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(title page) Address of the Rt. Rev. Stephen Elliott, D.D., to the Thirty-Ninth Annual Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the Diocese of Georgia.
Rt. Rev. Stephen Elliott, D.D.
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BRETHREN OF THE CLERGY AND LAITY:
We meet, to-day, under circumstances very unlike any which have ever surrounded us since our connection as Bishop and people. Hitherto we have assembled as an Ecclesiastical Council, with no cares resting upon our hearts save those which concerned the Church of Christ. To-day we feel most painfully, in addition to these, the sorrow which arises from the severed ties of friendship and of country. Hitherto peace has ever smiled upon our meetings with her bright face of prosperity and security. To-day the whole land is resounding with the preparation for war--war with those who, until a few months since, were our countrymen and our brethren. Hitherto our Church has moved undisturbed through all the storms which have agitated the civil State. To-day a stern necessity is laid upon us to examine relations which we fondly hoped would be indestructible. May God's Holy Spirit shed more abundantly than ever upon us the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, and may we receive grace to put away from us all pride, prejudice, and passion, and to consult together as the children of the God of Love and disciples of the Prince of Peace.
As an ordinary rule, the Church of Christ has but little to do with political events, and our own branch of that Church has most scrupulously avoided all entanglement with parties and their unceasing conflicts. She has ever inculcated the Apostolic rule that "the powers which be are ordained of God," and has enjoined upon her members the Christian duties of reverence for established authority, and of obedience to law and order. Even up to this moment, through all the
angry discussions, and excited passions of the last seventy years, she has never, in any of her numerous synodical conventions, taken any part in the sectional movements which have agitated and convulsed the Union. Although the ablest laymen of the country, many of them politicians, warmly engaged in the current strife of the day, have held seats in her councils, they have invariably abstained, while in Ecclesiastical session, from all interference with politics, and have ever confined themselves to the legitimate business of the Church, the advancement of "Peace on earth, good will towards men." Whatever may have been their private opinions, they have carefully held them in abeyance, while engaged in the councils of the Church. This wise and Christian conduct has made the Episcopal Church a wonder and a glory in the land, and while most of the other Christian bodies of the late United States have been engaged in strife and bitter contention, and have many of them long since severed all christian union and communion, our Church has never permitted these distracting questions to enter within her consecrated walls. Amid the present confusion and distraction of the country, she can lift up clean hands and a pure heart and appeal to the God of Heaven that she has had no part nor lot, as a Church, in producing the strife which is rapidly marching to dip its feet in blood.
But while, as a Church, she has had no share in producing the condition of things which exists around her, she is nevertheless involved in that condition, and cannot, by any means, be made independent of it. Every member of the Church is a member likewise of the Commonwealth, unless, as Hooker says in the 8th book of his Ecclesiastical Polity, "the name of the Church be restrained in a Christian Commonwealth to the Clergy, excluding all the residue of believers." And being members at the same time of the Church and of the Commonwealth, the circumstances and relations of the one must affect the circumstances and relations of the other. 'Tis true that "under dominion of infidels" as in the times of the primitive Church, "the Church of Christ and their Commonwealth
were two societies independent," but in that case a state of antagonism existed between Christianity and Paganism, which absolutely forbad any mutual dependency between them. But when the Commonwealth, as in our times, is, if not professedly, at least practically, Christian, it is almost impossible to draw any line which can separate the relations of the Church from the relations of the Commonwealth. The actions of the Commonwealth being the actions of the citizens of that Commonwealth, and those citizens making up the body of the Church and forming its Legislature, there must be, inevitably, a mutual relationship and dependency. It can not be got rid of, without abolishing the whole framework of constitutional and canonical law which binds the Protestant Episcopal Church of this country.
