The Reverend William Proctor Remington

Saint Paul's ChurchHistory

In 1911, as soon as Thurston’s resignation was definite, a call was sent to The Rev. William Proctor Remington, vicar of the memorial chapel of the Holy Communion in Philadelphia. The parish had had young rectors before but Remington was the first track star. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1900. He was a member of the U. S. Olympic track team and competed as a hurdler and sprinter in the Paris games. He finished studies at Virginia Theological Institute and was ordained to the priesthood in 1906 serving at Memorial Chapel. This vigorous new rector brought a new approach to the church and soon parishioners were using the church all week as well as Sunday. His Olympian prowess attracted youth and the gym was filled with boys and young men in classes and playing on a basketball team. The girls and women had their own gym classes.

In 1912, St. Paul’s yearbook was filled with reports of many activities, finances were in good shape and reflected a balanced budget. In 1915 total income from offerings was $11,996. The budget was balanced and the rector was paid $250.00 a month.

Choir camp became something for choir boys to work for. They were awarded 10 free days at camp for faithful service during the year. St. Paul’s rented camp grounds from the YMCA and other organizations. Between 40 and 60 boys attended each summer.

Sunday school rooms were a premium as enrollment was more than 400. The undercroft was divided with movable screens and curtains. Wood paneling was installed against the limestone rock walls of the foundation and wood cabinets built into all the rooms.

1916 saw the start of Scout Troop 98, sponsored by Saint Paul’s. Scoutmaster F. Gordon Wright served for more than 40 years. The Troop has a long record of dedicated leadership and success attested to by the large number of Eagle Scouts from its ranks. Scout Troop 98 was a part of St. Paul’s into the 1990’s.

Saint Paul’s was a popular and fashionable place for weddings. The Vestry instituted a fee schedule for non-members because of the demand. The choir of some 60 men and boys had no definite practice or robing room. They used one of the Sunday school rooms. Some of the more active young men were in college. Their activities around the church during the week were lessened.

On September 1914, the chairman of the House Committee presented a report to the Vestry to do work on the Parish house. War clouds were on the horizon and the vestry hesitated to make a firm commitment but did authorize refinishing the woodwork and decorating the walls of the Parish house, assembly room and guild room for a cost of $799.25. The Vestry authorized raising the floor of the gymnasium thus making it unsuitable for athletic purposes. The space was converted to a kindergarten room, also used as a Sunday school room. One side could be used for the choir boys and conversion of the former kindergarten room to a church parlor. This would answer other needs.