Our History - 1970's

     The text on this page is taken directly from a document prepared by R. M. (Rick) Orr on May 17, 1976, and updated by D. E. (David) Weatherwax on February 22, 1978, entitled HISTORY OF ST. BARNABAS CHURCH BEGINNING WITH ITS INCEPTION, ITS CONSTRUCTION AND UP TO JANUARY 29, 1978.

     The inserted pictures come from various sources of current and former parishioners, former priests, and church files.

     The parishioners of St. Barnabas Chapel in Bridgeport, West Virginia, are attempting to preserve some of the historical information concerning our first 50 years of existence.  If you have information or pictures that you would like to see added, please email to ncotten@ma.rr.com.

          St. Barnabas had its second congregational meeting on  January 27, 1970.  Elected to the vestry were M. K. Hager, Fred Eyer, and Jean Curtin.   New officers elected following this congregational meeting were:  M. K. Hager, Senior Warden; R. M. Orr, Junior Warden; Jean Curtin, Registrar; A. R. Campbell, Treasurer.

          Bishop Campbell's second annual visitation to St. Barnabas occurred on April 9, 1970, at which time he confirmed eleven people.   Jean Curtin resigned as registrar in April of 1970, and the vestry appointed Mrs. Henry Suter as her replacement.

          Father Holland announced in May, 1970, that he intended to leave St. Barnabas.   Plans were initiated to secure a new vicar through Bishop Campbell.   The Bishop eventually issued a call on our behalf to the Rev. Andrew J. Tibus, who was scheduled to arrive on October 1, 1970.

          The third congregational meeting of St. Barnabas was held on January 31, 1971, and the members elected to the vestry were:  R. M. Orr, Donald Kauss, and Jo Ann Walker.   New officers elected for the ensuing year were M. K. Hager, Senior Warden;  R. M. Orr, Junior Warden;  Marty Suter, Registrar; A. R. Campbell, Treasurer.

          Shortly after his arrival, Father Tibus formed a young people's group called "Time Incorporated," which was very active throughout his tenure as vicar.   One of the major efforts during the year of 1971 was the installation of a flag pole in front of the church.   This was accomplished in July, 1971.   Also, the room adjacent to the present vicar's office was set aside for the group's use.   Although the group disbanded after Father Tibus left in December, 1971, that room is still known as "The Time Room."

The Time Room

          The Time Room was known as The Time Room until about 1999. At that time the wall was removed between it and the church office to make a larger room for a preschool classroom.

          The group, "Time Incorporated," was only in existence for about 14 months. In that time it provided some 80 programs for its 108 members.  It raised and spent over $5,300.00 for its programs and projects.  The 50 foot flag pole stood in front of the church until the early 2000's.  It had been painted a few times, but due to the difficult task of sanding the peeling paint and painting a 50 foot pole, the decision was made to remove the pole.

          Below are links to page 28 and page 29 of the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church parish directory for 1972.  Page 28 describes the accomplishments of the group.  Page 29 is titled THE CODE AND THE CREED OF TIME, INC. - THE VALUE OF MEMBERSHIP.


          In September of 1971, Mrs. Marion Kniska submitted a plan to provide a "Special B-4 School" utilizing St. Barnabas facilities.   Authorization was granted by the vestry on a rental basis, and this same school has  been in continuous operation, as of 1978, resulting in substantial benefit to the community, as well as fuller utilization of the church facilities.

         Bishop Campbell's third annual visitation occurred on August 29, 1971, and at that time he confirmed fifteen people.

          St. Barnabas held its first Fall Festival in October, 1971.   This festival was a resounding success considering the short period our church had been in operation.   Also, in October of 1971, Father Tibus secured the statue of St. Peter that was located on the east side of the church.

          So, who is the statue?  This statue has been standing in the raised flower garden by the front door to the church since the early 2000's.   Some say it is Joseph holding baby Jesus.   Others see it as Jesus holding a child.   So, Jesus, Joseph, St. Peter, or whoever you are, we at St. Barnabas are grateful to the donors of this beautiful marble statue.  It is believed the marble statue and the crucifix hanging in the sacristy were gifts to St. Barnabas from the old St. Mary's Hospital in Clarksburg.  The hospital was closing at the time St. Barnabas was opening and the hospital was sharing their artifacts throughout the community.   Thank you, St. Mary's Hospital.

