Project Canterbury

Leaders of the Canadian Church
Edited by Canon Bertal Heeney

Toronto: Ryerson, 1943. 191 pp.


CLARENDON LAMB WORRELL was born at Smith's Falls, Ontario on July 20, 1853, the second son of the Rev. Canon John B. Worrell and Elizabeth Lamb. His elder brother was John A. Worrell, K.C., later Chancellor of the diocese of Toronto, and a distinguished leader of the Church in Canada.

Educated in the public and High Schools of Smith's Falls, until the age of seventeen, Clare Worrell entered Trinity College School, Port Hope on January 11, 1870. Trinity College School had been established at Weston in 1865 by the Rev. Charles H. Badgley, but had been removed in 1869 to Port Hope.

Young Worrell in the six months he was at T.C.S. carried off nearly every award, scholastic and otherwise, there was to be had, attaining the distinction of Head Boy, when he left in July.

No Old Boy of the Old School has brought more honour to it; no one loved the Old School more than he did, and his heart ofttimes turned back to his early boyhood days when the foundations of his great career were laid.

Trinity College, Toronto at this time was under the direction of Provost George Whitaker. Matriculating in October, 1870, Mr. Worrell stood first, winning the First Foundation Scholarship. At the end of his freshman year, he obtained the Wellington and Dickson Scholarships, and at the end of his second year he was again awarded the Wellington Scholarship, along with the Mathematical Prize. In his third or final year he captured the Prince of Wales Prize in Mathematics, graduating in June, 1873, with the highest honours, a "double first."

His first inclination was to study law, but he soon abandoned that to accept an offer made to him to become mathematics master in September, 1873, at Bishop's College School, Lennoxville, then under the Rev. Charles E. Willets, Rector of the School and later President of King's University, Windsor, N.S. Here Mr. Worrell achieved a reputation as a teacher and in the management of boys, with whom he was always popular. The principal, Rev. Dr. Jasper H. Nicholls in speaking of him referred to his devotion to his work, his resolute energy, his thoroughness, his interest in the School's recreations, and his remarkable influence over the boys of all ages. In 1874 he received the degree of B.A. ad eundem from the University of Bishop's College.

In September, 1875 he accepted the appointment of Master at Hellmuth College, London, under Arthur Sweatman, M.A., Headmaster. Here he again demonstrated his diligence and ability. "Quiet and firm as a disciplinarian, one with whom nobody would trifle or take a liberty;" so spoke the Headmaster on leaving the School to become Bishop of Toronto.

In September, 1876, he was appointed to the staff of Wentworth School, Hamilton, and once again added to his successes as an instructor.

His next position was that of Mathematical Master at the Collegiate Institute, Cobourg, of which D. C. Henry, M.A., was Principal and where he was held in the highest esteem and respect. A bundle of enthusiastic letters bore testimony to his tact, popularity, efficiency and a resolute energy which few men display, qualities which lasted throughout his life.

His strong inclinations however were to serve the Church of his fathers, and in September, 1878, he returned to Trinity College, to enter the Divinity School. As was to be expected his course was a brilliant one, and in his final examinations for the diaconate, he obtained a very high place and received special commendation from the examining chaplain and the bishop.

On December 11, 1881, he was ordained deacon in the Church of God by the Rt. Rev. John T. Lewis, D.D., Bishop of Ontario, in St. George's Cathedral, Kingston, Ontario, and was appointed curate of Christ Church, Gananoque, where he continued until 1882, when he became curate of Holy Trinity Church, Brockville, serving until June 1884. During this last incumbency, he was also headmaster of the Collegiate Institute, Brockville, and found opportunity to take his M.A. degree at Trinity College in 1883.

On Trinity Sunday, June 8, 1884, he was ordained priest by the Bishop of Ontario, in Holy Trinity Church, Brockville and was appointed Rector of Williamsburg, remaining for two years, when he was appointed Rector of St. James' Church, Morrisburg, and there he remained for five years.

In 1891 he became Rector of St. Mark's Church, Barriefield. During his twelve years as rector he acted as Professor of English Literature at the Royal Military College, Kingston, an institution in which in later years he took the keenest interest. He was also an examining Chaplain to Archbishop Lewis and his successor, Rt. Rev. W. L. Mills, D.D., Bishop of Ontario.

