Pastor Abner T. Cunningham, conducting services. This pastor had energetically set about creating a bridge between the church and Woodstock's street people--for example, by letting homeless folks camp out in the church building. As a result, the rather "conservative" members of the congregation, with little tolerance of the "hippies" in the town, had become alienated from him--especially after he had joined an antiwar demonstration in Kingston the previous spring and, along with other protesters, publicly destroyed his draft card. According to church historian Mark Anderson(1),
From Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], p. 134. (Close)
The result of [Pastor Cunningham's] effort in social experimentation was the forced departure of the pastor (his tenure of 11 months was the shortest in the history of the congregation), the near collapse of Christ's Church as a viable institution in Woodstock, and a lasting mistrust of synod officials on the part of many of the laity.Reflecting on this 4 years later, Pastor Cunningham remarked:
I don't have any idea of how to review my pastorate in Woodstock.… I guess at that particular point in my ministry I saw the pastor as one who should "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." The brevity of my service seems to have been due, in part, to my having succeeded in at least the second part of that old dictum.(2)Anderson noted that there was
From Moseman, Magda, and Anderson, Mark, eds., Perspectives and Patterns: Christ's Lutheran Church, 1806-1976 [Woodstock, NY: self-published monograph, 1976]. (Close)
was a seven-month delay between Pastor Cunningham's departure and the identification of a new pastoral candidate by the synod. Some members of the congregation were convinced that the delay was intended to punish them.(3)
From Anderson, For All the Saints, op. cit., pp. 134-35. (Close)
Walter Kortrey, pictured here, arrived in September from Trinity Church in Landsdale, Pennsylvania, called by the Synod to be interim pastor, with the title "Synod Administrator." As he moved into the parsonage, he proclaimed:
I want you to know that I have come to be YOUR pastor and I have come to stay.(4)(He would be officially called the following year.)
Quoted in Christ's Beacon, September 2006. (Close)
was very aware of the great difficulties that had ensued at Christ's Lutheran Church in Woodstock. He set about healing the congregation with great attention to the wide variety of opinions held not only within the congregation, but also among the townspeople in general. The story of his pastorate is the story of a slow but certain involvement of the congregation with the pressing social needs of the town.(5)Pastor Kortrey had attended Mt. Airy Seminary in Philadelphia, where professors Martin Heinecken and Theodore Tapert had taught the importance of the Church's role in social issues. In fact, Professor Heinecken would be preaching at Pastor Kortrey's installation service at Christ's Church in the coming year.
From Anderson, For All the Saints, op. cit., p. 135. (Close)
Pastor Kortrey was able to convince the synod to provide funds for the private, nonprofit social service agency known as Familly of Woodstock, a volunteer group that had grown out of a telephone hotline response for troubled people. Under Pastor Kortrey's leadership, the congregation became involved with a Food Pantry for needy families and a Meals-on-Wheels program for senior citizens.
Meanwhile, music was a concern among many in the congregation--in particular, the pipe organ that the congregation had obtained the year before (click the picture to enlarge it), originally built in 1885 by Hook & Hastings for the Baptist Church of Hopkinton, NH. According to an entry in the church record book for January 14:
Magda Moseman, chairman of the worship & music committee reported "with pride" on the refurbished pipe organ. Barbara Pickhardt is the organist.According to the May issue of The Scroll(6):
The Council of Christ's Lutheran Church decided to dedicate our organ on May 7th. We are pleased to announce that Pastor Steven Middernacht will return to conduct the Worship Service and also dedicate the organ. With Pastor Middernacht's musical ability and his interest in making the initial contacts necessary for us to obtain the organ, we are happy that he has agreed to return.The congregation dedicated the pipe organ as a memorial to Edna Stevenson. According to historian Anderson(7):
The Hook and Hastings organ is almost perfectly matched to the acoustic and architectural space of the church building. It is a small, single manual (keyboard), and pedalboard instrument, with a tracker action (direct mechanical linkage), and with a limited number of stops. It was built in Boston in 1885, just ten years prior to the dedication of Christ's Church.Our Hook and Hastings organ has been placed on the register of historic American pipe organs. Unfortunately, however, there was a problem:
Over the years and even in the beginning, we were a little disappointed in that we felt the organ was capable of producing better results than we were getting. We had great difficulty in finding competent tuners.(8)According to Anderson:
Quoted in The Scroll, November 1979. (Close)
What was not known when the organ was purchased… was that the instrument is pitched nearly a half tone higher than standard tuning. It is not possible to add lengths to pipes and so it will always remain at that high pitch. This can be a challenge for tenors trying to sing high parts! It was also quickly learned that wind instruments (clarinets, trumpet, oboes, etc.) could not tune high enough to play with the organ.(9)It would be more than 7 more years before the organ would be brought up to its full potential.
Quoted in Anderson, For All the Saints, op. cit., p. 156. (Close)
This is a placeholder for information on our region during this year. The information will come soon. The footnote at the end of this sentence is also a placeholder; please don't click it.(10)
Richard M. Nixon (Republican) was President. The 92nd Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $4.97 in 2006 for most consumable products.
This is a placeholder for information on the United States during this year. The information will come soon. The footnote at the end of this sentence is also a placeholder; please don't click it.(11)
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