History of Diocese of Utah
Last Updated on Saturday, 11 May 2013 11:31 Written by Administrator Sunday, 10 August 2008 21:22
|Episcopal Diocese of Utah - A history that parallels settlement of The West|
The Episcopal Diocese of Utah has an interesting past and a promising future. Our history here goes back about 140 years as the first "other" church to settle in Utah after the Mormons' historic trek west and settlement in 1847. We have been a missionary district for all but the last 35 years, becoming an independent diocese only in the early 1970s.
The Rt. Rev. Daniel S. Tuttle was the first missionary bishop to be sent to Utah, having a jurisdiction that also included Montana and Idaho. Though the youngest bishop of his time, Bishop Tuttle became a heroic figure in the church. He served his mission here for 20 years, became the bishop of Missouri then later presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.
Bishop Tuttle was a visionary. He founded our cathedral (located in downtown Salt Lake City), the first non-traditional schools and the first hospital in this part of the West.
Early on, members of the Utah Missionary District were Native Americans, miners, railroad builders and members of the military. The latter were stationed at Fort Douglas on a hillside overlooking Salt Lake City to "keep an eye on" Latter-day Saints and Native Americans. (Fort Douglas was the temporary home of Olympic athletes during the 2002 Winter Games.)
Today, among its 22 churches and several chaplaincies, our diocese supports two Native American churches on the Ouray-Uinta Reservation and three thriving Latino congregations. The present diocesan boundary is the state of Utah, excluding the Navajo Area Mission in the southeast corner of the state but extending to a recently adopted and rapidly growing congregation in Page, Ariz., near the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell.
Two radical changes have come our way in recent years. We became an independent diocese, no longer supported financially by the national church. Second, we shifted suddenly from being one of the poorest dioceses in the Episcopal Church to being one of the wealthiest after the sale of St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City. Both changes have posed challenges more so than we ever expected. We still struggle to faithfully embrace these changes.
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