Arthur Griffith
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Obituary of Arthur Leonard Griffith

 

THE REV.  DR. ARTHUR LEONARD GRIFFITH, B.A., M.Div., D.D.

Leonard passed away on Sunday, April 7, 2019 in Toronto. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Anne Merelie Cayford, who holds degrees from McGill and Toronto Universities and who, for sixteen years until retirement, taught High School Biology in Toronto. He is also survived by their two daughters, Anne Rutherford (Douglas) in Ottawa, Mary Griffith in Toronto; four grandchildren, Jane Rutherford and Ian Rutherford (Shannon), Megan Fife (Chris Brand) and Jessica Munro (Chris); and three great-grandchildren, Jackson and Jillian Rutherford and Harrison Brand.

 

Leonard Griffith was born in England in 1920. He emigrated with his parents in 1929 and settled in Brockville, receiving his education in the public and high schools of that city. He graduated from McGill University in 1942 and from the United Theological College, Montreal, in 1945. In that year he was ordained a minister of the United Church of Canada.

 

After brief pastorates at Arden and Grimsby he became Senior Minister at Chalmers United Church (now Dominion-Chalmers), Ottawa, where he remained for eleven years. In 1960 he was called to the historic pulpit of the City Temple in London, England. In 1966 he returned to Canada and became Minister of Deer Park United Church, Toronto.

 

Leonard held degrees from McGill and Queen’s Universities and did post-graduate study at Mansfield College, Oxford where he completed a dissertation on Karl Barth's Doctrine of Reconciliation. He was profoundly influenced in his ministry by Barth's theology. In 1962 the United Theological College awarded him an honorary D.D. In 1961 he was made a Freeman of the City of London.

 

Leonard travelled extensively throughout Canada, the United States and Britain as a preacher and lecturer at clergy and lay conferences. In 1965 he conducted a preaching tour of Australia. On three occasions he was one of the principal speakers at the Maramon Convention in South India, each of the services attended by more than 100,000 people. He was the author of twenty-one books, including his autobiography, From Sunday to Sunday: Fifty Years in the Pulpit.

 

In 1975 Leonard was received into the ministry of the Anglican Church, serving as Associate Priest of St. Paul's Bloor Street Church, Toronto, where he did much of the preaching and from which he retired in 1986. During those years he taught Preaching at Wycliffe College in the Toronto School of Theology. In 1985 Wycliffe awarded him an honorary D.D.

 

In retirement Leonard continued to preach most Sundays and conducted several interim pulpit ministries. He and Merelie travelled abroad and engaged in volunteer work at home. They loved the cottage community on Bay Lake near Bancroft where they and their family spent time during the summer and the Parish of North Hastings where Leonard often took charge of Sunday services. In the city he remained an Honorary Assistant at St. Paul's Bloor Street. Friends in the parish observed his 90th birthday by making it possible for him to film a DVD of fifteen sermons on the theme Questions Christians Ask.

 

There will be a Memorial Service of Thanksgiving to God for a life lived and the hope of life to come. It will be held at St. Paul’s Bloor Street Church on Friday, May 10th at 11:00 a.m. A reception will follow in the Great Hall.

 

In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations, either to the Heritage Fund of St. Paul’s Bloor Street Church, 227 Bloor Street East, Toronto M4W 1C8 or the Dorothy Ley Hospice, 220 Sherway Drive, Toronto M9C 5N6.  Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.