In 1896, he was nominated by the House of Bishops for the See of Algoma and in the election which followed he stood third. In 1900 he and Dr. J. C. Roper, then of New York and later Archbishop of Ottawa, were the chief candidates in the election of a coadjutor-bishop for the Diocese of Ontario. He was the choice of a large majority of the laity but lacked one clerical vote for election. As a result both names were withdrawn and the name of Archdeacon Mills substituted, resulting in the latter's election.

In the following year he was appointed Archdeacon of Ontario, and in June, 1902, the degree of D.C.L. (honoris causa) was conferred upon him by his Alma Mater, and in 1903 he became Rector of St. Luke's Church, Kingston, serving for two years, or until his election as Bishop of Nova Scotia. Up to this time his entire ministry of twenty-three years had been within the Diocese of Ontario.

Entering the Provincial Synod of "Canada" in 1893, he was prominent in its work and deliberations and was elected its Prolocutor on October 11, 1904, a week before his consecration as Bishop of Nova Scotia. In the General Synod of 1902 he took an equally prominent part in the Lower House becoming a member of the Upper House in the Synod of 1906.

On November 30, 1903, Dr. Frederick Courtney resigned the See of Nova Scotia to accept the rectorship of St. James' Church, New York, which had been offered him without any previous intimation. Writing the Executive Committee of the Diocese on February 1, 1904, the sixteenth anniversary of his election as Bishop, he felt that a younger man would be able to accomplish more. "Yet once more, the promise is your young men shall see visions." The House of Bishops of the Province of "Canada" in accepting the resignation on January 29, 1904, made it effective as of St. Mark's day, April 25, 1904, being the sixteenth anniversary of Bishop Courtney's consecration.

At the sessions of the Synod of Nova Scotia in 1904 James A. Kaulbach, D.D., Archdeacon of Nova Scotia, presided. It was realized that the selection of a successor for Bishop Courtney would present considerable difficulty. The writer was a member of the last Synod over which Bishop Courtney presided and had a small part in the election of his successor. The result of the eleventh ballot at the June Session was the election of Rev. H. J. Cody of Toronto. Feeling that the duties and responsibilites which he had recently undertaken at St. Paul's, Toronto, rendered it impossible to accept election, he declined the offer. The Synod adjourned to meet again August 31. In the meantime a strong committee of ten clergymen and ten laymen was appointed with a view to submitting the names of clergymen who in its judgment possessed qualifications for the office of Bishop, leaving the Synod free to make its own choice. This Committee submitted but two names, the Rev. Dr. L. Norman Tucker, then General Secretary of the M.S.C.C., and the Ven. Clare L. Worrell, Archdeacon of Ontario and Rector of St. Luke's, Kingston. Three ballots were taken and on the third, Archdeacon Worrell was elected by a majority of both orders, whereupon the ballot was made unanimous. That evening a telegram was read by the Chairman, from Archdeacon Worrell, "Accept vote of Synod as will of God, ask for Church's prayers. Will write tonight."

Archdeacon Kaulbach was asked by the Synod to arrange if possible for the consecration of the new Bishop in St. Luke's Cathedral, Halifax. The Synod also asked the Archbishop of Montreal (Dr. Bond) "to ask his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, now on a visit to North America, to take part in the consecration of the Bishop-elect of this Diocese, being the first Colonial See of the Church."

Dr. Worrell was consecrated bishop in Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal, on St. Luke's Day, October 18, 1904, by Archbishop William B. Bond, Primate of the Church, assisted by the Bishops of Toronto (Dr. Sweatman), Fredericton (Dr. Kingdon), MacKenzie River (Dr. Reeve), Quebec (Dr. Dunn), Algoma (Dr. Thorneloe), Ontario (Dr. Mills), the Coadjutor Bishop of Montreal (Dr. Carmichael), the Bishop of the Philippine Islands (Dr. C. H. Brent) and his predecessor in the See of Nova Scotia, Right Rev. Frederick Courtney, D.D.

On Thursday morning, November 10, 1904, the Bishop was enthroned in St. Luke's Pro-Cathedral. In the evening a public reception was held in St. Paul's Hall, at which the new Bishop was presented with an address of welcome to the Diocese, read by the Very Rev. Edwin Gilpin, D.D., Dean of Nova Scotia, and also with the stone from the episcopal ring belonging to Dr. Courtney, recently Bishop of Nova Scotia and engraved with the arms of the See. The new Bishop of Nova Scotia made a most favourable impression on all present.

