This video is a bit awkward as the cameraman had bad lighting and an unsteady floor. The woodwork in the ceiling was smooth, appeared to be pine, and was bolted or screwed together (i.e., no nails). The arches and rafters mimic the main nave ceiling. The plaster was never finished. Dr. Geo. H. Perrin, an early church founder, signed his name on one of the arches, followed by “Cynthiana, H. County.” (at 1:12). For reference, the church building was finished in 1860.
Vague and sketchy written records of baptisms, confirmations and deaths begin about 1846. Often these written records are undated and incomplete. All of the early baptisms, confirmations and deaths are available as PDF downloads on this website, below.
The Episcopal or Protestant Episcopal Church is that branch of the Anglican church in America which became independent of the Church of England in 1789 by adopting a constitution of its own. Prior to 1811 the church made little progress. However, during the next ten years the Episcopal Church made advancement in 13 states.
Cynthiana was chartered in 1793 and became the peer of Paris, Georgetown, and other county seats. Stores, mills, newspapers, factories, and churches were established. As early as 1800, Harrison Academy was in operation. It was located where the old cemetery [The Graveyard] is on North Main Street. The Presbyterians, Methodists, and “Christians” all erected their own places of worship. When the Reverend Amos Glover Baldwin, an Episcopal priest from western New York, visited Kentucky in 1820 on behalf of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, he reported that a Reverend William Wall officiated occasionally at Cynthiana. There seems to be no apparent results from these meetings.
The following is from
“The Great Elm Tree: Heritage of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington”
by Swinford and Lee, Faith House Press, Lexington, Kentucky, 1969.
The first Episcopal parish in the county was organized at Leesburg, a prosperous community nine miles southeast of Cynthiana. It was situated at the crossing of well-traveled roads, and until the coming of the railroads bid fair to be a sizable town.
Episcopal services were held there for a year or so beginning in November 1834 by Deacon Edmund Davis, one of the first graduates of the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Kentucky. He resided near Leesburg until his return in 1835 to his native England.
The Reverend Amos Cleaver then came over from Paris occasionally to hold services, but the group was held together chiefly by two laymen, William Hearne and his brother James. William, owner of a cotton factory and a man of influence in the surrounding country, was a communicant of St. Peter’s Church in Paris. By the spring of 1836 he had organized a half dozen families of Episcopal persuasion into a parish at Leesburg called Christ Church, which was admitted to the Diocese at the stormy convention in May. William Hearne served as its first lay delegate on that occasion and at the 1837 meeting, and remained steadfastly loyal to Bishop Smith. [To gain an understanding into the diocesean problems of Bishop Smith you can read the chapter, “Dissension in the Diocese,” from The Great Elm Tree.] Meanwhile, William and James were largely responsible for the erection of a “small, but very neat and judicious church edifice,” which was not completed until along in 1839. During the years it was being built, the parish had services twice a month by the Reverend Charles Crowe, A.B., University of Dublin, a recent graduate of the theological seminary who was teaching intermittently in Cynthiana and Lexington.
After his return to Ireland some time before 1844, the Reverend Amos Cleaver again came occasionally to Leesburg. But while neighboring towns were growing, Leesburg remained a crossroads community and the Episcopalian congregation dwindled. The Hearne brothers sold the modest church building, for which they had furnished most of the funds, and some years later contributed the proceeds to the church in Cynthiana.
Regular services were begun in Cynthiana in early 1837 by Charles Crowe and James S. Greene, another Irish seminarian, who were residing in the town in order to “hold school in the academy building.” Since these zealous young candidates for Holy Orders had not been ordained to the diaconate, they held “lay readings” and organized a group that applied to the annual convention in May for admittance to the Diocese as St. Paul’s Church. This somewhat hasty organization was an effort on the part of Bishop [Benjamin Bosworth] Smith’s loyal theological students to get votes for his defense at the forthcoming convention. In nearby Bath County three other students, N. N. Cowgill, Edward F. Berkley, and F. B. Nash effected a similar organization which applied to be admitted as Ascension Church in Owingsville. Meanwhile the anti-Smith partisans were equally diligent, and even more successful, in fostering new parishes during their controversy with the Bishop. They succeeded in blocking the admission of both the Cynthiana and the Owingsville groups. St. Paul’s in Cynthiana and Ascension Church in Owingsville, along with St. Mark’s in Bourbon County and other “ghost parishes” of this era, dropped out of sight, save for future historians.
After the convention in May 1837, N. N. Cowgill, a youth from Pennsylvania who had graduated at Transylvania, took over the academy in Cynthiana and also continued to hold “lay readings” in the churches of other denominations. When Bishop Smith ordained Cowgill in December he sent the young deacon out to begin a lifetime of heroic missionary work in the small parishes all over Kentucky.
The history of the Church of the Advent, Cynthiana, is one of long and arduous periods. There have been few times in its past where it was prosperous; not so much because of a lack of zeal on the part of its members as much as the lack of length of time spent there by its rectors and vicars. Looking over its history one can see that when it had a rector or vicar that stayed there any reasonable length of time the membership and enthusiasm of the members increased. This single factor more than any other has contributed to the growth or decline of the Church of the Advent.
In January 1838, Mr. Cowgill was ordained deacon and left Cynthiana for Zion Church, Shelbyville. He was succeeded by the Reverend Charles Crowe, who not only took charge of Cynthiana, but also Leesburg.
In May 1838, he was reported to have said at convention, “I am sorry to say the prospects of the Church in Cynthiana, at present, are not good… but this, in my opinion, is much more than counterbalanced by the prosperous appearance it wears in Leesburg.” Leesburg at this time had seven communicants, whereas Cynthiana had hardly any. A base was definitely lacking in Cynthiana.
In 1839, the Reverend Charles Crowe moved to Cynthiana and conducted a school there as well as…services both at Leesburg and at Cynthiana.
Not much is heard of the Church at Cynthiana after the spring of 1839; for Crowe moved to Lexington in order to carry on work in Leesburg and Versailles. It seems that Cynthiana was sacrificed for the welfare of the other two more prosperous communities.
According to the parochial report of the Rev. G.G. Moore, rector at Paris, “On the fourth of November, 1846, Episcopal service was commenced in this place [Cynthiana] and continued regularly once a month in addition to which several successive services were held at different times in connection with the Rev. Mr. Berkly [Berkley] of Lexington.” Mr. Moore’s report continues: “The sixth of January… a parish was duly organized and the present incumbent invited to the rectorship where he officiates regularly the second Sunday in each month and once a week day in the intermediate time.”
There were listed in May 1847, 15 communicates. On May 8, 1847, the Articles of Association of the Church of the Advent were presented to the Diocesan Convention and acted upon favorably; Dr. [George] Perrin and. Mr. William Hearne were recognized as accredited delegates.
In February 1848, the Reverend G.G. Moore resigned his rectorship at Paris and Cynthiana, and Bishop Smith was quoted as saying, “I cannot refrain from the expression of my sympathy for the few resolute Episcopalians at Cynthiana, who are struggling bravely against the discouragement consequent upon the loss of the services of the Rev. Mr. Moore, and who are likely for years to require more than a common share of our cooperation and support.” Consequently, there were no delegates from Cynthiana at the 1848 convention.
By the first of October, a rector came to Paris and Cynthiana, the Reverend Horace Hill Reid, from the diocese of New York. His initial report listed 17 communicants in Cynthiana and a Sunday School with four teachers. Parish contributions, at this time, were: to Domestic Missions - $3, for Prayer Books - $5, and to the Episcopal Fund - $15. According to Reid’s report, “This parish is still feeble but in some respects the prospects are brightening. A semimonthly appointment is regularly kept and every service attracts large congregations. The children receive regular catechetical instruction.”
Reid’s tenure was short and before the convention of 1850, he had transferred to the diocese of Connecticut. For the next couple of years there is not much evidence of “life” in the Church at Cynthiana, except for $15 which was paid to the Episcopal Fund in August of 1850.
Bishop Smith got things rolling again in 1851 when he requested that the Reverend Carter Page, then officiating in Bowling Green and Russellville, to spend the month of December in Cynthiana. This led to his being called as rector in February 1852. He reported that there were nine communicants and 20 Sunday School “scholars.” He conducted two services each Sunday in the buildings of various denominational churches, and by convention time he had acquired $2,000 from “three individuals toward the erection of a church edifice and there is a good prospect of raising $600 more.”
With this beginning the parish negotiated for a half-acre lot on which to build. Within another year, the lot had been purchased, and the walls and roof were to be constructed by the fall of 1853.
Professor L.G. Marshall furnished the data on churches and schools for Perrin’s history of Cynthiana, compiled in 1881, and said, “The doctrines of the Church of England were first promulgated in Cynthiana by Dr. Berkley of Lexington in 1846. Dr. Berkley was an accomplished scholar, speaker and churchman. His pleasing address commended his views to the favorable consideration of his hearers, and his learning and uprightness of character commanded their respect.”
Dr. Berkley was comparatively young and later moved to St. Louis where he was an honored and revered clergyman at the date of publication of Perrin’s history in 1881.
The following is from
“Perrin’s History of Harrison County”
During 1840, the Reverend G.G. Moore, Rector of the Episcopal Church of Paris, visited our city in the interests of his order, once a month, perhaps; organized a church of four members and became their pastor. Service was held in the courthouse; sometimes, by courtesy in the Methodist Church and sometimes in the Presbyterian Church. Rector Moore continued his charge only a year or two, removed to Smithland, Kentucky, and died there in 1850.
After the retirement of Mr. Moore, we find no special pastor in charge for two or three years, until 1852, when Reverend Carter Page was chosen Rector, and held that office until 1865. Mr. Page was an able and popular preacher, and also an eminent teacher of the classics.
During his whole period of 12 years, Mr. Page combined successfully the arduous duties of preacher and teacher. He later moved to Missouri and is as “spirited as ever” [according to Perrin’s history of 1881].
One of the four members who constituted the church at its first organization was Dr. George H. Perrin. [In 1881 he was considered a most affable, learned and venerable gentleman. See the biography of Dr. Perrin in another chapter, below.] He was fully “up” in the history and learning of his church, and might easily have been a most powerful polemic in the theological field, had he so elected. He was recognized for his luminous and incisive essays which occasionally appeared from his pen.
Dr. Perrin was a man of action and decided convictions; and in 1852 the church had no house of worship. That same year, a lot on Walnut Street, fronting Mill Street, was purchased of Henry F. Cromwell for $225, and the building begun. It was to be of stone, the ground plan in the form of a Latin cross, that is, a cross of which the shaft below the transverse bar is longer than that part which rises above the transverse bar. Of this church the nave is the main shaft, and the transept is the transverse bar, when we look upon the whole structure as a Latin cross. The main shaft, measured externally, is 75x33 feet, the interior forming the nave, which is 65x26 feet, the interior forming the transept. In the north end of the transept is the vestry room, and in the south end is the music room. The altar and desk are in the east end of the nave, which will seat about 300 people. A huge square rises about 60 feet, unfinished on the south side of the western end of the nave, and in this tower is the main door to the audience room or nave.
In 1876, a bell costing $600 was placed in the tower. The tones of the bell are rich and grand, but not fully appreciated, because they are badly muffled by the very narrow gothic windows of the tower. In fact, the whole building is of the strictest gothic order of the 14th century, without ornament, however. Its massiveness and air of repose remind the spectator of what he may have read or seen of the old churches in the north of England or Scotland, or the Hebrides.
When we enter through the door of the somber tower, the effect of the interior is in keeping with that of the exterior. The high, narrow gothic windows admit a softened light through the stained glass. (The triple windows above the altar were designed of clear glass with red border. The windows were replaced with handsome stained glass ones about 1900, 19 years after the publishing of Perrin’s History). The antique, the dim, the solemn, and the beautiful seem all combined, whether by accident or design, in the simple architecture.
The building cost only $6,500, and was carried to its present degree of completion in 1851 [incorrect date], when it was duly consecrated by Bishop Benjamin Bosworth Smith, of Kentucky. Of the expense, Dr. Perrin supplied 5,500….
William Thompson, who had joined from the Presbyterians, contributed $1,000. (The grounds around the church were enclosed, graded, and ornamented, a rather advanced step at the time).
Of the $6,500 for the building, $75 was a gift from Christ Church, Lexington, $95 from St. Paul’s Church, Louisville, and there were still no pews and open windows, and the inside was unplastered and unpainted. Bishop Smith put out a plea for contributions at the next convention in order to complete the work. But it seems that his plea fell on deaf ears. Due to the personal courage and expertise of the Reverend Carter Page, the money was secured and the inside finished. [It was a small parish to have achieved such an ambitious goal, with only 17 communicants and their families, and a Sunday school of about 40.]
In the year 1857, Page conducted regular services for the African-American population of Cynthiana, at which he says, “A large number have always been in attendance.” The Church building was publicly opened for services at the end of March 1857.
In the construction there was no contractor, the stone-work being done by good workmen, under direction of interested members. The woodwork was made and finished, ready to be put up, in Cincinnati; it was then hauled to its destination and put together, as unceremoniously as the stonework. The seats, however, were made by William Roper. The building “stands back about 50 feet from the street pavement. The church model was three or four feet broad by as many high, made by Bishop Smith at Frankfort, at the moderate cost of $10, and sent to the church at Cynthiana. This model was exactly imitated in the building.
For several years the parish grew steadily and work on the building continued. In 1859 Christ Church, Louisville, contributed $25, St. Peter’s, Paris, $81.
In the spring of 1860 the tower was completed at a cost of $175, and the church was ready for consecration. The Reverend Carter Page’s report of that year stated that there were 13 communicants and 40 Sunday School pupils.
Page continued his work into the Civil War period, leaving the parish in 1862. After his departure, services were interrupted for several years and the church was left without regular ministrations until after the close of the war.
In 1881, Bishop Smith… was a senior Bishop in the Episcopal Church of English-speaking people throughout the world. He was consecrated in 1832.
In 1866, the Reverend Charles Stewart took charge, but he only remained for one year. After he left, the Reverend Dr. Silas Totten, Principle of Christ Church Seminary, Lexington, “did able and wise services in the parish during the following two years,” according to the brief history of the parish register.
The Assistant Bishop Dr. Cummings visited the parish on Dec. 8, 1868, preaching, confirming three, and baptizing one.
The following May at convention, a report was made concerning the lack of ministration at Cynthiana, and the Rev. Walter Tearne took the parish. [This ends Perrin’s history concerning the church].
It must be noted that the information from Mr. Marshall for Perrin’s history came from verbal testimony of a few of the parishioners of the Church of the Advent.
In a brief and undated comment published in The Cynthiana Democrat, at a later date, a parishioner said, “At the time of the laying of the corner stone, (May 5, 1855), Dr. George H. Perrin and Mr. William Thompson entered the parish, as did Mr. Edward Coleman, and by their liberality the building was constructed.
