Wednesday, September 17, 2014


i spent the better part of the afternoon yesterday finding out how to add our new rector Mary to the Diocesan Payroll service and get her signed up for health insurance. 

Zoraida, the payroll manager, sent me six forms, and on one of them was a statement that for clergy we  need a seventh form.  I managed to download that from the diocesan website -- it was page 11 of a 12 page compilation of forms, most of which duplicated the forms I had been sent and had already printed.

Sara, the benefits administrator, sent me the form for the health insurance.  Since Mary is coming from another parish in the diocese, Sara told me what plan she was in now, but Mary still has to fill out the form anew.

In all there were eight forms. Four the clergy person has to fill out, and four just the parish fills out.  It came to me to send Mary the four for the clergy person so that she could fill them out and send them back to us.  Two of them we need to add to.

The other four are written in such a way that the presumption is that the treasurer will sign them.  I'm prepared to do that.  There is, however, a timing complication - I won't be in New York very much for a few weeks.  In additon to sending Mary the forms she needs to complete, I sent copies of all the forms to the wardens, Radford and Celia, for their information.   The one that came as part of a 12 page packet, I printed and scanned, so as not to confuse anyone with the duplicates in the other part of the packet.

Liz and I are getting as much time here at Heart Lake as we can, and we also are going to Vermont in a week and a half for our granddaughter Juliana's fifth birthday.  So we will be in New York on only a few days before Mary starts at the beginning of October.  We will be there this week Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Sunday is the Climate March.)  Next week we will be there Thursday only.  (If you count evenings we will be there Thursday evening this week and Wednesday evening next week.)

The week following the birthday party on the 28th, we will wend our way back to New York.  Depending on whether we come by way of Heart Lake, we will get there either on Wednesday or on Friday or Saturday. 

Then comes Mary's first Sunday at St. Mary's as rector.  We'll be there for that.  Probably we'll come back here sometime that week, at least for Columbus Day.  I don't yet know when we'll turn off the water here and drain the pipes. 

I have another task related to Mary while I am in New York.  Mary and her family are moving into the rectory on the last days of September, when Liz and I will be in Vermont.  Since the parish has to pay for the move, I have to arrange for a bank check to the moving company and cash for the tip before we leave.  I also have to reimburse Mary for the deposit to the moving company.

All of this is in addition to the fact that I have to prepare a financial report for the vestry meeting on September 28 -- a day I'll be away so I have to get the report done four or five days in advance. 

All will be well. Deo gratias. 

Monday, September 08, 2014


This is one, perhaps the first, in a contemplated series of posts on the history of St. Mary's, Manhattanville.  Researching and writing that history is my current project.

We are about to have a new rector at St. Mary's.  (For the moment, I won't release her name on the internet since the Letter of Agreement has not quite been finalized .)   I'm taking this opportunity to make a list of all of the rectors we have had since our founding in 1823.  By and large this is just a list of names and dates.  More information about these people will be included in my history, and some of it will be posted here..

First, the rectors during or just before my time at St. Mary's.  I first came to St. Mary's in November of 1958.  The list begins with Dr. Ackley, who had retired when I cam here, and ends with Earl Kooperkamp, who left a little over two years ago.  The dates given here are from my memory..

When my partner Rex Slauson came to St. Mary's, the rector was Charles Breck Ackley.  Dr. Ackley had served as rector throughout the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s and here it was the middle of the 1950s.

Dr. Ackley was succeeded by Richard Gary, who was priest in charge in the late fifties and early sixties.

Dick was succeeded by Neale Secor, who started as seminarian, became assistant and then priest in charge in the late 1960s and finally was styled rector, although he was never formally called as rector.

Neale left in the early 1980s and after a brief interim was succeeded by Floyd "Butch" Naters Gamarra, who had to leave because we didn't have the money to pay him.

After another brief interim, in the mid eighties Robert Castle became rector.

Bob left at tne end of the 1990s and was succeeded by Earl Kooperkamp.

