I Belong to the Bishop’s Church

O. O. McIntyre // New York knows the Reverend William Wilkinson as “The Bishop of Wall Street” and his theme is that all men should be honest. Wall Street does not curl its lip in a sneer—it listens in respectful silence, captains of industry, clerks and sandwich-eating messenger boys. And when the bishop leads them in singing “Nearer My God to Thee” the rising swell of the hymn may be heard on Broadway above the roar. When the bishop kneels in the street in prayer, his audience uncovers it head, bows and mumbles its lips. A half hour later it may be milling about the maniacal fury at the sound of gongs, but it had its few moments of spiritual repose. The bishop has seen men whose means dazzled the money marts one day come back the next beaten and broken. “In the hour of their despair, they turn as naturally to God as the flower opens its petals to the sunshine,” he says. It was 22 years ago that the bishop preached his first sermon from a soap box. There are countless men in Wall Street who, when asked their religion, reply: “I belong to the bishop’s church.”

Syndicated column, March 7, 1922

More about An Odd Book

Oddly Social: