Monthly Archives: July 2017

A Faithful Steward: Clinton Rogers Woodruff (1936)

woodruff.jpgA Faithful Steward: Clinton Rogers Woodruff
By S. H. Warnock (1936)

FOR THE PAST four years, the department of public welfare in the city of Philadelphia has been noted for its capable administration. Leading citizens, irrespective of political affiliations have remarked on the fairness, efficiency, and strict adherence to the merit system which have characterized this department.

The head of the department during these years and the man to whom credit in large measure is due for its excellent record is Clinton Rogers Woodruff, a prominent Churchman and associate editor of The Living Church.

Under the law, the mayor of Philadelphia, the Hon. J. Hampton Moore, may not succeed himself in office. In January his term expired, and the mayor’s cabinet, of which Mr. Woodruff as director of the department of public welfare was a member, was dissolved.

The writer believes that the achievements of Mr. Woodruff’s administration as evidence of a Churchman’s record in public office are of considerable interest to the Church at large.

For a number of years Mr. Woodruff has been a member of the department of Christian social service in the diocese of Pennsylvania, and its chairman since 1931. For many years he has been keenly interested in social service and public welfare work and also for many years has been the head of the city’s oldest public welfare association.

It was this background of experience which induced the mayor four years ago to select him as a member of his cabinet and to assign him to the public welfare department. Throughout those four years under most difficult conditions and with political partisan feeling frequently at white heat the department under Mr. Woodruff was virtually without criticism. As citizens now are looking to the future they are characterizing his administration as being chiefly remarkable for the broad humanitarianism of its director and for his personal interest and devotion to the duties of his office.

The office is necessarily one of tremendous detail, coming into personal contact with more individuals than perhaps any other of the many departments under the mayor. One of the striking evidences of the excellence of the department’s administration was its devotion to the principle of civil service, every vacancy being filled by the selection of the individual who was number one on the civil service list.

Several other illustrations will serve to show the efficiency and the sympathy which characterized Mr. Woodruff’s administration. When he took over the office he found hundreds of men in the home for the indigent sleeping in cellars at the almshouse site. The excuse was that there was no money with Which to purchase material to equip a building already on the grounds. Within fifteen days Director Woodruff found plenty of material around the place and by using available labor in less than a month had all the men out of the cellar and in comfortable sleeping quarters—all this without one cent of expense to the city.

In another instance he found a commissary department operated by an outside party who was making a considerable profit by the sale of small articles such as cigarettes and tobacco. This was immediately stopped and with a small revolving fund the commissary was operated by the chief appointed by Mr. Woodruff and all the profits went to supply extras for the unfortunates which enabled them to make their living quarters more comfortable and nearer homelike.

Another striking reform instituted was the formation of a school for boys over 16 years of age who were committed to the house of correction for minor offenses.

Some idea of the scope of the work of the welfare department to which Mr. Woodruff gave his personal attention may be seen in the following summary: In the home for the indigent he had the responsibility of caring for an average of 2,000 men and women; in the house of correction a daily average of between 700 and 1,000, a personal assistance bureau caring for individual citizens numbering as high as 5,000 at a time, a temporary shelter for abandoned and neglected children and finding foster homes for from twenty to twenty-five of them a day; operation of a summer camp for children during July and August caring for approximately 1,800 and, in addition all year round management of forty-one city playgrounds and recreation centers with all the attending details in which the yearly attendance ran in many, many thousands.

And as the four years of this Christian public official terminate, citizens of Philadelphia today are pointing to this department as having been most efficiently and economically administered with greatly reduced appropriations, with no public service neglected, no evidence of wastefulness, and without the slightest indication of any grafting being countenanced or permitted.

The Living Church (Milwaukee), 1936, p. 1938.


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The Torok Case (1936)

THE CONTROVERSY over the case of Bishop Torok has broken out anew, the latest developments in it being the appeal by Bishop Manning and six other bishops for an investigation by the House of Bishops and the statement of Bishop Wilson that he has asked Dr. Torok to refrain from participating in the consecration of any bishop or ordaining any priest until the matter can again come before the House of Bishops. The curious thing about this whole unfortunate controversy is that both parties are demanding the same thing—an investigation by the House of Bishops. To ,the impartial observer it would certainly seem that the decision of the question as to the status of Bishop Torok and the desirability of admitting him as a bishop in the Episcopal Church is plainly a question for the House of Bishops to determine. However, the House of Bishops has twice had the opportunity of making a definite ruling on this whole matter—at Atlantic City in 1934 and at Houston in 1935—and twice has failed to do so. The first time the House rejected the election of Dr. Torok as Suffragan Bishop of Eau Claire but did not pass on the questions of the validity of his consecration or his status so far as the Episcopal Church is concerned. The Presiding Bishop accordingly appointed a committee to investigate these matters and that committee reported at the session of the House in Houston last November. It appears now that the bishops at Houston neither accepted nor rejected this report but declined even to receive it officially. In short, they simply dodged the whole issue.

