Celebrating 175

December 1: World AIDS Day Service (1997)

World AIDS Day takes place on December first of each year. It provides an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. The day was conceived by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. The first observance of World AIDS Day took place on December 1, 1988. Bunn, a former television broadcast journalist from San Francisco, had recommended the date of December 1, believing it would maximize coverage by western news media, sufficiently long following the U.S. elections but before the Christmas holidays. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) became operational in 1996, and it took over the planning and promotion of World AIDS Day. Rather than focus on a single day, UNAIDS created the World AIDS Campaign in 1997 to focus on year-round communications, prevention and education. In 2004, the World AIDS Campaign became an independent organization.

Epiphany hosted at least two AIDS-related events in the early days of the pandemic. The first was a benefit concert in 1992 sponsored by a local group, “Musicians Against AIDS.” The group was founded “in order for performing artists to contribute their time and talents to assist local nonprofit organizations directly serving persons with AIDS and those who are HIV positive.” The concert featured chorus and orchestra members from the Washington-Baltimore area, with Epiphany’s organist choirmaster, James Buonemani, as one of the conductors. The second event was “An Interfaith Service of Celebration and Healing for persons living with and affected by HIV and AIDS,” held in conjunction with World AIDS Day in 1997. Since its inception, each World AIDS Day has a theme. As can be seen in the accompanying photo of the service cover, the theme in 1997 dealt with the impact of AIDS on children. The theme for 2017 is “Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships.”

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November 30: Epiphany Church Home Donations (1897)

For its one hundred years of operation, the Epiphany Church Home was supported in many ways by the parish. A member of the clergy served as chaplain. Various parishioners who were doctors served as attending physicians. Parishioners contributed financial support as well as food and supplies. Once a year, the articles received would be reported. The following is a excerpted list from 1897.


Abert, Mrs. W.S., salad and rolls                                    McKim, Mrs. R.H., tonic for inmates, turkey

Arms, M/M.  J.T., barrel of flour and cakes                  Miller, Mrs., magazines

Austin, Mrs., three pairs blankets                                  Mitchell, Miss A., rocking chair

Berry, Mrs. Grace, barrel of vegetables                        Nat’l Flower Guild, cut flowers during year

Blagden, Mr. Thomas, bouquets and cards                 Robinson, Mrs. L., pincushions to each at Xmas

Collins, Mrs., caramels                                                      Rodgers, Mrs. J., $5.00 for ice or ice cream

Cornwell, Mr., case of corn                                              Rousseau, Miss, fans

Dade, Miss, two hams                                                       Sampson, M/M., turkey, milk, cream

Garnett, Miss Maria, fancy articles                                Schrepler, Mr., beef tongue

Heth, Mrs. Gen., chicken, terrapin, biscuits                 Smith, Mr. E., dinner bell

Janney, Miss E., 4 bed spreads                                        Tannehill, Mrs., oranges, lemons

McDonald, Mrs., celery                                                     Townsend, Miss H., hymnals, Xmas cards

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November 29: Epiphany Church Home (1857)

The Epiphany Church Home, the principal medium for the local social work of the church after 1857, had its genesis in a meeting of the male members of the congregation on November 22 of that year at which they agreed to establish an organization for “extending relief to the sick and the poor, the ignorant and the destitute” living within Epiphany Parish. The specific aims were to be: to seek out the sick and the needy and relieve them; to take charge of destitute orphans; to find employment for those who lacked the means to support themselves; to exert an influence over the youth of both sexes “who may be tempted to form idle or dissolute habits”; to instruct those so benefited through church services and lectures, and by establishing a Sunday School and such other schools as might be practicable; to secure the gratuitous services of one or more physicians to care for the poor of the parish; and “to obtain a house at which the beneficiaries of the parish may be provided, for a longer or shorter time, with a home,” and one that could serve also as a haven for the relief of destitute sick persons.

