Archive for the ‘Kenneth Randolph Taylor 2000-2011’ Category

Ministerial Cottage, Americus, Georgia, and Difficult Memories   Leave a comment

Ministerial Cottage May 5, 2015 01

All Photographs by Kenneth Randolph Taylor, May 8, 2015

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In 2006 my parents moved into a ministerial cottage at Magnolia Manor in Americus, Georgia.  He was already declining due to Alzheimer’s Disease, although that diagnosis came later.  I had moved to Athens, Georgia, in August 2005, so I visited occasionally.  Geographical distance protected me from the worst of my father’s dementia and physical problems (some of them related to it) most of the time.  My mother, however, was not as fortunate.  Being his caregiver was quite difficult.

Ministerial Cottage May 5, 2015 02

A friend in Athens lost her father to Alzheimer’s Disease also.  She told me that her father had died about ten years before his physical death.  I have come to understand what she meant, for the man who died in October 2014 occupied my father’s body yet was quite diminished from the man who had raised me.

Ministerial Cottage May 5, 2015 03

My mother occupied the ministerial cottage until the beginning of June 2015.  I paid my last visit, mainly to help her pack, in early May of that year.  Looking at the rooms stirred up difficult memories related to my father’s illness.  I recalled, for example, that, on Thanksgiving Day 2013, shortly before my father left the house for the last time and entered the nursing home (visible through the kitchen window) involuntarily, his behavior prompted me to take a long walk up and down the sidewalks beside Lee Street just to get away from him.

Ministerial Cottage May 5, 2015 04

It is unfair that often the last memories we have of certain loved ones are difficult.  When these loved ones die physically, they have actually died already, for the people they were have ceased to exist.  Trying to conduct a simple and intelligent conversation with such a loved one in the final stage of life might prove impossible.  One seeks to treat him or her with respect and dignity, but he or she, as he or she is at that phase, makes that difficult.  I have compassion for these loved ones and for those who struggle to treat them properly, for I have had a taste of what that is like.  Even visiting my father in the nursing home for an hour at a time was emotionally and physically draining.  Repeating myself too many times due to his confusion, bad memory, and bad hearing was difficult.  I tried to be kind, but I realized that I did not know what do in that moment.  A sense of futility had set in.

Ministerial Cottage May 5, 2015 05

Fortunately for everyone, especially my father, he died before Alzheimer’s Disease had a chance to do its worst.  He knew his family until the end.  I had suspected that the end might come in late 2014, as it did.  His death was merciful for all involved.  I recall watching him struggle with confusion and become frustrated.  But what did he feel that he could not communicate to anyone?  What was it like to be him at the end?  That struggle ended in October 2014.

Ministerial Cottage May 5, 2015 06

We humans associate memories with where events occurred.  I associate my father’s end and the final stage of his decline with Magnolia Manor, Americus, Georgia.  Now that no member of my family lives on that campus anymore, I have little reason to visit the place.  That is fine, for I seek to build positive memories when I visit Americus.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 2, 2016 COMMON ERA

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Kenneth Randolph Taylor, 2002   Leave a comment

Kenneth Randolph Taylor 2002

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Seldom do I like a formal portrait of myself, but this 2002 image, from the photographic directory of St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, Statesboro, Georgia, worked out well.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

Obituary of Nell Taylor   Leave a comment

Above:  John Dodson Taylor, Jr., and Nell Barrett Taylor at Summerville, Georgia, Winter 1960

Image Source = Gene McGinnis, Summerville, Georgia

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NELL TAYLOR

Retired Teacher

Died May 20, 2001

Mrs. Nell Fox Taylor, 86, Northwest Congress Street, Summerville, died Sunday in a Rome hospital.

She was born in Augusta, on Feb. 2, 1915, a daughter of the late George W. and Nellie Fox Barrett.  She was a member of Summerville Presbyterian Church, where she served as organist and choir director for several years.  Mrs. Taylor retired from the Chattooga County School System after 45 years of teaching.  Her husband, John D. Taylor, died earlier.

