Thursday, January 30, 2014

Map of Labrador & Newfoundland

July 1914

Tutti-Frutti (Stream of Consciousness)

Jesse Halsey
2726 Cleinview Ave.
Cincinnati, Ohio

Why had he come? Why couldn’t he have been sick; one of his headaches. They came Sundays when he didn’t want them; why couldn’t he have had one tonight?

The new rector sat uneasily on the edge of his chair. Then, realizing he was uneasy, or looked uneasy, he sat back in the chair and assumed a still more unnatural pose. “It must look that way,” he thought, “for he was trying so hard that it should not look that way.”

It was at the table of his leading parishioner, Judge Hill. The Judge sat at the head, the rector was at his right. Why had he come in these clothes? Everyone else had on a diner jacket. They would think he didn’t know; and he didn’t, he had to admit it. He had come from a country parish to the big city; how should he know that for an affair like this one was supposed to wear a Tuxedo?

The Judge had asked him to say grace. He had, in a perfunctory way, but all the time he was thinking of the slave of his grandfather’s, who was invited out to dinner and, when asked to say grace, had said, “Lord bless the bread, but curse the skunk.” Not that this table suggested the equivalent of skunk, but he had overheard the Judge’s wife tell his wife that sweetbreads were coming. Why hadn’t he followed his wife’s suggestion and worn his high vest and dog collar and Tuxedo, that was, he had heard, correct for a clergyman. This sack suit and this speckled tie, black and red dots; little red dots. Surreptitiously he looked down over his chin. Yes, how strange it must look. A red tie! Everyone else with a Tuxedo, white shirt bosom and black bow tie. How strangely that old man’s was tied. Let’s see—yes, he was Mr. Straley—or was it spelled Strahley? Never mind, even old Mr. Strahley, who was kept on the vestry because he once had been a generous giver, even he had a Tux, and knew enough to wear it, even if he couldn’t tie a bow right side out.

What would they think? Would it hurt him in his work? He had tried to be a man among men, didn’t want to be stuck up nor preacherish, so had worn a business suit and a tie, instead of a dog collar. A dog collar and dinner jacket, that would have been the thing but—with a start he realized that Mr. Thomas, the treasurer, had finished a story and that everyone had laughed except himself. What a fool the old fellow looked, laughing at his own joke, but the rector must laugh, too, and laugh he would and did; a little late. And then he wondered, was it off color? Men seldom laughed like that at stories unless they were off color. He hadn’t really heard it. What would they think of him now he had laughed at that kind of a story. Was it that kind? He must pay attention.

Now the Judge was speaking . . . they must make a budget . . . run a church like a business . . . what did the rector think of that? “Yes,” “certainly,” “surely.” But he knew so little of business, or society, not to wear a Tux; and at his leading member’s house; all the vestry there; he their new rector in fashionable St. David’s. What would they think of him?

“Yes, sir.” “Yes.” They would add another hundred a month to the poor fund; that would be enough.

Poor they must think him, or ignorant, not to wear a Tux. Anyway, his wife, (who was dining now with the Judge’s wife upstairs,) she was dressed appropriately. Why wasn’t she there, then they could look at her. They must have noticed that she, anyway, was properly dressed. He wasn’t stingy.

Sixty dollars more on the janitor’s salary? “Why, yes, yes, sir.” Sixty dollars would buy a Tux; he’d have one tomorrow, and, by George, no one would catch him napping again. But this was today—and here he was.

What was that? Didn’t his host know he was a dry, in practice and in principle? Why should he be humiliated before his men—surely that was what it was—champagne. It sparkled; it bubbled; it looked like that kind of a bottle; it was wrapped in a napkin. What infernal set-up was this? An effort to make a fool of him . . . he would show them . . .

Just then; “Parson have some cider?” from the host. Cider? Then it was alright. Why, of course, the Judge was a dry, too. He had known that. Why had he been so critical? That Tux. He knew it but, confound it, the thing was out of hand. What a fool to be so miserable . . . Here they were all his friends; his Board, his backers. Wake himself—he must. What did they care for a Tux? Or, he care? Or, what should he care if they did care? Why? No reason at all. Forget it. And, with a mighty effort, he concentrated on the budget.

And then, just then came, the sweetbreads. How he hated them. No farmer’s boy could like in’ards. Butchering days on the plantation came back: his olfactory nerves rebelled. He must surely leave the table. Again, with a mighty effort, he resolutely helped himself, sparingly to be sure, but helped himself. Maybe there were mushrooms in it; he could pick them out and pretend to eat. And there would be other things. Green peas, likely. He would make out, yes. Everything was good—except the sweetbreads. Butchering day . . . brains was it, or pancreas?. . . his old father had never worn a dinner jacket . . . curse it, what difference did it make. What was that story? He must add his bit of conversation. But he would choke, there were no mushrooms in it. He was eating sweetbreads, guts. With a gulp, he swallowed, then a big sip of cider—that was better.

The glass chandelier flashed overhead; the great oak sideboard carved and laden with china looked across at him. Thank God there was no mirror in it to flash back his red spotted tie! His glass was being filled. Why had he misjudged his host? The kindest of friends were these, they wouldn’t care . . . but they might. Oh, for a Tux!

“Good sermon the rector had last Sunday,” he could just overhear. He tried not to, but that only sharpened his auditory nerves the more.

“Good sermon last week.” “Which?” “The Babylonian Garment.”

They were making fun of him. That wedding guest who came without the proper clothes. That was the parable he had expounded. They were making fun of him—a wedding garment. “Friend, how camest thou in hither not having on a wedding garment?” No Tuxedo. And the guest’s answer. “And he was speechless.” Well, that was true of him tonight, alright. How true the old Scripture was—“speechless!”

Dessert was being served. Already his parishioners had discovered his inordinate love of ice cream. Once a year as a country boy, now once or twice a week as a city minister, he had ice cream; and so much of it, and so good.

“Take more, Parson, Mrs. Hill has made your kind.”

Tutti-frutti! His favorite. They had tried to please him. And he had come like this—a red dotted necktie—just like tutti-frutti .  . .He must look like some Holy Roller preacher with no Tuxedo. Why hadn’t he had some sense?

“Coffee, sir?”

No, he didn’t drink coffee. Maybe he’d better; it might straighten out his nerves and sharpen his wits.

The Judge had begun some of his best stories and soon he would be called on. What could he say? He had no stories. He had no proper clothes, why should he have stories? He, who didn’t know how to dress himself—no Tux, no toast, no good.

Yes, here is came. The Judge was standing.

“Gentlemen, our Rector, a young man, a gentleman, a scholar. God bless him.”

The vestrymen were on their feet. They drank his health. He bowed and thanked them. He started to speak. They were looking at him, interest centered on that red spotted tie. No Tux, a sack suit. They must be thinking of that, not of his speech. What was he saying? Red and flustered, he sat down.

Next morning at nine-thirty the rector was at the leading tailor’s being measured for a Tuxedo. “He was hard to fit.” “Those football shoulders!”

“Sixty dollars, sir, for this grade, and seventy for that with silk lining.”

“Better have the seventy, I guess. When will it be ready?”

“Two weeks.”

“So long as that?” . . . “Yes, a high-cut vest . . .” “And order me a dozen clerical collars . . . size sixteen.” “Thank you.” “Good day.”