Before the end of November 1857, it was agreed to call the new enterprise “The Epiphany Church Home Association”; to establish a male Board of Managers (the rector, wardens, vestrymen, and four others) to run it, that would meet annually on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, to review its work; and to support the work by monthly pledges of $1.00 or more. Initially there were sixty-six subscribers including several ladies. Despite the breadth of its aims, the Home from its beginnings became principally a haven for indigent women, and some children, and a medium for providing poor women able to work in their homes with sewing as a means of livelihood. The Home remained in operation, in various locations (including 1221 Massachusetts Avenue NW depicted here) and with varied goals until January 1958 when it was consolidated with the Episcopal Church Home.

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November 28: Silas Hare (1908)

Silas Hare was a soldier, explorer, lawyer, judge, and legislator.  He was born on November 13, 1827, in Ross County, Ohio. He was raised by his grandfather until the age of fourteen, when he walked barefoot 100 miles to rejoin his mother and family, who had moved to Indiana after his father’s death. During the Mexican War, Hare was a private in the First Indiana Infantry. Seeking to improve his health, Hare traveled to Mexico, Central America, the Sandwich Islands, Oregon, and California. He subsequently moved his family to Belton, Texas, to be near his wife’s relatives and enjoy the warm climate. He practiced law for six years but in 1858 joined the Hardeman expedition to explore the Panhandle and Llano Estacado. Due to numerous hardships, all but eight of the original party of ninety men had returned home when Hare and the remainder, near death from thirst, discovered artesian pools (now called the Hundred Springs) in the Sand Hills.

The Hare family was living in Mesilla, New Mexico, when the Civil War broke out. In June 1861 United States troops evacuated Fort Stanton and Captain Hare entered the fort and proclaimed New Mexico part of the Confederate States. He was appointed chief justice of the territory but resigned in 1862 to join the Confederate Army. In San Antonio he was appointed captain and quartermaster in the Arizona Brigade and remained with this unit throughout the war; he was promoted to major in 1863. After the war Hare located his family in Sherman, Texas, where he founded the Sherman Courier. He formed a partnership with Joseph Bledsoe and became one of the most successful civil and criminal lawyers in North Texas. He was appointed criminal judge of the Dallas, Collin, and Grayson district in 1873. He was elected to two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. After failing to be re-nominated, he resumed his law practice in Washington, D.C. Hare died on November 26, 1908. His funeral was at Epiphany. Four years later, his second wife’s funeral was held there as well.

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November 27: Tullio Suzzara Verdi (1902)

Dr. Tullio Suzzara Verdi was a homeopathic physician in Washington, D.C. in the latter 19th Century. A native of Italy, Verdi was born in 1829 in Mantua. After arriving in the U.S. in 1850, he met Giuseppe Garibaldi who gave him letters of introduction to the Professor of Modern Languages at Brown University in Rhode Island. There he supported himself by the teaching of French and Italian, learning English along the way. After only two years, he had learned English well enough to lecture on the Italian revolution. Throughout his professorship, he studied medicine in his leisure hours under Dr. Okie, an eminent Providence homeopath. In 1854, he attended medical lectures in Philadelphia from which he received diplomas from both the allopathic and the homeopathic schools. While he practiced successfully first in Newport, R. I., in 1857, he moved to Washington, D.C., to seek a larger stage.

In 1860, Verdi married Rebecca Dewey at the Church of the Epiphany. The couple’s first child, Sophia Matilda, was baptized at the church in June 1864 and buried from there one month later. A second daughter, Sophie Wilkins, was baptized in 1867. Dr. Verdi’s office was located at 14th and H Streets. One of his patients was Secretary of State William Seward. Verdi was the first to respond after Seward was attacked on the night of Lincoln’s assassination. Verdi was elected to the staff of the National Homeopathic Hospital after it was created in 1881. In March 1871, he was given a Presidential appointment as a member of the first and only District of Columbia Board of Health created by Congress. That Board elected him Secretary, Health Officer of the District and Chairman of the Sanitary Commission. It was his energy that led to the obtaining from Congress of the Charter for the Washington Homeopathic Medical Society, for which he served two years as president.

