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Reverend Robert John Renison Fonds

  • REN BRC
  • Person
  • 2014-

The Most Reverend Robert John Renison is an important figure in the history of the Anglican Communion in Canada due to his role as Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario. He also was known as a gifted writer of books and articles and was a popular religion columnist for the Globe and Mail for over 20 years. He was born in Ireland in the little village of Clonoulty near Cashel in the County Tipperary in 1875. His father was the Rev. Canon Robert Renison and his mother was the former Mary Elizabeth Kennedy, an American citizen that the Rev. Canon Renison met while on a trip to the United States. The Rev. Robert John Renison was the oldest of three boys, all of whom became Anglican (or Episcopalian) priests. In addition, he had three sisters. In 1914 he married Elizabeth Bristol of Hamilton, Ontario. They had two sons, Robert John Bristol Renison born in 1916, and George Everett Bristol Renison born in 1918. George Renison (d.1998) was married to Nancy Stirett and had three children; Katherine, Carol and Michael. Robert John was married to Shirley Sommerville (d 1957) and had one son Robert.

The Reverend Robery John Renison fonds were willed to Renison University College in c/o Gail Cuthbert Brandt in July 1999 from the estate of George Everett Bristol Renison. They were willed to George Everett Bristol Renison by his father Bishop Robert John Renison.

Renison, Robert J. (Robert John). Metropolitan of Ontario.

  • REN BRC 1
  • Person
  • [1875-1957]

The Most Reverend Robert John Renison [1875-1957]
The Most Reverend Robert John Renison is an important figure in the history of the Anglican Communion in Canada due to his role as Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario. He also was known as a gifted writer of books and articles and was a popular religion columnist for the Globe and Mail for over 20 years. He was born in Ireland in the little village of Clonoulty near Cashel in the County Tipperary in 1875. His father was the Rev. Canon Robert Renison and his mother was the former Mary Elizabeth Kennedy, an American citizen that the Rev. Canon Renison met while on a trip to the United States. The Rev. Robert John Renison was the oldest of three boys, all of whom became Anglican (or Episcopalian) priests. In addition, he had three sisters. In 1914 he married Elizabeth Bristol of Hamilton, Ontario. They had two sons, Robert John Bristol Renison born in 1916, and George Everett Bristol Renison born in 1918. George Renison (d.1998) was married to Nancy Stirett and had three children; Katherine, Carol and Michael. Robert John was married to Shirley Sommerville (d 1957) and had one son Robert.

Bishop Renison immigrated to Canada in 1880 when his father answered a call to serve as a missionary to the Ojibway on the shores of Lake Nipigon. He was educated at Trinity College School in Port Hope Ontario from 1886-1892 on a scholarship for children of Anglican Priests, at the University of Toronto where he received a B.A. in English in 1895 and a M.A. in 1896, and at Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto. He received a D.D. degree from St. Johns College in Winnipeg in acknowledgement of his missionary work. He was ordained as a deacon in 1898 and as a full priest in 1899. After graduating from Wycliffe College he enlisted in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers under the pseudonym “Sergeant Patrick O’Reilly.” His first parish position was as a missionary priest near James Bay, Ontario, where he served until 1912. From 1912-1927 he was Rector of the Church of the Ascension in Hamilton, Ontario, except for a leave from 1918-1919 when he served as Anglican Chaplain for the 21st Battalion expeditionary Forces in World War I in France. He was Rector of Christ Church in Vancouver from 1927-1931 and Dean of New Westminster from 1929-1931. From 1931-1932 he was Bishop of Athabasca. From 1932- 1943 he was Rector of St. Paul’s Church on Bloor Street in Toronto. In 1944 he became Bishop of Moosonee. In 1952, he became the 9th Metropolitan (Head Bishop) of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, a position he held until his retirement in 1954. He died in 1957. His funeral at St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Bloor Street, where he served as rector for many years, was packed with over 2000 mourners.

A dedicated missionary, he spent much of his career as a missionary with the first nation people in northern Ontario. He spent the first 14 years of his career as a missionary in the James Bay region. He was fluent in Cree and in writing the Cree syllabary language, eventually writing a hymnal in Cree. He was considered an advocate for members of the first nation tribes in northern Ontario for his time and was given the name “Sheegoos” or “the good medicine which comes once a year” in Cree. Upon his appointment to Metropolitan, he declined the opportunity to serve in Southern Ontario, preferring to stay in the Diocese of Moosonee. He was considered to be a gifted orator with a strong intellect and a rich sense of humour. He was a much loved rector during his time in Hamilton, Vancouver and Toronto as well.

