Archdeacon Edwin Stanley (“Ted”) Light, who served as general secretary of General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada’s governing body, from 1968 to 1979, died Saturday, May 21. He was 91.
Born March 19,1914 on a farm near Leaske, Sask., Mr. Light was the first in his family to enter the priesthood. “I didn’t have what you might call a Damascus Road experience,” he told the Canadian Churchman (predecessor to the Anglican Journal) in a 1979 interview. “I really wanted to work with people and I thought I could best fulfill that vocation through the church.” (His eldest son, Gordon, followed in his footsteps, and is now bishop of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior, formerly Cariboo).
After receiving a bachelor of arts degree at the University of Saskatchewan and a licentiate in theology at Emmanuel College, in Saskatoon, Mr. Light served at parishes in Spiritwood, Sask., and Campbell River, B.C.
When World War II broke out, he enlisted in the Air Force “because all the young men were leaving.” He failed to become a pilot because he couldn’t land planes properly so he decided to train as an air bomber. Before he could finish his training, however, Mr. Light was drafted into the chaplaincy service in England and Germany.
His distinguished career in the Armed Forces included a stint as assistant director in the Air Force chaplaincy in Ottawa, as command chaplain of Canada’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces stationed in France, and as chaplain general, with a rank of brigadier general, responsible for 130 chaplains in the Canadian Army, Navy and Air Force.
Mr. Light joined General Synod as general secretary in 1968, under the leadership of then-primate Archbishop Howard Clark. From 1971 until his retirement in 1979, he worked closely with Archbishop Clark’s successor, Archbishop Edward “Ted” Scott.
Mr. Light considered himself a peacemaker. “It’s just not my nature to make provocative statements,” he told the Churchman in an interview upon his retirement. “I really dislike bitter conflict, dissension that is unproductive and that can be destructive.”
As general secretary, he said he found himself in a “unique” position in the church. He saw himself as “the person the diocesan church could relate to when the primate isn’t here,” adding that “the church out there has a confidence in the general secretary which I think is great, but you can’t take it lightly.” A memorial service was held on May 28 in Meaford, Ont.,
Mr. Light’s wife, Evelyn, died just nine days later, on May 30. They are survived by their four sons – Gordon, Ted, Gregory, and Brian.