Former Ottawa bishop worked on joint hymnal

Bishop William Robinson, retired bishop of Ottawa, died this week in his 86th year.

Born in Kemptville, Ont. in 1916, he attended school there and graduated from Bishop’s University, Lennoxville, Que. in 1939 with a theology degree. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1940 in the diocese of Ontario and served in parishes in Trenton, Napanee, Belleveille, Ottawa and Guelph, all in Ontario and was elected bishop of Ottawa in 1970. At the time, he caused some anxiety amongst the diocesan synod as it waited nearly two hours for him to accept his election by telephone.

He had been out on parish visits.

Prior to his election, he had been a member of the joint hymnal committee of the Anglican and United churches, which ultimately released together in 1971 The Hymn Book of the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada, also known simply as “the red book.” 

He retired Oct. 1, 1981 and resided in Kingston, Ont. at the time of his death.

The Canadian primate, Archbishop Michael Peers, said of Bishop Robinson, “I remember Bill as a priest in Ottawa diocese and as a member of the house of bishops. In both roles, he was an articulate and gentle pastor.”

Bishop Robinson is survived by his wife, Isobel, and four children: Thomas, Nancy, Elizabeth and Margaret. His funeral will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 13 at St. George’s Cathedral, Kingston. – 30 –

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