Blog
December 3, 2018, 7:00 AM

Remembering Bill Atkins


                                                                            Bill Dyer Atkins
                                                              November 16, 1920 – October 18, 2018

Bill Dyer Atkins, 97, died October 18, 2018.  Born in Bowling Green, KY, she was a daughter of the late Elmer and Lenora Dyer.  Bill lived an extraordinary life, by anyone’s standards.  As a woman coming of age in the first half of the 20th century, she demonstrated an intelligence and drive that rivaled and surpassed that of her male counterparts.  Through out her 97 years, Bill never stopped learning and teaching and spreading her infectious curiosity and passion for science, the arts, animals, religion and agriculture.  All while maintaining the wit and grace that charmed everyone she encountered.  Growing up in Owensboro, KY Bill was home schooled during the Polio epidemic.  She learned at such a voracious rate that when she rejoined the public-school systems she skipped two grade levels.  The family moved to Lexington in the spring of her senior year of high school and at age 16, following her graduation from Henry Clay Hight School, Bill enrolled in the University of Kentucky.  While at UK she not only pursued her studies in geology, but also attained her pilots license and was an active member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.  After graduating from the University of Kentucky Bill attended graduate school at the University of Texas, earning a master’s degree in Geology in 1943.  She put her education and training to work with a department of the Pentagon during World War II.  Bill compared topographical maps to aerial photos of the terrain to locate hidden bunkers.  This crucial information allowed the US and its Allies to undertake targeted bombing missions with a higher level of success.  After the war Bill Married Captain James Franklin Goodman of the Army Air Corps and moved to central Florida.  There she was a vitally active member in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and the Winter Haven Garden Club.  Bill raised three small children in central Florida, instilling a love of animals, music and adventure in each of them.  Following a separation from James, Bill returned to Kentucky and to her career as a geologist.  She married Tom Atkins in 1963 and was a founding member of St. Hubert’s Episcopal Church in 1969.
During the 1960s Bill and Tom Atkins operated Melcher and Adkins Oil Company and BCO Drilling.  They developed oil and gas properties on the Rockcastle Uplift in Clay and Laurel Counties and the Trapp Gas Field in Clark County Kentucky.  Throughout that time Bill became involved in the equestrian community in central Kentucky, shepherding her daughter, Bill through the show circuit.  Bill eventually served as a member of the Equestrian Events Incorporated Board.  She was a staunch supporter of the organization and even in her later years never missed a Rolex three-day event.  In the 1990s Bill and her sons, Jim and John operated Melita Farms located in Clark County.  The land generated wholesale produce for local restaurants and grocery stores as well as regional distributors such as Kroger and Walmart.  Melita Farms also managed a warehouse at Blue Grass Station for distribution of Kentucky grown produce to these markets from other area growers.  It made Bill proud to not only provide healthy produce from her Melita Farm’s own operations, but to support and champion the small farm movement in Kentucky. Bill lived a full and purposeful life.  She made a memorable impact on everyone she encountered.  She will be missed.
(Written by Bill’s granddaughter, Taylor)

 (Written by Bill’s granddaughter, Taylor)




August 6, 2018, 12:00 AM

A Concrete Angel


                                                     A CONCRETE ANGEL

 

OUR FRIEND AND OUR CHURCH FRIEND, LOST HER HUSBAND TO AN EARLY 

                                                                                              DEATH.

                                            SADNESS PREVAILED.

THEY WERE BOTH LOVED.  IN RESPONSE TO OUR GRIEF WE WANTED TO GIVE HER A SPECIAL GIFT - A GIFT WITH SYMBOLIC MEANING, THAT WOULD LAST BEYOND 
                                                  QUICKLY FADING THINGS.

A VIST WAS MADE TO A LOCAL FLOWER SHOP IN HOPE OF FINDING THE RIGHT THING. UPON APPROACHING THE FRONT OF THE BUILDING - THERE IT WAS - THE ONLY ONE.  A CONCRETE ANGEL.  IT WAS RIGHT FOR HER FLOWER GARDEN - A REMINDER OF GOD'S CONTINUING MINISTRY TO HER.  THE SHOP PEOPLE AGREED.
  THIS WAS A GOOD CHOICE.  IT WAS AN APPROPRIATE WAY TO SHOW THE LOVE
OF OUR CHURCH, WHICH WOULD REMAIN AT HER HOME FOR A LONG TIME.

 THE LORD LEADS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS-IF ONLY WE WOULD PAY ATTENTION.

   A CONCRETE ANGEL FOUND A NEW HOME AS A SYMBOL OF GOD'S LOVING
                                                            PRESENCE.

 

ED MESTA-WINCHESTER, KY.

 


 

 


 

                                                  

 




July 11, 2018, 8:48 AM

Lexington's First Verger



 

LEXINGTON'S FIRST VERGER

Dr. Dixon Barr became the first verger in the Diocese of Lexington, when on May 19, 1991 he was officially commissioned verger of Christ Church Cathedral, thereby becoming the first verger in the 200 year history of the diocese.

The office of a verger is a special one – a marvelous blend of the old and the new – very old to the Anglican Church and brand new to the Diocese of Lexington.

Christ Church had never had a verger, not during its years as a cathedral nor during its longer history as a parish church , yet vergers are as much a part of cathedral lore as bishop or dean or provost.

Most cathedrals and lots of parish churches in England have vergers, and they are becoming more and more prevalent in the Episcopal Church in America. There is now a guild called the Vergers' Guild of the Episcopal Church (VGEC), formed during the 1980s, of which Dixon was a member.

One of the principal duties of a verger today is to act as a master of ceremonies, leading the procession down the aisle and verging (leading) the lectors to the lectern and the preacher to the pulpit, waiting until they are finished and verging them back to their seats. He may direct others or be involved personally with the movement of the gospel procession, baptismal procession and offertory procession of oblations and alms.

