The Episcopate of the Right Reverend
Samuel Babcock Booth, D.D.
SAMUEL BABCOCK BOOTH
became the choice of the next special diocesan Convention for
the election of Bishop Coadjutor, which met at St. Paulís
Church, Burlington, in February 1925.
A graduate of Harvard and of the Virginia Theological Seminary,
Mr. Booth began his ministry as rural missionary in the diocese
of Pennsylvania. Here with his unusual intellectual gifts and
his winsome personality, together with his inexhaustible energy
he had made a notable success, and his work became known
throughout the diocese of Pennsylvania.
When the diocese of Vermont
began to look for a priest who might be peculiarly fitted for
the problems of this rural diocese, the name of Samuel Babcock
Booth was presented, and he became the choice of the diocese.
Bishop Booth entered upon his
work with enthusiasm, making friends quickly among both the
clergy and laity, and having from the first the hearty
cooperation of Bishop Hall who committed to his charge
unreservedly the missionary work of the diocese.
For seven years as Coadjutor,
Bishop Booth loyally and aggressively carried on the missionary
work of the diocese, gaining the confidence of clergy and people
alike. Then he was called to assume the sole charge of the
diocese by reason of the death of Bishop Hall.
Full of years, with his mental
faculties clear and unabated, yet with physical infirmities,
Bishop Hall had so far as his health permitted con-tinued to
make his visitations in the diocese for about twenty years after
his health began to fail. His last visitation was at St. Lukesí
Parish, St. Albans, where he had, while at the Rectory, made a
misstep and had fallen downstairs. Though he partially recovered
from the fall, it is believed that it hastened his death, for
the end came a few weeks later at his home at Rock Point.
After an Episcopate of
thirty-five years, with the reputation of a scholar and a
preacher, not only in the diocese, but also throughout the
country and in England. He laid down his work and entered into
the larger life - February twenty-sixth, 1930.
After the burial service at Sr.
Paulís Church, Burlington, on March first, attended by a large
proportion of the clergy, and representatives from the laity
from all parts of the diocese, the mortal body of the Bishop was
interred in the burial plot at Rock Point.
Bishop Booth, taking up the
burden of the Episcopate, thus laid down by his Father in God,
challenged both the clergy and the people of the diocese to a
renewed and heightened manifestation of Christian service. He
was intensely devoted to what he felt was paramount, the
surrender of manís whole being, body, soul, and spirit to
Christís way of life through the acceptance of the teachings of
the Catholic faith.
In his interpretation of this
faith, he was an Anglo-Catholic, and he was convinced of the
importance of this method of the interpretation of the Christian
faith, yet he was tolerant in his attitude towards those who
differed from him.
Bishop Booth cherished the plan
of making Rock Point a diocesan center where clergy and people,
young and old, might come for conferences, for fellowship and
He was successful in developing
this plan during the years of his Episcopate, and he was ably
assisted in the details of these conferences and Retreats,
involving the entertainment of many groups, by Miss Doris K.
Wright who, as secretary of the Church Mission of Help, was able
to enlist the aid of the girls of the school in helping to
provide meals for the guests.
Bishop Booth was also
instrumental in the building of the Outdoor Chapel in the grove
at the Point where he initiated the custom of a Diocesan Rally
Day each year for worship, inspiration and fellowship.
On the day of Bishop Hallís
death, several members of the clergy met in conference at Rock
Point to consider plans for the development of the diocese.
As a result of this conference
it was decided to plan for the raising of a Centennial Memorial
It was regarded as a fitting
time to enlist the interest of the diocese in such an effort as
the one hundredth anniversary of the setting apart of Vermont as
a separate diocese was at hand. The memorial character of the
Fund was defined as consisting in raising a living memorial to
the Bishops of yesterday by the extension of their labors and
carrying on the plans for which they made such sacrifices.
The Bishops who were named in this memorial were: - The Rt. Rev.
John Henry Hopkins, DD, the first Bishop of the Diocese, the Rt.
Rev. William Henry Augustus Bissell, DD, and the Rt. Rev. Arthur
Crawshay Alliston Hall, DD
Bishop Booth, aided by the
Executive Council, the Trustees of the Episcopal Institute, and
an Executive Committee with Hon. William H. Wills as chairman,
were very efficient in this enterprise, supported by a staff of
The results of this effort for
the raising of a Centennial Memorial Endowment Fund, though
disappointing in the amount actually contributed, owing to the
financial depression, were large enough to warrant the
undertaking and have aided materially in the furthering of the
missionary work of the diocese.
Bishop Booth, by his
forcefulness as a preacher, and by reason of his winsomeness and
his sympathetic understanding of the spiritual problems of young
people, became recognized as a spiritual leader not only in the
diocese but beyond it; and for this reason the demands made upon
him to conduct Retreats, and to engage in conferences in
addition to his diocesan labors, were beyond his physical
In 1934, the diocese granted him a leave of absence, and he went
to France for a rest and while there he was in charge of the
American Church in Paris. Returning after a few months and
conscious of the needs of the diocese, he at once began to
undertake the strenuous duties of diocesan life. Though far from
well he did not spare himself, and while on a visitation at St.
Petersí, Bennington, he became ill during the service and was
taken to the hospital.
His sickness proved to be
pneumonia, and after a heroic struggle for about a week, upheld
by the prayers of the diocese, the Bishop was unable to cope
with the disease and was called to the higher life on June
seventeenth, 1935. His death in the prime of his service, so
valuable to the diocese, and to the church at large, was a great
shock to the diocesan family by whom he was so greatly beloved,
and a deep bereavement to his wife and children.
The Burial Service took place
at St. Paulís Church, Burlington, on June nineteenth, where a
solemn Requiem Eucharist was celebrated, attended by the clergy
and lay people of the diocese, and the Bishop was laid to rest
under the Chancel of the Outdoor Chapel, one of the fruits of
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