It seems evident that both these gentlemen were probably members of the parish prior to the planning of the construction of the edifice. Due to the amount of money provided and the probable use for labor of the many slaves owned by Dr. Perrin, the edifice would not have been built without his commitment. [Testimony passed down from an unnamed source by way of Mrs. Henry W. Oxley says, “There is no question about the use of slaves to build the church. Not only by Dr. Perrin’s slaves, but by the slave labor of many of the other members. Dr. Perrin owned many more slaves than did anyone else. He used them in his farming business.”].
Some newspaper clippings claim the model used for the construction of the church was of wood while others claim the model was of cardboard. Most accounts say the model was in Cynthiana for many years. There is no record of what happened to the model. A two-page typewritten account of the church’s history states: “This account may have been written or dictated by Mrs. Lizzie Frisbie, in the opinion of Mrs. Charles Kuster, of Church of the Advent.” [It was written after 1952]. The account indicates about the church model: “The plan of the church was made from a cardboard model of Stoke-Poges made by Bishop Smith after his visit to St. Giles. (When at a meeting of the Woman’s Guild of the Church of the Advent, I ventured to remark that I had my doubts about the church and this model, and two of the ladies present, Miss Lucy Peck and Dr. Marie Boyd, were indignant and said they had seen the model and had played with it).
Also of interest from this story, and unduplicated from previous articles, is a statement about a visit from the Reverend Carter Page’s granddaughter. “About one hundred years after Mr. Page’s death, his granddaughter came to Cynthiana and inquired about the church in which he had been so interested and for which he had spent many anxious hours. She was glad to find that his work was still appreciated and was very pleased with his memorial, a beautiful stained glass window (one of three) over the altar in the east end of the church.”
There exists three brief statements about an eyewitness account of the building of the church.
1) “But once when I happened to be early for church, Uncle Green Johnson, the janitor, told me that he had helped build the church and that a man had fallen from the roof and had broken his leg.”
2) “Everyone who was there on the first day we started to build the church reached down in their pockets, and those who ‘had’ pulled out a coin. Those who ‘hadn’t’ were given a coin by someone else. I don’t know if anyone knows now or not as to where in the walls amongst the stones that they put them coins.” [This statement is believed to have been passed down from Eliza Trimble].
3) “People liked stopping by and watching the building of the church. The men who did the building took a lot of good hearted ribbing every now and then.” [From an unknown source in the church records].
From “Cromwell’s Comment” the Democrat, 1900
In this account of the building of the edifice the writer states: “The building cost only $6,500, and carried to its present degree of completion in 1854, when it was duly consecrated… and that $5,000 of the expense was supplied by Dr. Perrin, and $1,000 contributed by William Thompson.”
We are further told that the church was built according to a model of an old church in England, “Stokes Poges,” which was furnished by Bishop Smith, and that this model was to be seen in Cynthiana for a number of years after the building was finished.
We also call attention to the fact that the Episcopalians are unique in that they are the only congregation in Cynthiana still using their original house of worship.
Writing for Cynthiana readers a description of the outside of this fine old church building is scarcely necessary; it may be in order, however, to briefly mention the inside.
The three memorial windows, over the altar, are commemorative to Dr. George H. Perrin, the Reverend Carter Page and the Reverend George Weeks.
The alter is hand-carved, the carving having been done by some members of the church, some friends of the church, and the Reverend Dyer, a former pastor.
At opposite sides of the altar, on the walls, appear the creed and commandments. Gold letters on a black background form the tablets.
The pipe organ, the first to come to Cynthiana, is still in use, bearing the date 1881.
There are also other memorials of departed loved ones placed there by their families.
Adjoining the church building is a commodious rectory.
… Mrs. Henry W. Oxley… included in her notes other valuable data in reference to the interior decorations of the church building.
Many items of importance concerning the history of the Church of the Advent come from bits and pieces of pages, handwritten and kept with a series of incomplete scrapbooks.
The general stories of the building of the church are very similar, but occasionally there will be a bit of additional information.
From a small singular page describing the early history: “In the spring of 1860 the tower was completed and the church was ready for consecration. That service was held by Bishop Smith on Saturday the 14th of May. The church and rectory sit back in a yard on the large lot… The church was built according to a model of Stoke-Poges in England… a comparison of the two churches as they stand today makes it conclusively evident that the Church of the Advent is of the general type, but by no means a faithful replica of Stoke-Poges… The creeds have always been on the walls.
The following is from a handwritten text found within a book in the archives of the Church of the Advent. [In order not to repeat much of the information already given, the text has been condensed to those passages which have not been mentioned. Several of the handwritten words are difficult to decipher without a long and dedicated attempt to study them. At this time we have made an honest, and hopefully faithful, attempt to keep true to the meaning of the script].
“The Rev. Mr. Crowe, a deacon from Ireland, came to Cynthiana and opened a school and carried on the church services which Mr. Cowgill had begun. He also held services and preached at the neighboring station of Leesburg where a small church edifice had been erected. During this period Bishop Smith, himself, made occasional visits to the place and held services and preached.”
[Concerning the Episcopal Church congregation]:
“ No great impression was made upon the community for some time; but at last Dr. Geo. H. Perrin, a prominent physician of this place, was induced to look into the claim of this church. In doing this he read such books as Dr. Jno. E. Cooke’s essay on the “Invalidity of Presbyterian Ordination,” Chapman’s sermons on the “Claims of the Church” and the writings of Bishop Ravenscroft.” Becoming thoroughly convinced of the evangelical and historical character of this church and of her apostles’ order he espoused her cause with the greatest zeal and on the first day of Dec. 1846 he and his wife were baptised by immersion (in the Licking River), the Reverend G.G. Moore, Rector of the church at Paris, administering the sacrament….
“For many years Dr. Perrin thought it impossible to form a parish in Cynthiana and proposed to put in his membership in the church at Paris; but acting on the advice of Bishop Smith, it was afterwards dismissed to organize a parish and erect a church edifice. The parish was duly organized and admitted into union with the Diocese in the year 1847, Dr. Perrin and Mr. William Hearne being the delegates.”
Bishop Smith may have been the one who suggested the Church of the Advent’s name and once referred to the name as being “singularly appropriate" and a “charming historic record” of the “sudden awakening” that brought about its founding.
In April 1847 the Bishop visited the new parish to confirm a class of 11 persons presented by Mr. Moore. Their names were recorded as follows: George H. Perrin, Arabella Perrin, Agnes Coleman, J.A. Pritchard, Sarah Musser, Prudence Gruell, William Thompson, Sarah Thompson, John Trimble, John B. Gruell and [on the following day] Eliza Trimble. The parish now had 15 communicants, plus their families and numerous regular attendants at services. “Mr. William Thompson at this time came into the church and took much interest in it. Also Mr. Edward Coleman. The work of the church building was pushed on quite rapidly.”
The Rector, Mr. Carter Page, reports at the 27th Annual Council of Kentucky, which was held at Trinity, Covington: “We are much pleased to report that the church edifice, about which we have been so long talking and hoping, is at last under contract. The corner stone was laid by Bishop Smith on the 5th of May. The building is to be of stone and in accordance with a model furnished by the Bishop and at the estimated cost of $6,500. Of this $3,500 has already been subscribed.”
In the Bishop’s address he said: “My recent visit through Central Kentucky is marked by one single incident — the laying of the corner stone of the Church of the Advent, Cynthiana. By the great liberality of a very few friends, it promises to be one of the neatest and most complete of our small churches and the first in the Diocese constructed of stone. It marks an era which I trust will never pass away.”
The Reverend Mr. Page reported: “The general attendance on his services has been good, and the state of his Sunday School leads him to hope that his labors will be crowned with more abundant success after the church is completed and open for worship. Nearly $4,500 have been expended on it and yet it still remains without pews, unplastered and unpainted. I doubt not, however, though my people have been most heavily taxed in bringing it to its present state (more than $4,000 having been raised in the parish), yet if encouraged, even to moderate extent by the contributions of their friends abroad, they would by a powerful effort put the church in a condition for use during the summer or fall.”
In the Bishop’s address he says: "I found our little church edifice in Cynthiana at an absolute standstill for want of a few hundred dollars, to glaze, plaster and seat it, after the most generous contributions upon the spot, in bringing it so near to completion, of any that have ever been made in any part of the Diocese, by persons no better able to make such noble sacrifices, with the single exception of Princeton. My deliberate advice to them is either to worship in it in its present unfinished state, or to leave it just as it is until the sympathies of the Diocese are aroused to furnish the means for finishing it.”
St. Peter’s Church, Paris, Wednesday, May 27, 1857, the Rev. Mr. Page reports: “The new church edifice, which at the period of the rector’s last report was unglazed, unplastered and without pews or chancel arrangements, has been completed in all of these respects and a hundred dollars in addition has been expended in painting and varnishing the body of the church, the open timber roof still untouched by the painter’s brush. The rector returned to this parish last summer greatly disheartened at his almost utter failure to procure any effectual aid from the church people in Louisville in behalf of his struggling church; but on assuming a large personal responsibility, he stimulated some of his parishioners (who had already been too heavily taxed) to come forward and put the church in its present comfortable condition. More than $1,000 have been expended on it since the rector’s last report, all of which was contributed by two or three individuals in his parish and himself, except $140.
“The choir is preparing to give a concert, the proceeds of which, together with what has already been contributed, will probably be sufficient to purchase a small organ. Services have been held regularly in the church since Christmas, and the rector feels encouraged at the uniformly good congregations that have been in attendance.
“Baptisms 3, one adult and two children. Confirmation 1. Services have been held regularly for the African-American population and large numbers have always been in attendance.”
The Bishop reports a very interesting service on the occasion of the opening, in a public manner, of the most beautiful little church at Cynthiana. In 1857, Bishop Smith was in England. After his return at this 30th convention he spoke of his having been away and added: “Could I only hope that I have brought back a heart more full of self-sacrifice, devotion to the interests of the church in this Diocese; and more wise to plan, more patient to endure and more courageous to dare anything and everything which its welfare calls for at the hands of its first Bishop, then I should feel satisfied. With less I never can be.”
The rector reported his having been in his own parish on each Sunday of the month, and the greater festivals of the church, and has been encouraged in his labors generally. Baptisms 2, marriage 1, funerals 4, confirmations 2, contributions — episcopate $15 and convocation $20.
Baptisms 5, confirmations 1, communicants added 4, present number 14, marriages 1, Sunday School teachers 5, pupils 30.
Contributions: Episcopate $15, convocation $30, toward completing and furnishing church, $500. About $1,000 has been spent on the church; one-half has been contributed by friends in Louisville, Lexington and Paris, with the rest from the parish.
For 1860 the report runs about the same, with the Reverend Carter Page, Rector. [Reverend Page’s academy suffered financially during the war years. He left during the Civil War, in 1862, and for several years services were interrupted and the church left without regular ministration. Reverend Page became principal of St. Matthew’s School in Jefferson County, near Louisville, where he remained for nearly ten years before his removal to Missouri].
“As is the case everywhere the work for many years went on but slowly. Great opposition was made and much prejudice, and even down to the year 1880, the time of this present writing, it is with difficulty that the parish can sustain full services of the church; but enough progress has been made to show the wisdom of undertaking the work.
“The seed sown is already beginning to bring forth fruit. The congregation is good and the claims of the church are being more and more recognized.”
“The church edifice is the first one of stone erected in the Diocese and cost about $7,000. May it long stand as a monument to the memory of those who erected it, and especially to the memory of the distinguished layman who has contributed so much for its support from the beginning and who with his able pen has done so much to defend the doctrine.”
Within this church, as well as many other churches, stories have been told that many soldiers, of both sides, found comfort and a moment’s peace sitting inside the dark and quiet sanctuary of the these houses of worship. Churches were not always bypassed by canons and fire during struggles for control or the land. We can be grateful that our church did not fall in this time of war which took place just outside its walls.
The Bishop’s address of 1866 is filled with the needs for Diocesan Missions. He names nine missions where it is impossible for the people to contribute more than $200 annually, and with the high price of living it seems cruel to offer men less than $800 or $1,000. Cynthiana was one of these nine. The Reverend Charles Stewart took charge and continued one year.
Rev. Dr. Silas Totten from Lexington gave services to Cynthiana and another mission.
The following is redacted from a typewritten manuscript titled, “The History of the Church of the Advent Cynthiana,” by Gregg L. Riley, Senior Seminarian, Episcopal Theological Seminary in Kentucky, May 7, 1979. Rev. Riley’s full unedited history is featured below.
Tearne (Walter), was ordained deacon, Easter, 1869, and began visiting Cynthiana; it was not until August that he accepted charge. Nine communicants were all that he had, but they paid Tearne a salary of $582.63.
They also spent $548.50 on the building and sent $40 to the Episcopal Fund in just ten months.
(Mr. Walter Tearne was made Deacon and placed in Cynthiana by Bishop Smith. The Reverend Mr. Tearne reports that he became regular minister at Cynthiana in August of 1869. He found the members of the parish in a “crushed and deplorable condition.” He said, “Nine discouraged and disheartened souls keeping the lamp burning.” In May 1870 they had become self-supporting. Minister’s salary $582.63, with improvements, repairs and current expenses of $548.50. Episcopate $10, baptisms 4, communicants 23, marriage 1, burials 2, public services on Sundays 80, Sunday School teachers 7, pupils 62, Bible class 31.)
On January 24, 1870, Tearne was ordained priest. Twenty-two communicants were reported in 1871. The number of Sunday School pupils was 37 with five teachers. On July 1, 1871 Tearne resigned and went to Mt. Sterling.
During the period of July 1871 until April 1875, there were no regular services held at Advent. During this period Dr. Silas Trotten [Totten], along with Bishop Dudley, the Reverend George A. Weeks of Paris, and the Reverend Charles T. Kellog visited the church off and on. The latter was soon contacted by the vestry and he held regular services until April 1876, when the Reverend J. S. Johnston, formerly of Mississippi, took charge of the parish. Johnston also had charge of Mt. Sterling and had to alternate services. A year later the parish reported 24 communicants and the rector said, “This parish, I think, shows evident signs of improvement….” The Reverend Mr. Johnston resigned as missionary to Mt. Sterling and Cynthiana in January 1880, and went to Alabama.
(In 1876 , the Reverend J. S. Johnston, Rector, reported the number of families as 11, and the number of souls as 60. He took charge in the spring of 1876 and continued for three years.)
The Reverend George A. Weeks came once a month from Paris after the departure of the Reverend Johnston in 1880. During this time the parish was searching for a rector and located one in the person of the Reverend Edward S. Cross, from the missionary district of Colorado.