That organization, which is styled the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, was built up out of the fragments of the Church of England which remained in the States after the Revolution. But little change was made in anything pertaining to its essential character as a part of the Church Catholic of Christ. It retained the Apostolic Ministry in its three Orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons; the Apostolic Faith, as embodied in the Creeds, the Articles, and the Formularies of the Church; the Sacraments as ordained by Christ himself. Its liturgical worship was adapted from that of the Church of England, with such modifications only as rendered it suitable to the new order of the civil state. But when it came to consider its relations to the State, it found itself in a condition different both from the Church of England and the Church of Rome. In the Church of England, the Head of the State was likewise the Head of the Church, thus making the Commonwealth and the Church "one society," to use Hooker's phrase. In the Church of Rome, the Bishop of Rome did not suffer the Church to depend upon the power of any civil Prince or Potentate, but made himself the centre of Catholic unity. The Church in this country could follow neither of these models; not the Church of England, because by the Constitution of the United States, any
union between Church and State was prohibited: not the Church of Rome, because she did not recognize the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome. She found herself therefore independent of the Commonwealth, and free to establish such relations with the civil authority as she might deem best. And it is out of the decision to which she came, that the necessity arises for some action on our part in view of the secession of the State of Georgia from the Federal Union, and of the formation, in connection with other States, of an independent government, to wit: "the Confederate States of America."
Had the Episcopalians who convened to organize a Church in the United States and to obtain for this country the succession of Bishops, been satisfied to receive that succession from the Church of England, and to establish its Episcopate without any absolutely restricted jurisdiction, governing the Church through councils of Bishops and Presbyters, the Church should have been independent of all State boundaries, and should have been unaffected in its relations by any changes in the civil state. But the jealousy of Episcopal and even priestly authority, which existed in this country after the Revolution, made this independence seemingly hopeless. It was deemed necessary to organize the Church upon the model of the Constitution of the United States, to create a General Convention in which Laymen should have an equal representation with Clergymen and by which all Ecclesiastical law should be established and modified, and to define sharply the jurisdiction of Bishops. This was done by making their Dioceses co-terminous with the States in which they were established, and giving to each Diocese, no matter what its size, an equal representation in the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies as well as in the House of Bishops. Each Bishop was tied down to his jurisdiction by a marriage which admitted of no divorce. His privileges as a Bishop of the Church Catholic of Christ no human organization could affect, but all his privileges as a Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, arose out of his connection with his particular jurisdiction, and expired with that jurisdiction.
If he resigned his jurisdiction, he was still a Bishop of the Church of Christ; of that nothing could divest him; but he became ineligible to any Diocese then in union with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States or afterwards to be admitted into union with it, was deprived of his seat in the House of Bishops, and could perform the functions of his Episcopal office only at the request of a Bishop having Ecclesiastical jurisdiction. He ceased, in fine, upon his resignation, of his jurisdiction, to be a Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. And this strict connection of the Episcopate with jurisdiction has been extended to our Foreign Missionary Bishops with the like scrupulous jealousy. In the Canon of Foreign Missionary Bishops it is distinctly provided that they shall have no jurisdiction except in the place or country for which they may have been elected or consecrated; that they shall not be entitled to seats in the House of Bishops; that, they shall not even be eligible to an organized Diocese of the United States unless with the consent of three- fourths of all the Bishops entitled to seats in the House of Bishops.
The animus of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, therefore, clearly is, that the Bishop shall go with his jurisdiction. He is a Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, not because he is a Bishop of the Church Catholic, but because he is the Bishop of Maine, or of New York, or of New Jersey, as the case may be. When the jurisdiction therefore of a Bishop declares itself, in the exercise of its rightful sovereignty to be thenceforth and forever separated from the other jurisdictions which make up the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, it forces him necessarily into a like separation. Should he, in consequence of this action of the State in which his Diocese lies, resign his jurisdiction he gains nothing, for by that act he is no longer a Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, nor can he ever again be. If he does not resign he is likewise in the same predicament, for his jurisdiction having declared itself out of the Union, he must necessarily go
out with it. So that, in any case, the separation of his jurisdiction severs him at once from the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, not simply because the Church must follow the nationality, but because the Church of the United States has trammelled itself with constitutional and canonical provisions which forces the Church and its Bishop into this attitude.