At dinner that night the rector’s pretty wife was all animation. Mrs. Hill had called and they had driven to the country.

“You must have made a great hit last night,” she said, with pride in her voice.

“Mrs. Hill said the Judge told her how your Mexican stories charmed the whole company. They thought it lovely that you wore a business suit—‘no airs or society climbing’—something like that. The treasurer is glad you don’t smoke and the Judge don’t’ like a minister to button his collar in the back, except on Sunday.”

The dining room door swung open. The maid appeared with dessert. It was a mould of tutti-frutti ice cream.

“A surprise from the Hills,” said the wife as she sliced it down.

Grenfell Alumni News / Officers and Directors / 1933

 Among the Deep Sea Fishers, volume 31, issue 3 (October 1933)
from left: Frederick Halsey, unknown, Sir Wilfred Grenfell, Charles Halsey

Sir Wilfred and Lady Grenfell spent the summer at Kinloch House, Charlotte, Vermont; but Sir Wilf, with Lady Grenfell as chauffeur and general manager, lectured at Breadloaf Inn, the Averill Lakes, Greensboro, Swanton, Johnson and South Craftsbury, Vermont; at Amherst, Groton and Stockbridge, Massachusetts; at Concord (St. Paul's School) and Wonalancet, New Hampshire; and at Cortland, Essex, Lake Mohonk and Lake Placid, New York.

Sir Wilfred's motor boat, the PETREL, was brought down from St. Anthony on the New Northland and piloted through Lake Champlain to Charlotte. The skipper was Sir Wilfred; the first mate was the Reverend Jesse Halsey, who about 1910 spent three years on the Coast; the crew were Charles and Frederick Halsey, both born in St. Anthony.

Evening Telegram (St. John's, N.L.), July 4, 1912

Special to the Evening Telegram

Halifax, July 3--The three-master schooner, George B. Cluett, Dr. Grenfell's flagship arrived today en route to Labrador. Rev. Jesse Halsey, General business manager, a number of students from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and other Colleges have tender their services. Capt. Osler, of Gloucester, is in command. The schooner-yacht, Fluer de Lys, Capt. Pickies is also here. She was presented to Grenfell a few weeks ago by Dr. Stempson. Both vessels remain to take in stores.,

The Bornu Here.

"In May (this is 1910), I graduated as a Bachelor of Divinity, was married, and in June set out for Labrador on a honeymoon.

There we stayed three summers, two winters. There our two older boys were born. There I would still be if I had been a doctor instead of a preacher. When the plumbing work was done, I became business manager for the mission. When the expert accountant, Price, Waterhouse recommended that the business office be put in St. John’s Newfoundland, rather than on the field, I lost interest in the business job, even though they had been interested in me. I had been buying thousands of dollars worth of supplies of all kinds, running a big schooner on several voyages back and forth as her skipper and how I ever kept out of jail with my accounts, I don’t quite know (or off the rocks with the schooner). It always puzzled me to make up a set of books that would balance and no wonder Price, Waterhouse wanted an accountant and not a preacher." --Jesse Halsey, from Down North, c1941

Labrador: New Years 1915

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

from "A Labrador Doctor"

By Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
from Chapter XX “Marriage”

The journey from Lake Forest to Labrador would have been a tedious one, but by good fortune a friend from New York had arranged to come and visit the coast in his steam yacht, the Enchantress, and was good enough to pick me up at Bras d’Or. Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, who had previously shown me much kindness, permitted us to rendezvous at his house, and for a second time I enjoyed seeing some of the experiments of his most versatile brain. His aeroplanes, telephones, and other inventions were all intensely interesting, but among his other lines of work the effort to develop a race of sheep, which had litters just as pigs do, interested me most.

Francis Sayre, whom I had heard win the prize at Williams with his valedictory speech, was again to be my summer secretary. On our arrival at St. Anthony we found a great deal going on. The fame as a surgeon of my colleague, Dr. John Mason Little, had spread so widely that St. Anthony Hospital would no longer hold the patients who sought assistance at it. Fifty would arrive on a single mail boat. They were dumped down on the little wharf, having been landed in small punts from the steamer, as in those days we had no proper dock to which the boats could come. The little waiting-room in the hospital at night resembled nothing so much as a newly opened sardine tin; and to cater for the waiting patients was a Sisyphean task without the Hercules. Through the instrumentality of Dr. Little’s sister a fund of ten thousand dollars was raised to double the size of the hospital, and the work of building was begun on my return. Although the capacity was greatly increased thereby we have really been unable ever to make our building what it ought to be to meet the problem. The first part, constructed of green lumber hauled from the woods, and other wings added at different periods of growth, the endeavor to blast out suitable heating-plant accommodations—all this has left the hospital building more or less a thing of rags and patches, and most uneconomical to run. We are urgently in need of having it rebuilt entirely of either brick or stone, in order to resist the winter cold, to give more efficiency and comfort to patients and staff and to conserve our fuel, which is the most serious item of expense we have to meet.

But at that time with all its capacity for service the new addition was rising, sounding yet one more note of praise in better ability to meet the demands upon us.

And pari passu came the beautiful offer of my friend, Mr. Sayre, to double the size of our orphanage, putting up the new wing in memory of his father. This meant that instead of twenty we might now accommodate forty children at a pinch. Life is so short that it is the depths of pathos to be hampered in doing one’s work for the lack of a few dollars. Of great interest to my fiancĂ©e and myself was the selection of a piece of ground adjoining the Mission land, and the erection for ourselves of the home which we had planned and designed together before I had left Lake Forest. We chose some land up on the hillside and overlooking the sea and the harbour, where the view should be as comprehensive as possible. But we feared that even though our new house was very literally “founded upon a rock,” the winds might some day remove it bodily from its abiding-place, and therefore we riveted the structure with heavy iron bolts to the sold bedrock.

One excitement of that season was Admiral Peary’s return from the North Pole. We were cruising near Indian Harbour when some visitors came aboard to make use of our wireless telegraph, which at that time we had installed on board. It proved to be Mr. Harry Whitney. It was the first intimation that we had had that Peary was returning that year. Whitney had met Cook coming back from the polar sea on the west side of the Gulf, where he had disappeared about eighteen months previously. I had met Dr. Cook several times myself, and indeed I had slept at his house in Brooklyn. He had visited Battle Harbour Hospital in 1893 when he was wrecked in the steamer in which he was conducting a party to visit Greenland. We had again seen him as he went North with Mr. Bradley in the yacht, and he had sent us back some Greenland dogs to mix their blood with our dogs, and so perhaps improve their breed and endurance. These, however, I had later felt it necessary to kill, for the Greenland dogs carry the dangerous tapeworm which is such a menace to man, and of which our Labrador dogs are entirely free so far.

The picture of this meeting on the ice between Cook and Whitney gave us the impression of another Nansen and Jackson at Spitzbergen. Whitney had welcomed Cook warmly, had witnessed his troubles at Etah, and his departure by komatick, and had taken charge of his instruments and records to carry South with him when he came home. But his ship was delayed and delayed, and when Peary in the Roosevelt passed on his way South, fearing to be left another winter Whitney had accepted a passage on her at the cost of leaving Cook’s material behind. He had met his own boat farther south and had transferred to her. He left the impression very firmly on all our minds that both he and Dr. Cook really believed that the latter had found the long-sought Pole.

