Project Canterbury

An Historical Sketch of the Diocese of Saskatchewan of the Anglican Church of Canada

By W. F. Payton, Archdeacon Emeritus

Prince Albert: The Anglican Diocese of Saskatchewan, 1974.

Chapter 18. A new Bishop's Residence--Growth of the Church in Saskatoon--C. & C.C. S. and its relation with the College--Recurring shortage of clergy

The years preceding the First World War were characterized throughout the Diocese by a great deal of activity, both in the organization of parishes and the provision of buildings in the parishes and at the home base. The removal of Emmanuel College to Saskatoon affected the work in the Prince Albert district and also in the City of Saskatoon and the outlying areas. The necessity of students leaving their missions to go to College in Saskatoon resulted in many of the missions in Prince Albert area being doubled up in order to provide for ministrations in the absence of the men normally responsible for them. On the other hand, the staff members of the College, as well as the students, became available to the Saskatoon area for services on the weekends and the consequence was that the Saskatoon area reaped the benefit of the influx of men in addition to the resident clergy who constituted the staff of the College.

The establishment of Diocesan headquarters on the West hill in Prince Albert began with the acquisition by the Diocese of a residence at 2116--2nd Avenue West, known as the Fraser House. With the appointment of the Reverend A. D. Dewdney as Archdeacon of Prince Albert, this house was made available to him as a residence. At the beginning, the property included the whole North-East corner of 2nd Avenue and 21st Street West, although in later years the lots on the corner were surrendered to the city for taxes as no longer being necessary for any useful purpose. With the sale of the first Bishop's residence on 1st Avenue West opposite the Cathedral, the money that became available was utilized for the erection of a house for the Archdeacon's residence at 151--20th Street West. This was a part of the Ittner property previously referred to as having been purchased as a site for the new residence for Bishop Newnham. It is noted in the Synod report of the executive committee in June 1912 that the Archdeacon's house having been completed the payment of the contractor and architect was authorized, while the Fraser house had been rented for $35.00 a month.

It was characteristic of Archdeacon Dewdney's practical nature, that on being offered some further convenience in the house such as a fireplace as a result of money made available by the W. A., he decided that rather than a fireplace he would prefer extra wash basins installed in two of the bedrooms and in the hall near the dining room! This house was to serve as the Archdeacon's residence until the resignation of Bishop Newnham when Bishop Lloyd decided that the Bishop's house was too large for him to use and maintain, and it was then taken over as Bishopsthorpe and was used for this purpose until the resignation of Bishop Martin. It was then restored to its original use as the Archdeacon's residence until in recent years the costs of maintenance made it more practical for the Diocese to lease it to the Provincial Government.

Meanwhile, the work on the new Bishop's residence went ahead, and apparently concern was felt by some of the people at the size of the house that was being built, in view of the rather limited funds that were available for church work at that time.

As an explanation of the matter, Bishop Newnham announced to the Synod in June 1913 the background of the financing of the house.

He reported as follows: "You will, I am sure, be glad to know, and [78/79] I hope while you are here to see, that a suitable Bishop's house, not Palace, is in course of erection, and should be ready for occupation by November, and to know also that this is being accomplished with no expense to the Diocese. Three years ago there was a debt on the old See House of $3,000.00. But this was no burden on the Diocese, for the See House trust paid the Diocese interest on the debt, and the Diocese did nothing to reduce the debt. The debt was reduced by the liberality of friends. Then a profitable sale was made of the old house and site, and with the proceeds a house has been built for the Diocese for the Archdeacon's residence, and there is money on hand to complete the Bishop's house and grounds without costing the Diocese a cent! There is surely cause for congratulation and thankfulness. The See House and $3,000.00 debt of two years ago have become a better See House, larger grounds and an Archdeacon's house, worth altogether $40,000.00 or more, no debt and not a cent of expense to the Diocese, since the $2,000.00 or $2,500.00 contributed within the Diocese towards the first See House. In case any of you should be surprised at our building so large a house, while the Diocese is suffering from lack of funds, I ask you to remember that the money spent on it was given in trust for the See House, and could not be used for any other purpose."

