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Throughout this pilgrimage, we ask you to remind yourself that at the core of each and every one of these stories is people. Their individual histories, personalities, and experiences make up the larger stories that you will hear on this pilgrimage. Each one of them had a life of complex events, and each one of them cared deeply for the work of the church and its people.


As you journey through this pilgrimage, you will encounter a variety of figures mentioned again and again. Here, we have compiled some of the people you will hear referenced in multiple histories so you may learn more about these important characters and how they are interconnected. These men and women were pioneers of the church and continued to fight for the work of the church through numerous hardships. We invite you to get to know them below.

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Mr. James T. Kennedy, a black teacher from South Carolina, was recruited in the early 1880s to head up the newly established Colored Episcopal Mission School in Macon County, NC. Through his leadership the school grew significantly, and in 1887, when St. Cyprian's Chapel (Lincolnton) was founded in connection with the school, Mr. Kennedy was ordained a deacon and became in charge of the chapel. In 1911, Deacon Kennedy was transferred to Asheville where he became the minister-in-charge of St. Matthias. Four years later he was ordained to the priesthood and by 1920 had brought St. Matthias to the point of becoming the first African American church in WNC to achieve full parish status. In that same year, Bishop Horner appointed Rev. Kennedy the Archdeacon for Colored Work in the Missionary District of Asheville (now the Diocese of WNC). In that capacity, he played a crucial role in strengthening all of the African American churches in the diocese. Rev. Kennedy was also a skilled woodworker and made almost all of the furnishings in St. Cyprian's Chapel. He retired officially in 1936 but continued to serve wherever needed until age 85. He died in 1956 at age 91, leaving behind a rich legacy of service both to the diocese and to the larger community.


The Rev. Deacon Henry Stephen McDuffy came to Western North Carolina from the Diocese of East Carolina and began serving Trinity Chapel (now St. Matthias) as it's minister-in-charge in 1887. Ordained a priest the following year and became one of the most effective and beloved clergy in the history of St. Matthias. During his tenure, the congregation transitioned from being a mission of Trinity Church to an independent mission with its own name, St. Matthias. In addition to his work in Asheville, Rev. McDuffy also played a major role in the founding of St. Stephen's in Morganton. During its first two years, Rev. McDuffy went to Morganton twice a month to hold services and also helped the congregation raise funds for its first church building. Rev. McDuffy retired in 1902 but only after seeing the addition of an adjoining chapel at St. Matthias. Following his death several years later, the congregation at St. Matthias placed a large memorial plaque in the chapel which summarized his remarkable life: "Devout servant of God. Teacher and preacher of Truth. Lover of all mankind."



The Rev. Deacon Bobby Lynch was born and raised in Rutherfordton, North Carolina. Growing up, he attended the AME Zion Church in the New Hope neighborhood of Rutherfordton, but began attending St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church alongside his wife, Helen Lynch in the early 1970s. Rev. Lynch was a faithful and dedicated member of St. Gabriel's for many years, and in 1975, was brought up by the parish and ordained deacon alongside the Rev. Robert Stroud, making them the first deacons of color ordained in the Diocese of Western North Carolina. Rev. Lynch has served St. Gabriel's as deacon ever since his ordination, making him the longest-standing deacon in the diocese. In 2000, Bobby and Helen Lynch began the Jericho Road Soup Kitchen at St. Gabriel's out of their own pockets, a ministry which has now grown to feed over 100 people every week. He continues to serve St. Gabriel's to this day, through the soup kitchen on Wednesday afternoons and at every Sunday service.


Scotland Harris was born in Halifax County, North Carolina in 1869. He was educated at St. Augustine Normal School and Collegiate Institute in Raleigh, one of the oldest historically black universities in the United States. After graduation, he was involved in politics in Halifax County, even being elected as State Representative in 1897 though he was never seated. In 1907, he was recommended by St. Augustine to lead the Tryon Industrial Colored School, which later became the Good Shepherd Mission School, hosting the Good Shepherd Episcopal Community weekly on Sundays. Harris lived adjacent to the school, in a large home he built on Jackson Street, which is now known as the Jackson House. He was fired from his position at Good Shepherd in 1918 after attending a service at Holy Cross, the white-only church in town, and shortly after moved his family to Charleston, South Carolina, though he would return to Tryon periodically, building many structures in the town. Harris died in 1953 at the age of 84, but the many structures he built are a continued reminder of his service, resilience, and faith.

