Chapter Seven

Outstanding Rectorships During the Episcopate of Bishop Bissell

 

AFTER the bereavement of the diocese by the death of Bishop Hopkins in January 1868, a special convention was held on March eleventh, 1868 at St. Paulís Church in Burlington for the election of his successor.
 

The convention met with eighteen clergymen and fifty-seven laymen representing twenty-five parishes. After an address by the President of the Standing Committee the Rev. Josiah Swett, DD, of Fairfax, the convention proceeded to consider the amount of salary of the future bishop. It was voted to appropriate three thousand dollars for the bishopís salary.
 

The clergy nominated the Rev. William Henry Augustus Bissell, DD, rector of Trinity Church, Geneva, New York, a native of Vermont. This nomination was confirmed by more than two-thirds of the laity, and he was therefore declared to be duly elected.
 

The Rev. Dr. Bissell accepted his election and was consecrated at Christ Church, Montpelier on June third, 1868, during the convention. At the consecration service the following Bishops officiated; the Right Revs. Samuel A. McKosky, DD, bishop of Michigan, chief consecrator; John Williams, DD, bishop of Connecticut; Horatio Potter, bishop of New York; Henry A. Neely, DD, bishop of Maine, and Arthur Cleveland Coxe, DD, bishop of Western New York.
 

Bishop Bissell was born in Randolph, Vermont, on November tenth, 1814. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1836, was ordained deacon in 1839 and priest in 1840. He was rector of Trinity Church, Geneva, New York, for twenty years, and from there he was called upon to preside over his native diocese.
 

In the first year of his episcopate Bishop Bissell made a survey of the conditions of the diocese by his visitations of all the parishes, some of which he visited more than once during the year. The number of persons confirmed was larger than ever before.
 

As a result of the survey of the parishes of the diocese, the bishop in his first address to the convention of 1869 spoke at length of the ills attending the increase of clerical changes. This habit had, he felt, grown in part out of the misconception on the part of the laity that "the clergyman is held in his place by the year" and therefore the parish considers that it is at liberty to dispense with the services of the clergyman when the time is up. This idea was opposed to the whole system of the church, which regards the pastoral relations in its canons, under ordinary circumstances, a permanent one, intended to continue indefinitely until some sufficient cause shall arise for its termination.
 

The Bishop also recommended that the convention address the legislature of the state a memorial and petition asking that the statutes of the state respecting divorce may be so amended that they shall comply with the Divine law.
 

St. James parish was without a rector for several months following the departure of the Rev. Charles S. Hale. The vestry however was not idle during that time for the records show that calls were extended during the year 1868 to four clergymen who in turn declined to serve. Finally on November thirtieth, 1868, a call was given to the Rev. Francis W. Smith of Brattleboro at a salary of twelve hundred dollars, which was accepted, and Mr. Smith became rector on the first Sunday after Easter, April fifth, 1869.
 

The vestry at this time consisted of the following persons: Harmon Canfield, A. Dow Canfield, Henry S. Hard, Fernando West, Samuel Benedict, and Abner Davis. The number of communicants was one hundred and twenty-four.
 

The Rev. Francis W. Smith was a native of Vermont, born in Eden; his early education was in Enosburgh, Bakersfield and St. Albans. He graduated from the University of New York in 1851, and from the General Theological Seminary in 1855; was ordained deacon by Bishop Horatio Potter in 1855 and priest in 1857; he served two years as assistant in the church of the Holy Communion and the Church of the Ascension and two and a half years in Trinity Church, New York.
 

He officiated at Fairfield and Enosburgh, from March 1860 to 1863; Fairfield and Fairfax 1865 to 1866; at Brattleboro 1867 to 1869; Arlington, April first, 1869 to March, 1871; Georgia and Milton 1871 to 1875; Woodstock, November first, 1877 to 1890.
 

At the convention of 1871 Bishop Bissell reported that six parishes were vacant, among them St. James, Arlington, and that three missions were without ministrations.
 

