Bishop Barry Clarke of the diocese of Montreal announced yesterday that he will be retiring as of August 31.
While noting in a letter read in congregations across the diocese on April 12 that this “has not been an easy decision,” he said he believes that “it is the right one for me and it is a good time for a new direction in the diocese.”
Clarke said that it “has been a busy episcopacy with many challenges of stabilizing finances, leadership, ministry, theological issues and challenges of buildings, whilst continuing to do God’s mission and ministry as we see it in our area of God’s world.”
In addition to the challenges presented by doing episcopal ministry, Clarke acknowledged that he has faced many difficulties in his personal life as well, including the chronic illness and death of his wife, Leslie, in 2012. He thanked the people of the diocese for walking with him through these challenges. “You have supported me with your prayers through Leslie’s health challenges and death,” he said in the letter. “For this I will always be grateful and give thanks to God.”
He also noted that Chancellor David Eramian, of the diocese of Montreal, and Metropolitan Percy Coffin, of the ecclesiastical province of Canada, have set the election of a new bishop-elect for June 6, 2015.
Clarke was elected bishop on Sept. 18, 2004. Ordained a priest in the diocese of Montreal in 1979, he served as archdeacon of St. Lawrence, regional dean of Pointe Claire, honorary canon of Christ Church Cathedral and in various parishes around Montreal before rising to the episcopacy.
He received his bachelor of theology from McGill University and an honourary doctorate of divinity from Montreal Diocesan Theological College.