(The history of St. Michael’s Church has its origins in earlier histories and extends out in connection with many other histories from the early nineteenth century through to the present … as I travel around New York City and far beyond it as well, I encounter St. Michael’s in many places.
As some of you may remember, the June 2017 Annual Conference of NEHA (National Episcopal Historians and Archivists) was held at St. Michael’s. Next summer, the 2018 Conference will be held at Trinity-Church-on-the-Green in New Haven, Conn., and the most recent NEHA Board meeting was held there last week.
Periodically, I’ll be posting items from ‘Beyond West 99th Street.’ — JBT)
St. Michael’s second rector was Samuel Farmar Jarvis (1786-1851); he served from 1811 to 1819. The rectorship of St. Michael’s was Jarvis’ first job, as it had been that of St. Michael’s first rector, John Vanderbilt Bartow. Samuel Farmar Jarvis was the son of Abraham Jarvis (1739-1813), second Bishop of Connecticut.
Abraham Jarvis was ordained deacon and priest in the Church of England; he served as rector of Christ Church, Middletown from 1766 to 1799, seeing the church through the political upheavals of the Revolution and the creation of the new United States. Jarvis was one of ten clergymen to name Samuel Seabury the first bishop of the newly constituted Episcopal Church of the United States in 1783. He himself was consecrated Bishop of Connecticut in 1797 and was both Bishop and rector of Trinity Church, New Haven when he died.
It was Abraham Jarvis who ordained his son, Samuel, deacon and then priest, in 1811.
After his father’s death in 1813, plans for the second church building of Trinity-Church-on-the-Green, designed by architect Ithiel Town, were put in place; in 1814, it was Samuel Farmar Jarvis, by then the well-established Rector of St. Michael’s in New York City, who laid and consecrated the cornerstone of the new church. In his address after Morning Prayer on this occasion, Samuel Farmar Jarvis expounded on the first verse of Psalm 127, “Except the Lord build the house, their labour is in vain that build it.”
Abraham Jarvis’ bones are interred under the altar of Trinity-on-the-Green; his burial plaque is topped by the image of his bishop’s mitre.
The bishop’s presence in New Haven continues.
Yale University’s Graduate Club, located on Elm Street facing the Green, is Bishop Abraham Jarvis’ home, now modernized and added on to.
September 25, 2017