Category Archives: History of Christ Church

Christ Church Looks Back: The 1963-1964 Search for a New Rector and a New Rectory (continued)

Christ Church Looks Back: The 1963-1964 Search for a New Rector and a New Rectory (continued)
By Joseph Tomberlin

Posted July 31, 2014

The first part of this series of articles is available here.

Joseph Tomberlin

Closely related to the story of Christ Church’s 1963-1964 search for a new Rector is an account of the Vestry’s acquisition of a relatively new house at 2200 Glynndale Drive to replace the 1910 structure at 115 West North Street as the Rectory. As related in the previous article, the closing on 2200 Glynndale occurred at some point between December 19, 1963, and January 6, 1964. Senior Warden Bill Eager, Jr. “explained the recent purchase of a new Rectory to the incoming Vestrymen” at the first Vestry meeting of the new year on January 6, 1964. In addition, Vestry secretary John Oliver received authorization to list the old Rectory for sale “with one or two real estate dealers . . . for a period of sixty days.”

The day following the January 1964 Vestry session, Mr. Eager received by telephone an offer from two communicants, Miss E. Camm Campbell and Miss Mildred Price, of financial aid to Christ Church toward paying off the mortgage on the new Rectory. Miss Campbell and Miss Price would give $500.00 each to be applied “toward reduction of . . . [the] indebtedness on . . . 2200 Glynndale Drive. . . .” Each of them also pledged to make one month’s mortgage payment per year for five years. Specifically, Miss Campbell would pay $163.37 each May beginning May 1, 1964, and ending May 1, 1968, and Miss Price would pay $163.37 each June beginning June 1, 1964, and ending June 1, 1968.

Mr. Eager acknowledged their proposed gifts and reiterated the particulars of those gifts in a letter of the same date, January 7, 1964. He thanked them on behalf of Christ Church for what he described as their “most needed contributions,” and expressed his hope that “your action may provide an example for others to follow.” The Vestry records, however, do not contain any evidence that other parishioners aspired to emulate Miss Campbell and Miss Price.

In the second Vestry meeting of the month, on January 26, 1964, Bill Eager read to the group a letter from Mr. William Lester, of the Valdosta Federal Savings and Loan Association, which confirmed that Miss Campbell and Miss Price already had paid their promised $1,000.00 “on the capital indebtedness of the purchase price of the new Rectory . . . at 2200 Glynndale Drive. . . .” Mr. Lester also verified that each had pledged to make one monthly mortgage payment a year “for a period of five years.” A further matter related to the Rectory was a report from John Oliver that the estimated cost of painting the house “inside and out” was $400.00, a figure that included “cleaning and varnishing the floors where necessary.” Tot Amon “moved we do the necessary work,” and with second by George Twiggs, the motion gained Vestry’s consent.

Vestry heard, as well, a review from the Senior Warden “of the latest developments concerning the calling of a new Rector.” He stated that the Search Committee [Blake Ellis, Jack Fitzsimons, Marge Fitzsimons, Joe Taylor, George Twiggs] had unanimously recommended the calling of the Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald, of the Church of the Redeemer, Sarasota, Florida, to be Christ Church’s new Rector. The Vestry then debated the proposed calling of Fr. Fitzgerald, apparently at considerable length, before Mr. Eager “asked for a motion” on the question. The motion from George Twiggs, seconded by Jack Fitzsimons, produced six votes in favor and one vote against; and two vestrymen abstained. Consequently, the motion carried. However, during the Vestry’s session on February 19, 1964, Senior Warden Eager read a letter from Fr. Fitzgerald “announcing with regret that he was unable to accept our call as Rector of Christ Church. . . .” Mr. Eager added that “other prospective Rectors were under consideration by the [Search] Committee. . . .” Fr. Fitzgerald, incidentally, had various Georgia connections. He was a native of Augusta and, after graduating from The Citadel in Charleston, earned a master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of Georgia. He was the assistant to the Rev. Paul Reeves, later Bishop of Georgia, when Reeves was Rector of the Church of the Redeemer from 1959 to 1965. Then, after succeeding Reeves as Rector of the Church of the Redeemer and serving there from 1965 to 1978, he finally came to the Diocese of Georgia in 1978, with Reeves as his Bishop, to be Rector of Christ Church, Frederica, on Saint Simons Island. Continue reading

Christ Church Looks Back: The 1963-1964 Search For a New Rector And a New Rectory

Christ Church Looks Back: The 1963-1964 Search For a New Rector And a New Rectory
By Joseph A. Tomberlin
Posted May 27, 2014