Because the House of Bishops did not face this question fairly and squarely as it ought to have done a very grave misunderstanding and confusion has resulted. Bishop Wilson interpreted the silence of the House as giving tacit consent to his reception of Dr. Torok as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, and proceeded to do so within two weeks of the meeting of the bishops. Bishop Manning and his associates derived a directly contrary meaning from the silence of the House, and in their present protest they make out a very strong case, though we think not a conclusive one, against the acknowledgment of Dr. Torok as a bishop in the Episcopal Church.

It seems to us that both parties to the controversy are acting in good faith and-are justified in their contrary views of the attitude of the House of Bishops. If the House had simply had the courage to state definitely either (a) that Bishop Torek’s orders were valid and that he might be received as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, giving also some indication of how that acknowledgment should be made, or (b) that his orders were not valid or that for some other reason he should not be acknowledged as a bishop in the Episcopal Church—if the House had taken either of these reasonable attitudes the whole question could have been settled very easily. At Atlantic City and again at Houston a year later, the House of Bishops had the opportunity of taking such action. By choosing instead to pursue a vague and indefinite course and to postpone the day of judgment, the bishops corporately have taken upon themselves the responsibility for a controversy that was unnecessary and that cannot fail to injure the good name of the Church.

We realize that what we have said will not be popular with either party to the controversy and will bring The Living Church into further disrepute among the bishops of the Church. We feel nevertheless that the duty of the Church press is to express its opinion frankly on matters of grave importance to the Church, and that we have conscientiously tried to do. Justice to Bishops Wilson and Torok and the good name of the Church require that the House of Bishops cease evading the issue and render a clear, unequivocal, public decision in the matter at its next meeting.

The Living Church, January 25, 1936, p. 95.

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Asserts Dr. Torok is Bishop of No Church (1936)

Bishop Manning, in Reply to Bishop Wilson, States That Dr. Torok Claimed Orthodox Orders

New York—Bishop Manning of New York has made public a reply to Bishop Wilson’s letter to the members of the House of Bishops (L. C, March 7th) in a letter also addressed to the members of the House, asserting that “the claim has been all along in one form or another that Dr. Torok is a bishop with the orders of the Eastern Orthodox Church” and that “this claim has been officially and publicly rejected … by the Ecumenical Patriarchate after synodical action.”

Bishop Manning also states that “the Episcopal Church was not responsible for Dr. Torok’s consecration,” and repeats his belief that the “unconstitutional action of the Bishop of Eau Claire purporting to give Dr. Torok status as a bishop in this Church” if allowed to stand uncorrected “would establish a dangerous precedent in the Church.”

The text of Bishop Manning’s letter follows:

“My dear Bishop:

“I regret greatly that it is necessary to refer to this matter again at this season. The duty imposed upon the bishops who are protesting against the action of the Bishop of Eau Claire purporting to give Dr. Torok status as a bishop in this Church is in every way a distasteful one, but the situation has been forced upon the Church and it must be met. The whole case is most unfortunate, but it would be still more unfortunate for the Church if this action should be allowed to stand and there are some statements in Bishop Wilson’s letter of February 27th which must not pass without comment.

“1. In that letter the Bishop of Eau Claire refers not very respectfully to, and in fact calls in question the good faith of, Archbishop Athenagoras who is held in the highest possible esteem and regard by all who know him. The tone of Bishop Wilson’s letter toward the official representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch is not calculated to strengthen the relations between our own Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches nor to aid the cause of unity. Certainly the attitude shown in that letter toward Archbishop Athenagoras does not represent the feeling of our bishops generally.

“2. The Bishop of Eau Claire goes so far as to write, ‘Not until June of 1934 did Athenagoras communicate this information to the Patriarch. He received a reply last March which he held for ten months. Now it suddenly comes to light when the Patriarch is safely dead.’ But Bishop Wilson ignores the statement in the Patriarch’s letter that this pronouncement was made ‘after a synodical decision.’ The judgment given is not that of the Patriarch alone. It is the judgment of the Patriarchate. And the Patriarchate is not dead. The official pronouncement refers to the fact that ‘this person has changed successively three confessions,’ and also the fact of Dr. Torok’s marriage, and states definitely that ‘his recognition as an Orthodox Bishop is inadmissible.’

