This post is something of a departure, in that it features the pencil sketch art of my great uncle, William H. Warrington (right, from his carte de visite.) But first some background is in order. William H. Warrington was born 17 September 1846, grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He became the manager of the Vulcan […]
When it comes to Palm Beach, as Kendall Harmon would say, you just cannot make this stuff up…
Palm Beach, Florida
YOUTH CHOIR CONTRACT
THIS AGREEMENT, made and entered into between the CHURCH OF BETHESDA-BY-THE-SEA, Palm Beach, Florida, and __________________________.
WITNESSETH: That the Second Party named above, agrees to sing in the YOUTH CHOIR of Bethesda-by-the-Sea Church and take an ACTIVE part in the services when held at the following times during the season Of 1967-1968:
35 Sundays at nine o'clock service from October 1, 1967 to May 26, 1968 with the exception of Easter when the Family Service will be at 4:00 P. M., and January 7th at Evening Prayer. Also, Thanksgiving Day at 10:00 A. M., Christmas morning at 10:00 A. M., and Good; Friday, March 22nd at 10:00 A. M. - Also for "The Glory of God," Sunday afternoon, December 17th at 4:00 P.M. - with the Adult choir in Bach's Christmas Oratorio.
IT IS UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED that the Second Party shall attend rehearsals on Thursday and Friday from 4:15 to 5:00 P. M., with the exception of Thanksgiving week and Holy Week, when the rehearsals will be on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Also, if one of these rehearsals is missed, the time will be made up on Saturday at 8:30 A. M. Members of the 8th grade and above will be required one rehearsal each week. It is also agreed that the Second Party shall attend all warm-up rehearsals, from 8:25 A.M. until 8:40 A.M. each Sunday. It is further agreed that the first party will withhold a fine of 10% of the Sunday fee for each tardiness at rehearsals. REHEARSALS BEGIN PROMPTLY AS SCHEDULED. The Second Party must participate in at least one weekly rehearsal and the warm-up on Sunday in order to sing at the 9:00 A.M. service. A fine of 30% is withheld for each rehearsal absence. Members are required to attend more than a total of half of the rehearsals and services each month in order to receive compensation. A bonus of $2.00 is awarded each month for perfect attendance at rehearsals and services.
IT IS FURTHER AGREED that each boy shall be responsible for his choir jacket, wear it to and from Church each Sunday (and only for Choir functions), also to wear a white dress shirt, black four-hand tie, dark trousers, black socks and black shoes (shined). It is further agreed that the jacket will be returned at the termination of his service or at the last Sunday service in May (whichever occurs first.) Members will also be subject to a 10%-30% fine for untidiness or deportment on Church property. It is also understood and agreed that any suggestions made by your Rector, Choirmaster, Assistant of Choirmothers for the musical betterment or deportment of the Choir, shall be accept in good faith and spirit.
Bethesda-by-the-Sea, the First Party above named, agreed to pay the sum of $1.50 per week for each service.
Dated this 6th day of October, 1967.
Choir Boy's Signature____________________________________
Parent's or Guardian's Signature___________________________________
ADAM L. DECKER, M.A.
When it came to church, my family was made up of interesting people, especially when it came to going to church. We didn’t go to church very often (at least until my mother came along,) but when we did, and when we were in Palm Beach, this is where we went: Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach, FL.
Although these shots (with one exception) were taken many years after my departure, the church is on the National Register of Historical places, so there have been few changes (although they have messed around with a few things since this millennium began…)
Other Bethesda Related Links
- In the 1960’s at least, Bethesda paid its youth choir. (Unlike Dave Barry, I am not kidding!) Click here for a sample of the contract they set forth to those who wanted to sing.
- Acolyte Order of St. Peter, what Bethesda expected of its acolytes. Perhaps useful in training yours.
- The Church Mouse resale shop is one of Bethesda’s more successful ministries. Click here for the story on how it got started.
Reflections on Bethesda
Do not love the world or what the world can offer. When any one loves the world, there is no love for the Father in him; for all that the world can offer–the gratification of the earthly nature, the gratification of the eye, the pretentious life–belongs, not to the Father, but to the world. (1 John 2:15-16)
Today the Anglican Communion in the U.S. is in dire straits. But the forces that have brought things to their present state are nothing new; almost all of them were present in the Bethesda I grew up in. Bethesda is, in some ways, an outsized example of how we got where we are.