Earl left in May 2012 and we have been without a rector since.
After an interval of over a year, we began a formal search in the summer of 2013 and the search has just concluded with the selection of a rector.
We expect that our new rector will begin on October 5, but the Letter of Agreement has not yet been finalized and signed by the Rector, the Senior Warden, and the Bishop.  So it's almost a done deal but the i's aren't yet dotted and the t's are not yet crossed.

Second is the list of rectors from the the organization of St. Mary's in December 1823 up to Dr. Ackley in 1920.  The dates here are from my notes and I have not double checked them yet.

This brief account necessarily can only hint at the fascinating complexity of the first thirty five years of St. Mary's' history and the various ministries associated with its early rectors, William Richmond and Thomas McClure Peters.

When St. Mary's was organized at the end of 1823, William Richmond was elected as rector.  William Richmond was already rector of St. Michael's and St. James'.  Over the course of the next thirty years, William Richmond served three stints as rector.

After less than two years William Richmond resigned in 1825.  John Sellon was elected to succeed him, and his name appears on the mortgage for the church building, but he never actually served as rector.

Next the vestry elected Thomas Thornton Groshon, who was lay reader from even before the church was organized in 1823 and who was a member of the first class to enter General Seminary.  Unfortunately, Thomas Groshon died in the yellow fever epidemic of 1828, before he was ordained, so he never served as rector.

In 1828, William Richmond resumed the rectorship for the next ten years, while still the rector of St. Michael's and St' James'.  He considered his parish to be all of Manhattan north of Greenwich Village.
In 1837 William Richmond turned over his duties at St. Michael's, St. James, and St. Mary's to his brother James Cook Richmond, who remained until 1842.

In 1842 William Richmond resumed the rectorship and held it until 1852.  Also in 1842, he appointed Thomas McClure Peters, a seminarian at General Seminary, to be lay reader.

William Richmond went on a misison trip to the West Cost at the end of the 1840s and Thomas McClure Peters was effectively in charge.  Peters realized that St. Mary's could not survive without resident clergy and he was responsible for the erection of the rectory in 1851, at which time he also became rector.  Thomas McClure Peters was also Rector of All Angels Church in Seneca Village.  In the meantime he had married the daughter of William Richmond and they all lived in William Richmond's house. in the 90s.  St. Mary's Rectory was occupied by George L Neide, an assistant who did most of the services at St. Mary's.
In 1855 George Neide resigned as assistant.  The rectory was enlarged to its present size and Thomas McClure Peters moved in wirth his family.  He remained only until 1858 when his father in law William Richmond died and Peters was elected rector of St. Michael's.

Charles F Rodenstein became recotr in 1859 and stayed only until 1860 when he entered miedical scgool.

George F Seymour, who had been the first warden of St. Stephen;s College, later Bard College, was rector from March 1861 to 1862.

Charles Coffin Adams came in 1863 abd stayed until he died in 1888.

Lawrence Schwab was rector from at least 1891 to 1898.  I need to check some records that are not  avaialble online to determine when he started.  That is the time the Sunday School Building, now the parish hall, was built.

Hiram Richard Hulse was rector from 1899 to 1911 or 1912.  Again the records are not online.  During his tenure, the old church was torn down and the present church was built.

John Loftus Scully became rector in 1912 and he died in 1914.

Francis A Brown came at the end of 1914 and remained until 1918.

Frederick W Goodman came in October 1918 and stayed only until  sometime between May 1919 and May 1920.

Charles Breck Ackley was here by May 1920.

Five, now almost six rectors since I have been at St. Mary's.
Twelve rectors and one lay reader, who was in effect the pastor, before I came.
We are about to engage the eighteenth rector, nineteenth if you count Tom Groshon or John Sellon, twentieth if you count them both.

Stay tuned.