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November 26: John Park Finley (1943)

John Park Finley was an American meteorologist and Army Signal Service officer who was the first person to study tornadoes intensively. Born in 1854 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the son of a successful farmer, Finley was uncommonly educated for his time. He completed a course in classical studies at the State Normal College, obtained a bachelor of science degree and later a master of science at Michigan State Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Michigan State University), where he studied the effect of weather and climate on agriculture. He spent another year studying law at the University of Michigan. Even after enlisting in the Signal Corps in 1877 and completing its meteorological instruction, Finley enrolled as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland with the intention of further preparing for his research into tornadoes and cyclones. While living in Washington, Finley’s daughters were baptized at Epiphany, Flora in 1882 and Mary Louise in 1884.

During the 19th Century, while others were debating about the theory and morphology of tornadoes, Finley set out to prove that tornadoes, like other weather phenomena, could be forecast. He developed forecast rules and made experimental forecasts. His forecasting and analysis activities made him the center of controversy during most of his professional life and led to open debate, but he set precedents in meteorological forecasting that are still valid today. His career as a meteorologist started while he was a private in the U.S. Army. His interest continued even when he had achieved the rank of captain and was civil governor of Zamboanga in the Philippines. After his retirement as a colonel, he again became active as a private meteorologist, first establishing a business that provided insurance underwriters with meteorological data for assessing risks, and then opening a school of theoretical and applied meteorology and climatology.

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November 25: John Sanford Mason (1897)

John Sanford Mason was a career officer in the United States Army who served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Mason was born in Steubenville, Ohio. After attending local schools, he was admitted to West Point in 1843. From his graduation in 1847 until he retired at age 64, he pursued only a military career. He began service with garrison duty in Tampico during the Mexican War. During the next twelve years he served in forts in Rhode Island and California, before finally being stationed at Fort Vancouver, Washington at the outbreak of the civil war. In October 1861, he was appointed Colonel of the 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which he led in the fall and winter campaigns of Western Virginia in the force commanded by General James Shields. He served briefly under McClellan during the Peninsula Campaign at the battle at Harrison’s Landing. He was promoted to brigadier general in November 1862 and commanded a brigade under Sedgewick’s II Corps of the Right Grand Division at Fredericksburg. In April 1863, Mason was assigned to recruiting duty, first in Ohio, and later in California and Nevada.

After the war, Mason served in a number of posts on the Western Frontier during the 1870’s and the 1880’s. Four years after the death of his first wife, Mason married Cornelia Marie Wilson at the Church of the Epiphany. When he retired in 1888, he made his home in Washington, D. C. until his death. Mason was a cousin of President James A. Garfield’s wife Lucretia and during the Garfield administration Mason served as Deputy Governor of the Soldiers Home at Washington. Following his death, his funeral was at Epiphany. He was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

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November 24: Timothy Winston Childs (2000)

Timothy Winston Childs was a Foreign Service officer and also a scholar of Middle Eastern current affairs and history. Childs was born in New York City and graduated from Yale University. After a two-year stint in the Army, he received a master’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and later a PhD in European and Middle Eastern History from Georgetown University. Childs lectured on and off for twenty years at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins. He also taught courses on the history of the Ottoman Empire at Georgetown’s Center for Turkish Studies in Alanya, Turkey. In 1990, Childs authored the book, Italo-Turkish Diplomacy and the War Over Libya, 1911-1912.

Childs served in the State Department’s Foreign Service from 1961 to 1973, with assignments in Syria, Iran and Washington. He was a political and economic affairs officer. He was an advisory editor to the Middle East Journal, a member of the board of governors of the Middle East Institute in Washington, and a director of American Near East Refugee Aid. When at home in Washington, Child served as chairman of the steering committee of the Friends of Music of the Smithsonian Institution, a member of the Society of the Cincinnati, and a vestry member of the Church of the Epiphany. Childs’ wife Hope served as Epiphany’s Junior Warden in the 1990s. Following his November 22 death, a memorial service for Childs took place at Epiphany. Former rector and friend Edgar Romig returned to offer the homily. Romig’s sister taught at Robert College in Istanbul, where Childs was a member of the board.