And this difficulty is very much increased, when a Bishop's jurisdiction is separated by a formal exercise of sovereignty, which he believes to be constitutional, of which he heartily approves and which he deems absolutely necessary. Was his jurisdiction in a state of rebellion or insurrection, it might be his duty patiently to await the issue of the struggle, and to bear and suffer what might be laid upon him in the performance of his episcopal functions. But we are not in any such condition. The State, which is co-terminous with our Diocese, has, in the exercise of her unquestioned sovereignty and with the almost unanimous consent of her people, resumed the powers which she had delegated to the Federal Government, and has confederated herself with other States, which have in like manner resumed their delegated powers, forming an entirely new government under a constitution prepared with great wisdom and moderation and ratified by the people of the said States in convention assembled. There has been no force, no violence, no compulsion, no necessity laid upon any man to vote otherwise than his conscience or his will dictated. These States have passed, without any civil convulsion whatever, in the most solemn manner, with fasting and prayer, from one government to another, and are to-day as independent of the Federal Union, as France is of England, or Prussia is of Spain. These States are no longer, in any sense, a part of the United States, and consequently the Bishops of these States or Dioceses, for in this connection those words are synonymous, are no longer Bishops of any of the United States. They are now Bishops of the Confederate States. Was any one of us to present himself at the door of the House of Bishops at the next General Convention, and demand his seat, the question might fairly be asked him, "Are you a Bishop having jurisdiction
in one of the United States of America?" If he answered that he was, he would be ignoring the action of the State in which his jurisdiction lies, renouncing his allegiance to her, and would be in every legal sense guilty of treason. If he should reply that he was not, then the answer would be, "No Bishop is entitled to a seat upon this floor, unless by courtesy, who is not a Bishop of one of these United. States;" and so with our Clerical and Lay deputies. They would occupy precisely the same ground, and would necessarily pass through the same catechism.
It has been asked, "Might we not meet once again in General Convention and there determine upon the future relations of the respective Dioceses?" Putting aside the difficulties which might arise in pursuing such a course from a state of war, which now seems inevitable, we must not forget that it is our duty, as a Church, to maintain, if we think its action right, the dignity of the Government of which we are now the lawful subjects, and never, by any action of ours, to lower in any degree its position in the eye of the world. Such a stop as disunion would never have been taken so unanimously and so peaceably by the States which formed the new Confederacy, if there had not been a profound feeling of its absolute necessity. Too many ties of friendship, of sympathy, of interest; too many associations with the past, and too many aspirations for the future, bound the North and the South together, to permit the Union to have been broken, if a deep sense of utter insecurity under the Government of the United States, had not impressed itself upon the minds and hearts of the people of the South. It is due to those with whom we have been so pleasantly united as a Church, that they should understand this matter--that they should not suppose this separation to have taken place under the impulse of passion, or at the beck of ambition. It has been done most solemnly--with tears in our eyes, and prayers upon our lips--with a lively sense of our duty to God, to our children, and above all to the race whom he has committed to our guardianship and Christian nurture. However the world may judge us in connection with
our institution of Slavery, we conscientiously believe it to be a great missionary institution--one arranged by God, as he arranges all the moral and religious influences of the world, so that good may be brought out of seeming evil, and a blessing wrung out of every form of the curse. We believe that we are educating those people as they are educated no where else; that we are elevating them in every generation; that we are working out God's purposes, whose consummation we are quite willing to leave in his hands. We do not expect infidels--men who are clamoring for a new God, and a new Christ, and a new Bible--to believe this, but we did hope that Christian men, our brethren in the faith of Christ, and in the hopes of eternity, would credit our integrity and our faithfulness. We feel sure, that when the whirlwind of passion shall have passed, we shall receive justice at the hands of God's people, being determined, meanwhile, by the grace of God, to defend with the sacrifice of everything, if need be, this sacred charge which has been committed to us. We can not permit our servants to be cursed with the liberty of licentiousness and infidelity, but we will truly labor to give them that liberty wherewith Christ has made us all free.