“3. Bishop Wilson declares that the pronouncement by the Patriarch that Dr. Torok cannot be recognized as an Orthodox bishop is of no importance in the case. He writes ‘What of it? Nobody ever expected that he would be so recognized. I have repeatedly explained that he never intended to be an Orthodox bishop and was not consecrated for that purpose.’ But in this same letter Bishop Wilson writes that Dr. Torok requested Archbishop Athenagoras to forward his resignation to the Head of the Eastern Orthodox Communion. If Dr. Torok did not claim to be an Orthodox bishop and if ‘nobody ever expected that he would be so recognized’ why did he make this application to the Ecumenical Patriarch? The Patriarch in his pronouncement says that Dr. Torok asked ‘that his orders should be recognized as valid,’ and the official reply is that Dr. Torok’s ‘recognition as an Orthodox bishop is inadmissible.’

“4. With regard to the statement in Bishop Wilson’s letter concerning Bishop Gorazd it is at this time sufficient to say that his address to the House of Deputies in 1922, which Bishop Wilson cites, has no bearing on his status in 1924, the year of Dr. Torok’s consecration. It was in this year, 1924, that the priests ordained by Bishop Gorazd were re-ordained by the Ecumenical Patriarch’s representative in Czechoslovakia, Archbishop Savvaty of Prague.


“The case is a complicated one, but the main facts are clear enough. Leaving aside the serious questions which have been referred to previously and which would of course have to be fully enquired into before Dr. Torok could be given status as a bishop in this Church, the following facts can be shown from the records.

“1. The claim has been all along in one form or another that Dr. Torok is a bishop with the orders of the Eastern Orthodox Church. On this claim the whole case has been based, and it is this claim which has been officially and publicly rejected not only by the Ecumenical Patriarch but by the Ecumenical Patriarchate after synodical action.

“2. Dr. Torok has never been recognized as a bishop in the Eastern Orthodox Church and there is no Church of which our Church has any knowledge in which he is recognized as a bishop.

“3. The Episcopal Church was not responsible for Dr. Torok’s consecration, and never assumed nor recognized any responsibility for it. This can be proved from the records beyond all question.

“4. As Bishop Wilson expresses doubt in regard to my statement that Dr. Torok was notified some time ago of the pronouncement by the Patriarch I may say that this information was given to me by Archbishop Athenagoras himself. Whether Dr. Torok has yet received the communication I cannot say, but I can and do state on the authority of Archbishop Athenagoras that the official notification was sent to him.

“This- case has been an unfortunate one for the Church from its beginning but the important facts can be clearly shown from the records and these facts will be presented to the House of Bishops when it meets.

“The matter of most immediate concern to the Church is the unconstitutional action of the Bishop of Eau Claire purporting to give Dr. Torok status as a bishop in this Church. If that action should be allowed to stand uncorrected it would establish a most dangerous precedent in the Church.”

(The Rt. Rev.) William T. Manning,
New York City. Bishop of New York.

The Living Church, March 14, 1936, pp. 339, 351.

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A More Judicial Attitude (1936)

BISHOP MANNING’S LETTER, published in this issue, in which he states that our editorial in The Living Church of March 28th gives “a distinctly wrong impression” as to his relation to the Torok case, requires an editorial reply, despite our disinclination to pursue the matter further. Since the Bishop’s letter revolves about four main points, we shall endeavor to answer these seriatim.

(1) Bishop Manning says: “Your claim that ‘The Living Church has taken no part in this controversy’ is an extraordinary one in view of the editorials and other statements on this matter which you have published during a period of more than two years.”

The controversy referred to in the sentence that Bishop Manning partially quotes is not the general question of the status of Bishop Torok but the particular controversy between Bishop Manning and Bishop Wilson, of which we said: “The Living Church has taken no part in this controversy except to record the news as it has developed.” We have recorded the news as it developed, that being a legitimate function of the Church press. Editorially, here is exactly what The Living Church has said about these matters since the original letter of protest by Bishops Mann, Ward, and Manning last December. In our issue of December 14th, after enumerating their charges, we said: “These are very serious charges indeed. The Living Church does not venture to express any opinion about them one way or another but does insist that both justice and honor demand that they be sifted fully and impartially.” The only other editorial in which we discussed this matter was in our issue of January 25th, in which we stated: “It seems to us that both parties to the controversy are acting in good faith and are justified in their contrary views of the attitude of the House of Bishops. . . . Justice to Bishops Wilson and Torok and the good name of the Church require that the House of Bishops cease evading the issue and render a clear, unequivocal, public decision in the matter at its next meeting.” If to demand a full and fair investigation and a just decision is to take part in a controversy, then and then only is Bishop Manning right in charging that we have been a party to this controversy.

