The first recorded service using the American Book of Common Prayer in the Pacific Northwest, was in Oregon City, December 1, 1847, when The Rev. St. Michael Fackler baptized James McKinlay, son of Archabald and Julia Ogden McKinlay and grandson of Peter Skene Ogden. Fr. Fackler’s presence in Oregon was unknown to the national church. He had left his parish of Christ Church, Lexington, Missouri, in his search of improved health, earning his way shepherding the first flock of sheep to reach Oregon. He is without a doubt one of the West’s more colorful clergy. He was known as the “Mountain Man with the turned around collar”.
The first use of the English Book of Common Prayer in Oregon, had been in the fall of 1824, by Governor George Simpson of the Hudson Bay Company at Fort George (Astoria). The first Anglican priest in Oregon was the Hudson’s Bay Company chaplain, The Rev. Herbert Beaver who arrived at Ft. Vancouver on November 6, 1836.
Because Fr. Fackler considered himself without jurisdiciton he did not engage in active work of the church until The Rev. William Richmond the first designated missionary from the Board of Missions, arrived in Portland, May 11, 1851.
The first Episcopal Church established in Oregon was Trinity Parish, Portland, which was organized by Fr. Richmond and Fr. Fackler on May 18, 1851. One week later a second church, St. Paul’s Parish, Oregon City, was organized by the same pair on May 25, 1851. The next three congregations established were Grace, Champoeg, June 1851; Ascension, Lafayette, June 1851; and St. John the Evangelist Parish, Milwaukie, December 10, 1851. In 1852, another congregation, Incarnation, Butteville, was organized. May 14 1853, is considered the founding of St. Paul’s Parish, Salem.
On August 2, 1853, the First Convocation of Clergy and Laity of the Episcopal Church in the Oregon and Washington Territories was held at Oregon City. The House of Bishops created the vast Missionary District of the Oregon and Washington Territories and elected Thomas Fielding Scott as first Missionary Bishop. On January 8, 1854, Bishop Scott was consecrated at Christ Church, Savannah, Georgia. He arrived in Portland, on April 22, 1854. His episcopate covered what is today Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Western Montana. Because the English Church had no Bishop in British Columbia, he also assisted there. His clergy consisted of: Fr. Fackler at Oregon City; Fr. McCarty an Army Chaplain at Vancouver Barracks; and Fr. Cridge the Hudson Bay Company Chaplain at Victoria, Vancouver Island. The Second Convocation was held at Trinity, Portland, on June 17, 1854. The Bishop’s first consecration of a church was Trinity Church, Portland, September 24, 1854.
The first issue of the Oregon Churchman, which continues to this day as the Oregon Church News, was printed on the “Griswold” Press in Oregon City, in October of 1861.
On December 3, 1861, Grace Church, Champoeg, along with the entire community was destroyed by the largest flood in Oregon History. Neither community nor church were ever rebuilt at what is today Champoeg State Park.
Fr. Fackler founded the first church ever in Boise, Idaho, in 1864.
According to Samuel Clemons (aka: Mark Twain), in the Grim Voyage, Fr. St. Michael died of cholara aboard a steamer the San Fransisco at Key West, Florida, on January 6, 1867, while on a trip to New York.
Six months later Bishop Scott died during a trip to New York, on July 14, 1867, and is buried at Trinity Church, New York City.
The Second Bishop Benjamin Wistar Morris, the Empire Builder, was consecrated on December 3, 1868, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He would be one of the longest serving Bishop’s in Episcopal Church history. He arrived in Portland, on June 2, l869. During his episcopate he established St. Helen’s Hall Girls School, Portland, now the Oregon Episcopal School, on September 14, 1869. The Bishop Scott Grammar School for boys was opened in September of 1870. The first patient was admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital, Portland, on October 10, 1875.
He formed 18 parishes that are still an active part of the Diocese. The territory that would eventually become the Diocese of Olympia and the Diocese of Spokane was organzied into a missionary district on December 15, 1880. The General Convention, on October 8, 1889, voted to admit the Missionary District of Oregon as a Diocese with the Rt. Rev. Morris as Bishop. Bishop Morris died on April 7, 1906, in Portland, after an episcopate of 38 years. He is buried in Lone Fir Cemetery, Portland.
A native of Toronto, Ontario, Charles Scadding was consecrated Third Bishop of the Diocese of Oregon on September 29, 1906. Consent was given by the Genera1 Convention on October 14, 1907, to the division of the Diocese of Oregon and the Missionary District of Eastern Oregon was created. In 1908, the Seal of the Diocese was adopted. Bishop Scadding died May 14, 1914, at Portland.
A history covering the period from the founding of the Missionary District of the Oregon and Washington Territories in 1853 through the election of Bishop Scadding is available from the Rev. Lawrence Crumb through the University of Oregon online libraries. (Read it here.)
