Thursday, July 17, 2008

Happy William White Day!

Today is the feast day of William White (pictured) the first Bishop if Pennsylvania which at that time included Pittsburgh. (The Diocese of Pittsburgh was not created until 1866). In the nearly fifty years he was bishop, White made only one visit to Pittsburgh in 1825 (some say against his will). He visited a number of churches and did confirmations. His coming west had an enormously important effect on the people of the region.
In his convention address of 1887 the Bishop of Pittsburgh, Cortlandt Whitehead, spoke about Bishop White's visit over 60 years before. What follows is an excerpt from that address.

"Indeed the impulse given by that single visit of Bishop White in 1825 has never been permitted to lose its force. At that time there were but ten clergymen within the region now composing the Diocese of Pittsburgh. They were as follows:

The Rev. John P. Bailsman, Jr., Fayette County.
The Rev. John H. Hopkins, Trinity Church, Pittsburgh.
The Rev. Rob't Ayres, Brownsville.
The Rev. Francis Reno, Beaver County.
The Rev. John Taylor, Pittsburgh.
The Rev. Moses P. Bennett, Kittanning and Butler.
The Rev. Charles Smith, Meadville.
The Rev. H. H. Peiffer, Brownsville.
The Rev. D. C. Page, Greensburg.
The Rev. Wm. R. Bowman, Brownsville.

There were five parishes organized, (Trinity, Pittsburgh; Christ
Church, Meadville; Christ Church, Brownsville; St. John's, Franklin,
and Christ Church, Greensburg;) but it is difficult if not impossible
to ascertain exactly the number of congregations which these ten clergymen served. Bishop White seems to have visited Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Connellsville, and Brownsville, besides Wheeling, in Virginia, and several places in Central Pennsylvania. He confirmed over two hundred candidates, almost all of them the first fruits of the ministry of the Rev. John H. Hopkins, afterwards Bishop of Vermont. From that visit the Church in Western Pennsylvania renewed its hope for the future."

Bishop Whitehead 1887

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