(2) Bishop Manning says: “The case is far indeed from being one mainly of discussion between the Bishop of Eau Claire and myself.” Bishop Ward also makes this point in his letter in this issue.

We agree, though the controversy has revolved about the discussion between these two individuals. Bishops Wilson and Manning each claim the support of about 48 bishops for their respective positions. (We have heard on good authority that, incredible though it seems, there are several duplicates on these two lists!) Of course the matter is one that concerns not only the bishops but the clergy and laity of the entire Church.

(3) Bishop Manning says: “The primary question is not that of Dr. Torok’s fitness for the office of a bishop in this Church, as your editorial indicates. That question has now fallen into the background.”

We must respectfully disagree with the Bishop of New York at this point. If the issue as to Bishop Torok’s fitness has fallen into the background it is none the less the underlying element in the whole discussion. Bishop Manning himself has on several occasions made public but veiled references to “other serious matters” in connection with the Torok case. He has never said what these “matters” are and has thus succeeded in throwing a shadow of suspicion on Bishop Torok’s character. Is he now going to let that question slide into the background without bringing his charges into the open so that the man he accuses of nameless “matters” can have an opportunity of answering them?

(4) Bishop Manning says: “The question now before the Church is, Has the Bishop of Eau Claire, or any individual bishop, the right to ‘receive’ one who claims to hold the office of bishop, and give him status as ‘a bishop in this Church’?”

It is true that this question is now before the Church and we do not yield to the Bishop of New York or anyone else in our desire to have it settled. But there is another question before the Church that is at least equally important and perhaps more so. It is this: Has the Bishop of New York or any other bishop or priest the right to make grave charges that cast a slur upon the character of a fellow-clergyman without giving him a fair opportunity to reply before a duly constituted tribunal?

In any secular matter the civil court would protect the right of the accused to be squarely faced with the accusation against him and would permit him to testify in his defense and call witnesses to support his testimony. Will the Church be less just in protecting the rights of an accused bishop than the State is in protecting the rights of the defendant in a civil case?

If the Bishop of New York and those who support him in his contention that no investigating committee should be appointed but rather that the House of Bishops should consider the matter directly will agree that Bishop Torok be permitted to defend himself before the full House of Bishops and bring witnesses there to support his defense, then we shall feel that their contention is a just one. If, however, Bishop Manning and his associates intend simply to present their side of the case before the House of Bishops, probably in secret session, and expect the House to arrive at an ex parte decision, then we are forced to the conclusion that they are demanding an unjust method of procedure and one that is not worthy of the Church.

In a letter to the editor, accompanying his public letter, Bishop Manning writes: “I wish it were possible for you to take a more judicial attitude in the matter.” We for our part wish it were possible for Bishop Manning to take a more judicial attitude; but since he has chosen rather to be cast in the role of prosecuting attorney we hope he will find it possible to permit the defense the same privileges that he claims for the prosecution.

The Living Church, April 4, 1936, pp. 423-424.

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The Torok Case (1936)

The Living Church, April 4, 1936, p. 420

TO THE EDITOR: It was my hope, and that of the bishops with whom I am acting, that no further statement on the action of the Bishop of Eau Claire in regard to Dr. Torok would be necessary until the meeting of the House of Bishops, but your editorial (L.C, March 28th) gives a distinctly wrong impression as to my relation to the case and I must therefore ask you kindly to publish this brief statement in correction. Your claim that “The Living Church has taken no part in this controversy” is an extraordinary one in view of the editorials and other statements on this matter which you have published during a period of more than two years.

The case is far indeed from being one mainly of discussion between the Bishop of Eau Claire and myself, as all know who have read the published statements. What I have felt compelled, most unwillingly, to write on this matter represents, as you know, the conviction and position of a great number of the bishops of this Church, and this conviction has not been reached without careful thought and consideration.

