Bishop Mark Genge remembered for ‘infectious laugh and deep faith in Jesus’

Mark Genge was the first bishop of Central Newfoundland, serving from 1976 until his resignation in 1990. Photo: General Synod Archives
Published January 26, 2018

Mark Genge, who served as the first bishop of the diocese of Central Newfoundland from 1976–1990, died the night of January 17, the ecclesiastical province of Canada announced January 18. Genge was 90.

“He will be remembered by many for his infectious laugh and deep faith in Jesus,” the announcement, on the province’s Facebook page, reads.

Born and raised in St. John’s, Genge worked a number of jobs after he graduated from high school, according to a 1976 article in the Newfoundland Churchman, the newspaper of the then-diocese of Newfoundland. His employers included the Newfoundland Railway; the Fort Pepperell, Nfld. U.S. military base; and, according to a funeral home obituary, his parents’ grocery store.

In 1949, Genge began training to be a priest at Memorial College and Queen’s College, both in St. John’s. He was ordained a priest in 1952.

Genge served in parishes in Corner Brook and Stephenville, both in western Newfoundland, before returning to his studies, this time at Durham University, U.K, where he earned BA and MA degrees in theology.

Genge was vice-principal of Queen’s College for two years, but also priested in many communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Marbleton, Que., and Toronto. Genge was serving as district secretary for the Canadian Bible Society when he was elected bishop of the newly-formed diocese of Central Newfoundland in 1975.

As bishop, Genge was known as “a true spiritual shepherd,” according to the obituary. “He will always be admired for his down-to-earth goodwill, his humour and story-telling, his willingness to devote himself to the myriad of concerns of all the parishes he served,” it states. He was also an advocate for the ordination of women.

Photo of Archbishop Mark Genge published by the Globe and Mail in June 1996 shows him roller-skating “in full regalia while preparing to raise money for a local college.” Photo: Keith Gosse/Canadian Press

After his resignation, while in his late 60s, Genge rollerbladed across Newfoundland to raise money for Queen’s College; a 1996 front-page photo in The Globe and Mail shows him rollerblading through the streets of St. John’s in his full bishop’s regalia.

Genge’s students at Queen’s College, according to the Newfoundland Churchman, were struck by his sense of humour.

“His ability to laugh at, and see the humourous side of, the priest’s work was something new in a training for ministry that was highlighted by solemnity and personal discipline,” it states, adding, “The humanness of the priest was clearly seen by his students in Mark’s inability to sing the Office of Compline—God not having blessed him with the singing talent of angels.”

After his retirement, Genge served as volunteer chaplain at Queen’s College.

Genge is survived by his wife, Maxine, five daughters and 15 grandchildren.

A funeral service for Genge was held at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, St. John’s, on January 20.



  • Tali Folkins

    Tali Folkins joined the Anglican Journal in 2015 as staff writer, and has served as editor since October 2021. He has worked as a staff reporter for Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. His freelance writing credits include work for newspapers and magazines including The Globe and Mail and the former United Church Observer (now Broadview). He has a journalism degree from the University of King’s College and a master’s degree in Classics from Dalhousie University.

Related Posts

Skip to content