Surviving are two sons, the Rev. Jack Taylor, Warwick, and Randy Taylor, Atlanta; two sisters, Lucy Vanlandingham, and Margaret Bartlett, Atlanta; Barbara Nell Jackson, Reidsville, and Kenneth Randolph Taylor, Warwick; and great-grandchildren, Laura Elizabeth Jackson and Franklin Heath Jackson, Baxley; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held at 2 P.M. Tuesday from Summerville Presbyterian Church with the Revs. Jack Taylor and Chuck Vorderberg officiating.  Interment was in Summererville Cemetery.

Active pallbearers were Earl McConnell, Bud Jackson, John Turner, Billy Price, Arnold Kilgore, Euel Price, Alan Green, and Billy Petitt.

J. D. Hill Funeral Home had charge of arrangements.

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The above text is nearly identical to the obituary which appeared in The Summerville News.

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Family Tree of George Washington Barrett   5 comments

George W. Barrett

Above:  George Washington Barrett

An image taped inside a volume of family history

One of my great-grandfathers was George Washington Barrett (September 3, 1873-June 12, 1956).  His paternal great-grandfather was John Barrett (born circa 1776), probably the son of Reuben Barrett, a soldier on the colonial side of the U.S. Revolutionary War.  With John Barrett the family settled in Hall County, Georgia, the seat of which is Gainesville.  John Barrett had a son, Elisha Chastain Barrett (June 13-1806-May 13, 1886).  Elisha, born in Pendleton, South Carolina, was a farmer.  George Washington Barrett, a Methodist of the old school (no alcohol or playing cards) and a staunch Victorian (down to saying “limbs” instead of “legs”), described him as follows:

He was a loyal friend, sunny by serious-minded, an obliging neighbor.  He was strictly temperate, drank no alcoholic beverage, used no tobacco, was as far as any man from profaning God’s name.  In the years when one must take long trips to market, he took great care to see that his team rested on the Sabbath day.  He would no more have engaged in a game of cards than he would have undertaken a trip to the moon….

As a Christian and church official he was very devout and faithful.  He read his Bible much.  He received much pleasure and profit from reading two books of sermons, one by Bishop Thomas A. Morris of the Methodist Church and one by Rev. Ira L. Potter of the Georgia Conference.  In his latter years, if unable to attend church services on Sunday, he would read from these books and his Bible, often reading aloud, till his cup of rejoicing would overflow.

–George W. Barrett, Descendants of John Barrett and William Winburn (Emory University, Banner Press, 1949), page 6

Elisha was a member of what is now First United Methodist Church, Gainesville, Georgia.

He married twice.  His first wife was Nancy Mabry (February 2, 1810-January or February 1849), whom he wedded on January 15, 1828.  She died a few weeks after giving birth to a daughter, Nancy Elizabeth, her tenth child.  Wife number two was Lee Ann Pendely (June 1, 1823-July 10, 1910), married to Elijah from September 28, 1876.

William Wesley Barrett (January 20-1835-December 30, 1911), father of George Washington Barrett, was the fourth child of Elisha and Nancy.  He was a lifelong Methodist.  William Wesley was also a Confederate veteran, having served in Company K, 43rd Georgia Regiment from March 1862 until the end of that treasonous war.  (I added the “treasonous” aspect of that sentence.)  Of William Wesley Barrett my great-grandfather wrote:

The family altar was a fixture in his home.  He sought to train his children wisely and to shield them from the sins of the day.  If any one profaned God’s name in the presence of his children he was sure to let them know he disapproved of it.  His pastor was a welcomed visitor in his home.  He was neighborly and hospitable to all.  His faith in God was never shaken.  During his latter years he read his Bible and prayed much.  He was ready to go or to suffer as the Lord willed.