A little later, while cruising in thick weather in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, my wireless operator came in and said: “There can be no harm in telling you, Doctor, that Peary is at Battle Harbour. He is wiring to Washington that he has found the Pole, and also he is asking his committee if he may present the Mission with his superfluous supplies, or whether he is to sell them to you” Seeing that it is not easy to know whence wireless messages come if the sender does not own up to his whereabouts, I at once ordered him to wireless to Peary at Battle the simple words: “Give it to them, of course,” and sign it “Washington.” I knew that the Commander would see the joke and if the decision turned out later to be incorrect, it could easily be rectified by purchasing the goods. A tin of his brown bread now lies among my curios and one of his sledges is in my barn.

On our arrival at Battle Harbour we found the Roosevelt lying at the wharf repainting and refitting. A whole host of newspaper men and other friends had come North to welcome the explorer home. Battle was quite a gay place; but it was living up to its name, for Peary not only claimed that he had found the Pole, but also that Cook had not; and he was realizing what a hard thing it is to prove a negative. We had a very delightful time with the party, and greatly enjoyed meeting all the members of the expedition. Among them was the ill-fated Borup, destined shortly to be drowned on a simple canoe trip, and the indomitable and athletic Macmillan who subsequently led the Crocker Land expedition, our own schooner George B. Cluett carrying them to Etah.

My secretary, Mr. Sayre, was just about to leave for American, and at Peary’s request he transferred to the Roosevelt with his typewriter, to help the Commander with a few of his many notes and records. I dare say that he got an inside view of the question then agitating the world from Washington to Copenhagen; but if so, he has remained forever silent about it. For our part, we were glad that some one had found the Pole, for it has been a costly quest in both fine men and valuable time, energy, and money. It has caused lots of trouble and sorrow, and so far at least its practical issues have been few.

from Down North

Reverend Jesse Halsey c1941
One day in the late spring of 1907, I was riding to the University on one of those (then) novel double-decker trams that ran in Glasgow. (The paper, this very day as I write, shows a picture of two bombed and gutted standing inert on the car-track) when I noticed a meager item on an inside page of an evening paper of how a mission doctor in Labrador had been carried off shore on an ice flow and had lived to tell the story. That was the first I ever heard of Grenfell. Two years later, I was on his staff—not as preacher but as plumber.

It happened like this. He came to Princeton Seminary to speak for a week at Chapel. Chapel was a dreary performance held at the end of the afternoon with a handful present and a cut and dried professorial performance in exegesis as diet. I seldom went. But hearing that Grenfell was coming that day, I went and took several other fellows along. The place was filled the second day; and before the week was out the crowd jammed the largest hall on the University campus.

In one of his talks he told the story of that ice pan experience (of which I had read on the Glasgow bus), in another he intimated that students sometimes would “down” with him in the summer to do odd jobs. I made an appointment at the house of the professor where he was staying. “Yes,” he took students along to help; “What was I going to be?” “A preacher!” “No, he didn’t need a preacher, they had too many on the shore already. “Well,” I ventured, “What do you need?” “A plumber,” he snapped back, “a plumber for our new hospital.” I signed up, then and there, knowing that water runs down hill and inheriting from my practical builder-mason-grandfather, a manual knack for doing things, and knowing how to solder and wipe a joint, and a few other things, from a Yankee blacksmith who had a shop on the back street where I used to stop in to blow the bellows and fuss around on the way home from school.

In May (Divinity Schools have a short term), I started out for Labrador. It took nearly a month to get there, for it was a late season and the ice hugged the land so that schooners and mail boats couldn’t get “down along” shore. When we reached St. Anthony all set “to plumb” the hospital, I found that the hospital wasn’t even built. The Chief was like that: ambition always running ahead of any possible performance on the part of his helpers.

Not only was the hospital unbuilt, not even a foundation was in, no excavating done either. So after putting a new window in the log bunk house for light and air (terribly dull tools they had and my new plumber’s kit didn’t fit the wood working job, all their tools were dull except the axes; a Newfoundlander can build a ship with his ax and after I had fussed for half a day with brace and bit (dull in spite of my file) and key hold saw pecking at the logs, Old Skipper Joe Souley came along and in ten minutes with his ax cut the hole in the side of the bunk house where I installed my window.

There being no one more capable available, I set about excavating for the new hospital cellar. We struck solid rock. I knew nothing about blasting—except that one did itbefore building. (The Doctor having finished his first hospital realizing that it needed a cellar, undertook to blast one and blew off his roof.) Skipper Joe (my friend of the ax) had worked in a mine; he knew how to blast! But he didn’t know how to sharpen drills. Here my Yankee blacksmith came to my aid; (by quasi proxy). I had watched him and had a dim notion of how it was done and after considerable experimenting—just the right heat “cherry red” dipped at the right moment in oil, the drill was just the right temper, not too hard to be brittle and break under the sledge as it bit its way into the rock and not too soft—not cutting at all but just further blunting itself.

I would hold the drill; Joe would strike it with the big sledge, strike with an unerring accuracy; when my turn came to strike and he to hold, like the brave man he was, he held the drill while I swung the sledge, fortunately for him I never missed—my old grandfather coming to the rescue. (I am a great believer in ativism—or whatever it may be called. Cap’n Harry, my grandfather, was a skilled mason (he built most of Greenwich Village in New York, over a hundred years ago.) He once was known to have cut the center out of a millstone to convert it into a well curb, cut it—on a bet—in thirty minutes. He knew how to swing a maul; I’m sure he was there fifty years later, for my help. (What’s fifty years among Yankees?)

When the holes were drilled we began to blast. It was cold; dynamite will not explode when it is “frozen.” Joe would build a fire in the forge and put me to blowing the bellows, with a pail of water on the coals. When it began to boil he would pile sticks of dynamite cob-house fashion on the pail there to “thaw.” “Let out a reef, Skipper,” Joe would say. I would accelerate and the sparks would fly all round the pail and all over the dynamite. “No harm, Skipper, she can’t bust abroad without the cap.” When the sticks were sufficiently softened, Joe would cut a length of fuse and fasten on a cap (detonator) to the end of the fuse. The cap is a hollow tube an inch long made of soft, malleable copper. Joe would take the thing between his teeth (he had two that met) and craunch the cap on to the fuse. (When it became my turn (under his tutelage) I used the pliers (as Dupont suggested). Not so Skipper Joe Souley—“Teeth’s quicker.” Then we would insert the cap and fuse in a stick of dynamite, put it down in the drilled hole in the rock on top of one, two, or three other sticks of dynamite and then with a stick, tamp dirt into top of the hold. Then we’d pile a lot of logs on top with a few lengths of old anchor chain to (hold her down), light the fuse and run. At least I would run, Joe was too old, or too fat, or to lazy, or too proud to run. He would amble along and maybe get behind the forge house before the blast brought down its concomitant shower of small rocks and gravel.

