Wednesday, December 16, 2009

St. Christopher's And Father Wendt

The first photograph is from Keep the Faith. Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission photograph of William Andrew Wendt following his arrest for his participation in a Freedom Ride of Episcopal clergymen, Jackson, Mississippi, 1961 September 13
St.christopher Wendt
Donald Singletary formerly of the Smith Houses sent me his site and I gained new insight into LES history from a "youngster's" point of view. One thing I didn't know about was the work of Father Wendt at St. Christopher's. I only remembered St. Christopher's as one of the few Two Bridges' Little League teams that LMRC could handily beat.
Some memories of St. Christopher's and Father Wendt from veteran's of the civil rights' movement
Episcopal Church of Our Savior - History
Trinity Church decided to close St. Christopher's Chapel. ... missionaries and Episcopal religious to spearhead a new Chinatown Mission at 48 Henry Street. ...
Rev. Dr. William Andrew Wendt
Memories
As remembered by Nydia Bellido, April 2007
Fr. Wendt was the Pastor of St. Christopher's Parish on Henry Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1950s. How loved he was by the entire congregation for his humanity and his great sense of humour. He worked soooo hard to keep the boys off the street and out of gangs. He started a baseball team, made personal home visits and was practically a father to my brother Hector. I'll always remember the sadness when he left for a church in Washington D.C. I think he was my first childhood crush. He became so well known that the television program The Christophers did a program on his work at St. Christopher's. May he rest in peace and receive the heavenly reward he so richly deserves. God Bless You Father Wendt. In my heart, You were my first father.
Love, Nydia Bellido
As remembered by Brenda Kincaid Beatty, May 2002
I was privileged to work with Fr. Wendt the summer of 1963 at St Stephens and the Incarnation Episcopal Church.That was the summer of the March on Washington. I was a small part of an international summer service program. Fr. Wendt was a great man . He changed my life. I wish I had told him so.
Brenda Kincaid Beatty, Winamte Volunteer 1964
As remembered by Tori Snell, June 2001
You may wish to know that one of your great Freedom Riders died two days ago. Rev. Dr. William Andrew Wendt, 81, died in after a brief battle with cancer and his exit was the stuff of legend and the sort of thing one might expect from such a larger than life figure. Bill died in the church where he started his ministry many decades ago. He was there for the late morning service; gave a healing (remarkable in itself); settled back with his granddaughter at his side and as he listened to a reading of Psalm 30 he drew his last breath. He was wheeled out as the congregation sang 'Now the Strife is O'er'.

3 comments:

KD COBRA said...

This is great -- so much LES history! St. Chris and many of the other churches -- their clergy and staff -- were committed to the community and country.

Anonymous said...

Hello...When St Chris closed it was later replaced by a new church, and I am attending that church. I am interested in getting to know people who knew Fr. Wendt. Does anyone know who I could reach out to and talk to,? Perhaps Ms. Nydia Bellido featured here?

Thanks.

Noel

Francine Hunter said...

I attended St. Christopher's for nursery school to college. My mother, Jurena, worked there for over 20 years. I found memories of Father Wendt and his wife Mary. He was like a father to all of his and may he rest in peace. An inspiration for my life.