He was a steward in the church and served some years as the Superintendent of the Sunday School at Oakwood, Ga.  The Methodist Church there grew out of the school.  He was highly esteemed by all who knew him.

He married Miss Sarah Jane Winburn of Jefferson, Georgia, September 1, 1859.  She was born February 19, 1838, and died January 26, 1883.  She was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Winburn.  She was quite a beautiful young woman and a devoted Christian.  One of father’s sisters told me:  “I always will believe your Mother was the the best woman I ever knew.”

–page 10

George Washington Barrett was one of six children of that marriage.

This is how my great-grandfather described himself:

George Washington Barrett, born Sept. 3, 1873.  Joined the church when seven years of age.  Was licensed to preach Nov. 15, 1894.  Entered Young Harris College December 1, 1895, graduating with an A.B. degree, May 22, 1899.  He averaged almost a sermon a month at the college.

In July, 1899, he was appointed supply pastor of the Alpharetta circuit, whose pastor was sick.  In November, 1899, he was admitted on trial by the North Georgia Conference and was ordained deacon also.  He was returned to the Alpharetta charge.  He served as pastor without a break till reaching retirement age.  November, 1945, having preached 6,082 sermons.  He served as Secretary of 25 District Conferences, being pastor-host of three of them; for thirty-five years served somewhere on the Conference staff of secretaries, twenty-one of which he was Conference Secretary and for eighteen years was editor of the Conference Minutes.

On January 17, 1900, he married Miss Nellie Seguin Fox of Atlanta, Ga.  She was the daughter of Dr. James O. and Sarah Thomas Fox.  She was born at Hot Springs, Ark., Sept. 18, 1876.  She graduated in art at Marion, Ala., and taught art two years at Young Harris College.

–pages 12-13

They had six children, including Nell Fox Barrett, who married John Dodson Taylor, Jr., on June 12, 1937.

I moved to Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, in August 2005.  This change in geographical location brought me close to family history, for Gainesville and Oakwood are only about an hour away from my home.  And Winder, where George Washington Barrett served in 1925-1927, is about twenty minutes (depending on traffic) away from my front door.  My explorations of the Barrett side of my family history have turned up interesting details, some of them from the 1978 history of Barrow County, Georgia.  Beadland to Barrow:  A History of Barrow County, Georgia, from the Earliest Times to the Present (Atlanta:  Cherokee Publishing Company, 1978; reprinted, 1983), contains a history of First United Methodist Church (pages 276-280), part of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, when my great-grandfather served as pastor there, and features a photograph of the parsonage where the Barretts, including my grandmother, Nell Fox Barrett Taylor, lived for a year, on page 265.  Unfortunately, the Winder church building in which my great-grandfather preached burned down (probably due to a lightning strike) a few days ago.  (http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2012-07-27/fire-destroys-century-old-church-building-winder)

I wrote that my great-grandfather was an old-style Methodist.  Another piece of supporting evidence for this is the fact that, in 1928, he broke party ranks and voted for Herbert Hoover for President.  The reason was simple:  the Democratic Party had become the first major political party to nominate a Roman Catholic for President of the United States.  Most Americans do not think about Roman Catholicism as a disqualifying factor for the Presidency anymore, for attitudes have changed.  I can think of a number of practicing Roman Catholics have sought the Presidential nomination of either the Democratic or the Republican Party since John F. Kennedy won the highest office in 1960.  But his campaign had to contend with anti-Roman Catholic bias.  In my library I have a pamphlet–a reprinted article, really–by George L. Ford, Executive Director of the National Association of Evangelicals, in 1960.  The title of

A Roman Catholic President:  How Free from Church Control?

speaks for itself.  Each of us is, to a great extent, a product of our formative environment.  I am who I am for a variety of reasons, including my childhood and home life then.  I apply the same principle when trying to understand my great-grandfather, a product of a very different social climate.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 28, 2012 COMMON ERA

