As Canadian Churchman editor, Canon Gordon Baker travelled to Egypt in the mid-1960s.
Canon Gordon Baker,a man who has left his mark on several church institutions, is retiring. Again.
This time, it may actually stick. After three years as Anglican Journal’s book reviews editor, Mr. Baker, 75, writes his last review in this issue. “I think it’s time for somebody else to be the book reviews editor, somebody of the generation that will live the greater part of its life in the 21st century, not the 20th. My formative experiences were the Depression and World War II. The next editor should have a different eye for what’s coming on,” Mr. Baker said in an interview.
His reason for retiring is simple: “I feel the urge not to have deadlines.” He and his wife, Joan, have three grown children and five grandchildren, all of whom live nearby in the Toronto area, and “enjoying my family” is high on the list of reasons “to pull back from things.”
However, Mr. Baker’s version of “pulling back” does not involve settling into the La-Z-Boy, although one of the reasons he wants to shed deadlines is that he intends to “continue to think,” especially in the fields of theology and Scripture.
He does intend to continue his volunteer activities at St. Peter’s, Erindale, a suburb of Toronto, which recently included teaching an adult education course about the church titled So You Are an Anglican, Eh?, a five-week sermon series during Lent and a presentation of a paper on marriage at a same-sex blessing discussion group.
Mr. Baker last retired in 1997, after six years as executive director of the Anglican Foundation, a separately-incorporated agency located at the Anglican Church of Canada’s national office in Toronto that supports church restoration, native ministry, education and the arts. He knew the founders of the agency and is still on the foundation’s board, although he said he would not stand for re-election when his term expires in 2005.
His first attempt at retirement came before he joined the foundation in 1991. It lasted about two months, although he had had a long, active church career to that point.
Ordained in 1954, Mr. Baker was editor and general manager of Anglican Journal’s predecessor, Canadian Churchman, from 1958 to 1967, overseeing an increase in circulation to 300,000 from 7,000. From 1978 to 1980, he was the first Canadian-born principal of the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad in Saskatoon.
He has served as rector at Grace Church on-the-Hill in Toronto (1980 to 1991), Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church in London, Ont. (1967 to 1878) and St. Paul’s church, Uxbridge, Ont. (1956 to 1958).
He has served on a number of national committees and possesses a fine baritone singing voice, able to harmonize easily. His early academic career included study at the McGill Conservatory of Music, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and the University of Toronto.
He earned theology and divinity degrees at Wycliffe College, Toronto and has been awarded honorary doctorates by Huron College and the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad, which cited his “distinguished gifts – musician, journalist, administrator, teacher, parish priest and friend.”