May the Peace of Christ be always with you.

Recollections of Parishioners: The Second 25 Years

“When the new church was built, my husband, John B. Reynolds was the liaison between St. David’s and Haddock Construction Co. John was Executive Vice President of that company and very much a part of St. David’s, so he was totally devoted to building a fine edifice and getting the best church architect of the time to design the beautiful building. John and Bob Albers worked together to do this. A day didn’t go by, through any kind of weather, that John didn’t check on the building progress. Work was completed on schedule, to the delight of everyone. John was involved in placing the bell along with Frank Starr and Bob. I believe there is a picture of him, complete with fedora and overcoat on a ladder looking up at the bell while Frank was on the steeple guiding the cherry picker!
. . . John loved St. David’s. He was Junior Warden and on the Vestry several times, lay reader, on search committees, in the choir and naturally on the “buildings and grounds”. Unfortunately, too soon, illness took him and now John’s ashes are buried in our Memorial Garden.”
----Joan Reynolds

"When I asked was asked to write up something for the 50th Anniversary of St. David's, my mind went blank! What people, events and time period would I include? More importantly, which could I remember!! That is sort of an inside joke with my family. My memory (or lack thereof) is always a source of humor at home. But when I really started to think about my life at St. David's, I realized I had 30+ years of experiences.
. . . My introduction to St. David’s was about 32 years ago. Fr. Joslin baptized me in May of 1972 when I was about three months old. I do not remember it, but it was the beginning of a long relationship with St. David’s. When the time for kindergarten came around, I was fortunate to be a student of the St. David’s Episcopal Day School. At that time, Phyllis Conner was the director. I still have friends today that were part of that kindergarten class.
. . . We had several rectors at St. David’s from the time I was baptized through my teenage years. I believe it was four; chronologically it was Frs. Joslin, Tontonoz, Harris and Jaynes. Like most children growing up at St. David’s, I was involved in all of the usual pursuits; Sunday and Vacation Bible school, youth group, Christmas pageants and Confirmation classes. My Confirmation class was taught by none other than … my Mom! Although it is not called Confirmation class anymore, she still teaches the equivalent class today. Some of the most memorable, enjoyable and pride filled times during these years came from serving as an acolyte and crucifer. Not hard to understand since we were under the tutelage of Wray Britton. Once again, I still have friends that I made at St. David’s during this time.
. . . Present day life at St. David’s has been no less eventful then all of the years leading up to now. Most fresh in my mind is my time spent on Vestry and as Senior Warden, a service made that much more interesting because the rector was on sabbatical and a brand new associate rector, Mary Lindquist, had just started at St. David’s. I truly believe that serving on the Vestry is an opportunity that everyone should consider. It gives you a totally different way to look at St. David’s.
. . . It really is amazing when I sit back and think about how much St. David’s has been a part of my life and me for the past 32 years. Hopefully, I will be able to say the same thing in another 32 years. A lot has changed at St. David’s over the past 50 years. In my time we have had six different rectors and one associate priest. There have been many families and friends that have come and gone, and are still here. But, for me, it has always been the spirituality and sense of community/family that has made St. David’s my home for the last 30 out of its 50 years.”
----Pete Yovino

“When Mike and I first attended a service at St. David’s, Pat Van Catledge -- with shoes -- was one of the first people we met. She greeted us at the Peace, and then escorted us, almost with force, to coffee hour. That was my first experience of finding out that it’s hard to say “no” to Pat! It was many years later that Pat started coming to church barefoot. For those who don’t know, she decided to go barefoot after the war in Afghanistan started. She wanted to remind all of us on a weekly basis that there are children around the world who don’t have shoes or food.
. . . Since that day, I’ve volunteered for the “walk to Easter” which was Pat’s brainchild. From small beginnings, it has become a huge outreach event, attracting many from the community. In fact, “Walk to Easter” has spawned in many parts of the U.S., to wherever St. David’s parishioners have moved. Pat’s love of God and children has always been evident.
. . . Other than Pat coercing us into coffee hour, there were at least two other reasons that Mike and I stayed at St. David’s. One was the printed booklet that was in use at the time and is now used only during Lent. Mike is a former Catholic and juggling a program, inserts, a prayer book and two hymnals was too much to manage. Having a printed service was comfortable.
. . . Another big reason we stayed is that we attended the 8:00 a.m. service one Sunday. We liked the shortness of the service, and afterwards, we were invited by several people – Jean and George Colbert, Herb and Sara Espy, and Dorothy and Ken Marengo – to join the “Breakfast Group”. We found the company gracious, interesting and friendly, and we looked forward to the Sunday breakfasts. Eventually Mike and I had a baby and continued to attend the 8:00 o’clock service. On at least one occasion, our son cried during the service and Dorothy Marengo assured me afterward that ‘We’d rather hear a crying baby than someone snoring.’
. . . Mike and I became incorporated in the congregation over the years, working as ushers, chalice bearers, and nursery and Chapel assistants. I became a regular member of the Women’s group that was run by Linda Owens and Barbara Chung. There were many Thursday evenings that I felt rejuvenated, thanks to the great leadership and the camaraderie. We rejoiced, commiserated and supported each other, while studying about the women of the Bible. I enjoyed many happy evenings and I still miss that group.
. . . Mike, Kevin and I have many friends at St. David’s and we hope for a bright future with a congregation intent on rejoicing in the Lord.
----Peggy Louie