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Some Germane Posts:

https://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/regarding-sermon-outlines-by-george-washington-barrett/

https://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/former-home-of-first-methodist-church-winder-georgia/

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I Remember Mother   1 comment

Above:  John Dodson Taylor, Jr., and Nell Barrett Taylor, Summerville, Georgia, Winter 1960

Image Source = Gene McGinnis, Summerville, Georgia

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FEBRUARY 2, 1915-MAY 20, 2001

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A Eulogy in Remembrance of

Nell Fox Barrett Taylor

Delivered by One of Her Sons

Reverend John Dodson (Jack) Taylor, III

at

Summerville Presbyterian Church

May 22, 2001

2:oo P.M.

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I speak now of loving, laughing, and weeping.  I speak now of mourning and dancing.  I speak of working, creating, and giving.  I speak, finally, of rest.  Thus I speak of life, and of making the difference in life that Almighty God has put us here to make.  This is about the seasons of our lives and specifically about the life of Nell Fox Barrett Taylor, Randy’s and my mother.

Yet I speak not only of Mother, for I am compelled to speak of the man she loved as husband and father for over thirty-nine years.  He was the man who shared the seasons of that life with her.  Nell Taylor would tell you in a heartbeat that John Dodson Taylor, Jr., was her man, the only man she had ever loved.  He was her husband and the father of her two sons, Randolph Fleming Taylor and me.

Like all of us, Dad was thoroughly human.  Sometimes Mother and Dad did not understand each other.  Sometimes they did not even like each other.  But do any of us always understand and even like each other?  No.  But, oh! how they loved each other!  As the years passed their love deepened.

Since Dad’s passing on September 27, 1976, I have often thought about their relationship.  I have been enabled to understand their relationship.  I have been enabled to understand their relationship within the context of the biblical stories of God’s love for all of us; their love was unconditional.  For, as surely as God loves us just as we are, so Mother and Dad loved each other.  Neither one had to measure up to someone’s standard in order to have the love of the other.  St. Paul said it so well:

Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I speak for myself.  I remember Mother as well, Mother.  She loved Randy and me with a mother’s heart, for there is no heart like a mother’s heart.  Randy and I are, in some ways, very different.  And that is alright.  Mother realized that this just meant that we were unique.  Not once did I suspect that Mother judged either of us by the other; I never suspected any comparison.

With his knowledge of electronics, computers, and computer programming, Randy has made contributions I can only imagine to the business sector.  Mother and I were, and I am proud of Randy’s successes and contributions.  Moreover, we were, and I am proud of Randy.  Randy moves in and is comfortable with the world of technology.  I move in and am comfortable with the world of the abstract:  philosophy, theology, and ministry to the human spirit and all of its mystery.  I deal, then, with that which we can only feel but which, to me me, is no less real.  Mother was proud of the directions our lives took professionally.

Mother watched as Randy and me struggled to grow and to find direction.  I saw Randy as mischievous and somewhat daring.  I was not as adventurous as he, although I had my moments.  I always admired Randy and his daring, adventurous ways.  And in all of that Mother loved us with a passion.

Mother felt for us.  She cried for us, often at a distance as Randy and I began to move out on our own.  She yearned for us.    Her telephone calls to me–and, as I recall her last call to me, often included the words,

I just wanted to hear your voice.

Mother loved her grandchildren, Barbara Nell and Kenneth Randolph.  She loved her great-grandchildren, Laura Elizabeth and Franklin Heath.

I remember Mother as a church musician.  She looked forward to Sunday morning and to meeting the choir.  She loved choosing and preparing the service music.  Gladly did she leave the selection of the hymns to the pastor, Bob Pooley and Bill Hotchkiss, although she consulted about the choices.

