‘A great ecumenist’ dies

Bishop G. Russell Hatton 1932-2012
Bishop G. Russell Hatton 1932-2012
Published January 20, 2012

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

Whether it was as a scholar, an advocate for social justice or an agent for renewal in the church, 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 will deliver the homily at Bishop Hatton’s funeral on Saturday, Jan. 21.

The service will be held at Anglican Christ Church, Dartmouth, N. S. at 2 p.m. Archbishop Arthur Peters, Suffragan Bishop Ron Cutler from the diocese of Nova Scotia and P.E.I. and the Rev. Stephen Laskey, rector of Christ Church, will also take part in the service.

The son of coal miner, Bishop Hatton began his formal ministry in 1957 in his home province of Nova Scotia after studying at Dalhousie University and The University of King’s College in Halifax. He served as assistant priest at All Saints Cathedral in Halifax and as the Anglican chaplain at Dalhousie.

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

He then joined the national staff of the Anglican Church of Canada in Toronto, where he served as national affairs officer from 1972 to 1977. While in Toronto, he was a lecturer at the University of Toronto. He established and was the first director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at the Toronto School of Theology.

In 1980, the bishop and his family moved back to Nova Scotia where he became president of the ecumenical Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax.

In 1986, Bishop Hatton was elected suffragan bishop in the diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI. During that time he was also a member of the Royal Commission for Health Care for the province of Nova Scotia. In 1990, the bishop became dean of theology at Huron College, London, Ont. During this time, he also served as the Anglican Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Armed Forces. After retiring in 1997, Bishop Hatton accepted a position as an 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, Commissionaires and for six years, he served on the Halifax Dartmouth Bridge Commission.

He is survived by Barbara, his wife of 51 years, and 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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