In pursuance of these views, the Bishop of Louisiana and myself addressed, as the senior Bishops of the seceded States, the following letter to the Ecclesiastical Authority of each of the Dioceses of the Confederate States, recommending the course which, after consultation, we concluded to be the best for the deliberate determination of our future course of action:
UNIVERSITY PLACE, Franklin County, Tenn.,
March 23, 1861.
RT. REV. AND DEAR BROTHER:
The rapid march of events, and the change which has taken place in our civil relations, seem to us, your brethren in the Episcopate, to require an early consultation among the Dioceses of the Confederate States, for the purpose of considering their relations to the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, of which they have so long been the equal and happy members.
This necessity does not arise out of any dissension which has occurred within the Church itself, nor out of any dissatisfaction with either the doctrine or the discipline of the Church. We rejoice to record the fact that we are to-day, as Churchmen, as truly brethren as we have ever been, and that no deed has been done, nor word uttered which leaves a single wound rankling in our hearts. We are still one in faith, in purpose, and in hope. But political changes, forced upon us by a stern necessity, have occurred, which have placed our Dioceses in a position requiring consultation as to our future Ecclesiastical relations. It is better that those relations should be arranged by the common consent of all the Dioceses within the Confederate States, than by the independent action of each Diocese. The one will probably lead to harmonious action, the other might produce inconvenient diversity.
We propose to you, therefore, Rt. Rev. and Dear Brother, that you recommend to your Diocesan Convention, the appointment of three Clerical and three Lay Deputies, who, together with the Bishop of the Diocese, shall be Delegates to meet an equal number of Delegates from each of the Dioceses within the Confederate States, at Montgomery, in the Diocese of Alabama, on the 3d day of July next, to consult upon such matters as may have arisen out of the change in our civil affairs.
We have taken upon ourselves to address you this Circular because we happen to be together and are the senior Bishops of the Dioceses within the Confederate States.
Very Sincerely and Truly Yours,
The object of this meeting is simply, as you will perceive, to determine our ecclesiastical relations with the Dioceses from which our jurisdictions have been separated. We have no quarrel with the divine organization of the Church, none with its faith, none with its worship, none with its discipline. But we must adjust anew our ecclesiastical relations. They have been disturbed if not destroyed by the disruption of the Union, and we should see to it at once, that nothing is done to compromise our own position or that of the Confederate States. I recommend therefore to this Convention the appointment of three Clerical, and three Lay Deputies, who
with the Bishop, shall represent this Diocese in a Convention to be held in Montgomery on the 3d day of July next.
Soon after the State of Georgia seceded, I issued directions to my Clergy to pray for the Governor of the State instead of the President of the United States. As the President of the Confederate States has announced, in his late Message, the adoption by all the seceded States of the permanent Constitution of' the Confederacy, I now instruct the Clergy to cease praying for the Executive of this State, and to substitute in the prayer for the President of the United States the word "Confederate" in place of the word "United" and in the prayer for Congress to say "as for the people of these Confederate States in general" so especially for their "Delegates in Congress assembled," whenever that Congress shall be in session.
My first official act during the past year was confirming on Friday night, May 11, 1860, in St. Stephen's Chapel, Savannah, seven persons, all of whom were colored.
On Sunday morning May 13, I confirmed in Christ Church, Savannah, eight persons, all white. On the same day in the afternoon, I confirmed in St. Paul's Free Church, Savannah, five persons.
On Sunday morning, May 20, I confirmed in the Church of the Messiah, St. Mary's, four persons, one of whom was colored. On Tuesday, May 22, I confirmed in St. Mark's, Brunswick, nine persons, and on the next day I baptized in the same church one adult, and one infant, and confirmed another candidate. These two Parishes of St. Mary's and St. Mark's are reviving and strengthening under the energetic care of Dr. Easter. He has also succeeded in forming a self-supporting Parish in Camden County upon the Satilla River, which when occupied by a Missionary, will complete the chain of missionary posts upon all the great rivers of the State, south of the Savannah.
