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Fifty Years Ago

short stories of events and times during the formation of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast collected by the Rev. S. Albert Kennington, Diocesan Registrar-Historiographer


Following the diocesan conventions of Alabama and Florida the previous month, a special committee was appointed in each diocese to study and consider the idea of a new diocese to be formed in south Alabama and northwest Florida.

Bishop Hamilton West of Florida appointed the Rev. Lee Graham, Jr., Rector of St. John’s Church, Tallahassee, to be chair of Florida’s committee. Clerical members were The Rev. Lavan B. Davis, St. Christopher’s, Pensacola; the Ven. Robert Cowling, Archdeacon for the Pensacola Convocation; the Rev. Matthews Weller, St. Andrew’s, Destin, and St. Thomas’, Laguna Beach; the Rev. Robert Parks, St. John’s Cathedral, Jacksonville; the Rev. Earle C. Page, Holy Trinity, Gainesville; and the Rev. Charles McNutt, St. Luke’s, Jacksonville. Lay members were R. Morey Hart, Christ Church, Pensacola; Walton B. Colvin, Jr., St. John’s, Pensacola; Mrs. A. N. Perkins, Christ Church, Pensacola ; Mrs. William M. Robinson, Jr., St. Paul’s, Quincy; Dr. Jabe Breland, St. Luke’s, Marianna; R. Eugene Orr; Robert L. Rhodes, Good Shepherd, Jacksonville; and Arthur Platt, St. John’s, Tallahassee.

Bishop Coadjutor George Murray of Alabama appointed the Rev. Dr. Emmett Gribbin, Chaplain, Canterbury Chapel, Tuscaloosa, to be chair of the committee for Alabama. Clerical members were the Rev. William Hill, St. James’, Fairhope; the Rev. Coleman Inge, St. Luke’s, Mobile; the Rev. William Caradine, Epiphany, Enterprise; the Rev. Emile Joffrion, Nativity, Huntsville; the Rev. Mark Waldo, Ascension, Montgomery; and the Rev. William Yon, diocesan Director of Christian Education. Lay members were Betts Slingluff, Nativity, Dothan; Albert J. Tully, Trinity, Mobile; Robert Tomlison, III, St. Bartholomew’s, Florence; Allen Bartlett, Advent, Birmingham; Chester Sparks, All Saints, Birmingham; William Armbrecht, St. Paul’s, Mobile; Mrs. Connie Melrose, St. James’, Fairhope; and Mrs. Elaine Lamberth, St. James’, Alexander City.

The first joint meeting of these committees was scheduled for March 21-22, 1968, in Ozark, Alabama.

As the month ended, CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite returned from a tour of the war in Viet Nam during the Tet Offensive. In a rare departure from reporting news, on February 27 Cronkite voiced his opinion that “the bloody experience of Viet Nam is to end in stalemate.” Responses to him from his viewers were mostly in agreement. After watching him that evening from the Oval Office, President Lyndon Johnson is quoted as having said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost the country."


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