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Mail Tribune 100

Sept. 29, 1915


An indignation meeting was held in the First Methodist Episcopal church at Medford Tuesday night to protest against the action of Bishop R.J. Cooke at the Oregon annual conference in removing Rev. J.K. Hawkins from Medford to Oregon City. The meeting was called by the official board and was largely attended. By unanimous action a committee of five was appointed to visit the district superintendent, Rev. H.J. Van Fossen, at Ashland this morning, urging him to intercede with the bishop in an effort to retain their pastor of last year.

The feeling is general, both in the church and out of it, that rank injustice has been done to the pastor. They contend that inasmuch as Mr. Hawkins has been on the charge only one year, and that his work has been in every way satisfactory, having united a divided church and cleansed the slate of the indebtedness of a year ago, and having had seventy-one accessions to the membership during the year, he is entitled to different treatment.

Methodists Aggrieved

Church members are further grieved to think that their pastor, after such a good record and being in such favor, should seemingly be made the goat to aid in making an opening for a close friend of the bishop's as a reward for loyalty to him in his administration of Portland First church affairs. Mr. Hawkins has been sixteen years at work in the Oregon conference, and has been advanced in every charge to which he has been moved. Rev. H.J. Fossen has consented to use his influence to the extent of his ability to obtain the results desired by the delegation. A telegram of protest was sent to the bishop by this committee today.

Back of the changes made lurks the church fight in Portland over the forced consolidation of congregations ordered by Bishop Cooke, which has created widespread antagonism toward the prelate. Rev. T.B. Ford of Oregon City, whose place is to be filled by the Rev. Hawkins, has been a warm supporter of Bishop Cooke, and is rewarded by being made superintendent of the Salem district. Dr. Ford was president of the Portland Methodist Ministers' association last year and stood by the bishop in the factional fight raging in the metropolis.