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November 23: Thanksgiving Day Sermons (1915-17)

At three successive Thanksgiving Day services (1915-17), Epiphany rector Randolph McKim preached sermons on America’s involvement in World War I. At the end of the war, these sermons plus six others of the era were published together in a booklet entitled For God and Country. The following review of the pamphlet comes from the December 7, 1918 issue of The Living Church.

“Dr. Randolph H. McKim, whose voice and pen have been magnificently lifted for the cause of righteousness and justice since the war began, has gathered into a volume entitled For God and Country a series of nine sermons and addresses on war topics. They begin with a sermon on The National Crisis preached shortly after the Lusitania atrocity. The second is Dr. McKim’s Thanksgiving Day sermon of 1915, when he searchingly asked his Washington congregation, “ Have we done our duty to ourselves? Have we done our duty to mankind?”

“Consider,” he said, “we allowed the neutrality of Belgium to be violated without a word of protest. We saw the country of the Belgians ruined and devastated . . . . We were powerless indeed to stay the hand of violence and cruelty when it seized the throat of poor little Belgium. But it was in our power to lift up our voice before the civilized world against this brutal and unspeakable crime.” This is one of the strongest of the sermons of the first year of the war, and it rings especially true after our experience during the years that have intervened. The third is a splendid address at the first Lusitania anniversary, delivered in Carnegie Hall, New York, in May 1916. The Living Church had the honor of printing the fourth of the papers, an essay on Preparedness, in July 1916. His Thanksgiving Day sermon of 1916 comes next, and then two sermons that were preached immediately before America entered the war, the second on the eve of the assembling of Congress to receive the President’s message asking for a declaration of war. Finally, two inter-war sermons conclude the volume. Dr. McKim’s war papers here gathered give utterance to the voice of the true prophet. He has been during these years an Isaiah to the American people and especially to those at the capital, and now, when victory, with all that has preceded it, has vindicated all of Dr. McKim’s stirring messages, it is great gratification to have this remarkable collection of his remarkable words.”

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November 22: Bishop Penelope Jamieson’s Visit (1992)

On November 22, 1992, the Last Sunday after Pentecost, the Rt. Rev. Penny Jamieson, Bishop of Dunedin (NZ), visited the Church of the Epiphany and preached at the 11am liturgy. Penelope Ann Bansall “Penny” Jamieson was born in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, England in 1942. She attended Wycombe High School and studied linguistics at the University of Edinburgh, before moving to New Zealand, her husband’s country of birth. She worked at the Wellington Inner City Mission while completing her doctoral thesis at Victoria University. In 1985 she was ordained to the priesthood and became assistant curate of St James’ Lower Hutt. After this she was vicar of Karori West –   Makara in the Diocese of Wellington. In 1990 she was elected to head the country’s southernmost diocese, the Diocese of Dunedin. She was consecrated a bishop on June 29, 1990. At her retirement 14 year later, Jamieson expressed her regret that no other woman had been elected a bishop in New Zealand.

Jamieson was the seventh Bishop of Dunedin in the Anglican Church of New Zealand from 1989 until her retirement in 2004. Jamieson was the second woman in the world to hold the position of bishop in the Anglican Communion and the first to be elected a diocesan bishop. On November 19, 1992, Bishop Jamieson joined Bishop Barbara Harris (the first female bishop in the Anglican Communion) at the consecration of Jane Holmes Dixon (the third female bishop) at Washington Cathedral. In the accompanying photograph from that occasion, Bishop Jamieson is on the left. Three days later Bishop Jamieson preached at Epiphany. All three of these pioneer female bishops visited Epiphany during their episcopacies.

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