It took all summer to build the hospital cellar and frame up the hospital. In the fall, I came back to Seminary in New York, bringing an esquimoux boy to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn to learn lathe work and other things that I didn’t know much about. Theology played second fiddle, I fear, that winter. I got hold of an old friend who was a master plumber and heating engineer and learned to figure radiation, etc., etc., ad infinitum (to use theological language). By the next spring I had collected in Boston a schooner load of radiators, boilers, pipe fittings, tools, tile, linoleum, and what-not enough to plumb and heat the new hospital and the old hospital and several other hospitals and mission buildings at various stations along the shore.

Judge Hollister Funeral Coverage

 September 29, 1919

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mrs. McGinty

By Jesse Halsey c1932

Mrs. McGinty keeps a little candy and notion shop on a back street near the school. Her trade is not entirely confined to children for she also sells homemade crullers (or doughnuts, as she calls them) of her own manufacture. My friend, Hopkins, stopped in the other day. He waited while some children were served. Then Mrs. McGinty brought his package. “I believe the depression do be over,” she greeted him.

“How’s that?” inquired Hopkins. “Is your trade picking up?”

“Ah, no, nothin’ astonishin,’ but the children do be buyin’ ten-cent kites. Last year it was five cents they would be payin.’”

Hopkins told me this the other day, and since then I have been counting the kites. There were twenty yesterday, flying off the Grandin Road viaduct*, ten or a dozen from the Airport, and groups of three to six here and there along Eastern Avenue. Most of them looked like the store-bought variety, only here and there was one that was homemade (or boy-made).

In Eden Park last Saturday, I watched an old grandfather trying to adjust the “bellyband” and tail while an eight-year-old tyrant held the string and gave orders. They were having a strenuous time. Somehow it brought to mind a kite that stood seven feet tall, made by an old Indian who lived on the back street of our village, when I was a boy. In a strong wind even he couldn’t hold it and tied it to the rail-fence with his wife’s clothesline (and as many as he could borrow from the neighbors). It was from him I learned the art (or knack) of making a kite that would fly. The fancy designs were pictured and described in “The American Boy’s Handy Book,” but old Asarriah knew how to make them fly. My creations were always lifeless until he took a hand. “It all depends on the bellyband,” and he rolled the word deliciously. Outside of reading Holy Scripture that inelegant morsel was never allowed in the vocabulary of our Puritan household. Other boys could have that kind of an ache, but regardless of green apples, we were never allowed to describe it in those [exact?] terms. I used to think it might be partial compensation to just say it right out loud—“bellyache.” And on one occasion I did. My aunt and sisters were chagrined beyond measure and I got a switching afterwards, but it was worth it just to say what you felt and to have had the applause of one sympathetic listener in the person of the great Mrs. Beers, who lived in the summer colony and came to our house for milk. Her husband was the president of the mail order house, “Beers, Doebuck & Company,” and she had given me their catalogue—nearly as big as our Bible and much more interesting to my six-year-old intelligence.

She always laughed at my antics and when, one night I was rolling on the floor before the fireplace, she asked me what was the matter, it just slipped out. “Why, Mrs. Beers, I got the bellyache.” How she laughed; and how I smarted afterwards! I still maintain it was worth it.

But I was talking about the anatomy of a kite and not my own. It is a delicate art to make a kite that will hang in perfect balance and, as old Asorriah said, it all depends on the placing of the string that the boys used to call the “bellyband.” And, much to my delight, I find that the word is still used to designate the same part in the construction of kites for military and scientific purposes.

Kites come with spring. It is a sure sign, when the boys venture out on windy March days, that spring is not far behind. Marbles and tops have their place, too. But kites are more aspiring, and this year it is kites. Maybe Mrs. McGinty is right and the depression is gone. At any rate, we are glad that the youngsters have a dime to spend, though we wish that they had the impulse and the ability to make their own kites.

They came, I suppose, from China and Japan—birds and bats and dragons—and often covered with silk. Science appropriated them long ago and old Asorriah used to warn us against flying in a thunderstorm, telling us the story of Dr. Franklin. And Asorriah knew all about it. Said that Franklin’s kite frame was made of cedar and covered with silk and that it had a point like a lightening rod on top of it and that the end of the kite string, where Franklin held it, was covered with silk. He knew the date, June 1752, and that Franklin from it charged alyden-jar—whatever that was. Kites could fly, he said, twenty-five hundred feet high. That was half a mile, which was more than all the clotheslines of the neighborhood could measure; at least more than Asorriah could borrow.

With Asorriah in mind, the other day I went to the library and found that some kites had been flown seven and ten thousand feet and that on one occasion, seven were flown in tandem and, with five miles of wire, reached a vertical height of 14,000 feet. That would have been a big story for the old Indian; but here is one even better. Instruments were raised at the Weather Bureau at Mt. Weather, Virginia, in May 1920, to a height of 23,835 feet, when kites and eight and one-half miles of wire were used.

Kites are sometimes used to carry lines across streams or chasms for the construction of bridges, or to convey lifelines to stranded ships. In some sections they are extensively used to hold suspended in midair banners for advertising. Before the days of the airplane they were used for taking military and other aerial photographs.

I went into the Beers, Doebuck store. There were no kites in their catalogues in the old days. Yes, they had kites—several varieties. I balanced one delicately by the bellyband in memory of my old friend, the president’s wife.

Later in the day, I sharpened up my jack knife and whittled out two sticks; and then courage failed. Suppose I finished it and it wouldn’t fly, how my boys would laugh. I hid the sticks, got into the car and went down the hill back of the school to Mrs. McGinty’s shp and bought two ten-cent kites. May her prognostication be right—“the depression do be over.”

* "The GrandinRoad Viaduct, also known as the Grandin Road Bridge or the Delta Avenue Viaduct was built in 1905 and was the highest in the city at 150 feet over Delta Avenue. The viaduct once connected Grandin Road in Hyde Park to Grandin Road in Mt. Lookout. The wood and steel structure underwent many repairs in its lifetime and in 1975, it was torn down due to concerns over the safety and stability of the bridge."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The War Is Over

Reverend Jesse Halsey | c1945 | Chicago

The war is over—and the half million soldiers who are back from service in camp or overseas, a half million since Pearl Harbor.

For them the war is over—if we do our part.

But the war is not over for us, not for many months. Let the expert say how long, but with unabated energy we and all our people must prosecute the war to a victorious conclusion, in order to make possible the peace and security of the four freedoms and much else for which our men have fought. It is not too soon to make plans for those already back and the great multitude who will follow before and after the peace. Rehabilitation will be a tremendous task, the government is already vaguely aware of this. Congress has already appropriated $100 to the man who is honorably mustered out who has been in an American camp—this is $300 if he has been overseas.

As long as any man is honorably discharged, he has at his disposal the services of the Veteran’s Bureau, immediately or at any future time that he may need. The best intelligence of the Welfare organizations will undoubtedly be oriented in this direction. Our concern here is with “What is the church doing for Johnny when he comes marching home?”


Reverend Jesse Halsey | Chicago c1942

“Come after Me and I will make you . . .”    Matthew 4:19

A group of Roman boys went with their troubles to Seneca, the philosopher. After hearing them patiently, he said: “What you need is someone to follow.”

The obverse of that coin I saw on Sunday at the Ravenswood “L” Station. On a billboard was chalked in big black letters, “Heil Hitler. To H--- with F.D.R.” Someone to follow!

