December 22: Henry Budd, Priest, 1875

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About this commemoration

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

John 14:15–21



Preface of a Saint (2)

Text from Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.


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16 thoughts on “December 22: Henry Budd, Priest, 1875

  1. Here’s a substantive and editorial comment on the Budd bio: from preceeding paragraphs it is clear that Budd is an Anglican. Why, then, say that he was “ordained to the Anglican priesthood”? Drop “Anglican” not only because it is superfluous here, but also because all the formularies in Anglican ordinals (and our ordination certificates) make the claim that a presbyter is ordained “…Priest, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church…” There is, in other words, no such thing as “Anglican prieshood.”

  2. Readings. Hebrew reading: This is quite triumphal in tone. Perhaps a bit ‘over the top’ for the frontier of Rupert’s Land.
    NT reading: Why not include verse 12 in this reading?

    Bio.4th paragraph: For consistency it should read: ‘He was ordained a priest on December 22, 1850, …’. ‘Ordained to the Anglican priesthood’ is not a usage found in other bios of HWHM.
    The phrase ‘a person of native, mixed race’ needs to have quotation marks if those are the words from the record of the CMS (as inappropriate as those words are today). Putting them in quotations at least recognizes that we know they are inappropriate.

  3. Why is this remembrance for Dec. 22 when he actually died in April? Isn’t the celebration of saints most commonly on the date of death, if known or some other date of tradition?

  4. Good question, Annette. When an ordination date is chosen as the date for celebration, it is usually because the ordination and not the person is being commemorated. I am confused. Is this commemoration about the growing inclusiveness of those ordained to serve as priests? Is this a celebration of the life of the Rev. Henry Budd? If it is the latter, then I would like to know more about what makes this man especially worthy. He apparently worked successfully under difficult conditions and apparently suffered institutional discrimination. But is this sufficient?

    • Having grown up in the American Lutheran Church/Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, studied liturgy in a Roman Catholic Benedictine seminary/school of theology, I am fuzzy as to what exactly the deciding factors are to determine “sainthood” in the Anglican tradition. It is my sense from my Lutheran background that a person is named to “sainthood” by either dying for the faith or devoting an enormous amount of one’s time to living out a “transformed by the gospel” life. Dietrich Bonhoeffer did not see himself as a saint, but the next generation did.

      • I was taught that as a church, we don’t think of ourselves as determining sainthood (although some individuals in the church think of it in those terms), and until the 19th century we commemorated only the apostles. Since then most Anglicans have come to accept the idea of a liturgical (as opposed to conversational or didactic) commemoration of those Christians whose example is especially inspiring or whose acts led to some development of the church for which we’re now particularly thankful.

        The SCLM has published a set of standards by which proposals for inclusion in the national calendar can be judged. The list below, which I got from another blog, may not be a word-for-word copy, but agrees with what I remember reading. Perhaps someone can post a link to an authoritative version.

        1. Historicity: Christianity is a radically historical religion, so in almost every instance it is not theological realities or spiritual movements but exemplary witness to the Gospel of Christ in lives actually lived that is commemorated in the Calendar.

        2. Christian Discipleship: The death of the saints, precious in God’s sight, is the ultimate witness to the power of the Resurrection. What is being commemorated, therefore, is the completion in death of a particular Christian’s living out of the promises of baptism. Baptism is, therefore, a necessary prerequisite for inclusion in the Calendar.

        3. Significance: Those commemorated should have been in their lifetime extraordinary, even heroic servants of God and God’s people for the sake, and after the example, of Jesus Christ. In this way they have testified to the Lordship of Christ over all of history, and continue to inspire us as we carry forward God’s mission in the world.

        4. Memorability: The Calendar should include those who, through their devotion to Christ and their joyful and loving participation in the community of the faithful, deserve to be remembered by The Episcopal Church today. However, in order to celebrate the whole history of salvation, it is important also to include those “whose memory may have faded in the shifting fashions of public concern, but whose witness is deemed important to the life and mission of the Church” (Thomas Talley).

        5. Range of Inclusion: Particular attention should be paid to Episcopalians and other members of the Anglican Communion. Attention should also be paid to gender and race, to the inclusion of lay people (witnessing in this way to our baptismal understanding of the Church), and to ecumenical representation. In this way the Calendar will reflect the reality of our time: that instant communication and extensive travel are leading to an ever deeper international and ecumenical consciousness among Christian people.

        6. Local Observance: Similarly, it should normatively be the case that significant commemoration of a particular person already exists at the local and regional levels before that person is included in the Calendar of the Episcopal Church as a whole.

        7. Perspective: It should normatively be the case that a person be included in the Calendar only after two generations or fifty years have elapsed since that person’s death.

        8. Levels of Commemoration: Principal Feasts, Sundays and Holy Days have primacy of place in the Church’s liturgical observance. It does not seem appropriate to distinguish between the various other commemorations by regarding some as having either a greater or a lesser claim on our observance of them. Each commemoration should be given equal weight as far as the provision of liturgical propers is concerned (including the listing of three lessons).

        9. Combined Commemorations: Not all those included in the Calendar need to be commemorated “in isolation.” Where there are close and natural links between persons to be remembered, a joint commemoration would make excellent sense (e.g., the Reformation martyrs—Latimer and Ridley; bishops of Lincoln, Robert Grosseteste and Hugh).

