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Minister Draws Dunsmuir, McCloud Parishioners

The Rev. Robert Read asked his Bishop for the hardest assignment in the Episcopal Diocese of Sacramento.  In 1947 that was St. Paul’s in Crescent City, Calif., where Sunday school was held in a pony barn. He and the congregation transferred a chapel from Camp White, Ore., to Crescent City.

The diocese assigned Read the following year to Dunsmuir, Calif., a railroad town with a congregation of nine and nearby McCloud, a lumber town, with six parishioners. The single, frugal Rev. Read soon found he couldn’t live on the $1,200 salary.

By 1951 he had become, in Time Magazine’s words, “The Working Minister.” First he secured a job as night manager of a Dunsmuir Hotel, where he met lots of people.  As his congregation grew he didn’t have time to minister. So he moved to McCloud and worked at the end of a screaming saw loading molding onto trucks. The union job paid more than $3,000 a year, much of which he gave away.

In three short years Reverend Read had increased weekly attendance at McCloud to 30 for his one-topic, 10-minute sermon before rushing to Dunsmuir to attend to more than 100 parishioners at their Sunday services.

Source: "Religion: The Wonderful Minister." History of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. St. Paul's Church, Web. 19 June 2016. < http://www.stpaulscrescentcity.org/page/history_of_st_pauls >.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.