Roger Bennett’s Book of Common Prayer
Deep in a box in the closet in the Rector’s office I came across a Book of Common Prayer from 1929 with the name Roger W. Bennett inscribed in the front cover. The name was familiar enough for me to walk down the hall to the pictures of the former rectors of St. Mary’s to see if I might put a face to the name. Mr. Bennett is pictured in a jacket and tie, with round glasses, and a slight smile. He was the eighteenth rector of St. Mary’s and served here from 1934-1950.
Mr. Bennett’s prayer book is full of penciled notations and pasted in prayers. In penmanship that was clearly from another era, Rev. Bennett wrote beautiful prayers that he included in the margins. One, from the collects section, I found especially meaningful.
Almighty God, Creator & Father, the more clearly we press toward thy presence, the more strongly we feel about us the presence the multitudes who through the ages have loved thee. Day by day, in common lives like ours, they sought thy grace; day by day they tried to do thy will. We are forever blessed in the heritage we have from thee through them.
Today we remember especially those souls who planned and built St. Mary’s Church, and all who in succeeding years have worshipped and belonged here for love of thee that thy word might be made known, thy kingdom brought forward, thy spirit find expression among thy children in this place. In grateful memory of them we bless thy holy Name and ask thy guidance that we may go ever further in thy way on the foundation they have laid; in the way of thy blessed son our savior, Jesus Christ. Amen
It gives me great comfort to know that, even 80 years ago, the clergy who served here understood the legacy of the founders of this church was still alive and moving. I look forward to embarking on this next chapter of St. Mary’s with you all!