          Father Tibus announced that he would be leaving effective December 31, 1971, to become a Chaplain in the Air Force.   Arrangements to call a new vicar were made with Bishop Campbell, and The Rev. W. Frank Carr was called and scheduled to arrive on January 24, 1972.

          St. Barnabas' fourth congregational dinner was held on January 25, 1972, and new vestry members elected were:  Howard Blayney, Robert Claus, and Joan Rauch.   New officers for the ensuing year were:  R. M. Orr, Senior Warden;  Robert Claus, Junior Warden;  Mary Weatherwax, Registrar;  and A. R. Campbell, Treasurer.

          Father Carr initiated the practice of having Wednesday evening soup dinners during Lent, prepared by the men of the church and followed by a brief study period.

          The outside storage building, located on the back (south) side of the church, was designed and constructed by M. K. Hager in October and November, 1972.   Its unusual appearance is due to the fact that it is constructed of old core boxes and was built to house seldom-used items and equipment necessary to take care of the church grounds.

          St. Barnabas' second Fall Festival was held on September 29-30, 1972, and it was well attended and successful due to the efforts of all members of the church.   It was decided at this festival that St. Barnabas would make this a biennial event instead of an annual event.


Holy Eucharist on the Lawn
with Father Carr
Fun and Games on the Lawn

         Father Carr and his wife, Lena, visited England for three weeks between October 1 and October 24, 1972.   Bishop Campbell's fourth annual visitation to St. Barnabas occurred on August 23, 1972, at which time he confirmed seven people.

          Father Carr was appointed to a committee for the selection of a Bishop Coadjutor after the 1972 diocesan convention.

          Joan Rauch resigned from the vestry in January of 1973 because of her husband's transfer to Massachusetts.   Howard Blayney also resigned from the vestry that month because of his transfer to New York City.

          St. Barnabas' fifth congregational meeting was held on January 11, 1973.   Those elected to the vestry were:  Miles Beech, Mary Koepka, Tom Stamp, Doris Shay, and Bill Webb.   New officers elected by the vestry after the congregational meeting were:  Rick Orr, Senior Warden;  Tom Stamp, Junior Warden;  Mary Koepka, Registrar;  A. R. Campbell, Treasurer.   

          During January of 1973, M. K. Hager designed and constructed the cabinets located in the parish hall.   The materials for these cabinets were donated by Mr. and Mrs. John Hart of Bridgeport.

          Bill Crutchley and Miles Beech were appointed to a planning committee in January, 1973, to determine and recommend covenants for St. Barnabas to be submitted at the 1977 diocesan centennial convention.   Covenants finally submitted and recommended to the St. Barnabas congregation were:

          1.  St. Barnabas was initially committed and is now committed to achieving parish status, and will submit a

               financial plan to the 1977 diocesan convention and apply for aided-parish status at that time.   In addition,

               the same submission will include the financial plans for St. Barnabas to apply for full parish status at the 

               1979 diocesan convention.

          2.  St. Barnabas will strive to maintain its high level of participation in Peterkin and its programs by increasing 

               its attendance to Peterkin by 10% per year through 1976.   (1972 will be the base year and will include all 

               children and adult attendance to Peterkin.)

          3.  St. Barnabas desires to increase its participation in the West Virginia School of Religion and will increase its

               same participation by 10% per year over the base level of year end 1972.

          4.  St. Barnabas will develop a continuing plan for the support of St. Gabriel's Mission at West Virginia University.

          5.  St. Barnabas will improve its Christian Education program.

          The first formal wedding at St. Barnabas was held on May 19, 1973, with the marriage of Elizabeth Jean Walker and Doyle Sickles.   Beth Walker is the daughter of Dr. William Walker and Jo Ann Walker.

The First Wedding  
May 19, 1973
40 Years Later

          Don Kauss resigned from the vestry in May of 1973, due to a transfer to Indiana, Pennsylvania.   Jean Eyer was appointed to fill the vacancy on the vestry.   Bishop Campbell's fifth annual visitation  occurred on July 22, 1973, at which time he confirmed eleven people.   Bishop Coadjutor Robert P. Atkinson made his first visitation to St. Barnabas on November 8, 1973. 

          Due to a shortage of funds, "A Vacation Tithe Plan" was initiated in August, 1973, and sufficient funds were contributed to carry the church through the rest of the calendar year.

          Arrangements were made for Alcoholics Anonymous to meet at St. Barnabas every Saturday night beginning in October, 1973.  AA has continued to use the church facility since that time.

