Friday, May 3, 2013

Thursday, May 31, 1888 - The First Service

May 31, 1888
In our report of entertainment for the benefit of the Episcopal Church, we forgot to mention the tableau of "Rock of Ages", personified by Miss DeCantillion Ronald, by clinging to a snow-white cross imbedded in a mound of coquina.  The effect was beautiful, and Miss Ronald acquitted herself with great credit.

The work of the contractor on the new Episcopal Church has been completed, and Bishop Weed is expected to arrive on this(Thursday) evening's train to confirm the members of the preparatory confirmation class.  Mr. Decker has completed the work in the time specified in the contract, and now the work of painting, seating and placing windows will follow next.

Opening of the new Episcopal church at eight o'clock this (Thursday) evening.  Invitation to be present is extended to all.

Episcopal service will be held this evening, at the new church, at eight o'clock.  Bishop Weed will be present.


The news the Church was ready and confirmation would be held in the church that Thursday evening meant there was much to do in a few short hours to make it ready for the service.   While construction was completed, it was not painted, there were no pews, no windows, and no organ.  For years, the small band of Episcopalians had met in their own homes, Titus House and Wager Hall, and now they were to have their own church, St. John’s (later renamed St. Gabriel’s).   As they worked throughout the day, preparing, they must have been filled with excitement and anticipation.  
The lack of furnishings and "comforts" did not hinder the congregation.  Tarpaulins were placed over the windows and orange crates brought in for seats in preparation for the evening service.  The ladies quickly rose to action and that afternoon set about decorating the church with flowers.  By service time, according to the Florida Star, “the altar had been tastily decorated with flowers”, and “with the neat and attractive interior of the church afforded an impressive and lovely picture.”  At the appointed time, under clear skies, the congregation and townspeople filed into the new church, filling it to overflowing.  In this beautiful setting with pleasant weather (mean temperature 77), Bishop Weed confirmed four candidates, Misses Albine and Aline Egger, Miss Hundall and Miss Pritchard.

This evening, May 3, 2013, St. Gabriel's begins its 125th our anniversary celebration. During this time, let us remember the early families of St. Gabriel's who worked so long and hard to build the church.  Their prayers echo from the walls of the church surrounding and supporting its congregation.  

St. Gabriel's is located in Historic Downtown Titusvile
on the corner of Pine & Palm

Please join us at 6 pm, and step back in time to that first service; share in the excitement and joy that surely filled the early parishioners 125 years ago.  

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