The Bishopís lament over the frequent clerical changes referred to two years before seems to have been amply justified. With the notable exceptions in Arlington of the rectorships of the Rev. Abraham Bronson (twenty-three years) and the Rev. Frederick A. Wadleigh (twenty years), the average stay of the rectors at Arlington was three years and a half. This frequent fluctuation in leadership though not confined to Arlington, must have been a discouraging factor in the efforts toward spiritual as well as material progress, but there is evidence that the laymen were, many of them zealous in their efforts to maintain the standards initiated by their fathers.
 

On March first, 1872, after a vacancy in the rectorship of one year, the Rev. Gemont Graves assumed the rectorship of St. James Church. He was instituted into the rectorship by Bishop Bissell on May twelfth.
 

During the rectorship of the Rev. Gemont Graves, a period of three and one half years, the parish made marked progress. Mr. Graves reports that during his first year he made 3,606 pastoral calls; that he held mission services in West Arlington, East Arlington and East Sand-gate.
 

A parish school was opened under the rectorís charge with Miss Wooster as principal.
 

The Journal reported (1873) that the expenses of the school for two and a half year terms was $486.35 and that it was self-supporting. In the same year it was reported that all indebtedness had been removed by special subscriptions amounting to $734.45.
 

In 1874 the Rector reported that three services were held on Sundays, once on Holy Days, semi-weekly in Lent, and daily in Holy Week. The Holy Communion was administered monthly and on every festival having a Proper Preface. The third service on Sunday was at Bethesda Church, West Arlington (St. Jamesí Parish), and the old church that was built in the time of the Rev. Abraham Bronson.
Bishop Bissell reported to the convention of 1874 that he had spent some time visiting the parish school and examining the pupils, and was much pleased with their proficiency. In 1875, the report from the parish shows that the Rector had made over six thousand parochial calls during the year; that there were about one hundred and forty communicants; that the parish school was prosperous with expenses amounting to $697.48, all paid.
 

The Rev. Gemont Graves was born in Ira, Vermont, November eighth, 1827, oldest son of George and Adeline (Collins) Graves. His father was for many years Senior Warden of Trinity Church, Rutland.
 

Except for one term at North Granville (New York) Academy, he was prepared for college by the Rev. Dr. Hicks who was for many years Rector of Trinity Church, Rutland; who baptized him, presented him for confirmation by Bishop Hopkins, who also ordained him both Deacon and Priest in the same church in July, 1853, and September, 1854. In the same church he had been Sunday school pupil, teacher and Lay Reader. After his ordination he officiated for the first time in the same church, assisting the Rector for several months. He spent two years of his college life at Middlebury and then went to Trinity College, Hartford, where he was graduated in 1849. He then went to the General Theological Seminary where he received the degree of MA in 1853.
 

In 1858 Mr. Graves married Miss Maria Moulton. Their children were: Marie Moulton (deceased wife of the Rev. John Henry Hopkins, DD), Ernest Collins (infant deceased), Lily Carol (Phelps-Carroll), George, Harmon Sheldon, Charlotte Williams (Andrews), Audley Chase.
 

His ministry was spent chiefly in Vermont in the following Cures: Guilford and Brattleboro 1853, Randolph Center and West Randolph 1854-1858; Hamilton, New York, 1858-1863; Northfield, Vermont, Acting Rector, with Warren, Fayston and Waitsfield 1863-1864; Manchester (both villages) 1869; Cambridge, New York, 1869-72; Arlington, Vermont and West Arlington 1872-75; Essex Junction 1875-76. From 1876 to 1901 he was a Missionary successively in Winooski, Shelburne and East Shelburne, Jericho and Underhill, Georgia and Milton, Fairfax and Cambridge. He also did a good deal of missionary work in other towns and villages, visiting individuals and families and distributing church literature. In the summer and fall of 1854 during his Diaconate at Randolph Center, he inaugurated the "daily service which lie says in his diary he believes was the first instance of the kind in the history of Vermont parishes and missions.
 

From 1864-1869 he was secretary of the Vermont Clerical Convocation, and member of the Diocesan Board of Missions.
 

Mr. Gravesí oldest daughter, the late Mrs. John Henry Hopkins was a woman of unusual talents, who was a leader in the diocesan branch of the Womanís Auxiliary of Chicago, where for twenty years her husband was Rector of the Church of the Redeemer.
 

