The first Episcopal service in North Platte was conducted on Sunday, May 26, 1867 by The Right Reverend George Maxwell Randall, first Bishop of the Missionary Diocese of Colorado. Church of Our Savior had had three church buildings since its inception. All three of the church buildings have been located at the corner of Fourth and Vine Streets on land donated by Union Pacific Railroad Company.
The first Episcopal Church building in North Platte was consecrated on Trinity Sunday, June 8, 1873. The second church building, which was consecrated on Ascension Sunday, 1893, was destroyed by fire on July 14, 1962. Ground was broken for the third church building on Sunday, July 14, 1963, the first anniversary of the fire. The third church building was consecrated on Sunday, September 13, 1964.
Church of Our Savior, since its beginning, has undertaken many outreach programs in North Platte. The Parish established Clarkson School, a non-denominational school for secondary education in 1881; built the North Side Chapel of St. Paul in 1895, where a Sunday School program was provided to children living on the north area of town; established Good Samaritan Hospitall in 1914; provided Sunday School for a class of deaf children in 1939; and permitted the Greek Orthodox Church to conduct services in the Guild Hall during the 1930s.
History of The Rev. Hiram Hisanori Kano and the Japanese People of Western Nebraska
Hiram Hisanori Kano was appointed in 1925 by The Right Reverend George A. Beecher, bishop of the Missionary District of Western Nebraska, to be a lay worker among the Japanese in that diocese. Mr. Kano and his family moved to Mitchell, Nebraska. An article written by Mr. Kano in the November 1926 edition of Western Nebraska Churchman indicates he left Mitchell on October 7, driving 1,200 miles visiting Japanese people in Nebraska towns and villages as well as meeting with a group of students at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Mr. Kano returned to Mitchell on October 31.
The January 1928 edition of The Spirit of Missions indicates about thirty men and women had been baptized as a result of Mr. Kano’s work for the church mission. During the summer of 1927 Japanese summer schools were held in North Platte, Mitchell, and Scottsbluff. In 1928 the Japanese held a three week summer school in North Platte under the leadership of Mr. Kano.
Mr. Kano studied for Holy Orders under the supervision of The Reverend Elias Wilson. He was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Beecher at Holy Apostles Church in Mitchell on December 9, 1928.
The Kano family resided in North Platte from 1928 through 1930. They returned to North Platte in 1935. Fr. Kano studied for the priesthood under the direction of The Reverend Francis J. Pryor III. A Japanese communion service was held at Church of Our Savior on April 21, 1935 (Easter Sunday). Fr. Kano read the prayers in Japanese, responses were read alternately in English and Japanese, and Fr. Pryor’s sermon was translated by Fr. Kano.
On May 5, 1935, thirty candidates were confirmed by Bishop Beecher at Church of Our Savior, including eighteen Japanese adults and children. This was the first time there had been a joint confirmation class and also the first time a number of Japanese had attended an English service. The Japanese mission had been in existence for some time.
Japanese adults, due to the language difficulty, preferred attending Japanese services held every Sunday afternoon.
Fr. Kano was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Beecher at Church of Our Savior on February 2, 1936 (The Feast of the Purification). He was transferred to Scottsbluff in February of 1940. St. George’s Mission (named after Bishop Beecher) was formed in North Platte on March 22, 1942. Services were held at Church of Our Savior on Sunday afternoons.
St. Mary’s Mission in Mitchell was also formed in 1942. (A Japanese mission had been in existence in Mitchell prior to the formation of St. Mary’s Mission.) Fr. Kano served as priest-in-charge of both missions. He retired on January 30, 1957. St. George’s Mission merged with Church of Our Savior and St. Mary’s Mission merged with Holy Apostles Church in January of 1957.