Mother had a strong sense of right and wrong.  She also had strong feelings about what is appropriate inside the church building, especially during the worship hour.  I remember her holy anger and flashing eyes one Sunday morning when she interrupted the prelude, turned to the congregation, and gave them a good old-fashioned and well-deserved tongue-lashing about the noise and chatter which violated and cheapened the sanctity of the prelude, that part of the order of worship which is intended to help set the tone and spirit for worship.  Mother knew well that long ago this sanctuary was dedicated to the worship of God and nothing else.  We forget that all too easily.

I recall a Saturday evening when Mother and I came here so she could finish preparations for music the next morning.  I also remember her sputter then her explosion when we walked in and found a young lady playing “The Rock and Roll Waltz” on her–Mother’s–Hammond organ! Mother understood that everyone’s opinions and tastes are to be honored as their own.  She also knew that each has its own place.  In this case the church sanctuary was most inappropriate!

I remember Mother as teacher in the finest, truest sense of the profession.  Precisely because she put time and effort into preparing her classes she rightly expected her students to put fort he effort to participate and learn.  She burned the proverbial midnight oil regularly, grading papers and writing notes of encouragement on the papers of those who needed  that encouragement.

A little over a year ago Mother and I sat at the kitchen table, talking about her forty-five years as a teacher.  She was staring out of the big kitchen window when, drumming her fingers on the table, she cut her eyes toward me and said,

You know, son, as a teacher I was supposed to make it possible for my students to love to learn, and I failed.

Well, of course, Mother did not fail.

I reminded her quickly of some of the differences she had made:  of the students who not only learned to love learning but who went on to college.  I also reminded her of the students who had graduated thirty-five to forty years earlier, who still called or came by.  I wish I could tell Mother something Randy said said as we sat in the hospital dining room last week.  He pronounced her legacy when he said,

Yes, Mom made a difference in the county, didn’t she?

Indeed!

I remember Mother as Glee Club director.  Music lover that I am, I enjoyed going to Glee Club every day.  We enjoyed going to Glee Club!  She made it fun, and we laughed–a lot!  We also got down to business.  Mother introduced a variety of music, such as standards and show tunes.  There was “In the Still of the Night.”  Show tunes included “Wunderbar,” “The Road to Mandalay,” and “There Ain’t Nothing Like a Dame” from South Pacific.  We had fun with that one!

There is so much more I would like to say.  So I will begin to close on a personal note.  Randy and I are the men we are today primarily because of the shared commitment and influence of Mother and Dad to us.  As the years have passed (thirty-nine have passed since high school graduation), I have come to realize the enormity of the impact of Mother’s life on Randy and me.  We are veterans of military service.  We are college graduates.  And through all of this and more, Mother was there.

In the sphere of the temporal, Mother encouraged us to enjoy all that God has given to us.  Where I am concerned, I have a deep love for music, especially the classics, the music of the masters.  It is music composed by men and women of history who simply had to compose lest the melodies haunting their minds be lost forever.  Thanks to Mother’s influence and encouragement I can lose myself in the solemnity of Bach’s Great Mass in B Minor.  At other times I allow myself to feel the praise and exhilaration of George Frederick Handel’s Messiah.

Mother was a Christian, although not in the sense of just living by a moral code of goodness.  Rather, she knew that she was a child of God.  She, as do all Christians, struggled with her faith, prayer life, and commitment.  She struggled with the difficult questions for which she could never find a satisfactory answer, finally being satisfied to leave the answers to God.

Mother knew the cleansing power of God’s forgiveness that is ours in Jesus Christ.  And whether or not she realized it, she taught me the value of the text from Ecclesiastes: that there is a time and place for everything, that all that has been will be again, and that I should not allow myself to be smitten with my own self-importance!

Mother lived the seasons of her life with dignity and grace.  In the finest sense of the word, Mother was a lady.  She wore the mantle of her faith and lived out her roles she played with thanksgiving and the humility that says she recognized her strengths and weaknesses and kept them in perspective.

Writing 1 Corinthians 13, St. Paul declared the tree greatest of the Christian virtues:  faith, hope, and love.  Faith and hope escorted Mother through the portals of God’s glory and into joys which are unspeakable and full of glory.  She has laid aside this veil of flesh and the mantles of faith and hope.  Now she knows the fullness of God’s love!

