St. Michael’s Church: The New Episcopal Mission for the Benefit of Italians (1886)

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, on North Fifth street, near Bedford avenue, an account of which was published in yesterday’s EAGLE, was formally opened for public worship yesterday morning, when services were conducted in Italian by the Rev. Alberto Pace, of Holy Cross Church, in South Brooklyn. The cosy little wooden edifice was filled with sons and daughters of Italy from all parts of the city. Some of them were military men with high sounding titles, and others represented Masonic bodies. The newly painted walls and the cushioned seats gave to the place an attractive appearance. The arrangement of the altar and the railing inclosing it resembled very closely that used in the Roman Catholic churches; in fact, the difference was very little. The services, too, were as closely similar in form as they could well be under a High Church ritual to those of the Catholic Church. The minister wore a surplice and was attended by eleven surpliced acolytes at the lighted high altar. There was a procession during the services.
The Rev. Mr. Pace in his sermon referred to the fact that this was the second mission church started by the Episcopalians for the benefit of Italians. He attributed the establishment of the present one to the energetic and able rector of Christ Church, on Bedford avenue, opposite Morton street, the Rev. Dr. Darlington. In closing he said that he was making a strenuous effort to bring his country people in that section of the city under the church’s influence. Dr. Darlington assisted at the services.
The evening services were in English and the church was filled by members of Christ Church mostly. Dr. Darlington, the Rev. Dr. C. Ellis Stevens and the Rev. Lorenzo S. Russell officiated.
Dr. Darlington preached from St. Matthew vii:7, “Ask and you shall receive.” “This Mission Church, said the preacher, came in answer to prayer. I had long contemplating opening a mission station in the Fourteenth Ward, where there was no Episcopal temple of worship. A few years ago Christ Church people, for I shall not arrogate the credit to myself, opened one in North Third street, near Bedford avenue, and the Rev. Mr. Cooper was placed in charge of it. After the death of the lamented clergyman we left the building, as the trustees probably thought it best to have other forms of service conducted there. My people asked me what we would do next. I told them to pray to God to open a place of worship to us in the ward. We were almost without hope at the time. One day not many months ago, a stranger to me, wrote me a letter offering to deed us lots in the Fourteenth ward on which to erect a church structure. When I met her later I asked her how it was that the idea occurred to her at that particular time, and she said that she had been reading missionary papers, and while making inquiries as to how she could best aid the church in the ward, and she was informed of my efforts. I accepted her offer. While looking around I heard that the present building, which then belonged to the United Presbyterian Society, was for sale, and the lady and her brother, who reside in Long Island, purchased it for $7,500 and paid $500 additional for renovating it. They are so modest that they would not give me permission even to mention their names. They said that the temple was given for the service of the Lord and not for self glorification. Such was the power of prayer in this instance. At some future day I expect, and have been given so to understand, that this parish will be endowed, should it not in the meantime be self-sustaining, as I believe it will be.
The Rev. Dr. Stevens, who is organizing secretary of the Missionary Committee of this diocese, expressed the hope that this was the first of a number of new Episcopal churches in Brooklyn, and said the Missionary Committee of the diocese was property, and to the activity of Dr. Darlington and of the parishioners of Christ Church in the work. Addressing especially the members of the new congregation of St. Michael’s, he said he hoped they would make the church their home—the threshold of the eternal home.
After the services the congregation, at Dr. Darlington’s invitation, inspected the Sunday school hall in the basement, which is a neatly fitted up apartment.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 20, 1886, p. 2.

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Filed under Anglo-Catholicism, Book of Common Prayer, Episcopal Church history, Personal

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