Honorary degrees awarded

Published June 1, 2006

Canon Alyson Barnett-CowanNina Burnham

This spring, a number of Anglicans received honorary degrees from three Canadian universities.

Archbishop Caleb Lawrence and Nina Burnham received honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees at the convocation ceremony for Huron University College in London, Ont. on May 6.

Archbishop Lawrence, who retired in January, was diocesan bishop of Moosonee and metropolitan (senior bishop) of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario. He spent his 45-year ministry carrying a “deep respect and profound appreciation for the ministry, spirituality and values of First Nations indigenous people.”

He immersed himself in the Cree and Inuit cultures when he served as a missionary, incumbent and rector of St. Edmund’s parish in Great Whale River, Que., and did the same when he was bishop of Moosonee, where 50 per cent of the population is aboriginal.

Nina Burnham was born on the Six Nations Reserve, east of Brandford, Ont., and worked as a dental hygienist on reserves across Ontario including Moose Factory and Attawapiscat. For five years, she worked aboard the medical ship, C.D. Howe, bringing preventive dental care to Inuit settlements in the Arctic. She was elected to the Six Nations Council, and served on the Anglican Council of Native Ministries, first as a member and then as chair. Burnham, who currently sits on the National Indigenous Covenant Implementation Commission, received an Anglican Award of Merit in 1991.

Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan also received an honorary doctorate (her third) from Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon in May. Last August, Canon Barnett-Cowan was appointed director for Unity, Faith and Order for the Anglican Communion. She made the trip to Saskatoon from her new office in London, but only after visiting General Synod offices in Toronto where she had been director of faith, worship and ministry since 1995.

On May 11, Walter Deller received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Trinity College at the University of Toronto for his contribution to church music and scholarship. He served as principal of the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad in Saskatoon, taught at the Dr. William Winter School for Ministry in Keewatin, Ont. as well as at the Henry Budd College for Ministry in The Pas, Man. and at the Toronto School of Theology. Deller has been a member of the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee of the Anglican Church of Canada and is currently a member of the Primate’s Theological Commission.

Husband and wife philanthropists, William John Saunderson and Meredith Norris Saunderson accepted Doctor of Sacred Letters degrees on May 11. Among many other things, they jointly established the Saunderson Family Chair at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.


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