(Bishop Dudley says in his address to the convention in 1880, “Rev. George A. Weeks, of Paris, has taken charge of the church in Cynthiana, giving one Sunday in the month to that work. The money collected aggregated $120.”
In 1881 Dr. George H. Perrin, Senior Warden, reported; “During nearly half the past year this parish has been without any regular ministration. When services have been held the congregations have been remarkably large and attentive. The parish has a good deal of zeal and life in it and is now looking anxiously forward to the coming of the new rector who is expected at white suntide [whitsuntide].”
Bishop Dudley says, “Cynthiana is a most important work. Rev. G.A. Weeks of Paris has not been able to give much time. Here the churchmen have ever been enthusiastic and willing. When the services of an earnest worker are secured — one to abide among the people — the work will gain strength and permanency.”)
As it turned out, their expectations were in vain for Cross only stayed nine months and left Cynthiana for the diocese of Central Pennsylvania. Again, the parish was without regular services.
About the first of the year 1883, the Reverend John F. Spivey, deacon, came from the diocese of Iowa to accept the rectorship. Within three months he baptized 13 and presented eight for confirmation. On May 21, he was recommended for the priesthood.
The ordination took place on May 26, at Christ Church, Louisville. The church prospered under Spivey’s leadership, and he became endeared to the people’s hearts.
It was unfortunate that his leadership was short lived. For around the first of the year 1884, he took ill and died on March the 27. During his illness he was unable to conduct services, and the church was closed from January until August 1884.
(His body was carried to North Carolina by his brothers who came to him just before his death. He was buried in his native place.)
At this time the Reverend G. A. Weeks resigned as rector of St. Peter’s, Paris, and became rector of Advent. At the coming of the Reverend Weeks, the congregation contracted for a new stone baptismal font as a memorial to the Reverend John F. Spivey. It stands as a tribute to him today and is still in use.
This was also the spring that Bishop Smith died and the Rt. Reverend T.U. Dudley became the second Bishop of Kentucky.
For the next five years the Reverend Weeks’ rectorship was the highlight of the history of Advent. The communicant list increased, the Sunday School flourished, and the church as a whole was in good health.
(The secretary of the Diocesan Board of Missions reports in 1889, among other evidences of prosperity in the Diocese, that Cynthiana has $1,250 collected for the rectory and $5,000 contributed for the endowment of the church.)
The only records for the next two years show the number of confirmed as eight per year. In August of 1889, the Reverend Weeks gave up his work because of his health and moved to Lexington. During his rectorship he presented 37 for confirmation and baptized the same number.
(March 30, Palm Sunday morning, Reverend George A. Weeks, A.M., entered upon the rest in Paradise.
Bishop Dudley said, “He was one of the clergy of the Diocese when I came to Kentucky. He had come from Newport in 1865, I think, to assume the Rectorship of St. Peter’s Church, Paris. In Paris he married his wife. There his only child was born; there his young wife was taken away from him; and there for long lonely years, and feeble in health, he toiled on bravely and most successfully. About four years ago he resigned his charge in Paris and became Rector of the church at Cynthiana while still retaining his residence in Paris, and in Cynthiana did most effective work.
A year ago he desired to follow his son to Lexington where he became assistant minister in Christ Church; and in this position he served faithfully and acceptable until ten days before his death. His works shall surely follow him, for of all the men whom I have met in the ministry, he was the equal of any as a teacher. His views were clear and their presentation lucid and pointed. He knew that ‘line upon line’ and ‘precept upon precept’ must be the method of imparting life-giving truth, and his pulpit instructions were systematic, certain. It was indeed instruction. Reserved in manner, devoted to study and to solitude, and not a ready mixer among men he, yet, by his still, quiet and persevering pursuit, brought a great number into the church, and so instructed them that they stay there and know why. I repeat it — his works shall follow him, and the churches at Paris and Cynthiana be his enduring monuments.”)
The Reverend C. L. Pindor replaced Weeks as rector, but he only stayed two years.
In May 1890 the parish purchased for $200, a strip of land adjacent to the church, to make possible the erection of a rectory. A year later in the parochical report there was noted a debt of $1,000 on the rectory, which was reduced by $400 in 1894.
No confirmations were reported in 1890 and only two in 1891.
The Reverend Pindor resigned September 1, 1891, to go to the diocese of Ohio. The parish remained without a rector until the following year when the Reverend Rolla Dyer resigned St. Peter’s Church, Paris, to accept the rectorship of the Church of the Advent.
(In 1890, Reverend C.L. Pindor took charge of the parish and remained about a year. Mr. Pindar reported at the council: “Number of families 23, souls 120, communicants 72, public services 128, church building valued at $7,000, rectory valued at $2,200, indebtedness $1,000, Rector’s salary $600, total expenses $1,154.23.)
Reverend Dyer became the first rector to live in the rectory. He remained in the parish about five years and did a good job.
(April 1, 1892,the Reverend Rolla Dyer assumed charge. He reported a debt on the church building of $150, on the rectory $1,000, with money in the treasury $152.
On May 18, at Council, Bishop Dudley said, “I feel that I should not fail to make mention in this address of the loss of one of the pioneer churchmen of the Diocese, the fast friend and wise counsellor of our first Bishop, who served God and His Church for many many years, and now has fallen asleep. Dr. George H. Perrin of Cynthiana departed this life on the 16th day of July last, tenderly ministered to in his last days by the children whose mother and whose grandmother he, a childless man, had adopted in his heart and had worshipped and brought up.
In early life, as I have often heard him relate, he gave his adherence to the great reformer, Alexander Campbell, attracted by the simplicity and the reasonableness of the gospel, he proclaimed, his emphasis of the facts of our religion and the significance, and value of its sacraments, as over against almost spiritism into which, at that the so-called Evangelical Christianity had degenerated. But by and by, there came to him in the good providence of God, the full light of which he had seen but fitful gleams — the ancient revelation of the one Father, the one body, the one Baptism — and straightway with joy he received the sweet message; and I had almost added that like the great apostle, ‘Straightway he preached Christ,’ for thenceforth he became the champion of the Church of the Advent, Cynthiana, the aid he received from others being hardly appreciable. Until the very day of his death he was by far the largest contributor to the maintenance of the parish, and he did hope to consecrate a goodly portion of his estate to its endowment.”)
In September 1895, the Diocese of Kentucky was divided and the Reverend Lewis Burton was elected Bishop of the new Diocese of Lexington. The Reverend Dyer was present at Burton's consecration. The following September (1896), Dyer resigned the rectorship at Advent in order to go to St. John’s Bellevue-Dayton.
During the first year of the new diocese of Lexington, the Church of the Advent did not prosper due to the leaving of its rector. However, Bishop Burton gave liberally of his time to Advent as evidenced by the parish register. He held services twice, met with the Ladies Guild, administered the Holy Communion once, and attended the Sunday School once. The parochial report for the year 1887 showed the number of parishioners at 125, and the communicants at 67.
On the eighth of January 1898, the Reverend Franklin Anderson Ridout Jr., became the rector and also was missionary in charge of Christ Church, Richmond. The Reverend Mr. Ridout resided in Cynthiana and went to Richmond every other Sunday. At the end of the year he resigned his work in Richmond. He also resigned from Advent on October 31, 1899, and was immediately replaced by the Reverend H.F. Spears, by appointment of the Bishop.
Shortly after his election as rector there was installed “a beautiful hand-carved alter [altar].” It is presently in use and is just as beautiful as the day it was installed.
The wood used for building the altar may have come from wagons that had been captured by the Union force in the battle of Cynthiana. So many horses were killed by stray bullets that there were not enough animals to pull the retreating wagons. Since not all the wagons were needed many were pushed aside. It is believed that two or three of these wagons remained on the lot next to the church for many years, and the wood was later found to be usable, so these “wagons of war” were transformed into an “alter [altar] for the Lord.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Some skepticism has been expressed about whether Civil War wagons were 1) made of oak, and 2) still in good shape when the altar was carved in about 1899 or 1900. However, author William A. Penn, from his book “Kentucky Rebel Town: The Civil War Battles of Cynthiana and Harrison County” (ISBN 978-0-8131-6771-8), offers these passage at pages 109 and 219: “The long column of Confederate cavalry, including some or perhaps all of a wagon train of twenty wagons and fifty mules captured at Tompkinsville, and buggies for the wounded, moved slowly to Cynthiana across narrow dusty roads lined by stone walls.” “Federal reports of the battle did not specifically mention capturing Morgan’s wagon train or give its location, but a newspaper reporter wrote that wagons and other impediments to a ‘rapid flight’ had been abandoned along the roadway to Claysville.” Indeed, Advent sits on U.S. 62, the highway to Claysville.
By Jane Dunbar Madson and George Ralph Madson
“Establishment of the Church in Harrison County”
SOMETIME before the spring of 1835 the Episcopal Church made its first appearance in Harrison county. Exactly how it came is not definite, but in the early months of that year the Rev. Edmund Davis, a deacon, was officially in charge at Leesburg. By the following year he had gone to England for a protracted stay, from which, indeed, he never returned to this country. Although there seems to have been no other clergyman connected with the new parish, there was nevertheless plenty of activity under the leadership of Mr. William Hearne, a layman. In May, 1836, Mr. Hearne appeared at the Convention of the Diocese of Kentucky, meeting in Louisville, to petition for the admission of Christ Church, Leesburg, into union with the Convention. The parish was admitted with Mr. Hearne as lay delegate, and an assessment of $20 per year toward the Bishop’s salary was laid upon the parish.
It so happened that this Convention was an extremely important one, with results directly affecting the history of the Church in Harrison county, as became apparent within the next few years. There was in the diocese a certain amount of opposition to, and criticism of, the Diocesan Bishop Smith. Accordingly, at this Convention a series of closed committee meetings was held at the home of the Rev. Mr. Peers in Louisville for the purpose of bringing charges for impeachment or presentment against the bishop. Mr. Hearne was present at most of these meetings, and although there is of course no evidence concerning his attitude in the matter it may be conjectured from his subsequent actions that he was favorable to the bishop. He had also at this Convention been appointed to a committee to promote “the erection of infant churches in the Diocese.”
A year later Mr. Hearne again represented Christ Church, Leesburg, at Convention. Although still without a rector, the parish had erected a building which was finished enough to enable the bishop to preach there and confirm five persons sometime before Convention. Thus, the parish had six communicants, and since only communicants might be delegates, Mr. Hearne must have been the only communicant in the parish at the time of its admission into the diocese, and must be credited with its formation.
At the same time that the church in Leesburg was taking definite form some work was going on in Cynthiana. The earliest records indicate a school in progress in 1837, although when it was established cannot be determined from diocesan records. Mr. N. N. Cowgill directed the school, and in 1837 he was received as a candidate for Holy Orders, at Convention. At this same Convention admission into union with the Convention was granted to St. Paul’s Parish, Cynthiana, “to take effect from and after the adjournment of this Convention.”
The charges formulated a year before by secret committee were now brought forward on the demand of the bishop that he be accorded trial by his peers. Motion was made that a list of charges be prepared and laid before the Convention. Although the motion was passed, the minority opposing it included Mr. Hearne. A committee was appointed which presented a list of six charges of from three to 42 specifications each. One of these charged the bishop with trying to give the power of voting to two persons known to be in his favor, the delegates from the two parishes admitted in that same Convention, Cynthiana and Owingsville. The final clause in the motion for admission had prevented them from receiving that power in time to be of assistance to the bishop. The bishop was further charged with citing Mr. Cowgill as a member of the senior class of the diocesan Theological Seminary before he had finished the preparatory department. As there is no further mention of that matter the truth of the statement cannot be known, but it would naturally put Mr. Cowgill on the side of the bishop. With Mr. Hearne, a member of the committee on infant parishes, in Leesburg, and Mr. Cowgill in charge of the school in Cynthiana, it may be seen that the inevitable result was the formation of St. Paul’s Parish on the eve of the Convention in order to increase the number of friends of the bishop.
That a parish had been formed too soon was soon evident, for St. Paul’s was short-lived. About January 1, 1838, Mr. Cowgill, having been ordained deacon, left for Zion Church, Shelbyville. He was succeeded by the Rev. Charles Crowe who was ordained about the same time, and took charge of the parishes in Cynthiana and Leesburg. In May, 1838, he reported to Convention, “I am sorry to say the prospects of the Church in Cynthiana at present, are not good,… but this, in my opinion, is much more that counterbalanced by the prosperous appearance it wears in Leesburg.” In this latter place there were seven communicants, and
hardly any in Cynthiana. The difficulty seemed to be that there was no secure basis for the church in Cynthiana. In 1839, Mr. Crowe moved to Cynthiana and conducted a school there as well as continued services in both towns. After the spring of that year, no further mention was ever made of St. Paul’s Church.
Shortly thereafter Mr. Crowe removed to Lexington in order to carry on work in Leesburg and in Versailles. His work at Leesburg, although he had been ordained priest by this time, was described by the bishop as “laborious but gratuitous.” The church there was still incomplete, but work was slowly progressing. Donations in sufficient amounts to complete the building had been received from Louisville and from Christ Church, Lexington, but local difficulties slowed up construction. The communicant list still stood at seven. No record exists of payment of the $21 assessment on the parish.
By May 1841, Mr. Crowe was no longer connected with Leesburg although he still lived in Lexington. After he left the parish, presumably in the fall of 1840, the retired rector of St. Peter’s, Paris, the Rev. Amos Cleaver, officiated every two weeks in Christ Church, until winter made the roads impassable. Not until Mr. Cleaver’s return in the following spring were there any services of any kind. In October 1842, Mr. Cleaver was re-elected rector of St. Peter’s Church and was obliged to reduce the number of his visits to Leesburg to once a month, until the condition of roads again stopped his traveling.
In the early part of the winter of 1842-43, the Rev. J. Avery Shepherd, upon his ordination to the diaconate, took charge of Christ Church. On July 22, 1842, there was paid to the diocese $2 of the assessment, and on May 23, 1843, $10 more, evidently the first payment into diocesan funds from the parish. In the same May, the parish sent Mr. Hearne as delegate to the Convention. About the middle of August, Mr. Shepherd left to be rector of ‘St. Peter’s, Paris. Finally, the church building was sold by William and James Hearne, and an additional $500 was made, which was possibly given to the congregation in Cynthiana; for at this time a second parish was developing in that town. Thus the work of the Church came to an end in Leesburg sometime in 1846.
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All of the material for the foregoing chapter has been found in the annual journals of the Conventions of the Diocese of Kentucky of those years. The composition of the history is the joint effort of the Rev. and Mrs. George Ralph Madson.
