British Historical Archive

St. JAMES CHURCH Since 1895

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En el año 1895 ante la creciente presencia Británica en Magallanes, el Obispo Waite Hockin Stirling, envia al Misionero Rev. John Williams y Familia a establecer la primera capellanía a la Colonia de Punta Arenas. Su edificio data de 1899 y su hermosa arquitectura en madera es posible visitarla los Domingos AM. en Calle Waldo Seguel - ex calle Santiago 450, en pleno Centro de Punta Arenas. En Puerto Williams, frente al Museo Martin Gusinde, es posible visitar la casa Stirling, edificio que fue utilizado por los pastores en las misiones con los Yaganes, y trasladada ultimamente, a la Capital de la Provincia Antartica.

Punta Arenas, Octubre 31, 1895

Al Editor de El Magallanes, Estimado señor

Estimaré como un gran favor si ustedes pudieran amablemente otorgar espacio en vuestro periódico para las siguientes líneas, las cuales están dirigidas principalmente a mis coterráneos y a los feligreses de habla inglesa.

Desde hace tiempo me ha parecido conveniente que exista un ministro de la iglesia de Inglaterra estable para ocuparse de las necesidades religiosas y educacionales de todos aquellos que en su propio idioma, y de acuerdo con sus convicciones religiosas, hasta la fecha no se ha previsto en estas partes.

Ahora estoy feliz de poder decir que gracias a la cooperación de los residentes en Punta Arenas, y por la generosa ayuda de los directores de South American Mission en Londres, me será posible comenzar, lo que pienso será un arreglo permanente para los Ministros de nuestra Iglesia, en el distrito comprendido entre Punta Arenas y Río Gallegos.

El reverendo John Williams, quien ha sido ordenado, y ha servido bajo las órdenes del Señor Obispo de Manchester, ha sido designado por mi para visitar el campamento e inaugurar los trabajos indicados.

El recibirá, creo, una bienvenida en donde se encomiende y las solicitudes de su misión, a todos por su carácter afable y diligente ministerio.

Me dará una real satisfacción si este intento de cumplir con religión y educación es exitoso, pero solo puede ser desarrollado y llevado a buen efecto por la cordial cooperación de todos a quienes ahora me dirijo.

Agradeciéndole de antemano por su cortesía y hospitalidad a la concesión a esta carta por su estimado diario

Quedo de Ud., atentamente Waite H. Stirling, Obispo

Punta Arenas, October 31, 1895

To the Editor of "The Magallanes" Dear Sir:

I shall esteem it a great favour if you can kindly grant space in your valuable paper for the following few lines which I address principally to my countrymen and english-speaking co-religionists.

It has long seemed to me desirable that there should be a stated Minister of the Church of England to attend to the religious and educational wants of all those for whom in their own language, and in accordance with their religious convictions, no provision has hitherto been made in these parts.

I am now happy to be able to say that by the cooperation of residents in Punta Arenas and by the generous assistance of the Directors of the S. American Mission in London, I have seen my way to commence what I trust may prove to be a permanent arrangement for the ministries of our Church in the District extending from Punta Arenas to the Rio Gallegos.

The Rev John Williams who has been ordained by [...?], served under the Lord Bishop of Manchester, has been appointed by me to visit the camp and to inaugurate the work referred to.

He will, I trust, meet with a welcome everywhere [and] commend himself, and the claims of his mission, to all by his genial character and diligent ministrations.

It will give me unfeigned satisfaction if this attempt to meet their religious and educational wants prove successful; but it can only be developed and turned to good account by the cordial cooperation of all whom I now address.

Thanking you in anticipation for your courtesy in granting this letter the hospitality of your esteemed paper.

I am, Dear Sir,

Yours faithfully

Waite H. Stirling, Bishop.

Saludo del Obispo Héctor Zabala Bendición del Obispo Zabala
The Rev. John Williams (who had worked briefly at Tekenika in 1895) and his family returned to Tekenika in 1902 after a six-year term as chaplain of the new Anglican church in Punta Arenas. In the intervening years, a dedicated team of missionaries had expanded the mission buildings, providing all the help they could muster. But the Yaghans were a dying race, and the mission was too remote. The end was inevitable, and in 1907 the missionaries transferred their base of operations for the last time.
The Río Douglas Mission
The new mission, at Río Douglas, was located on Navarino Island, further north than its two predecessors, where communications to Ushuaia and Punta Arenas were easier. Williams and his wife were dedicated workers, extending the buildings, and caring for the remaining natives' bodies and souls. The "flock" was not going to be abandoned, but the extinction of the race was well under way. The Keppel mission closed its doors in 1911, and last of all Río Douglas, in 1916. The Williams's returned to the booming city of Punta Arenas, where they continued to labour among the "new Patagonians" for the remainder of their days.