Twichell’s Resignation Announced from the Pulpit

12/10/1911 |

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At the Sunday service at Asylum Hill Congregational Church, just before the benediction, E. P. Parker read Joseph Twichell’s letter of resignation to congregants.  The congregants reacted with unconcealed sorrow.

In a joint meeting of the committee of the Asylum Hill Congregational Society and the prudential committee that followed the service, Howard Walter’s resignation was announced.

Neat little tidbit

Parker was leading the service in place of Twichell, and he paid tribute to his dear friend after making the announcement.  Howard Walter assisted Parker during the service, and he shared a few remarks on Twichell as well, just before he gave the benediction.

According to the Courant, no more than six people had known about Twichell’s resignation prior to the announcement. Only one person, Charles A. H. Bronson, knew about Walter’s departure.

At some point during the day, Walter spoke to a Courant reporter and largely confirmed the outlines of the two resignations:  Walter’s had come first and related to his desire to become a foreign missionary; that announcement of his resignation had been held back to allow Twichell’s to be announced first; and that the two men had not conferred about their resignations at any point in their personal deliberations.

Trust but verify

Both the Fiftieth and the Seventy-fifth Anniversary articles gave the date of Twichell’s resignation as December 13, which was the anniversary of his installation, but that’s clearly wrong.  And in case you’re thinking it, it’s not the date it became effective, either.  Twichell said only that he wanted his resignation to become effective before the end of July 1912, and the church didn’t act on his letter until January.

Put into context

Pond urged the congregation not to be sad about Twichell’s resignation.  He told them that they had been blessed to have Twichell as their pastor, and Twichell had so thoroughly secured the church’s place in Hartford and its future prosperity that, really, they had nothing to worry about.  Although his remarks come across a little strangely to my reading, Pond was likely contemplating the end of not only Twichell’s career but also his life.  He said that time and tide had turned against Twichell, and it was time to let Twichell retire.  He also made it clear that the church would find a successor to Twichell, but never anyone who would be better than Twichell.

Walter largely echoed Pond’s remarks, except that he said he was better off for having known Twichell than Twichell was for having known him.

Sources

Swartz, Melva J., “Hill Church Will Observe Anniversary,” Hartford Courant, March 18, 1940, page 1.

Unattributed, “Fiftieth Anniversary of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church,” Hartford Courant, February 14, 1915, page X5

Unattributed, “Rev. J. H. Twichell Resigns Pastorate,” Hartford Courant, December 11, 1911, page 1.

Howard Arnold Walter
Joseph Twichell
Asylum Hill Congregational Church

History


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