To everything there is a season.

Indeed!

Where John Dodson Taylor, Sr., Lived in Summerville, Georgia   4 comments

Above:  The John Dodson Taylor, Sr., Home Circa 1908, When It Was New

Photograph Courtesy of Sharon Foster Jones, on June 14, 2012

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This is an old photograph of my family ancestral home, a house which was, in its prime, a showplace with high ceilings and a wide corridor at the front door.  I grew up there in the 1970s (with my parents and sister) and visited it in the 1980s.  The last time I was there was in late 2000, when the house was showing its increasingly declining state.  I like old things, so the fact of the house’s recent condition is something I consider unfortunate.

I can still walk through the house in my imagination, which will last longer than the physical structure of the house, unfortunately.  But, via the wonders of blogging, my great-grandfather’s poems can continue as a monument to him.  May they do so.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 14, 2012 COMMON ERA

Modified on June 15, 2012 Common Era

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I cropped the photograph to focus on the women and children:

From left to right:  Sarah Faye and Helen (or Helen and Sarah Faye), Harriet (“Hattie”) with John D., Jr., Arcissa, and a woman whose name I have not determined

John Dodson Taylor, Jr., my grandfather, did not arrive until 1905, when, as he put it,

The twentieth century had just graduated from training pants….

Leaves in the Wind, undated, page 7

(He died on September 27, 1976, having spent years in a nursing home.  And his picture in the front is dated 1940.  So those facts help restrict the timeframe of possible publication.)

I am probably looking at images of relatives, not all of whom were part of my direct lineage.  I wonder who some of them were.  Various sources have supplied the following information:

One  of the women is probably Arcissa Wilshire Dodson Taylor (1824-1915), wife of  John Taylor (1834-1901) and mother of John Dodson Taylor, Sr. (1860-1936).  Arcissa did live in the house at the time of the 1910 U.S. Census, as did John Dodson Taylor, Sr., and John Dodson Taylor, Jr.

Another woman is probably Harriet “Hattie” Stoddard (died 1932 and aged 45 years in 1910), wife of John Dodson Taylor, Sr.  She also lived in the house in 1910, according to that year’s U.S. Census.

Eugene Dodson Taylor (born 1890) , the elder brother of John Dodson Taylor, Jr., my grandfather, did not reside in the house in 1910.  Of Gene in 1905, at the point of John D. Jr’s birth,  my grandfather wrote,

Gene was of sufficient age to travel alone, and I understand that he went to visit other relatives.  (It’s nice to have relatives, especially when another young one is bidding entrance into the world.)

The two young women were Sarah Faye and Helen, aged 17 and 13 years respectively, in 1910.  The 1988 history of the Summerville Presbyterian Church mentions the 1924 wedding of one Helen Dodson Taylor to Wilford Caulkins.  The same history lists Helen Dodson Taylor as having joined the church on November 6, 1910.  Helen and Sarah Faye were my grandfather’s older sisters, who were “at tender ages” (Leaves in the Wind, page 8) when he was born.  Helen Taylor Caulkins died on February 13, 1977, having left for Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1924.  The 1988 history of the Summerville Presbyterian Church lists one Sarah Faye Taylor, who joined the church on December 30, 1906, and eventually married John Black Whisnant.  She died in November 1980.

Who, then, was the woman on the right?  I must continue to pursue this question.

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Sitting With a Cat   Leave a comment

Above:  A Calico Cat

A self-possessed feline

Sits on my lap,

Purrs,

And seems content

While I pet her gently.

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This time is good

For both of us.

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The cat,

A wonderful creature of God,

And I

Help each other.

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I look into her eyes.

How does she think of me?

What does she think of me?

We two,

Members of different species–

How well do we understand each other?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 27, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST, APOSTLE AND MARTYR