The Winter 1987-1988 Directory was released 4 to 5 years after the previous one in 1983. Thanks to Cindy Helton for contributing this directory to be scanned.
Staff changes were noticeable with the first picture in the directory. The Rev. Judy Fleming was now the associate rector. She began at St. George’s July 1, 1986 and was in her second year. Thom Guthrie had retired as organist and music director in August, 1987 and Russell Freeman succeeded him. Charles Hooten retired as treasurer in May, 1986 and had been succeeded by Frank Mason. Charles, Avis and Kathrine Haymes remained from the last directory. This staff would not be together long. Fleming and Freeman left by 1989.
The angst over the prayer book was subsiding. Now there was controversy about pulling out the altar so that the priests back would not have their back to the congregation. During a congregational meeting, Dover Moore, a member of the Vestry, “interrupted the proceedings of Vestry elections and came forward to speak.” He unexpectedly resigned from the Vestry. The Register noted this was the second time he had resigned from a term on the Vestry.
One of the changes from the earlier period was that helping obtain shelter for the homeless became part of St. George’s mission and ministry .
Charles Sydnor, the rector at the time, fondly remembers the beginnings of Hope House:
“In 1985 the plight of the homeless was not well known to many of us. So on a cold February morning when our little Brotherhood of St. Andrew Chapter met at 7 A. M., we found a homeless man trying to play the piano in Faulkner Hall but still a little drunk. He had spent the night in the entrance foyer which was there before remodeling. We listened to Roger’s story of being a Vietnam Vet who had lost his way and stories about others on the street.
“Our group said someone should do something about this and I said why not the five of us? So using the few bucks we had from our weekly coffee can donations, we took out an ad inviting anyone concerned about homelessness in our area to a meeting here and about 70 people came.”
On Sept 8,1985, the Vestry appointed a 3 Vestry member to investigate the purchase of 902 Lafayette which became Hope House. During 1986, the shelter was named “Hope House” at the suggestion of the Charles Sydnor. Hope House opened in January, 1987 in the middle of a snow storm with an initial capacity of 14 persons. That first year ending January, 1988 they housed 160 people and had come in contact with 820 others. The facility was usually filled to capacity.
Despite the success of Hope House, a number in St. George’s realized that that the problem of homelessness was larger than one entity. Hope House was for permanent residents. What about the others in Fredericksburg not helped by Hope House ? The churches banded together and the shelter opened in Jan., 1988. St. George’s would participate 2 weeks. Catherine Hicks and Thurman Brisben were the shelter conveners.
Also in 1987 was the final report on the organ drive. The church prompted by Marge Arnold had brought parts of the abandoned Mary Washington College organ to St. George’s and renovation of church space and the organ began. A plaque honored 30 families who gave at least $1,000. A new 3 manual organ console was installed in the chancel and the older one from the chancel went to the gallery. Both organs could be played by one musician.
Another improvement that appeared in the church in 1987 was a hearing impaired system which came as a gift from Janet and the late Francis King. The system consisted of an small receiver with a volume control and attached with an earplug. The devided received sound from the sound system.
Education also saw changes from the earlier era. In May, 1987 the newsletter called for EFM signups. EFM (“Education for Ministry”) was a 4 year program of theological education that originated at the University Class. The class ending in 1987 was one of the first at St. George’s and consisted of Thurman Brisben, Annie and Paul Dolci, Nancy Ross, Dr. David Johnson and Peggy Marshall
The youth under Judy Fleming was also extending education probing a combined meeting of young adults that met at Aquia Episcopal in Nov., 1986 and came to St. George’s in early 1987. Judy was also instrumental in organizing the first Shrine Mont retreat in May, 1987.
While new ministries were being developed and the building changed, other ministries were changing. The women’s bazaar had morphed into the food festival and pulled in $2,280 during 1988. However, it was only half as much as 1981 when $4,777 was raised.
The perpetual problem facing the church was raising sufficient funds to pay for its ministries. In Dec. 1988, income was 21% less than anticipated. That problem continued to dog the church until the beginning of the new century.