At its dinner tonight the St. Paul's Society celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. This is an event of no small importance in the history of the University as well as in the history of the Society. The influence which this organization has had in the University since its foundation in 1861 has been very great. Its chief function in the past has been to unite for a genuine fellowship in the religious life those Episcopalians who have felt the need of a definite religious platform. The depth of its work has been greater than its breadth; but how strong and deep its influence in the College has been--in spite of the fact that only twelve men were at the first meeting on September 17, 1861--is shown by the men who have been members and who have worked for it in other capacities. Bishop Brooks was a frequent speaker during his rectorship at Trinity Church, and into the life of the Society he poured a large share of a personality which can never be forgotten. Professor Shaler was an honorary member and President Lowell was vice-president of the Society in 1876. William Belden Noble '85, in whose memory the Noble Lectures were founded, was one of its most enthusiastic members, a man whose gentleness and high-minded ness has left an undying impression upon Harvard. Bishop Lawrence, Bishop Doane and Professor Palmer have all been active in its behalf.
Since the St. Paul's Society became affiliated with Brooks House at the time that the latter was built in 1900, it has had an even more influential existence than before. The dinner tonight is not only important historically: plans are to be laid for the most important step which the Society has taken since its foundation--the beginning of a Church mission in East Somerville. We believe that the foundation of such a mission, which is sadly needed amid our many non-religious philanthropic activities, is one of the most important religious steps which has been taken at Harvard in a long time. It should materially add to the efficiency and influence of the St. Paul's Society.