      • Here’s a better source: The list starts on p 131 (image 2) and includes a tenth point:

        10. Common of Saints: A greater range of “Commons of Saints” should be provided to allow for optional commemorations at the local and regional levels. Presently there are propers provided for martyrs, missionaries, pastors, theologians and teachers,monastics, and “saints.” Possible additional categories could includemusicians and other artists, reformers of society, and “stewards of creation,” for example, scientists and environmentalists.

  5. In the collect, ‘Grant that his example may call us to reverence, orderliness and love’ doesn’t seem to refer to anything in the bio. ‘Patience and persistence in the face of difficult circumstances’ seems more appropriate. I don’t think it’s really an approprriate commemoration for us as a national church, however appropriate it may be for Canada.

    I still feel strongly that no one should be just listed as ‘priest’ or any other ordained status. ‘First Canadian priest of native, mixed race’ would be fine (or whatever is the appropriate way of saying that today), and show why it is appropriate for the Canadian church to commemorate him. In most cases where ordained status is mentioned, it is an unnecessary addition to the name of the commemoration. ‘Deacon and missionary’, ‘bishop and martyr’, ‘priest and theologian’—in no case is ordained status relevant to the reasons for the commemoration, or at least to the reasons that might move me to observe the commemoration. To mention it except where it is a factor, as it seems to be in the case of Budd, is putting the spotlight on the wrong thing. It is our Christian faith that needs encouraging, not our status in the church.

  6. For minor feasts I use the bio and collect with daily office. My reaction on using this one was both admiration for the man and also a sense of frustration with its repetitions, organization, and wordiness. I think just saying so is better than my giving illustrations or my making suggesting for revision. (My initial efforts at the latter became excessive.)

  7. I am grateful to the SCLM for broadening our horizons geographically and denominationally. It is appropriate to memorialize Holy persons from our northern neighbors. But to thrust this Canadian into the late stages of Advent seems inappropriate. There has been a time for ferias, between celebrating St. Ambrose and the Nativity. Now we are to add 18 new names in that space? In the Canadian Church’s Book of Alternative ServicesBAS, (my copy of which was autographed by Paul Gibson, the liturgical officer of the Canadian church when BAS was first published) there is a Memorial on September 18 for “Founders, Benefactors, and Missionaries of the Church of Canada.” (On October 19, there is a complementary Memorial for “… Missionaries and Martyrs in New France”)

    I recommend that we have one commemoration for Horden, McDonald, and Budd.

    The subtitle is inadequate: I suggest “Priest, Missioner, and Translator of the Scriptures.”

    Is it clericalism to honor him on the day of his ordination to the priesthood? We know the date of his death, and he could share that day with James Lloyd Breck. (Incidentally, both served indigenous peoples in North America).

    Line 1, second paragraph: add after “birth” “in about 1812”.

    Line 3, third paragraph: substitute “while” for “where” (or alter word order).

    Line 7, fourth paragraph: delete “Sadly,” and capitalize “Records”. Making a judgment about that time and place is tempting, but inappropriate, in a biography: this should not be about our reaction almost a hundred and fifty years later.

    Line 8, fourth paragraph: delete “native,”. The meaning of that word is confusing. One gathers that Budd was the child of a “white” father and a First Nations mother: we need no further adjective.

  8. Lottie is an abbreviation of “Charlotte”. The title should be shown as ‘Charlotte (“Lottie”) Moon’. Then the first line should show her as ‘Charlotte (“Lottie”) Digges Moon’.

    (Wikipedia shows her middle name as “Digges”, and I found another source that uses that spelling. That seems more likely than “Diggs”) This should be checked

    Line 1, first paragraph: add “Albemarle County,” after the first “in”.

    Line 1, first paragraph: add “on December 12,” after “Virginia”.

    Line 1, first paragraph: if confirmed, correct spelling to “Digges”.

    Line 5, first paragraph: I suggest substituting “Hebrew and Greek” for “the Biblical”, and “French, Spanish, and Italian” for “the Romance languages”. Some readers will not know what “Romance” means here. I think it unlikely that she learned Portuguese; the other three are listed by Wikipedia.

    Line 1, 7th paragraph: add “, aboard a vessel in Kobe, Japan, on her way back to the recuperate from illness.” after “1912”.

    • Of course this belongs to Lottie Moon. One of the pitfalls of two commemorations on one day is that you get confused which one you are dealing with. Apologies.

  9. Thank you, Philip. That helps me understand. I have a liturgical writing by Philip Pfatteicher, “New Book of Festivals and Commemorations: A Proposed Common Calendar of Saints” that has been a good biographical source as well as great for propers and prayer suggestions.

    • I was on an ecumenical body with Pfatteicher for some years, and never knew of his liturgical scholarship till Paul Marshall, a former member of the SCLM, came to town for an unrelated event at which we were all present, and treated Pfatteicher like one of his great heroes! Is the ‘proposed Common Calendar’ intended to be common in the ecumenical sense—something analagous to the Common Lectionary? I like that idea very much.

      • I believe that is the intent. I didn’t study any liturgy of the Lutheran variety till I was at the RC seminary. I noticed that the ELCA now has liturgy profs on staff at their seminaries.

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