Posts by epiphany

April 29: Commemorative Service for Pamela Chinnis (2000)

On Saturday, April 29, 2000, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church hosted a special service of Choral Evensong and reception at Epiphany in celebration of the ministry of Pamela Pauly Chinnis. Dr. Chinnis was about to complete her third and final term as President of the House of Deputies. This house, along with the House of Bishops, makes up the General Convention, the governing body of the Episcopal Church. Dr. Chinnis was the first woman to hold the position. She was a loyal daughter of Epiphany having served as the parish’s first female senior warden. She was the third person associated with the parish to lead the House of Deputies (joining the Revs. Randolph McKim and ZeBarney Phillips.)

The officiants for this service were the Rt. Rev. Ronald H. Haines, 7th Bishop of Washington and the Rev. Randolph C. Charles, 14th Rector of Epiphany and the preacher was the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, 25th Presiding Bishop. The Epiphany Choir, under the direction of Eric Plutz, provided the music. In the Litany of Thanksgiving, the congregation prayed “for the many faithful leaders of your church, especially Pam Chinnis, who leads with wisdom, courage, and compassion.”

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April 28: John Henry Aulick (1873)

Upon his retirement in 1867, Commodore J.H. Aulick had 57 years of service with the U.S. Navy, of which almost half were spent at sea. A Virginian by birth, Aulick was appointed an officer in the navy from Maryland. During the War of 1812, he served on several ships, one of which was captured by the British and Aulick spent eight months in captivity. In the 1840’s, Aulick was stationed in Washington as commandant of the U.S. Navy Yard. In 1850, Aulick received orders to command the East India Squadron. Before leaving for his new posting, Aulick suggested a plan to Secretary of State Daniel Webster to open trade talks with Japan. President Fillmore designated Aulick as his envoy to negotiate a treaty of commerce. Due to some infighting, Aulick was relieved of the responsibility and Commodore Perry completed the mission.

Commodore Aulick’s family first shows up in Epiphany’s records with the marriage of his oldest daughter, Julia, to a naval officer in 1847. Aulick may have also witnessed the baptism and confirmation of several grandchildren at Epiphany. The funeral of Aulick’s oldest son, Richmond, took place at Epiphany in 1868. Richmond Aulick had been the first graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in 1846. John Henry Aulick’s own funeral took place five years later. Rector Wilbur Watkins read the burial service at the commodore’s residence, after which a funeral procession including the full marine band marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to Congressional Cemetery for interment.

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April 27: Aurelius Rives Shands (1941)

A beautiful stained glass window in Epiphany’s east transept illustrates Matthew 11:2-5. When Jesus is asked if he is the promised messiah, he responds, “the blind see, the lame walk …” The lame walking is an appropriate symbol for a window in memory of an orthopedic surgeon. Such is the case with this window in memory of Dr. Aurelius R. Shands and his wife, Agnes. A native of central Virginia, Dr. Shands studied in Baltimore and New York before settling in Washington. In addition to his practice, he was professor of Orthopedic Surgery at George Washington University. He was one of the founders of Emergency Hospital in Washington and was the Chief of Orthopedic Service.

The May 1941 issue of the Parish Guide recorded Dr. Shands’ death: “On last Sunday evening, shortly before midnight, our beloved Senior Warden, Dr. A.R. Shands, entered into the fuller life. For more than a score of years this valiant soldier of Christ had occupied the position of Warden of this church, which he loved more than anything in the world, next to his home and loved ones. He was quiet and unobtrusive, gentle yet firm, where firmness was necessary. He was not only a great Christian but a great physician, and hundreds of men, women and children rise up to call him blessed for the curative work he has done through the forty or more years of his practice here in Washington.”

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April 26: Philip Burke King (1987)

Philip Burke King was an American geologist, who is remembered for his pioneering and long-continued achievements in the theory and practice of preparing tectonic maps of nations and continents. A native of Indiana, King received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Iowa State University, where his father taught. After graduation, King went to work for an oil company in west Texas and quickly became fascinated with the geology of the region. A Yale University professor doing research there encouraged the young King to come to Yale for doctoral work. King received his Ph.D. in 1929, producing a major monograph of the Glass Mountains.