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A PRAYER FOR THE TIMES
LORD GOD, who art always our Shield and Defence, we thank thee for thy continued guidance and protection. Enable us to go forward with courage as we enter a new era; rejoicing in its opportunities and avoiding its perils. Let no difficulty dismay us, no hardship hinder the upbuilding of thy kingdom. May we in quietness and confidence pursue our several callings. Forgive and remove the tendency to distrust both ourselves and thee. Open our eyes to the invisible hosts which thou has appointed to encompass and encourage us. Lift up our hearts to the divine presence where there is no place for fear; through him who is Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
— Bishop Ingley of Colorado
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“The New Parish”
The revival of the parish in Cynthiana, or the rise of the new parish, whichever it may have been, occurred during the year 1846. The Rev. George Weeks states that a prominent physician of the town, Dr. George H. Perrin, became interested in some way in the Episcopal Church. What was the impetus cannot be ascertained, but it is quite possible in view of the personnel of the parish a year later that Mr. Hearne, of the Church in Leesburg, had something to do with it. At any rate, on December 1, 1846, Dr. and Mrs. Perrin “were baptized by immersion, the Rev. G. G. Moore, rector of the Church at Paris, administering the sacrament.”
Thinking Cynthiana not a feasible location for a parish, Dr. Perrin purposed to become a member of St. Peter’s Church, Paris; but on Bishop Smith’s advice it was determined to organize a parish in Cynthiana.
According to the parochial report of the Rev. G. G. Moore, rector at Paris, “On the 4th of November, 1846, Episcopal service was commenced in this place (Cynthiana) and continued regularly once a month, in addition to which several successive services were held at different times in connection with the Rev. Mr. Berkley of Lexington.” These successive services were probably preaching missions conducted to arouse interest in the Church and to attract a nucleus for a congregation. Mr. Moore continues, “The 6th of January… a Parish was duly organized and the present incumbent invited to the Rectorship where he officiates regularly the second Sunday in each month and once on a weekday in the intermediate time.” There were listed in May 1847, 15 communicants.
At the Diocesan Convention of 1847, at which the parish applied for union with the diocese, the bishop credited the formation of the parish to “a noble self-denying system of voluntary missionary efforts on the part of the Rev. G. G. Moore and the Rev. Ed. F. Berkley.” on May 14, 1847, the Articles of Association of the Church of the Advent were presented to the Diocesan Convention and acted upon favorably, and Dr. Perrin and Mr. William Hearne were recognized as accredited delegates. The name is said to have been chosen because the parish was organized about the season of Advent.
The following February - 1848 - Mr. Moore resigned the rectorship of St. Peter’s Church, Paris and the Church of the Advent, Cynthiana, to take charge of Trinity Church, Covington, and St. Paul’s Church, Newport. How hard this was on the young parish is expressed by Bishop Smith in Convention in May: “I cannot refrain from the expression of my sympathy for the few resolute Episcopalians at Cynthiana, who are struggling bravely against the discouragement consequent upon the loss of the services of the Rev. Mr. Moore, and who are likely, for years, to require more than a common share of our cooperation and support.” Mr. Berkley, who had assisted Mr. Moore in starting the parish, was to be occupied in the building of a new church for Christ Church parish, Lexington, and in working with the rector at Frankfort to establish a parish at Versailles. There were no delegates from Cynthiana at this Convention.
The first of October, however, a rector came to Paris and Cynthiana, the Rev. Horace Hill Reid, from the diocese of New York. He reported 17 communicants in Cynthiana and a Sunday School with four teachers. Parish contributions were: to Domestic Missions, $3, for Prayer Books, $5, and to the Episcopal Fund, $15 — a total of $23.
Mr. Reid reported further: “This parish is still feeble but, in some respects the prospects are brightening. A semi-monthly appointment is regularly kept, and every service attracts large congregations. The children receive regular catechetical instruction.” At the Convention of 1849, the parish was represented by Mr. Hearne.
Mr. Reid’s tenure was short, and before the Convention of 1850, he had transferred to the diocese of Connecticut and there was no on in charge at Cynthiana. The only record for the two years following is that $15.00 was paid to the Episcopal Fund in August, 1850, an evidence that it was still a parish with a diocesan consciousness.
In 1851, Bishop Smith requested the Rev. Carter Page, then officiating in Bowling Green and Russellville, to spend the month of December in Cynthiana; following which Mr. Page became rector of the parish in February, 1952. He found the parish small but eager and reported in May that there were nine communicants and 20 Sunday school scholars. He conducted two services each Sunday in the buildings of the various denominational churches, and by Convention time he had acquired $2,000 from “three individuals towards the erection of a church edifice and there is good prospect of raising $600 more.” With this beginning the parish negotiated for a half-acre lot on which to build. At this Convention, the parish was represented, as usual, by Dr. Perrin and Mr. Hearne.
Within another year, although the communicant list had dropped to eight, the half-acre lot had been purchased and the parish planned to have the walls and roof constructed by the fall of 1853.
This was not accomplished, but in May of the next year the difficulties, whatever they had been, had been straightened out and W. Russell West, of Columbus, Ohio, had been required to furnish plans and specifications for the building. Although the communicant list had increased by but one, the Sunday school enrollment rose from 20 to 30, an encouraging sign. Although not present at Convention, Thomas Elliott had been elected a delegate from the parish.
No further mention of the employment of Mr. West as architect is found in the records. The church was built according to a model furnished by Bishop Smith. Parish tradition has it that the church is a copy of the parish church of Stoke-Poges in England, and that the bishop’s model was of that building, and was kept in Cynthiana. That the model was or was not of that famous church cannot be proved from the records, but a comparison of the two churches as they stand today makes it conclusively evident that the Church of the Advent is of the general type, but by no means a faithful replica of Stoke-Poges. In the first place, the English church, like most of the very old ones, has been built in stages, frequently added to through the years. Thus there is in it a mingling of the various types of English church architecture. There is a similarity in the towers of the two churches, although Stoke-Poges has a steeple on the tower. In Stoke-Poges there are tall, marrow windows; but they are always paired. In Stoke-Poges there is a Norman chancel arch — the low, rounded arch. But the Church of the Advent has no chancel arch. The Church of the Advent is almost entirely of Early English architecture and lacks the additional types found in Stoke-Poges.
It may be seen, therefore, that this church is not a direct copy of Stoke-Poges; but it is possible that its plan embodies certain characteristics of the English church.
The corner-stone of the Church of the Advent was laid on the 5th or 6th of May, 1855. Bishop Smith called it a “signal incident” in the growth of the diocese, and said of it, “By the great liberality of a very few friends, it promises to be one of the neatest and most complete of our small churches and the first in the diocese constructed of stone.” The estimated cost of construction was $4,500, of which $3,500 had been subscribed in June, 1855, chiefly by Dr. Perrin and Mr. William Thompson, the latter having been confirmed at the time of the laying of the cornerstone. As this time there were 11 communicants, and 35 Sunday school pupils.
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The parish report to the Diocesan Convention in the spring of 1856 was not encouraging. The services were still being held in the other church buildings in town with the result that they were “regular except when (once a month) the denomination to which the house belonged occupied it.” There had been no confirmations. Nearly $4,500 had been spent on the church of which $75 had been a gift from Christ Church, Lexington, $95 from Christ Church, Louisville, and $65 from St. Paul’s Church, Louisville, and there were still not pews and open windows, and the inside was unplastered and unpainted.
The Bishop in his address to the Convention brought the matter before the diocese:
“I found our fine little church edifice in Cynthiana at an absolute standstill for want of a few hundred dollars to glaze, plaster and seat it; after the most generous contributions upon the sot, in bringing it so near to completion, of any that have been made in any part of the diocese… My deliberate advice to them is, either to worship in it in its present state, or to leave it just as it is until the sympathies of the Diocese are aroused to furnish the means for furnishing it.”
But the appeal did not reach many sympathetic hearers for at the next Convention the Rev. Mr. Page reported his own efforts to raise sufficient funds to complete the church.
Within the year the glazing and plastering had been done, pews and chancel furniture provided and $100 in addition had been spent for “Painting and varnishing the body of the Church; the open timber roof being still untouched by the painter’s brush.” Mr. Page’s own statement of his struggles is: “The Rector returned to his Parish last summer, greatly disheartened by his almost utter failure to procure any effectual aid from the Church people of Louisville, in behalf of his struggling Church; but by assuming a large personal responsibility he stimulated some of the parishioners, who had already been too heavily taxed, to come forward and put the Church in its present comfortable condition. More than $1,000 has been expended… since the last report (Spring, 1856) and all contributed by two or three individuals.” (Dr. Perrin and the Rector are two of these.) The choir was at this time preparing to have a concert, the proceeds of which, added to some previous contributions, was expected to be sufficient to purchase a small organ. The credit for the erection of the church at this time must certainly go to the Rev. Carter Page. And at the same time he carried on the regular services of the church, managed to present occasional candidates for confirmation, and in the year 1857, conducted regular services for the colored population of Cynthiana, at which, he says, “a large number have always been in attendance.”
The church building was publicly opened for services at the end of March, 1857. At these services was first developed the idea of missionary convocations within the diocese, a most valuable and constructive agency for diocesan growth for many years following.
For several years the parish grew steadily, and work on the building was continued. In 1859, Christ Church, Louisville, contributed $25 to the Church of the Advent, and St. Peter’s Church, Paris contributed $81 and a surplice. About $1,000 was expended that year on the building, $500 being raised in the parish and the rest coming from friends in Louisville, Lexington, and Paris.
In the spring of 1860, the tower was completed at a cost of $175, and the church was ready for consecration. That service was held by Bishop Smith on Saturday the 14th of May. The Bishop said, in speaking of both the Church of the Advent and St. Paul’s Church, Henderson, which was consecrated in the same month:
“There are remarkable proofs of strength already acquired, and of a vast increase in the vigor of our church life, and of a growing willingness to do and to give up to our ability, and in the case of our first stone edifice in the Diocese, in Cynthiana, far beyond the measure of a customary liberality. It is a charming little church… and afford(s) almost the first example of an improved taste in grading, inclosing, and ornamenting of the grounds around the church.”
The Rev. Carter Page, although not present at the Convention that year, reported 13 communicants, and 40 Sunday school pupils. He had held regular Sunday services as well as on Ash Wednesday and on every Friday in Lent. Mr. Page continued his work into the Civil War period, leaving the parish in 1862. After his departure, services were interrupted for several years and the church was left without regular ministrations until after the close of the war.
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Just why the Rev. Carter Page left the parish to teach in a Female Seminary in Jefferson County at such a critical time is not indicated in any of the records. To be sure, journals of Convention for the years 1863 to 1868 inclusive are missing, but no hint is ever given.
In 1866 the Rev. Charles Stewart took charge of the parish, remaining for one year. After he left, the Rev. Dr. Silas Totten, Principal of Christ Church Seminary, Lexington, “did able and wise service in the parish during the following two years,” according to the brief history in the Parish Register.
The Assistant Bishop, Dr. Cummins, visited the parish on December 8, 1868, preaching, confirming three and baptizing one. The following May, in Convention, the Report on Missions included this statement: “In Eastern Kentucky there is a large district… embracing the towns of Cynthiana… entirely without the ministrations of the Church.”
This report had good results for the parish, for a missionary was put in charge of the work. The Rev. Walter Tearne, in his report to Convention, 1870, said, “After my ordination to the diaconate, Easter, 1869, at the request of the bishop I visited Cynthiana occasionally...until August 1… when… I accepted charge.... At that time, from causes well known to the Convention, the church was in a crushed and deplorable condition, (no information that was “well known” then can be unearthed today) nine discouraged and disheartened souls alone composing it.... At present and for another year she will need the aid and fostering care of the Diocesan Missionary Society and her wealthier sisters. My people have done well....” They paid Mr. Tearne in salary $582.63, spent $548.50 on the building and sent $40 to the Episcopate Fund, in ten months. The Missionary Society paid $200 toward his salary.
On October 7 and 8, the Central Convocation held its autumn meeting in the Church of the Advent. Bishop Cummins was present, and confirmed two persons. He visited the parish again the following April 18, 19, and 20 — Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Easter Week — preaching four times, confirming six. On June 24, 1870, Mr. Tearne was ordained priest. Bishop Cummins considered the work greatly revived by Mr. Tearne. “The congregations have increased; a promising Sunday school has been organized; the church building improved; an excellent bell placed in the tower; and an earnest effort is now on foot to establish a parish school.” The rector said a schoolhouse was needed, to cost $1,200. The New York Bible and Common Prayer Book Society had given the parish a Bible, and a library had been donated by the American Sunday School Union.
Twenty-two communicants were reported in 1871, Sunday school of 37 pupils and five teachers.
On July 1, 1871, Mr. Tearne resigned and went to Mt. Sterling. Later he was the first resident minister in Beattyville and organized the first church there, working in Proctor, too.
On September 1, 1871, Dr. Silas Totten began to visit the parish twice a month, in addition to his duties in Lexington and his visits to Nicholasville. After the end of the year he visited but once a month. He reported to the Convention of 1872 that, “The congregations are small and there is little hope of increase without the services of a resident minister.” Dr. Totten died in 1873, and Cynthiana was without regular ministrations. No parish report was made in 1874.
The diocese was greatly upset over the abandonment of the Church by Bishop Cummins in November, 1873. Bishop Smith was on a two years leave of absence at the time. In November, 1874, Bishop Dudley was elected assistant bishop.
Bishop Dudley visited the parish April 23, and 29, 1875. On the 28th, the Rev. George A. Weeks of Paris, and the Rev. Charles T. Kellogg of the diocese of Northern New Jersey, principal of a girls’ school in Covington, read the service. Four persons were confirmed the second day. The vestry soon arranged for the Rev. Mr. Kellogg to officiate in the church every Sunday.
On the Sunday after Easter, April 23, 1876, the Rev. J. S. Johnston, formerly of Mississippi, took charge of the parish, having charge also of the Church of the Ascension, Mount Sterling, in which town he lived. He conducted services in Cynthiana on alternate Sundays. Part of his salary was paid by the Missionary Convocation. He hoped that “this old and important parish can be raised out of its present depressed condition and placed in that position which it should occupy in the Diocese.” The Rev. Mr. Weeks of Paris had held six services in the while it had been without a rector.
After a lapse of several years, the parish was again represented in Diocesan Convention in 1876. G. H. Perrin, P. W. Peck and James Hedges had been elected delegates, but were not present.
A year later the parish reported 24 communicants, and the rector said, “This parish, I think shows evident signs of improvement and I hope the good work may go on until the Church is firmly established in this important town.” The following year he reported in absentia, “This parish about holds its own. No perceptible change since I took charge. It needs a resident rector.” He had conducted 48 services during the year.
