The Rev. Art Hives

The Rev. Art Hives died December 15 in Victoria. A memorial service took place on January 14 at St. Mary’s Kerrisdale. He was 80. The following remembrance comes from Lyndon Grove of St. Margaret’s, Burnaby, a fellow broadcaster and good friend.

When Art Hives died, in mid-December, I owed him a letter. Or a telephone call, as macular degeneration may have made reading difficult for him, although it hadn’t slowed his creativity.

I had known Art for at least forty years as a broadcaster, a writer, a priest, a friend. Art had a wonderful, rich baritone, and he was a superb narrator.

He spent time behind the microphones of various radio stations, narrated documentaries for the National Film Board and the Knowledge Network, was co-host of a CKWX program with the unfortunate (to me) title Godtalk, served as the voice of God in a production of Noye‘s Fludde, and was the announcer on an Interfaith radio series of sixty-second messages that ran for years on 350 stations in North America, each ending with his signature line: “I’m Art Hives; I’m a priest.”

He was not as well known as a writer, but he was good. For the magazine NUVO, he recalled his years at Lorne Green’s Academy of Radio Arts in Toronto.

Ultimately, however, Art’s calling was to the priesthood, and while his profile remained high, as a traveling communications officer for the Anglican Church of Canada, he began by paying his dues in small, rural parishes, and was often involved in little-known acts of ministry, many of them sacrificial. He once mortgaged his house to help a young man in trouble.

One night, some years later, he waited outside the CBC building in Vancouver to counsel a young television technician–someone he didn’t know, but a BCIT student of mine–who was caught up in a family crisis. It was far past midnight when the boy emerged. When I thanked Art, he shrugged and said, “The CBC is my parish.”

Art was front man and media liaison for Michael Ramsey when the then Archbishop of Canterbury toured Canada in 1966. (“I carried his bags from Winnipeg west,” he told me.)

He was an early and vigorous advocate for David Somerville’s election as Bishop of New Westminster, and he was one of the first to carry the Sorrento message beyond the Shuswap.

At CHQM one day, he said to me, “Do you know about a young priest named Jim Cruickshank and a place called Sorrento?”

We lunched regularly. He was especially fond  of The Roof at the Hotel Vancouver, and his trademark double scotch.

He was a generous friend to many people. He was, and could have been, any number of things: a news anchor, a newscaster and actor like Greene, his early mentor. He chose to be a priest.

Naive as this may seem, it never occurred to me that Art Hives could die. I still see him standing tall, six inches over six feet, then plunging into Shuswap Lake to swim confidently to the far shore. That’s how I’ll choose to remember him: cutting through the water with his strong stroke towards some far shore - always his own man, but in many ways, everyone else’s, too.