At the semi-centennial anniversary of the Vermont branch of the Womanís Auxiliary held in Arlington in 1928, Mrs. Hopkins was present and spoke of her childhood days in Sr. Jamesí Church, and of her experiences in the parish private school of which her father was Rector. Among her schoolmates were: Frank N. Canfield, Edward C. Woodworth, Charles H. Crofut, Alice Canfield Hoyt, and Hermione Canfield.
On July thirty-first, 1875, the Rev. Gemont Graves tendered his resignation to the Vestry in the following letter:

 

"To the Wardens and Vestrymen of St. Jamesí Parish, Arlington:

 

"Dear Brethren:
 

Having received an invitation to a mission field in the northern part of the diocese, it seems my duty in the financial embarrassment of the parish to accept the same.
 

"I, therefore, with the Bishopís consent, resign the rectorship of St. Jamesí Church, the resignation to take effect on September first, as it is important that the mission field be occupied at once.
 

"I ask the privilege of the use of the Rectory and premises during such part of the month of September as the convenient removal of my family may require.
 

"After a ministry among you of three and a half years, I sincerely regret the need of our separation.
 

"Praying God to bless the parish and to direct you in the choice of a successor who can be of more benefit to you than has been my lot, I remain your friend in the ministry,
 

GEMONT GRAVES."

 

On April fifth, 1877, the Vestry extended a call to the Rev. John Randall, of West Randolph, offering him the rectorship of the parish with a salary of $800 and the use of the parsonage and the land appertaining to it. This call was accepted and the Rev. John Randall entered upon his duties as Rector, June third, 1877.
 

During the rectorship of Mr. Randall a steam heating plant was installed in the church, and this heating system remains here at the present time. This period would seem to mark the transition from the old way to the new so far as heating is concerned.
 

Miss Hermione Canfield who has a remarkable store of parish folk lore, tells us that she can remember that her grandmother Pauline Canfield about this time still continued to carry with her to church her individual foot stove. These foot stoves were quite commonly used at that time, and a few of them are to be found in the Historical Museum at Bennington.
 

The Rev. John Randall, whose body lies in the Churchyard next to the church, was born in Bayfield, Nova Scotia, September twenty-seventh, 1823. He was of loyalist stock and his forefathers emigrated from Massachusetts in 1776 at the time of Gen. Howeís evacuation from Boston. He graduated from Kingsí College, Windsor, Nova Scotia, with highest honors in 1855.
 

He was ordained Deacon by Bishop Binney, of Nova Scotia, September twenty-third, 1855, and on September twenty-first 1856, he was ordained to the Priesthood by the same bishop.
 

After holding one or more Cures in Nova Scotia, he removed to this country and became Rector of St. Peterís Church, Brushton, New York. He was also Rector at Randolph, Vermont, from 1875 to 1877, after which he became Rector of St. Jamesí Church, Arlington, also officiating at Manchester, where he remained until his death April twenty-eighth, 1883. Bishop Bissell, in his address to the diocesan convention in 1883, gave the following tribute to him:
 

"One of the most respected of our clergy, the Rev. John Randall, has been removed from the strife and toil of the Church Militant. He came to us from the diocese of Albany in 1875. He had charge first of Grace Church and St. Johnís, Randolph. After a successful pastorate of some two years, he left, greatly to the regret of his people, to take the rectorship of St. Jamesí Church, Arlington. Here he labored most diligently for something over four years, to the great benefit of that ancient parish, winning the respect and confidence of all.
 

"Beside his work in Arlington he gave many acceptable services in Zion Church, Manchester, where he was much beloved.
 

"He was one of the learned clergy of the Church; a class growing small, it is to be feared, amidst the hurry and urgent demands of our modern life. But he was laboriously applying himself to those studies, which help to the right knowledge and the exposition of Godís Holy Word, and the happy fruit, which he had gathered in those fields of sacred study, was shown in the fullness and richness of his sermons and instructions. For the last year and a half his life was one of great suffering. His long illness was borne with most complete submission to Godís will, and considerateness for those about him.
 

