February 1: First Issue of the Parish Guide Newsletter (1877)

“This little monthly publication will help the rector in engaging the interest of his people in their own parish work and parish life.” With these words, Epiphany rector William Paret introduced a new monthly newsletter, Parish Guide, to his congregation in February 1877. The Guide was the rector’s personal medium for communicating with his parishioners and making them aware of the manifold activities of Epiphany and of the Episcopal Church generally. In the beginning, the Parish Guide was 8-12 pages in length and was mailed to all members at no charge. Subscriptions of $1 per year were welcomed.


Within ten years, 800 copies of the Parish Guide were being sent out at an annual cost to the church of $55. A decade later in 1895, the number of copies had soared to 1225. About this time, advertising first appeared and filled 2-3 pages for the next 25 years. In an 1896 issue, Mrs. M.J. Hunt’s Fine Millinery on F Street advertised “a choice line of the very latest importations of bonnets and hats from leading Paris and London houses.” The Parish Guide served the parish well for 135 years, but was finally a victim of modern technology and replaced by today’s online “Epiphanies Happen!”

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