Joseph Tomberlin

The first Vestry gathering following the departure of Fr. Kippenbrock for All Saints Episcopal Church in Enterprise, Florida, was a “Special Meeting” on October 16, 1963. Senior Warden James Perryman presented to the group his resignation from both the Vestry and his office as Senior Warden because of “his recent serious illness.” John Oliver, with a Harrison Tillman second, moved that Vestry “accept Mr. Perryman’s resignation with deep regret” and that he be commended “highly for his devoted service to the Church during his tenure of office.” Vestry also quickly chose Jack May to replace Perryman as a member of Vestry and William G. Eager to assume the position of Senior Warden. Upon unanimous approval of those changes, Mr. Eager took “charge of the meeting.” Vestry thereupon commenced a lengthy discussion of the process of selecting a new Rector and decided to mail a questionnaire to all parishioners “dealing with the most desirable qualities to be considered in the calling of a Rector by this Parish.” Blake Ellis was to serve as Chairman of the Search Committee.

Readers of this article should not think that the process of changeover from an outgoing to an incoming Rector in 1963-1964 had anything more than an extremely superficial resemblance to the process now prescribed by the Diocese of Georgia’s Transition Handbook. Indeed, fifty years ago, the diocese seems hardly to have been involved directly. When Fr. Kippenbrock submitted his letter of resignation on July 29, 1963, he wrote only the following with respect to the diocese: “I have informed Bishop Stuart of this action [i.e., his resignation and his having accepted ‘a call from the Bishop of the Diocese of South Florida’], and I trust you will keep in touch with him through your Senior Warden as you proceed to the task of finding and calling a new Rector.” One concrete example of the disconnect between then and now is that the Search Committee in 1963-1964 made recommendations directly to the Vestry about which candidates should be called without necessarily having conducted formal interviews with any of them. The consequence was that the 1963-1964 Search Committee had to recommend five different candidates to Vestry to be called as Rector before the fifth, the Rev. Brevard F. Williams, chose to accept the position. Continue reading

Our Next Rector: The Rev. Dr. David A. (Dave) Johnson

Our Next Rector: The Rev. Dr. David A. (Dave) Johnson
By Jeff Hanson, Senior Warden
Posted April 23, 2014

The Rev. Dr. David A. (Dave) Johnson

Dear Christ Church Family,

I am so excited to announce that the Rev. Dr. Dave Johnson has been chosen as the next Rector of Christ Church! And, I can also tell you that he, his wife Steph, and his children are equally as excited to soon be coming to Valdosta. Father Johnson currently serves as the Associate Rector at Christ Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. Information obtained from Christ Church of Charlottesville’s website provides some biographical information about Father Johnson and his family:

He was born in Newport, Rhode Island, spent most of his childhood in Springfield, Virginia, and has served in full-time parish ministry in the Episcopal Church since 1992 in parishes in Virginia, Wyoming, and South Carolina. He completed a Bachelor of Arts at Oral Roberts University with a double major in Biblical Literature and European History, a Master of Divinity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Master of Sacred Theology at Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry at Trinity School for Ministry. He and his wife, Steph, have been married since 1990, and have five children: Cate, Becky, Abi, Emily, and Paul. Dave also has an older son, Andrew, who lives with his wife, Marielle, in Strasburg, Virginia. For fun he enjoys spending time with Steph and their kids, sports, and reading. Most of all, he is grateful for the grace of God he has experienced in Jesus Christ.

I know that you will want to join me in welcoming him when he formally joins us on June 29th, 2014. He is currently finalizing his work in Virginia, starting the process to sell his home, finishing up the school year with his children and preparing to move all to the Rectory.

I also know that you all will also want to extend our upmost appreciation to Phyllis Holland and the entire Search Committee. This has been a very long, deliberate and thoughtful process that has required many hours of research, travel, and prayerful guidance. I am convinced that we could not have chosen a better group for this most important task, and we are all eternally grateful for their service.

These are exciting times. Please stay engaged, stay involved and continue to keep our church in your prayers daily.

Yours in Christ,

Jeff Hanson
Senior Warden

The Gospel According to Television

The Gospel According to Television
By William M. Frierson, M.Div, Ph.D
Originally delivered as a sermon in July, 1987
Posted on April 7, 2014

Editor’s note: Dr. William M. Frierson was an ordained Presbyterian minister, a faculty member in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Valdosta State University, and a member of Christ Church. He was occasionally invited to preach sermons by our rector at the time, the Rev. Henry Louttit. The sermon reprinted below was originally delivered in July, 1987. A copy of the sermon’s text was recently found by Maggie Roberts, and was submitted for reprinting as a Vineyard article. A PDF copy of this text is available for download here. Dr. Frierson died on June 1, 2005, at the age of 72.

