The Church Bell
Vol. 3, no. 8
October 2019
Remembering St. Francis of Assisi, Friar, d. 1226
St. Francis was born in the hill country of central Italy in the town of Assisi around 1181. He was the only child of a prosperous cloth merchant, and grew up among the privileged sons of the town’s wealthy families.

His early youth was given over to a lively social life and dreams of knighthood to be won in the City’s wars. He returned from his military service a changed man, and withdrew from his friends and former amusements in search of a new life. While praying in the ruined church of San Damiano in the countryside, he heard the words: “Francis, rebuild my Church which you see falling down.”

Taking the word literally, he began to rebuild the little church with his own hands, begging in the streets for building supplies. This public humiliation led to a permanent break with his father. Francis gave away to the poor everything he had ever received from his family, even the cloths on his back. He embraced the poverty of the gospel, “sell what thou hast, give to the poor, and come and follow Me.” Francis soon discovered that his calling was not to renew merely a church, but the Church.

Others soon joined Francis, many from the elite sons of the city, and a community of brothers–friars–formed around him. In contrast to the comfort of the established monasteries and clergy, the first Franciscans lived in utter poverty among the poorest of the poor. Traveling through the towns and villages, Francis preached the gospel pax et bonum –“peace and good will with all people.”

His preaching was simple, but filled with an unaffected joy and excitement which cut across class and political divisions. Encountering him, people found their lives changed, feuds were healed, and a new spirit of devotion stirred in the churches of Italy. Soon stories of miracles, many involving his affection for animals, began to surround Francis. 

He was popularly acclaimed a saint in his own lifetime, and formally canonized only a year after his death in 1226. The church commemorates him on October 4th - the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
That was a very successful work day!
October 26: Day of Prayer
Bishop Bauerschmidt designated October 26th as a Day of Prayer for every congregation, member and ministry within the Diocese of Tennessee.

The task before us on this day is plain and simple: take time out of the day to pray for the church, her members, and her ministries.

If you would like to join others in prayer, we will hold an evening prayer meeting at St. Agnes' on Saturday, October 26th, at 5:00 p.m. 
October 27: Bishop John is Coming to Town!
The Right Rev'd John C. Bauerschmidt, 11th Bishop of Tennessee, will make his annual trip to Cowan on Sunday, October 27th.

The Bishop will lead the 11:00 service at St. Agnes' and join us for lunch afterward.

His visit will commemorate the 120th anniversary of St. Agnes' Church and 125 years of Episcopal ministry in Cowan.
As mentioned earlier, the congregation will host a church-wide luncheon with Bishop John after the service on October 27th. Please note the following details:

  • Bishop Lambert will bring some of this famous smoked brisket
  • The church will order fried chicken
  • Jarod will order a special cake for our 125th year of ministry

Others in the congregation are invited to bring sides, salads, fruit, and anything else you would like to share and enjoy.
St. Saviour's Mission - 125 years ago!
125 years ago a small group of residents formed the first Episcopal congregation to serve the small industrial town of Cowan. Their efforts fulfilled a vision published many years earlier by St. Mark's Guild, an evangelical student organization at The University of the South.

With clerical help from Otey Memorial Parish (also known as St. Paul's-on-the-Mountain) and administrative help from the Sisters of St. Mary, the small group met in a small house above Boiling Fork Creek.

The following year the Diocese of Tennessee designated the congregation as a preaching station under the name of St. Saviour's Mission.

St. Saviour's received her first episcopal visit from The Rt. Rev'd Frank Gailor on September 22nd,1898. His visit drew a crowd so large that the congregation borrowed the Cowan Church of Christ building! There were two baptisms and 16 confirmations held that day!
St. Agnes' Church - 120 years ago!
Stirling Claiborne, the appointed Lay Reader, wrote about St. Saviour’s Mission being “a very small congregation worshiping in an old, dilapidated, two-room house on the side of a hill, which threatened to fall down without a moment’s notice.” He also wrote, “I shall never forget the uneasiness we all felt when the building was filled with people.”

In his determination, Claiborne found an abandoned chapel near Murfreesboro that previously housed Church of the Ascension at Shiloh. The chapel was disassembled, loaded onto a train, and delivered to Cowan where it was reconstructed on a lot near the railroad donated by the Finchum family. The cost for moving the building was paid by the St. Agnes' Sisterhood of Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City.

On May 3rd, 1899, Bishop Gailor dedicated the cornerstone of St. Agnes' Church. The new name was given to honor the Sisters for paying the cost of moving the building.
October 31: All Hallow's Eve
Did you know that Oct. 31st marks a meaningful celebration in the life of the church?

All Hallows Eve begins at sundown on October 31st and precedes the church's celebration of All Saints' Day on November 1st. The Book of Occasional Services provides a list of lessons, prayers, and other suggestions for celebrating All Hallows' Eve.

The suggested lessons include:

  • I Samuel 28: 3-25 (The Witch of Endor)
  • Job 4: 12-21 (the vision of Eliphaz the Temanite)
  • Ezekiel 37: 1-14 (the valley of dry bones), and/or
  • Revelation 12: 1-12 (the war in heaven)

A suggested prayer may include the phos hilaron :

O gracious light, pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds. Amen.

Suitable festivities and entertainments may precede or follow the service, such as a visit to a cemetery.

Candles and/or lanterns are an appropriate symbol for All Hallows Eve. If you choose to light a candle in your home, or place a candle in a pumpkin to greet visitors, take a moment to read and reflect on one of the following scriptures:

Matthew 5: 14-16
II Corinthians 4: 5-6
Psalm 139: 10-11

Make an effort this year to capture the beautiful traditions and original meaning of this special occasion. Happy All Hallows Eve!
November 3: All Saints Sunday
All Saints Day is officially celebrated on November 1st or, alternatively, on the Sunday following November 1st.

