Archbishop Clarke retires after 45 years of service

Published May 1, 2009


After 45 years of church ministry, 17 of them as bishop of the diocese of Athabasca, and nearly six years as Metropolitan (senior bishop) of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land, Archbishop John Clarke, 70, announced his retirement effective April 30.

Originally from Moose Factory on James Bay, Ont., Archbishop Clarke was ordained a deacon in the diocese of Moosonee in 1963 and a priest in 1964. After two years as curate of St. Michael and All Angels in Toronto, he headed back north where he felt he was needed. He worked 18 years – from 1966 to 1984 – in the diocese of Moosonee, becoming canon at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Timmins, Ont., and regional dean of James Bay in 1968, holding both positions until 1984.

“I was very involved in the community of Moosonee. I was part of the construction of the James Bay Education Centre and the first high school on James Bay because I really believe that education is the key in the North,” said Archbisop Clarke in a telephone interview.

In 1984, he moved his family to become archdeacon for the diocese of Athabasca in Peace River, Alta., becoming its bishop in October 1991.
He said that his years as bishop and, in 2003, as metropolitan, have been “very challenging” and “very rewarding.”

As metropolitan, “I saw a part of the church that was a real privilege to see, and that was the wider church from outside our own diocese,” said Archbishop Clarke.

“I’ve been absolutely thrilled with what I’ve seen and witnessed, especially in the diocese of the Arctic, where the church has real meaning and faith is a real issue.


  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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