The Reverend Carl Scovel was the admired – let’s say beloved – minister of King’s Chapel for 32 years, beginning in 1967. He was a part of the Beacon Hill community, living with his wife, Faith, and raising their children, Helen, Rebecca and Christopher, in the church’s parsonage next to the parish house at 64 Beacon, which contained the church’s offices.
Last year King’s Chapel commissioned a portrait of the Rev. Scovel, the church’s 14th minister, to be painted by the artist Mary Minifie. It will be unveiled this coming Sunday, September 10, at a lunch and reception at the King’s Chapel Parish House. The Rev. Scovel will preach during church services on that Sunday, which he has not done since he retired in 1999.
Happily, the occasion will be enriched by the celebration of the Rev. Scovel’s new book, A Prayer Book Companion: A Guide to Christian Worship, a history and explanation of the origins of the King’s Chapel prayer book, published by the Society of King’s Chapel. The Rev. Scovel will be available to sign books, which will be on sale at the celebration.
That King’s Chapel, a Unitarian Universalist-affiliated church, should have a prayer book is an anomaly in itself. Rev. Scovel’s book explains how this came about after the Revolutionary War in a formerly Anglican church founded in 1686 that has stood at the foot of Beacon Hill since 1689, first in a wooden building and then in the1754 building designed by Peter Harrison and built of Quincy granite at what is now the intersection of Tremont and School streets.
While the Reverend Scovel was born in China of medical missionary parents and spent time in a Japanese internment camp during World War II, his wife had a more peaceful childhood. Faith grew up in a house on Charles River Square on Beacon Hill. Her father was also a Unitarian minister.