Celebrating 175

March 25: Katherine Roberts Quail Pearson (1890)

Over a period of 22 years (1868-1890), Mrs. Kate Quail Pearson served as Epiphany’s organist and choir director during a period of great growth for the parish. When she first started playing the organ at Epiphany at age 20, she is referred to in records as “Miss Katie Quail.” Four years later, she was married at the church to Quincy A. Pearson by rector Wilbur Watkins. After the 1874 renovation of the church, music became an increasingly prominent feature of worship. The 1874 renovation is the one that literally raised the roof and gave the interior the hammer beam ceiling visible today. It also brought a new organ (the church’s third) that was placed in the rear gallery.

Rector William Paret was not musically inclined, so he left things related to the choir up to Mrs. Pearson. For several years, there was a paid double quartet with a few volunteers. Later, Paret advocated for a larger choir to promote heartier congregational singing. The rear organ gallery was rearranged to accommodate a 70-voice choir, although the number never grew much above 40. After Mrs. Pearson’s untimely death on March 25, 1890 at age 43, her funeral was at Epiphany. William Paret, now Bishop of Maryland, returned to Epiphany to lead the service. Later the vestry paid tribute to Pearson’s “skill and taste as a musician, her ability as a director, and her tact as a woman” and acknowledged Epiphany’s debt to her “for the phenomenal success of its music, which has combined in a rare degree artistic excellence with religious feeling.

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March 24: Epiphany Chapel, SW Washington (1880)

For much of the 19th Century, Epiphany’s parish bounds included the area between 12th and 15th Streets and from K Street down to the Potomac River. Shortly after William Paret became rector in 1876, he concluded that bounds were primarily convenient dividers for charitable work. A parish looked after poor people in the parish bounds. Before the government buildings were built south of the mall, this southern part of the parish was a residential area mostly of low-income families, none of which were coming to Epiphany on G Street, NW. In March of 1880, a new Epiphany mission was opened in a rented house on Maryland Ave, SW. Within a short time, there were weekly worship services, Sunday school, and a sewing school, all with a large attendance.

With the work of the mission soon outgrowing the rented building, it was decided to buy the property and build an adjoining structure. A new red brick chapel seating 300 was completed in the spring of 1882. By the late 1880’s more than half of Epiphany’s confirmations were of people associated with the chapel rather than the church. Due to increasing rail traffic in the neighborhood, Epiphany’s vestry decided to purchase a new lot at the corner of 12th and C Streets, SW to build a new 500-seat chapel and mission house. This endeavor was officially called St. Barnabas’ Chapel, although this name was rarely used. Epiphany Chapel provided a vital ministry in SW Washington until January 1948 when it was finally closed due to the changing neighborhood.

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March 23: Morrison Remick Waite (1888)

Morrison Remick Waite was the seventh Chief Justice of the United States, serving from 1874 until his death in 1888. Born and raised in Connecticut, he left his home state to make his career practicing law in northwestern Ohio. Waite ran twice unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate and spent one term in the state legislature. Waite later declined a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court. He gained a measure of national attention when he represented the U.S. delegation to an international arbitration aimed at settling a dispute between the United States and Great Britain and brought Waite praise and attention. Waite was appointed to the Supreme Court by President U.S. Grant. Waite’s view of the judicial function guided thinking about judicial review well into the 20th century.

Morrison Waite was a member of Epiphany’s vestry from 1883 until his death. He was a lay delegate to the diocesan convention in 1884. Chief Justice Waite’s funeral is included in Epiphany’s register. The service was held in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives. Attendees included members of Congress, President and Mrs. Cleveland, the Supreme Court justices, the Cabinet, and the diplomatic corps. Due to the illness of rector Samuel Giesy, Bishop William Paret and other members of Epiphany’s clergy participated in the service.

