Church of St. Mary and St. Paul - 060501
With the Gold Rush came the rush of the golden word, the gospel according to the Anglicans. It was 1860 when Reverend George Hills was consecrated Bishop, and with Reverend John Booth Good, travelled the Interior by foot to baptize the Indians. While they both spent time in Yale, they were drawn to the North Thompson and the Ntkyala’pamux people of Lytton.
In his diary, Bishop Hills writes of his first encounter with Chief Cexpe’nthlEm, the Peacemaker, “We were offered horses to complete our journey…but I am anxious to continue on foot. There is a genuine sense of kindness about the Chief. They have checked on us several times…to ensure we are well.”
By 1867, after difficulties arising with the Catholic mission, Chief Cexe’nthlEm, known as Spintlum, rode with several hundred Indians to Yale, requesting help from Bishop Hills and Reverend Good. Reverend Good established himself and the St. Paul mission in Lytton and soon recognized the many challenges that lay ahead. The new white settlers ‘were of a heathen sort and brought vile institutions of debauchery.’ He soon found his only peace above the town “…my little Zohar on the hill…most romantically or rather gloriously situated,” and was preacher in both English and the Ntkyala’pamux language for the next 16 years.
It was 1872 and the church of Sts. Mary and Paul was erected above the town where the cemetery is now. That May the first baptisms took place in the ‘primitive wooden structure,’ including Chief Cexpe’nthlEm, the Peacemaker. In 1897 the church was moved to its present location.
After Bishop Hills, it was Bishop Acton Sillitoe who found himself and his wife Violet entranced by the First Nations people. "I used sometimes to think that the Indians were nearer to [the Bishop's] heart than any other members of his flock," wrote Violet.
In 1884 Bishop Sillitoe brought Archdeacon Richard Small to the Ntkyala’pamux and his new mission territory. “The native camp was on a flat at the upper end of a narrow valley and beyond it the ground rose suddenly in terraces and benches…in a little natural amphitheatre, was erected a canopy of evergreens, under which on a raised platform was the altar…the whole scene was bright and picturesque and, to most of us, novel,” Sillitoe later described Reverend Good’s ‘Zohar’ when he and Small arrived.
Archdeacon Small, with his horse Jupiter, was committed to his mission from 1884 until his death in 1909. The Archdeacon left his beloved Lytton briefly, only once, to mission in Korea. But hearing his post was yet to be filled he returned to his true calling at Sts. Mary and Paul.
Sts. Mary and Paul was later re-built and re-dedicated to ‘The Archdeacon on Horseback’ in the 1930s. The brilliant stained glass window is a tribute to Small and Jupiter, and their zeal and dedication to the Ntkyala’pamux Indians of Lytton.
Chief Cexpe’nthlEm, the Peacemaker; George Hills, first Anglican Bishop of the colony; Acton Sillitoe, Bishop to the Indians; John Good, preacher in Ntkyala’pamux; Richard Small, Archdeacon on Horseback and the Ntkyala’pamux people, weave together a rich and colourful history of St. Mary and St. Paul Church in Lytton, Gold Country.