"On Tuesday, the Festival of St. Philip and St. James, with six of our clergy and full attendance of his mourning parishioners, we paid the last tribute to our brother, and laid his remains in the shadow of that venerable church where he had ministered.
 

"He was a man of simple manners, of affections rather deep than demonstrative, very modest about his rather rare attainments.
 

"His earnest preaching and good life made what we trust will be an abiding impression upon his people, and he has left to his family and to his brethren, clerical and lay, a bright example of what the clergyman in the Church, the minister of Christ, should be."

 

On January seventeenth, 1884, the Vestry extended a call to the Rev. Francis Gilliat, of Lowell, Massachusetts, to become Rector of the parish. The call was accepted and Mr. Gilliat is remembered by many in the parish as a faithful priest. He and his wife endeared themselves to the parishioners by planning frequently for social activities at the Rectory.
 

Mrs. Gilliat is now living in Detroit at the age of seventy-six, and in a letter recently received she says: "It was indeed a great surprise and a real pleasure to receive your letter recently containing inquiries about my husband, Francis Gilliat. I have collected what records I have on hand and am enclosing them with this letter. It is nearly forty years since Dr. Gilliat died and for twenty-five years, I have lived with my daughter Mrs. Paul Wheeler Thompson here in Detroit. My elder son John Henry Gilliat was born in Arlington and is now a dentist living at 2164 Bailey Avenue, Buffalo, New York. My second son Robert Fulton Gilliat was born in Fulton, Florida, and died in Buffalo twenty-six years ago."
 

The records enclosed by Mrs. Gilliat are as follows: Francis Gilliat was born in Newport, Rhode Island, on July twelfth, 1839. He was graduated from Berkeley Divinity School, Middletown, Connecticut, with the degree of Bachelor of Divinity. The Right Rev. John Williams, DD, Assistant Bishop of Connecticut ordained Mr. Gilliat to the Diaconate on May twenty-fifth, 1864, in the Church of the Holy Trinity, at Middletown, Connecticut; and on October ninth, 1867, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Williams in St. Lukeís Chapel, Middletown. His first call was as Assistant to the Rev. D. F. Banks, Rector of Christ Church, Norwich, Connecticut, where he remained for one year. He then accepted a call to South Adams, Massachusetts, October eleventh, 1868. In 1872 Mr. Gilliat resigned the rectorship of this parish and became Rector of Zion Church, Avon, New York, November twenty-second, 1872. In January, 1881, he accepted a call to the rectorship of Grace Church, Washington, D. C., and from there he went to Lowell, Massachusetts, on October twenty-fourth, 1882, to be Assistant to the Rev. Dr. Edson. From Lowell, Massachusetts, he was called on January seventeenth, 1884 to St. Jamesí Church, Arlington, Vermont, with charge of Zion Church, Factory Point. In the spring of 1886 he resigned the rectorship at Arlington and on July first, 1886, took charge of Grace Mission, Everett, Massachusetts.
 

In January 1888 he became Rector of the Church of the Redeemer, Addison, New York, and in 1891, he was called to be Rector of Trinity Church, Canaseraga, New York.
 

His last parish was St. Johnís Church, Ellicottville, New York, where he went in 1898. On December seventh, 1900, he died in St. Johnís Rectory. On August eighteenth, 1880, Mr. Gilliat married Rachel Estella Hall, of Brooklyn, New York.
 

The Rev. Eli Hawley Canfield, DD, was born in Arlington, June eighth, 1817. (Note óDuring the illness of the Reverend John Randall, and at other times, the services were very acceptably conducted by the Rev. Eli H. Canfield, DD The following resolutions of thanks for Dr. Canfieldís services were adopted by the Vestry at its meeting, April twenty-third, 1883. - "Resolved, that the Vestry of St. Jamesí Church hereby extend to the Rev. Eli H. Canfield, DD in behalf of the parish a vote of thanks for the services he has rendered, voluntarily officiating at St. Jamesí Church the past year during the continued illness of the Rector, the Rev. John Randall". And further resolved, that a copy thereof be printed in the county papers and also engrossed in the records of the Church). Ė E. C. Woodworth, Clerk.
 

