Rev. Vaulx's Farewell Message
On July 4th, 1905, during his last day as Holy Trinity's first Priest-In-Charge, the Rev. James J. Vaulx, wrote a farewell message to his parishioners in the church registry book. It was written with ink in longhand and covered one and one half pages in one continuous paragraph.
It is a remarkable document in that it begins in the third person as a historical narrative of the early church years, describing his arrival at Holy Trinity and some details of it's growth, including gifts and memorials. Near the end it shifts to the first person and concludes with a loving farewell message to his "flock". It is quite interesting reading and, with the exception of adding paragraph breaks for readability, is reproduced here without any changes in spelling or punctuation.
The early church registry book showing Rev. Vaulx's handwritten farewell message to Holy Trinity parishioners.
Rectory of Holy Trinity, W.P.B. Florida
July 4th, 1905
The latter part of the winter of 1901 – 1902 the Rev. J .J. Vaulx came to West Palm Beach for his health and took temporary charge of Holy Trinity. He found a small but devoted and energetic little flock who had built the little Chapel as far as the Rood Screen on two lots—one of them given by Mr. Flagler and the other by Mrs. Marvin. The lots where the Rectory stands and around the Church were a perfect jungle. For the few weeks he was here, he tried to do them all the good he could. He advised them to build a Rectory so that they might be able to get a Resident Priest, little thinking that he would be the first one to occupy it. The next fall he found it necessary to give up the Rectorship of St. Paul’s Parish, Fayetteville, and come to Florida and a very old friend, Bishop Gray, appointed him to Holy Trinity and the missions around. He entered upon his duties with a Celebration of the Holy Communion on All Saints’ Day 1902.
The people had determined to build the Rectory which was completed in the following February when the Rector’s family came and took possession of it. There was a debt still of several hundred dollars upon the Rectory one hundred dollars of which was paid by moneys raised by the Guild and in the Spring of 1903 the rest of the money was raised among the tourists in Palm Beach and the debt was paid off – thanks are due to Mr. Jefferson who had loaned the money without interest and had contributed towards the liquidating of the debt and also to Mr. Frederick Townsend Martin of New York who collected the amount. I must not neglect to mention a Mr. Cooper who interested himself much in the mission and also Mr. Harvey L. Brown, one of the Officers of Holy Trinity.
The grounds have been beautified by the gift of plants and by the work of the Rector. In the Spring of 1903 a beautiful Chalice and Patten were gotten through the offerings of the people of the mission and visitors who gladly gave toward it. That same year it became necessary to enlarge the Chapel by the addition of a Vestry room and a place for a Vested Choir. The members of the flock gladly gave the money for this purpose and the Vested Choir took their place Easter Day 1904. It is very greatly to be hoped that the Choir will never be permitted to go down for there is no training for children like a Vested Choir.
The Altar was marbled white and rendered beautiful. That same year the Litany desk was added to the furniture of the Church and the Book was placed upon it by a visitor to the memory of a friend. In the fall a pair of brass Altar vases were placed on the Altar the gift of Mr. F. T. Martin. In 1905, in the Spring, Mrs. Lent, a visitor from Tarrytown, N.Y. caused to be placed in the Church to the memory of her husband and the Bible was given by Mr. Theodore Gibbs, Senior Warden of Grace Church, New York. The other books – namely the Altar Service, the Prayer Book and Hymnal for the Chancel were given by the Free Will offerings of the people both resident and visitors. By means of the Easter offering, the Rood Screen and Screen for the Font were added to the Church. The Font was the gift of Mrs. Pendleton of Augusta Springs, Virginia and also the new seats for the Church.
I, the Rev. J. J. Vaulx, have written this slight sketch of Holy Trinity during the time of my Rectorship and I hope that someone who knows the early history of the mission will be moved to write it. I have failed, no doubt, in many particulars in doing my duty but of one thing I am confident, I have tried to do my duty and I beg forgiveness for any neglect of duty – it is with inexpressable regret that I leave Holy Trinity tomorrow, July 5th. I have received nothing but kindness from the people of West Palm Beach and I pray God to bless them. For my little flock whom I have loved so well, I pray God’s blessing – Farewell my dear people. Remember especially these admonitions: Leave the world better and more beautiful than you found it and guard well the door of your lips – "Keep thy tongue from evil and thy lips that they speak no guile."
Your Loving Pastor,
James J. Vaulx