To the Convention in 1879, the rector reported, “The Church moves on slowly, but is gradually growing in favour, I trust, with God, and certainly with man. It is the subject of quite general remark that the respects of the Episcopal Church in Cynthiana were never so flattering as at the present time. I have been disappointed too often by appearances to base any very sanguine expectations. On the present improved condition of things, I only trust that we may accomplish the will of God concerning us, whether that be to achieve temporal success, or show that highest type of Christian manhood, devotion to duty despite of discouragements.”
The Rev. Mr. Johnson [Johnston?] resigned as missionary to Mt. Sterling and Cynthiana in January 1880, and went to Alabama. The Rev. Mr. Weeks came once a month from Paris to conduct services for about a year. At Convention, May 1881, there was no parish deputation, and there were no proper credentials. Dr. Perrin, Senior Warden, sent in the parochial report: “During nearly half the past year this Parish has been without regular ministrations and at no time has had the services of a Clergyman more than half the time. When services have been had the congregations have been remarkably large and attentive. The Parish has a good deal of zeal and life in it and is now looking anxiously forward to the coming of the new Rector, who is expected on Whit-Sunday.” The new rector, the Rev. Mr. Cross, was thus expected on June 5th, about two weeks after the adjournment of Convention. The report of the secretary of the Board of Diocesan Missions stated at this time:
“Cynthiana, a most important work, has had only such ministrations during the year as could be given by the Rev. G. A. Weeks, of Paris. Here the Churchmen have ever been earnest and willing to aid in the work of Church extension. Could the services of an earnest worker be secured for this parish, to abide among the people, the work would gain strength and permanency.”
It was probably at this time, before the arrival of Mr. Cross, that the parish gave $50 to the fund raised by St. Peter’s Church, Paris, to enable Mr. Weeks to go abroad.
The Rev. Edward S. Cross came from the Missionary District of Colorado to the Church of the Advent, but there can be found no estimate of his work, and before the next spring he had transferred to the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, and the parish was again without regular services.
About the first of the year, 1883, the Rev. John F. Spivey, deacon, came from the Diocese of Iowa “to accept an election as Rector of the Church of the Advent.” Within three months he baptized 13 and presented eight for confirmation. On the 21st of May the standing committee recommended that “Rev. J. F. Spivey be admitted to the Sacred Order of Priests.” The ordination took place in Christ Church, Louisville, during the Diocesan Convention, May 27, 1883. From all appearances the parish was receptive and ready to prosper, and did so until the first of the year when Mr. Spivey was taken ill. Although he lived until March 27, he was unable during those months to hold services, and the church was closed from January till August, when the Rev. G. W. Weeks resigned as rector of St. Peter’s Church, Paris, and became rector of the Church of the Advent, although he continued to live in Paris.
The death of Mr. Spivey was a great loss to the parish and a severe blow to anticipations. Bishop Dudley, the assistant bishop of the diocese, said of him: “He had during his short ministry gained the confidence and affection of the people of his charge, and the outlook for the future of the Parish seemed more hopeful than ever before during my Episcopate.” Immediately upon the advent of Mr. Weeks the parish contracted for a new stone baptismal font as a memorial to Mr. Spivey.
It was in this same spring, 1884, that word came of the death of Possible Smith, long resident in New York because of illness and age. The assistant bishop, the Right Reverend T. U. Dudley, automatically became the second Bishop of Kentucky.
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“The Close of the Century”
The five-year rectorate of the Rev. George A. Weeks is a highlight in the history of the Church of the Advent. The communicant list increased, the Sunday School flourished and the whole parish was in splendid condition. This was accomplished in spite of the fact that Mr. Weeks was never resident in Cynthiana, and that he was in failing health.
In 1886 a national drive was opened to raise $1 million for missions. The money was all to be pledged and then collected only if the goal was reached in the pledges, which were to be of $5 per person. The Diocesan Convention decided that in case the national goal was not reached, the pledges made in the diocese should nevertheless be collected and spent on diocesan missions. Six persons in the parish made pledges of $5 each.
The only records for the next two years show the number confirmed — eight in each year.
In 1888 part of the report of the Board of Diocesan Missions reads: “The Rev. George A. Weeks reports that the Church has made steady progress at Cynthiana during the year, notwithstanding the fact that they have suffered by removals, still there has been a decided increase.... The last class for confirmation (eight persons)...embraced several of the most influential citizens. The Sunday School has done particularly well and the fruits will be manifest in the near future.” This confirmation class included such names familiar to the history of the parish as Ashbrook and Megibben.
The following year there was only one confirmation, that of James William Victor, who was confirmed on the 10th of May and as sent as a delegate to the Diocesan Convention five days later. He was the last candidate Mr. Weeks presented.
It was in this year, 1889, that Bishop Dudley started an Episcopal Endowment fund to which 18 members of the Church of the Advent contributed $50.50. The contributors were Mr. and Mrs. John Peck, Gertrude Hedges, Arabella Hedges, Mary Nebel, Emilie Lalla, Mrs. Hannah Wilson, Mrs. Catherine Cooke, Hattie Cooks, Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Ashbrook, Mrs. Josephine Wolford, Bertie Wolford, Louis C. Wolford, Mrs. Sarah McNees, Amy McNees, Lucy McNees and the Rev. G. A. Weeks.
In August, 1889, Mr. Weeks gave up the work because of his health and removed to Lexington to make his home with his son. But wishing to continue some work in the ministry as long as possible he became an Assistant Minister in Christ Church, and “in this position served faithfully and acceptably until ten days before his death.” During his rectorate in Cynthiana, he presented 37 for confirmation, and baptized the same number. The various testimonials following his death, March 30, 1890, show why the parish so benefited from his ministrations.
Bishop Dudley said of him: “His works shall surely follow him, for of all the men whom I have known in the ministry he was the equal of any as a teacher.... Reserved in manner, devoted to study and to solitude, and not a ready mixer among men, he yet, by his still, quiet, and persevering pursuit, brought a great number into the Church, and so instructed them that they stay there, and know why.” The committee to report on that portion of the Bishop’s Convention Address wrote: “The Diocese sustained a great loss in the death of the Rev. George A. Weeks. One of the oldest resident clergymen of the Diocese, he was honored and respected by all. Quiet and unobtrusive in his manner, a thorough scholar and efficient teacher, his systematic and logical instruction will be missed not only by the Parishes where he had labored, but the clergy as well; yet the influence of his life and labors will follow him and be the means of lasting good.”
And the report of the Board of Diocesan Missions said: “He was a man of modest, retiring disposition, but true as steel to what he believed to be right. He believed the Church of which he was ordained minister to [be] the divinely appointed means for the renovation of human nature. He believed it with all his heart and accepted it in its every consequence. Yet, while steadfast for the truth, it was always spoken in love, and his work in this Diocese will always be held in grateful memory.”
Mr. Weeks’ place in the parish had been taken by the Rev. C. L. Pindar, who relinquished his charge of Hickman and Columbus to come to Cynthiana. He received $600 a year from the parish and $300 from the Diocesan Board of Missions. In neither of the two years that Mr. Pindar spent in the parish was he present at the Diocesan Convention, nor did any delegates from the parish attend, although in both years the parish was reported as paying its diocesan assessment in full.
In May 1890, the parish purchased for $200 a strip of land approximately 10’ x 172’ adjacent to the church, to make possible the erection of a rectory. Although there is no record of the actual erection of the building, it must have been done immediately upon the purchase of the lot, for a year later, in May 1891, the parochial report cited $1,000 debt on the rectory, which was reduced by $400 in 1894.
No confirmations were reported in 1890 and only two in 1891. Of the condition of the parish, however, the Diocesan Board of Missions reported: “At Cynthiana... the work has gone on steadily, being prosecuted in the most faithful and zealous manner.”
Mr. Pindar resigned September 1, 1891, to go to the Diocese of Ohio, and the parish was evidently without a rector until the following year when the Rev. Rolla Dyer resigned St. Peter’s Church, Paris, to accept the rectorate of the Church of the Advent. He is said to be the first to live in the new rectory.
In this same year the parish suffered a serious loss in the death of the senior warden, Dr. Perrin. Bishop Dudley, paying tribute to him in Convention, May, 1892, said, “He became the champion of the region round about. He literally built the Church of the Advent, the aid he received from others being hardly appreciable; until the very day of his death he was by far the largest contributor to the maintenance of the parish and he did hope to consecrate a goodly portion of his estate to its endowment (but it became doubtful) whether this pious purpose can be realized.”
Mr. Dyer’s work was increased by the addition of Falmouth in which there was no organized mission. On April 11, 1893, just a year after his arrival, he presented a candidate to the bishop for confirmation.
He remained in the parish about five years, doing good work. In June 1893, he was assisted six different times by Arthur Broom Hobrogh, of Winchester. In this year the parish bought a new furnace at a cost of $115, and was sufficiently prosperous that the diocesan assessment was overpaid by $8, and the assessment had been raised in 1890 from $30 to $35 a year. The depressions of those years were making themselves felt, however, for in 1895 the Diocesan Board of Missions was able to pay Mr. Dyer only $288.75 on the $400 due him, and the parish was in debt to him by $576.66.
In September 1895 the Diocese of Kentucky was divided, and the Rev. Lewis Burton was elected Bishop of the new Diocese of Lexington. Mr. Dyer was a member of the committee appointed to notify the Rev. Mr. Burton of his election, and he was also present at the consecration of the first Bishop of Lexington on January 30, 1986 .
The following September — 1896 — Mr. Dyer resigned the Church of the Advent to go to St. John’s Church, Bellevue-Dayton, Kentucky.
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COPY OF THE DEEDS TO THE CHURCH LOTS
2nd of February 1854.
Henry F. Cromwell and wife
George H. Perrin and William Thompson
Trustees of Protestant Episcopal Church
in Harrison Co. — 100 ft. wide on the back
street and running to the RR.
Eliza Reese May 19th 1890
Bishop T. W. Dudley, Trustee
Strip 10 ft. wide and back to lot owned by ...
172 ft. more or less. $200.00 cash
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During the first year of the new Diocese of Lexington, the Church of the Advent did not prosper. Mr. Dyer left in September and the parish was without a rector for some time thereafter. At the Second Convention of the Diocese, held in Frankfort in May 1897, the Bishop reported:
“This parish has been vacant ever since the removal of the Rev. Rolla Dyer to Dayton. I have been making various, but so far ineffectual attempts to fill the vacancy. The small amount which the Parish is able to offer in addition to its rectory handicaps the Vestry and myself seriously. I have held service and preached twice; administered the Holy Communion once; visited the Sunday School once; met the Vestry twice; met the ladies of the Guild and of the Woman’s Auxiliary; and performed the necessary pastoral work at the time of my visits. I accompanied one of the clergymen called to the rectorship on his visit of investigation, and with him met the people.”
It is evident that Bishop Burton gave liberally of his time and energy to the parish at a time when he was undoubtedly very busy with the affairs of the newly organized diocese. At the time of this report a call had been extended, but an answer was still pending.
This mention by the Bishop of the Woman’s Auxiliary refers to that very new organization in the parish. It was listed in the report of the secretary of the diocesan Auxiliary as one of the branches “organized and interested in the study of Missions, though not yet actively at work.” There were ten members in the parish branch.
After the resignation of Mr. Dyer, the Diocesan Board of Missions withdrew all support from the parish until a rector should be secured, when the Board would grant $100 to the parish. This action was necessary in view of the situation facing the financing of missions. After the division of the diocese, the mother diocese granted for missions in the new diocese $500 for two years. In the spring of 1897, then the Board of Missions was planning to carry the entire load. In order to increase the missions fund, the Bishop inaugurated a voluntary offering known as the “Bishop’s Missionary Fund.” To this fund the parish contributed $6.45, and one individual later gave $5.00. At the same time an offering of $13.37 was given for the missionary work
outside the diocese. This took place while the parish was still without a rector.
The parochial report for this year numbers the parishioners at 125, the communicants at 67. Twelve of the services reported for the year were held “at a schoolhouse at a place known as Pedro Ridge, where the average attendance was about 200.”
On the 8th or 9th of January, 1898, the Rev. Franklin Anderson Ridout, Jr., became the rector of the Church of the Advent and missionary in charge of Christ Church Mission, Richmond. He was received into the Diocese of Lexington from the Diocese of Virginia. He was paid about $15.00 a month by the parish and $100 a year by the Board of Missions.
During 1898, the parish contributed only $4.30 to diocesan missions and nothing to general church missions, but some of the arrearage was paid on Mr. Dyer’s salary.
Mr. Ridout resided in Cynthiana and went to Richmond every other Sunday, so that each congregation had services twice a month. At the end of a year he resigned the work in Richmond and took charge of the work in Falmouth. The parish in Cynthiana was growing slowly, the membership of the Woman’s Auxiliary was increasing. Forty dollars was spent on church furnishings, so some improvements must have been made within the building. On his visitation, the bishop received $4.66 for the mission fund. The Sunday School Lenten Offering for general missions was $7,076.843.... [?]
One of the communicants of the parish, Mrs. Annie Laurie Wilson James, was a teacher in the Ashland School for Girls, a diocesan institution. During the summer of 1899, she made a canvass for pupils in the region about Ashland, with no success.
The school therefore moved to Versailles, hoping for greater enrollment.
Mr. Ridout resigned as rector on Oct. 31, 1899, and was immediately replaced by the Rev. H. E. Spears by appointment of the Bishop. Mr. Spears, a native Kentuckian, had been ordained the previous year in his home parish, St. Peter’s, Paris. He was ordained priest the following April and was elected rector of the Church of the Advent. Shortly thereafter there was installed “a beautiful hand-carved and home-made altar” — to quote the parish report — which was valued at $500. This is the altar now in use in the church.
In April, 1901, Mr. Spears removed to the diocese of Southern Ohio. There were seven members of the Woman’s Auxiliary, but a circle called the Babies’ Branch — now known as Little Helpers — had been organized, and had contributed $6.70 to missions.
The Vestry arranged with the Rev. H. H. Sneed of Georgetown to take charge of the parish in addition to his work in Georgetown, Nicholasville and Lawrenceburg. He assumed temporary charge on June 9, 1901, and was called to be rector on March 1, 1902. Part of the time he conducted services in Cynthiana every Sunday morning and in Georgetown every Sunday evening, but the greater part of the time he spent alternate Sundays in each place. In 1902, the fence across the front of the church property was erected at the cost of about $87. The parish was still in arrears on Mr. Dyer’s salary, and paid $150 on that, besides contributing
$85 to diocesan missions and maintenance, and $12.40 to the general church work.