His father was a tanner by trade, although he combined with this the work of shoemaker, and also cultivated a small farm. His mother, whose maiden name he bore, was one of the Hawley family so well and favorably known in Connecticut.
 

He was educated in the district school of the village, and to this schooling was added special instruction by the minister of the parish (probably the Rev. William S. Perkins), who maintained a private school at his house in the village. He also attended for a short time the Burr and Burton Seminary at Manchester and the Union Academy at East Bennington. In 1835 he taught the village school in Arlington, and his work in this school is described as being "marked with industry, enthusiasm and unusual power."
 

In 1841 he entered the Alexandria (Virginia) Theological Seminary from which he graduated in 1844, and was ordained by Bishop Mead. His life was a very active one. He was first called to St. Peterís Church, Delaware, Ohio, in October 1844.
 

In the fall of 1849 he took charge of the Church of the Epiphany, Philadelphia, during the absence of the Rector. He was then called to St. Peterís, New York. There he remained until his call to Christ Church, Brooklyn, January 1853. In January 1870 on account of failing health he withdrew from the settled pastorate of any church.
 

His desire was to do what he could as long as he could, and wherever his strength permitted and opportunity offered he accepted work, more often than otherwise without remuneration.
 

During this period of retirement he preached at North Adams, Massachusetts, at Hoosick, New York, at Arlington, Bennington and Manchester.
 

In the fall of 1890 he was stricken with paralysis and during the years of suffering that followed he exercised a wonderful patience. His death came on June third, 1898.
 

He was a man of much usefulness in the ministry and he was always interested and ready to minister in the venerable parish in which he was born and reared.
 

After the resignation of the Rev. Francis Gilliat as Rector of the parish in 1886, there was a vacancy of nearly two years during which time the Rev. Dr. Canfield again gave his acceptable and faithful ministrations.
 

The Rev. George S. Pratt was ordained Deacon on December fourth, 1887, and then became Minister in Charge of St. Jamesí Church. After a stay of less than a year Mr. Pratt tendered his resignation and it may be of interest to record it here in full:

 

"To the Wardens and Vestrymen of St. Jamesí Church:

 

It is with great reluctance that I am moved to ask your consent that I may resign my office as Minister in Charge of this parish in order that I may accept the position as Assistant Minister of St. Michaelís Church, New York,
 

"And in doing so, I wish to record my grateful appreciation of the loyal support and cooperation in the office which I have received, not only from you but from the entire parish.
 

"The circumstance of this being my first ministry in the Church and marked by some consequent crudeness and uncertainty makes me the more deeply sensible of that generous consideration and sympathy which has saved me from embarrassment and made my pastorate here so happy that I shall ever look back upon it with unqualified pleasure.
 

"In the broadest sense I am convinced it is best that I should enter this door that has providentially opened before me, and while I regret as I am sure you must, the sundering of relations so pleasant, I am yet convinced that no permanent injury can come of this either to you or to me. Praying that you may have the divine guidance and blessing in the discharge of your responsible office.
 

I am Most Truly Your Servant in the Church,
 

GEORGE S. PRATT."

 

On November eleventh, 1888 the Rev. Richard C. Searing became Rector of St. Jamesí Church.
 

It was during his rectorship that this parish had the honor of being the host of the Diocesan Convention, which met here to commemorate

the Centennial of the first convention of the Church in Vermont in 1790. This was a notable gathering.
 

The Rev. Joseph Carey, DD, Rector of Bethesda Church, Saratoga Springs, New York, was present and conveyed the fraternal greetings of the Diocese of Albany.
 

The Rev. William S. Langford, DD, Secretary of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, came from New York City, to share in the centennial exercises. He spoke of the fact that one hundred years had witnessed a remarkable expansion of the Church, and that Vermont had had its share in this growth.
 

"Besides your own Bishops Griswold and Hopkins," he said, "both of whom became Presiding Bishops, Philander Chase who reached that distinction was a candidate for orders in the diocese, and Benjamin Bosworth Smith, who held the same exalted office, spent the first years of his ministry as Rector of St. Stephenís Parish in Middlebury.
 

