History and Mission
All Saints Episcopal Community
“All Saints Episcopal Church is a diverse family welcoming all into a journey of growing in Christ.”
NOTE: All Saints' Episcopal Community officially became All Saints Episcopal Church in November 2014. We are no longer two seperate parishes but are now unified as one church with two chapels.
All Saints Episcopal Church began as a covenant relationship between two parishes in Franklin, NC, both with over a century of ministry in Franklin. The Community was initially created in 1994 and called The Rev. Dorrie Pratt, a General Theological Seminary (NYC) 2005 graduate as the first priest to serve the Community, the Community of St. Agnes Episcopal Church and St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church.
In years following the creation of the Covenant, the two churches have evolved from existing as two parishes sharing one priest to two parishes living, loving and working as one parish with two homes.
St. Agnes Episcopal Church
In 1877 two families, the Albert Silers of Macon County and the William Beals of Cherokee County, were largely responsible for persuading Bishop Lyman of the Diocese of North Carolina (Raleigh) to establish the Episcopal Church in the southwestern area of North Carolina with a full time missionary. Few Episcopalians lived in the mountains at that time, and they were only occasionally visited by missionaries sent by the Diocese, though the Episcopal church itself was flourishing in the coastal regions and as far west as Asheville.
The Bishop sent the Rev. John Archibald Deal, after only four years as an ordained priest, to Murphy in 1876, but with no monetary support, the Bishop advised Rev. Deal to come to Macon County in 1877. Rev. Deal had only been a priest for four years He stayed at a house owned by the Silers-called Nonah which is in the Cartoogechaye Community.
Rev. Deal agreed to live in the Franklin area and teach the Siler’s nine children as well as others, for the princely salary of $150/ year. The first regular services were held in the log cabin at Nonah but after some time, he needed more space. This church came into being in 1881 and was dedicated by Bishop Lyman as St. John’s Nonah, the first Episcopal Church in Macon County. This is not the site of the current St. John’s. All Episcopalians in the area attended St. John’s Nonah until St. Agnes was built.
In the meantime, Deal would walk 9 miles to Franklin to hold services in town at the Courthouse, the Presbyterian Church and private homes. In 1884 Deal exchanged Nonah for a place in Franklin on Church Street.
St. Agnes’ beautiful Gothic Revival style building came into being in the spring of 1888. The site on Church Street was chosen, money was raised and an architect-builder from England was selected. Rev. Deal was able to secure the remainder of the necessary funding from Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Bell who wished the church to be a memorial to their daughter, Agnes. The Bells were residents of New York City, but had ties to families in Franklin. While the church had already been named in honor of the early child martyr, St. Agnes, it was appropriately dedicated by Bishop Lyman: To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of Agnes Souter Bell-died December 27, 1878.
The church is constructed of handmade bricks formed by clay from the nearby Little Tennessee River. Students of James Kennedy made the pews in the St. Cyprian’s* workshop. The small mountain church in its beginning in 1888 could boast of a membership or 12 from only three families. Today the church continues its ministry on Church Street.
St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church
St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church had its beginnings in 1882-1884 when Rev. John Archibald Deal became interested in the African-American community that lived in Franklin.
In 1886, a small frame building was constructed for worship and study. The wood for the structure was harvested and milled on site: oak trees for the floor and poplar for the walls.
On January 1, 1887, James T. Kennedy, age 21, of Columbia, SC, answered an ad for a church worker and started a school in the packing house of the tannery 14 days later on January 15. His first class consisted of two people aged 8 and 30. Classes eventually grew to 85 students ranging in ages from 6 to 60.
Mr. Kennedy and the Rev. Deal built the original St. Cyprian’s Chapel in 1877 probably in the school and cabinet making shop* that is thought to have been located next to the existing parish hall.
Mr. Kennedy was known for his high standards. He taught industrial arts and home economics, stressed grammar and grooming and is well known for his workmanship. He made the current altar rail, hymn board, pulpit and front altar from oak. The lectern was crafted from cherry. The back altar and cross were made from maple. Kennedy’s signature is barely visible on the cover of the baptismal font.
In May of 1886 or 1890 (records differ), Kennedy was ordained to the deaconate and remained in Franklin until 1911 when he was sent to St. Mathias in Asheville. He was eventually ordained to the priesthood.
Between 1911 and 1978, supply clergy provided worship guidance for the congregation. Much of the history for this period was lost in fires. During the tenure of Rev. Albert Rufus Morgan, the current parish hall was built; the parish hall is named in his honor. From memories of a pot-bellied stove as the only source of heat, “Sunday School” on Saturday at Rev. Tucker’s home, to Sunday services on Sunday afternoon, St. Cyprian’s was the family place for several generations.
In 1979, the church became an integrated congregation in the Diocese of WNC. June 1, 1983 saw the groundbreaking for the enlargement of the sanctuary with the first service this expanded area on November 22, 1983.
St. Cyprian’s was known for being a community and learning center in its early years and that tradition continues today. Over the years, it has housed a Head Start classroom, Hospice offices, AA groups, Leathercrafters, and in 1982, Mountain Synagogue began using the parish hall as its worship space.
With the arrival of a Holocaust Torah and the dedication of the Ark in 1983, Mountain Synagogue identified the parish hall as their “synagogue”. Today the hall is still shared with them and the All Saints Community join with them during their yearly Passover Seder.