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Henry Budd was the first person of First Nations ancestry to be ordained in the Anglican tradition in North America. He is remembered for his service among the Cree in Western Canada. Budd was an orphan and the date of his birth is unknown. He entered a mission school that was a joint venture with the Hudson’s Bay Company to provide a Christian education to the First Nations people in the area of Rupert’s Land, the vast expanse of land that encircled Hudson Bay before its division into Canadian provinces. Before embarking on a vocation as a priest and teacher, he worked as a clerk for the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Henry Budd’s ministry began as a lay teacher in the Red River region of Manitoba where he taught at St. John’s Anglican Parish School. He and his wife, Betsy, remained in the area for the next thirteen years where Budd taught school and served as a lay minister in the Anglican Church.
Ordained to the Anglican priesthood on December 22, 1850, having been trained largely by personal mentoring and tutoring from other clergy, Budd was assigned to the Mission at Nipawim where he worked as a pastor until 1867. Thereafter, Budd returned to The Pas where he was put in charge of a vast area encompassing several communities, and where he continued his vocation as both priest and teacher. Sadly, records of the Church Missionary Society indicate that Budd, a person of native, mixed race, was paid half of what the white missionaries were paid.
Henry Budd is remembered as an eloquent speaker and writer in both Cree and English. He endeared himself to those he served by exhibiting clearly in the living of his life the Christian principles he preached and the values he taught. Enduring among his many contributions are his translations of the Scriptures and the Book of Common Prayer into the Cree language.
Budd died on April 2, 1875, just a few days after he had conducted Easter services. He is buried in The Pas, Manitoba.
I Creator of light, we offer thanks for thy priest Henry Budd, who carried the great treasure of Scripture to his people the Cree nation, earning their trust and love. Grant that his example may call us to reverence, orderliness and love, that we may give thee glory in word and action; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
II Creator of light, we thank you for your priest Henry Budd, who carried the great treasure of Scripture to his people
the Cree nation, earning their trust and love. Grant that his example may call us to reverence, orderliness and love, that we may give you glory in word and action; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit
lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 11:1–6,14,17
1 Thessalonians 5:13–18
Preface of a Saint (2)
Text from Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.
We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?
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