It could be further noted that in a report of the Diocesan executive committee of November 20th, 1912, published in the Saskatchewan Diocesan Monthly Magazine, it was announced that plans were placed before the committee by the Bishop for the proposed new See House to be built in Prince Albert for the Bishop. It was felt that he had been rather too modest in his desires and the plans were left to the finance sub-committee with instructions that they should be somewhat enlarged.

At the same meeting of the executive committee, Bishop Newnham reported the resignation of the Reverend W.G.G. Dreyer who had been Diocesan missionary for the three years previously. His resignation took effect in December of that year. The Bishop also announced the appointment of two Canons in the persons of the Reverend E. B. Smith, Rector of St. John's Church in Saskatoon and Rural Dean of Saskatoon, and the Reverend E. K. Matheson, Principal of the Industrial School, Battleford, and Rural Dean of Battleford. Mr. Smith's appointment was in recognition of his energetic and successful ministry and incidentally of the importance of his position as Rector of St. John's Church, Saskatoon. The Bishop announced that he was appointing Reverend E. K. Matheson as a Canon in recognition of the capable and persevering work that he had done amid much discouragement for the welfare and advancement of the Indian members of the church.

There were at that time eleven self-supporting parishes in the Diocese, headed by St. Alban's Cathedral in Prince Albert where Reverend J. I. Strong continued as Rector. The other churches that were listed as self-supporting were St. John's Church, Saskatoon, St. John's Church, Lloydminster, St. Augustine's Church, Rosthern, Radisson, Barrows, Christ Church, Saskatoon, All Saints, Melfort, Battleford, North Battleford and St. James Church, Nutana, Saskatoon. It is interesting to note that by this time there were already three parishes in Saskatoon which had achieved the goal of self-support.

In January 1913 the same Diocesan Magazine gives an account of the building program which was then proceeding in each of the self-supporting parishes in Saskatoon. Before describing that, it may be well perhaps to give a brief account of the development of the Saskatoon parishes.

Services were first held in that settlement in 1887 when the Temperance Colony was established, and services were held at that time in the old stone schoolhouse which has been preserved in the University Grounds because of its having been the first school in Saskatoon.

[80] For seven years lay readers came to hold services during the Summer months, and in 1894 to 1896 the work was placed under the care of the missionary at Duck Lake who drove to Saskatoon for services. A period of six years followed without services, until May 1902 when the work was re-organized and the Reverend W. E. Edwards was engaged to take care of the pastoral work there. Miss Mary Mackay, daughter of Archdeacon J. A. Mackay, was living at Saskatoon at this time and has left some notes regarding the development of St. John's Parish. She relates that in 1902 Saskatoon consisted principally of a small railway station, a few detached buildings between the station and the river, and one straggly unpaved street with the North-West Mounted Police Barracks at one end and at the other the tiny Post Office where the mails came four times a week by train and were sorted in half an hour while one sat on the stairs near the improvised wicket, awaiting completion of the sorting.

At that time, the small band of Anglicans resident in Saskatoon had no minister nor place of worship of their own, though the Reverend S. Mahood of Rosthern conducted an occasional service for them in the board structure known as the Band Hall. About the Fall of 1901, or the Spring of 1902, Miss Mackay relates, it was considered that the time had come to have a resident minister and church building, and through the action of Constable J. Clisby, then in charge of the N.W.M.P. Barracks, a subscription list was opened and a sufficient sum collected in a few hours to warrant the creation of a parish, although eight families all told, including 2 or 3 single persons, formed the entire congregation.

The name of St. John's was given to the church in memory of the old Cathedral in Winnipeg and its relation to the earlier lives of many of the residents of the small town at that time. The Reverend W. R. Edmonds from St. John's College, Winnipeg, was the first incumbent, and the first meeting of parishioners to elect a vestry was held in a small office at the rear of Mr. A. E. Young's Furniture Store.

Land at that time was approximately $40.00 for a good lot, and all the members of the congregation combined to hold the sale of ice cream and lemonade at a Sports Day approximately at the site of the present Cathedral. The women made the ice cream, and Mr. S. A. Clark, the first hardware merchant in Saskatoon, made all the lemonade. As a result, a lot was purchased and in the Fall of 1902 the church building was begun, largely by voluntary labour. Services were held in the Band Hall until its completion and the church was opened around Christmas time of 1902. Miss Mackay was the first organist of the church and continued in this position until she removed to Prince Albert.

