The Anglican Church in North America has appointed The Rev. Charles Montileaux as Archdeacon for the Missionary District of Niobrara to serve the Sioux people of South Dakota.
The Anglican Church and its ministry partners recognized a need to develop ministry operations and maintain the Anglican presence among the Sioux people of the South Dakota region. The Pine Ridge Reservation region comprises the poorest counties in the United States, with the lowest per capita incomes and the highest unemployment. Thus, the search began this year for an orthodox Anglican Lakota speaking priest who could help understand as well as support the needs of the reservationâ€™s Sioux people.
There has been an Anglican presence among the Sioux Indian people since the mid 1800s. The Episcopal Church came into South Dakota when Sioux who were in Minnesota were expelled by the federal government and relocated into eastern South Dakota, and their clergy came with them. Other Sioux tribal groups were already present in the Dakotas. Native clergy were ordained and the faith spread.
Early on, the tribal governments of the several reservations assisted the church work by granting tribal land to the chapels, which included glebe land for the local support of the mission. Local families often donated some of their land to add to the support level for the local work. With the closure of the chapels, TEC returned the land to the tribal government. Meanwhile the chapels have sat unused with a few exceptions. One of the exceptions has been St. Barnabasâ€™ Church, Kyle, where Fr. Montileaux has based his ministry.
CANA Bishop David Anderson, who used to live in Rapid City, South Dakota and is familiar with the Sioux ministry, has served for several years as Fr. Montileauxâ€™s bishop and supervisor. Bishop Anderson stated â€œCharles Montileaux is a wonderful choice for Archdeacon. He is fully fluent in both the English and Lakota languages, has been serving his people while serving as a Tribal Judge, and has a heart to bring his people closer to Jesus Christ. I applaud this action taken by Archbishop Duncan.â€
The Venerable Charles Montileaux, a former Episcopal priest and now an Anglican priest, has accepted the recent appointment by The Most Rev. Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America to directly serve the Sioux people.
â€œThe Lord has truly blessed the Anglican Church and the Sioux people by giving us our friend Charles Montileaux. As Archdeacon Montileaux has graciously accepted this godly task at hand, I ask all Christians to pray that his ministry efforts will uplift and sustain the Siouxâ€™s Anglican witness for generations to come,â€ said The Most. Rev. Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America.
The Venerable Charles Montileaux, in addition to being a Tribal Judge is also a practicing attorney. On weekends he ministers to at least one of the chapels, principally St. Barnabas in Kyle, SD, where he lives and covers the costs of the ministry out of his own pocket when the donations arenâ€™t enough. His wife is a podiatrist in the town of Kyle.
Photo caption: Archdeacon Montileaux alongside wife, Kim, with their granddaughter