I Love St. Philip's
by Mary Rubeck
I love St Philip's because of the fun-loving, God-loving people who are members.
the 2nd reason I love St. Philip's is because my great-grandparents James & Elizabeth Pollard were members of the church when it began along with their children.
My grandfather Thomas Pollard was their youngest child and was a member also. Grandfather was one of the members of the church who wanted to have a church in Easthampton. His name is on the document given to them from the diocese of Massachusetts on January 8,1871.
The first service was held in the lower floor of old Town Hall on Main Street.
A few years later the parish purchased land on the corner of Union St, and Chapman Ave. where they built and used Union Chapel for a few years. In 1899 the parish purchased land at 128 Main St from The Sawyer Estate and laid a cornerstone there. On Dec 25,1901 the church was consecrated and in July, 1902 the church was dedicated. The corner stone dated 1902 is at the southwest, right front of the church.
I was born Aug 2, 1928 at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, the daughter of James & Edith (Cory) Pollard. Since my parents were members of the church I guess I can say I was born into the faith.
Special events I remember during my life attending St Philip's:
At age 5 I remember climbing the curvy staircase going up to the tower room of the church. I think maybe it was nursery class during church service. I know the teacher was Mrs. Eva Carter.
I was baptized in Oct 1928; and then when I was 15 I was confirmed at St Philip's.
After high school I became a Sunday school teacher.
David Haines and Richard Truehart tell me I was their teacher. I belonged to the Woman's Fellowship; I was a vestry member; and now I'm on Altar Guild as Directress; I also sang in the choir for over 40 years.
In 1957 the vestry voted to double the size of the parish hall to what we have today.
In 1959 I married Roland Rubeck at Notre Dame church but continued attending St Philip's.
In the early 1970's Roland, Mark and Laurie joined st Philip's and became active members. A few years later Missi was confirmed and became a member of our church too.
I recall reading about the organ being replaced a few times and I think the organ we have now was purchased in the mid 1970's it was a used organ purchased from a church in the south. The console used to be on the pulpit side of the church up in the choir but was moved to where it is now.
We jump a few years and then in the 1990's the tower room roof needed repair. As I recall they lowered the roof a little bit but the little room is still there.
In 1999-2000 our beautiful Victorian Rectory was in need of much repair, so it was decided to take it down. It was sold for one dollar; they had to pay to have it removed. It was taken away by truck.
A gentleman from purchased it and moved it piece by piece to Hatfield and has constructed it to it's original state. We now have a nice parking lot in its place.
I have met many wonderful people and made many good friends. Over these 92 plus years, I love this little church, it means a lot to me. The people who come alway make me feel welcome, as I try to do for them.
What St. Philips Means to Me
by Fran Kidder
About 6 years ago, I came to St. Philips and, since I knew 2 people there already, I quickly felt at home. The openness and friendliness of the St. Philips community increased that feeling. But that wasn’t so different from my experience at other churches. What was different was the energy of the priest and the congregation to not just preserve the status quo, but to make the church ever more a vehicle for spiritual transformation - through creative liturgy, community outreach, and study/prayer groups. I have also discovered at St. Philips an appreciation of one’s gifts and encouragement to be oneself - even while working to be transformed. This pandemic year has intensified the need of the church to adapt to new conditions, to stay relevant, to be creative in bringing “the people to God and God to the people.” And St. Philips is meeting the challenge. Long live St. Philips!
AN ORGAN FOR ST. PHILIP’S
by Ronald P. Shepard
In the early 1970’s I was employed by Austin Organs Incorporated in Hartford, CT and was also maintaining a number of organs in the lower Pioneer Valley on my own. One of those was the previous Hall Organ Co. pipe organ which had been installed at St. Philip’s in the early 20th century. By the early 1970’s it was showing signs of age and the need for a significant investment for repair and update.
At the request of the then rector, Rev. David Harrower, I reached out to Eugene A. Kelley Associates of Lawrence, MA, whom I knew from previous organ rebuilding projects. Mr. Kelley, in turn, brought in Mr. Barclay Wood, the then Minister of Music at the First Baptist Church in Worcester. After assessing the Hall instrument, Mr. Wood recommended replacing it rather than rebuilding it. He further recommended that the church reach out to the Andover Organ Company of Lawrence, MA and request that the firm locate an existing organ in need of a new home. Eventually, the church and Andover signed a contract for the refurbishment and installation at St. Philip’s of an organ built in 1894 by the Hook & Hastings Organ Company of Boston (one of the preeminent organ builders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries). The organ, the firm’s Opus 1624, had originally been installed in the Methodist Church of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and was subsequently moved (in 1922) to the Methodist Church in Lisbon Falls, Maine. When the Lisbon Falls church made some structural changes, the organ became available.
In order to help reduce the overall cost of the project, I offered to guide several volunteers from the church in removing the Hall organ to make way for the Hook & Hastings instrument. Thus, in the early autumn of 1974, some 8 to 10 individuals met early on a Saturday morning and proceeded to remove the pipes, chestwork, mechanism and structure from the organ chamber on the left-hand side of the chancel. By the end of the day the work was complete, and the disassembled instrument was temporarily stored in the parish hall pending subsequent removal.
The “new” Hook & Hastings instrument was dedicated on Sunday, May 4, 1975, and has faithfully served its third home for the nearly half-century since.
by Bonnie Katusich
With our then two-year old son Joe (and his Pooh bear) in tow, my husband and I were church shopping in Hampshire County in the fall of 1996 and since I grew up Episcopalian (yet had been away for 15 years) eventually landed at 128 Main Street. As many have said over the years and was true then, it was a friendly, welcoming first visit, and we stayed for coffee hour. Nancy Lee Manseau, the church secretary at the time, invited us to a pot luck dinner scheduled the following Saturday. We attended, and were hooked. Food and fellowship has always been a strongpoint in our parish family!
Life is strangely predictable. Any time relationships are involved in our lives, we should be prepared for a roller-coaster of sorts, and my family’s life was no different. Funny though – while my family life had its ebbs and flows, my church life and relationships remained steady. Members seemed to support me and my family no matter what was happening in our lives. My son had a security blanket – actually a teddy bear – a Winnie the Pooh, and even Pooh was cared for by our St. Philip’s family (ask me about when Pooh went missing!).
While I’ve held many roles in our small congregation, the most important one to-date, and the most meaningful work I have done has been serving as a ‘LEM’- Lay Eucharistic Minister. Reading scripture and leading prayers involves me in our Sunday worship in meaningful ways I am not normally involved. But the role of administering the chalice is by far my favorite role. There is a certain intimacy of seeing and assisting members as they drink from the ‘cup of salvation’ that humbles me and fills my heart. As one who appreciates hearing my name when I receive Holy Communion, I do the same, reciting members’ names as I administer the chalice. Why is it I am so terrible at remembering names, yet at the communion rail everyone’s names seem to roll right off my tongue, bringing me just for that quick moment, in close communion with each individual?
I care deeply about every member of our church family, as they each have cared deeply for me. I miss this role most during this long period of pandemic, and hope we are able to share in full communion again soon.