With her characteristic dry humour, Miss Mackay writes of those early days as follows: "As is well known, the masculine portion of the population is largely in the majority in Saskatchewan, and in the early days of St. John's it was no unusual thing for the organist and sometimes one little girl to be the only feminines in a congregation packed to the door. It is presumed, of course, that Saskatoon men are still keeping on in this respect."

The congregation grew rapidly and the Reverend Albert Fraser was appointed to the congregation during the summer of 1904. Mr. Fraser later became well known and highly regarded because of his work among the Indians, and was later appointed Canon of the Diocese, continuing in his work until his retirement. In October 1904 the Reverend D. T. Davies of Lloydminster was appointed to St. John's congregation, remaining there for a year. During that time the nave was converted to a chancel, and a new nave and a parish hall added. After an absence of a year in England, Reverend D. T. Davies returned to the parish and found the rectory already begun, [80/81] and a tower added to the church. A chime of bells, the bequest of Mrs. Russell Wilson, was placed in the tower and rung for the first time on February 5th, 1907, and it was at the beginning of this year that the parish became self-supporting. Mr. Davies was appointed secretary to the Diocese of Saskatchewan in June 1907 and removed to Prince Albert, being succeeded in the parish by the Reverend H. J. Likeman who conducted services until the end of September when Reverend E. B. Smith was appointed. In 1908 the parish hall was enlarged to double its original capacity. Under Mr. Smith's capable leadership, the parish continued to grow until in 1912 the church, parish hall and rectory were removed from the original site on 3rd Avenue to the large and beautiful site on Spadina Crescent facing the river. Plans were then made for the erection of a new church to seat 1200 people, at a cost of approximately $120,000.00 with $50,000.00 already being spent by the time that Synod met in June 1913. The original church building had been improved as a result of an expenditure of over $3,000.00 by the W.A., by the provision of a full-size basement with a dining hall, offices, storerooms and other conveniences. It was in this hall that the M.S.C.C. Board of Missions met in 1913, being the first meeting the Board held in Western Canada.

In the ten years between 1903 to 1913 the population of Saskatoon increased from 113 to between twenty-seven and thirty thousand. It is not surprising, therefore, that other Anglican congregations were formed during this period. In October 1906 it was decided to establish a new church on what was known as the Ashworth-Holmes Hill in the North-West portion of the city. Mr. John Ashworth donated a triangular block of land in a very beautiful and commanding situation, and plans were drawn up, and in the Summer of 1907 a basement built of massive stone. A small temporary frame building was used for services until the basement was completed and roofed in. The Reverend A. J. Oakley, who came from England in company with the catechists brought out by Principal Lloyd, was placed in charge and was succeeded in turn by the Reverend E. H. Broadbent and the Reverend B. W. Pullinger. Mr. Pullinger was still Rector of the parish in 1913 when it was announced that transepts and chancel had been added to the church, increasing the seating accommodation by over 300. The enlarged space and the loftier ceiling had made a great improvement and this was a subject for congratulation both to the parish and to the rector of Christ Church.

In the summer of 1907 it was agreed that a new church was required on the Nutana side of the river, and a small church was built here. A visit from an Englishman, Mr. George Winch, resulted in the gift to this church, to be known as St. James Church, of two lots of land in a most desirable location. In the summer of 1908 the original structure was moved to this new site and became the chancel of a larger building. A parsonage was added and a commodious parish hall was built under the leadership of the Reverend H. J. Likeman.

By 1913 a new church was under construction in accordance with a plan which allowed for the addition of transepts and a chancel at a later date. At the time of its erection the chancel was partitioned off at the East end so that there was a clergy vestry on one side and a choir vestry on the other. At that time the nave accommodated 260 people. Construction was of brick, with the exception of the temporary partitions, and the church was opened on October 6th, 1912 which was the 5th anniversary of the date of the opening of the first church in 1907.

In the meantime, Mr. Likeman had moved from the parish after two years and the church had become in 1909 the Collegiate Church, and services were taken by professors and students until the Fall of 1911, when Reverend H. S. Broadbent of Emmanuel College was appointed to the congregation. [81/82] It was at Easter time in that year that the parish became self-supporting. During that same Summer a rectory was built and when the new church was begun, the old church was removed and joined up to the hall, providing facilities of approximately 60 feet by 24 feet in addition to the old chancel at one end.

