TRIBUTE TO CAPTAIN WALT SWINDELLS
WALTER ROBERT SWINDELLS
BORN: 2 NOVEMBER 1919
ENTERED ETERNAL LIFE: 23 MARCH 2012
I AM the resurrection and the life,
saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.
I know that my redeemer liveth, and
that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though this body be
destroyed, yet shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall
behold, and not as a stranger.
We brought nothing into this world, and
it is certain we can carry nothing out. The LORD gave, and
the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
I learned of the passing away of Capt Walt Swindells, the Trustees Warden of HILLSPEAK, ANGLICAN DIGEST, OPERATION PASS ALONG today. Our heartfelt condolences to his family and all at Hillspeak. I remember and miss him as a friend, former parishioner and strong defender of the Continuing Church Movement. He was the doyen of the movement in his own right, while firmly believing in the orthodoxy of the movement and reaching across the globe to help out missions with needs – books, vestments etc. HILLSPEAK became the hub for the publication of The Certain Trumpet, a news bulletin of the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen. We had the fortune of hearing from Captain Walt on the 30th anniversary of the Congress of St. Louis of the effort of the movement to preserve the faith once delivered unto the saints. Bishop James McNeley who had known him since the Congress of St. Louis, remembers him as a dedicated person for the cause of the Continuing Church Movement.
An ecumenical service by the river in San Antonio, Texas drew Captain Walt Swindells into the Episcopal Church in 1959. The service, though ecumenical, used the 1928 Book of Common Prayer as its basis, Swindells said.
“I fell in love with the book and the service,” Swindells, then a Methodist, said. He soon joined the Episcopal Church and was confirmed by Bishop Charles James Kinsolving III.
When a new prayer book was being introduced in the 1970’s, Swindells said it was primarily Fr. Foland who had pushed him to attend the Congress of St. Louis. “Fr. Foland was unhappy with what was being done with the prayer book and vehemently opposed to the ordination of women,” Swindells said. “He wanted me to go and see what the Congress of St. Louis was all about.”
“My own convictions were not so strong,” Swindells said, “but I felt very strongly about the revisions in the Prayer Book and was saddened by the loss of the real language in it.”
Swindells found himself on the committee to draft the affirmation along with Fr. George Clendenin, a priest from California, Fr. Simcox, Perry Laukhuff, Fr. James Parker and others. Before the Congress, the group met in Albany, Georgia at Fr. James Parker’s church to draft the affirmatio
“When we got to St. Louis everyone had a different idea of what should be in it,” Swindells said. “We met until two in the morning and then I gave up, telling them I couldn’t think of anything else. By daylight, they had what essentially became the affirmation.
Swindells said that most were still pretty optimistic about the Episcopal Church turning around.
“I thought I would remain in the church and it would change,” Swindells said. He said that the Congress was largely a lay movement and when it became evident they couldn’t turn the Episcopal Church around they decided to remain a church grounded on Biblical framework using the 1928 Book of Common Prayer as the guide. Swindells resigned as Bishop’s Warden upon his return from the congress.
Swindells said that most of the work of the movement after the congress was from the Fellowship of Concerned Christian (FCC). He served on board as secretary and treasurer at different times and also as Editor of the organization’s newsletter. After the Congress of St. Louis, the FCC had organized the meeting in Denver, where they were to select the new Bishops.
“Albert Chambers, who was an Episcopal Bishop was going to do the consecrations with Bishop Boynton but Boynton had a heart condition and could not go,” Swindells said. “Chambers wanted it to be done right and so someone got a hold of Pagtakhan of the Philippine Independent Church who agreed to be a consecrator. Bp. Mark Pae, a Korean Bishop had volunteered to go. Someone, we assumed the Archbishop of Canterbury, told him not to go so he deputized Fr. Doren to act in his stead. When they did the consecrations, Doren was first, then he took part in consecrating Morse, Mote, and Watterson.
Swindells said that immediately after the consecrations each Bishop took off in his own direction.
“The focus on the Congress of St. Louis was to provide a place for people who didn’t or couldn’t follow in the footsteps the Episcopal Church was taking,” Swindells said. “And the plan of the FCC was to cease to exist once it accomplished what it set out to do. He said that he thought that would happen when the bishops were consecrated in Denver.
“At the time of the Denver consecration, I thought that our purpose had been accomplished but was disappointed when the church immediately broke off into little segments,” he said. “Each bishop had an interest to protect their turf and there really wasn’t enough turf to protect. They lost focus. Problems often arise with the “human element.”
“In the early English church and in the continuing church–the foibles and failures of some parts of that human element that have kept the church from becoming what I hoped it would become, a single strong church,” said Swindells. “Now, it’s important that the continuing church focus on what had already been built and renew what was working, using the three houses of governance and relying on Scripture, tradition and reason.”
Captain Walt Swindells at the time of the interview the Trustees Warden for Hillspeak and resides in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Hillspeak is the Society for Promoting and Encouraging Arts and Knowledge [of the Church] at Hillspeak, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Hillspeak publishes the Anglican Digest, an independent voice reflecting the ministry of the faithful throughout the Anglican Communion since 1958. Captain Walt served in the US Marine Corps.
REMEMBER thy servant, Walt O Lord, according to
the favour which thou bearest unto thy people, and grant that, increasing in
knowledge and love of thee, he may go from strength to strength, in the
life of perfect service, in thy heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever, one God, world
without end. Amen.
UNTO God’s gracious mercy and
protection we commit you. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his
face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up his
countenance upon you, and give you peace, both now and evermore. Amen.
Rest eternal grant unto thy servant Walt Swindells O Lord
And let thine light perpetual shine upon him.
May he and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, REST IN PEACE, AMEN.