          The ECW of St. Barnabas donated $1,000 to the church in October, 1973, to be used exclusively for debt reduction.   This money was applied against the Lowndes Bank loan.

          The sixth congregational meeting of St. Barnabas was held on January 20, 1974.   The vestry members elected were: David Weatherwax, Jean Curtin, and Jean Eyer.   New officers elected to the vestry were:  Jean Curtin, Senior Warden;  Bill Webb, Junior Warden;  Mary Koepka, Registrar; and Dick Campbell, Treasurer.

          In February, 1974, Willis Shay presented the idea to the vestry that St. Barnabas utilize its unused land for gardens, and St. Barnabas Farms was born.   Up to thirty-five gardeners have participated in subsequent years.

          Detailed status reports with respect to St. Barnabas' financial condition and its 1973 covenants were submitted to the vestry in February, 1974.   Forms were designed to report periodically on the status and achievements of our 1973 covenants to be redeemed at the diocesan centennial convention in 1977.

          St. Barnabas co-sponsored a rock dance in April at the Bridgeport Civic Center for the benefit of the St. Gabriel's Mission in Morgantown, West Virginia.

          A group of Bridgeport Presbyterians began using the facilities of St. Barnabas in September, 1974, for the purpose of planning the formation of a Bridgeport Presbyterian Church.   This same group began holding regular services, utilizing our church facilities, on January 19, 1975.   We have continued to share the use of St. Barnabas since that time, holding individual church services but having a combined church school.   Joint services have been held on various occasions.

Sunday Schedule

 8:00 a.m...........Episcopalian Communion

 9:00 a.m...........Presbyterian Service

10:15 a.m..........Joint Sunday School

11:15 a.m..........Episcopalian Family Service

          The third St. Barnabas Fall Festival was held in October, 1974.   Participation by church members was very good, and the festival was a financial success.   The ECW group donated the funds from the festival - over $4,000 - so that there was sufficient money available to retire Advance Fund Loan No. 1 to the diocese.   The check was presented to an incredulous Bishop Atkinson in November, 1974.

          Bishop-coadjutor Atkinson made his first formal visitation to St. Barnabas on November 10, 1974, and confirmed nine individuals.   This was our church's sixth annual Bishop's visitation.

          The seventh annual congregational meeting of St. Barnabas was held on January 19, 1975.   Elected to the vestry were:  Bill Walker, Dan Lynch, and Ben Cooksey.   New officers elected to the vestry were:  Miles Beech, Senior Warden;   Tom Stamp, Junior Warden;  Mary Koepka, Registrar;  and Dick Campbell, Treasurer.   Jean Eyer resigned from the vestry

in January for personal reasons.   Ann Webb was appointed by the vestry to fill the vacancy.

          St. Barnabas began 1975 for the first time with no apparent financial difficulties facing it.   Since it took seven years to arrive at this point, it was indeed a historic event.

          Every-member visitations by vestry members were initiated and completed during the spring of 1975.   The information secured from these visitations was summarized for use by the vestry.

          On May 12, 1975, St. Barnabas' vestry endorsed Mary Weatherwax' application to become its first candidate for Holy Orders.

          Father Carr informed the vestry on June 2, 1975, that he had received a call from St. John's Huntington, which he accepted in July of 1975.   Plans were initiated with Bishop Atkinson  to find a new vicar.   The Rev. Curtis L. Cowell was called on November 21, 1975, and arrived at St. Barnabas on January 15, 1976, with his wife Elinor, and two young daughters.

          The Portrait of Christ from the Book of Kells was donated to St. Barnabas by Mr. and Mrs. Willis O. Shay in August, 1975.   This portrait was hung in the chancel area behind the altar, above the credance table.

          Plans were initiated in the summer of 1975 to pave the driveway access routes and partially pave and put crushed stone on the remainder of the parking lot.   This work was completed in December, 1975, much to the appreciation of all the people utilizing St Barnabas' facilities.

          Bishop Atkinson's second annual visitation, and St. Barnabas' seventh Bishop's visitation, occurred on November 10, 1975, and two individuals were confirmed.

          St. Barnabas' choir provided the music for Father Carr's installation service at St. John's Huntington, on November 15, 1975, an event which was also attended by other Bridgeport Episcopalians.

          Ben Cooksey and Miles Beech were selected by the vestry to represent St. Barnabas at Bishop Atkinson's installation on January 5.