The primary question is not that of Dr. Torok’s fitness for the office of a bishop in this Church as your editorial indicates. That question has now fallen into the background. In spite of the position taken in this matter by the House of Bishops at Atlantic City, and at Houston, the Bishop of Eau Claire, acting apparently with the assent of the Presiding Bishop (see the Presiding Bishop’s published reply to the protest sent to him by Bishop Mann, Bishop Ward, and myself), has taken action purporting to give Dr. Torok status as a bishop in this Church, and The Living Church has announced this action in its columns, and has recorded it, and published it as though it were official action in the Living Church Annual for 1936 (see page 500, and elsewhere, in that volume).

Apart from all personal questions relating to Dr. Torok, therefore the question now before the Church is, Has the Bishop of Eau Claire, or any individual bishop, the right to “receive” one who claims to hold the office of bishop, and give him status as “a bishop in this Church”? This vital constitutional matter, which your editorial ignores, is the question now before us, and this question must be dealt with, and can only be dealt with, by the House of Bishops itself, or by the General Convention, and not by another unofficially appointed committee.

(The Rt. Rev.) William T. Manning, New York. Bishop of New York.

TO THE EDITOR: May I file a respectful but emphatic protest against the statement in your editorial column of March 28th, that “The dispute (about Dr. Torok) has been principally between Bishop Manning, who opposes vigorously the recognition of Dr. Torok, and Bishop Wilson who is equally determined to have him recognized.”

The Bishop of New York is not waging single combat, but is clearly and strongly giving expression to the view of many other bishops, members of the House which on two occasions, at Atlantic City and Houston, refused to approve of the election of Dr. Torok and declined to give him the status of a bishop in this Church.

The main question to be considered at the next meeting of the House is not the other matters in this case, important as they may be, but the constitutionality of the action of the Bishop of Eau Claire; and for this decision the House does not need guidance by a committee.

(The Rt. Rev.) John C. Ward, Erie, Pa. Bishop of Erie.

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Changing Manchuria and the Manchurian Chaplaincy, by the Rev. H. W. Overs (1936)

IF IT CAN be said that the Orient is changing, how much more truly can it be said of that part of it which has been the scene of so much political activity during the past decade. Manchuria is not only changing—it has changed.

During the time that the writer has lived there, since 1926, a new regime has arisen, which is so far different from the old as to warrant a change of name for the country.

Manchukuo does not seem to our western eyes so euphonic as Manchuria. There is difficulty with the pronunciation. Radio broadcasters call it “Manchu-kewoh” or “Manchu-quo.” And they have every reason for so doing. Who would guess that kuo in Chinese—the name means simply country—is pronounced gwar? The name rhymes with heretofore, not status quo.

This difficulty over pronunciation is not trivial. It is symbolic—for us westerners. Manchuria has a nice welcome sound; Manchugwar is anything but nice. The change in the name sums up in a word the effects of the change in the country.

Before 1931—that date is now alluded to as the year of the “Incident”—there was a welcome to “foreigners,” as all non-Chinese are called in China. Now it is not so.

The “Open Door” policy is a joke: or it would be if it were not so serious for foreigners who formerly tried to make a living there and have now given up trying. It may be an open door. It is, in fact, an open exit. There comes to my mind a riddle which my old headmaster boasted that he had invented—the only alternative answer to the old riddle, “When is a door not a door.” His startlingly novel answer was “When it’s an egress.”

But enough of joking. The opinion of the present writer —formed after ten years of living in the country—is that foreigners are no longer welcome in Manchukuo. And it is not to be wondered at. Look at it from the point of view of the nation that has expended much money and energy in creating the new state. Do they welcome those who desire to do business and to take money out of the country? I trow not.

In 1926 there were a dozen firms, British, American, and German, working in Manchuria. Now there is only one of any importance, the British-American Tobacco Company. The oil monopoly of 1935 caused the closure of the two last big firms there, the Standard Oil Company and the Asiatic Petroleum Company.

But what has all this to do with the work of the Church in Manchuria? The answer is, A great deal. The work of the Church may be divided into two parts: evangelistic and pastoral, i. e., missionary and “chaplaincy” work.

Evangelistic or missionary work in Manchuria is mainly in the hands of the Church of Scotland mission and the Irish Presbyterian mission with their joint headquarters at Mukden. The Anglican Church—for obvious and good reasons—does not overlap with missionary work, but confines its activities to the care of its own people who are residents in Manchuria.

As regards missionary work, the new regime has recently adopted a “positive policy” towards native Christians, somewhat similar to the experience of Korea twenty years ago. Native Christians have been arrested and “examined” for alleged complicity with Communist plots to overthrow the new state. The new regime is most suspicious of this Communism, whatever is meant by the term. Proximity to Russia is the excuse for this suspicion. If the Christians happen to be working for foreign firms they are especially liable to arrest. If they belong to any society—however innocent—they are asking for trouble. Some Christian students of the Manchuria Christian College in Mukden belonged to a society for assisting a poor student to pass through college. They called it the One Cent Society because they contributed one cent per day. They were all arrested and imprisoned for weeks or months.