About my sourcesAs I indicated, for the rectors after Dr. Ackley, I have relied on my memory for the purposes of this post.
For the earlier period, my principal sources are online scans of Journals of Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York; the Annals of St. Michael's Church by John Punnett Peters; and the Landmarks Preservation Commission's 1998 report on St. Mary's (researched and written by Eric K. Washington).  There is also a list of Rectors, without dates, on the St. Mary's Harlem website, that appears to have been compiled by Dt. Ackley for the 100th anniversary of St. Mary's in 1923.
My finished history will have appropriate citations to sources.  I have not yet been able to consult the actual minute books of St. Mary's because access to the archives closet has been blocked for several months and it hasn't seemed worth it to try to gain access

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

New Rector?

Tonight I will be part of a discussion with the Rector Designate of St. Mary's Manhattanville as we discuss compensation.  Under Diocesan guidelines, I cannot yet say who the person is.  That has to wait until the Letter of Agreement is signed by the Bishop.

Liz was on the search committee and thinks the person is a good choice and will be good for St. Mary's.  From what I know of her, I too think she is a good choice.  I hope and pray she will end up signing a letter of agreement.

Our problem is financial.  We have been operating at a deficit for the past few years and at this time of year we have a severe cash flow problem, exacerbated this year by the loss of rental income from our major income producing spaces.

We need a rector badly, to provide administrative leadership along with other other leadership.

I can say the Rector Designate is a woman, becasue it was no secret that all of the finalists were women.  Since two of the Philadelphia Eleven were from St. Mary's, it's appropriate that we finally get a woman as rector.  (We have had several women assisting or as interims or regular supply.)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

St. Mary's Manhattanville Did Not Burn

Inspired by the work of the Search Committee, of which I am not a member, I have begun to put together a history of my parish church, St. Mary's Manhattanville, which I first attended in 1958 when I was a graduate student at Columbia.

St. Mary's was organinzed in December 1823 and a wooden church was built and dedicated in 1826.  In 1900 it was decided that the church was not big enough, and it was decided to plan for the erection of a new church.  Financial considerations delayed the project, but the old church was torn down in 1908 and a new church constructed.  The new church was dedicated in 1909.

In Harlem Lost and Found, Michael Henry Adams says that the wooden frame church burned.  This is an error, and it has been repeated since, on many websites.   In fact, as noted on St. Mary's Blog, the sermon at the last service in the old church was given by the son of a former rector (and the grandson of the first rector.)

Among the websites which repeat the error are:
Immigrant Entrepreneurship: Jacob Schieffelin, a site with valuable biographical information on one of the founders and a first warden of St. Mary's;
Lost Manhattanville ?, Michael Henry Adams own site - well worth visiting; and
St. Mary's Church - Manhattanville, a site of the American Guild of Organists.  and another page worth visiting.

Friday, August 30, 2013

1974 and 1975

Just over six and a half years ago, I posted Elegy and Epithalamion -- a piece that looked back to early 1973 when my partner Rex Slauson died after suffering a massive heart attack in a gay bathhouse.  The post included this picture of Rex taken at the 1973 Twelfth Night party at St. Mary's.
Beside Rex is Jane Dudley -- they were the King and Queen of the evening.  Also featured is a copy of Women Priests: Yes or No? by Suzanne Hiatt and St. Mary's own Emily Hewitt.  A little over a month later, Rex was dead.  A little over two years later, I married Jane's mother Liz Dudley  and now Jane is my daughter and the mother of my grandchildren.  In between, Emily Hewitt  and Suzanne Hiatt were ordained priests in Philadelphia.  Along with Emily, another of the Philadelphia Eleven at St. Mary's was Carter Heyward. 

The push for women's ordination was only peripherally connected to St. Mary's.  We were hospitable and many of us were supportive, but the drive came from the women themselves.  It appeared to some of the Afro American and Afro Caribbean women in the congregation that this was a white women's movement.  In early 1973 the involvement of Philadelphia's Church of the Advocate, the sermon by Charles Willie, and the participation of Barbara Harris as crucifer were all in the future.