On his arrival in Nova Scotia he immediately plunged into the work of the diocese. Before he met the Synod in 1906 he had visited every parish and seen every Church, parish hall and rectory in the Diocese, and had sat down with every rector and learned of his problems, successes and failures.

In his first address to his Diocesan Synod, in 1906, he dealt most ably and farsightedly with a number of matters: the division of the diocese, the organization of archdeaconries, the more effective work of rural deans, the establishment in the diocese of the Woman's Auxiliary, the increase of the stipends of the clergy, the future of King's College, the Dominion-wide work of the Church, Church union, the recent loss of St. Luke's Cathedral by fire and the need for a new Cathedral, the coming Lambeth Conference in 1908, work among young people and the existing system of appointment to parishes. It was a most statesman-like analysis of the situation, and a prophecy and pledge of what he hoped to achieve and of what, in a large measure, was achieved during his long episcopate of thirty years. Again and again as the years went by he dealt with these vital matters, pushing each forward to new positions, pointing the way for others, and always himself pressing forward to still other fields of work and endeavour.

He hated narrow parochialism and diocesan-ism; his condemnation of unethical methods of raising money for church purposes soon brought the Synod to his side in prohibiting them; his strong words on the drink traffic, white slavery, mixed marriages and a score of other social welfare problems gave him a place among the leaders in welfare work. His emphasis on church reunion, the place of the Cathedral in the life of the Diocese, the need for better stipends for his clergy, and increased aid to the poorer parishes of the Diocese--these were the constant themes of his charges to Synod. All were ringing challenges to his people. Never mincing words, outspoken, courageous, a limitless capacity for work, and a steadfast devotion to duty that served as a powerful stimulus to others.

It is impossible to do more than sketch in outline the great work done by him. Every part of the Church's work moved forward under his leadership; King's Collegiate School; the University of King's College, and its removal to Halifax; "Edgehill", Church School for Girls; the Diocesan Mission Board; the great Church Congress held in 1910 in connection with the opening of All Saints Cathedral; the visit of the Bishop of London to Canada; and the Bicentenary of the Church in Nova Scotia and Canada, a landmark in Canadian Church history; the Laymen's Missionary Movement, the Anglican Forward Movement; the work of the Woman's Auxiliary; the revival of the Provincial Synod of "Canada "; and the work of the General Synod and its departments.

Among other public distinctions, he was for a number of years a member of the Board of Visitors of the Royal Military College, Kingston, (where from 1891 to 1903 he had been Professor of English Literature); he was Chairman of the Governing Boards of Edgehill, and of King's Collegiate School and the University of King's College: he gave to all unstinted service and firm leadership. He early identified himself with the movement for university federation in the Maritime Provinces, and was one of the deputation that waited on the Carnegie Corporation which made possible the removal of the College from Windsor to Halifax and its association with Dal-housie University.

In his later career special note should be made of his election on February 10, 1915, as Archbishop and Metropolitan of "Canada," and as such the President of the Synod of the Ecclesiastical Province of "Canada."

On June 3, 1919, he was elected Bishop of Bermuda and agreed to give consideration to the offer. Here was an opportunity to leave his vast and difficult diocese for a comparatively small one, but he preferred to stay where he was until the end. At the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury, however, he agreed to continue to give Bermuda episcopal oversight for a number of years, and made two visits to the islands.

In 1920 he attended the conference of Bishops at Lambeth (his second) and took a prominent part in its deliberations. It was a disappointment to him that ill health prevented his attending the conference of 1930.

On the resignation of the Most Rev. Samuel P. Matheson, D.D., as Primate of All Canada, Archbishop Worrell was unanimously elected on September 23, 1931, as his successor by the House of Bishops, and was enthroned in St. Paul's Church, Toronto, on September 24, 1931, by the Archbishop of New Westminster.

Undoubtedly the greatest test of his courage and strength occurred shortly after his appointment to the Primacy, in 1931, when he was faced, at the age of seventy-nine, with a situation that might well have daunted a much younger man--the misappropriation of some $750,000 of the endowment funds of the five missionary dioceses in Western Canada. Depression ruled, and the likelihood of collecting money to make good this startling loss was poor, but the venerable Primate set about the task with a vigour and a resolution that commanded the admiration of all Canada, irrespective of race or creed. He travelled up and down the Dominion, sounding his clarion call to clergy and laity, and as a result he was able to witness before his death the successful conclusion of his campaign for the restoration of the endowments.

