Wednesday, December 26, 2012

From the Manse

2726 Cleinview Ave., Cincinnati | 1937 & 2012 

Never, through the years, have we been quite so grateful as this year, for the warm security and comfort of the lovely house that the generosity of the congregation has provided for the minister and his family. Built and maintained by the Church, we are privileged to live beneath the shelter of its roof. You have been good to us. From our home, which your thought has built, each member of our household gathered here for Christmas, sends Hearty Greetings and Good Will.
Christmas, A.D. 1937.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jesse Halsey | McCormick

Jesse Halsey | Chalmer’s Place | 1952 | photo by Bill Colwell

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Preface to 150 Years of Presbyterianism in the Ohio Valley 1790-1940

Macauley somewhere intimates that those who have no pride in their forbears are likely to leave little that their descendants can take pride in. Our pioneering progenitors were men and women unafraid. They had convictions that steeled them against cowardice. Trusting in a fore-ordaining God, the events and circumstances of the changing scene were related to Eternal Patterns.

Our comforts, made possible by the privations of the Fathers, may yet prove our ruin. Unless we, in their spirit, meet the perils that multiply in our own time, dire things shall surely befall us. We have become soft. Sacrificial devotion to great causes, spending and being spent, frontier simplicity and directness practiced in some form—these things seem necessary to every generation lest moral fibre disintegrate. Active practice of the right is our salvation; not mere denunciation of evil.

Many “isms” of our time have become living religion to millions of people. We need to beware lest the Religion that lived in our Fathers degenerate, in us, to a mere “ism.”

Again we join fervently in the ancient prayer to God of every generation—theirs and ours—“Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children, and let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us, yea the work of our hands, establish Thou it.”

Jesse Halsey
General Chairman of the 150th Anniversary Committee

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Raymond Swartzback | Student of Jesse's


January 07, 2003

Raymond H., Rev., D.D. Pastor Emeritus First Presbyterian Church, Jamaica, New York. 

Raymond H. Swartzback, 79, an urban pastor who was a champion for social justice and was active in the struggle for civil rights died December 14, 2002, after a brief illness. He was a man who loved Jesus, ''the man'', and genuinely loved people, preaching, and listening to other people's stories. Ray set about to make friends of his neighbors. In this he was aided and abetted by a rare and genuine ability to practice Christian love. 

''When God says, 'love thy neighbor,' he means for us to love him no matter who or what he is. The whole Christian message becomes irrelevant unless we put into action these beliefs, we say with our lips.''

Ray was one of the first leaders of Urban Ministry. In 1975 he accepted a call to the First Presbyterian Church, Jamaica, Queens, the oldest continuously worshiping Presbyterian congregation in the country. Prior to 1975 the membership of this church was 1500, but ''white flight'' had reduced the membership to 89 people. There was talk of Relocation, Abandonment, Sell-Out; however, that small band of members said, ''We will not be moved,'' and they opened their doors to the new immigrants who were moving into Jamaica, Queens. Today First Church Jamaica has a membership of over 800 from 33 birth nations. At the 333'rd Anniversary and Sanctuary Rededication in 1996 Ray counseled the congregation, ''Do not adopt a Sanctuary mentality. Do not allow this beautiful Sanctuary to become a place to play church, a soul gymnasium to practice spiritual exercises, but let it be a fueling station for involvement in the world out there.'' 

Mr. Swartzback was born in Baltimore, MD, to John and Florence Swartzback. He graduated from City College, Baltimore, Maryville College, Maryville, TN, and McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL. Upon graduation from seminary in 1950 he was drawn to the churches of the inner-city. His first parish was a two-point mission field in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1956 he went to Calvary Presbyterian Church, Detroit, MI, a struggling congregation in a changing neighborhood. Here he trained eleven seminary graduate interns for work in urban ministry. Later he copastored Glenville Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, OH before going to Jamaica. 

During the Viet-Nam War years, he accepted a call to Westminster Presbyterian Church on the College of Wooster campus, where he extended his ministry to counseling students during those turbulent years. During WW II Ray served in Europe from 1942 to 1945 as a platoon leader of the 30th Division, 117 Infantry, where he received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Ray received honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from Alma College, Alma, MI, and The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH. He taught New Testament Literature at the University of Cincinnati, and for eleven years was a lecturer at the Presbyterian Institute on Industrial Relations at McCormick Seminary in Chicago. He has been identified with many ministerial, labor, and civic organizations. 

