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Into your hands, O merciful Saviour, we commend your servant.

We give thanks for the life of John Carter Blyth, Priest, and are grateful for his ministry in the Diocese of New Westminster, in the Anglican Church of Canada, and in the broader church.

John died on Monday, February 27, 2023, at Cottage Hospice, Vancouver. He was born in Toronto on November 19, 1935.

John was predeceased by his mother, Evelyn Blyth Stowell in 1966, his sister, Elsie Yvonne Humphries in 2006, and his niece, Sylvia (Joe) Daley in 2010. He is survived by his nephews, Gordon (Gail) Humphries and Harvey (Brenda) Humphries, and his great nieces and great nephews Kathy Deacon, Kim Bigelow, Stephen Daley, Yvonne Girouard, Jason Humphries, and Susan Persaud.

John received a BA from the St Michael’s College, University of Toronto in 1961, and a STB from Trinity College at the University of Toronto in 1963. He was ordained to the diaconate April 16, 1963, and to the priesthood May 31, 1964. John received a Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) in 1984.

Following ordination, John served in the Diocese of Caledonia at Christ the King, Port Edward, BC from 1963 to 1967, and in Aiyansh, BC from 1967 to 1980.

John was Incumbent of the Cathedral Church of The Redeemer, Calgary, and Dean of Calgary from 1980 to 1986. He transferred to the Diocese of New Westminster from the Diocese of Calgary in 1987.

John was Anglican Chaplain and taught at the Vancouver School of Theology starting in 1987.

He was a member of the Oblate Order of the Holy Cross from 1963 to 1988. He served on the Board of Sorrento Centre in 1964, on the Executive of the Diocese of Caledonia from 1970 to 1980, As Archdeacon of Caledonia from 1975 to 1980, on the National Programme Committee of the General Synod from 1973 to 1979, on the National Native Affairs Committee of General Synod from 1973 to 1980, on the National Ministry Committee of General Synod from 1975-1980. He was on the Diocesan Executive in the Diocese of Calgary from 1980 to 1986 and served as Diocesan Administrator in 1983. John was the Chairperson of the Council Jewish-Christian Dialogue for Alberta from 1983 to 1986.

John was Nisga’a by adoption. His Nisga’a name was Hlgut K’eexkw, which translated means “Little Runaway”.

John played a significant role in Indigenous ministry. He was the Priest-in-Charge of Native Ministries in the Diocese of Caledonia from 1965-1967. He served as consultant to General Synod of Native Affairs in 1977. He directed the Native Ministries Project and TEE in Caledonia from 1975 to 1980. He was also a Consultant on Native Ministries and TEE Programme of the Council of the North from 1975-1986. Beyond the church, John served from 1968-1980 on the Nisga’a Tribal Council Executive, from 1970-1976 on the Nisga’a Education Committee, from 1972-1980 on Nisga’a Land Claims, from 1973 to 1974 on the North-West Consultation on Development, and in 1979 on the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Starting in 1995, for three and half years, John was Principal and taught at the Bishop Patteson Theological College, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. As John noted in a letter to Bishop Ingham, his appointment as principal came as a shock to him, since there were no interviews, just a public announcement at the college’s Graduation Ceremony. He was also a member of the Melanesian Brotherhood and a tutor-pastor visiting the Brotherhood’s various regional headquarters and houses in the South Pacific. John travelled extensively on missions in the region. Upon his return to Canada, he remained a member of the Melanesian Brotherhood under the Brotherhood’s vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. John continued his ministry and connection with the Nisga’a and people of the North Coast through the Underleaf Ministry and St. James, Vancouver. He made regular return visits to the South Pacific.

John was the Diocese of New Westminster’s representative to early ecumenical meetings regarding how the churches could support the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 
Two liturgies are planned: Vespers at 4pm, March 14 and Requiem Mass, 1pm, March 15. Both liturgies will be celebrated at St. James, Vancouver, 303 East Cordova Street.

Brother John in 2017

Photo: Randy Murray