This year, St. Agnes' will celebrate All Saints Sunday on November 3rd at our 11:00 service.

The church throughout the world sets this day aside to commemorate all the saints - known and unknown.

More specifically, we recall the mighty work and faithful witness of the Patriarchs, Prophets, Mary, Joseph, the Apostles, other biblical saints, the early church fathers, and the vast number of martyrs and teachers throughout the ages.

And that's not all: on this day we also recall those known to us personally who died in the Faith, and even those we did not know.

Our time in worship reflects our sincere belief that those of us living today and those who are faithful departed are alive in Christ . We share and participate in the same communion and the same bond of Christian fellowship!

We traditionally begin the service for All Saints Day at St. Agnes' with the hymn "For All the Saints", which is a long-time favorite and most appropriate for this special day!
Wear a Heart to Church on All Saints Sunday
All Saints Sunday this year will mark almost an entire year since our dear friend and fellow parishioner George Wilkinson passed in glory.

You may recall that the Sunday following George's death everybody wore a hat to church to celebrate his life (and his sense of style!).

This year, we will remember George and others in our extended church family by asking everybody to wear a hat to church on All Saints Sunday , November 3rd!
November 24: Community Thanksgiving Service
"Come Ye Thankful People Come" to a time of worship and praise at the Community Thanksgiving Service! 

The various Cowan churches will gather to give thanks for a bountiful harvest and a season of many blessings.

The service will be held on Sunday evening, November 24th, 5:00 p.m. at Cowan Fellowship Church . The speaker will be Rev. Bill Welch from First Church of the Nazarene. The Celebration Choir from Cowan First Baptist Church will lead in music and song.

Cowan Fellowship is located at 609 E. Cumberland St. The service is sponsored by the Cowan Ministerial Association.
Soup delivered to 19 folks!
On Tuesday, September 10th, some helping hands cooked and delivered homemade soup, bread and dessert to 19 individuals.

We did this project to honor the memory of Constance and Her Companions who, in 1878, delivered soup, tea, medicine and supplies to 80 people each day during the deadly Yellow Fever epidemic.

We could never match their record, but the project was a rich experience. We were fortunate to have all kinds of donated ingredients, including some garden fresh vegetables and herbs.

The recipients sent many kinds words. One in particular had been feeling bad all day and was just wondering what to cook for supper so she could take her medicine. Our delivery was right on time and the soup really hit the spot!

We will try a similar project next year and perhaps at other opportunities.
Martin and Funmi's most enjoyable visit
Needless to say, we had a great mid-September visit from Fr. Martin and Funmi!

Their visit "home" to Cowan included several home visits, a small dinner gathering, a few bags of garden vegetables, and a time together in worship with fellowship afterward!

We were also introduces to Fr. Martin's newly-released book: 12-Step Therapy for Emotional & Soul Healing . A copy is already available in the church library at St. Agnes'.

If you want to see Fr. Martin and hear him preach, log on to and click on the watch and listen page.
Some Updates from Our Church Family
Karen McCallie reached out to the congregation on Tuesday. First and foremost she sends her love and appreciation for our prayers. Her faith is strong and keeps her going. Some recent medical tests have given her some good news and some not-so-good news, but overall she is holding her own!

Linda Milligan reported some good results from her recent back surgery. And, to make things even better, she got to spend some extra time recently with her great-granddaughter. We bless the Lord with her for these and other blessings!

Marcia Ruffing contacted Bishop Lambert on Tuesday to let the congregation know that she had a fall shortly after her trip from Maine. Marcia underwent surgery at Harton in Tullahoma and is recovering there. (As of Thursday, October 17th she is in room 269.) Please add Marcia and John to your daily prayers. With God's help she will have a successful recovery!
Fall Birthdays
October 6 - Fr. Gene Wise
October 10 - Fr. Charles Chiutulas
October 24 - David Grissett
October 25 - Laura Pearson McDonald

November 20 - Christie James Grissett
November 20 - Andrew Williams
November 27 - Shelia Leitzel

***Are we missing any birthdays? Please send an e-mail to the church at***

"O God, our times are in your hand: Look with favor, we pray, on thy servants as they begin another year. Grant that they may grow in wisdom and grace, and strengthen their trust in your goodness all the days of their life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
We Remember in Prayer
Marcia Ruffing, Peggy and Brad Nunley, Gena, Jordan and Austin Cleek, Ben Boswell, Carter Smith, Jay Ledbetter, Payton Hargis, Roy Tankersley, Emeline Pearson, Laura, Kevin, Sandra Langston, Royana Stewart, Bill Keller, Howard Gene Eslick, Linda Milligan, and Karen McCallie.

We pray continually for Christians around the world in grave danger and for those in our armed services, especially Wes Nevels.


"O God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: Mercifully accept our prayer, and grant to your servants the help of your power, that their sicknesses may be turned into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Sunday Service ....................................11:00 a.m.
Sunday School .....................................10:00 a.m.

Location/Address: 105 England Street E., PO Box 356, Cowan, TN 37318
Telephone: (931) 636-6313
The Rt. Rev'd John C. Bauerschmidt..................Bishop of Tennessee

The Rt. Rev'd Paul Lambert................................Pastor and Celebrant

The Rev'd Laban Agisa.......................................Visiting Priest

The Rev'd Charles Chiutulas...............................Visiting Priest

The Rev'd Jean Mweningoma.............................Visiting Priest

L. Jarod Pearson..................................................Lay Reader