Bernard Drew Discusses Asylum Hill Congregational Church as a Commuter Church

03/21/1973 |


The Courant interviewed Bernard T. Drew about his recently announced retirement from the church.

  1. Drew’s decision to retire was motivated by practical and personal reasons.
  2. He believed that Asylum Hill had changed so much since his arrival that the church needed a new pastor “who hasn’t been indoctrinated into what is.”
  3. He noted that the church had initially consisted mostly of members who lived in Asylum Hill.
    • Then, the church owned only the land on which it stood
    • Now, the church owned most of the land around it, which it needed to acquire for parking
  4. Drew described the church’s future challenges
    • Remaining viable with a “commuting congregation”
    • Establishing a relationship with “people on the move”
    • Connecting with the neighborhood
  5. He was also generally supportive of studying Eastern religions and ecumenical movements within Christianity.
  6. Quotes from the interview
    • “I’ve been under pressure all of my life. If I’m ever going to have a life of my own it must be now.”
    • “The church now, as far as parishioners go, is mislocated.”
    • “People don’t stay in the area any more. Often they live here six months and then they are gone.”
    • “We must increase our sensitivity to the inner city.”
    • “I don’t serve the same church Joseph Twichell did, and my successor won’t serve the same church I did.”

Drew’s retirement was officially announced on December 6, 1972.

Asylum Hill Congregational Church would call a new minister on December 15, 1973.

  1. “He did not want to talk much about himself, preferring to talk about the history and future of the church he has served for nearly a quarter of a century.”
  2. “When he came to Asylum Hill in 1949, the church had a membership of 1,385, a figure that has remained relatively stable during his pastorship – no mean feat in an age of declining church attendance.”
  3. “The Rev. Dr. Drew feels that a minister must be part of the community he serves. He is optimistic about the future of the Asylum Hill area of Hartford and his happy that he was one of the first proponents of what later became Asylum Hill, Inc., a business and community-funded organization working to serve the residents of the area.”

Unattributed, “Pastor of Asylum Hill Church to retire after nearly 24 years of service,” Hartford Courant, March 24, 1973, page 23.

Bernard Drew
Asylum Hill Congregational Church


Share this: