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Hiram Bennett, D.D. Fifty Years  an Episcopal  Priest
Troy, Bradford County PA
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Dr. Bennett, Priest 50 Years, Far from an ‘Old Fogey’

[May 22, 1964]

Busy Trojan to Celebrate Anniversary Mass Sunday

Troy – A career distinguished by many honors reaches a further summit of attainment on Trinity Sunday, May 24, when the Very Rev. Hiram R. Bennett, D.D., of Troy celebrates 50 years as an Episcopal priest.

The son of Samuel C. and Meta R. Bennett, Dr. Bennett was born March 8, 1886, in Troy.

His higher education began with study at the College of the City of New York (CCNY) in 1905-06. In 1913 he received the bachelor of divinity degree from General Theological Seminary at New York City and was ordained a deacon of the Protestant Episcopal Church. The following year he was invested as a priest.

"When the bishop of Long Island handed me the Bible at my ordination, as the rubric directs," Dr. Bennett recalled, "he had inscribed on the flyleaf the words ‘For My sake’ in Greek. It was, I think, the text of the sermon preached to us that Trinity Sunday morning in the Cathedral of the Incarnation at Garden City. And the same Greek words have followed me all through the many years of an active and varied ministry."

During his 50 year tenure, Dr. Bennett’s ecclesiastical appointments covered a wide range and four states.

In 1915-19 he was rector of Grace Church of Greenville, Jersey City, N. J. He served as civilian chaplain at Ft. Dix in 1918.

In 1919 he was transferred to Trinity Church, Asbury Park, N. J. and from there in 1923 to Christ Church at Williamsport. In 1935 he was called as the first dean of the Cathedral Church at St. John at Wilmington, Del. During this interim he received the doctor of divinity degree.

"When the question arose of my leaving Christ Church, Williamsport, to organize St. John’s into a cathedral," Dr. Bennett said, "a wise friend reminded me that the move would actually be decided for me and so it was.

"There is the great spiritual side of man’s ministry, whether it be the priesthood in the ancient Anglican, Roman, or Orthodox churches of the catholic order, or whether it be the ministry as understood in other sections of the Christian community."

In 1945 Dr. Bennett was assigned to Grace Church, Everitt, Mass. From 1951 until his retirement in 1956 he served at Christ Church, Towanda, of which he is rector emeritus. He will celebrate Mass there Trinity Sunday in observing the golden anniversary of his priesthood.

Aside from the dispatch of his clerical duties Dr. Bennett has been and still is, to a degree, energetic in the support of various programs connected with both the church and the secular.

Outstanding in a lengthy list of participations, he has acted as a director of the J. V. Brown Library at Williamsport and the Lycoming County Tuberculosis Society; president of the New England branch of the Clerical Union; a member of the Medieval Academy of America; cannon of St. Stephen’s Cathedral at Harrisburg; member of the Boston Authors’ Club and Lincoln group of Boston Athenaeum.

Other half-century honors have come his way. As the first scoutmaster and organizer of a Boy Scout troop in Floral Park, N. J., Dr. Bennett received an invitation this spring to attend the 50th anniversary celebration of the troop, which has been continuously active since 1914.

In 1963 he was awarded the Golden Owl citation for 50 years membership in Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

And on Sept. 11, Dr. and Mrs. Bennett, the former Miss Louise Aritta Youngs, will observe 50 plus 5 years of marriage.

As an author Dr. Bennett has achieved widespread recognition with resultant listings in "Who’s Who in the East," "The British Authors" and "Writers Who’s Who."

His literary talents were evident in newspaper work prior to his ordination, when he won acknowledgement as a critic and reviewer.

Among the books he has authored and edited through the years are "St. Paul," "The Church," "The Life of Christ," "The Apocrypha" (an Episcopal lesson series) and a "History of Troy."

He also has contributed to magazines, particularly the Anglican Theological Review which is currently publishing a series of biographical articles on 17th Century churchmen, compiled by Dr. Bennett.

A legion of friends attest to the warmth of his personality and the depth of his great tolerance.

In his own words: "For me, it has been a happy half-century of work and associations with all sorts of good (and some not so good) people. It has been pleasant for me to have these happy association with Roman Catholics with whom I have worked. I value, too, the many friends in the great Protestant brotherhood. And my lot has been placed with Hebrew religionists of the varying degrees of orthodoxy and reformed."

He harbors a deep distaste for pedantic and equally strong determination not to be catalogued as such.

