polo park apartments nashville tn Stories of Mission in the Diocese
Some Stories of Ministry in the Arctic:
The stories in this space will come from various places. Some stories come from books other stories from people in the north. I do not vouch for the factualness of some of the stories. It will I hope reflect the spirit of the north, of the people who call it home, and the church that serves the Almighty in it. I will change these stories regularly. If you have a story to share of the high north, (that is NT, Yukon and Northern Quebec), its people or its Church past or present, pass it on to me and if appropriate I it will appear in this spot. My address will be at the end of this section. We heard that there were some of his people in the hospital and the Chaplain offered to take as round the wards to meet them. Camsell is a large hospital for advanced TB cases who cannot be treated properly in the Northern hospitals. We found many Indians and Eskimos who wanted to send letters, gifts or messages to
their people, whom, in some cases, they had not seen for many years. While walking along one of the corridors I noticed a beautiful little Indian boy of about five years old, laughing and dancing in his cot. I went over to speak to him and as he turned its full face I saw that it was terribly scarred all over one side. I was told he had been mauled by sledge dogs.
Next morning we left Edmonton early in the morning by Canadian Pacific Airways and as soon as it was light we saw that we were flying over an apparently deserted land of endless frozen rivers, lakes and woods, all clearly outlined in their winter mantle of white. It got colder and colder as we flew North and we began to realise that our ordinary winter clothes were not going to be much use for the Northern Areas to which we were flying. The plane, apart from the cold was most comfortable, and we were well looked after by a pretty little Stewardess. About lunchtime she came along to say that the luncheon sandwiches were frozen, and we would have to wait until our next stop when she would get them unfrozen! At each stop where we re fuelled or picked up mail or freight, we got out of the plane and walked to the Canadian
Pacific Airways hut to get warmed. . At Fort Simpson we got our lunch unfrozen and were very glad to get large cups of steaming hot coffee. Finally, about 4:30 PM we arrived in Norman Wells, where we were to spend the night. We were the only passengers going on to Aklavik.
Norman Wells is the most northerly oil refinery in the world and is owned by the Imperial Oil Company. The charming manager, Mr. McKenzie very kindly invited us to come down and stay at their guesthouse. An old Army wagon bumped us along for about a mile and then we were led to our quarters. What a place to find in the frozen North! The rooms were so hot we had to leave the doors opened a little, though the temperature outside was 40 below zero. We had the place to ourselves a sitting room, office and three bedrooms from which to choose! A bathroom with shower and of all things, modern plumbing the last we were to see for years!! The Imperial Oil Company. have certainly made their people comfortable. The married people have houses, the single ones have attractive bed sitting rooms and everyone eats in a communal
dining hall. In fact the greatest problem is to get cold water! We thought we were there for one night but actually were destined to stay for a week. In the North transport during the winter is very uncertain because of the short days and the bad weather conditions. Edith Hodgson at eight years old became a heroine in my eyes.
Norman’s father had been a white trapper who had accidentally shot himself some years before. His mother, a full blooded Indian had married again, and was now Cecilia Tourmagean. She had six children by her first husband, and already had three more by her second husband, who was a half bred trapper; the eldest 2 1/2 years, the youngest three months . They were living in a good log cabin, high up on the banks of the Mackenzie River, about 10 miles from Norman Wells. It was the first time, Cecilia had ever lived in a permanent home, and she was looking forward to cultivating the garden, which he had fenced in round the cabin. It was a beautiful setting when I saw it that December afternoon. The little log cabin set in a clearing in the spruce forest. Across the river far beyond the interminable lakes and spruce forests
could be seen the mountains, the last chain of the Rockies. Winter had come early snow had been falling steadily and was getting deeper and deeper each day, and wolves had been heard howling around the cabin at night. It was a nice bright morning when he set off about 10 AM seen off by Cecilia and the children, all waving and laughing as the dog team sped swiftly down the bank and out of sight round the bend in the river. She lifted the gun,
which always stood loaded by the door but dared not shoot because of the child. Then, without any thought of her own danger she rushed that the dogs, tore the little senseless bleeding child from them and ran towards the house. She had to hold him high above her head, as the dogs were jumping up all round her, trying to get at him again. She reached the gun, put the child down and in the second she took to lift the gun one of the dogs was on him again but with a steady hand she pulled the trigger and the dog fell dead. The others made off into the bush. The child was still alive, but his injuries were so terrible she could do nothing. By this time the short day was beginning to get dark. She dare not leave the boy or her babies to try and get a doctor. Neither she, nor her mother thought it was heroic. By this time the message and been sent to the Doctor, and he was on his way down the river by motor boat. When he saw the terrible injuries, he did not think the child could possibly live, but he gave what ease he could by injections, and then brought Norman and his mother and the baby into the
As soon as they got to the hospital, the doctor started to sew up the terrible wounds and then discovered that the nose was completely missing. But no, Cecilia, who had stayed all through the gruesome operation, produced it from a clean handkerchief, and it was stitched on. The doctor told me that even through the agony the child smiled and never once did utter a cry. By some miracle, he lived, and as soon as possible, he was flown into Edmonton where I saw him well on the way to complete recovery. He is home now for a few months, but it will take much plastic surgery to heal those terrible scars, and he will be in and out of hospital for many months . While at the cabin one of the children came to tell us that there was a wolf in one of the traps, so I went to see with the Royal Canadian Mounted constable who was on
the trip with us. What a brute! A huge grey shaggy dog, which had almost gnawed through the leg caught in the trap in its efforts to get away. He shot it, but when I thought of little Edith going out all alone into the darkness, knowing that she might meet a pack of these beats, my admiration mounted.
When I was coming North, all the old timers told me I must remember that if I were on a trail and how the jingle of bells, I must at once get off the trail and leave plenty of room for the dog team to pass. They will attack anyone in their direct path. or anyone, child or adult who is on the ground. If Norman had not fallen as he ran away when he saw the dogs approaching, they probably would not have touched him. As it was, he fell, and the dogs immediately fell on him. In the North one does not carelessly try to make overtures to a native owned dog.
Canon Colin Mrs. Montgomery were in Aklavik from 1948 to 1952. The photos in this article were provided by Mr. John Collinson, Mrs. Montgomery’s nephew.
The cathedral choir did an anthem.
Our bishops both new and retired presided at the communion. Bishop Andrew, Bishop Chris, Bishop Darren and Bishop David. Isn’t it special the way the light from the dome is shining down on them all.
During the service Capt. Cyrus Blanchet was Bishop David’s chaplain. Our chancellor Glenn Tait was on hand to install our new diocesan.
After the service there was time for more photos and there were lots. Here again are retired Bishop Chris, Suffragan Bishop Darren, Bishop David and retired Bishop Andrew
Ever since childhood, I have been fascinated with our Canadian arctic and full of admiration for the clergy, and their families, who established the Anglican faith in the arctic a lifeline across the north, just below the North Pole. And I often dreamed that someday, I too, might journey north to visit this remote frozen part of Canada and to meet the people.
arson destroyed the igloo shaped St. Jude’s Cathedral in
Iqaluit on the shores of Frobisher Bay at the eastern mouth of the Northwest Passage. St. Jude was the saint who gave hope and help to those in desperate circumstances. This cathedral provided many invaluable outreach programmes that served the smaller parishes across the Arctic. It disturbed me to think what the loss of this church would mean to this vast diocese.