The Rev. Clarence Sickles
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Sickles named rector emeritus at St. James Church
The Star-Gazette - February 13, 2003
The Rev. Clarence Sickles was named rector emeritus of St. James Church at the Annual Parish Meeting on Jan. 19. The Rev. Dr. Cathy Deats read a letter from the Bishop and then spoke about the honoree. Joining Sickles in expressing appreciation for the honor were his wife, Jean, (to whom he gave almost all the credit for his ministry) and his daughter, Margaret Sheldon.
Remarks delivered by Dr. Deats were as follows:
At the November 2002 meeting of the Vestry of St. James Church, it was unanimously decided to name The Rev. Charles Sickles, Rector Emeritus. Bishop John Palmer Croneberger had, prior to the meeting, given his support to this resolution.
By his own report, Clarence Sickles had an immediate and strong desire to serve at St. James'. However, worried about his limited experience, he declined the call not once but twice. Further demonstrating that God will have Gods way with us, Fr. Sickles did finally agree to the call, and became Vicar of St. James on Dec. 15, 1953.
With lay leaders at his side, Fr. Sickles presided over St. James, Christ Church in Stanhope, and St. Peters in Mt. Arlington, for the next two years. In 1955, he became full-time Vicar of St. James Hackettstown. During the time Fr. Sickles was Vicar, all the stained glass windows in the church were repaired (late 1950s), the church tower was rebuilt at the 100th anniversary of the founding of the parish, and an old pump-style organ was replaced with an electronic one (c. 1960). Sometime in the early 1960s, St. James became a self-supporting parish, no longer dependent upon Diocesan financial assistance.
Fr. Sickles liturgies were also contributions to the parish, especially the Christmas Eve service where the tradition of singing Silent Night with only candlelight was born, and the (then) three-hour Good Friday service hosted by St. James for the Community of Hackettstown.
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