LOST AND FOUND (continued)
American branch of the Friends of St. Paul’s
Cathedral was established late in 1964 at St. James. Incorporated
by the rector, Rev. Paul D. Wilbur and the associate rector,
Rev. Canon H. Kilworth Maybury, a board of trustees was formed
and included the beloved and talented choir director and
organist, Beatrice Fisk, and Mrs. Neil (Joan) Humphreville,
who is still an active parishioner at St. James.
It came about this way, as, by happy coincidence, a good
idea was converted into a fait accompli. The chancellor of
St. Paul’s Cathedral, Rev. Canon
Frederic Hood, was invited to preach one Sunday at St. James during a visit
to America. There he renewed a longstanding friendship with the associate rector,
Canon Maybury, a fellow Englishman. It was as a result of discussions between
these two prelates that the formation of the American branch of the Friends,
with St. James as its headquarters, came about.
Because of their connection, St. James Church was deemed the logical site for
the American chapter of the Friends. Furthermore, St. James is distinguished
among American Episcopal churches as the seat of the first American Episcopal
bishop, Samuel Seabury; and the parish has been in active existence since its
founding in 1725 (only twenty years after the completion of Christopher Wrenn’s
magnificent edifice in London, and when residents of Connecticut were still
British subjects). Although St. James’ first building was burned – along
with the rest of New London – by the British in 1781, the colonials have
long since forgiven the Mother Country, if not the dastardly traitor who aided
her in this act, Benedict Arnold.
Like St. Paul’s, St. James is an urban church, dedicated to the rich
history and tradition of Anglican faith and liturgy, to the music that has
been the earmark of Anglican worship since Tallis and Byrd composed for the
new Church of England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and to the
community of which it is a part.
For some reason, the festival service at St James planned by The American Friends
of St. Paul’s Cathedral, to seal the new relationship between the American
church and the English cathedral – and to commemorate the 240th anniversary
of the founding of St. James – was postponed until January of 1966, and
the canticles which Robert Powell had been commissioned to compose for the
occasion were not used at the rescheduled service. And so for forty-one years
they lay in silence, awaiting discovery . . .
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