Archbishop David Somerville, 1915−2011

By on August 3, 2011

Archbishop David Somerville ordained some of the first female priests and encouraged the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church. Photo: Courtesy of Vancouver School of Theology Archives

The Most Rev. Thomas David Somerville, sixth bishop of the diocese of New Westminster and eighth metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of B.C. and Yukon, died on Monday afternoon, July 25, in his 96th year.

Archbishop Somerville was one of the true heroes of the Canadian church, a progressive who was non-confrontational and got things done. During his episcopacy, he encouraged the practice of allowing children to receive the bread and wine of Holy Communion, ordained two of the first female priests in the worldwide Anglican Communion and encouraged the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life and ministry of the church.

Archbishop Somerville’s memorial service will take place at St. Catherine’s Anglican Church, Capilano, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration.

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