George Snell recalled as ‘a real missionary bishop’

Published February 1, 2007

Bishop George Snell, who served as the eighth bishop of the diocese of Toronto from 1966 to 1972, died on Dec. 26 in his 100th year. Toronto’s diocesan bishop, Colin Johnson, led his funeral service on Dec. 30 at St. James’ Cathedral.

Bishop Johnson noted that Bishop Snell “presided over the church in one of its most turbulent times as it was transforming from an ancient world view to a contemporary world view. He contributed enormously to the well-being of the church in creative ways. He was a real missionary bishop.”

Bishop Snell had taught classes at a theological night school, which he founded to prepare older candidates for priesthood. During his time as bishop, he led the founding of 50 new parishes in the diocese, when the city saw a surge in population in the 1950s.

Upon retirement, Bishop Snell preached in churches across Canada and compiled what he called his “labour of love,” a book tracing the life of Jesus as illustrated on postage stamps from around the world. Bishop Snell and his wife had also set up trusts, which, among other things, supported a lecture series. Last year, the trusts, administered by the Anglican Foundation and named after Bishop Snell and his late wife, Esther, distributed $26,000 to support various projects of the St. James’ Cathedral, St. Michael and All Angels parish, the  Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, Trinity College, Wycliffe College, and Moorelands Community Services.

On Jan. 25, 2006, Bishop Snell celebrated a milestone few clergy reach: the 50th anniversary of his consecration as a bishop and the 75th year of his ordination as a priest. The anniversaries were marked with a eucharist at St. James’ Cathedral.

Earlier in his career, Bishop Snell served as dean of Calgary. He was elected suffragan (assistant) bishop of Toronto in 1956 and served as diocesan bishop from 1966 to 1972.


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