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Baum Fund for Emmanuel Church and Brown Fund for Emmanuel Church
By Jean Cohoon / December 31, 2013 /   Loading Disqus...
As she gives a tour of the church, The Rev. Dr. Anita Schell-Lambert, rector of Emmanuel Church in Newport, states, “It was the women of the 19th century who were the organizers of what became Emmanuel Church.”

The church history extends back to 1841 when three women, concerned that many residents could not attend church due to the tradition of charging for pew seats, began holding meetings in their homes and inviting others to join them. Two church buildings preceded the current stone church which was constructed with funds given by another woman, Natalie Bayard Brown in memory of her husband, John Nicholas Brown. Natalie Brown’s descendants still are active in the church today, and her late son, John Nicholas Brown, II, served on the Rhode Island Foundation board of directors from 1930 to 1972.

“The church has a history of good female leadership,” Rev. Schell-Lambert explains, pointing out a tribute to Deaconess Bertha Butts, who served Emmanuel Church for more than 25 years and whose former home now houses the parish offices.

One of two endowments transferred to the Foundation was the result of a woman’s bequest.
Margit Baum left funds for Emmanuel Church, as well as other Newport churches, to help indigent people in Newport. Born in Vienna, Austria, Margit was a Newport resident at the time of her death in 2001. “I get calls every day from people who need assistance. The funds have filled a real need,” Rev. Schell-Lambert relates.

The second endowment, the Brown Fund, honors John Nicholas Brown and his brother, Harold, who died within days of each other in May of 1900, John from typhoid fever and Harold from pneumonia.

The endowments were transferred to the Foundation after Rev. Schell-Lambert and the Vestry researched firms and organizations with which to partner. “Rhode Island Foundation was head and shoulders above the others. The Foundation is so aligned with our mission of service to the community. It was a clear choice for the Vestry and me.”
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