Anglicans receive honorary degrees at various universities

Published June 10, 2008

Linda Nicholls, suffragan (assistant) bishop of Trent-Durham in the diocese of Toronto, received an honorary doctorate of divinity from Wycliffe College, in Toronto.

Benjamin Arreak, suffragan (assistant) bishop of Nunavik, diocese of the Arctic, and Linda Nicholls, suffragan bishop of Trent-Durham in the diocese of Toronto, have received honorary doctorates in recent convocations.

Bishop Arreak, who has spent more than two decades translating the Bible into Inuktitut, was awarded an honorary doctorate of divinity by the Saskatoon-based University of Emmanuel College on May 2. The university honoured Bishop Arreak, 60, for having spent “most of his career working with the marginalized” and for his “major cultural and scholarly contribution to the life of the Canadian church.”

Ordained a priest in 1976, he graduated from the Arthur Turner Training School in Pangnirtung, Nunavut; he was consecrated suffragan bishop in 2002. Bishop Arreak has also worked as a teacher of Inuktitut and a member of the Kativik School Board since 1998. He has served as deputy prolocutor of General Synod (1995 to 1998), and as a member of the Primate’s Theological Commission (2001 to present).

Wycliffe College, in Toronto, meanwhile announced that it was bestowing honorary doctorates on four leaders in the Christian community, including Bishop Nicholls. Bishop Nicholls, who was elected last November,  “has brought a deep theological and spiritual sensitivity to her ministry both locally and nationally,” said Wycliffe principal, Canon George Sumner.

Bishop Nicholls was the former co-ordinator for dialogue in the faith, worship and ministry department of the Anglican Church of Canada’s national office in Toronto.

She was rector of Holy Trinity in Thornhill, Ont. From 1991 to 2005; previously, she served parishes in Scarborough and Sutton, Ont. She was ordained a priest in 1986, the year she earned her master of divinity degree at Wycliffe. She earned a doctor of divinity degree at Wycliffe in 2002.

In other ceremonies:

  • Montreal Diocesan Theological College awarded honorary doctor of divinity degrees to Archdeacon Peter D. Hannen and Rev. Patricia Kirkpatrick. It recognized Archdeacon Hannen for his “many years of exemplary service” to the diocese of Montreal and to the wider church as parish priest, diocesan administrator, scholar, liturgist, and teacher. Ordained a priest in 1959, he served briefly in the Church of England, and in the diocese of Niagara before spending the rest of his ministry in the diocese of Montreal. He served as a delegate to national and provincial synods and was on the national church’s doctrine and worship committee. From 1998 until his retirement in 2006, he served the diocese as vicar general. A member of the local “round table” of le patrimonie religieux du Quebec, “he has represented the interests of Anglican churches and the college in the distribution of government funding intended for the preservation of our architectural and artistic heritage,” said the College. Ms. Kirkpatrick, who is associate professor of Hebrew Bible in the faculty of religious studies at McGill University, was recognized for her “contributions over more than two decades to the program of theological education” and for her contributions as a biblical scholar to the diocese of Montreal, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Anglican Communion. Ordained a priest in 1986, she was appointed assistant at St. James the Apostle and worked as the assistant bishop’s youth chaplain. She has been an author or co-author of various publications, including the 1997 Virginia Report produced by the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission, of which she was a member. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from McGill University in 1977, she studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and then at Heythrop College, University of London, where she earned a master of theology with distinction. She later earned a doctor of philosophy degree at Oxford University.
  • The University of Emmanuel College also awarded an honorary doctorate to Canon John Hubbard Rettger, citing his “exemplary career in the Anglican Communion for over 48 years.” A graduate of Emmanuel and St. Chad, he “has ministered to everyone regardless of their status but always with a fervour for those at the margins,” said the College in a press statement. Canon Rettger, who has served as rector of parishes in the Episcopal Church’s diocese of Minnesota, has been a strong advocate for civil rights as well as the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church.
  • The University of King’s College in Halifax awarded honorary doctorates to Acadian-born soprano Suzie LeBlanc, who has appeared in concert and opera venues around the world, Laish Boyd, co-adjutor bishop of the Anglican diocese of Nassau, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, and lawyer George Cooper, a former member of Parliament and a member of the Order of Canada. The college honoured Ms. LeBlanc, an Anglican, for her numerous contributions to Maritime culture. The college cited Bishop Boyd for having demonstrated “a level of diplomacy and conscientiousness that exemplified his great promise for future leadership in the church” during his time as a student at the University of King’s College and at the University of the West Indies. Bishop Boyd succeeds Archbishop Drexel Gomez, primate of the West Indies, who will retire this year. Mr. Cooper is managing trustee of the Killam Trusts, which has about $400 million in educational and scholarship endowments at several Canadian universities and the Canada Council for the Arts. He was also recognized for his contribution to King’s College as chair of its fundraising drive and past chair of its board of governors.


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