In 1899, the gold nuggets which compose this communion service were presented to the Rev. R. J. Bowen. He worked with First Nations in the Diocese of Selkirk, now known as the Diocese of the Yukon. He worked under the Church Missionary Society until the great gold rush of 1898. With the gold rush the influx of miners to Dawson City alone grew to 30,000. Bishop Bompas had so few missionaries he asked Mr. Bowen to transfer his allegiance from First Nations camps to work among white people. Dawson went from a peaceful spot where Rev. Bowen fondly remembered Mass time announced by banging on a frying pan, to an encampment consisting of saloons and gambling houses.
Typhoid malaria was very prevalent in Dawson City and Mr. Bowen was one of its victims, after much struggle to regain his health he had to leave the country to recover. On the eve of his departure the people of Dawson presented him with a sack of gold nuggets, and told him to do as he wished with them. The nuggets were made into this beautiful gift by a jeweller in Dublin, Ireland. On returning to Whitehorse a little after a year this little service was used often as a reminder of his first white congregation in the Yukon country, reminding him that these people who had been in the country at the first and had helped build the first log church knew that life and friendliness as well as the comfort of the teaching and the church had helped them over many difficulties and lonely times. (Information from letter accompanying communion set).
Old Log Church Museum, Whitehorse