"The first Bishop of New Hampshire, Carlton Chase, went out from the green hills of Vermont to the white hills of the Granite State. The pioneer Bishops of Ohio, Illinois, and Kentucky were trained in Vermont, and some of your hardy sons went out to nurture the Church in the wilderness of Ohio more than a half century ago.
 

"The spirit of self-reliance which has characterized this Diocese is worthy to be held up as an example, for never has the Diocese of Vermont applied for or received help from the General Board of Missions. There is nothing more romantic in our later missionary history than the example of your John W. Chapman going to the extreme outpost at Anvik, Alaska.
 

"Shut up there alone through the long, rigorous winters with the natives, learning their language, and imparting to them his own, he has been teaching them Godís love and mercy.
 

"A year ago we sent to Mr. Chapman a saw-mill to serve him in cutting lumber to construct buildings. Some travelers noticed it on the deck of the vessel and remarked: "What are they going to do with that up there? Have they any mechanics?" "No," said another, "I guess not; but, donít you see, that missionary is a Vermont boy."
 

(The Rev. Dr. Chapman died in 1939 in New York City where he spent his last few years in active and faithful service in the City Mission.)
The Rev. A. H. Bailey, DD, one of the clergy of the Diocese made one of the principal addresses at this centennial gathering. He gave an historical review of the first century of the Church in Vermont after its partial organization as a diocese in Arlington, September twenty-fifth, 1790. This historical review has been preserved in the archives of the diocese and the present writer has made large use of it in ac-cumulating his historical data.
 

Other historical addresses were made by Mr. Thomas H. Canfield, to whom the writer is also indebted, who spoke particularly of the con-tributions of the laymen to the growth of the Diocese; and by Mr. Kittridge Haskins who gave a summary of the history of the Glebe lands.
Bishop Bissell in his address said: "We are at the close of a century. As we look back, there is little to meet our eyes except a line of faithful servants of our Lord. And of them we see but little of that which was once of deep interest to them. Their successes and their failures, the lights and shadows of their earthly life have passed away from menís sight.
 

"Only what they did for Christ and for His Kingdom remains, the living stones which they helped to fashion for His spiritual temple.
"But when we look to the future, the most that we can see with any certainty is the same Church, with the same faith, the same sacraments, the same historic ministry, still preaching the everlasting Gospel, having learned perhaps better than we knew, how to meet the wants of the American people of the future."

 

On account of the importance of this centennial in the history of the parish and of the diocese, it will be of interest to record in full the resolutions of the Convention that were adopted on this occasion:
 

Whereas, for more than a century Christís Church in this Diocese has been blessed by the favor of God and the labors of many faithful men and women; and
 

Whereas, this Convention is at this time enabled to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of its first meeting; we deem it becoming that we should express our appreciation of what has been wrought for us:
 

Therefore, Resolved that we as a convention, representing the different orders of the clergy and laity of the Church in Vermont, do reverently acknowledge Almighty God to be the Author and Source of all the blessings this Diocese has received; and that we offer Him our devout thanksgiving and praise for that goodness and mercy that has followed it all the days of its life.
 

Resolved, that we gratefully recall the memories of those early laborers, clergymen and laymen, who in this part of Christís vineyard bore the burden and heat of the day, and by whose wisdom and self-denying efforts this branch of the Lordís planting at length became immovably rooted in an unpropitious soil.
 

Resolved, that we thankfully recognize the great debt due from the Church in this Diocese to the provident care and generous aid of the venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, through which for many years it has been greatly relieved in the support of its bishop and in the maintenance of its missionary work.
 

Resolved, That by Godís help, we will ourselves endeavor to be faithful stewards of the sacred treasures transmitted to us, and to pass them on to the generations that come after us.

 

J. ISHAM BLISS, HOMER WHITE,
EDWARD H. RANDALL, ALBERT CHAPMAN,
THOMAS H. CANFIELD, KITTRIDGE HASKINS,
Committee.

 

In 1892 the Rev. Mr. Searing commemorated the sixtieth anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the church in 1829, by preaching a sermon from Ephesians: "Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone."
 