“We began attending St. David’s about 1986. At that time Ron Jaynes was the pastor. The service at that time was a bit more high church. He loved the incense pot! We should have kept an albuterol inhaler in the robing room as sometime members of the congregation would begin to wheeze due to the incense. We also had more retreats at that time. During one, Father Ron, Harry Crawford and I traveled together to Rehoboth together. We sang gospel hymns along with my tape of Tennessee Ernie all the way to Rehoboth.
. . . The Mickles, as well as many others, made us feel most welcome. The Mickles' children were about the same age as our children as were those of the Harvey, Francis and the Bacon families. My children made us sit in the front row so that they could see everything. My son loved to sing, he loved to sing loudly here or so it seemed. I was extremely proud when he became an acolyte. I liked the ceremony and liturgy especially on holidays. This was something I had not experienced as a Methodist.
. . . My wife and I liked belonging to a smaller congregation and the camaraderie it engendered. The rotating suppers were a great way of getting to know everyone. The Cursillo weekend I attended was memorable. We liked the variety of worship experiences: chancel plays, liturgical dance, guest musicians, etc. When it came to Chancel plays and other special productions there was of course Pat Van Catledge. There was a tap on the shoulder and the statement “you would like to be an angel wouldn’t you?” I can picture her, when she would approach the children and tell them what great lambs or shepherds they would make. I remember Fred Van Catledge’s great bass voice, as well as the friendship we shared.
. . . Over the years I have enjoyed being in the choir with four different directors each with unique characteristics that have made singing a pleasure. We had a men’s group that met on Monday evenings where we discussed life in general. The counsel of Fred Van Catledge, Dick Mickles, ______ helped me through many difficult times. As my immediate family is in Kentucky, St. David’s has been a second home and family for me.”
----William Geimeier

Not long after we started attending St. David’s regularly, the “Round Robin Dinners” were established. The first time they were offered, we dutifully signed up thinking it would be a good way to meet some of our fellow parishioners. Being new to the area and not having a lot of sitters at our disposal, we signed up with one caveat – our kids needed to be able to participate. The organizers of these dinners complied with our request and found parishioners who were gracious enough to put up with the whole Cook clan.
. . . This sequence of three dinners turned out to be more fun than we had ever expected from a bunch of “stuffy church folk”. We were placed into a group with the Royals, Rhodundas (Sr.) and Hughes. (That should tell you something right there.) These dinners were a BLAST! Both the Royals and the Rhodundas were fantastic hosts. Lynn had a whole Mardi Gras theme and provided a sitter in the basement complete with crafts and a special kid-menu. Mary had a basement that was a kid’s dream and pulled out all the stops with her finest china. We really got to know these three couples and feel that these dinners allowed us to forge friendships that might not otherwise have existed.
. . . The second time the dinners were offered, we thought we’d try it again since the first set was so successful. We signed up for the Tuesday sequence because of Jeff’s work schedule. We ditched the kids, too. This time our group consisted of Mary Lindquist and Kurt Johnston, the Meffins and Jane Huntington. This group seemed a little more intimidating than the last but we gave it a shot. We are so glad we did. We definitely would never have met Jane or the Meffins had it not been for these dinners. As it turned out, this group was even livelier than the last (if that’s possible). Jane and Ken had us falling off our chairs laughing so hard at the stories they told. Kurt kept us entertained with his colorful past. Mary and Vivian played the perfect “straight man” to their spouses’ antics.
. . . I think that these two experiences illustrate what it is that makes St. David’s such a great place. St. David’s as a parish is warm, welcoming, accommodating and FUN because the people themselves are warm, welcoming, accommodating and FUN!
----Jeff and Deana Cook