Most of Philip King’s working career was spent with the U.S. Geological Survey, headquartered in Washington. He taught at universities for short periods, including a stint as visiting lecturer at the University of Moscow. He was known for his extraordinary ability as a draftsman, almost an artist. Art had been his minor in college. All his major reports and books are illustrated by his own superb drawings. The precision and beauty of his work is admirable and contributed to the clarity, order and breadth of vision. King was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was awarded medals from the Geological Society of America and the U.S. Department of the Interior. On October 29, 1932, Philip King married Helen Carter, an accomplished poet, at the Church of the Epiphany.

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April 25: Visit of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (2010)

The Presiding Bishop is the chief pastor and primate of the Episcopal Church. He or she is elected by the church’s General Convention to serve a nine-year term. During her tenure as the 26th Presiding Bishop (2006-2015), the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori visited all 109 dioceses and regional areas of the Episcopal Church, beginning with the Diocese of Arkansas in January 2007 and concluding with the Diocese of Central Florida in March 2013. After completing this task, Bishop Katharine reported, “This Church is living faithfully into the next era of what it means to be Episcopal Christians. We are serving the least of these, teaching and forming new generations as partners in God’s mission, responding to injustice, and caring for God’s creation.”

During her visit to the Diocese of Washington April 23-25, 2010, Bishop Katharine visited the Church of the Epiphany and participated in the 8:00am Welcome Table Eucharist on Sunday, April 25. The service and the accompanying ministries of bible study, art, and breakfast primarily serve downtown’s homeless men and women. Leaving formality behind, Bishop Katharine eschewed her miter and crozier and sat with the congregation during the service. In the homily, the bishop told her audience, “Each and every one of you is a shepherd.” The service concluded with the Welcome Table Choir leading the congregation in a rousing rendition of the spiritual, “I’m Gonna Eat at the Welcome Table.”

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April 24: Robert King Stone (1872)

Though only 49 years old when he died, Dr. Robert King Stone had long been considered “the dean of the Washington medical community.” He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and had visited major hospitals in London, Paris and Vienna before starting his practice in Washington. Dr. Stone also served as a professor at Columbian College Medical School (today’s GWU School of Medicine). When he came to Washington, Abraham Lincoln chose Dr. Stone as his family’s physician. Dr. Stone attended President Lincoln following his assassination. In the formal investigation of the crime, Dr. Stone was the only physician to give testimony about the president’s condition.

The family of Robert King Stone had been connected with Epiphany since it’s founding. His aunt, Mary King Lenthall, was the church’s first organist and Sunday school teacher. His mother, Elizabeth Lenthall Stone, gave money and land to Epiphany to found the Lenthall Home for Widows. For several decades following his death, members of Stone’s family were connected to Epiphany. The marriage and burial services of his two children were here. The baptism of four of his grandchildren took place here, including namesake Robert King Stone, baptized at Epiphany in 1892, twenty years after his grandfather’s death.

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April 23: Stilson Hutchins (1912)

Stilson Hutchins was a lifelong journalist and a millionaire philanthropist. A native of New Hampshire, Hutchins attended schools in Boston and eventually graduated from Harvard. He started his career as a reporter in Boston and later went to Iowa where he had charge of papers in Des Moines and Dubuque. Soon after the Civil War, he relocated to St. Louis and established the Daily Times. During this period he was also a member of the Missouri legislature. Soon after, Hutchins came to Washington, where he founded The Washington Post in order to advance Democratic Party views. It was first published in 1877 and within a year the circulation topped 6000 copies per day. Joseph Pulitzer joined the staff in 1880.

For many years, Hutchins was engaged in various business enterprises in Washington and did much to enhance the city. Hutchins presented the statue of Benjamin Franklin, which today stands at the corner of 12th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW in front of the Old Post Office. Hutchins also donated the Daniel Webster Memorial at Scott Circle. Webster was a fellow New Hampshire native. Hutchins associated with Epiphany somewhere along the way. The funeral of his second wife, Sarita, took place there as well as his own before interment in Rock Creek Cemetery.