Sabatier said that man is incurably religious. I believe it and have seen no end of people forsake the faith of their fathers to go off into some new ism. We al follow someone. It is a matter of choice what kind of a leader it is. Some years ago, after preaching in an Eastern Prep School, at lunch the young Headmaster told me very frankly, “That was ‘old stuff,’ the boys no longer think of heroes.” (I had preached a sermon on Joshua.)

That evening the senior class met for supper at the Headmaster’s house. I was asked to talk to them, so I asked them to ask me some questions. They said, “Tell us about Grenfell.” “Tell us about Lenin.” (They had been told I had been in Labrador and in Russia.) Here it was—“old stuff” sure, but “someone to follow.”

The Roman boys asked Seneca, “Whom do you suggest, sir?” He said, “Socrates.””
Immediately (likely with bad grace) the young men began to pick flaws in the character of Socrates.

Two seminary students years ago were spending the weekend in the home of a Moravian saint and learned Bishop. They had been airing their ideas on the Trinity, the person of our Lord, and whatnot. Finally, one of them with a belated courtesy turned to the Bishop and said, “Uncle Eddie, what do you think?” And the old Bishop simply said, “He is my hero,”—someone to follow!

Sir John Seeley in Ecce Homo indicates that unless we find Christ as a man, we are not likely to discover Him as a Savior. That is the experience of many, including the writer. “Someone to follow!” He is my “hero”! (I suggest that during the month that we read one of the gospels through every day. Suppose, for example, that the next thirty days we should each day read St. Luke (the most beautiful book ever written, Renan said), and intimately associate with the character there portrayed by the beloved physician.—“Someone to follow!”

He is my hero because of His infinite patience (one reason among a thousand others). I see him take shifting Simon in hand and of that characterless quantity make Peter—the rock. John, “the son of thunder” is transformed into the beloved disciple. It took a long time; the process is slow; but the grace irresistible. Thomas the doubter I am glad he was included, he is so like so many of us, included among the disciples not for his doubts’ sake, but for his loyalty—“Let us go up to Jerusalem and die with him.”

Patient with them, patient with us!

And then He is my Hero “because of His courage.” With the small cords and blazing eyes He cleanses the temple of grafters, overturning the money changers’ tables with indignant speech, “Make not my Father’s house a den of thieves.” Demosthenes, himself, never equaled the fiery invective in which my Hero denounced those who “steal widows houses and for a pretext make long prayers.”

The red badge of courage is worn by those who do the will of God, but even a greater courage is required to bear the will of God, and with a “face like flint” Christ set himself to go up to Jerusalem, where a cross awaited—“For this hour came I into the world.” Soul agony, but no hesitations—“My God, why?” “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” Courage to bear the will of God—My Hero!

A group of children were wrestling with a jigsaw map of these United States. Maine and Florida and California and Washington—they knew the corners. Square Utah and Kansas, they were easy, but crooked Cape Cod—Massachusetts, and funny little Delaware didn’t fit. Finally, in desperation they turned the puzzle over and with swift progress put it together, for on the wall of their grandfather’s study they had seen many times the features of the “Father of His Country,” and the picture puzzle of Washington went together much faster than the States on the other side. This is a parable of the experience of many:

“That one face, far from vanish, rather grows,
            Decomposes but to recompose,
Becomes my universe that feels and knows.”

“Someone to follow”---and Jesus said, “Come after Me and I will make you!”


Reverend Jesse Halsey | c1935

Like finding the focal point in adjusting binoculars is the way the author uses one word in this long Chapter in Hebrews that I have read as the morning lesson. That word is “once.” It seems to bring into sharp definitive outline three things—times, places, and persons. “Once every year, alone.” “Once at the end of the age.” “So Christ once for all.”

Yes, there are decisive times. On the fourteenth of October in the year 1066, William the Norman conquered England and within a hundred years made it half French in language. The process was long but the “once” was decisive—one day. The Constitution of these United States was adopted by a sufficient number of states to make it operative on Sept. 17, 1787. A definite date though to this day the Constitution has been growing and changing to meet human needs and conditions. “Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide.” And though we speak of spiritual growth as something very indefinite, there come decisive days and hours in human lives when to hesitate is to be lost.

Significant places too, have a large part in human life and history. Some old trysting place, some village church, some country cemetery; we all have certain places of peculiar meaning and significance—“once into the holy place.”

And constantly we are impressed with the fact [that] there, some persons [who] are representative. The Queen of the Belgians, like Ruth, leaving her father’s house and kindred and religion becoming a real queen and lovely mother as she meets quick death seems to become the symbol of ten thousand vacationing motorists and thousands for a few days drive more carefully because of the tragedy of that young couple.

The Lindberghs in their tragedy are symbolic of all our homes, potential terror at the dooror actual. And in their long flights they epitomize the sublimate roving instincts of us all. If one had a gift of humor he . . . 

On Building a House

By Jesse Halsey c1929

Mr. Hoover says that building a house, under modern conditions in America, is as difficult as negotiating a foreign treaty. Having gone into Russia and Poland on diplomatic errands during the way for the State Department, I agree.

The inoculations each morning at the hospital made me more miserable than ever, and work in the study became impossible. I don’t like golf, so I bought some backlots at the topnotch prices of three years ago and, after the morning visit to the hospital, would get into overalls and go to gardening in these lots five miles from where I live.

I neglected to say that I am a preacher, in a church in the quarter of our city considered fashionable. But, having been a missionary with some responsibilities for business and building enterprises, I am not altogether ignorant of construction, and the problems connected with building. Having grown up on a farm, the use of a saw, axe, shovel, pipe threading tools, and a soldering iron has for a long time been in my equipment, though seldom useful in the sort of parish that I now serve.

I needed more violent exercise to combat the ‘misery’induced by the serum, and a job for the boys, so we set out to build a house on one of our vacant lots. My more or less crude sketches an architect friend put into drawings that would be intelligible at the City Hall; and then we started.

First, a road had to be built. Just where our lots began the street ended abruptly, in a great gully. At the City Hall I found that a level had never been established and, though a sewer ran down through the property (later I found it wasn’t paid for), no street grade had been set and, in fact, there was question whether the road had ever been dedicated. A village had been annexed by the city and no record remained of the village ever having accepted our part of the road! So I went to a lawyer friend, whose first judgment indicated action by City Council. Having served on the Mayor’s campaign committee (non-partisan ticket), I felt free to take minutes of his official time, I was directed to the councilman who had the major responsibility for roads and sewers. After two appointments, broken by him, I caught him and ‘he would see what could be done.’

Water must be introduced so I started that process. The City Manager, a member of my congregation, said he had no jurisdiction. To the superintendent of the water works I went. He turned me over to a deputy, an old Scotchman, who, when he found I had studied theology in Edinburgh, was my sworn friend and guide.

And I needed one, for we found that there wasn’t a main pipe line within five hundred feet of our property, and that each of the houses on that main portion of our road had a separate small pipe line five or six hundred feet in length.

The ruling is that no new small lines should be put in, but there was no way to make the houses that now had water from their small privately owned lines pay for putting in a main line that would lead to the beginning of our lots. This also entailed village annexation. It meant that the entire cost of an eight inch main from the nearest street, six hundred feet away, must be paid by us and that, when it was in the houses on the upper part of the street, must be connected to this main at my expense. It seemed hopeless; the cost was twice the price of the lots!