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March 22: Sarah Hand Coleman (1893)

Sarah Coleman was a granddaughter of millionaire industrialist Robert Coleman. With her sister, Margaret, she purchased a home in Washington on Lafayette Square, which is today the parish house for St. John’s Church. It’s hard to know what drew Sarah to Epiphany even though she was living next door to St John’s. Epiphany’s records show her confirmation in 1863. From that time forward, her contributions to Epiphany’s ministries are significant. She appears to have inspired her two nieces, Isabel and Margaret, to do the same. The Epiphany Church Home, an outreach program for indigent women and children, seemed to be near and ear to her heart. Upon her death, her nieces funded a chapel at the home in her memory.

Following her death on March 22, 1893, Sarah Coleman’s funeral took place at Epiphany. A Parish Guide tribute the following month stated: “Epiphany had no more loyal or more liberal daughter. For a generation she went into and out of the church, a pattern of unassuming piety, a coadjutor of every good work.”

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March 21: +Ronald Hayward Haines (2008)

Ronald Hayward Haines served as the Seventh Bishop of Washington for the last decade of the 20th Century. Carved on his tomb at Washington Cathedral are the words, “Courageous and Staunch Advocate For All People.” His life’s journey had taken many twists and turns. A native of Wilmington, Delaware, he was a graduate of the University of Delaware School of Engineering and for ten years pursued a career in that field. It was due to a significant health crisis that his wife suffered that Haines had a spiritual reawakening. Participation in local prayer groups led to seminary study and eventual ordination to the priesthood. After serving at parishes in New York City and North Carolina, Ronald Haines was called to Washington, D.C.

Several historic events at Epiphany marked Haines’ ministry over the next 14 years. In special diocesan conventions held at Epiphany, Haines was elected bishop suffragan (1986) and then bishop diocesan (1990). In 1991, Bishop Haines ordained at Epiphany the Rev. Elizabeth Carl, an open lesbian, which caused a period of protest and internal examination. Following Bishop Haines’ call for an election for a new suffragan bishop, a special diocesan convention at Epiphany elected Jane Holmes Dixon, the third woman in the Anglican Communion to become a bishop. In 1994, Bishop Haines instituted Randolph Charles as Epiphany’s 14th rector. Near the end of his episcopate, Bishop Haines joined Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold at Epiphany in celebrating the ministry of Pamela Chinnis.

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March 20: Wheelock Graves Veazey (1898)

After his education at Phillips Exeter Academy and Dartmouth College, New Hampshire native Wheelock G. Veazey proceeded to study law. His legal career was quickly interrupted with the outbreak of the Civil War. Veazey enrolled as a private and rose in the ranks to become commander of a Vermont Infantry regiment. He led this unit at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. Twenty-eight years later, he received the Medal of Honor for his actions during that engagement. Veazey’s first daughter was born about the time of the battle. She was named Anne Gettysburg Veazey. Following his military service, Veazey was elected to the Vermont State Senate. The Vermont legislature later elected him as a judge of the Vermont Supreme Court.

Veazey’s appointment by President Benjamin Harrison as a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1889 brought him to Washington, D.C. Within a year, Veazey’s daughter, Anne, was married at Epiphany. Following his death in 1898, Veazey’s funeral took place at Epiphany with his interment afterwards at Arlington National Cemetery.

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March 19: Marsha Ann Friberg Shinkman (2012)

A native of Jamestown, New York, Marsha Shinkman’s career in education spanned 47 years. Following her graduation from college, she taught at elementary schools in Pennsylvania and New York. Later, she became public relations director at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut. While in Hartford, she earned a Master’s Degree in English from Trinity College. An opportunity at Stanford University’s development office took Marsha to Palo Alto, California. She later transferred to Washington, D.C. when she became assistant director of Stanford’s Washington program, which welcomed students to the nation’s capital.

Upon arriving in Washington in the early 1990’s, Marsha was no stranger to Epiphany. Her husband, Chris, was one of three sons of long-time parishioners Paul and Elizabeth Shinkman. Marsha served on Epiphany’s vestry. She was an active volunteer throughout the city supporting the Shakespeare Theatre, the Kennedy Center and Washington Cathedral. Marsha is remembered for her “bubbly, outgoing personality.” As a lasting tribute of her spirit of hospitality, one of the movable chairs added in Epiphany’s most recent renovation was given in Marsha’s memory.