On Sunday morning, May 27, being Whit Sunday, I confirmed in St. Paul's, Augusta, eight persons. This has been an eventful year to St. Paul's. It has been completely renovated
and improved internally, and furnished with a very fine organ. I regret to add that its faithful Pastor, Dr. Ford, who has served the Church for twenty-seven years has sent in his resignation to the Vestry, on account of continued infirm health. The Vestry has very properly refused to accept it, and requested him to take two years complete rest for which they will provide, and meanwhile procure a Clergyman to supply Dr. Ford's place during his absence. This action is alike honorable to both parties, and has been acceded to by Dr. Ford, with the same frankness with which it was offered.
On Sunday afternoon, May 27, Whit Sunday, I confirmed in the Church of the Atonement, Augusta, six persons.
On Sunday night, June 3, I confirmed in St. Philip's Church, Atlanta, eleven persons. On the next night in the same Church, I confirmed two persons.
On Wednesday afternoon, June 6, I preached in Marietta.
Sunday morning, June 10, I confirmed in Emmanuel Church, Athens, seven persons, and on Monday morning, June 11, I confirmed another sick candidate at his home.
Wednesday morning, June 13, I confirmed in the Church of the Advent, Madison, one person.
Sunday morning, June 17, I Confirmed in Grace Church, Gainesville, five persons, and on Wednesday night, I confirmed in the same Church, five other persons.
Sunday, June 24, I paid a second visit to Emmanuel Church, Athens, and confirmed seven persons, making in all fifteen persons from this Church. Dr. Henderson is still pursuing his active and vigorous ministry in Athens and its neighborhood, making the Church known and respected all around him.
July 6, I admitted to the Holy Order of Deacons in St John's Church, Savannah, the Rev. T. J. Staley. Mr. Staley was a licentiate among the Methodists. He at once took charge of St. Stephen's Chapel for colored persons, and of one or two plantations upon the Savannah River, and has been laboring very acceptably and successfully at these points.
Thursday, August 30, I commenced my visitation of St. James' Church, Marietta, and officiated at night. Friday, August 31, I admitted in the same Church to the Holy order of Priests, at the request of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Otey, the Rev. William Mowbray of the Diocese of Tennessee. Saturday, September 1, I confirmed in private, two white persons, and on Sunday, in St. James' Church, eleven persons. I found this Parish in a state of great activity under the care of the Rev. Mr. Benedict.
On Wednesday, October 10, I assisted in the presence of a very large assemblage of the Bishops, Clergy and Laity of the Church, in laying the Corner Stone of the main building of the University of the South. This great enterprise, thus successfully inaugurated, has been checked for the winter, by the confusion of public affairs, and the temporary division of the Dioceses which made up the Board of Trustees; seven of them having seceded and formed "the Confederate States," while the remaining three adhered to the United States. The recent action of Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina, all of which have passed ordinances of secession, will soon re-unite the Ten Dioceses under one Government. Meanwhile the funds which have been subscribed are securely invested, bearing, good interest, and ready for use when the condition of things shall make it prudent to resume the active work upon the University.
During the session of the Board of Trustees, held on the three days subsequent to the 10th, the Constitution and Statutes of the University, which had been laid over for final consideration, were revised and adopted by the Board. They form an almost perfect model of such an University as the South needs, and have received every where the approval and admiration of the learned.
Sunday, October 28, and Sunday, November 11, I officiated in Christ Church, Savannah, that Church being without a Rector. I again officiated in the same Church on the Sundays of the 2d, 9th and 16th of December.
