A great ecumenist

Bishop G. Russell Hatton Photo: General synod archives
Bishop G. Russell Hatton Photo: General synod archives
Published March 1, 2012

Bishop George Russell Hatton died on Jan. 14 after a short battle with cancer. He was 79.

Bishop Hatton was “a great ecumenist” and brought a “high degree of energy and enthusiasm to his ministry,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz told the Anglican Journal. “He had a great capacity for really engaging people,” said the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, who delivered the homily at Bishop Hatton’s funeral on Jan. 21 at Anglican Christ Church, Dartmouth, N.S.

The son of a coalminer, Bishop Hatton began his formal ministry in 1957 in his home province of Nova Scotia. He served as assistant priest at All Saints’ Cathedral in Halifax and as the Anglican chaplain at Dalhousie University.

Bishop Hatton later graduated from General Theological Seminary in New York and Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Conn. He was the chaplain-
director of the University Episcopal Center in Minneapolis, Minn., from 1964 to 1972, and in 1971, received his PhD from the University of Minnesota.

From 1972 to 1977, Bishop Hatton served as national affairs officer of the Anglican Church of Canada in Toronto. He also was a lecturer at the University of Toronto and established the Doctor of Ministry Program at the Toronto School of Theology.

In 1980, he became president of the ecumenical Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax and was elected suffragan bishop in the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in 1986. In 1990, he became dean of theology at Huron College in London, Ont. He also served as the Anglican Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Armed Forces. After retiring in 1997, Bishop Hatton was named assistant to the bishop of Montreal and settled in Sutton, Que.

In 2005, he and his wife returned to Nova Scotia. Bishop Hatton was actively involved in pastoral care, the local food bank and Commissionaires, and for six years he served on the Halifax Dartmouth Bridge Commission.

He is survived by Barbara, his wife of 51 years, daughters Brooke and Wendy, and grandchildren Matthew, Ian, Christopher and Allyson. He is also survived by his sisters, Emma, Dorothy and Betty.


  • Leigh Anne Williams

    Leigh Anne Williams joined the Anglican Journal in 2008 as a part-time staff writer. She also works as the Canadian correspondent for Publishers Weekly, a New York-based trade magazine for the book publishing. Prior to this, Williams worked as a reporter for the Canadian bureau of TIME Magazine, news editor of Quill & Quire, and a copy editor at The Halifax Herald, The Globe and Mail and The Bay Street Bull.

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