The Mayor, the Manager, the Councilman, the lawyer—several calls on each—but at length my Scottish friend found a way for the superintendent to order the line carried to the beginning of our new street (if we had one).

In the City Surveyor’s office, while I studied the maps of the erstwhile village, I found a middle-aged engineer, who told me that his first job as a cub was surveying my road. He would set the grades. This was a real help, for his chief, the City Engineer, had failed to keep an appointment on the site (it wasn’t on the map and he couldn’t find the place).

So, one night after hours the ex-surveyor ran the grades across our gully, set the curb line and got his chief’s approval and O.K. When I offered to pay him, he said he wanted nothing but, if I was willing to trade work, he would ask me to do something for him. I was willing. He wanted me to marry him to another; which I did some weeks later! And, so far as I know, they have lived happily ever since.

But my house was not so easily negotiated. With the water in and the grade set, we began to fill. School was out, my boys spent most of their days at the job, and I gave the mornings to the hospital shot and the garden, the City Hall and the road.

Load after load of filler was required. A friend who wrecks old buildings gave me, for the hauling, many loads of old brickbats and, with these, we started to fill the almost bottomless pit.

The dust was terrible and one of the neighbors threatened to sue. We got a hose and the older boy finally got a barrel of crude oil and sprinkled over the debris before it was shifted and leveled to grade. Even then the dust and lime went up like a cloud of smoke.

"The Fine Art of Forgiveness"

A Sermon | Reverend Jesse Halsey |  c1932

On a church bulletin board as we passed—

Dr. Quintic Preaches.
“I wonder who practices,” said my chauffer.

I have been thinking about that chance remark, wondering how deep it registered in the chauffeur’s mind. His voice had a jocular, not a cynical tone, and I have tried repeatedly to guess what he thought; for I am a minister—and the chauffeur was my twenty-year-old-son.

Some of us in a “clericus,” were vigorously criticizing an older minister for his intolerance. One of the group, our Barnabus, quietly interjected this: “Yes, but he has two sons and both of them are going into the ministry.” There must have been something in the old gentleman’s life that, in spite of his rigid theology, recommended his profession to his boys.

Is it a general impression that the minister preaches rather than practices? If so, no wonder Pearl Buck can say, “I am sick of preaching.”

Now, I happen to know something about my neighbor, this preacher, Quintic. He once had a deacon well-versed in historic theology. For better or for worse, Quintic is a liberal. Higher criticism and such things he takes for granted. He has moved beyond the argumentative stage, but these things lie in the background of all his Scriptural expositions. The deacon never approved, was sharply critical (and said it in season and out of season), but for ten years now Quintic has pursued his quiet and undeviating way, preaching the Gospel—and practicing it, too. I felt that he had earned the right to speak on the “Fine Art of Forgiveness.”

Two other people, of whom I know, have left his church and gone elsewhere. I expect that Mr. Patrioticus was the biggest contributor to Quintic’s church. He, Patrioticus, was making money—lots of it—while Quintic was overseas during the War. It is natural enough that he, Mr. P., should be a super-patriot and (judging by my own experience), equally obvious that Dr. Quintic should be an anti-militarist (and likely a semi-pacifist). He has seen things that, for psychological reasons, if for no other would make him thus.

Not chronically, but occasionally when it seems an obvious point in his sermon, Dr. Q. speaks about the dangers of militarism. He doesn’t say much (few veterans do), but he comes down hard and, after a violent denunciation that echoed in the public press, prosperous Patrioticus withdrew both his subscription and membership from the church. Quintic’s salary paid the price in the next year’s budget. I have a notion that he has a right to preach on “the gentle art” if he wants to.

Intolerable conditions existed, and exist, in a factory. One of Quintic’s trustees is an in-law of the president of that concern. The Doctor, who practices brotherhood as well as any man I know, preached a sermon three years ago on “Christian Love.” His text (I pass the bulletin board almost daily), as I remember was this, or these: “I am my Brother’s Keeper,” “All Ye Are Brothren.”

What he said I don’t know (but I can imagine). I have heard him preach and he is very quiet in manner, but his public as well as private utterance is well studied, and he has a command of ideas and language that anyone might covet. What he says, he means, and I expect there were sharp as well as “winged” words that day. At any rate, after several threats, the in-law trustee finally withdrew and his obsession, until his dying day was “that preacher” Quintic.

I have no notion what he said in last week’s sermon; “The Fine Art.” I haven’t asked him. But the gentle act of forgiveness he preaches—and practices. His people know it and they love him. What is infinitely more important, they respect him thoroughly.


I’m wondering—Will my son be a preacher? He lives with me.

A Certain Man Had Two Sons . . .

by Reverend Jesse Halsey

A certain man had two sons. And that man was a minister. Now the elder boy said unto his father, “Fain would I follow in thy steps, O my father.” And the father answered and said, “It is a hard road, my son, and uphill.” “Not with thy example before me, my father,” answered the elder. And it came to pass that some moons after that the younger took his journey also to a (or as some judge, the) school of the prophets and there prepared himself for his father’s profession.

And in the course of the seasons he too stood in his own pulpit. And his father and his brother were beside him. And they did there publicly instruct him in the way and in the ordering of his life and in the manner of his ministering.

So it came to pass by night that after the multitude had departed from the place of meeting that the three sat together in the fragrance of the weed and in the presence of good books and communed. And the younger said unto his father, “It was thy word, my father, and thine example in Godliness that compelled me to the ministry of the Word and hath ever constrained me to the following of our Lord.” And the elder brother said, “Amen.”

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Qualities of Christian Fellowship

by Jesse Halsey

There are certain things as old as the Xn century that you may expect to find and ought to find in a Christian Fellowship.

These are the assurance of God, his intelligibility in Christ, Christ’s availability for any human problem.

1.     Mystery of life overwhelms our spirit, the uncertainty, and the confusion of thought, but on thing stands sure when you swing into the circle of X influence. You call God father, and say with supreme venture of faith, “Ye though he slay me yet will I trust him.” God is—and is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
2.     Abstract Ideas even ideals need to be clothed in terms of flesh and life for most of us to understand. God did this in X—who shared our life and took upon himself the form of a servant he out of the safe stuff that is available for us, in which we are immersed, took bread of common existence and made something sacramental.
3.     As he was so he is—the same forever. Interested, helpful, correcting, and encouraging.


By Jesse Halsey | c1932

Conference (like Spurgeon’s “committee”) is a collective noun that means many—but not much. Yet conferences innumerable go on, and conference must be had, so it seems.

One bitter night, in North Russia, during the war, I asked a lone sentry what most he dreaded in our isolation, and he said, “I miss bein’ shoulder to shoulder on the march—we never march.” The value of conference is in comradeship; and its perils lie in the implication that plans and programs can take the place of work; we need “to march.”

But what are the marching orders? No one appears to know. At least there seems to be divided council. Here again is the disadvantage of conference. So many questions are asked, so much discussion develop, such differences of opinion, so little unanimity of thought, a dozen different emphases, and in every conference group one or two brethren who have positive opinions on every last subject: (but are not able to convince their confreres.)

