Canada’s first female archdeacon mourned as ‘pioneering saint’
The Rev. Betty Garrett, a Saskatchewan priest recognized as a trailblazer for female Anglican clergy in Canada, died Nov. 17 at a hospital in Moosomin, Sask. She was 87.
“Betty Garrett will be remembered as one of the pioneering saints of the Diocese of Qu’Appelle,” said Bishop Rob Hardwick, at a funeral for Garrett held in Moosomin Nov. 25. Hardwick was quoting Archbishop David Ashdown, former metropolitan of Rupert’s Land.
“The way she patterned ministry has prepared the way for women in the church.”
Garrett was ordained a deacon in 1975, then became the diocese of Qu’Appelle’s first female priest in 1979. In 1992, she became the first female archdeacon in Canada.
Garrett was born Betty Maud Hawkins in rural Saskatchewan, and grew up on a small family farm. She is said to have preached to her dolls and chickens as a child. She attended high school in Moose Jaw and Edmonton. In 1949, she began studies in theology at the Anglican Women’s Training College in Toronto. Garrett also studied at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, but was unable to earn a degree because she was a woman.
She moved back to Saskatchewan, where she met and married Bob Garrett, a rancher and church warden. The couple had five children, two of whom died before reaching adulthood.
Garrett was made an honorary fellow of Saskatoon’s College of Emmanuel and St. Chad in 1993. She retired in 1994, but remained active in the church.
The diocese of Toronto has joined the dioceses of Ottawa and Niagara in deciding to allow same-sex marriages before the final vote on the matter in 2019.
On Nov. 10, Archbishop Colin Johnson released “pastoral guidelines” for the marriages of same-sex couples in the diocese. The marriages are to be performed only by selected priests in authorized parishes.
A resolution to change the Anglican Church of Canada’s marriage canon to permit same-sex marriages passed its necessary first reading at General Synod this summer. Before it becomes church law, the resolution needs to be passed at the next General Synod in 2019. But the dioceses of Ottawa and Niagara have announced they’ll proceed with same-sex marriages immediately regardless of this requirement.
In a letter to priests accompanying the guidelines, Johnson acknowledged the resolution had not been finalized. Nevertheless, he wrote, “as an interim pastoral response, as Bishop of Toronto, responsible for the pastoral care and oversight of this diocese, I will permit selected priests, licensed to the cure of souls in a community, to preside in their parish at the marriage of a same-sex couple in certain specific instances. Both priest and congregation must concur that this ministry will be offered.
“Neither parishes nor individual clergy will be required to celebrate marriages contrary to their convictions,” he added.
The guidelines state that churches wishing to hold same-sex marriages must get permission from the diocesan bishop, and, among other things, they must show that they have undertaken “a process of prayer, education, consultation, discernment and consensus” in which the parish has been widely engaged.
A New Brunswick priest and his wife are asking for prayers after brain surgery on their three-year-old son this fall delivered mixed results.
Surgeons operating on Colin Ranson Nov. 18 at Texas Children’s Hospital were unable to completely remove a tumor in his brain. However, he did seem to experience a lessening in the frequency of seizures associated with the tumour, according to his family. The family is now waiting to see whether Colin’s seizures return, in which case he will need more surgery.
Colin had flown to Texas accompanied by his brother, his sister and his parents, Kimberly and the Rev. Paul Ranson, rector at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Fredericton. The hospital is considered a centre of excellence in the treatment of Pallister-Hall Syndrome, a rare condition from which Colin suffers, which has led to the growth of the tumour and the seizures.
Colin had already undergone surgery for the tumour in March, when doctors succeeded in removing part of it. Both trips were funded partly by a gift of $170,000 from the diocese, the result of a fundraising campaign for Colin. The money helped with the cost of the surgery as well as accommodation, meals and time off work. The New Brunswick government also paid some medical costs.
The Ransons are asking for continued prayers for Colin.
—The New Brunswick Anglican
Work to retrofit at least 20 more homes in the beleaguered Indigenous community of Pikangikum, Ont. is set to begin this spring, partly as a result of efforts by the Anglican Church of Canada’s relief and development arm.
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) will be partnering with Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, non-profit organization that provides homes for people who would be otherwise unable to afford them, to install water facilities and retrofit homes in the community early next year. The work involves, among other things, installing water holding tanks, water heaters, pumps and fixtures for bathrooms and kitchen sinks. In addition, seven young people in the community will receive training in plumbing and electricity.
The work is the second phase of a project begun by PWRDF in 2012; the first saw 10 homes retrofitted with new water facilities and the training of six community members as full-time plumbers and electricians.
Pikangikum made national news headlines in 2008 after a series of youth suicides. Within two years, 16 people in the community between the ages of 10 and 19 committed suicide. In 2011, a group of volunteers was formed to provide help to the community, which also suffers from poor access to clean water. Most homes have had to rely on outdoor taps for water and outhouses instead of indoor toilets.
The federal government estimated it would cost $180,000 to supply each home with water, but the Anglican-supported Pikangikum First Nation Working Group has been able to retrofit homes at a cost of $20,000 each.
PWRDF has raised $400,000 for this and other work in Pikangikum.
Linda Nicholls, elected coadjutor bishop of the diocese of Huron last February, was enthroned as diocesan bishop at a ceremony in London, Ont. Nov. 26.
Nicholls is not only the diocese’s first female bishop; she is also the first bishop in the diocese to be enthroned in a non-Anglican church. Only nine days before the ceremony was to take place, the sanctuary of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London was declared unsafe and temporarily closed. Metropolitan United Church offered its space instead, and the bishop and diocese accepted the invitation.
In an address at the end of the ceremony, Nicholls said she saw the gesture as a sign of future collaboration between the two churches.
“It is no accident, I think, that we are here today. For we are in the midst of challenging times as God’s Church in which we are being called to work together,” she said. “I actually think this is a mark and a sign of my episcopacy that we will move on together.”
In another ecumenical gesture, Nicholls made the customary bang on the church door at the beginning of the service using a crozier presented to Bruce Howe, a former bishop of the diocese, by Bishop Ron Fabbro of the Roman Catholic diocese of London, in 2007.
The ceremony featured an address by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and was attended by hundreds of parishioners and clergy, including Archbishop Colin Johnson of the diocese of Toronto and Bishop Bob Bennett, Nicholls’ predecessor as bishop of Huron, who retired Nov. 1.
—Huron Church News
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