This persecution, however inconvenient for the persecuted, may have its benefits in the long run. Church history bears this out. It is a time of discipline and testing for the Church in Manchuria. Up to the present only those who are connected with British firms or missions have been subject to persecution. The reason for this is that they are associated with the nation which was mainly responsible for the Lytton Commission whose findings are unpopular with the present regime. In fact, some of those arrested were questioned as to what they told the commission which visited Mukden four years ago. The Oriental has a long memory.

It is hoped that only good will come out of the present distress. Good in the way of a better quality of Christianity. From now on, those who are influenced to join the Church will know that their decision may entail suffering for their Faith. This has ever been so in the history of the development of the Faith.

AS REGARDS the chaplaincy—that side of the Church’s work which is concerned with the spiritual oversight of the non*native or foreigners in Manchukuo—the effect of the new regime has been disastrous. Whereas when the present writer took over the chaplaincy in 1926, there were upwards of 500 persons in the four congregations scattered in Manchuria, now there are less than a hundred. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel which has partly maintained a chaplain in Manchukuo for nearly 30 years has now decided at least temporarily to stop the grant. It is a sorry tale; and sympathy is felt for the few remaining Christian folk in Manchuria who are at present without a resident chaplain. The Church of Scotland Mission in Mukden, with whom the most cordial relations exist, will continue to help in maintaining a weekly service in Mukden. This arrangement, which has the sanction and blessing of the Bishop of North China in whose diocese Manchukuo is, has gone on happily for the past ten years. The absence of the chaplain in other places on certain Sundays in the month has been an occasion for this happy experiment in Church union. A weekly service has been held in St. Barnabas’ Church, Mukden, since its consecration in 1933, either by the chaplain or a member of the local Scottish or Irish mission. It has resulted in nothing but good on all sides.

There are two beautiful little churches which have been built and maintained by the foreign congregations, at Newchang—once a flourishing port and now reduced to a handful of foreigners—and Mukden. Here, it is hoped, the Bishop of North China will be able to arrange for occasional celebrations of Holy Communion. The Church in Dairen is used mainly by the Japanese Congregation of the Sei Kokwai—the Episcopal Japanese Church. The future outlook for the Church in Manchuria is unsettled, but “God sitteth above the water-floods.”

The Living Church (Milwaukee), 1936, pp. 789-790.

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Our Semi-Centennial (1928)

The Living Church has attained to the dignity of an age of half a century. Its fiftieth year was completed with last week’s issue; the present issue begins the fifty-first year. The fact that it also begins the eightieth volume is a little misleading, since the volumes, originally covering a full year, now cover only six months. A year’s quota consists of nearly two thousand pages, an average of nearly thirty-six pages to an issue.

The first number of The Living Church was dated November 2, 1878. It consisted of twenty-four pages, slightly smaller than the present page. A reduced size facsimile of the cover page is printed on the cover of this issue. Most of the issues for the first year consisted of sixteen pages, and the subscription price was $3.00 a year. Since the present contents are more than double those of the first volume, though the increase in price is only from $3.00 to $4.00, it will be seen that the greatly increased costs of publication are reflected not at all in the present subscription price, and the Class B sustaining subscribers are paying scarcely a higher rate than did the original subscribers under the conditions of fifty years ago.

The paper began with the subscription list of The Province [of Illinois], formerly The Diocese, which had been published in Knoxville, Ill., for the Illinois dioceses, by the late Rev. Charles W. Leffingwell, D.D. The first editors of The Living Church were the Rev. Samuel S. Harris, D.D., rector of St. James’ Church, Chicago, and the Rev. John Fulton, D.D., rector of St. Paul’s Church, Milwaukee, while the Rev. George F. Cushman, D.D., rector of St. Stephen’s Church, Chicago, was described as associate editor. The publication office was in Chicago.

The first editorial leader recalled that “not very long ago” there were two parties in the American Church, but that now (1878) “the High Church party seemed to have carried all before it.” Of late, however, “the ‘advanced’ men of the ritualistic school were recognized as forming a new ‘Catholic’ party, and they forthwith found themselves opposed not only by Low Churchmen but by staunch High Churchmen with whom they had previously been allied.” There were, however, “no organized parties in the Protestant Episcopal Church, and what is better still, the spirit of party is in universal disrepute.” It is declared that The Living Church is not to be “the organ of any school or party in the Church, and just as little will it be the enemy of any.”

