St. Luke's - Pangnirtung, Nunavut
Pangnirtung "the place of the bull caribou" is located on the narrow coastal plain against a spectacular backdrop of high mountains and a winding river valley.

Population:     1,243   (Inuit 93% - non Inuit 7%) (source 1996 Census of Canada)

Legend says a hunter named Atagooyuk gave the place its name well over 100 years ago when caribou had not yet changed their patterns as a result of the incursions of man.

St. Luke's Anglican Church in Pangnirtung was established by Rev. B. Jenkins in 1925 for the Bible Churchman's Missionary Society, England. The mission house was built in 1926 and an extension was added in 1933. St. Luke's Hospital opened in 1930 was enlarged in 1939, 1955, and 1957 and in 1972 became the Arthur Turner Training School.


It had been a cherished plan of the Rev. E.J. Peck (known as the” Apostle to the Eskimos”) to reopen the mission at Blacklead Island (first established in 1894) and with that intent, he sailed in 1909 from St. John’s, Newfoundland, taking with him the Rev. A.L. Fleming (later the first Bishop of the Arctic), and the Rev. W. Bilby who were to man the station. For this trip he had chartered a small fishing vessel on where were carried the materials for a small house and enough supplies to last supposedly for two years. Wind, weather and ice prevented their landing at Blacklead Island, so after various adventures they finally established at the end of a long remote fiord on the southern coast of Baffin Island. The place was called Lake Harbour.

A great crowd of Inuit lined the shore to greet them and many willing hands helped them to unload the “Lora Doone”.

Fleming and Bilby were left two very isolated mean when their only link ‘outside’ was severed by the leaving of the boat. Their nearest neighbours were across Hudson Strait at Fort Chimo. Save for the contact with the Inuit, they could not hope to see anyone till another chartered vessel brought their supplies two years later.

For two winters these men lived in what was little more than a shack. A year or two later, Mr. Fleming built a very small church on a flat ledge of land near the house.

During the winters Mr. Fleming made long trips to visit people at Cape Dorset and the western coast of Baffin Island, and yet again, along the short of Hudson Strait to the east end and up into Frobisher Bay. He quickly learned the language as he travelled with the people and became known as Inooktaukaub, which means “One of the Inuit”. Besides such contacts, he daily taught the people to read and write and, in addition, trained young men in knowledge of the Gospel. In these he also encouraged an understanding of spiritual things; and in this laid the pattern for a corps of catechists who were in future to be of untold value in Arctic work amongst their own people. The training of these men as the leaders was really the start of a new era, for through them the Gospel could now be preached to people who had never before heard it.

In 1926, in what is surely the most beautiful spot in the Arctic, Pangnirtung, a missionary built his home. From this point he ministered to a tremendous population for the Arctic throughout Cumberland Gulf including some Inuit who 27 years before had had contact with the Blacklead Island mission. Also in 1926, at Southampton Island, a catechist established a mission station from Lake Harbour, Luke Kidlapik. He had years before been a sled driver for Mr. Fleming and was to serve for well over 30 years as a catechist to his own people.

When the Rev. E.J. Peck began his labours in the Arctic, he was greatly distressed by the suffering endured by the Inuit because of their ignorance of even the simplest medical care. Consequently he insisted that both Greenshields and Bilby each spend a year at Livingstone Medical College, London, England (the forerunners of many who took the course), before going north in 1894 to establish Blacklead Island mission. With this invaluable knowledge, these two young men ministered to the sick and distressed in a small shack near the mission house; and that shack can be considered the first hospital in the Arctic.

Since that early beginning, many missionaries have had medical knowledge and individually have done splendid work. But it was not until 1926 that the first modern hospital All Saints was opened at Aklavik in the western Arctic. St. Luke’s at Pangnirtung followed in 1930. These two hospitals, built, equipped, financed and run by the Church were the forerunners of all medical establishments in the Arctic.
atts exterior3.jpgOld ATTS (once St. Luke's Hospital) Pangnirtung
Arthur Turner was an Anglican priest and missionary at Pangnirtung from 1928 until his death in 1953. What was once St. Luke’s Hospital became the theological school that bears his name. It opened in 1970 and since then has graduated 5 women and 23  men to serve as priests in the Diocese of The Arctic. The graduates of ATTS include 3 bishops.  Most of the training for ordained ministry in the Diocese is done at ATTS. This program is very important to the ministry as it provides a setting for our aboriginal folk to train close to home. There are a further 5 women and 12 men who have been trained for the ministry using the ATTS program in their home community.

ATTS Chapel.jpgThe chapel at the old ATTS

ATTS Classroom.jpg

Old ATTS classroom with last students (Moses, Abraham, Annie, Georgina & Tommy and Rev. Howard Bracewell - Howard was once priest in charge in Pond Inlet)

library2.jpgOld ATTS library

If we want to continue to increase the number of aboriginal clergy in our diocese then ATTS will continue to play a vital role. Unfortunately the building is quite old and in dire need of renovations including the expansion of the classroom and the principal’s quarters as well as updating the student quarters. Before another intake of students can begin studies, this work will have to be completed.

The Rectors of Pangnirtung  

Rev. H.A. Turner                        1928 to 1931
Rev. J.M. Turner                        1931 to 1932
Rev. H.A. Turner                        1932 to 1936
Rev. Arnold C. Herbert          1936 to 1940
Rev. H.A. Turner                        1940 to 1947
Rev. H.A. Turner                        1948 - Died April 21st 1953
Rev. B.P. Smyth                 1953 to 1956
Rev. W.A. Graham                        1956 to 1961
Rev. S. Wilkensen                       1961 to 1964
Rev. John R. Marlow             1964 to 1968
Rev. D. Whitbread                       1968 to 1970
Rev. Michael G. Gardener                1970 to 1981
Rev. Eliyah Keenainak           1981 to 1984
Rev. Benjamin Arreak            1985 to 1996
Rev. Joshua Arreak                      1996 to 1997
Rev. Roy Bowkett                        1997 to 2002
Rev. Darren McCartney           2002 to August 2006
Rev. Loie Mike                  2007 to 2013