Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That this General Convention add The Reverend Edwin Culmer, D.D. to the Church calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts (or Holy Women, Holy Men) on June 18 or other appropriate date; and be it further
Resolved, That Father John Edwin Culmer who was born on May 22, 1891 and died on June 19, 1963 was a priest, humanitarian, and civil rights leader. Culmer served as Vicar of St. James Church, Tampa from 1919 to 1929. During that time he successfully completed the red-pressed brick church edifice, installed the pews, built the rectory, retired a mortgage of $25,000, and nearly doubled the membership. He also started the mission of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in St. Petersburg. In 1929, when Culmer was transferred to Miami, Tampa’s religious and civic leadership expressed profound regret at the decision; and be it further
Resolved, That Father Culmer’s subsequent ministry in Miami and with the wider Episcopal Church was even more abundant. Both the Church and Culmer’s community recognized his dedication and accomplishments with numerous awards, gubernatorial appointments, and honorary degrees, including a Certificate of commendation signed by U.S. President Harry Truman. In 1955 Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida, bestowed upon him the honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Five years later, as the institution’s first living black priest recipient, Culmer was awarded the honorary Doctor of Divinity from the Virginia Theological Seminary and was recognized as "one of the nation’s greatest humanitarians”; be it further
Resolved, That John Edwin Culmer is remembered as one of the chief architects of an integrated Episcopal Church and may be the first Black Deputy to the Episcopal General Convention; be it further
Resolved, That the Tampa, Florida Chapter of the United Black Episcopalians (UBE) is named in honor of Rev Culmer, and along with St. James House of Prayer Episcopal Church (Tampa), support this resolution; be it further
Resolved, That a portrait of Father Culmer was dedicated in 2014 and now hangs in Southwest Florida’s Diocesan House and that much of the history on Father Culmer in this resolution comes from information presented at that dedication ceremony.
The 39th Convention of the Diocese of Southwest Florida meeting in Venice Florida voted in 2007 to begin the process of adding The Reverend John Edwin Culmer to The Episcopal Church Calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts on June 19th. In Spring of 2018, the Diocese of Southwest Committee on Race and Racial Reconciliation and the Deputation of Southwest Florida agreed to accept and complete Diocesan Convention charge to submit a resolution on Rev. Culmer to the General Convention.
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