Friday, December 7, I admitted in St. Paul's Free Church,
Mr. H. E. Tschudy, to the Holy Order of Deacons. Mr. Tschudy acted for some months as the assistant Minister of St. Paul's Free Church, but in consequence of the rupture between the North and South, has been transferred, with the consent of Bishop Potter, to the Diocese of Pennsylvania.
Friday, December 14, I admitted in Savannah, the Rev, John D. Easter to the Holy Order of Priests, and the Rev. Jaquelin M. Meredith, to the Holy Order of Deacons, Mr. Meredith was transferred from Virginia as a Candidate for Orders. He has taken charge of plantations upon the Altamaha, containing nearly eight hundred slaves, a noble field of Missionary enterprize. The four plantations make him up a salary of one thousand dollars.
Sunday, November 18, and December 30, I officiated in Calvary Church, Memphis, where I had the pleasure of finding a former Presbyter of this Diocese, the Rev. Dr. White, most usefully and successfully employed. During the absence of Bishop Otey, I confirmed two invalids and received one of them, a member of my own Diocese, to the Holy Communion.
Friday, December 14, I confirmed in the evening at St. Stephen's Chapel, Savannah, three persons.
Early in January, I was called to Montgomery to perform the last sacred offices of the Church, over the remains of my dear friend and brother in the Episcopate, the Rt. Rev. Nicholas H. Cobbs. I officiated at his funeral, in connection with as many of his Clergy as could be gathered together upon the sad occasion. As in the address which I delivered upon that occasion, and which has been published, I expressed my opinion at large of his excellencies and usefulness in the Church of Christ, I shall dwell no further upon the great loss which we all, but especially his own people, have sustained in his death at this particular crisis of affairs. May his Clergy and Laity be successful in electing a successor worthy of his piety and faithfulness.
Monday, January 14, at the request of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Alabama, I examined Mr. Gray, for
Deacon's Orders, and on Tuesday, January 15, I admitted him in St. John's Church, Montgomery, to the Holy Order of Deacons.
Sunday, January 20, I confirmed a second time, in St. Philip's Church, Atlanta, and added six to the number confirmed in June, making nineteen within the year. The Rector is very much straightened for room, the Church being over crowded with even its ordinary congregation.
Sunday, February the 17, I confirmed in St. Peter's Rome, nine persons, two of whom were colored. This Church is in a very wholesome and well ordered condition, advancing steadily in numbers and in the influence of holiness.
Sunday, February 24, I held a second confirmation in St. James' Church, Marietta, when seven additional candidates were presented, making twenty in this Church for the year. In the interval between my two visits, the Church had been very much improved, and a school edifice erected for the use of the pupils connected with the Female School established under the care of the Rector. I would embrace this opportunity to recommend this School to the patronage of the Church in Georgia.
Easter Sunday, in the morning, I confirmed in Christ Church, Savannah, (one of whom was from St. Paul's,) seven persons, and at night in St. John's Church, Savannah, five persons.
Sunday, April 7, I officiated in Christ Church, Savannah.
Sunday, April 21, I visited St. Paul's Church, Albany, and confirmed three persons. This is now a rapidly growing Parish, and bids fair from immigration to be soon among the strongest in the Diocese.
Sunday, April 28, I confirmed in St. Andrew's Church, Darien, seven persons, two of whom were colored. I found this Parish in an excellent spiritual condition and increasingly alive to its duty to itself and all around it. As one of the fruits of this spirit is the mission among the negroes upon the Altamaha, of which Mr. Meredith has taken the charge. This is sustained by Planters who are communicants of this
Parish, and it should be legitimately credited to the praise of St. Andrew's.
On Monday morning April 29, in company with Mr. Meredith, I visited the plantation of Mr. Nightingale, on Cambus Island. The negroes were all gathered together, having been given a holiday for the purpose, and after the reading of the service by Rev. Mr. Meredith, I addressed them upon the importance of the mission to them and theirs. There are at this place a large number of communicants of the Episcopal Church, but they need re- gathering and revival.
