Among the first of our great churchmen was Dr. George Martin Christian, the Rector of Grace Church, Newark, who served us in July and August for 10 years, beginning in 1891. He attained national fame when he spoke at great length in defense of the Nicene Creed at the General Convention in 1889, and so swayed the convention that he ended forever any talk of dropping this Creed.
Dr. Christian was decidedly “High Church,” with a fondness for “lots of candles, incense, and colored silk vestments,” which displeased some congregants. Striking the balance between dignified worship and the relaxed atmosphere of a seaside retreat appears to be a time-honored tradition at All Saints.
According to church records, 17 baptisms and 5 funerals were performed during All Saints’ first decade. Dr. Christian presided at many of these occasions, including perhaps the most famous wedding in All Saints’ early history—that of Ethel C. Peters, granddaughter of a prominent railroad president, to Smedley Darlington Butler on June 30, 1905. Butler was then a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. He later became the highest ranking officer in the Corps and at the time of his death was the most decorated Marine in history. During the 1930s, Butler became nationally renowned for his championing the right of World War I veterans to their promised back pay.
The groundwork for our life as a year-round parish was established nearly a century later (between 1984 and 1986) by our first full-time rector, the Rev. Wesley Konrad. He had previously served as Chaplain of Syracuse University and as Rector of Calvary Church (Syracuse, NY), of Grace Church (White Plains, NY), and of a parish in St. Croix. For the next two years, All Saints was ably served by two interim rectors. The Rev. Joseph E. Trimble, Jr. accepted the call in 1986, followed by the Rev. Hugh McGlashon, Jr. in 1987, who was assisted by one of our parishioners, the Rev. Robert Kirchgessner, a retired Episcopal priest.