Mr. Sneed resigned all his work in the diocese January 1, 1905, and went to Gulfport, Mississippi. During his rectorate the parish had progressed, not spectacularly, but gradually and steadily. In 1904, there were 75 communicants. The Ladies Guild and the Auxiliary grew in membership, and especially in activity. In 1904, the Auxiliary sent three boxes valued at $90 to the mountain missions, as well as giving scholarships for the school in Corbin. And in this same year the church was painted inside. At Mr. Sneed’s resignation, the Senior Warden, Mr. William Handy, took charge as Lay Reader. In the parochial report of May 1905, a startling reduction of the communicant list is shown, two having removed, three having died, and 18 removed otherwise, bringing the number down to 52, with an average of only 18 making their communions during the year.
Mr. Handy supplied weekly services, with some assistance from visiting clergy, until March 25, 1906. During that time he conducted 45 services, assisted in one, and had one funeral. All parish obligations were paid.
On the above date the Rev. H. K. Coleman, who had been principal of St. John’s School, Corbin, was appointed by the Bishop to the temporary charge of the churches in Paris, Cynthiana, Georgetown, Nicholasville and Lawrenceburg. He spent only a few weeks in Cynthiana. On the 9th of June he was deposed from the priesthood by Bishop Burton, having renounced the ministry formally in Christ Church Cathedral.
At the request of the Vestry, the Rev. R. C. Caswall took charge of the parish on the second Sunday in June 1906, for one year. This appointment by the bishop was in addition to his work as Archdeacon and the care of the churches in Georgetown, Nicholasville and Lawrenceburg. The chief event of the following year was the conduct of an Industrial School for ten weeks, 22 enrolled. It was repeated in 1907.
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The Diocesan Convention of 1908 passed a resolution of sympathy for Mr. William Handy “suffering from a long-continued sickness borne with patient resignation.” Mr. Handy died before the next Convention.
At some time during the preceding years the Sunday school had died, and Mr. Caswall tried to revive it. He gave up the attempt in 1909 because “there are only three possible children and two of them live four miles away.” In March of that year, the Rev. F. R. Mallett, of Sharon, Penn., conducted an eight-day mission, on which Mr. Caswall reported: “The church was crowded full over and over again and about 75 persons signed papers testifying to the great benefit the addresses had been to them.”
Mr. Caswall resigned May 1, 1909, and died almost exactly a year later. During part of those last months, from July 30, 1909, to May 1, 1910, he supervised the lay reader in charge of Cynthiana and Winchester, Mr. P. B. Ellsworth, received into the diocese as a postulant and admitted a candidate for Holy Orders in January 1910. The following June, his name was stricken from the list of candidates.
In the summer the Rev. John Stuart Banks, deacon, principal of St. John’s School, Corbin, took temporary charge during the school vacation. He continued after vacation, having relinquished his work in Corbin in September. He was ordained priest on St. Mark’s Day, 1911, in Christ Church Cathedral, Lexington. The parish paid him $320 and the National Church $750 per year. The communicant list rose to 46, two having been confirmed. The Sunday School was organized in October, after a lapse of eight years. The rectory was repaired, and a new roof was put on the church.
Mr. Banks resigned February 1, 1912, and went to the Diocese of Ohio, and the parish was supplied by visiting clergy for several months.
In September, the Rev. J. E. Thompson, deacon in charge of Christ Church, Richmond, added this parish to his care, relinquishing Mt. Sterling. On May 31, 1913, just before his ordination to the priesthood, he was transferred to Jenkins, McRoberts and Fleming. During the year the parish received a chest of altar linens, which was dedicated.
After a few months the Rev. George Henry Harris added this parish to his charge, residing in Paris. Two were confirmed during his three years. The diocesan assessment was raised from $50 to $80, in 1916. In 1918, the Bishop requested that those parishes able to give only “a comparatively small portion of the total stipends of their ministers and needing the income of their rectories to make out this sum” voluntarily vest their property in The Trustees of the Diocese and become missions. This parish did not accede to the request.
Mr. Harris resigned November 1, 1917, to be president of Margaret College and rector of St. John’s Church, Versailles. The parish was inactive, only three services being recorded during 1919, by the General Missionary, the Rev. J. J. Clopton, and no diocesan assessment paid, until 1920, when the Rev. Walter Cain became rector of St. Peter’s Church, Paris, and of this parish.
Mrs. T. E. King was the first woman delegate to Diocesan Convention from the parish in 1921, the first year the canon permitting them was effective. During 1923, Miss Gaither, principal of Margaret College, addressed the Woman’s Auxiliary.
Mr. Cain resigned April 1, 1924, and was succeeded by the Rev. Paul Due, who was in charge of Emmanuel Church, Winchester. He added Paris to his work in 1926. He went to the Diocese of Ohio in January 1928.
Mr. J. H. Chillington, lay reader, took charge on the first of June 1929, supervised by the Rev. Harold Boon of Paris. He was later transferred, and the Rev. Herbert Purchase, from the Diocese of Eau Claire, became rector on April 6, 1930, remaining until the first of September, 1931. He conducted catechism classes for the parish children and had a small boy choir for a time. The present priest-in-charge succeeded Mr. Purchase in 1931.
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The period 1931 to 1938 was the longest that any clergyman remained in charge after 1862, when the Rev. Carter Page concluded 11 years as rector. No other men have remained more than five years.
Soon after the Rev. George Ralph Madson, who resided in Paris and had charge of St. Peter’s Church there and of Holy Trinity Mission, Georgetown, took charge, a new furnace was ordered. The need was imperative. A year and a half later a new roof was put on the rectory, and $200 was borrowed to meet this expense and finish paying for the furnace. During 1933, the salary for the priest-in-charge was cut in half, and during the winter months services were held but one Sunday a month.
The Ven. V. G. Lowery, of Birmingham, Ala., conducted a two-day teaching mission in December 1931. On the 20th of the month Mr. Madson was ordained priest in Paris.
The Diocesan Convention in January 1932 passed an amendment to the canons affecting this parish among others. It provided that parishes receiving outside aid automatically are in the mission status as far as appointment of the clergy is concerned, the Bishop having authority to place and remove the clergy in such parishes. At this same Convention the parish reported the acceptance of 70% of the Church’s Program apportionment, but afterward one member guaranteed payment of 100%.
Early in 1932, Mr. John C. King of Lexington gave the parish a walnut Missal Stand. In May the music committee sponsored a “May Queen’s Court,” the proceeds being for the boy choir which Mr. Purchase had inaugurated. However, the choir soon ended, the organist having moved away.
In January, 1934, Mr. Madson became Vicar of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lexington, for six months, and services were held two Sunday evenings and one Monday morning a month. In May the parish, with Parish [Paris] and Georgetown, gave the Bishop a red stole on his fifth anniversary.
The Treasurer of the National Council wrote to the parish in 1935 thanking the members for their loyal and generous support of the Church’s Program. In the fall the oldest member of the parish, Mr. Charles Riockel, reached the age of 100.
On Easter Day, 1936, the daughter of a former member was baptized in the church, the first baptism in several years. In June, at his visitation, the bishop dedicated a part of Eucharistic Lights, given by the Woman’s Auxiliary in memory of Miss Sarah Gibson.
In July, 1937, with the Bishop’s approval, Mr. Madson set up the Blue-Grass Associate Mission, of Paris, Cynthiana, Georgetown and Mount Sterling. The Rev. Austin B. Mitchell, Jr., became Mr. Madson’s associate, and conducted most of the services in Cynthiana. He attempted to organize a church school, but only one pupil attended regularly, and she was prepared for Confirmation, to be presented June 26, 1938, the first candidate in 17 years.
Late in 1937, the parish again had music at the services, when Miss Lucy Logan Desha became organist. About the same time the Church of the Advent Woman’s Club was organized, in which many non-Episcopalians were interested.
Mr. Mitchell was ordained priest in the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lexington, on January 30, 1938.
Soon after Easter, 1938, the church interior was redecorated, funds having been given for the purpose by several persons, and the Woman’s Club having raised a considerable amount by card parties.
The Blue-Grass Associate Mission came to an end on June 1. Funds to continue it were not available. Mr. Mitchell resigned and moved to the Diocese of Dallas. Mr. Madson resigned, continuing the work in Paris, Georgetown and Mt. Sterling.
During these six and three-quarter years the communicant strength of the parish changed but little, and the budget of the parish remained fairly constant. All obligations to the Diocese and National Church were paid regularly.
By Gregg L. Riley
Senior Seminarian, Episcopal Theological Seminary of Kentucky
May 7, 1979
The History of the Church of the Advent Cynthiana is one of long and arduous periods. There have been few times in its past where it was prosperous; not so much because of a lack of zeal on the part of its members as much as the lack of length of time spent there by its rectors and vicars. Looking over its history one can see that when it had a rector or vicar that stayed there any reasonable length of time, the membership and enthusiasm of the members increased. 1
Of its 133 years, there have been only three rectors or vicars, including the present one, that have remained there more than a period of five years. This single factor more than any other has contributed to the growth and decline of the Church of the Advent.
As we look at its history, we can see that from the very beginning it even had trouble getting off the ground. The Church at Cynthiana Episcopal began in the spring of 1835. This was the first appearance of the Episcopal Church in Harrison county, Kentucky. This fledgling effort was mainly due to a Mr. N.N. Gowgill, who established a school at Cynthiana. In 1837 he was received as a candidate for Holy Orders at the Diocesan Convention and petitioned for union with the convention, a parish called St. Paul’s, Cynthiana.
In January 1838, Cowgill was ordained deacon and left Cynthiana for Zion Church, Shelbyville. He was succeeded by the Rev. Charles Crowe, who not only took charge of Cynthiana, but also Leesburg. In May of 1838 he was reported to have said at convention, “I am sorry to say the prospects of the Church in Cynthiana at present are not good,… but this, in my opinion, is much more than counterbalanced by the prosperous appearance it wears in Leesburg.” Leesburg at this time had seven communicants, whereas Cynthiana had hardly any. A base was definitely lacking in Cynthiana. In 1839, The Rev. Charles. Crowe moved to Cynthiana and conducted a school there as well as conducting services both at Leesburg and at Cynthiana.
Not much is heard of the Church at Cynthiana after the spring of 1839, for Crowe moved to Lexington in order to carry on work in Leesburg and Versailles. It seems that Cynthiana was sacrificed for the welfare of the other two.
The Church at Cynthiana emerges again in the summer of 1846. A prominent physician of the town, a Dr. George H. Perrin, became interested in a Church at Cynthiana. On December 1, 1846, Dr. and Mrs. Perrin “were baptized by immersion in the Licking River” by the Rev. G. G. Moore, rector of the Church at Paris. 2 However, Dr. Perrin did not think that Cynthiana was a very good place for a parish, and he proposed to become a member of the Church at Paris, but on Bishop Smith’s advice it was determined that a parish be instituted at Cynthiana.
According to the parochial report of the Rev. G.G. Moore, rector at Paris, “On the 4th of November, 1846, Episcopal service was commenced in this place (Cynthiana) and continued regularly once a month in addition to which several successive services were held at different times in connection with the Rev. Mr. Berkley of Lexington.” Mr. Moore’s report continues, “The 6th of January… a parish was duly organized and the present incumbent invited to the rectorship where he officiates regularly the second Sunday in each month and once a weekday in the intermediate time.” 3 There were listed in May, 1847, 15 communicants.
On May 8, 1847, the Articles of Association of the Church of the Advent were presented to the Diocesan Convention and acted upon favorably. Dr. Perrin and Mr. William Hearne were recognized as accredited delegates. The name of the church is said to have been chosen because the parish was organized about the time of the season of Advent.
In Feburary, 1848, the Rev. G.G. Moore resigned his rectorship both at Paris and at Cynthiana and Bishop Smith was quoted as saying, “I cannot refrain from the expression of my sympathy for the few resolute Episcopalians at Cynthiana, who are struggling bravely against the discouragement consequent upon the loss of the services of the Rev. Mr. Moore, and who are likely for years to require more than a common share of our cooperation and support.” 4 Consequently, there were no delegates from Cynthiana at the 1848 Convention.
By the first of October, a rector came to Paris and Cynthiana, the Rev. Horace Hill Reid, from the diocese of New York. His initial report listed 17 communicants in Cynthiana and a Sunday School with four teachers. Parish contributions were: to Domestic Missions, $3.00, for Prayer Books, $5.00, and to the Episcopal Fund, $15.00 — a total of $23.00. According to Reid’s report, “This parish is still feeble but in some respects the prospects are brightening. A semi-monthly appointment is regularly kept, and every service attracts large congregations. The children receive regular catechetical instruction.” Reid’s tenure was also short, and before the convention of 1850, he transferred to the Diocese of Connecticut. For the next couple of years there is not much evidence of “life” in the Church at Cynthiana, except for $15.00 which was paid to the Episcopal Fund in August of 1850.
Bishop Smith got things rolling again in 1851 when he requested the Rev. Carter Page, then officiating in Bowling Green and Russellville, to spend the month of December in Cynthiana. This led to his being called as rector in February 1852. He reported that there were nine communicants and 20 Sunday School “scholars.” He conducted two services each Sunday in the buildings of the various denominational churches, and by convention time he had acquired $2,000.00 from “three individuals toward the erection of a church edifice and there is a good prospect of raising $600 more.” With this beginning the parish negotiated for a half-acre lot on which to build. Within another year, the lot had been purchased and the walls and roof were to be constructed by the fall of 1853.
The Church was to be built according to a model furnished by Bishop Smith. Parish tradition has it that the church is a copy of the parish Church of Stoke Poges, St. Giles, England, where the poet Thomas Gray wrote his “An Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.” That the model was or was not of that famous church cannot be proved from the records, but a comparison of the two as they stand today makes it clear that the Church the Advent is of the general type. The corner-stone was laid on the 5th of May, 1855. Bishop Smith called it a “significant incident in the growth of the diocese.” It was the first church in the diocese built of native stone. The estimated cost of construction was $4,500. At this time there were 11 communicants and 35 Sunday School pupils.
Of the $4500.00 for the building, $75.00 was a s gift from Christ Church, Lexington, $95 from St. Paul’s Church, Louisville, and there were still no pews and open windows, and the inside was unplastered and unpainted. 5 Bishop Smith put out a plea for contributions at the next convention, in order to complete the work. But it seems that his plea fell on deaf ears. Due to the personal courage and expertise of the Rev. Carter Page, the money was secured and the inside finished. Dr. Perrin was noted to be a heavy contributor. In the year 1857, Page conducted regular services for the colored population of Cynthiana, at which he a says, “a large number have always been in attendance.” The Church building was publicly opened for services at the end of March, 1857.
For several years the parish grew steadily, and work on the building continued. In 1859 Christ Church, Louisville, contributed $25.00, St. Peter’s, Paris, $81.00 and a surplice. In the spring of 1860 the tower was completed at a cost of $175.00, and the Church was ready for consecration. The service was held by Bishop Smith on Saturday the 14th of May, 1860. The Rev. Carter Page’s report of that year stated that there were 13 communicants and 40 Sunday School pupils. Page continued his work into the Civil War Period, leaving the parish in 1862. After his departure, services were interrupted for several years and the church was left without regular ministration until after the close of the war.
