This is a brief History of the Devon Mission as presented in a brochure that Christ Church prints and hands out to those that visit our church building. Since 2011 a new Heritage Group has been formed, with the dream and goals to help preserve all the history of the Devon Mission and all the occurances since its formation. Some of the pictures on this page are copies of the originals. Because this websie is primarliy for the first church of the Devon Mission, we are pleased and honored to have space wth them. Plese keep following this site as we are planning on a seperate website for just the Devon Mission Heritage, and its complete unabridged digital History of both written and oral stories which will have a link from this page.
Devon Mission 1840 Heritage
Budd, "Apostle to the Swampy Cree", Henry - Founder of Christ Church
Sakacewescam was born near Norwat House of Cree descent. The Reverend John West, the First Church Missionary Society (CMS) missionary in Rupert's Land, took him in 1820 to be trained at Red River Settlement (now Winnipeg). On July 21, 1822 he was baptized "Henry Budd" named after one of West's mentors. Leaving school in 1828, he fanned, worked for the Hudson's Bay Company, and taught school for the CMS.
Sir John Franklin,
exploring the Saskatchewan River, had noted the Indian settlement at Opasquiak, near the confluence of the Saskatchewan and Carrot Rivers, and recommended to the CMS the establishment of a Mission here. In June of 1840 the CMS sent Henry Budd as a catechist and schoolmaster to the Swampy Cree in this area. Originally, his intention was to settle Cumberland House, but his reception there was unfavourable, and he quickly switched to Opasqulak ( which he spelled "Wupanskwayahw," a name later corrupted to "Le Pas" and "The Pas") The work was known originally as Cumberland Mission, later changed to Devon Mission. This was the first self supporting mission in the North-West.
The Reverend John Smithurst,
an experienced missionary (cousin to Florence Nightingale) visited the Mission two years later (1842) and was delighted with the progress. He baptized 85 people (men, women and children) and married 13 couples. That same year, Franklin appeared again, and presented a sundail to the Congregation of Christ Church.
The Reverend James Hunter,
another CMS missionary, joined Henry Budd two years later (1844); they trained one another in langauges, worked on translations, and began the building of the first Christ Church in 1846. Mrs Anne Hunter and her two infant children died of an epidemic, and were buried under the foundations of the original church, in the midst of an old Indian burial ground (to the West of the present building).
Sir John Franklin
Sir John Richardson,
was wintering at Cumberland House in 1846-47, on an expedition in search of the tragically lost Franklin party. He sent two ship's carpenters to help building the furnishings. Two carpenters were also on loan from the HUdson's Bay Post. The pews, baptismal font, original communion rail, pulpit and the matching prayer desk, were all built at this time from local spruce, but it is uncertain which carpenters made which item.
first Bishop of Rupert's Land, visited in 1850, dedicated the church in the name of Christ, and confirmed 110 canidates. He took Henry Budd back to Red River Settlement for further training, and ordained him Deacon on December 22, 1850. Henry Budd was thus the first Indian to be ordained to Anglican ministry in North America. He continued under the mutual tutelage of Reverend James Hunter at The Pas, and ordained Priest in 1853.