Is there wisdom in a multitude of counselors? Walter Lippman seems to doubt it, in the political field, and I agree, as to the religious. But, as I have intimated, conference does mean fellowship, and fellowship means strength for our souls and for our cause. Not programs, but more brotherliness will strengthen the church. Friendliness is a good beginning and in days of mistrust and bickering these ought to be, among ministers, camaraderie and understanding. Somehow or other the world outside rather expects a minister to be a gentleman—and brotherly! To forge a brotherhood, to weld a fellowship, is the first business of a conference.

Discussion is valuable, and interchange of ideas. A great number of questions will be propounded. (Most men who ask questions will at least suggest an answer, so I say “propounded,” not “asked.”) Suppose we list some of the contemporary interrogations. It would run like this: Have you read “Re-thinking Missions?” What about it? (These are among the first.) What about the Oxford movement? (Whether the quester says “Bookman” or “Buckman,” will, subtly, indicate his own feelings.) What do you know about Karl Barth? Is the proper emphasis on worship or on the sermon? What is the best book of the contemporary flood? How do you balance your budget? (“I don’t,” comes the answer.) The ethics of Jesus—do you preach them now? Socialism, communism, bolshevism and not the first queries, but their shadow is thrown over all. And then (toward the end)—prohibition?

Where shall the emphasis be placed? Where are our leaders? The soldiers are ready. What of the march? (Haig latterly, Napoleon formerly, is credited with the opinion that there are no poor soldiers, only poor colonels.) And the colonels are in conference!

One (lieutenant) colonel has come to the following conclusions after many conferences, participated in, listened to, and conducted. And these “findings” are colored by the opinion and feeling of a hundred of his brothers, if he has been able to interpret words—and “feelings.”

First and foremost among the younger clergy there is a desire to follow Christ if they can ascertain His will. They are not strong for theology, many of them, but they take Jesus seriously, as few generations of Christians ever have. Over their ministry I would write the text, “Why call me Lord, Lord and do not the things that I say?”

Many have ceased to look for Leadership or to talk about it. When leaders appear they are not always recognized. They do their work, give their message, and pass on. Then men awake and recognize their quality. Moreover, when a man has the qualities of leadership he seldom knows it. And, surely, he never talks about it. Like the blue-bird, it comes unsought. No Federal Council pronouncement, no denominational-headquarters-ukase, none of the old dynamite will stir us now. It has “frozen” and cannot be detonated. (One of my first jobs as a Labrador missionary, years ago, was to thaw the giant powder over the forge fire, so that it could be exploded.)

From the point of view of a parish minister in a denomination that has no bishop (in name at least); in a Protestantism that has no pope (for better or for worse); I have determined on a few and simple things that, God helping me, shall characterize my ministry from this time forward. (And this slowly formed decision has been molded by many conferences and much fellowship with the brethren.)

I am done with labels. Men of goodwill are everywhere and except for these all abide in the ship we cannot be saved. Time has done some things even with my non-scholar’s mind and I know some of the tricks of the party-labeled protagonists; they “walk in blinders” as Scott (Ernest F.) says.

So Variety is my first word. From anyone who has knowledge I am willing to learn. My brethren will differ with me on all sorts of things, and we will agree to differ. I love them still and hope that they will at least respect me. The pattern is too complicated for any one man to know everything.

Then I must Simplify. Technology will hit the rocks; it carries too much sail. People need a few truths, simply stated, but beautifully clothed in life. For example; whatever elevates human life, dignifies it and makes it meaningful is for me RIGHT. Whatever degrades life is WRONG. This is simple—and inclusive. (Edwin Lewis says it emphatically, and more at length. I acknowledge the debt, but the principle I learned long ago.) For me, quite arbitrarily, if you please, this is the criterion. A philosophy that belittles life is wrong. A science that degrades life is wrong. An ethic that cheapens life is wrong. Art, education, literature, drama (movies included), whatsoever heightens the value of life is right and whatsoever debauches or besmirches life is wrong—arbitrarily or eternally wrong—(just as you please). There I stand.

Another simplification (most difficult to practice) might be characterized as “brotherhood” (there are many synonyms). Charles Kingsley avowed that we ministers use “brethren” because we don’t mean “brothers.” The practice of this virtue would solve most, if not all, of our social problems. “Every problem is a problem in personnel.” Effective conferences of all sorts could be built around this principle. It is called Love in the New Testament, but, as Moffat points out, it has a vigorous ethical, never a romantic, connotation. It works in the family; it works in a church—sometimes. It always works if it is worked. Race, creed, color, all will yield to it. It is our only hope. All the problems of international politics apparently must come back to this simple practice. It is a long road but a sure road. To simplify.

Dr. Lynn Hough has told us, in a variety of ways, that we need more great thinking. Many smart and some great thinkers we have, but great undergirding thought is lacking. (Here is the reason for the welcome to Karl Barth: Will he stand the test?) I read the brilliant epigramist, the caustic critic, the Menken, whoever he may be, in his particular line (and religion has its brilliant exponents, too). They leave me burned out. Some system, some simple but profound principles that will tie thoughts into the bundle of thought—these, I need, and the times need. (The first books I ever bought with my own money were Calvin’s Institutes. Long since they went on the top shelf; I knew too much. They have come down. I need a system. I find, too, that Augustine’s “City of God” has been dusted off. A gesture of desperation? Have your way. And Hocking, rather than Wieman, gets attention in a study hour. I am becoming a sturdy Theist.)

Yes, after a quarter century of tasting and testing there seem to be emerging some Certainties for me. And people are saying to me (and my brother ministers), as Helen Keller said to Phillips Brooks, “Tell us what you KNOW about God.” With Carlisle I determine to consume my own smoke. Such as I have I’ll give. Without apology, in congenial thought forms, I’ll try to convey my conviction that Jesus Christ is Lord. With Pearl Buck I’m sometimes tired of preaching, but as preaching is needed, the living-preaching, I will try and “carry on.” With Dr. Fosdick, sometimes, at least, I will try to “debunk the debunkers.” Cynicism, and agnosticism and atheism are not entirely new. I ought to have known it. This is not the first generation to question. Plato’s teacher taught him to question rather drastically. There is a wisdom not of today: (A lot of it is in the Bible).

Yes, I should have known it. My teachers often said so. For example; one day in preceptorial, when the talk had wandered from politics to philosophy, and an enthusiastic student was expounding the Riddle of the Universe after Haeckel’s formula, Woodrow Wilson turned to another student, who was majoring in philosophy, and said, “Tell us about Democritus.” Materialism is not new; that was the implication—and the truth.

Variety, Simplification, Certitude—these three I now covet, having learned much from my brethren and some things from experience.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

All Souls

/ Jesse Halsey / November 1934 / Part I

The ship in which Paul sailed toward Rome can be taken as a cross-section of society—then or now. The capitalistic owner and galley slaves. Sailors and land lubbers. Prisoners and police. Soldiers and civilians. A minister of the gospel, a writer, a physician—all sorts and conditions of men.

The Morro Castle disaster apparently is not the first time when sailors showed the “white feather.” Under pretext of putting out an anchor, the sailors on the SS “Castor and Pollux” sought to escape in the one remaining lifeboat. Paul’s word to the Centurion, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved,” is a good word for each individual and group in our divided society, today. Each needs the other. It is impossible for the nation to come to its best or to go forward in any marked way, without the contribution that each group can make. There must be some common denominator.