In 1866, the Rev. Charles Stewart took charge, but he only remained for one year. After he left, the Rev. Dr. Silas Totten, Principle of Christ Church Seminary, Lexington, “did able and wise services in the parish during the following two years,” according to the brief history of the parish register. The Assistant Bishop, Dr. Cummings, visited the parish on December 8, 1868, preaching, confirming three, and baptizing one. The following May at convention a report was made concerning the lack of ministration at Cynthiana, and the Rev. Walter Tearne took the parish.
Tearne was ordained deacon, Easter, 1869, and began visiting Cynthiana; it was not until August that he accepted charge. Nine communicants were all that he had but they paid Tearne a salary of $582.63. They also spent $548.50 on the building, and sent $40.00 to the Episcopal Fund in just ten months’ time. On January 24, 1870, Tearne was ordained priest. Twenty-two communicants were reported in 1871, the number of Sunday School pupils was 37 with five teachers. On July 1, 1871, Tearne resigned and went to Mt. Sterling.
During the period of July, 1871, until April, 1875, there were no regular services held at Advent. During this period Dr. Silas Totten, along with Bishop Dudley, the Rev. George A. Weeks of Paris, and the Rev. Charles T. Kellog visited the church off and on; the latter was soon contacted by the vestry and he held regular services until April, 1876, when the Rev. J.S. Johnston, formerly of Mississippi, took charge of the parish. Johnston also had charge of Mt. Sterling and had to alternate services. A year later, the parish reported 24 communicants and the rector said, “This parish, I think, shows evident signs of improvement… .”6 The Rev. Mr. Johnston resigned as missionary to Mt. Sterling and Cynthiana in January, 1880, and went to Alabama. The Rev. George A. Weeks came once a month from Paris to conduct services for about a year. During this time the parish was searching for a rector and located one in the person of the Rev. Edward S. Cross from the Missionary District of Colorado. But as it turned out, their expectations were in vain, for Cross only stayed a few months and left Cynthiana for the diocese of Central Pennsylvania. Again, the parish was without regular services.
About the first of the year, 1883, the Rev. John F. Spivey, deacon, came from the diocese of Iowa to accept the rectorship. Within three months he baptized 13 and presented eight for confirmation. On May 21, he was recommended for the priesthood. The ordination took place on May 26 at Christ Church, Louisville. The Church prospered under Spivey’s leadership, and he became endeared to the people’s hearts. It was unfortunate that his leadership was short lived, for around the first of the year, 1884, he took ill, and died on March the 27th. During his illness he was unable to conduct services and the Church was closed form January until August, 1884. At this time the Rev. G.A. Weeks resigned as rector of St. Peter’s, Paris, and became the rector of Advent. At the coming of the Rev. G. A. Weeks the congregation contracted for a new stone baptismal font as a memorial to the Rev. John F. Spivey — it stands as a tribute to him today and is still in use. This was also spring that Bishop Smith died, and the Rt. Rev. T.U.Dudley became the second Bishop of Kentucky.
For the next five years the Rev. G.A.Weeks’ rectorship was the highlight of the history of Advent. The communicant list increased, the Sunday School flourished, and the Church as a whole was in good health. However, the Rev. Mr. Weeks was not in good health. The only records for the next two years only show the number confirmed as eight per year. In August, 1889, the Rev. G.A. Weeks gave up his work because of his health and moved to Lexington. During his rectorship he presented 37 for confirmation and baptized the same number. Bishop Dudley said of him, “His works shall surely follow him, for all the men whom I have known in the ministry he was the equal of any as a teacher… .” 7 The Rev. C.L. Pindor replaced Weeks as rector, but he only stayed two years.
In May, 1890, the parish purchased for $200.00, a strip of land 10 x 172 feet adjacent to the church, to make possible the erection of a rectory. A year later in the parochial report there was noted a debt of $1,000.00 on the rectory, which was reduced by $400.00 in 1894. No confirmations were reported in 1890 and only two in 1891. The Rev. Mr. Pindor resigned September 1, 1891, to go to the diocese of Ohio. The parish remained without a rector until the following year when the Rev. Rolla Dyer resigned St. Peter’s Church, Paris, to accept the rectorship of the Church of the Advent. Dyer became the first rector to live in the new rectory. Within a year, after his arrival, he presented a candidate for confirmation. He remained in the parish about five years and did a good job. In September, 1895, the Diocese of Kentucky was divided and the Rev. Lewis Burton was elected Bishop of the new Diocese of Lexington. Dyer was present at Burton’s consecration. The following September, 1896, Dyer resigned the rectorship at Advent, in order to go to St. John’s, Bellevue-Dayton.
During the first year of the new diocese of Lexington, the Church of the Advent did not prosper, due to the leaving of its rector. However, Bishop Burton gave liberally of his time to Advent as evidenced by the parish register. He held services twice, met with the Ladies Guild, administered the Holy Communion once, and attended the Sunday School once. The parochial report for the year 1897 showed the number of parishioners at 125, and the communicants at 67. On the 8th of January, 1898, the Rev. Franklin Anderson Ridout, Jr., became the rector and also was missionary in charge of Christ Church, Richmond. The Rev. Mr. Ridout resided in Cynthiana and went to Richmond every other Sunday. At the end of the year he resigned his work in Richmond. He also resigned from Advent on October 31, 1899, and was immediately replaced by the Rev. H.F. Spears, by appointment of the Bishop. Shortly after his election as rector, there was installed “a beautiful hand-carved altar.” 8 It is presently in use and is just as beautiful as the day it was installed. In April, 1901, the Rev. Mr. Spears removed to the diocese of Southern Ohio. The vestry arranged for the Rev. H.H. Sneed of Georgetown to take charge of the parish in addition to his work at Georgetown, Nicholasville, and Lawrenceburg. He was called to be rector March 1, 1902. The Rev. H. H. Sneed resigned all his work within the diocese on January 1, 1905, and went to Gulfport, Mississippi. But during his rectorship at Cynthiana, the parish progressed, not spectacularly, but gradually and steadily. In 1904, there were 75 communicants and in the same year the church was painted inside. At the time of Sneed’s resignation, the Senior Warden, Mr. William Handy, took charge as lay reader. Mr. Handy supplied weekly ervices, with some assistance from visiting clergy, until March 25, 1906.
On the above date the Rev. H.K. Coleman, who had been principal of St. John’s School, Corbin, was appointed by the Bishop to the temporary charge of the Churches in Paris, Cynthiana, Georgetown, Nicholasville, and Lawrenceburg. On the 9th of June, he was deposed from the priesthood by Bishop Burton, for having renounced the ministry formally in Christ Church Cathedral. 9 At the request of the vestry, the. Rev. R.C. Caswall took charge of the parish on the second Sunday in June, 1906, for one year. This appointment by the bishop was in addition to his work as archdeacon and also the care of the Churches in Georgetown, Nicholasville and Lawrenceburg.
At some time during the preceding years the Sunday School at Advent had died, and the Rev. Mr. Caswall tried to revive it. He gave up the attempt in 1909 and on May 1st, the rectorship. Almost exactly one year later, he himself died. In the summer the Rev. John Stuart Banks, deacon, principal of St. John’s School, Corbin, took temporary charge. He was ordained priest on St. Mark’s Day, 1911, in Christ Church Cathedral, Lexington, and took the rectorship of the church of the Advert, Cynthiana. However, he resigned February 1, 1912, and went to the Diocese of Ohio. The parish was supplied by visiting clergy for several months after his departure. In September, the Rev. J.E. Thompson, deacon-in-charge of Christ Church, Richmond, added Advent to his care. On May 31, 1913, just before his ordination to the priesthood, he was transferred to Jenkins, McRoberts and Fleming. After a few months the Rev. George Henry Harris took on Cynthiana, although he resided in Paris. There were two confirmations during his three years. Harris resigned November 1, 1917, to be president of Margaret College and rector of St. John’s, Versailles. Cynthiana became inactive, and only three services were recorded in 1919 by the General Missionary, the Rev. J.J. Clopton.
In 1920, the Rev. Walter Cain became rector of St. Perer’s Church, Paris and also of Advent. Cain resigned and was succeeded by the Rev. Paul Due, who was in charge of Emmanuel, Winchester. He also added Paris to his work in 1926, but he left and went to the diocese of Ohio in January, 1928. Mr. J.H. Chillington, lay-reader, took charge the first of June, 1929, and was supervised by the Rev. Harold Boon of Paris. Chillington was later transferred and the Rev. Herbert Purchase, from the Diocese of Eau Claire, became rector on April 6, 1930, remaining until the first of September, 1931. During his tenure, Purchase conducted catechism classes for the parish children, and had a small boy’s choir for a time.
During this period of 1931-1938, the longest tenure of any clergyman at Advent in the 20th Century took place in the person of the Rev. George Ralph Madson. Madson resided in Paris and took charge of St. Peter’s Church there and of Holy Trinity Mission, Georgetown. Early in 1932, a Mr. John C. King of Lexington gave the parish a walnut missal stand. In January, 1934, Madson became vicar of the Church of The Good Shepherd, Lexington, for six months. On Easter Day, 1936, the daughter of a former member was baptized in the Church at Cynthiana, the first baptism in several years. In July, 1937, with the Bishop’s approval, Madson set up the Blue-Grass Associate Missions of Paris, Cynthiana, Georgetown and Mt. Sterling. The Rev. Austin B. Mitchell Jr., became Madson’s associate, and conducted most of the services at Cynthiana. The first candidate for confirmation in 17 years was presented on June 26, 1938.
Mitchell was ordained priest in the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lexington, on Jan. 30, 1938. The Blue-Grass Associate Mission came to an end on June 1, 1938. Funds to continue it were not available. Mitchell resigned and moved to the diocese of Dallas. Madson resigned Cynthiana but continued his work at Paris, Georgetown and Mt. Sterling. During these six years the communicant strength of Advent changed. very little and the budget of the parish remained fairly constant.
During Advent’s first 91 years, its most prosperous period was that of 1891-1905. During this period communicant strength remained fairly constant at 70 to 75.
According to the Diocesan Journal of 1938, the Rev. Irving Spencer was noted as the rector of the Church of the Advent. The first parochial report that he sent in as rector noted the communicant strength at 22, and the figure for all baptized members was 24. Also during his first year there was at Advent one marriage and one confirmation. The rector’s salary at this time according to the report was set at $303.52. 10 For some reason the report of 1939 lists the Ven. F. Davis as rector of Advent. His parochial report for that year lists the same number of communicants and also the same number of baptized members, as well as the same number of marriages and burials. 11
It could be that the Rev. Irving Spencer took a sabbatical, for he is listed as the rector in the Journals for the next four years, representing the years of 1940 through 1943. A comparison of his first year’s accomplishments with his last year at Advent finds the number of communicants has fallen to 17, however the overall number of baptized members has risen to 30. 12
In 1944 and 1945 the Rev. David Clark was the rector at Advent. Beginning with the numbers that Spencer had left as far as communicants and baptized members were concerned, he ended on a low note. The parochial report of 1945 showed a decline in the number of communicants to 13. Even though there were three confirmations listed, the number of baptized members also dropped to 13. 13 After two years, Clark left Cynthiana. He was replaced by the Rev. Pomeroy H. Hartman. His first report was issued in 1946. It noted that there was at Advent 13 communicants as well as the same number of baptized. members. There were no marriages or burials noted for this period. 14 Within this same report, the rector’s salary was listed as $220.00. Hartman only stayed at Advent for a period of two years, and his last year, 1947, there was no report listed for the Church of the Advent in the Diocesan Journal.
Things got going again in the year 1948. The appearance of the Rev. George A. Tocher at Advent, and his subsequent cure of four years, helped to start the ball rolling once again. His first report of 1948, showed that there were four burials and two confirmations, as well as 24 baptized members and 17 communicants. 15 The salary was also listed as $480.00. Tocher’s first two years at Advent were pretty static. However, by the parochial report of his third year the membership as well as communicant strength had begun to decline, and by 1951 members as well as communicants strength stood at 18. 16 Shortly thereafter, Tocher left Cynthiana, for the report of 1952 listed no rector, although the members were listed as being 22 and the communicants at 11. 17
About this time the seminary at Lexington was reactivated by the Rt. Rev. William R. Moody, Bishop of Lexington. Advent being without the services of a rector, the Bishop sent a seminarian, Virgil M. Miller, to Cynthiana as seminarian-in-charge. Miller’s first report from Advent shows that there were only 18 members and 15 communicants. 18 Miller was ordained sometime during 1954, for he is listed as the Rev. Virgil M. Miller in the parochial report of the same year.
During the month of December, 1954, the Church of the Advent celebrated its 100th year. There was at the church at this time a parishioner by the name of Mrs. Elizabeth Frisbee. An article in the Courier Journal Magazinenoted that Mrs. Frisbee had, for almost a quarter of a century, kept the church open when its membership had dwindled almost to nothing. “For many Sundays Mrs. Frisbee was the church’s sole communicant, many times kneeling alone in private devotion.” 19
Mrs. Frisbee was one of the women who helped carve the altar in 1892 and was at that time the only survivor of the group. She was 79 at the time of the article. The altar is made of solid oak and assembled by wooden pegs. “I carved some of those little buttons in the border and the big symbol way up there at the right — that’s the Greek letter Omega. All of us worked on the buttons and borders, but Dr. Mary Boyd and the Wiggensworth [Wigglesworth] girls did all the really hard parts — the grapes and olive branches and lillies.” 20
The article goes on to say that at the time of the centennial, there were 29 members and that they had a pastor of their own, though not a permanent one. This was the seminarian Virgil Miller. Miller, it is reported, had plans to be a missionary in Mexico. His first sermon at Advent a year before was preached to two people: Mrs. Frisbee and a friend. At Easter services the next spring, following his arrival, there were 54 in the congregation. At the centennial service, the Rt. Rev. William R. Moody, Bishop of Lexington, delivered the sermon. The article also notes that there were “many church dignitaries in colorful vestments as well as seminarians in attendance.” One of these, Arthur Willis, played the pump-organ. 21. Mrs. Frisbee, who had attended alone for so many years, that evening, according to the article, saw her church filled to the furtherest pew, plus a few folding chairs hastily brought in. The parish register notes that the pew capacity is 300. Miller remained at Advent after he was ordained to the deaconate until 1955. His last report shows that the membership at Advent was 38, and the communicative strength at 26. The salary had also risen to the figure $980.00. 22
In 1956, another seminarian by the name of David Zimmerman took charge of Advent by order of Bishop Moody. Zimmerman remained at Advent until after his ordination in 1959, and stayed until he was replaced by W.S. Moore in 1960. Zimmerman’s first report showing that seven had been confirmed, and that the communicant strength was at 22. 23 His last report, that of the year 1959, revealed that the communicants as well as the number of baptized members had increased, to the tune of 23 and 34 respectively. 24 More remained at Advent for his three seminary years, and upon his leaving, the parochial report of 1962 revealed a substantial increase in the number of baptized members, as well as the number communicants. The report listed them at 52 members, and 33 communicants. 25
Herbert L. Aman, also a seminarian, replaced Moore as seminarian-in-charge in 1963. While at Advent, Mr. Aman was made deacon and later priest. He left sometime in the fall of 1965. The report for that year showed that the number of baptized members was at an all-time high. The number was listed in the parochial report as 62, and the number of communicants was 40. 26 During his tenure, Aman was successful in beginning a drive to raise funds for the building of Parish Hall. Some monies were obtained before he left, however, the actual building of the parish-hall was not begun until his successor arrived. Robert B. Skinner, also a seminarian, replaced Aman as seminarian-in-charge at Advent in 1966. Skinner continued to work on the fundraising. His efforts were not in vain, as the building was erected in 1966 of buff-brick. It contains a well-sized kitchen, a large meeting area and three classrooms, one of which became the vicar’s office. This was quite an accomplishment for the two seminarians, as well as an act of giving on the part of the members. It is reported that the paving of the parking lot was accomplished by funds received from the Harvest Ball of 1968. 27 The Parish Hall was dedicated to the memory of Mr. Henry L. Ewing, a long-time member and contributor to the building fund.
