EPISCOPALIANS IN UTAH


The Cathedral Church of St. Mark

The evangelical Protestant churches were among the first Gentiles to start organizing in Utah, and the Protestant Episcopal Church was the first with a definite organized effort.

On 5 October 1866, at a House of Bishops meeting in New York City, Daniel Sylvester Tuttle was elected missionary bishop of the Territories of Montana, Idaho and Utah. At the time he was a twenty-nine-year-old pastor of Zion Church in Morris, New York. On 1 May 1867 he was consecrated the first Episcopal Missionary Bishop of Montana, with jurisdiction over Utah and Idaho.

While waiting for consecration, Tuttle enlisted four of his clergyman friends to help begin the project. During this time, Tuttle received a letter from Warren Hussey, a Salt Lake City banker. Hussey was requesting that Tuttle's mission begin in Utah rather than Montana. There were no other non-Mormon churches in Utah and the first to arrive would get much support. Also, Hussey knew Brigham Young quite well and assured Tuttle that there would be no resistance from Young and the Mormons.

George W. Foote and T. W. Haskins arrived in Utah in May 1867 ahead of Bishop Tuttle and the other two missionaries. A Congregational minister, the Reverend Norman McLeod, had obtained use of the Young Men's Literary Institute's hall for use as a general hall for Gentiles. It was known as Independence Hall, and this is where Foote and Haskins held the first services. They also organized a church association to raise funds for a school.

On 4 July 1867 Bishop Tuttle arrived in Salt Lake City with the other two missionaries. One of the first things he did was to pay a courtesy call on Brigham Young. The Episcopalians had a policy regarding their relationship with the Mormons: efforts were made to have a good relationship by not directly assaulting Mormon theology or practice, and not speaking against the Mormons. They wanted to win respect by showing the faith and practice of the Episcopal Church.

When Bishop Tuttle arrived in Utah, he found the organizing efforts of the previous missionaries included a congregation with only three confirmed Episcopalians -- all women. A mission committee had been established and included a Roman Catholic, a Methodist, and an apostate Mormon. The Congregationalist chaplain at Camp Douglas had previously started a Sunday School and it was growing. A class of eleven was ready to be confirmed. Haskins and Foote opened St. Mark's School on 1 July 1867. They rented an adobe building on the east side of Main Street between Second and Third South streets. The clergy and several women volunteers taught the students.

After becoming familiar with the situation in Salt Lake City and the work Foote and Haskins had started, Bishop Tuttle decided to leave them in charge and go on to Montana. He was gone until November 1869, when he returned with his family and stayed in Utah until August of 1886.

While Bishop Tuttle was away in Montana, Foote and Haskins continued with the work of building a school. A grammar school was very important to both non-Mormons and Mormons. The school in the adobe building grew and soon took over the two adjoining storerooms and then moved to Independence Hall. Donations from church members in the East helped to establish a school building. In 1873 they were in their own building at 141 East 100 South. A boarding and day school for girls was started in Salt Lake City in 1880. It was known as Rowland Hall in honor of Benjamin Rowland and his family of Philadelphia whose generous donations made the school possible. These schools became an asset to education in Utah. In 1964 the two schools combined to form Rowland Hall-St. Mark's. This was more economically suitable and followed the national trend among private schools.

The cornerstone of the Cathedral Church of St. Mark was laid 30 July 1870. The Rev. Mr. Foote had traveled east to collect donations. The non-Mormons in Salt Lake City were also very generous in their giving toward the building of the cathedral. The parish was formally organized 15 November 1870. Bishop Tuttle was the rector and the Reverend. Mr. Kirby eventually became his assistant.

The cathedral was not the first non-Mormon church building in Utah. The Church of the Good Samaritan in Corinne was the first. The adobe building was completed in 1869 under the direction of the Reverend George Foote. In the early years, Corinne was the Gentile center of Utah. When the railroad junction was changed from Corinne to Ogden, the town declined in the 1870s and the Episcopal mission eventually closed.

During the year of 1870, church services were started in Ogden by the Reverend Haskins. Services were held in the passenger room of the train depot. The Reverend James Lee Gillogly came to Ogden 18 July 1970 as a resident missionary. He was the first Protestant minister in Ogden and his first congregation included all railroad people. Services in the passenger room were many times disrupted with noise from passengers coming and going. As was the case in Salt Lake City, it was important to start a school in Ogden. The railroad people objected to their children attending the Mormon schools because of the poor quality and overcrowding. Again with financial help from Easterners along with local support, a building was rented and the School of the Good Shepherd was started on 1 October 1870 with thirteen students.

In the Spring of 1874, Bishop Tuttle decided to build a church in Ogden. It was built in memory of the daughter of New Yorker John W. Hammersley. The Hammersley family donated most of the money for the building. The cornerstone of the Church of the Good Shepherd was laid 29 April 1874 and the church was consecrated on 6 February 1875. A new schoolhouse was eventually built across the street.

