pastoral Lay Eucharistic Ministers), an improved system for recording weekly church attendance, and training for small group leaders.
Fr. Lawrence then looked outward to create Christianity and the Arts (mostly music) – plus Christian Spirituality (mostly lectures). Also, two new endowment funds were formed. Bakersfield Population in 2000: 247,057
St. Paul’s grew physically and spiritually – with attendance over 300, a budget of $537,000, and endowments of $185,000. Then theological differences began to emerge in TEC
Despite these major theological divisions in the national church, St. Paul’s continued its ministries without interruption – and shifted from “Episcopal” to “Anglican”
In 2007, Fr. Mark Lawrence was consecrated Bishop of South Carolina. He was succeeded as Rector by another former resident, Fr. Karl Dietze, who now leads our service to the Lord. Bakersfield Population in 2009: 333,179
Fr. Dietze continues his biblically-based ministries of service to the Lord. Bakersfield Population in 2009: 333,179
Fr. Dietze has focused internally on expanding small groups, training parishioners in Christian discipleship, enriching family programs – and focused externally to serve our community.
The future of St. Paul’s lies where it always has – in God’s hands. With full confidence in God’s will and Word, we await great things.
For a more detailed history of St. Paul’s, see the book entitled, 1879 to 2004 – 125 Years of Ministry to Bakersfield written by Tom Holson, Sr. and updated in 2004 by John Pryor.
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