In this sermon the following facts are given concerning the erection of the building in which we now worship: "The beginnings of the work of erecting a church building were in the spring or early summer of that year (1829) for the cellar walls were fully built at this date.
 

"The parish had been in existence for many years before that date as is attested by the assembling of the first convention of representatives of the parishes of the state in this village in September, 1790. The Rev. James Nichols preached the sermon at this convention. Mr. Nichols was the last man of the early Connecticut clergy to be ordained overseas."
 

This sermon of Mr. Searingís has been preserved in the archives of the parish.
 

Many of the active workers of the parish, both men and women, in fact those who have "borne the burden and heat of the day" for the past forty years and are now obliged to turn to others, were under the training of Mr. Searing, and some have spoken of the fact that he gave them the foundations of their instruction in the ways of the church.
 

Richard Clinton Searing was born on April thirteenth, 1851 in Saratoga Springs, New York, son of Colonel William Marsh Searing and

Caroline Melissa Huling.
 

He entered St. Stephenís College, Annandale, New York, in 1869 and graduated with the degree of B.A. June tenth, 1873.
 

In September of the same year he studied at the Albany Normal School and in the same year was a teacher in the Grammar School at Saratoga. In October 1874, he entered the General Theological Seminary and graduated in the class of 1877.
 

In June of that year he was ordained Deacon by the Right Rev. William Croswell Doane, DD, at Bethesda Church, Saratoga Springs. On August twenty-seventh, 1877, he was called to be Rector of Christ Church, Walton, New York. Mr. Searing was ordained Priest on December twenty-first, 1877, at All Saintsí Cathedral, in Albany. He became Rector of St. Paulís Church, Columbia, Pennsylvania, on December sixth, 1879 where he ministered for four years.
 

He was also Rector of the following parishes: Christ Church, Middle Haddam, Connecticut, 1883-1884; St. Paulís Church, Willimantic, Connecticut, 1884-1886; Christ Church, Unionville, Connecticut, 1886-1888; St. Jamesí Church, Arlington, 1888-1893; Christ Church, Walton, New York, 1893-1896; Grace Church, Scottsville, New York, 1897-1909; Ascension Church, West Park, New York, 1909-1919.
On January fifteenth, 1880, Mr. Searing married Lizzie Christian Seeley. The marriage was solemnized at Christ Church, Walton, New York. Mr. Searing was the author of the "History of Christ Church, Walton, New York. In June 1929, Mr. Searing entered the Home for the Aged and Infirm in New York. He died at the Home November sixth, 1933, and was buried in the family plot at Saratoga Springs, New York.
The rectorship of the Rev. Richard C. Searing was the last of the ministries at St. James,í Arlington, during the Episcopate of Bishop Bissell.
 

It will be interesting to note from the diocesan records the conditions of the diocese at the beginning and at the close of this period.
When Bishop Bissell came to the diocese in 1868, there were thirty-one churches, thirteen rectories, the Vermont Episcopal Institute property and Trust funds, the total value of which was $333,092; total indebtedness of the parishes was $20,330.
 

The number of parishes and missions in 1868 was forty; clergy, twenty-four; families, 11,668; individuals, 6,278; communicants, 2,361; Sunday School scholars and teachers, 1,809: offerings (exclusive of salaries) $5,254. At the close of Bishop Bissellís episcopate there were fifty churches, twenty-five rectories, the Vermont Episcopal Institute property and Bishop Hopkinsí Hall; Episcopal residence in Burlington with a total value of $602,173; total indebtedness of the parishes $10,773.
 

The foregoing figures show that in twenty-two years, nineteen churches were built; twelve rectories had been acquired, Bishop Hopkinsí Hall was built and the Episcopal residence in Burlington had been acquired.
 

The value of church property was increased $268,081. Trust funds were increased $59,190; and the indebtedness of the parishes had decreased $9,557.
 

Financially the diocese was richer by $278,638 than in 1868. The number of parishes had increased thirteen; increase of clergy, ten; increase of families, 486; increase of individuals, 2,022; increase of communicants, 1,617; increase of Sunday School scholars and teachers, 478; the amount of offerings, exclusive of salaries, was $10,213 more than in 1868. Seventeen deacons and fifteen priests were ordained.
 

