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Frank H Nelson Of Cincinnati by Warren C. Herrick

The Afterglow


It is now more than five years since Mr. Nelson's death, and today the old church in the hands of his successor, Nelson M. Burroughs, whose first name singularly suggests a prolongation of the Nelson dynasty, and whose spirit and abilities are a worthy continuation of an unusual rectorship, is still animated by Frank Nelson's vision, his joy in service. His ideals live today in the parish of Christ Church, which has not failed him but carries out that which he committed unto them in his farewell address:

The Church is the important thing to all of us. We need the Church, for faith, for courage, for guidance. The Diocese needs this Parish -- its loyalty -- its support -- its fellowship -- as we need the Diocese. The City needs this Church. You will never forget, will you, the Vision, and the power that came with it, that Mr. Stein gave us forty years ago, viz; -- that the Church is the Body of Christ, not a club, to minister, and not to be ministered to. The people all about us, the whole city, are our concern, to bring them the Gospel of Christ. So, I pray God you will go forward into the new day with high faith and enthusiasm. You have a mission from God.

The mission goes on in the spirit of readiness to embark on great ventures, and of youth not knowing defeat, for on Easter Day, 1941 the authorities of Christ Church announced it as their purpose to erect a glorious new building on the site of the present edifice as the only adequate memorial to Frank Nelson. As in the dark days of 1917 the parish audaciously built the Centennial Chapel, so the tragic repetition of world war sees in the present rector and people no diminishing of that daring and firmness of vision. This plan is, as Mr. Nelson would have it, not for his own glory, but for the larger range of the Church in the service of the city. He had said, |This is the work of those who will come after me.|

Christ Church will one day be clothed in garments of new beauty because Frank Nelson preached the Gospel that is the hope of a better democracy. The grandeur of his accomplishment impels men to undertake this task; and thus it is a living fact that his vision is still an influence in the city, and is the choice heritage of an unnumbered host.

If because of human frailty we think of heaven as rest, his spirit corrects us. If in our partial understanding he seems to deserve release from labor, yet for the very reason that he |wrought with tireless hand through crowded days,| we know in our moments of vision that for so knightly a spirit the only possible reward is authority over ten cities.

From that kingdom of the spirit, he speaks to us across the abyss of time, and nowhere is his voice stronger, his thought clearer than in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Philippians. Here, forever sealed in the enduring words of Saint Paul, is the heart of Frank Nelson's ministry, a ministry valiant and without blemish:

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you ... for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

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