IT was only about six months that the paper remained under the management of Drs. Harris and Fulton, and the avowed nonpartisanship did not prevent rather frequent “hits” at “ritualists,” which, however, was then the popular indoor sport in the Church. Notwithstanding that, a high order of contents was maintained and the paper was a credit to its two distinguished editors.

They had found, however, that even with the assistance of an associate editor, the editorship of a high-class weekly paper required more than merely the spare time of busy men, and they were unable to carry it on. Appealing, then, to Dr. Leffingwell, who was rector of St. Mary’s School, Knoxville, Ill., they returned the paper to him and he became the owner and editor, continuing the publication office in Chicago. The form was changed to that of a blanket sheet, about double the former page size, with eight pages to the issue, and the subscription price was reduced to $2.00.

Under Dr. Leffingwell’s editorship, which lasted for twenty-one years, the paper became widely known, and was less and less a western or sectional organ. Its Churchmanship became rather more robust than it had been in the earlier regime. A notable service was performed at the time of the revision of the Prayer Book in the eighties and early nineties by a series of constructive criticisms from the pen of the Rev. William J. Gold, D.D., which had much influence in the final outcome. Another great service to the Church consisted of the serial publication of Dr. Arthur Wilde Little’s Reasons For Being a Churchman, which afterward, in book form, became one of the classics of the Church.

A notable experiment made during several years at this time was the attempt, by reducing the subscription price to $1.00 a year, to enroll a really large circulation, such as would popularize The Living Church among the rank and file of Churchmen who, then as now, subscribed to no Church paper, and such as would command a large advertising constituency. The result was a disastrous failure. There were, of course, large additions to the subscription list, but not in such quantity as to attain the desired end. Even in that day of low costs, as compared to the present day, the paper cost more than one dollar a year to produce, and the advertising did not nearly pay the deficit thus created. After losing a very considerable sum, the price of $2.00 was wisely restored, and at that it remained until the advanced costs of later years demanded its increase.


IT WAS early in 1900 when Dr. Leffingwell surrendered the editorship and the present regime began. Dr. Leffingwell retained his interest in the publication to the end. Living a retired life at Pasadena, Calif., until he passed quietly to his rest less than a month ago, The Living Church was always his pride. He looked upon it, rightly, as his child.

The Young Churchman Company (now the Morehouse Publishing Company) purchased the publication, and the issue of February 3, 1900, was the first to be issued from the new office in Milwaukee, and under the editorship of Frederic C. Morehouse.

The Young Churchman Company owed its name to the weekly periodical of that name which had been founded in 1870 by Linden H. Morehouse, Sr., and which had obtained a wide circulation in the Church. That name was retained for the corporation until after the death of the founder, when, in commemoration of him, it was changed to the present name. A book publishing business had been added in 1884, and when, in 1900, The Living Church was added to the list of publications—the Living Church Annual had been added fifteen years earlier—the responsibilities of the publishers were greatly increased. The editorship has remained unchanged to the present time, so that Mr. Morehouse has not only exceeded Dr. Leffingwell’s term of years as editor, but has also attained the seniority among all the editors of Church publications, weekly and monthly.

In the prospectus of the new owners it was declared:

“The world—its literature, progress, politics, art—will be viewed from the standpoint of the Church, and the Church from the standpoint of Catholic thought. The editorial policy will always be frank and outspoken; but controversy will not be its main desire. We shall attempt to be Broad rather in intellectual grasp than in Churchmanship; to learn and to teach. There will be ‘malice toward none,’ ‘charity for all.’ In short, The Living Church will be The Young Churchman grown up.”

This was further amplified in the first editorial under the new management by the explanation:

“We call it the Catholic standpoint because it is the standpoint which sees in the Protestant Episcopal Church a living branch of the One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of the Creeds, of the six—probably seven—Ecumenical Councils, and of history. It is not necessary to explain to any who read this how different is this conception of the Church from the Roman idea.”

THAT was the position and the platform enunciated twenty-eight years ago, and it is substantially that of Dr. Leffingwell twenty years earlier. Has that position been maintained since, or has it been materially changed?

