In August, 1966, John Smucker left us, and Jerrold Beaumont filled in as lay reader, until a new vicar could be found. Nearly a year later, William Ladkau became priest of St. James, Dexter, and served at St. Barnabas as well. The Bishop’s Committee sold the vicarage bought for the Smuckers and put the money from the sale into a savings account and the interest used for general expenses.
Another vicar who also served Dexter and Chelsea was C. Walton Fitch. He was with us until 1974. Some of the newer members of the church were talking of closing the doors or renting the building and meeting in homes. Those of us who had labored so hard and given so generously were most unwilling to have this happen. Thanks to the efforts of Barbara Hinderleider, Chairman of the Bishop’s Committee, and Archdeacon Logan, it was decided that St. Barnabas would seek an alternate form of ministry. Jerrold Beaumont took lead of the mission without salary, as he was a “Tentmaker,” a nonstipendiary group working in Detroit, but living in Chelsea. Jerry was ordained deacon in 1973 and priest in 1975 here at St. Barnabas. After he came, the number of families increased from 27 to 40. His work at the church was in addition to his regular full-time job as an automotive engineer.
Recollections from Father Jerry Beaumont (2004)
Some of my first memories of St. Barnabas date back to about 1961, when I was transferred to the Federal Screw Works (FSW) Cold Extrusion Division as Plant Manager. It was then I met Stuart and Hazel Booker. Stuart was the Executive Vice President of FSW and ran the screw machine plant. He and Hazel hailed from Beaufort, South Carolina, and both were highly motivated Episcopalians. So motivated were these two that they were very influential in the establishment of St. Barnabas. A large number of the members worked for FSW. Hazel was very interested in the children and for quite a number of years would come in early Wednesday mornings and cook breakfast for as many of the St. Barnabas children as possible, and then see that they got to school on time. Stuart and Hazel were instrumental in purchasing a rectory on Owens Court, which was later sold, allowing the Mission to repay the Diocese for its construction loan. Sad to say, following the Bookers’ retirement from FSW, and their return to the South, many of the members left also, apparently no longer feeling a need to be at St. Barnabas.
During this time, the Rev. John and Louise Smucker were here. They later left and moved back to Virginia. Marjorie and I kept in touch with them over the years. Their son is a correspondent with, I believe, one of the British news companies, is married and making his home in Egypt. We saw him on TV during the early days of the Afghanistan War. They also have a daughter who lives here in the U.S.
It was while John Smucker was the vicar that I became more highly involved in St. Barnbas and subsequently became the Warden and later moved through the process to become a Licensed Lay Reader. Which in time led me to begin the studies for ordination.
Note: Father Jerry and Marjorie retired to Florida in the year 2000. They moved back to Michigan in 2012. Marjorie passed away in late 2013, and her memorial service was held at St. Barnabas. These days, Father Jerry visits and worships with us from time to time.