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April 22: Fannie Gilliss (1926)

The May 1926 Parish Guide recorded the death of Fannie Gilliss: “On Thursday evening, April 22, Miss Fannie Gilliss entered into rest. There was perhaps no one connected with Epiphany Church who was better known or more universally beloved than this saintly woman who, as the close of her earthly life approached, went forth to meet death with a most triumphant faith and glorious serenity. Her passing was a veritable benediction and those who were privileged to be near her during her last few days will never forget her radiant face as she talked of the full life she had had and of the fuller life into which she was so soon to enter. Miss Gilliss was the first person to be baptized in Epiphany Church by the Rev. Dr. French, first Rector, and during a period of more than four score years she supplemented her faith with every kind of noble endeavor for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God in this dear old Parish she so truly loved.”

Fannie Gilliss was the fourth child of James and Rebecca Gilliss, founding members of Epiphany and present at the laying of the church’s cornerstone in 1843. During her life, Fannie served as the sponsor for at least 15 baptisms at Epiphany of non-family members. She lived through nine Epiphany rectors and was baptized, confirmed and buried from the church before her interment in the family plot at Oak Hill Cemetery.

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April 21: Edward Cary Walthall (1898)

Born in Richmond, Virginia to a family with roots going back to Jamestown, Edward Cary Walthall lived the life of a lawyer, soldier, and statesman. Walthall’s family moved to Mississippi when he was a boy. There he received his schooling and after being admitted to the bar, he was elected District Attorney. When the Civil War came along, he sided with the South and rose to the rank of general in the Confederate Army. After the war, he was elected to the U.S. Senate from Mississippi. In his autobiography, Senator George F. Hoar of Massachusetts wrote, “If I were to select the one man of all others with whom I have served in the Senate, who seems to me the most perfect example of the quality and character of the American Senator, I think it would be Edward C. Walthall of Mississippi. When he spoke, the Senate listened to a man of great ability, eloquence and dignity.”

Congressional records describe the funeral of Senator Walthall: “The casket containing the remains of the deceased Senator was brought into the Senate Chamber. The Vice President called the Senate to order at 12 o’clock meridian. At one minute past 12 o’clock the members of the House of Representatives entered the Senate Chamber. They were soon followed by the dean and members of the diplomatic corps, the Chief Justice and associate justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, the President of the United States [William McKinley] and his cabinet ministers, and the Commissioners of the District of Columbia. Rev. Randolph Harrison McKim, D.D., assisted by Rev. Louis G. Wood [Epiphany’s rector and assistant], read the burial service of the Episcopal Church.”

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April 20: Sarita Morrison Brady Hutchins (1884)

Epiphany’s records list the burial of Mrs. Sarita Morrison Hutchins with the cause of death being childbirth. Sarita was the wife of Stilson Hutchins, founder of The Washington Post. Her obituary is from that paper: “Her intellect was of that keen, penetrating kind characteristic of the best of Celtic blood, allowing her to take at a glance and with but little apparent effort the essence of whatever was offered either in books or men. Her memory, which was as unusual as her other mental endowments, held in readiness for her use all that she had thus acquired; the combination making her one of the most brilliant, entertaining and ready conversationalists Washington society has ever known. Her critical faculty was of the finest quality, and made her judgment upon literary matters a standard among those who were so fortunate as to be numbered as her friends. She had great learning, and her knowledge was not only wide but deep. Had the time and opportunity presented themselves the world would have felt and acknowledged the influence of her thought, which was as original as it was forcible and strong.”

“But if there was one quality in Mrs. Hutchins’ character which stood out, with greater clearness or in bolder relief than the rest it was her delicate sense of justice. Her sympathy and aid were always at the service of the oppressed, and she was ever ready to do battle with the weak against the strong. On this principle she molded her life even to its minutest details. Coupled with this sense of justice there was – as there is always in truly great minds – a wide charity which recognized and pitied the weaknesses and frailties of our imperfect humanity. Those who were privileged to enter the circle of her inner life will remember a card fastened to the corner of her mirror. On this card were these words: ‘I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.’ This was the guide of her life, and she followed it to the end.”

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