Vianney (Sam) Carriere, 1947–2014

General Synod Communications and the Anglican Journal, the church’s editorially independent newspaper, have entered into a partnership to distribute stories of national significance. This story is shared through this arrangement. This story was originally published on the Anglican Journal website on August 11, 2014.

Sam Carriere, the Anglican Church of Canada’s director of communications and information resources, and its director of resources for mission, died peacefully at his home in Toronto on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. He was 67.

A graduate of Toronto’s York University, Carriere first joined the Anglican Journal in 1990 as news editor, bringing to the paper the experience of many years in national newspaper journalism. Ten years later he became Journal editor and two years later, General Synod’s director of communications and information resources. In 2010 Carriere was also appointed interim director of philanthropy and in 2013 became director of resources for mission, while retaining the position of director of communications and information resources.

Carriere was also editor of MinistryMATTERS, a quarterly magazine for Canadian Anglican leaders.

He was known for his leadership skills and his willingness to take on any task. “For the General Synod meeting in Halifax in 2010, Sam stepped into the breach and served as acting general secretary. It was one of the best-run synods we ever had,” said Archdeacon Paul Feheley, principal secretary to the primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz.

At first glance, Carriere’s outward persona could be deceptively brusque. “Sam had that gruff exterior, but when you got him to sit down and talk, you got way beyond the exterior to an incredibly kind and giving person who always wanted the very best out of you,” said Feheley. “Sam’s gift to me was pulling out my very best.”

After he fell ill late last year, General Synod staff produced the book Dear Sam in tribute and thanks to his long and multifaceted service to the church and illustrated it with his breathtaking photographs.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, wrote that one of his favourite images of Carriere was at Geneva Park, where the management team of General Synod held retreats in the last several years. “The sun has  just come up and the grass is still heavy with dew. I see you roaming the  property. You walk some and you stop. Something catches your eye and up  comes the camera. There are a few seconds of absolute stillness and then with one quick click  you capture forever the beauty you beheld. You have an eye not only for marvels of nature, but also for those graces by which God enriches  our lives,” said Hiltz.

“…You’re Barnabas, an icon of encouragement. When you see a gift in someone, you say so, and the encouragement begins. You create opportunities to exercise and develop the gift, and the encouragement continues, ” wrote Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary and acting director of communications.

Before joining the national church, Carriere served for 22 years as a writer and editor at the Globe and Mail and its “Report on Business,” teaching journalism at Toronto’s Ryerson Polytechnic University as well.

Carriere was also known for his teaching skills. “Sam was the consummate professional journalist and he taught me much of what I know about writing and editing,” said former Journal editor Leanne Larmondin, who worked with Carriere for 15 years. “He also had a huge capacity for generosity, both in his time and his creativity. Even when we disagreed, and we often did, he respected my choices and decisions with a grace that often left me speechless.”

Echoing Larmondin John Sewell, former mayor of Toronto who wrote a daily column on municipal politics under Carriere’s editorship at the Globe in the1980s, said: “Sam was an excellent editor, always trying to improve, not change, what I was trying to say. He gave me great confidence in my transition from being a civic politician to a civic journalist.”

Carriere was “a poet, in his words and in his pictures,” said Solange De Santis, former staff writer for the Journal and former editor of Ecumenical News International.

Like many good teachers, Carriere was unassumingly unaware of the impact he had on other’s development. “When I exchanged emails with him four or five months ago, he seemed surprised to realize how important his approach was for a writer, but that was Sam, very modest and restrained,” said Sewell.

A man of broad-ranging interests and abilities, Carriere was also a skilled and passionate photographer, whose work can be viewed here.

Carriere is survived by his wife, Linda Doohoo, a retired nurse manager and director of care for Toronto Homes for the aged.

A memorial service will be held in the Chapel of the Apostles at the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada in early September. Details are still being finalized.

Some of the comments in Dear Sam:

“I have learned so much from Sam, for which I will be eternally grateful. I love his unique and pointed insights, his joyous sense of humour, his guidance and advice, the twinkle in his eyes as he tried to get a reaction out of me— but most of all, I am grateful that he reminded me to focus on what is truly important and not forget to see the beauty that exists in my everyday life. – Bev Murphy, senior manager, Communications and Information Resources

“When  I think about Sam, I think of a gentle man, a bit enigmatic, a bit shy, a man with an enormous range of interests and a keen sense  of history. Most of all, I think of someone focused on the pursuit of  excellence in a craft. In much of his life, as this book gives modest evidence, the craft has been  photojournalism—a photojournalism less concerned with the momentary
event and more with the deep meaning of the lives involved in the event.  And for a much longer period, the craft has been writing. I know something  about this craft as a practitioner, mostly as someone who looks at others  and wishes I could do as well. Sam is one of those others.” — Doug Tindall, former director of communications, Anglican Church of Canada 

“Sam’s vision of both the media and the world have had a broad and deep influence on the way the Anglican Church of Canada sees the world and the way the world sees the Anglican Church of Canada.” — Bishop Mark MacDonald, national indigenous bishop

“As a military man, I have always appreciated Sam’s penchant for rising early, and his straightforward, no-nonsense approach…His sincerity, devotion and skill have made him a deeply valued member of our many teams…” — Brig-Gen. John Fletcher, chaplain general to the Canadian Armed Forces

Without your generous support and encouragement (and inspiration!)  I may never have discovered and explored my love for photography.  I see it as one of those things that keep me sane, balanced.  Thank you for sharing this gift of yours with me. – Brian Bukowski, web manager, General Synod Communications

“You were terrific at seeing potential in your team, identifying skills and providing opportunities for growth.” — Shannon Cottrell, coordinator of resource development

“He moved Anglican communications away from the inward-looking “We all get along because we know each other” stance to an engagement with the world at a steady pace.” — Terry Reilly, General synod archivist, 1979-2003

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