It has been reassuring to ourselves to glance through the editorial pages during these years of the present management, and see how uniformly consistent with this position they have been. We have not sought controversy, and yet we have never run from it. “Crisis” after “crisis” has come and gone. That over the ceremonial and vestments used by the bishops at the consecration of the Bishop of Fond du Lac came only a few months after this administration had begun. Curiously enough, the attack was led by Dr. Fulton, co-founder of The Living Church, in the Church Standard, of which he was then editor; and it is difficult to reconcile that attack with the original prospectus of the two founders of The Living Church, though they showed more than once their lack of sympathy with “ritualism” in spite of the inclusiveness of their aims. The so-called Open Pulpit controversy, after the General Convention of 1907, was another in which The Living Church was forced to take an active position, maintaining that the legislation of that Convention on “Canon Nineteen” did not involve an “open pulpit” at all, and was, instead, a protection against such an abuse; but about twenty clergymen of Catholic sympathies abandoned their orders and went to Rome because of it—a simple misunderstanding of plain fact. Long since, the interpretation of The Living Church became generally accepted in the Church, and now it is the advocates of looseness who ask for the repeal of the legislation that is obviously restrictive. So time has its triumphs and the last word.

As to controversies of later years, we trust the position of The Living Church has accorded with those principles which the present editor avowed at the outset.

There are some interesting facts concerning the advertising department. That the whole trend of general advertising has been away from the religious press is, of course, true, and it has involved an increasing problem as to the support of all periodicals of that nature. The Living Church has not been exempt from that problem.

Notwithstanding that, we find, with surprise no less than interest, that seventeen present advertisers have used our columns for nearly or quite the whole fifty years; fifteen others for twenty-five years; while twelve others have been occasional advertisers during a very large part of the entire period. The advertising manager, Charles A. Goodwin, still in service, has held that position continuously since 1896, a longer term of service than that of the editor, and is well known to the advertising world.

THE future? No man knows.

But this disconcerting fact must be recognized.

Unless conditions so change that all subscribers will willingly pay a much higher subscription price than they can do today, The Living Church can never again pay its way on the revenues from ordinary subscriptions and advertising alone. This makes the problem of the future a grave one.

We began last winter the plan of arranging sustaining subscriptions of $10.00 and $20.00 each, and several hundred generous subscribers quickly accepted the higher rates, thus dividing a great part of the deficit on last year’s account among them. We are hoping that this generous response will be repeated for several years.

But we cannot assume that this will afford permanent relief. If The Living Church will be needed in future years, it must be partially endowed. Yet the endowment of a periodical is fraught with great difficulty, chiefly because no one can guarantee that it will be worthy of support in all perpetuity.

Our plan announced for the “Church Literature Foundation” obviates this difficulty. Such a Foundation has been organized and incorporated; but instead of operating directly to endow The Living Church, its trustees will decide annually (if there continue to be deficits in publication) whether the paper, as then published, is worthy of such support or not. Of nine trustees, six represent the Church at large and three The Living Church. Of the primary trustees, the former are Bishop Ivins (president), Bishop Webb, Bishop Manning, Bishop Rhinelander, Bishop Griswold, and Mr. Haley Fiske. It is a self-perpetuating organization, and men of that type may be counted upon to protect the income from misuse for all time. And it is hoped that an endowment may be secured large enough not only to pay deficits of The Living Church (if needed and if the periodical is deemed worthy of such assistance) but also to enable the publication of Churchly literature from the Catholic standpoint, such as would probably not pay its way, and to distribute such literature. In short, it is hoped that the Foundation may develop into an American S.P.C.K.

An objective of $250,000 for such an endowment is asked for as our semi-centennial request. The Rev. B. Talbot Rogers, D.D., well known among the clergy of the Church, has accepted an appointment as fiscal agent for the Foundation, and through the courtesy of Mr. Edwin S. Gorham will make his headquarters at the well established Church book store in New York, at 11 West 45th street. Dr. Rogers has undertaken, by personal calls and by use of the mails, to seek to raise at least the amount above indicated for endowment. We earnestly commend Dr. Rogers’ efforts to our Family. It is a self-sacrificing work in which he has engaged, and he does it because he thoroughly appreciates its value, and because he has been close to the work of the present publishers, knowing and sharing their ideals, from the days when Bishop Edward R. Welles, Bishop J. H. Hobart Brown, and Mr. L. H. Morehouse, Sr., entered into the venture of faith which is now the Morehouse Publishing Company.

Not alone that it may be the crowning event of the semi-centennial of The Living Church, but also because of its obvious merits and need, we are hoping that the Living Church Family will generously respond to this call for a really permanent service in behalf of the ideals for which this journal has invariably stood.

The Living Church, November 3, 1928, pp. 9-11.

Richard Mammana is the Archivist of the Living Church Foundation.

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