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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Enmegahbowh, Priest and Missionary, 1902.

The first Native American priest of the Episcopal Church, Enmegahbowh was born in Canada, a member of the Ottawa tribe. He was baptized by the Methodists and he came to the United States in 1832 in the service of that church. Working among the Ojibway, he became discouraged and boarded a ship back to Canada. Enroute the vessel encountered a terrible storm on Lake Superior and had to turn back. It was in this situation that he had a vision of Jonah who said, "Ah, my friend Enmegahbowh, I know you. You are a fugitive. You have sinned and disobeyed God. Instead of going to Ninevah, where God sent you, you have turned aside..." This vision convinced Enmegahbowh that it was God's will for him to remain among the Ojibway.

He solicited the help of James Lloyd Breck (see April 2), the indefatigable Episcopal missionary to the old Northwest. Together they established St. Columba's mission in Gull Lake, Minnesota, in 1852. Enmegahbowh was ordained to the diaconate in 1859 and in 1867 to the priesthood.

His remarkable evangelical and pastoral ministry made a permanent impression on the Ojibway people, and his heroic leadership during the Sioux uprising of 1862 saved many lives on both sides. He oversaw the translation of biblical and liturgical texts into Ojibway and was a pivotal person in the development of Episcopal ministries among Native Americans in the western United States.

Gracious God, pour your peace into our hearts, that we may work for respect among the peoples of our land. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Almighty God,you led your pilgrim people of old with fire and cloud: Grant that the ministers of your Church, following the example of blessed Enmegahbowh, may stand before your holy people, leading them with fiery zeal and gentle humility. This we ask through Jesus, the Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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