Eleanor (Ellie) Johnson, director of the Anglican Church of Canada’s partnerships department since 1994, said she will retire as of March 31, 2008.
“She has served our church both nationally and internationally as a very true and faithful servant in many capacities,” wrote Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the primate, in a note to staff at the national office in Toronto.
Ms. Johnson, who is 65, is known throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion for her passion for justice issues, both internationally and at home. Her department until recently included ministries to native Canadian Anglicans as well as relations with partner churches around the world.
Partnerships oversees the church’s global mission, grants to partner churches and organizations, the Volunteers in Mission program and a theological student intern program.
In Canada, its ecojustice desk co-ordinates the Anglican Church of Canada’s work in social, economic and environmental justice and in peace-building, both within the church, and together with ecumenical organizations. With the appointment earlier this year of the first national indigenous bishop, Mark MacDonald, the indigenous ministries department became independent of the partnerships department.
Upon the retirement in 2005 of Archdeacon Jim Boyles as general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, Ms. Johnson was acting general secretary until Archdeacon Michael Pollesel filled the position in 2006. However, Ms. Johnson has continued Archdeacon Boyles’ work as representative to the federal government in issues concerning Indian residential schools.
She began work at the church’s national office, called Church House, in 1987 as co-ordinator of mission education, after five years in the diocese of Fredericton involved in Christian education.
She also spent four years in Kenya, two of them teaching school, and five years teaching high school in Honduras. She did doctoral research in Nigeria.
Born in Toronto, Ms. Johnson holds bachelor of education and master’s degrees from McGill University and a PhD in social anthropology from Michigan State University. In 2006 she was also awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Montreal Diocesan Theological College. She has three adult daughters and three grandchildren.