St. George's parish in Saskatoon was begun in the Summer of 1906, being made possible by a donation from England. This was the first mission on the West side of the C.N.R. tracks, and was placed in the care of catechists until in 1908 the Reverend A. T. Home was appointed incumbent. By 1913 it was reported that this parish had undergone various problems but gave promise for immediate and worthy development. It was sorely in need of increased accommodation which it was urged should be provided at once from some source. The congregation and the Sunday School attendance taxed the building to the utmost, and often many were turned away from the evening service through lack of accommodation.

In 1912 the parish of St. Matthew's, Sutherland, was separated from the Patience Lake centres, the East and West respectively, and became self-supporting. A good rectory was built that same year at a cost of $2500.00, and the first rector proved himself a distinct acquisition to the Diocese, not only as a faithful and efficient priest but also as a very capable and acceptable lecturer at Emmanuel College. This was the Reverend A. C. Collier who was to remain to make important contributions to the Diocese in succeeding years.

In the summer of 1911 the wooden buildings constituting Emmanuel College were brought from their temporary site a quarter of a mile away to their permanent site at the University Grounds. The first part of the permanent building was constructed and on September 27th Bishop Newnham laid the cornerstone. The Lieutenant Governor came from Regina and Bishop Reeve of Toronto was present together with members of the University staff and many other well-wishers from Saskatoon and elsewhere.

A new Constitution for Emmanuel College was presented to the Synod of 1912 in which provision was made for its status as the authorized Divinity College of the Diocese of Saskatchewan and of all future sub-divisions thereafter; and that should the Bishops or Dioceses of Athabasca or Mackenzie River officially accept the terms of the Constitution, those Dioceses shall also have the same privilege.

Reference was made to a possible division of the Diocese of Saskatchewan as necessitating such a revision of the Constitution. The question of a division of the Diocese was then very much in the minds of the clergy and laity of Saskatchewan, as evidenced by a resolution moved at the same Synod by the Reverend H. S. Broadbent, seconded by Mr. Adam Turner, as follows: "That the representatives of this Synod upon the Provincial Synod, and its committee on Diocesan boundaries, be instructed that it is the strong opinion of this Synod that the work of the church would be much strengthened by the formation of a Diocese in Central Saskatchewan, from the Southern part of the present Diocese of Saskatchewan, and the Northern part of that of Qu'Appelle, and that all possible measures be taken to impress the authorities concerned with the reasonableness of this view."

By 1913 correspondence had been received from the Colonial and Continental Church Society with terms of an agreement in which the Society undertook to take over Emmanuel College and relieve the Diocese of the financial responsibility for running it for a period of a possible ten years. Not pledging itself to the enlargement of the College but only its maintenance, careful consideration was to be given to any future proposals for enlargement and assistance in raising funds for that purpose. The Society further undertook [82/83] to provide bursaries of such students as were sent to the College by the London Committee, and other students coming from Saskatchewan or elsewhere would be admitted on payment of the regular fees. The management of the College was to be in the hands of a Board nominated by the Society, with the Bishop as chairman. This agreement was to be subject to renewal or the reversion of the College to the Diocese according to the mutual decision of the Society and the Diocese.

This proposition from the C. and C.C.S. was directed to the executive committee for consideration and, with some modifications, was finally accepted and the College continued to function with the help of the C. and C.C.S., not only in providing financial support but also in sending students to the College for training.

The final details were amicably agreed upon both by the executive committee of the Diocese and the Senate of the University of Emmanuel College as well as the C. and C.C.S., and were duly reported to the Diocesan Synod in 1914.

At the same Synod a report from the executive committee fixed the stipends of missionaries which became operative on April 1st, 1914 as follows:

Students in the field--$7.00 a week
Deacons, single--$600.00 a year
Deacons, married--$660.00 a year
Priests, single or married--$720.00 a year
Priests, married, after one year as Priests--$780.00 a year
Priests, single, after two years as Priests--$780.00 a year
Priests, married, after three years as Priests--$840.00 a year

These figures may be of interest to modern readers when attempting to understand something of the problems confronting the missionaries of the Diocese in these earlier years. Synod reports would also indicate that in many parishes and missions the amount of stipend due from congregations was sometimes less than that agreed upon, as a result of poor harvests and other local conditions. As a further comparison of the costs at that time, a plan had been approved by the executive committee as submitted by Archdeacon Dewdney for the building of cottage parsonages, estimated to cost from $425.00 to $500.00 each for the erection of the building 20 feet square.

