‘First parson’ to preside over St. Paul’s centennial


sT. pAUL’S Episcopal Church, built in 1913 by members and other Mancos residents and businesses, has been restuccoed in time for its centennial. This was made possible in part by contributions from residents of Mancos who are not members of the congregation — once more, 100 years later, marking the generosity of Mancos residents.

As part of the 100th anniversary celebrations of the building and consecration of St. Paul’s Chapel, Mancos, St. Paul’s has invited The Rev’d C. Montgomery Hoge back to Mancos!

He was popularly known as Parson Hoge, the “Pistol Packing Padre.”

Episcopal services were first brought to Mancos in 1882 by Parson Hoge, who was a powerful preacher and a well-known and colorful character. The story goes that he would go into the saloons and play poker with the miners. If they lost, they would have to attend services.

Parson Hoge came to Colorado from Texas and established the San Juan Circuit in 1876-77. He is credited with establishing the following churches:

St. John’s Church in Ouray, 1881; St. Luke’s Church in Rico, 1881; St. James’ Church in Lake city, 1886; in 1887, Animas City which moved to Durango and became St. Mark’s Church, the first church in Durango.

In the early years, St. Mark’s had pastoral care of St. Paul’s. Parson Hoge also held services in Dolores and Telluride.

St. Paul’s (often called “the Mission” in the Mancos Times) was established as an official congregation in 1897 by Bishop Abiel Leonard, Bishop of the Missionary District of Salt Lake, which included Utah, Western Colorado and Nevada.

Property was purchased in 1910 on the corner of Bauer Avenue and Oak Street, and the groundbreaking was in June 1913.

Bishop Benjamin Brewster, the Third Missionary Bishop of Western Colorado, consecrated the new building on Dec. 14, 1913.

St. Paul’s current vicar, Father Bob Seney, will be re-enacting Parson Hoge in the Mancos Day Parade and will serve as host at an open house at the church on Saturday, July 27.

The open house and tour of the chapel will run from 1 to 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, with an old-fashioned gospel sing in the garden at 2 p.m, Saturday dedicated to the memory of Father Mike Darmour, former vicar. Music will be provided by Carolyn Smith on the hammered dulcimer.

Refreshments will be served.

On Sunday, July 28, at 9 a.m., a Service of Holy Communion will be held using the 1892 Book of Common Prayer, the prayer book that would have been used for the consecration service in 1913. The public is invited.

The church is located on the corner of Bauer Avenue and Oak Street. For more information about St. Paul’s and its services and celebration, 533-9104.

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