This is equally true for all groups. The Catholic has something to add to our national life. We deeply sympathize with his insistence that religion enter into the education of children and if, by constitutional means, he can secure public funds, as good citizens and believers in democracy, I suppose, we will submit. On the other hand, we will make a vigorous fight to prevent this very thing, believing that our best contribution will be in support of a non-sectarian school system. The trouble with this situation is that most Protestants are anti-Catholic rather than pro-Protestant. For traditional and real causes they will fight Catholics, but when it comes to a positive support of their own churches, they are sadly lacking. Witness the attendance at worship in this church this morning, or in any other Protestant church in the city, unless it happens to be some anniversary or special occasion. A Protestantism that represents only animus toward other groups is entirely beside the point and unworthy.

I am ashamed to make any reference to my next point. It seems so obvious that denominational bounds within Protestantism are outgrown and “out-moded,” and yet we are farther away from any kind of coherent church unity than we were when I began my ministry, twenty-five years ago. The “world” outside, that incidentally contains many discerning people of good will, has little sympathy with our “unhealthy divisions.” They are a crying shame to heaven.

The first step toward a larger unity has been made in the Federal Council, which has had widely representative and capable leadership. No man today speaks with more spiritual authority and keen intelligence than Bishop McConnell, who speaks in our city next Sunday night. He has been one of the guiding spirits of the Federal Council.

The report on the steel situation fifteen years ago, violently opposed at the time, is now recognized as a masterly document that solved a problem in the field of labor that the government in Washington had failed to adjust. This report is an ample vindication of the Council and of future efforts in that direction from the same source, provided they be guided by the principle, which I would call Bishop McConnell’s “Principle of Prophesy,” which briefly is this: On the basis of the best information available, unprejudiced and gathered by experts from all sources, let the Church, in the name of justice and good will, indicate to economic and industrial groups the just policy, and you will have a prophetic voice speaking in no uncertain tones along lines that can be profitably followed. Put human interests ahead of property interests, with all the sanity and knowledge available! Apply the basic principles of the Gospel and the Church can still exercise its prophetic function. That endowment of power in other days came upon individuals, and that may happen again. But, more likely, it is destined in the future to speak through the combined intelligence of the Group.

Yes, we need each other. The Pacifist, in this present evil world, still needs the Militarist. Somewhere, between the two extremes, the public course must be charted. There are too many dangers for complete disarmament. On the other hand, all the enthusiasm of the sincere lovers of peace, all the good sense of statesmen, is needed to prevent the recurrence of war. It is an open question whether war ever accomplished any good commensurate with its awful cost. Nine-tenths of all our present day poverty, moral and economic alike, the world around, can be charged up the Great War. On this I feel strongly and would defend the right of any lover of peace, no matter how extreme, to have his say. But I am enough of a realist to know that in order to make substantial progress, any program, whether it be promoted by churchmen or politicians, must give the assurance of national security to citizens of my country in order to gain their support, tacit or enthusiastic. But more of this next Sunday, which happens to be Armistice Day.

In the present county elections the ugly form of Nazism rears its head. We owe a great debt to our Jewish citizens. In the city they are among our most intelligent and generous philanthropists. This has been true for nearly a century. In the religious field, they have been given a surprising number of outstanding leaders in our city. Culturally and economically they have been a great asset. In the last decade they have proved stalwart supporters, and furnished striking leadership for, the desperate political situation of this municipality. But, I predict that the election next Tuesday will temporarily eliminate some of our most useful public servants simply because they are Jews, for an over-seas hatred, due to historical and racial reasons, finds a strong reflection in “Zinzinnati.” “My beloved brethren, these things ought not so to be” . . . . “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.”
Now I ask you, as I ask myself, what are the forces that cohere? What are the things that bind us together? This multitude of all sorts, who travel in the same ship of state. [With us, as of old, there are prisoners, and the problems of the under-world and the gangsters are forced home upon us every day. What have we to offset this and the hundred other ills that afflict us?

This was a food ship, in which St. Paul traveled, carrying to Rome the wheat for the daily dole. Our relief situation is nothing new. Make it acute enough however, and you have the seeds of revolution sprouting fast.]

I should say that very likely in American life the thing that most nearly binds us together into anything like a common unity is the Public School, which is worthy of our support in the present or any other tax levy; not for the mere learning of the Three R’s, but enough money available for adequate equipment and a well-paid teaching staff that has had access to all the educational and cultural advantages of our time, that they may pass these on, consciously and unconsciously, to our children. Not a stereotyped, inflexible system that teaches by rote the ‘Law of the Twelve Tables’ or an interpretation of the Constitution sanctioned by the Sons of the Revolution—or the Daughters, but an intelligent, constructive educational policy that teaches the value of all that is good in the past and yet recognizes the inevitability of change. Over every public school might be written into the motto: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

Organizations like the Boy Scouts, the Red Cross, the present non-sectarian policies of the Y.M. and Y.M.C.A; these, and any other groups for young people or adults, that give them a cross-section of the community, that force people of all sorts and conditions to mix and to mingle—as they must have done on the little ship that sailed to Rome, these “two hundred, three score and sixteen souls,” learning to dislike each other and, in emergencies, to admire each other and depend upon each other for mutual help and support; all the things in our common life that acquaint us with each other, our strong cohesive forces.

And, the religion of Christ, by all means, ought to be one of these unifying factors. If Protestantism has been divisive, let us change its character. Paul said that Christ came to break down “a middle wall of partition” and that without this the Cross of Christ would become of no effect. Whatever the first century Christians may have done in this regard (there are the marks and wounds of strife in the Book of Acts), whatever they may have done or failed to do, our present interpretation of Christianity in Protestant circles is far from “breaking down” any walls. We have as many prejudices as have our Catholic neighbors, only theirs take a different form. Their united front and policy, of opposition to all who do not agree with them in theory, of course, is the very antithesis of the Gospel. Let it be a lesson to us.

Like these ancient mariners, we have thrown overboard much of the tackling of the ship. There is not much water between our keel and the rocks. Shipwreck may be ahead. If all abide in the ship, if there is a unified purpose of good will, all will come safe to land, though it may be on broken pieces of the ship.

No one is wise enough to predict the future. There are certain great and abiding principles that ought, however, to direct our life, individual and social. These have been defied; that is our trouble today. Old-fashioned honesty, a simple faith in action; these have been largely lacking in the setup of the last twenty years. We have become too sophisticated. There are many new helps to navigation, thanks to Lord Kelvin and a hundred others, but none of them can afford to neglect the stars. Like these ancient sailors, “we have cast our anchors out of the stern and long for the day.” Serious thought has been forced upon us and as we revamp our plans for the future, in the Spirit of Christ, regardless of what our traditional religious prejudices have indicated, we ought to go forward with our main reliance on the Ethical Gospel of our Lord. There is salvation in no other Name; and that, in the barest terms, He said, was to love God with heart, soul and mind and ones neighbor as one’s self.

We need a new infusion of the fear of the Lord, reverence for the Highest and Best, a new appreciation of good will and brotherhood, a baptism of the spirit of love that suffers long and is kind, that never fails and cannot fail.