March 31.(1869)- Preached in St. Peter's, New Kent, Rev. Mr. Kepler rector.
It was truly sad to see the condition of this venerable old building desecrated and despoiled by soldiers. The expenditure of a few hundred dollars, could that amount be raised, would restore it so as to protect it from the weather, and make it a comfortable place of worship for its impoverished congregation.
-from Bishop Whittle's Address at Seventy-Fourth Annual Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia
REPORT OF REV. H.S. KEPLER.
Having prepared the way in some measure at Manchester for a settled minister, it gave me great pleasure to resign the mission into the hands of the Rev. Mr. Hammond in July, and I at once took charge of the church of St. James the Less at Ashland and of St. Peter's, New Kent alternating services between them. No services had been held at St. Peter's Church since the beginning of the second year of the war, when all that region of country was occupied by the union army. The old church was the very picture of desolation, and the few remaining communicants, of which I could find but three, had scarcely dared to indulge the hope of seeing it re-opened and regular services established in that day. We have collected a small amount outside of the parish which has enabled us to refit it with new window sash and stove, and to make such other repairs as were necessary to make it habitable. The congregation for the present is small, but a little aid and nursing care, with the blessing of God may tend to preserve it and prepare the way for future prosperity. We hope soon to effect an arrangement for its permanent supply, by uniting it with two other churches in an adjoining county.
At Ashland we have no church edifice of our own, and the congregation at present is not able to build, Our services are conducted semi-monthly in the village church. We have here an encouraging Sunday school and a growing congregation. At the late visit of Bishop Whittle, 9 were confirmed and added to the communion. There were 20 communicants at Ashland, mostly young persons when I took charge of it; 3 have removed and 11 have been added, making the present number 28. Baptized 12 infants, white; married 1, colored. Collection at Ashland for Education Society of Virginia, $10 25.
-Journal of the Seventy-Fourth Annual Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia held in St. Pauls's Church, Richmond, on the 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th May, 1869.