“The Conner Family started going to St. David’s in 1959 after Harry Mayfield sought us out in Arden to invite us to church! We are sure that one of the numerous Arden parishioners had suggested Harry give us a try.
. . . Both of us, from Midwestern protestant church backgrounds, were interested in experimenting in a different theological approach. As a result, Phyllis and I have been members of St. David’s for 45 years!
. . . At that time, there was only the parish hall, memorial room, offices and classrooms. Folding chairs had to be taken up and put back after any group activity. During that period the various religious symbols on the parish hall were painted by Joyce Holbrook to support an educational program.
. . . In the early 1970s, as the main sanctuary was being built, St. David’s first photo directory shows 180 adults and 340 children attending. In that period of time, I referred to Brandywine Hundred as “Fertility Valley”.
. . . John Reynolds, Joan’s husband, was a vice-president of Haddock Construction Co., and was the construction manager for the building of the church. Bob Albers headed up the building committee. To this day Bob has continued working with contractors as evidenced by his leadership in our most recent expansion.
. . . Ah, those memories: Vestry retreats at Memorial House where we rejoiced with studies and solving parish problems (including a stop at Sambo’s for crabs!), hayrides, square dances, couples clubs, dinner groups, nights at the Arden Dinner Theater, those marvelous Christmas dances held at the Arden Gild Hall, Pancake Suppers (especially the first one when we blew all of the electric fuses with our little grills!), the Charismatic Mission weekend visit from the group from Virginia, various search committee groups as we sought new ministers, Craft Fairs, Phyl’s 10 year “love job” as director of the day school, work days when we sweated and ate tasty hot dogs, the Greening of the Church for the holidays, the Blessing of the Animals, Father Ed’s retirement when the parish “gave” him our son’s old truck, etc.
. . . I served for years as chair of the diocesan insurance committee before Jack McClellan assumed that role. Many other parishioners have served various diocesan jobs with excellence.
. . . Looking back, one of the fundamental elements of the success of St. David’s has been unselfish contributions of so many parishioners. What a wonderful experience it has been to be a part of 45 years of growth, changes, coming and goings, friendships and worship.”
----Chuck Conner

“I first attended St. David’s in 1971 ... I think! With two small boys and a husband who traveled a lot, I decided to find a church that was closer to home. I had gone past St. David’s while the new sanctuary was being built and decided to attend a service to see if I would like their liturgy and find out what it looked like inside. Even more important though was to see if the congregation be welcoming. I did like the service and I did like that interior of the nave and I was warmly welcomed. I went back and soon decided this would be a good place for the boys and me.
. . . What do I remember of those early days? Folding chairs ... lots of them! We were the church of folding chairs! They are still around in the Parish Hall. And people ... Bergmans, Brintons, Bunns, Colberts, Connors, Hinkles, Moores, Reeses, Thomases (Kirby and Peg), and so many more whose names just won’t come to mind even though I want them to. I sent my boys to their Sunday school classes, cooked with them in the kitchen, went to Women’s Luncheons, and began teaching Sunday School and Confirmation classes after Wray Brinton and Bart Hinkle retired. They were a very hard act to follow!
. . . What images come to mind? My sons Rob and Matt in the Christmas pageant; Rob as Joseph and Matt as a shepherd, Pete being baptized by Dave Joslin, all of them being acolytes, Matt giving the sermon on Youth Sunday, a sleepover in the Parish Hall watching scary movies hosted by Larry Records, so many confirmations ... all the Rhodundas, my own boys, Linda Bradford’s kids, the Dowdy girls, the Ericson girls, the Tontonoz boys, the Van Catledge kids, Emily DiMichele’s daughter Barbara. These are just a few of the kids I had in classes over the years. It was a wonderful experience getting to know them and learning more about my faith every time I taught a new class.
. . . Music is also such a big part of my life at St. David’s. Singing on Wednesday mornings with 5 or 10 of us ... Father David Tontonoz playing the guitar, watching tiny Ventie Williams emerge from behind the organ, Wilson Sommers and the Mass for the Homeless, Steve’s wonderful music which we get to sing at Advent and Lent, those great gospel songs and his knowledge of sacred music which is so complete that he can tie lessons and sermons together every week with our music.
. . . Another image that stays in my mind was the first time I was elected to vestry. My experiences of vestries up to that time were that men were usually elected and that it was reserved for Church leaders. I didn’t consider myself a Church leader. I just taught Sunday School. But I remember that day so clearly. I can see myself kneeling at the altar and looking at everyone there (which you can do at St. David’s). I knew that this was family and it didn’t matter whether I was elected or not ... I belonged here. But I was elected and became part of the group that helped to shape the parish and its life.
. . . Of all the experiences on that vestry, I remember best a retreat at Rehoboth Beach. The retreat was a time of renewal. We had a couple with us from St. Paul’s in Darien, Connecticut, who did Bible study with us. It was a wonderful time of sharing and growing. We went down to the beach after sunset to look at the water and see if we could see the lights of Cape May. While we were there, we decided to celebrate our Eucharist the next morning on the beach. And so we all went down to the beach early the next day carrying a table from the parlor in Memorial House and some bread from the kitchen and we made our Eucharist on the beach. Whenever we sing “Let Us Break Bread Together” I can see and feel us standing on that beach on a cloudy May Sunday morning. We weren’t in our sanctuary but we were St. David’s, nevertheless.
. . . Those are some old memories. A newer one is the lovely spring day when Gary and I met before dawn to travel to NYC and General Seminary. We walked down the busy streets of the west side of New York into the area known as Chelsea. We entered a late 20th century building off a busy NY street and went out a rear door into a spot that was closed off from the hustle and bustle of the city. There were trees, spring bulbs, a mixture of buildings including a wonderful old Gothic style chapel. We took part in the noon Eucharist in the Chapel and looked around wondering who it was we were to meet. We did spot someone at the back of the Chapel, but she left early. Could that be this Mary Lindquist we were to interview? Were we surprised, when we got to the interview room, she was already there and it was Mary Lindquist. We interviewed three people that day. We decided to invite Mary and one other candidate to visit St. David’s. At that point, we favored the other candidate but as they say ... there was something about Mary. We often thought about that day and how she needed to be prepared for that interview and so got there early, giving herself the time and quiet to be ready. It was something which we got to know well about Mary when she came to be part of us. In that first interview, it also impressed us that she listened to our questions and gave something of herself in her answers. It was that more than anything that convinced us she would be ideal for St. David’s.
. . . When I go to St. David’s Sunday mornings, all of these memories and experiences are part of each Eucharist. Baptisms, confirmations, weddings, funerals ... the whole celebration of LIFE is part of every Sunday. All the memories and people who have partaken at the Table are still there for me.
----Chris Yovino

Memories of our 45years of association with St David’s:
. . . The Britton family arrived in Wilmington in 1958 with three children, Wray Jr , Barbara, & Cathy (age 4 months), We found a small Episcopal Church, St David’s, in a “corn field” on Grubb Rd. There was a small white brick building (our current office & memorial room wing). The Nave area was filled with about 100 folding metal chairs -- very noisy! This space was also filled with a large number of very friendly, welcoming worshipers. Services were conducted by Seymore Flinn, later followed by Harry Mayfield.
. . . We left St David’s and Wilmington in 1961 for three winters in Buffalo, returning to Wilmington and St David’s in 1964. The family had grown to six, Mark had been added in Buffalo. Wow!!! What a change we found at St David’s. Tremendous growth in all areas -- family units (close to 200), great outreach programs, a new Parish Hall which was now our worship space with 300 folding metal chairs, the long hallway and four classrooms. Soon there was three services on Sunday, two sessions of “Sunday school” each Sunday, necessary because we had so many young people. The Parish Hall was not just our worship space on Sunday, but was a “Fun Space” many times during the year -- dinners, dances, neighborhood and political meetings. Did you know our classroom and hall were used by Holy Child R.C. Parish for over a year for their “confirmation” classes while waiting for their new building on Naamans Rd?
. . . We have to remember a highlight of our time here. The arrival of David & Kathy Joslin & their children, followed by the construction of our new Nave . Twelve years in the Parish Hall and 300 metal folding chairs was enough. We dedicated this beautiful structure to the Glory of GOD and to the service of HIS people in 1970. We still had the folding chairs however, for about six months.
. . . We think one of the things we remember most about our time at St David’s has been the tremendous growth, not in numbers, but the vibrant congregation , its outreach and its effect on Brandywine Hundred (our school) and the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware and above all our own Spiritual Growth. We also remember with great joy the six families that became St David’s families, we think at our urging and invitation.
. . . And so St David’s has reached 50 years of service to hundreds of families in Brandywine Hundred and the world. We hope and pray the next 50 years will be just as good for GOD’S people gathered as ST DAVID’S FAMILY as the past has been to us.
----Jane & Wray Britton




HISTORY: 1954 to 2004



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