Sunday, July 21, 2024

Archdeacon McDonald Memorial and Saint Luke’s churches receive Yukon Historic Site designation

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This is a joint news release with Vuntut Gwitchin Government

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Two of Old Crow’s landmark buildings have been recognized for their historic and cultural significance to the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and to the Yukon. A ceremony held in the community today recognized the designation of Archdeacon McDonald Memorial Church and St. Luke’s Church as a Yukon historic site under the Historic Resources Act.

Built in 1926, the Archdeacon McDonald Memorial Church was named after Archdeacon Robert McDonald who, together with his wife Julia Kutag, translated the Bible, a prayer book and a hymnal into a dialect of Gwich’in. St. Luke’s was built in 1959 to accommodate a growing congregation of worshippers and was active until 2012.

Together, the two churches represent the importance of the Anglican Church and missionary to the social fabric of Old Crow and the continuing Vuntut Gwitchin commitment to Gwich’in Anglicanism. Over the years, Gwich’in religious leaders, including catechists, deacons and ministers had strong associations with the sites. In addition, members of the Church’s Women’s Auxiliary were community leaders who brought Gwich’in skills and traditions to the work of the church.

As unique historic buildings, the structures have retained their integrity over time. Their simple log construction is typical of many churches built in Yukon communities where lumber was scarce but logs and labour – in the form of community volunteers – was plentiful.

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