Morgan Rd. Church

Posted on July 14, 2016

REMEMBERING CLAY

Morgan Road Church Has a Fresh Look

In response to inquiries concerning the old Morgan Road Church, dating back to 1839, I held two meetings with, and interviewed, the new Priest, the Rev. Fr. Richard Cumming, OHI, Rector of the Anglican Church of St. Mary the Virgin. He wanted the history of the church building and the property. A short review of the history of this church building must include its founder, the Rev. Abraham Morgan. He was born September 5, 1794, the son of Charles Morgan, a Revolutionary hero, who died when Abraham was only three years old. In 1800, he went to live with Mr. Thomas Pool of Clay. It is believed he started his ministry and built the church building about 1839. This Methodist Episcopal congregation grew. In 1867, when Rev. Morgan retired and became an elder, the Morgan Church combined with the Euclid Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Morgan passed away on May 21, 1873. For almost a century, the two churches shared the same pastor. In 1959, the two churches combined their efforts to building a new parsonage for the pastor under the leadership of the Rev. Paul Beeman. The land included acreage to build a new church building. Working together, the two congregations decided to combine and formed one congregation known as Trinity Methodist Church, breaking ground for the new church March 29, 1963. The first service was conducted in this building on November 1, 1964. The old Euclid Methodist Church building still stands on Morgan Road in the Hamlet of Euclid. The old Morgan Church building was used by various religious denominations of worshippers over the years. It was vacated in 1992 by the Anderson, Illinois First Church of God, who wanted the property rezoned retail in order tail to a dance studio. Town of Clay officials denied it stressing the historical importance of the building. In 1994 under the leadership of the Rev. Canon Nelson B. Skinner, SSC Rector, the building and adjoining property was purchased by the Anglican Church of St. Mary the Virgin. on March 4 and the next day the Anglicans were making the church their new home. The pulpit was moved from center to side in keeping with the “altar-centered not pulpit-centered” nature of Anglican services and red and gold flocked paper adorned the altar. Their “thrifty” efforts included: scrubbing the old wooden pews until they glistened; 1940 hymnals – a gift from several churches; a red velvet robe for the dedication – a gift from a friend; baptismal font – a gift from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; an organ donated by a church member; and many other donated second-hand items. What a difference from their previous location in a back room at H.O.W. Hardware! The Rev. Cummings was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1986 and went to state schools. In the Scottish education system, there is no separation of church and state; public schools are religious schools. In the nineteenth century, the church-run schools were not giving the students the best level of education. The government took over the Protestant schools in the 1870’s and the Catholic schools in 1918. All schools were standardized to give a higher level of education. He received his Bachelors degree from Glasgow University, with a major in Theology and a minor in German. His Masters was from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and he is working on his PhD from Mc Gill University in Montreal, Canada where he met his wife, Joy, a native of Watertown. He is presently writing his dissertation on John Paul II. In November 2015, he was appointed as an Assistant under Bishop Hewitt and in February 2016, he was appointed Rector of the Anglican Church of St. Mary the Virgin. He explained that they use the old Anglican-Catholic service and believe the same Catholic Faith of the first centuries, unchanged since the year 440. They reject many of the doctrinal changes of recent years as ordination of women and use of inclusive language in referring to God. When asked about the great new improvements being made at the building site, he said that they are fortunate to have an engineer, contractor, architect and landscaper in their congregation. When he arrived last fall, the new doors were already added and the new roof They have other volunteers from the congregation and a boy scout is redoing the sidewalk and stairs for his Eagle Badge. The next project is the bell tower. Personally, he loves the country atmosphere in Clay and although his wife teaches in Watertown, he would like to move from Adams to Clay someday. In the distant future is the construction of a Rectory. His mission is Traditional Anglican worship in 16th century Elizabethan English using the 1549/1928 Prayer Book, 1940 Hymnal, 1611 authorized King James Bible, old English Mass and the Canon of the 4th Century. Mass is on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. The Rev. Cumming stated: “The best way to go forward is to go back! Believing what the Church has always believed, teaching what the Church has always taught, and worshiping the way the Church has always worshipped.”

Dorothy Heller, Historian 5-20-2016

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