As a preacher he commanded the respect and esteem of thousands outside the Anglican community, alike for his sincerity and breadth of mind. The master of a gracious English style, and equipped with a retentive memory, his sermons had back of them the compelling force of a fervent heart. While lacking the oratorical gifts of his predecessor, Dr. Courtney, he was always impressive by reason of his earnestness and frankness.

He was a man whose somewhat brusque speech and manner covered great kindliness of heart and capacity for affection.

Though no mean scholar, it was his great administrative ability which marked him out for high office, and he more than justified the high expectations formed of him by the singularly able manner in which he ruled over his large and difficult diocese.

His strong character made him a notable figure in the public life of the Province, and he never spared himself in his labours for his Church or for the general welfare of the people.

He was the most modest and least self-seeking of men, and owed his high position to sheer force of character and ability rather than to any popular gifts. A humble and devoted follower of his Master, his long and faithful service will not easily be forgotten by the Church in Canada.

He was twice married, first to Charlotte, daughter of Surgeon General T. W. Ward, F.R.C.S., Inspector General of Hospitals, Bombay, by whom he had one son, C. Frank Worrell, and three daughters, Mrs. Charles S. Kirk-patrick of Kingston, Ontario, Mrs. N. R. Des-Brisay of Winnipeg, and Mrs. John Foster. His second wife was Miss Anne H. Abbott daughter of the late Canon Abbott of St. Luke's Cathedral of Halifax, and sister of the Rt. Rev. H. P. Almon Abbott, D.D., Bishop of Lexington, Kentucky.

He took much interest in his garden and its flowers and shrubbery. A zealous Freemason, he entered the Craft in Gananoque, becoming Master of his Lodge and later Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of "Canada" in Ontario. He frequently addressed the Order, his first sermon to the Craft being one entitled "The Connection of Freemasonry with Christianity" preached in Trinity Church, Brockville, on the Festival of St. John the Baptist, June 24, 1883. This sermon was published by the Masonic bodies of Brockville and made a profound impression. On removing to Nova Scotia he continued his interest, frequently addressing the Craft or preaching at St. John's Day services. In 1920 he was elected Grand Chaplain of the Order in Nova Scotia, and in 1933 was honoured with the past rank of Deputy Grand Master, and Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of "Canada" in Ontario, near the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia.

After four weeks' illness, marked by the same heroic effort which had marked his long episcopate, he passed to his rest, late in the evening of August 10, 1934, honoured, respected, beloved by all who knew him, "his work accomplished, and his long day done."

The Bishop of Fredericton (Dr. Richardson), speaking from the text, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith," paid a glowing tribute to the late Primate.

Poor as the Church felt today it was richer for the life Archbishop Worrell had lived, in a faith that had never faltered. He had not been wont to wear his heart upon his sleeve, nor did words on the religious life drop easily from his lips, yet ever he had given an example to all until he had heard the call, laid down his earthly weapons and passed into the Presence.

He has left us, further, a heritage of devotion to duty and tireless industry, for Duty, that Stern daughter of the voice of God, was ever the lodestar of the Primate's life. Was there ever a man, I wonder, amongst all the great leaders with whom God has blessed the Church in Canada, to whom duty meant more than it meant to him, or who spared himself less in its pursuit? Always the vision of duty burned before him brightly, and always he followed.

One thinks, too, at such a time as this of the Restoration Fund, and all that its establishment meant in courage and devotion. For while the church was still staggering beneath the impact of the unexpected blow, the men's hearts were failing them for fear, the Primate was already on his way to the chief centre of disaster in the settled purpose that every dollar must be restored. Here too, as in the case of King's College, God gave him the faithful and efficient helpers, without whom all his efforts would have been in vain, but we can never cease to be thankful for the great heart of courage that sent the Primate speeding on his way to Winnipeg, in the first moment of disaster.

His was a faith that was child-like in its simplicity, a devotion to duty that never faltered, an industry that never tired, a courage that was never dismayed. These characteristics lay upon the very surface of our leader's life. They are only some of the characteristics that might well be marked. I might remind you of his far-sighted vision and sanity of outlook, of his clearness of mind, of his soundness of judgment, of his unswerving loyalty to principle, of his straightforwardness in word and deed, of his large-hearted sympathy, but I have said enough. Here in the shrine that is his visible memorial we thank God for the life of Clarendon Lamb Worrell. Here we bid him our last affectionate farewell, as we "render him to the mould," and "render thanks to the Giver."

Project Canterbury