The Fourth Bishop of Oregon was Walter Taylor Sumner D. D., Dean of the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, Chicago. Nationally known as a clergyman interested in social welfare he served on the Chicago School Board where he was influential in the field of vocational education and was an associate of Jane Addams at Hull House. He was consecrated January 6, 1915, in the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, Chicago. His episcopate spanned the Great War and into the Great Depression. Sumner was honored as host in Portland to the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1922. He opened a retreat center at Gearhart, that would serve the diocese for the next 53 years. He passed away September 4, 1935 at Good Samaritan, Portland.
The Fifth Bishop of Oregon was Benjamin Dunlop Dagwell, Dean of St. John’s Cathedral, Denver, Colorado. He was consecrated on February 12, 1936, at Trinity Church, Portland, thus becoming the first Oregon Bishop to be consecrated in Oregon. A bishop for Nevada had been the first to be consecrated in Oregon at Trinity, Portland, in 1929. Dagwell’s episcopate took the church through the Great Depression, World War II, and into the period of most rapid church expansion in its history. Under his leadership twenty-three new congregations were organized and sixteen moved from missionary to parochial status. Also, two hospitals were added: Good Samaritan, Corvallis, and Rogue Memorial, Medford. By the time of his retirement, August 24, 1958, he had built more than half of all Oregon churches and more than half of all the clergy serving the Oregon Diocese had been ordained by him.
He was named Portland First Citizen in 1958. He went on to serve the Anglican congregation at St. Paul’s, Rome, Italy (1960–1961). He died in Portland, Oregon, June 2, 1963.
On February 7, 1956, at Trinity Church, Portland, James Walmesley Frederic Carman was consecrated Bishop Coadjutor. On August 24, 1958, he was enthroned as the Sixth Bishop of Oregon. The beautiful 13 acre Elk Rock, Kerr Estate which today includes a perpetual care garden, is located near Lake Oswego, was given to the Diocese and became “The Bishop’s Close”. Bishop Carman retired January 31, 1974, and died November 30, 1979, at Portland.
Under Bishop Carman the first and only Suffragan Bishop of Oregon, Hal Raymond Gross was elected in December 1964, and consecrated, February 26, 1965, at Trinity Church, Portland. While several Bishops have come from Oregon, Bishop Gross was actually raised in Oregon and prior to his ministry was an attorney. He served his entire ministry here. He retired on January 15, 1979, and died October 13, 2002 at Woodburn.
The Seventh Bishop of Oregon was Matthew Paul Bigliardi, a former Navy officer and native of Pennsylvania, who was serving as Rector of Emmanuel, Mercer Island, Washington. He was consecrated on January 31, 1974, in Memorial Coliseum, Portland. In 1979, the Gearhart camp, which had served the diocese since 1926, was closed and the larger retreat center and camp at Triangle Lake, Lane County, was purchased. In May 1982, the Rev. Noel Joyce Knelange was the first woman to be ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Oregon. Bishop Bigliardi retired on December 31, 1985. For a period of time he served in Paris, France, as Bishop-in-Charge of the Anglican Churches in Europe. He died February 26, 1996, in Maitland, Florida.
Robert Louis Ladehoff, Rector of St. John’s, Fayetteville, North Carolina, was elected Bishop Coadjutor, and consecrated November 30, 1985, at the University of Portland. He was enthroned as the Eighth Bishop of Oregon, January 1, 1986. On November 19, 1993, Trinity Church was consecrated as Trinity Cathedral. He was to serve 16 years until his retirement September 20, 2003.
The Ninth Bishop of Oregon was Johncy Itty PhD. A native of Bhopal, India, was receved to the Episcopal Church from the Church of South India, on December 29, 1995. He served as the Canon, Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City, New York, prior to his election. He was consecrated on September 20, 2003, at the Salem Armory, Salem, and relinquished ecclesiastical authority to the Standing Committee at midnight March 23 2008. He retained the episcopate until December 31, 2008.
From April 18 2008 until April 10, 2010, the Right Rev. Sanford Zangwill “Sandy” Hampton, retired Suffragan Bishop of Minnesota and Assisting Bishop of the Diocese of Olympia, served as Assisting Bishop of Oregon.
The tenth Bishop of Oregon, Michael Joseph Hanley, was consecrated at the Hult Center, Eugene, and assumed the episcopate on April 10, 2010. The former Rector of St. Christopher’s, Roseville, Minnesota, was elected Bishop of Oregon at the 121st Annual Convention in November 2009 at Eugene.
The current and eleventh Bishop of Oregon is the Rt. Rev. Dr. Diana Akiyama. She was consecrated on January 30, 2021 at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland. Before being elected bishop in 2020 during an online election convention due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Akiyama served as Vicar at St. Augustine Parish in Kapau’au, Hawai’i. Akiyama was the first Japanese-American woman to be ordained to the Episcopal priesthood, and was the first Asian-American woman to be consecrated as bishop in The Episcopal Church.