December 3: Nation Wide Campaign (1919)

In the 2017 liturgical calendar, today (December 3) marks the first Sunday of Advent. The four Sundays prior to Christmas are observed as a time of preparation for the celebration of the nativity of Jesus. The term advent is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming.” In Advent 1919, Epiphany and the broader Episcopal Church were involved in a Nation Wide Campaign for “the awakening of the Church and the revival of spiritual life, the development of a stronger and more loyal discipleship.” In November 1919, Epiphany’s vestry resolved, “the Wardens and Vestry of Epiphany Parish most heartily commend this project and plan to canvass every member of the parish, bespeaking their interest and co-operation in it to the extent of each one’s opportunity and ability, to the end that this parish may take a part in the beneficiary movement commensurate with its responsibility as one of the largest churches in the Diocese.” The goal was for Epiphany to give $20,412 per annum for three years, a staggering amount for that time. The money would be used for new churches, rectories, and hospitals. It would raise the salaries to clergy to at least $1,500 per annum. It would provide advances in religious education and social service as well as in missionary endeavor.

In the Advent issue of the Parish Guide newsletter, rector Randolph McKim laid out the Advent appeal for the Nation Wide Campaign. There would be a series of five evening services the first week of Advent. Service topics were to be: Monday – “Sin and Redemption,” Tuesday – “Perfect Remission and Forgiveness,” Wednesday – “Consecration and Sacrifice,” Thursday – “Stewardship,” and Friday – “The Great Commission.” Dr. McKim concluded, “I long to have you all with me at the Throne of Grace in the meetings appointed in the schedule for the week. We have no fear that Epiphany Parish will not rise to the height of this opportunity if the people catch the vision and feel the inspiration of the love of Christ.”

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