In the neighboring town of Plain City there was a group of people who were former members of the Church of England. They had joined the Mormon Church, came to Utah, and after a time wished to return to their mother church. They approached Mr. Gillogly for help in establishing a church. He gladly helped them, going back and forth between Ogden and Plain City for Sunday services. A building, Called St. Paul's School, was erected for school, and church.

In Salt Lake City in 1879, St. Paul's began in a home as a Sunday School. In 1880 a church was built at Main and Fourth Streets. The Episcopalians are responsible for the founding of St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City. After mining began in nearby canyons, there were no hospitals available for injured miners and railroad workers. The Reverend Kirby and representatives from the mines and Camp Douglas got together with Bishop Tuttle and organized a hospital in 1872. The first building was at Fifth East and Fourth South. The demand for health services increased and the hospital moved to Fifth East and Third South in 1879 and again in 1893. The present location of the hospital is 1200 East 3900 South.

The Right Reverend Abiel Leonard was Missionary Bishop of Utah from 1888 to 1903. He carried on the work of Bishop Tuttle and became especially concerned with establishing churches in the mining communities as well as other communities. St. Luke's in Park City was started in September 1888. In Salt Lake City, St. Peter's was established in 1900 as a chapel for St. Mark's Hospital and to serve the northwest section of the city. Also, in 1900, St. John's was started in a frame building at Ninth East and Sixteenth South. New churches were also organized in Provo, Springville, Layton, Eureka, Park City and Vernal. Bishop Leonard also started the church's mission to the Ute Indians in the Uintah Basin at Randlett and later at Whiterocks.

The Bishops Tuttle and Leonard established a solid foundation for the Episcopal Church in Utah. As following bishops came and served, some churches were closed, others added. Remaining throughout the changes has been the commitment to continue seeking the greatest need for ministry and becoming involved in service for the betterment of the community.

During the Depression years as mines and smelters closed and railroads reduced services, people moved away and the Uintah Basin missions closed. There was a decrease in the number of clergy in Utah and those who were here had to serve twice as many missions.

In 1942 the Reverend H. Baxter Liebler from Greenwich, Connecticut was traveling through the Navajo Reservation in southeastern Utah. He stopped in Bluff, learned the language and customs of the Navajo and then built St. Christopher's Mission. This was the first Episcopal school for the Navajo. It later included medical and dental facilities.

After World War II, new congregations were started as new families moved into the state. In Salt Lake City, All Saints began in 1947 as a Sunday School. A new coal mining town, Dragerton, saw another mission established as a Sunday School in 1949. Other postwar missions were started in Price, Moab, Brigham City, Clearfield, Holladay, Bountiful, Granger, Tooele and Roosevelt.

Following the sale of St. Mark's Hospital in December of 1987, the need for a new paradigm and fiduciary responsibility emerged, and the outreach of the diocese and congregations increased. New ministries include the Episcopal Social and Pastoral Ministries, the Indian Urban Support Center, the Indigent Health Care Fund, the Charitable Fund, a broad youth program, a special fund set aside for charitable care at St. Mark's Hospital, continuing financial support for the nursing program at Westminster College of Salt Lake City, the placement of an additional chaplain at Rowland Hall-St. Mark's School, and expanding college and university campus ministries, including the formation of the Episcopal Ministry in Higher Education Task Force. In addition, Jubilee Ministry grants were awarded to congregations and chaplaincy programs with social ministry projects. At its 1991 Diocesan Convention, delegates adopted formally a new mission statement which declares that Episcopalians in Utah will continue their exercise of an outreach ministry, and it identifies goals for a five-year period.

With new financial resources generated from the sale of the hospital, St. Elizabeth's Church in Whiterocks was remodeled and rededicated; two new parish halls were built for the people of Whiterocks and Randlett; property adjacent to the Cathedral Church of St. Mark was purchased for future development; church buildings were remodeled to conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act; a larger facility was leased for the ecumenical Lutheran and Episcopal congregation in Price; St. James' congregation in south Salt Lake will have a new facility in 1993; and two new churches are to be completed at St. George and Park City (Silver Springs) in 1993 and 1994 respectively. The historic church in Park City, St. Luke's, will remain an active chapel.

The present diocesan boundaries are the state of Utah excluding the Navajoland Area Mission located in the southeast corner of the state. A total of nine bishops have provided ecclesiastical leadership in Utah since 1867, and as of 1 January 1993 there were sixty-one ordained priests and deacons functioning within the diocese. The Right Reverend George E. Bates is the ninth bishop of Utah. The 1991 membership records indicate 5,427 baptized members in the twenty-one active congregations in the diocese.

See: James W. Beless Jr., "The Episcopal Church in Utah: Seven Bishops and One Hundred Years," Utah Historical Quarterly 36 (Winter 1968); Mary R. Clark, "Rowland Hall-St. Mark's School: Alternate Education For More Than a Century" Utah Historical Quarterly 43 (Summer 1980); Robert Joseph Dwyer, The Gentile Comes To Utah (1971).

Mary Peach and Kathryn L. Miller