ON APRIL 26, 1942, the congregation of St. Peter’s Episcopal Parish—kittycorner from the Seattle Japanese Language School on S. King St. at 16th Ave. S.—gathered for their last service before the wartime departure of Japanese Americans from Seattle.
On April 30, 2017, the small church invited many to its special 75th anniversary service. I believe I can say fairly that all in attendance were touched by the thoughtfulness of the entire program, which included Sunday services, a prime-rib and salmon lunch in the gym, and after-lunch speakers. Evident throughout was the extensive research the Parish made of its activities during those bygone days. The historical documents and images remaining do all Seattle JAs proud. Additionally, what stands out is how the Episcopal Church stood behind JAs in their hour of need. In the limited space of this column, today I share mainly the 1942 remarks of the late Rev.
Daisuke Kitagawa, from the printed anniversary program, and a few images from the commemorative gathering. I hope to revisit other aspects of the day in a later column or two. Father Kitagawa’s entry in the church service register: “IN VIEW OF the probability that this may very well be the last Sunday service to be held here in this church for the duration [of the war], it was most fortunate and providential that the Bishop of the Diocese was able to be with us to celebrate a Holy Communion and moreover Bishop Reifsnider, who has been appointed by the House of Bishops to be fully in charge of Japanese interest[s] in this country for the duration, was with us and preached. His sermon was just the kind of message we need under the circumstances. He certainly touched our hearts when he, modestly and briefly as it was, spoke of his own experiences in Japan and how he was forced to leave the country for which he had given his life.
It was also very nice to have Miss Lucy Taylor, the Bishop’s secretary with us, who has been and will long be most helpful to us all. Be it remembered, also, that Mrs. Livesley, our Church School teacher was here to participate in this memorable and impressive service. At least a part of the congregation is leaving for the Puyallup Reception Center this week and so I hereby close this record and turn it over to the Bishop’s custodianship. —Daisuke Kitagawa, Vicar” THE STRONG IMPRESSIONS these words make today are those of leadership, of character, and of taking the long view. What actions and words of our own today will be similarly worth reading 75 years from now?