Harold was born in Victoria, B.C., and lived also in Lytton and Prince Rupert where his father ministered with the Anglican church. Harold received his B.A. from the University of Victoria in English and Classics with forays into the sciences. His summers were spent in labouring jobs in mines in northern B.C. and the Yukon. He subsequently taught English, scripture, mathematics, biology and physics to African high-school students for three years in Malawi, East Africa with CUSO. He took his theological training at Trinity College, Toronto graduating with an M.Div. in 1973.
Harold was ordained in 1973 by Bishop John Frame and served in the Yukon communities of Elsa, Mayo, Keno, and Pelly Crossing, ministering to first nations, mining and hippie communities, and later was an assistant priest at the cathedral in Whitehorse, in many ways a typical suburban parish in a northern capital city. Harold and Claire were married in 1974, and became parents of twin sons in 1978.
In 1980 Harold was appointed rector of Christ Church, Edmonton, an urban parish with a long and stately history, and in 1986 was appointed Dean and Rector of All Saints’ Cathedral, an inner-city parish in downtown Edmonton, with the usual wide diocesan responsibilities associated with Cathedral life. Harold’s social justice ministry began in small native villages in the north, but Edmonton’s gritty downtown provided the opportunity to become involved as the informal chaplain to the staff of a large inner city women’s shelter.
While in Edmonton Harold studied at St. Stephen’s College (a United Church theological college) from which he received the degree of Doctor of Ministry in 1993, his thesis exploring the phenomenon of cultural disbelief in God and its implications for the church. Two years later Harold received the degree of Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) from Trinity College, Toronto. In 1996 Harold taught as an Adjunct Faculty instructor for University of Alberta course through St. Stephen’s College, “From Big Bang to Big Crunch: Religion in an Age of Science”.
For six months in 1998 Harold was Priest-in-charge of St. Michael and All Angels, Edmonton, a small parish, formerly rural, located on the edge of the city now engulfed by urban sprawl which was negotiating its new identity as a city parish.
Harold moved to Victoria in the fall of 1998 to become rector of St. John’s, a dynamic inner city parish where he served for thirteen years until his retirement from full-time parish ministry in 2011. Harold particularly enjoyed the combination at St. John’s of worship that has depth combined with a parish emphasis on social action, broad educational programs, and the arts.
At St. John’s, Harold took public leadership roles in response to issues of homelessness, addictions, and prisons, and served as chair of the Community Advisory Board of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Society, a research centre at the University of Victoria, and was active in Jewish-Christian-Muslim dialogue groups. Harold received the CFAX “Citizen of the Year” award for his work with homelessness in 2011, as well as numerous recognitions from public sector and government organizations.
Over the years, Harold has served on virtually every diocesan committee and task force that can be imagined, and twice had responsibility for the management of a diocese during transitions between bishops. Harold served for many years on committees of the national Anglican Church of Canada, was the main author, in committee of of “An Anglican Style of Evangelism”, presented to General Synod in 1978 and represented the Anglican Church of Canada at the Asian Christian Conference in Korea in 1995.
Harold’s particular interests in ministry have been to discover ways in which the faith can be expressed within our contemporary cultural experience, and to encourage congregations to see themselves as beachheads in God’s in-breaking kingdom, particularly in relation to the poor.
Harold has received awards for his articles dealing with faith in contemporary life in the Anglican Journal, has published a book review of Thomas J.J. Altizer’s – “Living the Death of God: A Theological Memoir” (in “Implicit Religion” the Journal of the Centre for the Study of Implicit Religion and Contemporary Spirituality in the UK.), and has a book in preparation dealing with contemporary issues of faith intended for a popular audience.
Harold is married to Claire who began her career in Montreal as the head nurse of Canada’s first transplant unit, and later trained in pastoral counselling predominantly in the area of sexual abuse. In recent years she has had the privilege of working alongside church artists to express her interest in art and social justice. Perhaps her greatest accomplishments is to have survived 37 years of marriage to Harold and parish life. She and Harold delight in being grandparents to two small boys in Edmonton.