Bishop John Charles Bothwell, whose long career had major impact in the Anglican Church of Canada, has died at the age of 87.
Bothwell – who was the eighth bishop of Niagara – ordained the first female priests in the Anglican diocese of Niagara in 1976 and also co-consecrated at the ordination of Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.
“It is hard to encapsulate [Bothwell’s] impact upon the life of the parishes he served, the diocese of Niagara, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Anglican Communion,” Michael Bird, the diocesan bishop of Niagara, said in a statement. “He was one of the great leaders of our time,”
As Michael Bird perceptively notes, John Bothwell was “one of the great leaders of our time”: after all, he set the course for the Diocese of Niagara to become one of the most theologically liberal dioceses in Canada. The apotheosis of his influence probably occurred in February 2012 when the diocese’s lady priests (Bothwell ordained the first in 1976) performed the Vagina Monologues in Christ Church Cathedral.
John Bothwell made a number of appearances at St. Hilda’s but, I admit, not much of what he said sticks in my mind. The only thing I remember, probably because of my occupation, was his railing against the frivolity of fibre optic cables; their only use, he declared, was as decoration in ornamental lamps. Vanity of vanities. He did subsequently soften his view of the fibre optic industry a little when someone pointed out he would not have a telephone without it.
In God’s house there are many mansions, perhaps even a Luddite liberal one for John Bothwell.
Pete Seeger died recently, too. I didn’t care for his music, even in the 60’s and his politics have always seemed repugnant.
I rather like this tribute I came across a few days ago:
So farewell, then, Pete
To believe the best
Of the worst.
Where have all the
Flowers gone? You should know
You’re pushing them
© E. J. Throbb, aged 17¾