In 1973 I was Clerk of the Vestry at St. Mary's.  Carter and Emily were ordained deacons at the regular spring ordinations.  Come December, St. Mary's implored Bishop Paul Moore to ordain them to the priesthood, along with the male deacons from the spring, but of course he did not.  On April 21, Low Sunday, in 1974, my 38th birthday, at St. Mary's Annual Meeting,  Liz Dudley nominated me as Warden and I was elected.  [In those days, our Annual Meeting was officially on the Tuesday in Easter week, but it was always adjourned to the following Sunday.]

In May, Doug Clark, another deacon who was serving at St. Mary's, was scheduled to be ordained priest in New York and at St. Mary's on behalf of his Florida bishop.  Again we implored Bishop Moore and the Standing Committee to consent to the concurrent priesting of our two women deacons.  Our request was denied.  In the event, Carter Heyward preached at Doug's ordination. As Clerk and then Warden, I was the author of several letters to the Bishop and Standing Committee at that time.  As it happens, I kept carbons of my letters and also my copies of the replies.  I recently gave those papers to the Archives of Women in Theological Scholarship at The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary (both Emily and Carter were at Union while they were at St, Mary's.)  Included in that gift were the picture above of Rex and Jane and the very copy of Women Priests: Yes or No? that Rex is holding in the picture.

This spring, archival copies of my papers, as well as other material, was included in an exhibit at General Theological Seminary's Keller Libray called “…because they are women and not men”, a quotation from Neale A. Secor, our then rector.

And now I come to the point of this post. In June, Liz and I, Neale, his partner Ricardo, his son and daughter in law Tom and Carla, and a few others met at General to see the exhibit.  We had a picnic lunch in a conference room and over lunch Neale, Liz,  and I were reminiscing about St. Mary's in the mid 1970's.  It was Neale who remarked that the women were in charge of the ordination project -- certainly not St. Mary's and especially not we men at St. Mary's.  (It was only a few years since women were allowed on vestries in New York.)

Neale happened to mention that St. Mary's was involved in accepting donations to the establishment of Integrity -- we provided tax deductibility.  I was intrigued.  In 1974, I was Warden, and gay. and I knew nothing about it.  Neale said Louie Crew twisted his arm and I could find out more from him.  As it happens, I am Facebook friends with Louie Crew, although I do not know him personally.  The other day I saw a post that Louie and his husband Ernest, who were married in a religious ceremony about a year before Liz and I were married, had just had a civil marriage in New York State.  I took the opportunity to congratulate Louie and Ernest and then I asked him about his recollection of the "money washing."   He doen't have a clear recollection either and suggested it was to do with the New York chapter of Integrity.

Well!  It was time for mongoosing ("The motto of the mongoose family, so Mr. Kippling tells us, is 'Go and find out.'" - Murder of Roger Ackroyd)   From A Brief History of Integrity, I learned that Integrity began as a newsletter in November 1974.

November, 1974.  I met Rex in a bar at 415 Amsterdam Avenue in the wee hours of November 5, 1958.  Sixteen years later, in 1974, I think it was November 6, Liz invited me to a concert at St. Thomas Church where her nephew Chuck was a chorister.  At the end of that week, I invited myself to move in with Liz.  We have been together ever since.

I was transitioning from a nearly 15 year gay relationship to marriage with Liz.  We were married on February 8, 1975.   At the time, Liz's daughter Jane was living with her grandparents in Vermont.  At the end of the school year, Jane came back to New York to live with us.  Also we moved from Liz's two bedroom apartment to our new three bedroom apartment.

Remember stress points?  In the period from February 1973 to July 1975 I had (a) lost a male partner  (to death), (b) married a woman, (c) moved twice, (d) acquired a thirteen year old daughter.  Mongoosing hasn't helped me find how many points that is.  But it's a lot.  No wonder I didn't notice that Integrity was being founded under my nose.  Especially since I was convinced that it didn't matter that I had been gay.  (By the way, it took me almost twenty years to admit to myself and to Liz that I am and always have been gay.)