He is survived by his devoted wife Jane Hays Swartzback of 55 years, and three daughters Linda Pratt (Jeff) of Millersburg, OH; Carol Kirk (John) of New Marshfield; and Susan Quinones of Athens, and nine grandchildren. A scholarship fund in his name has been established at McCormick Theological Seminary, 555 S. Woodlawn, Chicago IL. The Celebration of his life will be held on January 11 at 4:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Athens, Ohio. The Session and congregation of First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica thanks this fearless leader for his outstanding service to the church of Jesus Christ.

Rev. Bill Schram | Student of Jesse

Rev. Dr. William C. "Bill" Schram, 91

August 10, 2012 | Pelham Weekly

Rev. Dr. William C. “Bill” Schram, who served as pastor of Huguenot Memorial Church in Pelham Manor from 1959-1973, died on August 1, 2012. He was a resident at Shell Point, Fort Myers, FL. He was 91.

During his service at Huguenot Memorial Church, the church facility as it is today was completed. The Library bears his name.

Born in Cincinnati, OH in 1921, he was a graduate of Walnut Hills High School. He attended Williams College and graduated in 1946 following service in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He went on to Union Theological Seminary in New York City where he earned a degree in Divinity and met his wife, Elizabeth “Topper” Case Schram. They were married Sept. 6, 1947, and Bill was ordained to ministry in the Presbyterian Church USA.

After serving as pastor at Huguenot Memorial Church for 14 years, (1959-1973), the Rev. Schram became pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Dayton, OH in 1974.

He served on regional and national levels of the Presbyterian Church in many capacities over his entire ministry.

Following his retirement, he taught preaching at United Seminary in Dayton, OH and served three years as seasonal pastor at Chapel by the Sea, Captiva Island, FL. He and his wife relocated to the area, living first on Sanibel Island and then at Shell Point in Fort Myers. He stayed active in retirement, served as a visitation pastor at The Sanibel Congregational UCC church, was active on an affordable housing board on Sanibel and served on the board of the local Planned Parenthood. He embodied the words, “Old ministers never retire. They just go out to pastor.”

The Rev. Schram is survived by Topper, his wife of 65 years; sons and daughters-in-law William and Jen, Robert and Patricia and Thomas and Cindy; and grandchildren Jessica, Katharine, Nichole, Thomas, Cody and Jesse. His three sons all graduated from Pelham Memorial High School.

A memorial service was held on Aug. 8 at the Sanibel Congregational Church. The family suggests that donations be made to your local Planned Parenthood chapter.

A memorial service at Huguenot Memorial Church will take place sometime after mid-September, due to ongoing renovation work in the Sanctuary. Please call the church after Labor Day, or visit the church web site for full information.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Cameron Boys | Southampton

The town was growing; first by a few summer boarders, then by a substantial influx of summer cottagers (Yorkers as we called them). Naturally some permanent residents were added. Among these was a Scotch family of size; the father was a skilled plumber and soon came to affluence, but in the first year they lived in the back street, as we who lived on Main Street called it. Its real name was Windmill Lane because in the old days three windmills were on or near it; I remember one of them, Cap’n Bill White’s. Well, the Cameron boys, one bigger than me and one younger, soon joined our gang and were often on our place where the crowd “hung out” playing around the haystacks or on rainy days in the big barn.

I had work to do—farm chores. In the early years, fetching the kindling and corn cobs to build the fires (we burned only wood); then looking for the eggs, driving the cows, later helping with the milking. One evening when I was milking the older Scottie was plaguing me and at a close range, I let him have it, squirting milk in a sizeable stream and all over him. When he had cleared his eyes and got his breath he ran over to the hen house, grabbed some eggs and began a barrage. He was the pitcher of our ball team and the eggs reached their mark—I was covered. (Fortunately, all the eggs were fresh.) I hurriedly hung up the milk pail, grabbed a trace from the harness closet and chased my friend down the back lot through the little gate into the road and half way to his home, lashing him with all my strength. He was heavy and I was light and swift; he got aplenty. He [Alex Cameron, Jr., mayor of Southampton 1943-1953] is mayor of the village now, and has been for half a dozen years; has the leading plumbing business in the county and has held the village tax rate down to the lowest in the state.

--from Jesse Halsey | autobiography 1950