Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Pop Sam

In 1960, the Ven. Samuel Blackwell Chilton, Archdeacon of Virginia, was consecrated to be Virginia's third suffragan. Bishop Chilton served for 36 years as parish priest, editor of the Southern Churchman, Secretary-Treasurer of the Diocese of Virginia and as Archdeacon. Reflecting the rapid population growth of the northern portion of the Diocese and the increasing numbers of congregations there, Bishop Chilton became the first suffragan to be resident in that area. A second diocesan office was established in Northern Virginia, first at St. Stephen's School for six years, and then at Goodwin House, a diocesan retirement residence.

Besides cooperating with Bishop Gibson, and later Bishop Hall, in the routine work of the Diocese, Bishop Chilton's main interest and work was church extension. During the 1960s, 17 churches were built with diocesan aid. Twenty years later, these 17 churches reported a total of 6,574 communicants. At the time, there were 12 dioceses in the continental U.S. with fewer communicants. Nine of the buildings were 'churches of the '60s,' a design developed by the Rev. John A. Baden.

Greatly knowledgeable of the history of the Diocese, and much loved by the people, 'Bishop Sam,' as he was widely known, retired at the end of 1969. After a brief illness, Bishop Chilton died on St. Stephen's Day, December 26, 1984.
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