EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Bishop Tom Corston awarded Doctorate of Sacred Theology Degree but listens to 'language of appearance' from Cree Elder

Rt. Rev. Thomas Corston, who retired as the ninth bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Moosonee on December 31, 2013, was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Sacred Theology by Thornloe University in Sudbury. at its last Fall Convocation.

Tom, as he is best known to many Chapleauites, is the son of Frances (Jardine) Corston and the late Henry "Chicken" Corston. He is a graduate of Chapleau Public and Chapleau High Schools. While attending high school he served as president of the Students Council.

Tom explained that he was awarded the degree of "Doctor of Sacred Theology" by Sudbury's Thorneloe University in recognition of his  years of rural and northern ministry.

A member of St. John's Anglican Church, he was ordained a deacon there in 1974, and a year later became a priest. He also was president of the Anglican Young People's Association. St. John's is a parish in Moosonee.

In an interview at the time of his retirement, Tom told the Timmins Times, “My very first parish was Foleyet, but unlike all of my classmates, I was given a parish to myself rather than being appointed as an assistant,” Corston remembered. He admitted it was a humble beginning, but he remembered he felt like he was in charge of the world’s grandest cathedral."

He served at parishes in three dioceses before being elected bishop in 2010. 

Catching up with Tom recently, he explained that most of his episcopate in Moosonee Diocese was to work at a restructuring model that would see the survival of the Diocese in the face of dwindling congregations and financial resources. 

"We did that and I have to say that after a year, it is working well. Basically, with the approval of the Ontario Provincial Synod the Diocese has been placed "in suspension" and the Metropolitan, Archbishop Colin Johnson of Toronto, is now also the Bishop of Moosonee. 

"While he is as present to the Diocese as possible, he asked me to come back and act as his Assistant Bishop. That way we guarantee that all communities will receive an episcopal visitation, if not by him, then by me."

So, despite being "retired" Tom remains busy and is also an Honorary Assistant at his former Sudbury parish, the Church of the Epiphany.

He also delivered the address at the Thornloe University Convocation and it is excellent. I will share just one anecdote that he told from his ministry, which touched me immensely. One of the people he met along the way was Andy. Here is the anecdote:

"One was Andy…a Cree leader from Moose Factory…a big man, an elder, a Layreader in the church, a product of the Residential School system. I spent many a day with Andy and his family, serving together in the Sanctuary, in the boardroom, sitting at his kitchen table and hunting geese on the James Bay. In my memory Andy and his wife Annie stand out as examples of sacrificial love and self-giving that was evidenced, when in their middle-age, in adopting two non-native infants who were victims of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

" It was also from Andy that I learned some of what it means to be “professional”. You see, I had started to think that there was no need for me to be properly attired in my parish. I started not to wear my collar. I mean, what did it matter? My parishioners were blue-collar workers, men were more relaxed when they came to service, so why not the clergy? 
"One evening Andy came to see me and gave me a bit of a lecture about my lax attitude. He said to me, 'Tom, we look to you as our pastor…we want you to be proud of your profession and we want to be proud of your as our minister…you need to be the priest you were ordained to be and whom we called you to be in this community. You need to wear your collar and be proud to be a witness to our town.
'It might not sound all that important to you, but in a day when we face dress-down days in the work-place, when more and more of us are encouraged to relax and perhaps dress more casually, the truth is there are times when how we dress says a great deal about how we have or have not embraced our role and responsibilities. It’s much more than convention, or a “dress code”. It’s the language of appearance that says we have taken some care about how we meet the world.
"As you step out from this place, remember that it is more than what you know or what you say that will have the attention of those you encounter."
In an interview with the Anglican Journal on his retirement Tom said that whenever he tells stories from his history in the diocese of Moosonee, people tell him, “ ‘Bishop, you’ve got to put it on paper before it is gone.’ So that’s my project. I’m going to write a book about the church of the north…I would like to embark on something like that.”  
Thanks and congratulations Tom. After my first reference to him as bishop I chose to refer to him as Tom with all respect to his position in the church. I did so because I have known him since our growing up years on Grey Street where we were next door neighbours and friends, even though I am a bit older than him.

Our families go back even longer as neighbours as my grandparents Edith and George Hunt, my mother Muriel and aunt Elsie lived next door to the Corston family in the early years of the 20th Century. One of my great memories was the day Tom's father Henry told me he thought of  my Mom as his sister -- there were eight boys in the Corston family. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

BULLETIN  Bishop Tom has agreed to be priest in charge at St John's Chapleau and at Foleyet for an "indefinite period" http://michaeljmorrisreports.blogspot.ca/2015/04/bishop-tom-corston-agrees-to-act-as.html


Bishop Tom delivering Convocation Address

Bishop Tom Corston receiving the degree from Chancellor Barbara Bolton (beside her is Provost Dr. Robert Derrenbacker and Registrar, Dr. Ian Maclennan)
Tom and family Ruth, Andrew(L) & Stephen (R) (photos provided by Tom Corston

No comments:

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


click on image


Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE