Sovereign, Arthur Henry, Bishop

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Sovereign, Arthur Henry, Bishop

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Bishop Arthur Henry Sovereign was born in Woodstock, Ontario in 1881, the son of descendants of United Empire Loyalists. He was educated there, graduating from Woodstock Collegiate, where he won the Johns Hopkins Oratorical Medal. His first inclination was to study medicine, but he came under the influence of the Bishop of Montreal, Rev. Canon Farthing, who convinced him the church was his vocation. He entered the University of Toronto in 1903, graduating in 1905 with first-class honours and winning the John MacDonald scholarship in Philosophy. The following year he took his MA with honours. He was an all-round student, playing on college baseball, football, and hockey teams and participating in debates in Osgoode hall. In 1913, he took a post-graduate degree in philosophy and theology at Oxford. Prior to that he had won degrees of L.Th. with first class honours, a DD from Wycliffe College in Toronto, a BD from the General Synod of the Church of England in Canada, and the degree of DD from Emmanuel College in Saskatoon. He began his ministry as assistant to Rev. C.C. Owen, rector of Christ Church in Vancouver in 1906 and was ordained in 1907 at Holy Trinity Cathedral, New Westminister. In 1909 he was appointed first rector of St. Mark's, Kitsilano, staying there 22 years, when he was appointed Bishop of Yukon. The following year, 1932, he was elected to the larger diocese of Athabasca, covering 600,000 square miles in Northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. He served there for 18 years, until his retirement. During this period, he planned and supervised the erection of numerous churches, parish halls, and mission cottages. An active mountaineer, he was one of the original group that petitioned the government urging preservation of Garibaldi Park. He also worked for the development of Silver Star Park. One of his proudest achievements was the founding of the John Howard Society in 1932. He became the first president of the B.C. branch. In 1950, Rev Sovereign retired, moving back to Vernon, where he was named Good Citizen in 1957. In 1912, he had married Ellen Ellison, eldest daughter of Hon. Price Ellison. Together, they had one son and three daughters. Rev. Arthur Henry Sovereign died in 1966.


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