The chronology is not completely clear from sources on the internet, but apparently the first convention of Integrity was held in Chicago in the late summer of 1975, before September 7 when four women were ordained in Washington.   The Brief History says that immediately after the convention "Co-President Jim Wickliff and Editor Louie Crew called the first meetings of chapters in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York City, on their way to meet in September with the Presidng Bishop."  So Louie Crew was involved in founding the New York chapter.

Memory is an odd thing.  I was 77 in April of this year.  According to, Louie Crew will be 77 on December 9 and Neale Secor was 79 on July 3.  We are all in the same cohort.  And we all have different memories of that time almost forty years ago.

It was clear to Rex, on Twelfth Night 1973; it was clear to me; it is clear to Bishop Robinson; but it is not clear to every gay man now nor was it in 1973, that the oppression of  gay men and the oppression of women, straight or gay, are inextricably intertwined.

More later

Thursday, August 29, 2013


I spend an awful lot of time at the computer. For many years I have been listening to (classical) music on the radio all the time. Let's say for over fifty years -- when I first came to New York, there were at least three 24 hours classical musivc stations. at Heart Lake there are two -- well, they're now 4 hour, but not 24 hour music -- or not classical music. Anyway, I now mostly listen live to the BBC (Radio 3) on the computer. The music helps me work. Recently, I discovered that there are full operas and operettas on youtube. Two days age I watched the met Opera Bartered Bride with Teresa Stratas, Nicolai Gedda, Jon Vickers and Msrtti Talvea. I have long been wanting to see and hear this again, Then last night I watched the NYC Opera production of The Merry Widow, a glorious production which inspired me to mongoose a little and I'll write abohut that later. Tonight I watched a concert production of HMS Pinafore from the BBC Proms ion 2005, conducted by Charles Mackerras. The problem with videos is that I get engaged in them and don't write. Audio files without video are better for writing. More later.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Last Sunday I blogged about wellness problems that Liz and I are enduring right now.  I informed a few friends about the blog post and two of them acknowledged it in emails.

Until today, I have never posted statuses in Facebook.  Every now and then, when i sign a petition, I have it posted to Facebook.  I have also used Facebook to send messages, for instance when the coroner called me to tell me that my brother Philip was found dead in his apartment, I used Facebook to get in touch with my nephew.  But I have never before used Facebook to report on my status.

I have 111 Facebook friends.  They fall into three (or four) categories.  One group is my relatives,  including my dead Uncle Chuck.  Another is people I got to know when I began blogging in earnest a few (maybe six or seven) years ago.  They range from June Butler (Grandmère Mimi,) a laywoman a year older than I to Toby Haller, a priest in the Diocese of New York; they are all Anglicans and all are gay or gay-friendly .  A third group is people I know either from Morningside Gardens or other contexts.  The fourth group is people I know from my 55 years at St. Mary's Manhattanville. (Forgive me, I'm speaking [that is, writing] impressionistically here, because obviously with only 111 people, I could figure out my connection to each of them.  But that is not the point of this post.)  

Facebook sends me emails that say that 5 friends have posted updates.  I used to click on them all the time.  My cousin Leslie posts Bible verses; Ken Arnold, an erstwhile deacon at St. Mary's, posts updates on his serious health issues; and several people post links to their blogs.

Today, I posted an update on Facebook on Liz's and my health issues.  As of now, I have received comments from two cousins, a St. Mary's friend, a Morningside Gardens friend, and my brother-in-law.  There's something to be said for Facebook.

More personal stuff

A week later, Liz and I are still not recovered.  It now appears that Liz's problem was not kidney stones after all.  Now her New York GP thinks it is most likely Lyme Disease.  She has begun a regime of pills for that, and may be beginning to feel somewhat better.

My ear and balance problem are still with me, and I expect to see my own doctor on Monday.