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March 18: James William Hamilton Lovejoy (1901)

Two hospitals that came into being in Washington, D.C. in the latter 19th Century were Children’s (1871) and Garfield Memorial (1884). Dr. James Lovejoy was involved with both of these charitable institutions. Lovejoy was a Washington native and attended Columbian College (now George Washington University). His medical training came at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. In addition to a general practice in his native city, he also became a professor at Georgetown Medical School, eventually becoming president of the medical faculty. In 1881 he was elected director and consulting physician to the Children’s Hospital. He was one of the founders of Garfield Memorial Hospital (shown here) and served as a consultant until his death.

Children’s Hospital still exists today under the name of Children’s National Health System. In 1958, Garfield Memorial Hospital merged with Emergency and the Episcopal Eye, Ear and Throat Hospitals to form Medstar Washington Hospital Center. The first mention of Lovejoy’s family in Epiphany’s records is the marriage of his younger brother in 1864. In the 1870’s, all three of Dr. Lovejoy’s daughters were confirmed at Epiphany. Two days after his death on March 18, 1901, the funeral of James W.H. Lovejoy was held at Epiphany Church. His tombstone at Glenwood Cemetery reads, “The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God.”

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March 17: First Mixed Vested Choir (1893)

The introduction of a mixed (male and female members) vested (wearing a black cassock and white surplice) choir at Epiphany was prefaced by the 1890 renovation of the church. In an attempt to anchor Epiphany to its downtown location, the vestry voted to make improvements and embellishments to the church. New York architect Edward J. Neville Stent designed and carried out interior changes, which centered around the movement of the choir and organ from the rear balcony to a rebuilt and enlarged chancel. New chancel arches were added. The 1874 Epiphany window was moved to the rear of the church and replaced by a larger (current) window of the same theme. A wrought iron rood screen was erected between the chancel and the nave.

With the choir, which had been mixed for several decades, now seated in a more visible position in the front of the church, it became vested. This occurred in the spring of 1893. The choir was enlarged and by the spring of 1895 under organist-choirmaster H. Clough Leighton, there were five paid soloists and a total of twenty female and fourteen male members. In addition to its participation in morning and evening services, the choir had for more than a decade been giving annual concerts such as Gaul’s “Holy City” in 1894. On that occasion, the audience was so large that it overflowed into the Sunday school room, and the choir was prompted by demand to repeat its performance two months later.

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March 16: William Holland Wilmer (1936)

His grandfather was a prominent Episcopal priest and a founder of Virginia Theological Seminary. His father was the second bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama. William Holland Wilmer chose a different course for his life’s work and after graduation from the University of Virginia Medical School, devoted his career to treating diseases of the eye. He practiced ophthalmology in Washington until 1925 when he went to Baltimore to establish the Wilmer Institute of Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University. He later returned to Washington as a professor at Georgetown University, where he served for the next 28 years. During this time he was also a surgeon at the Episcopal Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, an institution Epiphany played a part in founding and supporting.

Wilmer married Re Lewis Smith and the couple was married at her church in Philadelphia. After moving to Washington, they became associated with Epiphany. All of their children were baptized there by his father, Bishop Wilmer. During World War I, Dr. Wilmer served in the U.S. Air Service and was a pioneer in the establishment of visual requirements and ocular conditions for aviators. Wilmer’s name appears on the World War I plaque at the rear of the nave at Epiphany. Throughout his life, Dr. Wilmer served faithfully as a trustee of the National Cathedral Foundation. After his death, he was interred in the Cathedral Crypt. The plaque nearby reads: “A physician of surpassing skill, a great surgeon and investigator, who with humbleness of mind and unbounded sympathy, brought sight to the blind, and dedicated his life to the welfare of the suffering and to the glory of God.”

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