Faribault’s Newest Mural Celebrates Champion of Inclusiveness
The first Episcopal bishop of Minnesota, Henry Benjamin Whipple is the subject of the latest Faribault mural. It is located on the back, or west side of the Central Park Band Shell.
The Faribault Concerts in the Park series resumes this Thursday so you can go there beginning at 7:00 p.m. enjoy some music while socially distancing yourself and see the majestic looking likeness of Whipple himself.
The Gold Star Band will be the first to entertain at Central Park this Thursday. They play hits from the 1950's and 60's.
This mural was planned long before the unrest of the last few weeks in the Twin Cities that has spawned protests all over the world including in Faribault. Calls for racial equality and equal justice for all.
It's appearance could not be more needed for Bishop Whipple was a champion of inclusiveness even before slaves were freed in this country.
At the age of 28 he was ordained a Episcopal Priest in 1850 and served as rector of Zion Church in Rome, New York until 1857. His parish grew in size and wealth and he was known for his work among the poor.
In 1857 he became the first rector of the Church of the Holy Communion, on Chicago's south side, the first free church in the city. Whipple regularly officiated in a Chicago prison.
On June 30, 1859 Whipple was elected the first Episcopal bishop of Minnesota. An office he would hold until is death in Faribault on September 16, 1901.
In the spring of 1860 he moved his family to Faribault. He didn't waste any time. That same year Whipple incorporated the Bishop Seabury Mission in Faribault, building it upon the foundations laid by James Lloyd Breck and Solon W. Manny, who in 1858 had founded a divinity school and school for boys and girls.
With the help of gifts from eastern donors, the mission developed into three separate but closely connected schools. Seabury Divinity School, Shattuck School for boys, and St. Mary's Hall for the education of daughters of the clergy. Whipple also helped found the Breck School in Wilder, Mn. to educate the children of farmers.
Whipple became known across the world as an advocate for American Indians. He would regularly visit Dakota and Ojibwe villages on his trips across the state. He built up the Episcopal mission to the Ojibwe based at the White Earth Reservation and appealed for support to Indian missions through lectures across the United States and Europe. He would also allow Indians to gather at the back of the church while delivering services.
Bishop Whipple laid the cornerstone of the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour in Faribault on July 16, 1862. It was the first structure built solely as a cathedral in the Episcopal Church. It's on the National Register of Historic Places.
Whipple traveled to Washington, D.C. at his own expense to lobby President Abraham Lincoln not to execute hundreds of Indians after the Dakota Conflict of 1862. He wrote letters to the President before and after his personal visit to the White House to see the Commander in Chief.
It seems like perfect timing to have this champion of inclusiveness honored in the community he chose as his home the last 41 years of his life. Whipple is buried beneath the Cathedral altar.
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