          Plans were initiated in November, 1975, to convey a strip of land along Johnson Avenue to the City of Bridgeport for the construction of a sidewalk, primarily for the use of school children.

Advent Pictures from December, 1975

            St. Barnabas' eighth annual congregational meeting was held on January 18, 1976.   New vestry members elected were:  Randy Smith, John Harris, and Suzanne Gocke.   New officers elected were:  Dave Weatherwax, Senior Warden;  Dan Lynch, Junior Warden;  Suzanne Gocke, Registrar; ad Dick Campbell, Treasurer.

          While a specific status report was not required of our delegate to the 1977 convention , we were prepared to report redemption of our covenants with respect to Peterkin attendance, School of Religion participation and support of St. Gabriel's Mission.   Status of the covenant regarding improvement of the Christian Education Program was more difficult to ascertain, due to the enthusiastic participation of the Presbyterians in our combined church school.   Progress had also been made toward achieving parish status, but the target date appeared unrealistic in view of our lower-than-anticipated growth rate.

          In August of 1976, a detailed submission was made to the Benedum Foundation of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, seeking a matching grant of funds for capital improvements and debt reduction.   No acknowledgement of this submission was received until December of 1977, when a negative reply was finally received.

          A capital improvements committee was appointed to determine what improvements in facilities should be undertaken, in advance of any application for parish status.   The committee consisted of Ben Cooksey, Chairman, Jean Curtin and Randy Smith.   Acting on the committee's recommendation, we succeeded in raising $4,350 to pay for the installation of pews furnished by the Ware Planing Mill in Belington , West Virginia.   Carpeting for the nave of the church was donated by the ECW, at a cost of nearly $1,900.

          During the year, St. Barnabas granted an easement to the State Department of Highways for the improvement of Johnson Avenue, for a consideration of $1,700.   An unsolicited gift of $1,000 was received from Mr. C. E. Compton. The financial health of St. Barnabas was good enough to enable the vestry to apply an extra payment of $11,000 to the loan at Lowndes Bank.

          In December of 1976, Archdeacon Glover visited St. Barnabas to conduct the performance audit provided for in Father Cowell's contract with the Diocese.

          St. Barnabas' ninth annual congregational meeting was held on January 16, 1977.   Those elected to the vestry were:  Kingsley Smith, Howard Joiner, and Pat Orr.   Officers chosen by the vestry for 1977 were:  Ben Cooksey, Senior Warden;  Randy Smith, Junior Warden;  Suzanne Gocke, Registrar; and Dick Campbell, Treasurer.

          A further performance evaluation, this time by Bishop Atkinson, took place in April and was followed by a letter from the Bishop affirming Father Cowell's ministry at St. Barnabas.

          Dick Campbell resigned as Treasurer and Dave Weatherwax was selected as his successor.

          John Harris resigned from the vestry due to his transfer to Charleston.   The vestry selected Sarah Yeater to fill the vacancy.

          A very successful Vacation Bible School was held at St. Barnabas in the summer of 1977, with many people working hard under the direction of Solina Fiorito.

          Ben Cooksey resigned as Senior Warden in October of 1977, and Bill Walker was elected by the vestry to take his place.   In November, Father Cowell was reassigned by Bishop Atkinson to fill a vacancy at Welch and War, West Virginia, as of January 1, 1978.   (Father Cowell remained Vicar of St. Barnabas through the end of January, 1978, at which time his resignation became effective.)

          St. Barnabas' tenth annual congregational meeting was held on January 29, 1978.   Those elected to the vestry were Sarah Yeater (to complete an unexpired term), John Arnold, Willis Shay, and Mary Weatherwax.   The vestry selected the following officers:   Kingsley Smith, Senior Warden;  Randy Smith, Junior Warden;  Mary Weatherwax, Registrar; and Dave Weatherwax, Treasurer.

                                                                                Prepared by R. M. Orr, May 17, 1976

                                                                                Updated by D. E. Weatherwax, February 22, 1978

          Father H. White served as a supply priest after Father Cowell left.   He led services at St. Barnabas until Father George Moses came on May 20, 1978. The Rev. George Moses served St. Barnabas until June 27, 1982.

The Rev. George Moses with his wife, 

Holly and their daughter Christy

           In the early years at St. Barnabas, there were always two real Christmas trees.  The very tall tree by the altar was decorated by the adults.  The crissmons made by the ladies of the church were on this tree.   The tree, usually located near the front door, was decorated during Advent by the children with their craft projects made in Sunday School classes or at Advent parties.