Holy Trinity, Stanley Mission Archdeacon Mackay  Holy Trinity, Stanley Mission Home



Anglican missions to bring the Gospel to the indigenous peoples of North America began soon after the first English-speaking people arrived on the continent. The Reverend Robert Hunt arrived in the area which is now northern Saskatchewan in 1850 under the auspices of the Church Missionary Society. He immediately began the construction of a rectory and schoolhouse, which were followed by the building from 1854-1860 of the current Holy Trinity Church on the north bank of the Churchill River. Hunt designed the church building, which he and his converts constructed; fine stained glass was imported from England, as were door hinges, window frames and metal implements.

Hunt wrote:

"My Parish is certainly a large one, about 600 miles by 400 miles, with authority from the Bishop over and above what my license contains, to preach the Gospel in "the regions beyond," but what I have seen of the country while coming hither forces the conviction upon me that there are few spots in this district that I can visit for this purpose. All is either forest through which none but an Indian can find his way, or naked rock, or swamp, or lake or river, without a solitary pathway through any part of it, except those ones made by the voyageurs at the portages, while passing, once or twice a year, from one lake or river to another.

"Over the 200,000 square miles of my district, all the aboriginal inhabitants who do not remain at the Station, or even near the forts of the Hudson's Bay Company are hunting for the greater part of the year, and in general each party consists of only one man and his family averaging not more than one adult to 100 square miles of surface."

Hunt's parishioners were the Cree and Chipewyan people of the district, the vast majority of whom became Anglican Christians.

From 1864-1867, Archdeacon J.A. MacKay, a priest of mixed Cree and Caucasian background, was in charge of the mission. His tenure saw the arrival of a printing press, and the further development of a thriving mission station with a school and several homes near the church on the north bank. He revised the Cree translation of the Book of Common Prayer still in wide use in this area.

The people of Stanley Mission are practicing Anglicans today, and members of the Anglican Diocese of Saskatchewan. From 1905, however, the community on the north bank began to decline, and Holy Trinity Anglican Church is the only remaining structure from the original settlement. The creation of a reserve on the south bank of the Churchill in 1920 marked the end of Stanley Mission's status as the center of the CMS district here, as the mission at Lac La Ronge rose to importance during this period.

Photographs contributed by Mr. Jamie Benson of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan





 A new spire on the way, 1988.

 The new spire in place.

  The new spire in place.

 A photograph taken before 1924.

Photographs taken in July, 2002







Translations of the Book of Common Prayer

Chipewyan (Slavi) 1662. London: SPCK, n.d.

Chipewyan (Tenni) 1662. London: SPCK, 1891.

Cree. 1662. Moose Factory: 1853.

Historical Texts

The Rainbow in the North: A Short Account of the First Establishment of Christianity in Rupert's Land by the Church Missionary Society.
By Sarah Tucker.
London: James Nisbet, 1851.

Dayspring in the Far West: Sketches of Mission-Work in North-West America
By M. E. Johnson
London: Seeley, Jackson and Halliday, 1875.

External links of interest

Royal Saskatchewan Museum's excacations at Stanley Mission

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Project Canterbury
page last updated 26 February 2003