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St. Phillip's Episcopal Church
Wrangell, Alaska

Diocese of Alaska
The Rev. Michael Curren
P.O. Box 409
Wrangell, AK 99929


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St. Phillips, Wrangell


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  A totem pole is a visual representation of a story. The story of the founding of St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Wrangell, Alaska, is intimately tied to the Native Tlingit people of our community and, like a totem pole, our church building tells a story which continues to resonate today.

The history of St. Philip's begins with Henry Corser, a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in Wrangell, who became dissatisfied with that church's policy toward Native people. He directed the construction of the People's Church in 1903, which was built on land donated by the Kiksetti or Frog clan. The Native people, along with non-Natives, assisted with the building's construction. Tlingit elder, Marge Byrd, recalls that her mother was among those pounding nails while others in her family cooked meals to feed the workers. The building, a statement of fraternity and equality, was completed that year.

In 1905, the Rt. Rev. Peter Trimble Rowe, Bishop of Alaska, ordained Corser deacon, and later priest, of the People's Church, now become St. Philip's Episcopal Church.

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    © 2002 The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts