In this golden month of October, your great church celebration takes place. October 9th marks the 125th milestone in the march of Christian soldiers who have passed through the portals of the Saltsburg Presbyterian Church. I would say that the faithfuls are still carrying the banner high. Long may it wave!
This week I have been sharply reminded of the burden that a true servant of the Lord carries. Last Monday evening Virgil and I drove to a distant High School, where a night school course in gardening is offered to adults. (Virgil, the student; I, the chauffeur). We were not quite sure of the streets, and I pulled into the drive of a monastery by mistake. Two strolling priests directed us very graciously. As we were backing out, a short, stocky priest came running and puffing down the street. Thinking our car a "priestly vehicle," he signalled us with a shrill whistle, then called, "Wait a minute." Of course we waited. After seeing his mistake, he asked us if we would mind driving him to St. Luke's hospital. A little three-year-old girl was seriously ill, and he was hastening to her bedside. We said to ourselves, "There goes a good shepherd." The very next evening our 'phone rang about 6:30, and a man's voice asked for Dr. Phillips. I explained that Dr. P. had not yet returned from Oberlin, where he teaches a class in homiletics every Tuesday afternoon. I could only tell the man that Dr. P. would not be home to dinner. "Do you know where I could reach him?" "No, I don't; but can I help you in any way?" "Well ..." and he hesitated. "My father-in-law is dead." I couldn't believe my ears. "Ray" and his lovely wife have been members of our Bell Class, and we saw them in church only a week ago. Virgil saw the wife and daughter up at our church that very afternoon. "What happened to Ray?" I cried. "He committed suicide," was the shocking reply. While his family was away he went into the garage, closed the doors - and you know the rest. Here was a man, living in Cleveland's swankiest suburb, blessed with the best and most loyal of wives, a good daughter, two fine sons, one at M.I.T. and one at Amherst. Ray was an expert accountant, but somehow had been laid off over a year ago, and was finding only skimpy work. One can only imagine the state of despondency that drove a man to such a deed. Because the family has been so devoted to Dr. P., it has hit him very hard. Coming home from the funeral he said, "Somehow I have failed in my ministry."
Never was there a more comforting, reassuring service than that conducted by him and our associate pastor. Many are the calls for advice, for comfort, for solace. A minister's life is not an easy one. May you revere the memory of those who ministered so faithfully in your Presbyterian Church over the past century and a quarter.
Florence B. Taylor
Next - 10/20/49 - Letter from Mabel Ansley Murphy, Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
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