Lost and Found: Uncovering the deeper history of Saint James

Cordelia Moyse First Century Leave a Comment

This is the first post of a new blog that will regularly share with the wider parish what we are discovering as we catalogue the contents of our amazing archives. The challenges of the pandemic have not prevented the start of this major project in the Parish House basement.

Beginning with the first vestry meeting in 1744, we are fortunate to have letters, minutes, newspapers, photos, and sermons(!) which tell something of the life of Saint James over the past 300 years. In May I was delighted to welcome Erin Magee, a history graduate of Millersville University, to assist me in organizing this material.

For three reasons our initial focus is on the papers of Rector Robert C. Batchelder (1939-69). Not only did he serve during some of the most momentous years of political, social, and spiritual upheaval in the twentieth century but he has left us with a large treasure trove of papers. Moreover, as a historian himself, he collected material relating to the earlier history of Saint James.

Over 50 boxes and 6 weeks later, our enthusiasm for this project has not dimmed. We have found many treasures and I look forward to sharing them with you in the coming weeks.

Dr. Cordelia Moyse is writing a new social history of Saint James. This book will not duplicate the excellent work contained within earlier histories. Rather, Cordelia intends to focus on the experience of parishioners and to put the story of Saint James in the context of wider church cultural and theological trends in the Anglican Communion and Episcopal Church. A church historian and archivist with a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, she is particularly interested in women’s experience of church and family life. Cordelia is a historical consultant for the BBC and contributes to major publications on the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church.

She has written extensively on social and imperial history. She is the author of A History of the Mothers’ Union: Women, Anglicanism and Globalization, 1876-2008 and has taught at Lancaster Theological Seminary and is currently a visiting scholar at Franklin and Marshall College.

In her spare time, Cordelia enjoys hiking in the NH mountains, watching her daughter play soccer and reading British detective novels.

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