1800 – 1879
Who was Alexander Bethune?
Alexander Neil Bethune was a Church of England clergyman and bishop and the son of the Reverend John Bethune. He and his wife had ten children. They included Robert Henry Bethune, a noted banker with the Dominion Bank. He was a brother to John, also a clergyman, who was acting principal of McGill University from 1835 to 1846. He had other notable brothers. James Gray was a businessman, Angus was prominent in the fur trade and Donald was an important political figure in Upper Canada.
Alexander Neil was ordained in 1824 and was in charge of the parish at Grimsby, Ontario. In 1867, after a long and successful career, he was consecrated as bishop of the Diocese of Toronto by the Reverend John Strachan.
Alexander Neil Bethune inherited a diocese that was quite fragmented from methods and policies attributed to Strachan. These circumstances made his episcopate appear less successful. He was a humble man and some saw this as a weakness causing his message to be lost his generation.
Bethune died in Toronto in 1879.
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