Skinner left in late 1966, and was replaced by Joe Hammond, another seminarian, as Bishop Moody’s precedent continued. Nothing out of the ordinary happened at Advent during Hammond’s two years, although when he left, the communicant strength had risen to 54. 28 Powell Harrison’s name appears on the parochial report for the year 1969, and two baptisms as well as two confirmations were noted. 29 E.W. Marshall, also a seminarian, replaced Harrison as seminarian-in-charge at Advent in 1970, and he remained there for a period of three years. During his three years, the status of communicants and also of baptized members remained constant. There were nine confirmations and seven baptisms during his tenure. 30
Fr. Gregg L. Riley can be reached at email@example.com.
Published monthly in the interests of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Winchester, Kentucky, October 1925.
Every now and then someone makes the brilliant discovery that Henry VIII was the real founder of the Church of England. It matters not that this theory has been refuted time and again; it reappears with the persistence and vitality worthy of a better cause. There are probably some people who will always believe it, because they will to believe it; but to those whose minds are open…, we beg to submit the following facts.
At the time that Henry VIII succeeded to the throne of England, in 1509, the Church of England had been in existence for more that 1,000 years. Introduced into Britain by Gallic missionaries, it had been planted among the Britons during the Roman occupation of the islands; had survived the years of anarchy following the withdrawal of the Roman legions and the subsequent conquest of the land by the Angles and the Saxons; and uniting itself with the mission sent over by Pope Gregory under the leadership of St. Augustine, it had been consolidated into the Church of England, or the Ecclesia Anglicana, even before the Saxon Heptarchy had been unified into the kingdom of England.
Since then, the Church of England has had an honorable and distinguished history. Always considering itself a part of western Christianity and always orthodox in its beliefs, it was proud of its independence and quick to resent any attempts made to curtail its liberties, whether from king or pope. It readily acknowledged the spiritual prerogatives of the papacy, but resisted all claims to jurisdiction over the internal affairs of the church.
During the one hundred years preceding the accession of Henry, a gradual change — produced by various causes, such as the progress of humanism, dissatisfaction with the condition of the papacy and others — was brought about; and if it had been allowed to develop unhindered it would probably have produced a real reformation within the church during Henry’s reign.
However, Henry was a despot, and while he remained king reform was impossible. During his reign the tyranny of the papacy was abolished and the tyranny of the crown substituted. Henry’s various divorces were but incidents in his general attempt to make himself supreme in England. When he was a young man the pope had called him “Defender of the Faith,” and that early faith remained unchanged until his death. In the year 1539, eight years before he died, Henry caused the Six Articles to be passed to define the faith of the Church to which everyone upon pain of death was compelled to subscribe. They were as follows: 1) transubstantiation, 2) communion in one kind, 3) clerical celibacy, 4) vows of chastity, 5) private masses and 6) private confession.
The truth is, Henry lived and died a Roman Catholic. Whatever reforms were effected, which differentiated the Church of England from the Church of Rome, were accomplished not by Henry but in spite of him. Even the Prayer Book itself was not published until 1549, two years after his death. To have done such a thing as long as Henry remained alive would have meant almost certain death to anyone rash enough to undertake it. To say then that he was the founder of the Church of England would be almost like saying that Caiaphas was the founder of Christianity.
Throughout the new nation, the Revolution left a great prejudice against anything which hinted of English influence, and England’s Church unfortunately came under this opprobrium.
Those who opposed the Church ignored the fact that the founders of the new republic were chiefly churchmen; that of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, 34 of the 55 were Anglicans; that the first session of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia was opened by the rector of Christ Church in that city, who, clad in vestments, read the prayers; that in the convention to prepare the Constitution of the United States, two-thirds of the commissioners were churchmen; and that the Constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America was ratified in the very same room in which the Constitution of the United States had been adopted in 1787 and was modeled after the national Constitution. So strong was the antipathy toward the Church of England at the close of the war, however, that its dissolution seemed inevitable.
Six years were required to iron out the ecclesiastical differences among the churches in the several states. At the end of this time, the churches had united themselves into a national body and had obtained from England and Scotland the episcopacy necessary for its existence. The organization of the Protestant Episcopal Church was completed in 1789 and by the end of the 18th century it was beginning to recover from the shock of separation from the Mother Church of England.
Only then was the infant Church able to turn its attention to the vast and sparsely settled regions beyond the Appalachian mountains and to send missionaries for the propagation of the Anglican faith.
The Reverend John Lyth (sometimes Lythe) held service two months after Daniel Boone and 30 others blazed a trail through the Cumberland Gap to the point of Boonesborough on the Kentucky River. Lyth was a representative of the first legislative assembly of the proprietary government for the colony.
The first public service of worship in Kentucky was conducted by an Anglican clergyman on May 28, 1775, at Boonesborough, beneath the spreading branches of a great elm. The stately words of The Book of Common Prayer, traditionally heard within the walls of cathedrals across the Atlantic, did not seem out of place in this green wilderness.
The first shots of the American Revolution were fired on April 9, 1775, but word of the event did not reach Kentucky until May 29, the day after the first Episcopal service.
There was, during the early 1790s at least one group of prominent citizens, designated as the “Episcopal Society,” who met together and held services on the farm of Captain David Shely, near Lexington on the Russell Road (now Russell Cave). It was not until 1796 that this same group became the nucleus of the first organized Episcopal Church in Kentucky with a clergyman to minister them. The clergyman was the Reverend James Moore.
The Diocese of Lexington includes half of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Diocese was created in 1895 when the Diocese of Kentucky, established in 1829, decided the far-removed regions of the Commonwealth could be better served by two smaller districts. Although the new Diocese yielded its historic name to the western division, many of the oldest and most beautiful parishes remained in the Diocese of Lexington.
The first Bishop and 17 clergymen faced the challenge of organizing a diverse and frontier area into a century of dedicated churchmen whose legacy enriches the Diocese.
G.H. Perrin, a physician and cattleman/farmer in Cynthiana, was born near Crab Orchard (Lincoln County) in Kentucky on Nov. 9, 1794. He was the son of Josephus and Elizabeth Perrin. They were the parents of 12 children, of whom Dr. Perrin was the second.
His paternal grandfather, Josephus Perrin, Sr., moved from Charlotte County, Virginia, in 1774, and with his family settled near Crab Orchard. This was long before the organization of the Commonwealth, and during the most perilous times of the “Dark and Bloody Ground,” while every male settler was compelled to act in the double capacity of farmer and soldier.
The mother of Dr. Perrin was also a Perrin. Her father, George Perrin, having been a farmer in Charlotte County, Virginia, moved with his family in 1784, and settled in Edgefield District, South Carolina. They raised a family of eight children, of whom the mother of this subject was the eldest daughter.
Both of these Perrins, together with two other of their brothers, entered variously into the army during the Revolution, and were soldiers during the entire war for independence.
The father of Dr. Perrin, Joseph Perrin, Jr., accompanied his father and family to their new home in Kentucky. Although young, he soon become conspicuous among the new settlers for his activity and boldness.
After the defeat of General Harmer at the battle of Chillicothe, Joseph aided in raising a company of volunteers, and as first lieutenant, marched with his company to the aid of General St. Clair, and was actively engaged in the battle that terminated in his inglorious defeat.
Some years after, having married in March 1799, Joseph moved with his family to Harrison County and located on the south fork of the Licking River, about eight miles below the town of Cynthiana. He there cleared and opened a farm on which he reared a large family, and where he resided until his death, in his seventy-third year.
He, at a very early age, took an active part in the political affairs of his state, and for over 23 served his county in the Legislature of the Commonwealth, having been repeatedly elected to the Senate and Lower House.
G.H. Perrin, the subject of this sketch, remained on his father’s farm until his sixteenth year, in the meantime having the advantages of the common schools of his neighborhood. During 1811 and 1812 he attended a select school in Scott County, under the Reverend Thomas Smith. In 1813 he entered Transylvania University, at Lexington, in which institute he remained until he completed his literary, classical, and medical education.
In 1814, while the war with England was still in progress, he left the university and volunteered for a six-month tour in the army; joined the 16th regiment; and marched with it to join the army of the North-West, at that time commanded by General McArthur.
He was in no general engagement. The war with England having terminated in 1815, his military life at once came to a close. On leaving the army, and when receiving an honorable discharge, he was highly complimented by his commander, General Gratiot, for the efficient manner in which he had discharged the very onerous duties of such a campaign. In compensation for military service then rendered, he long received a pension from the government.
In the spring of 1815, he returned to his home in Kentucky, and not long after he again returned to Transylvania University, and there remained until he had completed his medical education. The last year of his term he was a private student of the professor of anatomy of the institution, the celebrated Benjamin W. Dudley.
Late in the fall of 1817, by the urgent request of his relatives, he began practice in Edgefield District, South Carolina, remaining there for eight years. At the end of that time, in consequence of the climate, and his own health having been completely broken down, he determined to move back to Harrison County, in which he had been raised, and there he settled.
For two years he was unable to engage in the practice, only to a limited extent. As soon as his health was restored he gradually acquired a large and lucrative practice, which he retained until near 1840, when again his health failed. Having, however, accumulated a compentency for life, he abandoned the practice of medicine.
In November 1819, he was married to Miss Arabella, daughter of Mr. John Edwards, of Bourbon County. Her paternal grandfather, Colonel John Edwards, upon the organization of the state, was elected by the Legislature one of the two senators first sent by the state to the Congress of the United States.
Her maternal grandfather, Colonel James Garrard, had fortunately become the possessor of a patent that had been located on 10,000 acres of the richest land in Kentucky, which secured to him a large fortune for life. He was eight years Governor of Kentucky.
Dr. Perrin and his wife became a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and remained consistent communicants of the same. By his extensive charities and large liberality, he was among the most efficient members in originating and placing on a permanent basis the Church of the Advent, Cynthiana.
Having no taste for it, he never engaged in politics; was a Whig, and voted with that party until its dissolution; in the late war between the Northern and Southern States he sympathized strongly with the South, and during the war and afterward, voted uniformly with the Democratic party.
His first presidential vote was for James Monroe.
Having led a very active life, after his retirement from the practice of medicine, Perrin engaged actively in agricultural pursuits, and by his untiring energy soon become one of the model farmers of the county. He took great delight in raising fine stock, and was among the first farmers to introduce into Harrison County the highly prized and valuable short-horn Durham, which he bred extensively, frequently competing successfully at the different fairs with the most approved breeders of Bourbon and Fayette counties. In 1850, Dr. Perrin purchased from William Alexander, of Woodford Co., the bull calf, Langton, for which he paid $600, it then being only six months old. He also purchased of George Bedford, of Bourbon county, the celebrated Belle Duke, of Airdrie, by Duke of Airdrie, and a full brother of Kentucky Duke. His first cow was Valette, obtained from General James Garrard, and the produce of his fine bull, Exception. Perrin also purchased another cow, the produce of Dr. Martin’s bull, Bullion. With these as a start, Perrin engaged in the business for several years, but owing to his advanced age, he showed little interest in the late 1870s.
Dr. Perrin also held many local positions of importance. He was President of the Board of the Harrison Academy from 1825 until 1864, a period of 39 years.
Fr. K.E. Gustafson wrote the following history in 1976 to be buried with a time capsule.
The Episcopal Church of the Advent
122 North Walnut St.
June 27, 1976
To whom it may concern:
In this year, 1976, as our country celebrates its 200th anniversary, the Bicentennial, it has been decided to drop this capsule into the ground to be opened in the year 2026. Since none of us can tell what the future may bring, it has been decided that a current history might be enjoyable in the forthcoming years.
The church of the Advent is the eldest church in Cynthiana, the building having been constructed in 1855, the bell tower completed in 1861. The building is of native stone and was built primarily by slave labor. The original cost was $6,000. It was built under the direction of Bishop Benjamin Bosworth Smith, the first Episcopal bishop of Kentucky. Bishop Smith brought back a wooden model of Stoke Poges Church in England and from that model the church was built. The name, Church of the Advent, was chosen because the church was organized on or near Advent Season.
During the Civil War, Advent was a hospital for the wounded of the nearby battles. In 1893 the Rev. and Mrs. Rolla Dyer and the ladies of the Church carved a very beautiful altar which still stands today. To the right of the altar is the Apostles Creed, to the left, the Ten Commandments. The organ was the first pipe organ in Cynthiana and was given to the Church of Advent by St. Peter’s Church, Paris. During the next hundred years of existence, Advent has continued. Although never large, it has contained within its walls many of the leaders of the community. At the present time, 1976, the congregation amounts to about 50 people. It is a mission church owned and directed by the Episcopal diocese of Lexington. See attached list for the names of the active members.
At this present time the church has been repainted white throughout the interior and new hanging chandeliers have recently been installed. The vicarage which stands next to the church has recently been redecorated. The present vicar has been here three years, but over the past 20 years there have been 12 men here. For this reason, the church has not been quite as stable as it might be. Hopefully by the time this capsule is opened, Advent will be larger than it is today.
The Rev. K.E. Gustafson, Vicar
Scanned downloadable PDF files of early hand-written documents