Bishop George Snell & St. Barnabas, Halton

In the first post on St. Barnabas, Halton, I mentioned that it was the childhood parish of George Snell, eighth bishop of Toronto. He had grown up in the parish and, after ordination, had assisted the rector. Bishop Snell was the bishop of Toronto when St. Barnabas decided to leave its building and ‘co-habit’ with Wesley United Church (a congregation one of his grandfathers had been a member of). Two photographs from the Diocese of Toronto archives tell some of the story.

This photograph (taken circa 1931 by W. S. Oliphant, Photographer of College Street) shows the choir and clergy of St. Barnabas. The Reverend George Snell is unmistakable in the front row on the right-hand side. This would have been taken at about the time he became the curate, and later the rector, of St. Michael & All Angels on St.Clair Avenue. To his right is the rector of St. Barnabas, the Reverend E.G. Burges Browne. To his right is Eric Lewis, the organist and choirmaster, who later held the same position at the Church of St. Simon the Apostle on Bloor Street.

On the day that St. Barnabas processed to its new location, Bishop Snell managed to arrive from another engagement in time to join the procession. The photograph below, taken in 1970, shows the bishop on that day.

Bishop Snell retired as bishop of Toronto in 1972. He died in December 2006, just a few months shy of his 100th birthday, and having been a bishop for over fifty years!

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