In the afternoon of the same day the Missionary and myself visited Potosi, the plantation of Mr. Richard Morris. The house was crowded to excess, and the people seemed deeply interested in the services. Mr. Meredith read the service and I addressed them very much upon the same topics as in the morning.
Tuesday morning, April 30, the Missionary and myself took boat early and crossed over to the magnificent estate of the late John Butler, of Philadelphia. This estate lies upon an island, which it entirely occupies and upon which are some five hundred negroes. It is a parish in itself. The house used for service could not contain one half of the congregation. The children themselves form a congregation. As at the other plantations Mr. Meredith read the service and I addressed them on the importance of his pastoral services to them and their children. These people have had preaching enough and to spare, what they lack now is pastoral instruction. They are very intelligent and anxious for religious knowledge.
Taking our boat after service we returned to Darien, and drove out to the plantation of Lieut. C. Manigault Morris, Ceylon, where we held an afternoon service. There were no confirmations at any of these places, as Mr. Meredith has been engaged for too short a time in his work to have prepared any, as they should be prepared.
Sunday, May 5, I officiated in Trinity Church, Columbus, and at night confirmed a very interesting class of nine persons. Trinity Church has been very much improved within the last
few months, having been entirely renovated and its sittings increased to a very large extent. It can now furnish accommodations at least for its own congregation.
During the past year, I have ordained the Rev. Messrs. Staley, Meredith, and Tschudy to the Diaconate, and have admitted the Rev. John D. Easter to Priest's Orders. As I have already stated, Mr. Staley is officiating in St. Stephen's Chapel, Savannah. Mr. Meredith is Missionary upon the Altamaha, and Mr. Tschudy has been transferred to the Diocese of Pennsylvania. I have received the Rev. J. G. Downing from the Diocese of South Carolina, and the Rev. Wm. E. Eppes from the Diocese of Florida. I have transferred the Rev. Mr. Curtis to the Missionary jurisdiction of Arkansas.
There have been very few Parochial changes during the past year, and these have arisen mainly from ill-health or from new adjustments within the Diocese. The resignation of Mr. Curtis from St. Stephen's, Milledgeville, and his removal to Arkansas, is very much to be regretted, for he was truly valued and beloved among us.
I have deemed it best, under the circumstances of the Diocese and the Country, to resume my pastoral charge of Christ Church, Savannah. The Vestry has given me an assistant, and I have selected the Rev. Charles Coley, of Madison, for that post. His acceptance of the charge has vacated the Church of the Advent at Madison.
Three Candidates for Orders have been received during the year, Mr. Charles A[.] Grant, of Savannah, Mr. G. E. Crawford, of Hawkinsville, and Mr. Charles W. Thomas, late a highly esteemed minister of the Methodist Church, and a Chaplain in the U. S. Navy. These together with Mr. Starr and Mr. Geo. Easter make up our number of Candidates.
During the past year, our oldest and most venerated Presbyter has been called to his rest. The Rev. Seneca G. Bragg, for so many years the faithful and beloved pastor of this Church, and a most efficient member of all the important committees of the Diocese, has gone to join all those faithful souls whom he had guided, as a true shepherd, to the Heavenly
fold. He was a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost. To the simplicity and guilelessness of a child, he united the dignity and the power which holiness invariably gives. His heart was all love, his tongue was all charity. Men looked upon his walk and conversation, and believed in the religion of Jesus Christ. Never man was more beloved, not only by his own people, but by all around him: When his eye was dim and his natural force abated, it was truly touching to witness the care which was taken of him by his parishioners. Never having married, he seemed to be a member of every household, for whom too much could not be done. He made his home with his old beloved friend and parishioner, Mr. Munroe, under whose roof he gradually decayed. During the summer he went to New-York to visit, for the last time, his nephews and nieces, and was too weak to return. He died in that State, in January, entering into the rest which he so ardently desired.
And now, my brethren, I commend you to the care and keeping of Him, who has promised to be with His Church always to the end of the world.
Bishop of the Diocese of Georgia.