On Sunday evening, January 2, 1921, a service of Evening Prayer at Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, was broadcast over radio station KDKA. This was the first religious radio broadcast, either in the United States or elsewhere, and the Assistant Rector who conducted the service, the Rev. Louis Whittemore, became the first person to preach a Christian sermon over the air.

Nineteen years later, on Easter Sunday, 1940, the first two religious television productions were aired–one Protestant, and the other Roman Catholic. It is the latter which claims our attention, in that it featured Bishop Fulton J. Sheen–who, in 1952, became the first prime-time television ‘preacher.’ It was he who demonstrated the remarkable capacities of television for religious communication, and who therefore paved the way for ‘televangelism’ as we know it today. Continue reading

The Vineyard — Forty Years Ago (March 1974)

An Excerpt from The Vineyard from March 1974
By Julius Ariail
Posted March 5, 2014

The Vineyard for March 1974 contained this Lenten message:

The Church calls us during Lent to 40 days of more than normal prayer and study, fasting (or abstinence) and almsgiving. If we still remember the time-honored practice of “giving up” something for Lent, we need to couple with it also the indispensable corollary of “taking on” the deepening of our commitment to Christ and of the quality of our practice of devotion to Him in our lives — in our inner selves — where it really counts.

An excerpt from The Vineyard from March 1974.

Christ Church Looks Back: The Departure of Fr. Kippenbrock

Christ Church Looks Back: The Departure of Fr. Kippenbrock
By Joseph A. Tomberlin
Posted March 5, 2014

Joseph Tomberlin

Michael Joseph Kippenbrock, last Vicar and first Rector of Christ Church, was a Texan, born in Austin on September 29, 1903. On June 7, 1928, he married Annabel Mae Coffman, and by 1930, the couple was living in Fairbanks, Alaska, where Fr. Kippenbrock was the Vicar of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. Their first child, David Michael Kippenbrock, was born in Fairbanks on December 27, 1931. The second child, Anne Virginia Kippenbrock, also was born in Fairbanks on February 3, 1935, and her mother died the same day. Kippenbrock married his second wife, Virginia Lee, on April 21, 1937. In 1942, he entered the United States Army, presumably as a chaplain, for the duration of World II. After the war, by 1949, he was serving as Rector of St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church in Aiken, South Carolina.

Following the 1953 departure of Fr. Clifton H. White, Bishop Middleton S. Barnwell recommended that Christ Church call Fr. Kippenbrock from Aiken as the new Vicar. Kippenbrock remained at Christ Church from May 1, 1953, to September 30, 1963, when he left to become Vicar of All Saints Episcopal Church in Enterprise, Florida. Among the notable developments of his tenure, the first was Christ Church’s achieving parish status on May 11, 1954, whereupon the Vestry issued a formal call to Kippenbrock to become the new parish’s first Rector. Also, at about the same time, the Vestry borrowed $9,000.00 from the American Church Building Fund Commission to construct a “Sunday School Annex” attached to the eastern end of the Parish Hall, and that project came to completion in 1954. Named Barnwell Hall by the Vestry in December 1960, the Annex provided six Sunday School rooms that were in use until the major alterations of 1980-1981. Then, the “new kitchen” took up the space that had been Barnwell Hall, and more than thirty years later is still in that location. Based upon the persistent need for additional Sunday School space, Christ Church in December 1958 purchased the house located at 103 East College Street. Originally, that building, named Stuart Hall in 1960, contained both Sunday School rooms and a kindergarten. The final concrete accomplishment of Fr. Kippenbrock’s ten years in the parish was the renovation of the church itself in 1963 that gave the building the appearance that it had until the major modifications of 1980-1981. Continue reading

The Vineyard — Forty Years Ago (January 1974)

An Excerpt from The Vineyard from January 1974
By Julius Ariail
Posted January 11, 2014

Here are the adult education class schedule and topics for January 1974:

Class I — Christians and Issues
6th & 13th — “Introduction to St. Luke’s Gospel” — Dr. Joe Tomberlin
20th — “Epiphany and the Themes behind the Bible reading choices for the Sundays after Epiphany.”
27th — “Bishop’s Visit” Parish Party.

Class II — The Bible — concerns the lections for the following Sunday.

Class III — Inquirer’s Class for those interested in knowing more about the Episcopal Church.

An excerpt from the January 1974 Vineyard.