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Annie Avery was born in 1888 to founding members of St. Stephen’s Mission, Morganton, NC and was the first person to be confirmed at St. Stephens. Learning to play the piano at an early age, Annie became an avid music teacher, organist, and choirmaster, recruiting many children from the community by encouraging them to join the choir. When St. Stephen’s relocated to Bouchelle Street, the new church was built on land that Annie donated. Bouchelle Street residents constantly heard beautiful organ music as she practiced with doors and windows open. Affectionately known as the “beloved barefoot organist,” Annie served St. Stephen’s for more than 50 years. Annie also housed underpaid teachers and people who lived out in the country and couldn’t commute every day to their jobs. In 2019, the Annie Avery Scholarship was established by St. Mary’s and St. Stephens Episcopal Church “to provide assistance to candidates seeking to improve their life position by pursuing certificate or degree programs and to candidates who would ideally remain in the community.” Annie Avery was the life and soul of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, faithfully living out Jesus’ mandate to “Love your neighbor as yourself”.


Philip Herman Mock III was born in 1923 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and raised in Rutherfordton. The Bible was the only book he had at home and that is how he learned to read. Growing up, he attended church services at St. Gabriel’s, and helped his family take care of St. Francis church down the street, especially tending the coals to keep it warm in the winter. At the age of 20 he joined the army and served during World War II. He returned to Rutherford and served as a lay leader at St. Gabriel’s. He was well loved by the community and continually compelled to talk and preach to the congregation. In the 1980s he was persuaded to set the priesthood as his goal. Quite the Biblical scholar, he repeatedly surprised his teachers and theologians with his command of the scripture. In 1987 he became a deacon and in 1988 was ordained to the priesthood. Rev. Mock did not receive a salary, only accepting love offerings here and there. He served St. Gabriel’s faithfully and effectively as their priest-in-charge from 1988 to 1999, when illness caused him to retire. At the end of the service he would implore his congregation, “I love you, I love you! God bless you!” Words to live by.



Albert Rufus Morgan was born in 1885 in Cartoogechaye Valley near Franklin, NC. Morgan received his theological education at General Theological Seminary in New York City and Columbia University, but he always had a special fondness for the mountains of North Carolina. Known as “Moses of the Mountains,” Morgan established and served many missions in the western part of the diocese, championing the causes of the downtrodden and the needy. While working in Mitchell County in the 1920's he assisted in the establishment of the Penland School of Crafts with the purpose of training local unemployed women in forgotten traditional crafts. And several times he took hammer in hand to build churches where people needed a place to worship. In 1945 he helped organize and build St. Francis of Assisi Mission in Cherokee, NC and in 1947 he founded St. Barnabas in Murphy. An avid hiker, Rev. Morgan climbed Mt. LeConte 174 times, the last time on his 93rd birthday in 1978. A stole, surplice and clerical collar always in his pack, he concluded the evening at the summit with a service of poems, hymns and prayer. Rev. Morgan died in February 1983 at age 97.


Henry Beard Delaney was born a slave in St. Mary's, Georgia on February 5, 1858. During his early childhood the family moved to Fernandina, FL and attended a school supported by the Freedmen's Bureau where he studied theology and music. Enrolling in 1881 at St. Augustine's School in Raleigh he continued his theological studies and graduated in 1885. Upon graduation he became a teacher at St. Augustine's, and later vice-principal. On June 7, 1889, he was ordained Deacon, and on May 2, 1892, he was ordained Priest. From 1889 until 1904, Delaney was a member of the Commission for Work Among Colored People, assistant minister of St. Augustine's Chapel, Raleigh, and priest-in-charge of All Saints Mission, Warrenton, North Carolina. He also made monthly visits to prisoners in the county workhouse. In 1908 he became Archdeacon of the Convocation for Work Among Colored People in the Diocese of North Carolina. In 1911, Shaw University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) degree. On Nov. 21, 1918, Delaney was consecrated Suffragan Bishop for Colored Work in the Diocese of North Carolina. The African American Episcopalians in the dioceses of South Carolina and East Carolina were also under his jurisdiction, and these two dioceses participated in his support. Delaney continued as bishop until six months before he died at his home on the campus. He was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Raleigh.

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Quintin Ebenezer Primo Jr. was born in 1913 in Freedom Grove, Liberty County, Georgia and grew up in Albany. Primo’s theological education was extensive, and he was eventually ordained to the diaconate in 1941 and priesthood in 1942. His first ministerial position was as curate at St. Agnes in Miami, Florida. He then accepted a call to North Carolina in 1942 where he served St. Gabriel’s, Rutherfordton, St. Cyprian’s, Lincolnton; Good Shepherd, Tryon, and St. Andrew’s Chapel, Green River. He found St. Gabriel’s to be “a small church with a big ministry.” In 1944 he accepted a call to St. Stephen’s in Winston-Salem. He went on to serve churches in New York, Delaware and Michigan. His leadership skills elevated him to the office of Bishop Suffragan of Chicago in 1972, the first black priest in the history of the diocese. As an advocate for the advancement of minorities in the church and American society, Primo championed the equal treatment of black clergy and the inclusion of all racial minorities within congregations. Upon his retirement in 1985, Primo returned to Delaware where he served as Interim Bishop for ten months. Reverend Primo died on January 15, 1998 in Hockessin, Delaware. His legacy lives on in the Diocese of WNC and beyond.

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