As we note elsewhere, people can come to church primarily because they agree with what the church teaches, or they can come for other reasons: social, aesthetic, etc. Episcopal churches in general and Bethesda in particular simply have too many of the latter in their pews. This makes it easy for liberals to come in and take command; if they can keep up appearances, they can keep things going even when the church’s core message has totally changed. This is not to say that everyone went along with this; the Episcopal church lost a million members in the 1960’s and 1970’s in the process of its radicalisation, and is in the process of repeating that feat again.
Coupled with the social membership are demographics. The Episcopal church’s membership income distribution is simply too skewed into the upper reaches of our society. This wasn’t the original intent; when Henry VIII took charge of the church in England, his idea was that the Church of England be the church of every Englishman, from himself to the ploughboy. The Nonconformists chipped away at that in the mother country, but in the American colonies they proceeded to blow Anglican churches out of the water for the bulk of the populace. They were so successful that they were able to oust the Episcopal church as the state church in the Southern colonies in the wake of the American Revolution.
This brings me to an important point–people talk about an “inclusive” vs. “exclusive” church but with churches like Bethesda we have to ask: inclusive or exclusive of what? Or whom? Bethesda, like most Episcopal churches, prides itself in being “inclusive” but the reality is that the church was built and is sustained on being “exclusive” in a socio-economic way, much like a country club. This situation is an opportunity to reach a difficult group with the Gospel, but as long as the liberals are in dominance the church will lack a message worth bringing.
But everything isn’t negative here. Bethesda is a beautiful church, and it’s hard to be impressed with anything else. Ultimately, though, the chief objective is, as it always really was, to carry out the main mission: “The Son of Man has come to ‘search for those who are lost’ and to save them.” (Luke 19:10)
Palm Beach Day School
Above: the opening ceremony during Field Day at Palm Beach Day School, 20 April 1968. For intramural competition the school was divided into two teams, the “Pelicans” (blue uniforms) and “Flamingoes” (yellow uniforms.) Both my brother and I were in the latter.
Note also the closeness of the buildings behind the field. Palm Beach’s real estate is expensive and used very efficiently, more so now than when we lived there.
Thirty years later, a friend coached a lacrosse team up the coast. The one school they would not allow their kids to eat lunch at was Palm Beach Day School, on account of the harassment by the “home team.” PBDS kids would even shout obscenities at the visitors as they got on the bus to leave.
In holding his lecture in West Palm Beach, Pike was invading what was for him “enemy territory.” In an article in the July 2006 issue of Chronicles magazine, author Tom Landess reminded us of the following:
In 1966, a group led by Henry I. Louttit, bishop of the Central Archdeanery of South Florida, demanded that Pike be tried for heresy.
John Hines, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, met with Louttit and a small delegation in New York and told them he had polled key figures in the mass media, who had declared unanimously that a heresy trial would severely, disastrously damage the Church’s image.
Most of the bishops agreed. The Bishop of New York expressed the feelings of the majority: “Of all the methods of dealing with Bishop Pike’s views, the very worst is surely a heresy trial! Whatever the result, the good name of the church will be greatly injured.”
Hines asked Louttit and his cohorts to allow an ad hoc committee to address the problem more informally, less visibly. Louttit reluctantly agreed. Members of the committee met, engaged in a great deal of hand-wringing, and came back with a report that said in part:
It is the opinion that this proposed trial would not solve the problem presented to the church by this minister, but in fact would be detrimental to the church’s mission and witness…This heresy trial would be widely viewed as a “throw back” to centuries when the law in church and state sought to repress and penalize unacceptable opinions…it would spread abroad a “repressive image” of the church and suggest to many that we were more concerned with traditional propositions about God than with the faith as the response of the whole man to God.
At Wheeling, West Virginia, the House of Bishops adopted this statement by an overwhelming vote, though they also agreed to “censure” Bishop Pike – a small, dry bone tossed to Christian orthodoxy. In the above passage, two phrases — “acceptable opinions” and “repressive image” – revealed what was really going on.
Henry Louttit was a frightful bore from the pulpit, but he was right: it was heresy, and frankly it still is. People such as Pike detonated the jerk to the left that caused the Episcopal Church to lose a third of its membership in the 1970’s. Once again the Pharaohs on the left are making their move and once again God’s children are forced into exodus. But now there is a Promised Land.