The Synod held in Prince Albert in June 1914 was the 19th meeting of the Synod of the Diocese and the 10th over which Bishop Newnham had been privileged to preside. At the close of the first decade of his episcopate he summed up something of the growth which had taken place. In view of the fact that the Great War was to intervene before the next Synod would meet, it appears fitting to use his summary to bring to a close this period of the Dioceses' growth and expansion.

The Bishop reported that in 1905, 19 clergy and 27 lay delegates were present and they met in a small council room of the city on that day. In 1913 there were 59 clergy and 37 laity present, and the number in 1914 was approximately the same. In 1905 there were on the active list 24 clergy and 3 lay readers; now, he said, there are 74 clergy and 44 students, 10 catechists and 17 honorary lay readers. The clergy had increased 300% and the paid lay readers 1800%. In 1905 there were 22 parishes and missions under separate incumbents, now there were or had been 128 during the Summer which meant over 300 congregations. In 1905 Prince Albert was the largest and strongest parish, but the Synod had still to find a portion of its small stipend of $800.00. There were in 1913, 15 parishes which were self-supporting and contributing liberally to Diocesan funds. "As this is the end [83/84] of a decade," the Bishop remarked, "I find that only 10 of the clergy and 11 of the laity with us at this session were present in 1905."

The year 1903, in the Bishop's opinion, marked approximately the beginning of immigration to the Diocese with the coming of the Brittania Colony. Only 40 years before, the work had been entirely missionary work among the Indians. In the meantime, the complexion of the Diocese had largely changed from red to white, the work which had been almost entirely among Indians now being very largely among English speaking fellow churchmen. The Bishop reported that the population of the Diocese had now reached a figure of 258,000, of which some 28,000 including Indians were Anglican. For these, he said, scattered as they are, the present number of clergy and lay readers is even less adequate than it had been 2 years previously.

Of the current year the Bishop stated that he was grieved to say that the story was one more of retreat than of advance, but there were redeeming and hopeful features, and he trusted that they had only drawn back a little that they might leap forward the better. There were various reasons for the temporary cessation of advance. The financial depression which had existed during the year, and which perhaps had been more felt in the towns and business circles than in the country, had tended to check progress. Parishes had felt it difficult to pay their portion of the stipends and proceed with the building of churches and other improvements, and the Synod funds had suffered by having to make good some of the stipend payments. Consequently, partly from lack of clergymen, missions and parishes had decreased in number and people had been deprived of regular services.

The hopeful side, said the Bishop, is that in spite of the depression the people within the Diocese contributed, according to accounts sent in, $100,000 towards all objects during the year. The greater part of this was contributed towards the building of churches and a few parsonages and the stipends of self-supporting parishes. While the Bishop commended them for their zeal and liberality, he pointed out that most of the funds were for their own parishes, and appealed to them to remember their poor relations, the country parishes and infant missions, and to make a truly unselfish and generous effort to contribute a larger proportion of their offerings to those needy persons and places in the Diocese.

Speaking of the withdrawal of clergy from the Diocese to other parts of Canada, the Bishop commented that the offer of better salary and conditions, and the prospect of work where the people were more concentrated, and congregations larger, and conditions of work more favourable, had something to do with the loss of 10 clergy from the Diocesan list, most of them being married men and having had to think of their wives' comfort and convenience.

The Bishop suggested three solutions to this problem, the first being prayer that young and earnest clergy offer themselves for service, second that the greatest care be exercised in the selection of students qualified for the particular kind of work required in the Diocese, and thirdly the most careful training of them, nurturing the spiritual life and inspiring them with a readiness to accept hardship and to stay where God called them. Then the Bishop added that the Diocese itself must be prepared to sympathize with them in their difficulties and to do their utmost to provide reasonable stipend and house accommodation.

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