He was a talented writer publishing a number of books besides his Cree Hymnal including the Life of Bishop Sullivan, Canada at War, Wednesday Morning, (which was a selection of his editorials for the Globe and Mail), For such a Time as This, (which was a collection of his sermons), and One Day at a Time, (his autobiography). Starting in 1937, he wrote a popular newspaper column in the Globe and Mail which he continued until his death in 1957. As a result of his weekly column and his work as a rector and Archbishop, he was held in high regard by Anglicans in Ontario for his spiritual leadership. In September of 1941 he travelled to London, England as one of a number of Canadian journalists and writers, in his case representing the Globe and Mail, as a guest of the British Council.

He left a legacy with his writings and books and also in the honours which were bestowed on him as a result of his life’s work. In 1959, the newly formed Anglican College in Waterloo, Ontario, which would become later become affiliated with the University of Waterloo, was named in his honour. The Renison family remained in close contact with the college, with Bishop Renison's widow Elizabeth often being present for College events in early years. His son, George Everett Bristol Renison, a World War II hero and the founder and chairman of W.H. Smith Canada, served as Chancellor of Renison University College from 1986-1992.

Horden, John, 1828-1893

  • REN BRC 10
  • Person
  • 1828-1893

Bishop John Horden was born in 1828 in Exeter England. In 1851 he received a call to be a school master in Moose factory Ontario. in 1872 He was consecrated as Bishop of Moosonee. He died in 1892. Fluent in Cree, he published a prayer book, a hymnal and translations of the Gospel into the Cree Language. He was a mentor to Bishop Renison was the latter was a boy on lake Nipigon Ontario.

Bristol, Everett

  • REN BRC 15
  • Person

Brother of Mrs Elizabeth Bristol Renison

Renison, Elizabeth Bristol (1885 - 1975)

  • REN BRC 2
  • Person
  • (1885- 1975)

Elizabeth Bristol Renison was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1885. In 1914 she married the Reverend Robert John Renison in Hamilton, Ontario. She died in 1975 in Toronto, Ontario. They had two sons, Robert John Bristol Renison and George Everett Bristol Renison.

Renison, Colonel George Everett Bristol

  • REN BRC 4
  • Person
  • 1918?-1998

Colonel George Everett Bristol Renison is the youngest son of the Reverend Robert John Renison and his wife Elizabeth Bristol Renison. He was born in 1918 in Hamilton Ontario while his father served as an Anglican Chaplain to the Canadian Expeditionary forces. He was a war hero and former prisoner of war during World War II. He was the Chairman and founder of W.H. Smith Canada and Chancellor of Renison University College from 1986-1992 and honourary Chancellor until his death in 1998.

Renison, Robert John Bristol, [1916-1984]

  • REN BRC 5
  • Person
  • [1916-1984]

Robert John Bristol Renison was the oldest son of the Reverend Robert John Renison and Elizabeth Bristol Renison. He was born in Hamilton, On. in 1916 and died in 1984.

Schofield, Stephen

  • REN BRC 9
  • Person
  • S.D.

Stephen Schofield was a journalist with the Porcupine Advance who moved to London, England to advance his writing career.

Reverend Florence Li Tim Oi (1907-1992) Fonds

  • REN LTO
  • Person
  • 2002(?)-

The Reverend Florence Li Tim-Oi was born on May 5th in fishing village of Aberdeen on Hong Kong Island. At that time in her culture, boy babies were highly prized and a bowl of ash was kept on hand to smother girl babies. But Li Tim-Oi’s parents did want her. Her Christian parents named her Tim-Oi which means “much beloved”

She completed her primary schooling at the age of 14, but with five brothers and two sisters, there was no money available for her to continue her schooling until she turned 21. While she was a student, she joined an Anglican church. At her baptism she took the Christian name of “Florence.” In 1931, when was still a student, she attended the ordination of an English Deaconess. During the service the Chinese born priest asked if there was a Chinese girl willing to sacrifice to the Chinese church. She knelt and prayed “God, would you like to send me?”

In 1934, she started a four year theological course at the Union Theological College in Canton. Her New Testament tutor was Geoffrey Allen. Her family couldn’t afford the tuition fees, so the Anglican Church paid her fees. While she was a student, she led a team of students rescuing the casualties of Japanese carpet bombing during the Second Sino-Japanese war.

She was ordained as a female deacon by the Bishop of Hong Kong on Ascension Day in 1941. (There was no separate deaconess order in China. She had a brief curacy in Kowloon, and then was appointed to the Portuguese colony of Macau, neutral territory which was crowded with war refugees. While she was there she ministered to the refugees and converted many of them to the Anglican Church. There was no priest and the passage from Hong Kong to Macau was long and dangerous because of the war. In 1941, the Bishop of Hong Kong travelled to the United States and had a meeting with Ursula and Reinhold Niebuhr on the subject of ordaining women. In 1943, when the Bishop was in the part of his Diocese that was in free China, he sent a message to Florence Li Tim-Oi to meet with him. Her journey was dangerous because she needed to go through Japanese lines. On January 25, 1944, he ordained her as a Priest of God.