His feelings on this score are pretty groundless. Consider the alleviating factor of a grand sense of humor and an alert wit evident in his comment:

"Looking back now, across the years, I am trying to shun the temptation of being a garrulous old fogey whose sermons and other public utterances are over-long and distinctly sleep-producing.

"For I well recall that afternoon, when as I left the study of my dearly-loved bishop, Dr. Frederick Burgess, I asked him how long I should preach. ‘Not more that 20 minutes, my boy,’ he answered. And then, as I was leaving, he called me back and said, ‘Better make it 15 minutes, Hiram!"

The passage of 78 years rests lightly on his shoulders as he goes about the fulfillment of each day.

"Now, when the pressure of meetings and other duties is off, I still try to keep active. Neighboring bishops are good enough to call for me to help out. My library, too, yields me material for some writing, which is published from time to time. And every spring my theological training school, the General Seminary in New York offers a course of lectures to its alumni and other priests. This I attend.

"And the only difficulty I have is fitting my aging frame into the same chairs in the lecture room where I spent so many happy hours so long ago. Perhaps I should get a shoehorn. Or should I diet?"

At the Trinity Sunday service in Towanda, Dr. Bennett will wear the stole that Mrs. Bennett made and presented to him at his ordination as a priest 50 years ago

"To me," he said, "it is symbolic of our marriage. Mrs. Bennett has been, through the 55 years, a wonderful wife, companion and mother. She has encouraged me in times of doubt and frustrations and rejoiced with me in the happy times of accomplishments. In every way she has stood staunchly by me throughout my career."

Dr. and Mrs. Bennett expect to spend the day in quiet commemoration. Their son, Hiram R. Bennett Jr., and daughter-in-law, who live in Philadelphia, will be present at a family gathering later.

Bradford County PA
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Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Margaret Fanning - 39 Years as Church Organist
Troy, Bradford County PA
Troy Church Organist Retires After 39 Years Of Service

Caption: “Mrs. Margaret Fanning and Rev. Alan Minarcik reminisce about her 39 years as organist for the First Presbyterian Church of Troy.  She was honored at a dinner in the church parlors and presented with a money tree (left) and other gifts.”

The parlor of the First Presbyterian Church of Troy was jammed with members of the congregation and guests there to pay tribute to Mrs. Edmund Fanning, church organist, who is retiring after 39 years of service.  The event was a family dinner after the service Nov. 20 with presents, a money tree, verbal accolades and letters from former ministers.
About 100 guests heard Dr. Alan C. Minarcik, pastor, read a letter from Rev. Monte White who said the instrument Peg Fanning played today was a far cry from the previous instrument that often left her fingers cracked and bleeding in winter because it was so hard to play.  But, he added, her music was just as good then as now.
Rev. Ralph Reed wrote that “her ministry of music was a great blessing to the church and to all of us.  She also deserves a prize for listening to 39 years of Presbyterian sermons and rarely missing a Sunday, he added.
Rev. Minarcik commented, “That’s a record probably no one here can touch.”
Rev. Jack Wise wrote, “Peg, you have been a superb organist.  You really cared, and it showed.”
Rev. Minarcik presented Mrs. Fanning with a certificate of appreciation, the money tree from the congregation and several gifts.  He appointed her “organist emeritus” and gave her a key so that she could use the organ whenever she wished.
Rev. Ann Palmer, pastor of the E. Troy and several other Methodist Churches, spoke “as a friend” of all the years Mrs. Fanning has served the Troy Music Club and had been responsible for raising money for a new piano for Rev. Palmer after her parsonage burned down several years ago.
Mrs. Fanning’s son Graydon Fanning, who is assistant superintendent of the Methodist Home in Lewisburg, was present to tell the behind-the-scene story.  “In the old days,” he said, “we lived half a mile off the main road.  This lady has gone out on a bobsled many times on Sunday or on Wednesday nights and we often had to hitch up the horses to take her out.”  He remarked how his late father had been solidly behind her for 33 of her 39 years as an organist and learned to be a good church goer.”  Graydon stayed home to cook the Sunday dinner.
After the entire group sang a number of Mrs. Fanning’s favorite hymns, with Vera Ellenberger at the piano, Winnie Deemy sang several solos for her friend Margaret, including “When You Were Young, Maggie.”  She reminisced about the day when she and Peg were schoolgirls together and used to skate on Long’s Pond, which used to be about at the junction of Routes 14 and 6 at the edge of Troy.  “I hope kids today have as much fun as we did”, she said.
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Published On Tri-Counties Site On 14 MAY 2006
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