Trinity Episcopal Church looking south from Grant Street with stone chapel in foreground. Photo courtesy bay-journal.com.
Trinity Episcopal's Search for a New Rector Recalls Trying Early Days
February 15, 2012
Leave A Comment
By: Dave Rogers
Trinity Episcopal Church, one of the iconic houses of worship in Bay City, has a history worthy of documentation in a book.
Mary K. Freel, a parishioner and history researcher, notes that Trinity, as it seeks a new rector, has reviewed its history in that regard. She finds a tumultuous series of events often occurred in ridding the parish of rectors and in hiring new ones.
"After the organization of Trinity in 1854 the parish struggled to stay open and to attract and keep rectors. As a matter of fact between 1854 and 1874 (the start of our story) Trinity had six rectors and there were some years without any.
"In 1874 Reverend George P. Schetky came to town and took over. The parish had just completed an expansion of the church on Washington (around the place where Allan's Shoes now stands) and had another mortgage owing on the rectory.
"I'm not sure what happened during his term of office but in the spring of 1876 the vestry, in an attempt to pay off the mortgages and get back on a sound financial footing decided to assess each family a certain amount -- according to what the vestry thought they could afford.
"They also began taking up a collection at all services; before this time pew rents were the only means of financing the church. The new methods of financing were not popular and at the May meeting Reverend Schetky gave a letter to the vestry saying 'I deem it advisable for myself that there should be a severance of my relations with this parish.' The vestry accepted his resignation.
"Ah, but there's a fly in the ointment!! Reverend Schetky goes on to say '. . .to take effect as soon as Divine Providence shall open the way'. The vestry didn't feel they could search for a new rector while the old one was still in place.
"Time marched on and in October of the same year the vestry passed a resolution asking Schetky to 'immediately inform the vestry of the early date at which he intends to withdraw from this parish.'
"Time continued to march on and in January of 1877 at the vestry meeting it was reported that the Reverend Schetky had not responded to their resolution. A deadline of February 3rd was given or the parish would take steps under the Canons of the Diocese to remove him.
"On the 12th of February Reverend Schetky said he would leave on the 4th of April. The Vestry relented somewhat and on the 31st of March stated that he could use the rectory until the Parish needs it or when the Vestry gives him one week's notice. The vestry then began to look for a new rector.
"On the 10th of April they extended a call to Reverent J. Saunders Reed. Remember they had the telegraph and letters to establish communications with their candidates -- not like the instantaneous contact of email and telephone.
"On the 20th Reverend Reed requested more time but the vestry refused extending a call to H. Morton Reed. However, they said if he said ?no? they might reconsider J. Saunders Reed. Apparently they both turned them down because on the 17th of May a call was extended to Worthy's Hall and if he said 'no' their backup was M. McKenzie. On the 4th of June they turned Reverend Hall down and were waiting on Reverend McKenzie. He must have declined because on June 25th a call was sent to R. W. Clarke.
"Meanwhile Reverend Schetky remained in the rectory until some person or persons unknown to the vestry asked him to leave the rectory in the first week of July 1877. The vestry apologized to him for the misunderstanding but on the 11th they formally asked him to remove himself from the rectory.
"On the 15th a call was extended to Reverend A. A. Butler. He accepted on the 7th of August and FINALLY after 6 calls were extended the new rector was hired and in place. Reverend Schetky resigned in May of 1876 and finally left in July of 1877 14 months later."
Community Article 6746
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
More from Dave Rogers
Send This Story to a Friend!
Letter to the editor
Link to this Story
Printer-Friendly Story View
--- Advertisments ---