After the war, under pressure from the purple guard (diocesan officials), and to the dismay of her bishop, Li Tim-Oi resigned her license as a priest but not her holy orders. She was put in charge of a parish near Vietnam, where she started a maternity home to prevent girl babies from being suffocated. During the more than 30 years that she lived in the People’s Republic in China, she was required to keep her faith and her calling secret. She was sent for a time to work on a chicken farm where she became “the captain of the chickens.”
The “bamboo curtain” was eventually lifted and Christian ministers received their back pay from the government, but when she left to live in Canada in 1983, she left her money and pension rights to good causes in China.

The 40th anniversary of her priesting was celebrated in 1984 at Westminster Abbey in her presence. At this occasion she was invited to Lambeth Palace to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, who at the time was unconvinced that women should be ordained. After meeting her, the Archbishop said “Who am I to say whom god can or cannot call? It takes one woman to change the thinking of the church.”

When she lived in Toronto she served as an honorary (non-stipended) assistant priest until her death on February 26, 1992. She is commemorated by the Anglican Church Canada on February 26th and by the Episcopal Church (USA) on January 24th

The Florence Li Tim-Oi papers were willed by Florence Li Tim-Oi to her sister Mrs. Rita Lee Chui, and by Rita Lee Chui to Renison College around 2002.

Li, Florence Tim-Oi

  • REN LTO 1
  • Person
  • 1907-1992

The Reverend Florence Li Tim-Oi was born on May 5th in fishing village of Aberdeen on Hong Kong Island. At that time in her culture, boy babies were highly prized and a bowl of ash was kept on hand to smother girl babies. But Li Tim-Oi’s parents did want her. Her Christian parents named her Tim-Oi which means “much beloved”

She completed her primary schooling at the age of 14, but with five brothers and two sisters, there was no money available for her to continue her schooling until she turned 21. While she was a student, she joined an Anglican church. At her baptism she took the Christian name of “Florence.” In 1931, when was still a student, she attended the ordination of an English Deaconess. During the service the Chinese born priest asked if there was a Chinese girl willing to sacrifice to the Chinese church. She knelt and prayed “God, would you like to send me?”

In 1934, she started a four year theological course at the Union Theological College in Canton. Her New Testament tutor was Geoffrey Allen. Her family couldn’t afford the tuition fees, so the Anglican Church paid her fees. While she was a student, she led a team of students rescuing the casualties of Japanese carpet bombing during the Second Sino-Japanese war.

She was ordained as a female deacon by the Bishop of Hong Kong on Ascension Day in 1941. (There was no separate deaconess order in China. She had a brief curacy in Kowloon, and then was appointed to the Portuguese colony of Macau, neutral territory which was crowded with war refugees. While she was there she ministered to the refugees and converted many of them to the Anglican Church. There was no priest and the passage from Hong Kong to Macau was long and dangerous because of the war. In 1941, the Bishop of Hong Kong travelled to the United States and had a meeting with Ursula and Reinhold Niebuhr on the subject of ordaining women. In 1943, when the Bishop was in the part of his Diocese that was in free China, he sent a message to Florence Li Tim-Oi to meet with him. Her journey was dangerous because she needed to go through Japanese lines. On January 25, 1944, he ordained her as a Priest of God.

After the war, under pressure from the purple guard (diocesan officials), and to the dismay of her bishop, Li Tim-Oi resigned her license as a priest but not her holy orders. She was put in charge of a parish near Vietnam, where she started a maternity home to prevent girl babies from being suffocated. During the more than 30 years that she lived in the People’s Republic in China, she was required to keep her faith and her calling secret. She was sent for a time to work on a chicken farm where she became “the captain of the chickens.”
The “bamboo curtain” was eventually lifted and Christian ministers received their back pay from the government, but when she left to live in Canada in 1983, she left her money and pension rights to good causes in China.

The 40th anniversary of her priesting was celebrated in 1984 at Westminster Abbey in her presence. At this occasion she was invited to Lambeth Palace to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, who at the time was unconvinced that women should be ordained. After meeting her, the Archbishop said “Who am I to say whom god can or cannot call? It takes one woman to change the thinking of the church.”

When she lived in Toronto she served as an honorary (non-stipended) assistant priest until her death on February 26, 1992. She is commemorated by the Anglican Church Canada on February 26th and by the Episcopal Church (USA) on January 24th

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