by Rose Nightingale
The Vestry called the Rev. Richard R. Emery in 1948. He was then serving in Albert Lea. His youth, hard work, and pleasing personality endeared him to the whole parish. Soon attendance improved, money was coming in and St. Paul’s was booming again.
Money was appropriated by the vestry for repairs. The interior was cleaned and renovated, and long-delayed work on Camp Lawton was completed. The exterior of the church was painted again and roof repaired.
In 1950 committees were appointed and plans made for a gala celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the parish. Alice Emery, the rector’s wife, charmed everyone and entered into the anniversary celebration as well as other parish activities. A number of activities were promoted, including dinners, preaching mission, publication of a sixteen-page booklet with a history of the parish, and a complete listing of members. From that publication bequests from parishioners totaled $66,048. This money was used in building a new church.
Renewed interest in Camp Lawton developed while Rev. Emery was rector. A document was prepared showing the steps necessary to open and close the camp grounds. This manual was a great help to all chair people since. Scott Garoutte, chairman of the camp, with help from Bill Porter, prepared this document.
In 1951, the parish suffered the loss of Rev. Emery. Just as he was getting the church well organized he was called to be missionary bishop of North Dakota — a challenge he couldn’t resist. The Rev. Emery was consecrated at St. Paul’s on May 15, 1951, with the usual pageantry and panoply.
A few days earlier, Tom Perkins, who had begun serving as Sexton in 1924, died. He had served St. Paul’s for 28 years. Tom was always on time, and the church was spotless and in fine working order.. He kept track of couples married in the church. Tom was buried from his church on Lyndale Avenue North. Many St. Paulites attended the services.
The Emerys moved to Fargo, North Dakota. They were settled in their new home when news came that Bishop Emery and two council members were killed in an auto-train accident near Grand Forks.
A search committee was appointed to find a successor for Rev. Emery at St. Paul’s. The ideal man was found in the diocesan office, but Bishop Keeler did not want to release him for parochial work. After much persuasion the bishop gave approval for the Rev. Vernon Johnson to accept the call. The formal service of institution was held November 11, 1951, with Bishop Keeler as instituter. This began a most fruitful and eventful period.
Happy Mothers’ Day!
God chose to be our mother in all things,
and so made the foundation of his work,
most humbly and most pure, in the Virgin’s womb.
God, the perfect wisdom of all, arrayed himself in this humble place.
Christ came in our poor flesh to share a mother’s care.
– Julian of Norwich