On February 9, 1917, a banquet was held in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the formation of the General Church of the New Jerusalem. The General Church (a denomination of the New Church) had been formally organized on February 6, 1897. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of a gold chain and medallion to Bishop Emeritus William Frederic Pendleton (1845-1927). Pendleton had been the first bishop of the General Church and had retired from active service two years earlier in 1915. The necklace and medallion was a gift from members of the General Church in appreciation for his many years of service. A presentation was made by Dr. F.A. Boericke:
“On this twentieth anniversary of its organization the General Church wishes to present to you this chain, as a token of its love and esteem for you. By this token you may, as long as you live, be assured that the members of this General Church have ever regarded you with the very greatest affection, and that they recognize in you a most wise and considerate leader; one who has regarded the absolute freedom and welfare of the individual, as well as of the body of the Church, as a whole, both in its organization and at all times since. . . . We sincerely hope that you may be with us yet for many years, and that your health may be such that you will feel able to preach sermons to us as in the past, which have awakened in us a profound realization of our responsibilities, and our duty to our God and to our neighbor” (“General Church Day in Bryn Athyn, PA,” New Church Life, 1917, 189). (Articles from 1917 indicate the chain alone was given on February 9, but the medallion must have followed soon after because it was present in a photograph taken in 1919 (see photo above); in addition, 1917 is engraved on the back of the medallion.
The chain and medallion are 22 carat gold, with twelve of the chain links having semi-precious stones in them. On the back of each of the links having a stone are the location names of two societies of the General Church (see photo):
1. Abington/Allentown, garnet (red)
2. Arbutus/Brussels, quartz, sand or carnelian (red)
3. Bryn Athyn/Chicago, golden topaz quartz (red)
4. Cincinnati/Colchester, purple amethyst (blue)
5. Denver/Durban, lapis lazuli (blue)
6. Erie/Glenview, light blue Ceylon sapphire (blue)
7. Kitchener/Waterloo, indicolite, blue tourmaline (blue/white)
8. London/Middleport, turquoise (blue/white)
9. New York/Paris, moonstone, blue overtone aquamarine (blue/white)
10. Philadelphia/Pittsburgh, aquamarine (white)
11. Stockholm/Sydney, opaque chalcedony quartz (white)
12. Toronto/Washington, transparent crystal quartz (white).
(This information comes from a typed Academy of the New Church Museum document dated 5/7/76.)
The medallion (see photos) features a garnet in the middle and twelve clear quartz stones around the edge. On the center of the back is engraved the date 1917. Around the edge is engraved the following: “To Bishop W. F. Pendleton on the Twentieth Anniversary of the Organization of the General Church of the New Jerusalem.”
William F. Pendleton passed away in 1927, at which time the chain and medallion became the property of his heirs. In 1940, during the General Assembly of the General Church, his heirs presented it to the acting bishop of the church at that time, Right Reverend George de Charms, along with a letter (New Church Life, 1940, 415). They wanted it to be the property of the General Church:
“Father was deeply touched by the love and affection which prompted the gift and also by its signification and its form. . . . We therefore present this gift, not only in fulfillment of the wish of both our father and our mother, but also from our hearts as an expression of our deep devotion to the General Church” (Heirs of W. F. Pendleton. Copy of letter to George de Charms. 25 March 1940).
Currently the chain and medallion are on loan to Glencairn Museum, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, from the General Church.
Photos: The photograph of William F. Pendleton wearing the medallion was taken at the dedication ceremony for Bryn Athyn Cathedral, October 5, 1919. His brother, Bishop Nathaniel D. Pendleton, is standing next to him. It is in the collection of the Academy of the New Church Archives, Swedenborg Library, Bryn Athyn, PA. The color photographs were taken by Ed Gyllenhaal.
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