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Authority record

Somerville, The Right Rev. Thomas David and Frances

  • A-317
  • Famille
  • 1915-2011

Thomas David Somerville was born in Ashcroft, (B.C.), on November 11, 1915. Educated at Vancouver's King George High School (B.C.) and the Anglican Theological College of B.C. (now the Vancouver School of Theology), T. D. Somerville was ordained at the age of 25. Since ordination, Bishop Somerville climbed slowly and steadily within the church hierarchy: pastoral work in Vancouver, Princeton and Cultus Lake, including the parish of St. James' in Vancouver where he served as curate and eventually rector between 1949 and 1960. He had also served as canon of the Diocese of New Westminster before moving to assume executive duties with the Anglican Church in Toronto. After holding positions as general secretary of the Board of Religious Education and director of Planning and Research, he returned to Vancouver to be consecrated as Coadjutor Bishop - thus succeeding then-Archbishop Godfrey Gower - in January 1969. When Archbishop Gower retired in 1971, T. D. Somerville became sixth Bishop of New Westminster (1971-1980); in 1975, he became the seventh Metropolitan of Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia (1975-1980). Described as a "quiet radical" at the time of his consecration, Bishop Somerville was a progressive, innovative church thinker and administrator. He pioneered the church movement to ordain women into the Anglican ministry, he campaigned to lower the traditional age for communion for church members, and he travelled extensively in the Western world as a guest preacher, retreat conductor, and spiritual resource leader.

Frances Somerville was born Frances Vivian Smith Gardner in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on June 5, 1916. She was baptized and confirmed at St. John’s, Lunenburg – the same church where her parents were married. She graduated from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia with a BA in English and Psychology in 1939. She went on garner a Teacher’s Diploma in “Voice, Culture and Singing and Public School Music – Voice” from the Maritime Academy of Music, where she later taught. Always involved in music, she began her performing career as part of the Dalhousie University Glee Club and later went on to perform professionally, both in person and on the radio – with the CBC and Norwegian Royalty as some of her most noted audiences. She performed throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s. In 1946 she married the Reverend Harold James Best of Woodstock, New Brunswick. The couple moved to British Columbia in 1951. In 1985 Frances married Archbishop David Somerville, and the two lived in North Vancouver until their deaths. She was an avid writer. She penned an autobiography of Archbishop Somerville called “David: Archbishop and Friend” and was known for her witty poems and heartfelt prayers. Frances died August 16, 2007