Head of Anglican Foundation of Canada to retire

Published May 13, 2010

Dean John vanNostrand Wright, seen here at St. Augustine’s Church in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, will retire from his job as executive director of the Anglican Foundation of Canada on Aug. 31. (Photo by Edmund Laldin)

Head of Anglican Foundation of Canada to retire

Leigh Anne Williams

The man who currently holds the position of executive director of the Anglican Foundation of Canada will retire August 31, 2010.

This is the second time Dean John vanNostrand Wright will retire.

In 2005, he retired from his position as dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria, B.C., and moved to Bridgewater, N.S. He lived there for a little less than a year before moving to Toronto to take up his current position with the Anglican Foundation. He says his favorite part of the job has been “meeting new Anglicans and seeing old friends” during his travels across the country.

Then, last September, Dean Wright suffered a cardiac arrest. Although he recovered quickly and returned to work, his priorities changed after his wife and daughter came to him with a request. “They said, ‘We’ve followed you around the country for 40 years, and now we’d like you to settle down and spend some more time with us.”

Dean Wright will move back to the house in Bridgewater that he and his wife, Mary, bought the first time he retired.

Ordained in 1969, Dean Wright served as a curate and rector in several congregations in the diocese of Montreal. He also served as a senior curate in Christ Church, Guildford England, and as chaplain and schoolmaster at Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ont. In 1986, he was appointed dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Fredericton and, in 1996, moved across the country to be dean of the cathedral in Victoria.

Dean Wright says some of the highlights of his time with the Foundation include establishing Anglican Foundation Sunday, rebranding the foundation with a new logo and the scriptural tag “I am the vine, you are the branches,” from John 15:5. The Foundation has also begun to offer a service that creates and administers trusts for various ministries. “That’s a business we would like to grow,” Dean Wright says, adding that the Foundation has been able to administer trusts for less than it costs a diocese or ministry to set up their own. The Foundation has also taken steps to make its operation greener, testing out paperless board meetings and meetings by conference call.

Beyond spending more time with his family, Dean Wright says he might teach or work as a career coach.

The Foundation is currently searching for a new executive director. Established in 1957, the Anglican Foundation has awarded more than $26 million in grants and loans to parishes across Canada for a wide variety of programs that range from bursaries for theological students to support for religious arts activities.


  • Leigh Anne Williams

    Leigh Anne Williams joined the Anglican Journal in 2008 as a part-time staff writer. She also works as the Canadian correspondent for Publishers Weekly, a New York-based trade magazine for the book publishing. Prior to this, Williams worked as a reporter for the Canadian bureau of TIME Magazine, news editor of Quill & Quire, and a copy editor at The Halifax Herald, The Globe and Mail and The Bay Street Bull.

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