Through the ages vergers have also served as parish clerks, acolytes, chalice bearers, lay readers, sextons, tour guides, parish historians and even as grave diggers. Some vergers who hold full time positions in churches or cathedrals have varied duties, such as maintenance of the buildings, church security, sacristan, etc. They can be found in large cathedrals or small parishes, even in missions they may be full time, part time, volunteer or salaried.

In the early Church the verger was known as the ostiarius, Latin for doorkeeper. In the Middle Ages they were called protectors of the procession, as they led and protected the clergy as they processed..

The dictionary defines a verger as “an official who carries a verge before a scholastic, legal or ecclesiastical dignitary; specifically, in English cathedrals and collegiate churches, one who carries the mace before the dean or canons.”

The word verga in Latin means rod or staff or wand. The verge, actually a mace, was used to beat back unfriendly animals or rowdy citizens – anything or anyone who might try to harm the clergy. It became the symbol of strength and authority and an emblem of office. In some churches and cathedrals the verge was used not only to clear the way for processions but also to discipline unruly choristers and members of the congregation.

Verges, with the passing of time, have become more and more ornate and varied in shape, size and design since they took on their ceremonial role. The modern verge is approximately 40 inches long with a cross or other ornament at one end. The pole is usually made of hard wood.

Christ Church Cathedral's verge is a black wooden wand surmounted by a silver archangel. It was made in London in 1918, and was bequeathed to the Society of St. Margaret in Boston by the Rev. Andrew Chalmers Wilson in 1952. It came to Christ Church Cathedral through the Sisters of St. Margaret at St. Agnes House.

The verger's gown started as a type of coat that protected the wearer from the elements. Gowns today are available in several styles, colors and materials and may be worn over either cassock, alb or business suit. More often an academic gown is worn by today's vergers, such as the doctoral gown from Columbia University worn by Dr. Barr.

Historically the verger is responsible for insuring that all of the various components of the worship of the church are attended to and run smoothly. His role is to do this for the clergy so that they may be free to lead the people in the worship of God without distraction.

Amid changing liturgies and changing styles vergers go about performing their necessary functions. They play an important role in several churches in the Diocese of Lexington.

 

By Frances Keller Barr

 




June 2, 2018, 3:09 PM

Reflections on John Jacob Niles



The biography of John Jacob Niles, I Wonder as I Wander (University Press of Kentucky 2010) opened with an “Overture” that set the scene for the ensuing story:

“From Boot Hill farm, it is but a brisk hike winding up the hill to St. Hubert’s Episcopal Church, the little country church whose front doors were lovingly crafted by Niles. Sacred icons and scriptures adorn the doors, but these carvings are also intertwined with images of the native tobacco leaves and dogwood blossoms that bind the church to the surrounding countryside. Inside the church, deer antlers surmount the hymn boards. While this symbol might seem extravagantly pagan for staid Episcopal worship, the antlers are there to remind the congregation that Saint Hubert, patron saint of the hunt, miraculously witnessed the appearance of a crucifix between a stag’s horns. The choice of Saint Hubert as the church’s patron is particularly apt, because the parish is centrally situated within the verdant countryside known as “hunt country.”

John Jacob, his wife Rena, and sons Thomas Michael Tolliver and John Edward, lived just down the road at Boot Hill Farm located beside Boone Creek at the Fayette/Clark County border on the Athens-Boonesboro Road. Niles, who had traveled all over the world in his career as a ballad collector, singer, author, and composer chose to settle in Clark County and moved into the home they built on April 17, 1939. Here Rena and John Jacob raised their sons, tilled the soil, embraced the hunt country community, and worshipped at Saint Hubert’s Church.

In the late 1940s, Niles began attending services at Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington where he and Rena became close friends with Bishop William R. Moody and his wife Cordie Lee. In collaboration with Moody, Niles regularly provided music for the choir, inaugurated an annual Christmas “Evening of Carols” (1958-) broadcast on the radio, and composed the oratorio Lamentation(1952). When Bishop Moody initiated the design and construction of Saint Hubert’s Church he invited Niles to carve the front doors which he lovingly carved from native oak boards featuring passages of the 84th psalm.

Niles and Rena became members of the congregation when the church opened in 1969. Niles was buried in the cemetery following his death March 1, 1980 and Rena was interred beside him upon her passing on June 28, 1996.

The Kentucky Historical Society will dedicate a state historical marker at Boot Hill Farm on Jacob Niles’s 126th birthday April 28, 2018. The marker summarizes Niles’s career and the family’s attachment to the land and people of hunt country with this inscription:

“Composer, author, and ballad singer John Jacob Niles (1892-1980) built Boot Hill Farm here in 1939. Niles composed the songs “I Wonder As I Wander,” “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair,” and “Go ‘Way from My Window.” A WWI aviator, he published the folksong collections Songs My Mother Never Taught Me and Singing Soldiers.

Niles was the first folk musician featured at Carnegie Hall and performed at the inaugural Newport Folk Festival. His publications and performances with a dulcimer exerted a strong influence on the American folk revival. Niles, his wife Rena, and their sons Thomas and John Edward, lived at Boot Hill Farm.”

Ron Pen
Clark County, KY 
March 2018

 




February 7, 2018, 12:00 AM

Epiphany and Burning of the Greens


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Having completed the 12 days of Christmas on Twelfth Night, we then celebrate Epiphany Day and burn our Christmas greenery. The Christmas greenery has served its purpose and the fire burning from these celebrates the light and warmth of Christ coming into the world on one of the darkest (and often one of the coldest) nights of the year.

Epiphany celebrates the light of Christ being revealed to the wider world, symbolized by the visit to the manger by the Three Wise Men (or Magi).