150 Years of Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd
On July 17, 1870, the Rev. James Lee Gillogly led the first service of what would become the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Union Station in Ogden.
Starting July 26, 2020, the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd is starting a yearlong celebration of the sesquicentennial of our parish. Here, as part of that celebration, you will find artifacts from the long history of Good Shepherd.
Sermon on the 40th anniversary of Good Shepherd
"A congregation that taxed the capacity of the church" gathered at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd on July 17, 1910, according to the Right Rev. Franklin S. Spaulding, Bishop of Utah at the time. Shortly after that celebration, Spaulding published the sermon of that morning, given by the Rev. Mr. Fleetwood, in Daily Standard of Ogden. That sermon follows:
Forty years ago this morning, on the 17th of July 1870, a little company of fourteen men and women gathered in the waiting room of the old depot of the Union Pacific railway to worship Almighty God. The service—that of morning prayer—was conducted by a young clergyman, the Rev. James Lee Gillogly, who had arrived in Ogden the day before with his young bride. Previous to this, three other services of the Episcopal Church had been held in Ogden that year—two by the Rev. T.W. Haskins, and one by Bishop Tuttle—but the service held by Mr. Gillogly forty years ago today really marked the beginning of the Church in Ogden, as services have been held without interruption since that time.
And today, as we look back over those forty years of our parochial life, we must realize that this was one of the most stupendous “ventures of faith” in the history of domestic missionary work of the Church, for a more unpromising, a more difficult, a more discouraging field can scarcely be imagined.
At that time Ogden was a city of some 5,000 inhabitants, and among those 5,000 there was only one communicant of the Church, Mrs. Oliver Durant. Therefore, it seems eminently fitting that we should acknowledge the great debt we owe to him, who so loved the Church and her Divine Master, that he was willing to undergo the hardships, and endure the persecutions that accompanied his efforts to plant the Church here, and that we should show forth our thankfulness to Almighty God for these benefits by an earnest and sincere effort to carry forward the work for which he gave his life. Well may those words of the Apostle come to us today, “Other men have labored and ye are entered into their labors.”
All that we have, all the blessings that we enjoy as a parish, are due to the untiring labor, the unbounded faith of this devoted servant of the Master, who in the face of hardships and discouragements, was willing to sow the seed of the Word of God in what everyone considered to be a barren and unfruitful field. In Mr. Gillogly’s own account of those days I find these words:
“At the suggestion of the Rev. Geo. W. Foote, who was then residing in Salt Lake City, Bishop Tuttle appointed a committee of consultation to decide whether Mr. Gillogly should continue or abandon the work already begun. Having carefully taken all things into consideration, the committee pronounced in favor of discontinuance of the work, at least for a while, until the prospects of the town should assume a more permanent shape, for at this time it was thought that the junction would soon be removed to a point five miles west of Ogden. Mr. Gillogly was not satisfied with such a decision, so he communicated with Bishop Tuttle, who was then in Montana, proposing to prosecute the work vigorously for one year, and then should his efforts fail, to turn his attention to some other part of the field.”
Man of Great Zeal
Had it not been for his unbounded faith—his willingness to continue what seemed to others to be a hopeless proposition—the work begun forty years ago would have been abandoned, and we would not be gathered here this morning to keep this anniversary.
When we, with all the blessings we enjoy, are tempted to be discouraged by the difficulties we encounter, we may well look back to those early days, and think of how petty and insignificant those difficulties are as compared with the real ones he was obliged to meet, and we may well ask our Heavenly Father for more of the faith, more of the zeal and devotion that characterized this earnest man.
From another account by Mrs. Gillogly, I quote these words: “Whenever the trains were late, the services had to be postponed. Several times we had Sunday School in one corner of the room while the fruit stand was doing active business in another. Trains were often passing back and forth during service, and walking, talking, singing and swearing were plainly to be heard from the platform. In one case a woman was playing cards with some men in an adjoining room, and through an open window their conversation could be well heard. Mr. Gillogly, after a few experiences like this, wrote in his diary, ‘This is what I call discouraging, but D.V.: I shall not give up yet.’”
But a day of brighter and more promising things was at hand. Such faith, such live, coupled with such zeal and devotion, were bound to be rewarded, both by God and Man. * * *
Practically all of our equipment for church work has come to us through the generosity of devoted churchmen in the East. We need to remember that we are stewards of a great trust, and we will prove to be untrue to that trust unless we see that this equipment is made to minister to the highest welfare of the community. This beautiful church building was not erected that a few of us might have a place to worship Almighty God according to the usage of this historic and apostolic church, but that it might be a center from which would radiate those forces and influences that make for true Christian manhood and womanhood—that it might be a rallying point for the forces of righteousness in that unceasing warfare against the “powers of darkness.” We are untrue to our trust unless we are strengthening men and women to meet the problems and temptations of our complex modern life; unless we are training our children for lives of unselfish usefulness.
Much to be Thankful For “Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward” is the charge that comes to us today. We have indeed much to be thankful for, much to be proud of in the splendid record of the past forty years, but that is as nothing when compared with the glorious opportunities and privileges of today and tomorrow. The problems and difficulties that confront us today are not those of sectarian hatred and opposition of narrowness and bigotry, but the larger problems of civic and industrial and social righteousness. In the early days, as we have seen, mud and stones were thrown at the meeting place of those pioneers because they worshiped God in a manner different from that of the original settlers of the country. They were feared and hated and persecuted because of their efforts to preach and teach the “truth as it is in Christ Jesus;” because of the possibility of making converts. Are we feared and hated and persecuted today because of our steadfastness in holding to those things which are opposed to the Kingdom of God?
No Longer Hated
We can thank God that we no longer have the persecutions of sectarian hatred, but we need to fear for the progress and welfare of the Master’s work, if we are content to be looked up on as a mere “respectable religious organization”—an organization that makes no impression upon the life and the morals of the community—an organization that takes no interest in anything beyond itself, and that is not seeking by every means it possesses to make this world “the Kingdom of our God, and of His Christ.”
Let us pledge ourselves this morning before the altar of our Lord and King to the performance of this great task that, in future days, it may be said of us that we were not unmindful of our privileges, not unfaithful to the trust committed to us.
Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd 2374 Grant Ave. Ogden, UT 84401
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