It is with thanksgiving and gratitude for the life and ministry of Ronald Clarke that I write to formally let the readers of Anglican Life know the he has passed away. Ron was a columnist for “The Newfoundland Churchman” (now Anglican Life) for many years, beginning his important ministry back in 1977. While I was unable to attend Ron’s funeral in person, I was able to watch and participate in the celebration of Ron’s life by attending online—and it was a celebration for sure.
Three people in particular spoke of the life and ministry of Ron Clarke, beginning with his friend the Rev’d Everett Hobbs. Hobbs began by quoting Auld Lang Syne, remarking that as many of us were starting a new year, Ron was making his way out of this world and to “the place where he can now see Jesus face to face, and know as he is known.” He spoke of Shakespeare’s phrase that “all the world’s a stage, “and one man in his time plays many parts.” Two of Ron’s roles were as an educator and as a minster, and they very much went hand in hand with each other.
Rev’d Hobbs also referenced that New Year’s Day is, in the Church’s calendar, the “Naming of Jesus.” Our naming as members of the body of Christ happens at our baptism, but the sharing in the death and resurrection of Jesus—a whole lifetime of discipleship—was very much a way of life for Ron Clarke.
The Rev’d Nancy March preached a sermon that was centred around the theme that Ron had actually left her to speak to: “glory and thanks to God.” March spoke of the long life that Ron lived—a true blessing from God—and that he showed faith hope and charity throughout. She talked about how inspirational Ron was for all of those who knew him and read what he wrote, and talked in particular about the end of his book. In it, he wrote about how fortunate it is that we, as Christians, are in such close communion with God, and asked what we should do for those who don’t know God at all? Ron wrote that everyone must share the peace and joy of God with others. He also wrote that we must be drawn to The Saviour who asks us to cast every care on him; God gives us a peace that the world cannot give. Glory and thanks to God for the teaching that Ronald Clarke was able to give us all.
Finally, at the end of the funeral, Bishop Rose told us all how Ron’s column in Anglican Life was the most widely read, consistently, in any survey that was taken during his time as the Editor of Anglican Life. Ron presented faith in such a way that it was “both accessible and deep” in its devotion. He lived the Gospel, and he wrote about the Gospel, and he left us all his “epistles.”
As the current editor, I wish to extend condolences to Ron’s family and friends. We mourn his loss with you, and uphold you in our prayers. May he rest in peace, and rise in glory. Glory and thanks to God.