In 1879 the diocese received the gift of an Episcopal residence from Mr. John D. Jones of New York.
 

Bishop Hopkins Hall, Burlington, named in honor of the first Bishop of Vermont, was completed and opened as a School for Girls in 1888. This was made possible by a legacy of $20,000 from the late John P. Howard and by the liberal gifts and energetic efforts of Mr. Thomas H. Canfield and others.
 

The Episcopal Fund had its beginnings in 1868 and in 1890 amounted to $36,000.
 

The foregoing figures show that much progress was made in the diocese in the Episcopate of Bishop Bissell, although the increase in the number of communicants was counteracted by the removal from the state during that period of many families.
 

It was the devout wish of Bishop Bissell that he might complete the twenty-fifth anniversary of his episcopate, but his health began to fail in 1888, and for several years before his death he was unable to do his work with the vigor to which he had been accustomed.
 

At the Convention of 1888 the clergy and laity of the diocese gave him a word of congratulation on the completion of his twentieth anniversary, a part of which follows:

 

"It is just twenty years that you have gone in and out among us as our loved and esteemed Bishop.
 

"Your name throughout the diocese is as familiar as household words; your presence has always and everywhere been welcome.
 

"For these two decades during which you have administered the affairs of the diocese, harmony has prevailed in its councils, and peace in all its borders. There has been a unity of feeling and purpose between the Bishop, the clergy and the laity. Parties have been utterly unknown; to your wisdom and prudence much is due for all this, and we cannot but be thankful for what we have so long witnessed."

 

Bishop Bissell entered into rest at Burlington, May fourteenth, 1893.
 

The Rev. Dr. Flanders of St. Lukeís Church, St. Albans, preached a memorial sermon at St. Paulís Church, Burlington on June twenty first, 1893 on the death of the Right Rev. William H. A. Bissell, DD, the occasion being a special Convention for the election of a Bishop.
 

In this sermon there are interesting facts, which help to explain the strange hold, which the Bishop had on the affections of the people of the diocese. Bishop Bissell was educated a Congregationalist of the strictest school of Calvinism. However, he was too generously molded to be swayed by prejudice, and after careful study of the history and policy of the Church he became convinced of the justice of her claims, and after struggling with the prepossessed teachings of his early life, he became a Candidate for Holy Orders, was ordained Deacon in 1839, made a Priest the year following and consecrated second Bishop of Vermont in 1868.
 

As to his character there was about him a certain dignity of bearing and reticence of manner that at first gave people an unfavorable impression. He was, too, a man of decided opinions and expressed himself with a directness that was challenging to those who disagreed with him and were of like independent nature.
 

But he yielded readily his position when there was proof enough to carry conviction, and in this he always commanded respect. As a Churchman and theologian he was sound and conservative. He was of the old school that was called "advanced" twenty-five years ago (1865).
 

He believed in the fact and idea of the church, and in the Divine origin and Mission of the Episcopate; tolerated no innovations of the integrity of the Prayer Book, but he was not disturbed by a ceremony or the color of a stole. This was his common remark "The church is broad and flexible enough to entertain with charity all schools of thought so long as essential principles are not interfered with."
 

This judicious attitude helped to avoid friction in the diocese. He seldom spoke in the house of Bishops; he devoted no time to the work of authorship.
 

He was effective as a preacher; people were convinced by his earnestness and sincerity. There was gentleness in his nature and though somewhat undemonstrative his soul answered to the cry of sorrow. He did nothing for effect.
 

Few men possessed a richer sense of humor. His home life was delightful; he was generous in his hospitality.
 

When Bishop Bissell came to Vermont he entered upon no easy task as successor of a bishop who was a lawyer, a musician, a painter, an architect as well as a scholar and theologian. The two characters presented a strange contrast. The one was raised up for a special crisis, and was bold in resources; the other took the work as it was left; was quiet and undemonstrative and did his work faithfully and with satisfactory results.

 

 

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