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Memorial Resolution on the Reverend Stephen James Reynolds, B.A., M.Div., Th.D.

Prepared by David Neelands

The Reverend Stephen James Reynolds, B.A., M.Div., Th.D.

The Corporation of Trinity College mourns the death of Reverend Professor Stephen Reynolds, who died at home on March 12, 2011. 

Stephen James Reynolds was born 1 August 1951 in Mineola, New York.  A gifted student, he received his B.A. in History and Classics from the University of New Hampshire in 1973.  He entered the Faculty of Divinity in 1975 and graduated with the Master of Divinity (Honours) degree in 1978.  In the same year he was ordained Deacon and Priest for the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, and served as Curate and Assistant Priest at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist there, until his return to Trinity College in 1981 to enter the Doctor of Theology program.  While in graduate studies at Trinity, he served as Honorary Assistant Priest at Grace-Church-on-the-Hill, Trinity College Chapel, and the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, as well as Interim Priest-in-Charge of St. Matthias, Bellwoods, St. Mark Midland and St. Anne’s Gladstone Avenue. During this same period, he served successively as Tutor of Theology, Occasional Lecturer in Anglican Studies, and Sydney Childs Fellow.

The degree Th.D was conferred in 1989, conjointly by Trinity and the University of Toronto, based on his dissertation “‘The Mystery of Fulfilled Truth’: The Eucharist as Sacrament of the Economy of Salvation according to Pascasius Radbert and Ratramn,” for which Eugene Fairweather was supervisor. Upon graduation, Stephen Reynolds returned to active parish ministry in the Diocese of Toronto, first as Associate Priest at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, then as Incumbent of the parish of Bridgenorth and Emily.

In 1993, Stephen Reynolds rejoined the Faculty of Divinity as part-time Sessional Lecturer, then Assistant Professor in Divinity, teaching a variety of courses in Systematic Theology there until the time of his death.  At the end of his life, he held the George Snell Lectureship.  His special subjects were Christology based on the Quest for the Historical Jesus, the Trinity, Ecclesiology, and especially Theologies of the Eucharist, where his appreciation of the authors of the seventeenth century captured the attention of his classes.  He has been considered a transformative teacher, held in special awe by many students in the Faculty.

While a member of the Faculty, he became Theologian in Residence and Senior Associate Priest at the Church of the Redeemer in Toronto.  His sermons and addresses there, as well as his publications in the community newsletter never failed to impress. In 2003, the Anglican Book Centre published a book of these sermons, entitled Christ our Passover.

As a member of the Calendar Editorial Sub-Committee of the Doctrine and Worship Committee of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada from 1984-1993, Stephen prepared short biographies with associated readings for all of the annual commemorations and memorials now adopted by the Anglican Church of Canada, translating most of the texts himself.  These were published in 1995 as For All the Saints: Prayers and Readings for Saints’ Days according to the Calendar of The Book of Alternative Services, and have had a wide distribution at home and abroad.  It is generally acknowledged that his is the best such volume in the Anglican Communion. From 1997-2000, as editor of McCausland’s Order of Divine Service, Stephen provided the extended Introduction, which gave him an opportunity to broadcast his strong opinions on current liturgical foibles and to promote a sensitive pastoral vision.

Stephen served as a member of the Ministry of Healing Sub-Committee of the Doctrine and Worship Committee of the Diocese of Toronto from 1993-1997.  From 2005 to 2008, he was a member of the Doctrine and Worship Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, in addition to his appointments at Trinity College and at the Church of the Redeemer.

In 1978, Stephen married Mary Virginia Hawken, Trinity ‘74.  Mary and Stephen have one adult child, Hannah Elizabeth.

Although the life of Stephen Reynolds was not long, he made his mark on his Church and his College.  His family’s words in the notice published at his death could well be repeated:  “a wonderful, smart, stubborn man”. Stephen was preparing published versions of his principal courses, first for his students, but apparently eventually for a wider public.  Plans are currently underway at Trinity for the electronic publication of the considerable body of material that is completed

BE IT RESOLVED THAT this Corporation record its appreciation of the life and service of Professor Stephen Reynolds to the College and to the community and convey its sympathy to his family members.

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