GREAT FALLS - The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation has been on the National Register of Historic Places for 20 years, and now a new sign will keep its history alive.
Dale Agnew is a parishioner in the church. He moved to Great Falls three years ago. The native Texan saw a plaque in the church that hosted his last name, Agnew.
“There's a brass plaque that was donated to the church after it opened in 1907. Plaque happened to be donated by a G.W. Agnew if I'm not mistaken.” He shared
Regardless of whether he was correct at the time, he is sure there was a connection to the church with his family name.
Agnew is fascinated with how Montana preserves its history, especially in the neighborhood surrounding the Church of the Incarnation.
“Montana has done something that they didn't do in Texas. And I'm I just appreciate all of the historical value of what was going on in Montana years ago.”
Montana is home for Agnew. The church is home. Dale cares about his home.
"This building represents well over a century of legacy and history. And in many ways, Great Falls has grown up around this place," the pastor of the Episcopal church, Father Adam Lenton, said.
Legacy and history indeed. The church was home to Charles M. Russell, the beloved western artist. His seat is positioned to the far left, hidden behind a pillar in a back pew.
A parish member shared that he sat there to hide from the rest of the congregation so he could pray.
The Charlie Russell tale might be one of the most well-known.
The legacy of the families who hold the remains of family members within the walls are hoped to not be forgotten, said Sara Quay, Senior Warden for the church.
“They won't be forgotten. Their parents won't be forgotten. Their grandparents won't be forgotten.” Adding, “People need to know that there's a fabulous place to worship here to come for whatever you need”
“We put it on the corner so that when people won't mind, they can tell that the Episcopal Church lives here.” Told Agnew said about the placement of the sign.
The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation was founded in 1907 and derives from the Church of England. It was established as a separate body after the American Revolution.
Its faith is a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
With over 100 years of history, the congregation is hoping to keep its doors open.
They say new ventures such as, “Love Thy Neighbor” is launching and promotes exactly what it reads — taking donations to share with those in need.
When it comes to preservation Agnew believes he’s one with the church.
“It's all just really very interesting. If you're an antique, you'd like to study antiques. And I am both as well. That does settle it.”