The Rev. W. F. Nichols, Rector of Christ Church, Hartford, and chaplain to Bishop Williams in his recent visit abroad, spoke of the first day of the commemoration at Aberdeen:
He said it would be useless to deny that there was an individual pleasure in having this welcome to round out the happiness of getting back to one's home and one's work, as there was an individual pleasure at the honor the diocese had put upon those whom it had sent with the bishop to Aberdeen, and an individual appreciation of the prayers that had been offered on both sides of the Atlantic, in private as well as in public, for preservation on the journeyings by water and by land -- an individual appreciation, too, of what it was to have around the family altars and the church altars in Scotland as well as in our own country, voices joining with those on shipboard in the lines:
|O hear us when we cry to Thee For those in peril on the sea|;
and so he ventured personally to thank him who had so kindly spoken the words of welcome and through him the diocese.
But he did not forget that this was not a welcome to which he should reply as an individual, but one extended to an embassy returning from a sacred mission. An embassy responding to its welcome would naturally refer to two things: the one, the immediate facts and occurrences of its visit; and the other, the bearings of the visit upon the relations between the two countries concerned, Others would do this fully on more general lines; it had been assigned him to speak more especially of one of the days of the celebration at Aberdeen, and that was Tuesday, October 7th. Taking up the first of the two things which an embassy would naturally report upon, he spoke of the events of the day -- the Holy Communion in the six churches of Aberdeen and in private chapels at 8 o'clock; the principal service at St. Andrew's Church at 10 1/2 o'clock, with the sermon by our own Bishop from Isaiah lx.5; the two hundred clergy (including eighteen bishops from Scotland, America, England, Ireland, and the colonies), the large congregation, the use of the Scotch Office for the Holy Communion, both at the early and the later services; and also, briefly, of St. Andrew's Church and its decorations. In speaking of the photograph of the clergy who were present, which was taken at the close of the service, he pointed out two curious facts about the groups: without any prearrangement, part of an American flag had been taken on the plate; and then the only clerical descendant of Bishop Skinner present -- the Rev. J. Skinner Wilson -- stood by the side of the only clerical descendant present of Bishop Seabury -- the Rev. Dr. W. J. Seabury of New York city.
He gave some description of the banquet held at Music Hall in the afternoon, and of the speeches of those who proposed and those who responded to the toasts, especially the toast to |The Church in America,| proposed by Dr. Wordsworth, Bishop of St. Andrews, and responded to by our own Bishop. He referred to some letters which those who had read the Aberdeen papers sent home had seen, in which there was discussion of the phrasing of the toast |The Church in Scotland.| He said it did not become him to comment on the discussion at such a time, only if they should think of making any change in the phrasing at the next centenary it occurred to him that |Scotland in the Church| might be tried.
After speaking of another morning commemorative service, at which Canon Body of Durham preached an able and appropriate sermon, and giving passing reference to an enthusiastic meeting of the Scotch |Free and Open Church Association| held in the evening as an accompaniment to, rather than as a part of, the day's commemoration, he passed on to speak of the second thing upon which an embassy would naturally report, and that was the bearings of the day's events upon the relations between the two Churches. In this connection he spoke of the sermon and the use of the Scotch Communion-office of the morning and the hospitality of the afternoon, which, like the hospitality of the whole stay in Aberdeen, showed that while the latitude of the place was that of the far north -- it was opposite the northern part of Labrador -- the latitude of the atmosphere and hearts within was most truly that of the warm and sunny south. In conclusion, he spoke of the unifying impetus given, both social and spiritual, and expressed his belief that while the embassy thanked the diocese for the welcome, all could before God's altar and in that highest sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving with which they were keeping the anniversary of the consecration of the first bishop of our diocese and the American Church, thank Him Who has purchased to Himself an universal Church by the precious Blood of His dear Son, that as He was with the ministers of apostolical succession in their highest office to make the great venture of faith one hundred years ago, so He has ever been with their successors. Let all realize how much of that purchase of the Son of God has already been rendered up to Him since 1784, and how in 1884 we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to extend the Church of Christ more and more, not in Scotland only, not in America only, but in the whole world!